Falkland Islands


The English captain John Strong heading a British expedition makes the first recorded landing in the Falklands. The British claim the islands for the crown and name the sound between the two main islands after Viscount Falkland, a British naval official. The name is later applied to the whole island group. [3] [4]


French colony at Fort St. Louis on East Falkland established by Louis Antoine de Bougainville, who claims the Islands for French King Louis XV. [1] [3] [4]


Captain John Byron of Tamar, sent to survey the Islands, lands at Port Egmont on Saunders Island in West Falkland which he names for the Earl of Egmont, First Lord of the Admiralty, and claims the Islands for King George III. [1] [3] [4]


Captain John McBride of Jason establishes a naval garrison called Fort George and a settlement called Jason's Town (after his ship) at Port Egmont in January, and in December discovers the French settlement at Fort St. Louis and demands that they leave. [1] [4]


French colony at Fort St. Louis is transferred to Spain upon payment of £25,000 compensation to de Bougainville, and renamed Puerto Soledad. [1] [3] [4]


English and Spanish ships meet while surveying the Islands and exchange letters each accusing the other of being in the Islands unlawfully. [1] [3] [4]


British led by Governor Samuel Clayton withdraw their naval garrison from Port Egmont, but leave a lead plaque claiming British sovereignty over all the Islands. [1] [4]


Spain and Britain sign Nootka Sound Convention in which Britain formally renounces 'all colonial ambition' in South America and adjacent islands. [1]


Spanish Governor Juan Crisostomo Martinez withdraws from Puerto Soledad, but leaves a plaque claiming Spanish sovereignty over all the Islas Malvinas. [1] [4]


The United Provinces of Rio de la Plata claim sovereignty over Islas Malvinas and send American mercenary Daniel Jewitt of Heroina to visit the Islands, assert their sovereignty and warn off whalers and sealers. [1] [3] [4]


The United Provinces of Rio de la Plata and Britain dispute sovereignty of the islands. In 1841 dictator General Rosas offers to surrender the claim in return for the cancelation of debts owed by the United Provinces to the City of London. [1] [3] [4]


British Government formally annex the Islands and their dependencies by the issue of Letters Patent, and appoint Lt Moody as Governor of the Islands. [1]


The United Provinces of Rio de la Plata become the Argentine Republic. [1]


British insistence upon sovereignty over the Islands and surrounding waters results in a confrontation with US naval vessels. [1]


Argentina asks that the sovereignty dispute be submitted to international arbitration but Britain ignores the request. Argentina issues a new map showing the Islands as Argentine territory - Britain protests. [1]


British government makes the Islands a Crown colony. [1] [3]


British Government formally annexe South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands, the South Orkney Islands, the South Shetland Islands and Graham Land by Letters Patent together declaring them the Falkland Islands' Dependencies. [1]


Opening of the Panama Canal means ships no longer round Cape Horn and so no longer put in to Stanley requiring provisions or repairs by shipwrights. WW1 opens in the South Atlantic with major naval engagements which become known as the Battle of Coronel and the Battle of the Falkland Islands. The Battle of the Falkland Islands secured the Cape Horn passage for the remainder of the war for Britain and its allies. [1]


Argentina asks the International Postal Union to accept Argentine jurisdiction over all the Falkland Islands Dependencies. [1]


Britain tries to brings to the International Court of Justice the question of sovereignty over the Falkland Islands Dependencies but Argentina refuses. [1]


UN Resolution 1514 calls for an end to colonialism. Britain lists the Islands as a colony and Argentina objects. [1]


Administration of South Orkney, South Shetland Islands and Graham Land transferred from Falkland Islands' Dependencies to the newly created British Antarctic Territory. [1]


Cessna 172 lands on Stanley racecourse - Argentine pilot Miguel Fitzgerald plants Argentine flag and hands over letter declaring Argentine sovereignty. United Nations Committee on Decolonisation discusses the future of the Islands. [1]


UN Resolution 2065 asserts that the Falklands/Malvinas constitute a colony and calls on Britain and Argentina to negotiate taking account of Islanders' interests. [1]


Argentine marines dropped off at night by submarine Santiago del Estero to reconnoitre potential landing beaches near Stanley. [1]


Labour Foreign Secretary George Brown opens sovereignty talks with Argentine Foreign Minister, stating Britain prepared to forego sovereignty if assured the Islanders' rights and way of life will be preserved. [1]


Minister of State Lord Chalfont fails to persuade Islanders of the advantages of an agreement with Argentina. Memorandum of Understanding reached between British and Argentine governments but dropped as a result of Lord Chalfont's visit to the Islands. British Parliament undertakes to make no change to sovereignty against the Islanders' wishes. [1]


