Occupation of the Falkland Islands

Occupation of the Falkland Islands

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The Military Administration of the Falklands
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...

, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands, known as the South Sandwich...

was the short-lived, Argentine
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...

-controlled government of a long disputed group of islands in the South Atlantic which had been governed by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 since the 1833 re-establishment of British rule  until 2 April 1982 when they were invaded and occupied by the Military Junta of Argentina
National Reorganization Process
The National Reorganization Process was the name used by its leaders for the military government that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983. In Argentina it is often known simply as la última junta militar or la última dictadura , because several of them existed throughout its history.The Argentine...

. The invasion and subsequent occupation signalled the start of the Falklands War
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...

, which resulted in the islands coming back under British control on 14 June 1982 (just 74 days after the initial Argentine invasion).

Background



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...

  had been under British administration since January 1833, when the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 re-established sovereignty over the islands which, at that time, housed an Argentine
Argentine Confederation
The Argentine Confederation is one of the official names of Argentina, according to the Argentine Constitution, Article 35...

 settlement. Argentina has claimed the Falklands to be part of their territory ever since.

The UK first claimed South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union in the southern Atlantic Ocean. It is a remote and inhospitable collection of islands, consisting of South Georgia and a chain of smaller islands, known as the South Sandwich...

 in 1843, and incorporated them as Falkland Islands Dependencies
Falkland Islands Dependencies
Falkland Islands Dependencies was the constitutional arrangement for administering the British territories in Sub-Antarctica and Antarctica from 1843 until 1985.-Background:...

 in 1908. The Compañía Argentina de Pesca
Compañía Argentina de Pesca
Compañía Argentina de Pesca was initiated by the British-Norwegian whaler and Antarctic explorer Carl A. Larsen, and established on 29 February 1904 by three foreign residents of Buenos Aires: the Norwegian consul P. Christophersen, H.H. Schlieper , and E. Tornquist...

 had an operation on South Georgia in the early 20th century, and Argentina had claimed sovereignty over South Georgia since 1927 and the South Sandwich Islands since 1938. In November 1976, Argentina landed and occupied the uninhabited islands of 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...

 which had been in British possession since the 18th century.

Establishment



In the early hours of 2 April 1982, in the wake of violent anti-government riots in 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...

, the military junta
Military junta
A junta or military junta is a government led by a committee of military leaders. The term derives from the Spanish language junta meaning committee, specifically a board of directors...

, which ruled Argentina, launched an invasion of the Falkland Islands
1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands
On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces mounted amphibious landings of the Falkland Islands . The invasion involved an initial defence force organised by the Falkland Islands' Governor Sir Rex Hunt giving command to Major Mike Norman of the Royal Marines, the landing of Lieutenant-Commander Guillermo...

. Faced with overwhelming Argentine force, Sir Rex Hunt (British Governor of the Islands) surrendered to Admiral Carlos Busser (the Argentine amphibious force commander) at 9.15am. The next day, Argentina sent troops to capture and occupy South Georgia and the uninhabited South Sandwich Islands.

Historically, Argentina had claimed the islands were part of the then federal territory of Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego Province (Argentina)
Tierra del Fuego is an Argentine province entirely separated from mainland Argentina by the Strait of Magellan. It includes:* The eastern part of the Isla Grande of Tierra del Fuego archipelago and the Staten Island.* Argentina's claims to the Falkland Islands and to...

 and South Atlantic islands. However, on 3 April 1982, the junta issued a decree which separated the islands from the jurisdiction of Tierra del Fuego and named Brigadier General Mario Menéndez
Mario Menéndez
Mario Benjamin Menéndez was an Argentine governor of the Falkland Islands. He also served in the Argentine Army. He surrendered Argentine forces to Britain during the Falklands War.-Pre-Falklands War:...

 as the 'Military Governor of the Malvinas, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands'.

74 days


On the first day of the occupation, Governor Hunt and officials from the Foreign Office
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, commonly called the Foreign Office or the FCO is a British government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas, created in 1968 by merging the Foreign Office and the Commonwealth Office.The head of the FCO is the...

 were forcibly evicted from the island by the Argentine forces and sent to Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

, Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

. Argentine troops took over control of the Falkland Islands Broadcasting Studio when Patrick Watts was live on air. The Argentines use the radio station to play tapes with instructions for the islanders and military music including the Argentine National Anthem
Argentine National Anthem
The Argentine National Anthem is the national anthem of Argentina. The name of the song originally was Marcha Patriótica , and was later renamed Canción Patriótica Nacional and finally Canción Patriótica . A copy published in 1847 called it Himno Nacional Argentino and the name has remained ever...

