Corbeta Uruguay

Corbeta Uruguay

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Corbeta Uruguay was an Argentine military outpost
Military of Argentina
The Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic, in Spanish Fuerzas Armadas de la República Argentina, are controlled by the Commander-in-Chief and a civilian Minister of Defense...

 established in November 1976 on the island of Thule
Thule Island
Thule Island, also called Morrell Island, is one of the southernmost of the South Sandwich Islands, part of the grouping known as Southern Thule. It is named, on account of its remote location, after the mythical land of Thule, said by ancient geographers to lie at the extreme end of the earth...

, Southern Thule
Southern Thule
Southern Thule is a collection of the three southernmost islands in the South Sandwich Islands: Bellingshausen, Cook, and Thule . Southern Thule is British territory, though claimed by Argentina. The island group is barren, windswept, bitterly cold, and uninhabited. It has an extenzive EEZ rich...

, in the South Sandwich Islands. The base was established by order of the then-military junta
Military dictatorship
A military dictatorship is a form of government where in the political power resides with the military. It is similar but not identical to a stratocracy, a state ruled directly by the military....

 governing Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 as a way to back up its territorial claims on British territory in the South Atlantic. Britain discovered the base in December 1976 but sought a diplomatic solution to the issue until 1982.

Early in the Falklands Conflict
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

, 32 special forces
Special forces
Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

 troops from Corbeta Uruguay were brought by the Argentine Navy
Argentine Navy
The Navy of the Argentine Republic or Armada of the Argentine Republic is the navy of Argentina. It is one of the three branches of the Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic, together with the Army and the Air Force....

 ship Bahía Paraiso to South Georgia and landed at Leith Harbour
Leith Harbour
Leith Harbour , also known as Port Leith, was a whaling station up on the northeast coast of South Georgia, established and operated by Christian Salvesen Ltd, Edinburgh. The station was in operation from 1909 until 1965. It was the largest of seven whaling stations, situated near the mouth of...

 on March 25, 1982.

Corbeta Uruguay retained Argentine personnel until June 20, 1982, when British forces, fresh from victory over Argentina in the Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

, sent a task force to Thule Island to end the Argentine presence. After the Argentine garrison at Corbeta Uruguay surrendered, Thule Island was emptied and the facility left unmanned. In December 1982, it was mostly demolished by the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 after a patrolling warship (HMS Hecate
HMS Hecate (A137)
HMS Hecate was a Royal Navy deep ocean survey vessel of the Hecla-class. She was present at the "presentation of fleet colours" review in Torbay on 29 July 1969. The ship was decommissioned in 1990....

) discovered that someone had taken down the Union Jack
Union Flag
The Union Flag, also known as the Union Jack, is the flag of the United Kingdom. It retains an official or semi-official status in some Commonwealth Realms; for example, it is known as the Royal Union Flag in Canada. It is also used as an official flag in some of the smaller British overseas...

 from the base flagpole and run up the Argentine Flag.

The name honoured the Argentine corvette ARA Uruguay
ARA Uruguay
The corbeta ARA Uruguay, built in England, is the largest ship afloat of its age in the Armada de la República Argentina , with more than 135 years passed since its official incorporation in September 1874...

 that rescued Otto Nordenskjöld and his crew in 1903 in the Antarctic Peninsula
Antarctic Peninsula
The Antarctic Peninsula is the northernmost part of the mainland of Antarctica. It extends from a line between Cape Adams and a point on the mainland south of Eklund Islands....

, near the present-day Esperanza Base
Esperanza Base
-References:*Antarctica. Sydney: Reader's Digest, 1985, p. 156-157.*Child, Jack. Antarctica and South American Geopolitics: Frozen Lebensraum. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1988, p. 73....

. This ship is now a floating museum, permanently berthed in Puerto Madero
Puerto Madero
Puerto Madero, also known within the urban planning community as the Puerto Madero Waterfront, is a barrio of the Argentine capital at Buenos Aires CBD, occupying a significant portion of the Río de la Plata riverbank and representing the latest architectural trends in the city of Buenos...

, Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

.

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