Newly elected British Conservative government refuses to enter into sovereignty talks. [1]


Argentina agrees temporarily to shelve their claim to sovereignty while they try to win Islanders over. [1]


Newly elected Argentine Peronist government renews sovereignty claim in the UN which passes Resolution 3160 urging sovereignty negotiations. Britain refuses to discuss sovereignty. [1]


Britain proposes condominium government for the Islands but Islanders reject proposal. [1]


Diplomatic relations between Britain and Argentina are broken. [1]


British Antarctic Survey ship RRS Shackleton fired on by Argentine gunboat. UN Resolution 3149 urges sovereignty negotiations, and talks between Britain and Argentina resume. Argentina sets up clandestine military base on Southern Thule, a Falkland Islands Dependency situated south of South Georgia. [1]


Argentine sailors land on the island of Morrell in the South Sandwich Islands, claiming they are undertaking scientific research. Newly elected British Labour government reopens sovereignty negotiations and sends Minister of State Edward Rowlands to Islands to obtain Islanders' views. Britain secretly sends a nuclear submarine and two frigates to the South Atlantic in response to Argentine preparations for naval 'manoeuvres' which then halt. [1]


New talks held between Britain and Argentina in April. Minister of State Nicholas Ridley visits to discuss sovereignty dispute but fails to persuade Islanders to accept 'leaseback' proposal. [1]


British Nationality Act removes British nationality from any Falkland Islander who does not have a parent or grandparent born in Britain. Falkland Islands Government protest to British Parliament over sovereignty negotiations. British Parliament reaffirms 'paramountcy' of Islanders' wishes. Argentina protests to UN over lack of progress on sovereignty dispute. [1]


January - Argentine Joint Armed Forces committee beings planning military invasion of Islands. Junta's plans to capture Islands revealed in a series of articles in La Prensa newspaper. [1]

February - Deputy foreign minister Richard Luce begins sovereignty talks with his Argentine counterpart Ernesto Ros in New York. [1] [2]

March - 1st-18th: British and Argentine deputy foreign ministers issue a joint communique praising the 'cordial and positive spirit' of sovereignty discussions held in New York. Argentine foreign minister rejects the communique and says that Argentina reserves the right to 'employ other means' if Britain keeps refusing to cede sovereignty. [1]

19th: Argentine scrap metal merchant Constantino Davidoff sends 40 workmen on naval vessel Bahia Buen Suceso to dismantle Leith whaling station on South Georgia - the workmen fail to ask permission to land from the British Antarctic Survey base at Grytviken and upon arrival hoist the Argentine flag. Britain lodges a formal protest. [1] [2] [3]

20th-26th: Thatcher sends Endurance and 24 Royal Marines from Stanley to South Georgia. Endurance arrives at Grytviken but earlier instructions to remove Argentine workmen are rescinded. Argentine naval vessel Bahia Paraiso puts a large quantity of stores ashore at Leith together with a marine detachment under the command of Captain Alfredo Astiz. The Argentine government says it will give all necessary protection to the workmen on South Georgia. British intelligence source in Buenos Aires warns that an Argentine invasion of the Islands is imminent but the British government dismisses the warning. Argentine navy set out on scheduled manoeuvres with the Uruguyan fleet. Argentine junta brings forward its invasion plans ('Operation Rosario') from a national holiday on 25 May or July 9 because of the South Georgia crisis and the worsening economic turmoil and civil unrest. British Ministry of Defence advises the government against a military response. [1] [2] [3]

27th: Argentine missile boats Drummond and Granville sail south to join Bahia Paraiso. [1]

28th: Argentina restates its claim to the Falkland Islands and Dependencies, tells Britain there will be no negotiations on South Georgia, cancels leave for military and diplomatic personnel, sends stores and equipment to the naval bases of Puerto Belgrano and Comodoro Rivadavia, and begins overflights of Stanley. 5 Argentine warships are sighted near South Georgia. Britain begins contingency planning for the sending of a task force to the Islands. Carrington asks US Secretary of State Alexander Haig to intercede with the junta in an attempt to avoid military action. [1]

29th: Joint Intelligence Committee reports an invasion seems imminent. Thatcher orders 3 nuclear submarines south to the Islands. British submarine Spartan sails south to the Islands from Gibraltar. Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fort Austin sails south to provide support for Endurance. New Royal Marine detachment arrive Stanley aboard research ship John Biscoe. [1]