.

Argentina made Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

 the official language of the Islands and changed Port Stanley's name to Puerto Argentino. Traffic was commanded to drive on the right by painting arrows on the road indicating the direction of traffic and changing the location of street and traffic signs. Argentinian Captain Barry Melbourne Hussey, who was chosen for a position in the administration due to his knowledge and experience of English, asserted safety as a major concern, during discussions with the Islanders
Falkland Islanders
The 2006 census returns gave the population of the Falkland Islands, excluding military personnel and their families, but including staff working at the Mount Pleasant military base to be 2955. There were 1569 males and 1386 females giving a male to female ration of 1.13...

: "Which would you prefer, that our eighteen-year-old conscripts, with their big lorries, should try to drive on the left, or that you, with your little vehicles, change to the right?". However, outside Stanley, most roads were single track anyway and some islanders refused to observe the new rule and continued to drive on the left. Other acts of civil disobedience
Civil disobedience
Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power. Civil disobedience is commonly, though not always, defined as being nonviolent resistance. It is one form of civil resistance...

 included Reg Silvey (lighthouse keeper
Lighthouse keeper
A lighthouse keeper is the person responsible for tending and caring for a lighthouse, particularly the light and lens in the days when oil lamps and clockwork mechanisms were used. Keepers were needed to trim the wicks, replenish fuel, wind clockworks and perform maintenance tasks such as cleaning...

 and ham radio enthusiast) broadcasting clandestine radio messages throughout the occupation.

The Argentine military police arrived on the islands with detailed files on many islanders. One of their first actions was to arrest and deport noted critics of links to Argentina including David Colville, as well as Bill Luxton
Bill Luxton
William Robert Luxton is a Falkland Islands farmer and politician who has served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly for the Camp constituency since the 2009 general election...

 and his family. Such deportations proved internationally embarrassing as Bill Luxton gave numerous interviews on his deportation and subsequently detainees faced internal exile at Fox Bay
Fox Bay
Fox Bay is the second largest settlement on West Falkland in the Falkland Islands. It is located on a bay of the same name, and is on the south east coast of the island...

.

Major Patricio Dowling, an Argentine of Irish origin, became the chief of police. He frequently over-stepped his authority, ignoring instructions to treat the islanders with respect, and quickly became known throughout the islands for his tendency to resort to violence. Dowling imposed a regime of arbitrary house searches, arrests and questioning. His actions came to the attention of Comodoro Carlos Bloomer-Reeve who recommended to Brigadier-General Menéndez that he be removed and he was subsequently sent back to the mainland in disgrace.

Comodoro Carlos Bloomer-Reeve, chief of the Secretariat of the new government, in conjunction with Major Barry Hussey were instrumental in protecting the Falkland Islanders
Falkland Islanders
The 2006 census returns gave the population of the Falkland Islands, excluding military personnel and their families, but including staff working at the Mount Pleasant military base to be 2955. There were 1569 males and 1386 females giving a male to female ration of 1.13...

 and avoiding conflict with the Argentine military. Bloomer-Reeve had previously lived on the islands between 1975 and 1976, when he ran the LADE
Lade
Lade may refer to:People* Brendon Lade , Australian rules footballer* Sir John Lade , baronet and Regency horse-breeder* Heinrich Eduard von Lade , German banker and amateur astronomer...

 operation in Stanley
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital and only true cityin the Falkland Islands. It is located on the isle of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2006 census, the city had a population of 2,115...

 and had great affection for the islands. Despite their political differences, the humanity and moral courage of both men earned them the enduring respect and affection of many islanders.

No wholesale confiscation of private property occurred during the occupation (all goods obtained from the Islanders
Falkland Islanders
The 2006 census returns gave the population of the Falkland Islands, excluding military personnel and their families, but including staff working at the Mount Pleasant military base to be 2955. There were 1569 males and 1386 females giving a male to female ration of 1.13...

 were paid for), but had the Islanders refused to sell, the goods in question would have been taken anyway, as is normal in military situations. However, Argentine officers did expropriate civilian property at Goose Green
Goose Green
Goose Green is a settlement in Lafonia on East Falkland in the Falkland Islands. It lies on Choiseul Sound, on the east side of the island's central isthmus, south-southwest of Darwin. With a population of about 70, it is the second largest settlement of the Falkland Islands.Goose Green has a shop...

 following the detention of the civilian population, although they severely punished any conscripts that did the same.