31st: Junta takes final decision to invade the Islands on 2 April. Violent anti-government riots occur across Argentina. British intelligence source warns that the Argentine fleet is at sea heading towards the Islands. Chief of Navy Staff Admiral Sir Henry Leach advises a crisis meeting headed by Thatcher that Britain could and should send a task force if the islands are invaded. Governor Rex Hunt is informed Britain believes Argentina is planning a submarine landing on the Islands as a means of increasing pressure over South Georgia. Britain's US ambassador Sir Nicholas Henderson visits Haig in Washington and persuades him to take matters seriously. Thatcher telegraphs American President Ronald Reagan asking him to warn the Argentines off. Royal Marines commander Brigadier Julian Thompson is alerted to the crisis. [1]

April - 1st: UN Security Council meets at Britain's request and calls for restraint and avoidance of force. Reagan warns Argentine junta leader General Galtieri not to take military action. Britain prepares for the impending invasion by dispatching a submarine from Scotland and preparing a number of ships from the Mediterranean for sailing, as well as mobilising what forces are on the islands. [1]

2nd: Argentina moves ships into position off the islands on the 2nd April and lands ground forces at Mullet Creek and York Bay where they engage in battle with the Royal Marines. The main Argentine force lands at Stanley and the governor of the islands orders the surrender. Royal Marines from South Georgia later attack the Argentine forces but are forced to surrender. Britain dispatches 9 naval ships from the Mediterranean. [1] [2] [3]

3rd-11th: The UN security council passes a resolution demanding immediate Argentine withdrawal from the islands, but Argentina refuses to comply. The UK deploys RAF elements to Ascension Island and dispatches another submarine from Scotland as well as two aircraft carriers and other ships from England. The British government announces it will impose a 200-mile exclusion zone around the islands on 26th April and freezes $1.4 billion in Argentine assets held in British banks. The EEC imposes economic sanctions against Argentina on the 10th April. [1] [2] As Galtieri has predicted, the move proves to be extremely popular in Argentina. In Buenos Aires, where the unions had a week earlier demonstrated against the government, there are massive outbursts of solidarity in the streets. Thousands of Argentine conscripts lacking basic training are drafted in a hurry and sent to the islands. Argentina accumulates more than 10,000 troops on the Falklands. [3]

12th-18th: The UK declares a 200 mile exclusion zone on the 12th April, the day the first British submarine arrives off Stanley. An Argentine fleet leaves Puerto Belgrano 2 days later. Having made plans for retaking the islands the main British task force leaves Ascension Island on 17th April. US Secretary of State Alexander Haig presents the Argentine junta with a 5 point peace plan the same day. [1] [2] [3]

19th-27th: Argentina rejects the peace plan unless Britain agrees to transfer sovereignty by 31st December 1982 and allow Argentine nationals to settle in the Islands. The UK proceeds with the mission to reclaim the islands. South Georgia is recaptured by Royal Marines on the 25th April. [1] [2] [3]

28th-30th: On the 28th April the Organisation of American States supports Argentina's sovereignty claim but calls for peaceful negotiations. On the 29th April Argentina rejects a further peace plan from Haig. The US then declares support for Britain and imposes economic sanctions on Argentina. [1] [2] [3]

May - 1st: Initial British special forces landings and commencement of naval and air bombardment of Stanley. [1] [2] [3]

2nd-3rd: UN and Peru try to initiate peace talks. Galtieri gives preliminary acceptance of Peruvian proposal with some modifications. British sink the General Belgrano 30 miles outside the exclusion zone, killing 368 Argentinians. Galtieri then rejects the Peruvian peace plan citing the sinking of the General Belgrano. [1] [2] [3]

4th-11th: British destroyer Sheffield is hit by an exocet missile and later sinks, killing 20. British approve Peruvian peace plan. Britain extends total exclusion zone to 12 miles off Argentine coast. Argentinian government rejects Peruvian peace plan. Bombardment of Argentine positions on the islands continues. [1] [2] [3]

12th-20th: Argentine junta concedes that sovereignty of the Islands isn't a precondition to the UN peace plan. Britain's UN ambassador Sir Anthony Parsons sent back to New York with British peace proposals. SAS team landed in Argentina but they fail to destroy Argentine military aircraft at the Rio Grande base. Argentine junta rejects British peace proposals. British government rejects UN peace proposal. de Cuellar admits failure of UN peace talks. Thatcher orders task force into battle. [1] [2] [3]

21st-25th: British San Carlos landing begins. 4 British ships sunk, 2 British helicopters shot down, 40 Argentinian aircraft shot down. [1] [2] [3]