During the 74 day occupation, 114 inhabitants of Goose Green
Goose Green
Goose Green is a settlement in Lafonia on East Falkland in the Falkland Islands. It lies on Choiseul Sound, on the east side of the island's central isthmus, south-southwest of Darwin. With a population of about 70, it is the second largest settlement of the Falkland Islands.Goose Green has a shop...

, considered to be potential troublemakers, were imprisoned and 14 residents of Stanley were sent to Fox Bay East and placed under house arrest
House arrest
In justice and law, house arrest is a measure by which a person is confined by the authorities to his or her residence. Travel is usually restricted, if allowed at all...

. The Argentine military evacuated 52 schoolchildren from Stanley and turned the playground of the school into a compound for drilling troops
Foot Drill
A Foot drill is an essential part of the training regimen of organized military and paramilitary elements worldwide. "Foot drill" or "Drill" stems from time since antiquity when soldiers would march into battle, be expected to gather in a formation, and react to words of command from their...

. The Argentine peso
Argentine peso ley
The peso ley 18.188, usually known as either peso or, to distinguish it from the earlier peso moneda nacional, informally as peso ley, was the currency of Argentina between January 1, 1970 and May 5, 1983. It was subdivided into 100 centavos. Its symbol was $, sometimes $L. Its name comes from law...

 replaced the Falkland Islands pound
Falkland Islands pound
The pound is the currency of the Falkland Islands, a British Overseas Territory in the South Atlantic Ocean. The symbol is the pound sign, £, or alternatively FK£, to distinguish it from other pound-denominated currencies...

 and stamps were over-franked with an Islas Malvinas postcode.

There was no widespread abuse of the population; indeed after the war it was found that even the Islanders
Falkland Islanders
The 2006 census returns gave the population of the Falkland Islands, excluding military personnel and their families, but including staff working at the Mount Pleasant military base to be 2955. There were 1569 males and 1386 females giving a male to female ration of 1.13...

' personal food supplies and stocks of alcohol were untouched, and Brigadier-General Menéndez, the Argentine governor of the Islands, had made it clear from the start that he would not engage in any combat in Stanley itself but in the last day of battle, Private Santiago Carrizo of the 3rd Regiment described how a platoon commander ordered them to take up positions in the houses and "if a Kelper
Kelpers
Kelpers is a nickname given to Falkland Islanders because the islands are surrounded by large seaweeds called kelp.This term is no longer used as commonly as it once was . Instead most prefer "Falkland Islanders" or even "Bennies".The term is used to describe the population in Argentine research...

 resists, shoot him", but the entire company did nothing of the kind.

Fall



On 22 April, the British task force arrived in Falklands waters, three days later British troops recaptured South Georgia. Following over a month of fierce naval and air battles, the British landed on 21 May, and a land campaign followed until Governor Mario Menéndez
Mario Menéndez
Mario Benjamin Menéndez was an Argentine governor of the Falkland Islands. He also served in the Argentine Army. He surrendered Argentine forces to Britain during the Falklands War.-Pre-Falklands War:...

  surrendered to Major General Jeremy Moore
Jeremy Moore
Major General Sir John Jeremy Moore KCB, OBE, MC & Bar was the commander of the British land forces during the Falklands War in 1982. Moore received the surrender of the Argentine forces on the islands.-Military career:...

 on June 14 in Stanley. Six days later, on 20 June, British forces landed on the South Sandwich Islands and Southern Thule where 10 unarmed Argentines handed over their station. 649 Argentines and 255 British died during the war.

Dissolution


The Argentine Administration officially continued to exist until 15 May 1985 when it was dissolved by President Raúl Alfonsín
Raúl Alfonsín
Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín was an Argentine lawyer, politician and statesman, who served as the President of Argentina from December 10, 1983, to July 8, 1989. Alfonsín was the first democratically-elected president of Argentina following the military government known as the National Reorganization...

. Since then, Argentina has claimed the islands are part of Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego Province (Argentina)
Tierra del Fuego is an Argentine province entirely separated from mainland Argentina by the Strait of Magellan. It includes:* The eastern part of the Isla Grande of Tierra del Fuego archipelago and the Staten Island.* Argentina's claims to the Falkland Islands and to...

 (then an Argentine National Territory) which became a fully-fledged province of Argentina
Provinces of Argentina
Argentina is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city...

 in 1990.

See also

  • Falkland Islands sovereignty dispute
  • South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands sovereignty dispute