26th-29th: UN Security Council instructs de Cuellar to seek negotiated settlement. British retake Goose Green. 17 British die and 250 Argentinians. Organisation of American States condemns Britain's military action and calls on the US to stop helping Britain - only the US, Chile, Colombia and Trinidad & Tobago abstain. [1] [2] [3]

30th-31st: British retake Douglas, Mount Kent and Mount Challenger. Reagan asks Thatcher not to inflict too serious a defeat on the Argentines. [1] [2] [3]

June - 1st-4th: Argentine military envoys arrive in New York offering to surrender to the UN. Versailles summit opens. Reagan's 5-point plan given to Britain. Britain and US veto Panamanian-Spanish immediate ceasefire resolution in UN Security Council. Spain criticises Britain's military action, becoming the only NATO country not to support Britain. [1] [2] [3]

5th-13th: Versailles summit supports British position on the conflict. Battle at Fitzroy commences. Peru sends 10 mirage jets to Argentina to replenish losses. Battle for Stanley begins as well as for other key locations. [1] [2] [3]

14th-21st: Argentinian forces surrender. 255 British have been killed and about 300 wounded. 11,845 Argentines are captured. EEC sanctions against Argentina are lifted. [1] [2] [3]

22nd-30th: Retired Army General Reynaldo Bignone replaces Galtieri as President of Argentina. Argentine army assumes full power, the Navy and Air Force withdrawing from the Junta. [1]

July - Argentine war toll set at 645 dead and missing. EEC agrees to provide financial aid to the Islands. USA ends trade sanctions against Argentina. Last Argentine prisoners of war repatriated. Britain admits to falsifying press releases during the war to mislead Argentina. Britain lifts the Exclusion Zone around the Islands. [1] [2]

From start to finish, this undeclared war lasted 72 days, claiming nearly 1000 casualties, many of them innocent conscripts drafted in a hurry by the Argentine junta. The war cost at least 2 billion dollars. From a political point of view, the war helps the reelection of Margaret Thatcher (who was losing popularity before the conflict started) and brought down Leopoldo Galtieri who is quick to resign afterwards, paving the road to the restoration of democracy in Argentina. [3]

November - UN General Assembly passes a resolution calling for a peaceful solution to the sovereignty dispute. [1]


Galtieri arrested and charged with military bungling of the war. [1]

Falkland Islanders are given full British citizenship. [1]

President Raul Alfonsin democratically elected in Argentina and reasserts Argentina's sovereignty claims. [1]


Talks between Argentina and Britain in Berne fail because Britain refuses to discuss sovereignty. [1]


South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands cease to be a Falkland Islands Dependency and become a United Kingdom Dependent Territory in their own right. [1]

Resumption of trading relations between Britain and Argentina. [1]


United Nations General Assembly adopt Argentine resolution demanding that Britain discuss all aspects of the Falkland Islands including sovereignty. [1]


Falkland Islands' Dependencies come to an end with the establishment of the Government of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands as a separate British dependent territory. [1]


Newly-elected Argentine President Carlos Menem agrees to talks with Britain under 'sovereignty umbrella'. [1]


Resumption of diplomatic relations between Britain and Argentina. [1]

Britain lifts the 150-mile protection zone around the Islands. [1]


Sovereignty freeze over Antarctica renewed for a further 30 years. [1]


Amendment to Argentine Constitution ratifies Argentina's 'legitimate and imprescriptible sovereignty' over the Islands and makes their recovery 'a permanent and unrenounceable object of the Argentine people'. [1]

Argentina offers to pay for the clearance of mines in the Islands. [1]


British and Argentine governments sign a Joint Declaration designating a Special Area of Cooperation for the exploration and exploitation of offshore minerals. [1]


7 drilling licences awarded to 5 consortia to drill in the North Falkland Basin. [1]


Desire Petroleum formed to allow Islanders to participate in oil exploration. Falklands Offshore Sharing Agreement signed by the 5 consortia awarded drilling licences in which they agree to share a rig and other infrastructure. Cambridge Mineral Resources undertake the first onshore minerals prospecting. [1]


SV Borgny Dolphin undertakes exploratory oil drilling. [1]

UK relaxes embargo on sale of arms to Argentina. [1]


Agreement signed by Britain and Argentina and witnessed by councillors. Argentines permitted to visit the Islands in return for scheduled passenger flights over Argentine airspace, and mutual co-operation on fisheries issues. UK and Argentine military take part in joint exercises in South Atlantic. [1]


British and Argentine navies carry out first joint search and rescue exercise. Fisheries patrol vessel Dorada involved in joint fisheries research with Argentina. [1]


Falklands Oil and Gas Ltd commission major seismic survey of southern waters. [1]