Another anniversary. Another claim to the Falklands.

2 Jan

President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is today urging the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, to hand over the Falkland Islands and “put and end to colonialism” in a letter to be published on the 180th anniversary of the day that Argentina alleges the UK seized the archipelago in 1833. ck1
Repeating Argentina’s distorted view of the historical events of the early 1830’s, President Kirchner claims that her country had been; “… forcibly stripped of the Falkland Islands, in a blatant exercise of 19th century colonialism. The Argentines on the islands were expelled by the Royal Navy and the UK subsequently began a population implantation process similar to that applied to other territories under colonial rule.” 
In her letter to the Prime Minister,  Kirchner also urges the UK to abide by a Resolution adopted by the United Nations in 1965, calling for Argentina and the UK to negotiate a solution to the sovereign dispute.
The Falkland Islands were first claimed by Britain in 1765. Argentina claims that it inherited the archipelago from Spain in 1810 although the Spanish colony did not rebel against the rule of Spain’s King, Ferdinand VII, until 1816.

A small settlement was founded on East Falkland in 1826 by a German, Luis Vernet, who had arrived from Buenos Aires. Vernet had British permission to trade on the islands under the Treaty of 1825 and is known to have flown the Union Jack in 1828.

In 1829, the Government in Buenos Aires asserted a claim to the Falklands which was protested by the British Government in a diplomatic note. The garrison sent by Argentina in 1832 to seize the Falklands, was ejected on January 3rd, 1833 by a small, outnumbered, force from the Royal Navy.

In 1965 a United Nations General Assembly Resolution asked Argentina and the UK to negotiate to find a way through the issue in compliance with the UN Charter which preserves a right of self-determination for the peoples of the old colonies. The Argentine invasion of 1982 killed off that Resolution.

Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the UN recently confirmed that Britain is not in breach of any relevant UN Resolutions on the Falkland Islands.


11 Responses to “Another anniversary. Another claim to the Falklands.”

  1. Anomalous January 3, 2013 at 1:17 am #

    Not forgetting that when Spain finally left the Falklands in 1811, they broke the agreement they made with France to maintain the colony to prevent the British gaining full title to sovereignty.

    The French were more than annoyed that the Spanish insisted under the Bourbon compact to the transfer of title. The French settlement under Louis Antoine de Bougainville was thriving. Ships full of seal skins and whale oil were being sent back to France. So it was only under protest that France lost this outpost.

    The French knew that the British were on the Islands, but they didn’t know where. They only discovered the location of the British base after the transfer to Spain had been agreed. Funnily enough it was through the British that de Bouganville learned of the Islands in the first place and the intention to colonise them. The British prevaricated over the colonisation, because it was thought it would upset the Spanish, the recent losers in yet another war.

    de Bougainville mustered some ships and sufficient supplies, together with colonists (refugees) from Arcadia, French Quebec which had been ceded to Britain in the war.
    Obviously, the French were acutely aware that the Falklands would be a strategic asset to control trade around Cape Horn. So they needed to ensure that this asset never fell into British hands. As a condition of the transfer, Spain promised never to leave the Islands.

    Technically speaking, when Spain left the Islands in 1811, the title reverted back to France, but as Napoleon was rather busy invading Russia at the time, he wasn’t interested in a remote archipelago off the coast of South America.

    British and American ships continued to visit the Falklands to hunt seals and whales, but no permanent establishment was made. Even when Louis Vernet founded his colony, he first obtained permission from the British. He was allowed to do so, for the purposes of farming & trade, so long as he made regular reports on the Islands to the British, which he did. Proof before he was made ‘Governor’ by the United Provinces that Vernet accepted the Islands were British.

    In Vernet’s correspondence with the British Government during his long stay in Europe, he again emphasised his preference for British sovereignty, as he had in the in a letter of 5 May 1856 he wrote to Lord Harrowby (Lord Privy Seal 1855-1858):

    … the wish, to get my Colony under the British Flag, was in accordance with my own interests and those of my colonists, which required such change of flag; because situated as we were on the Highway of Nations, we could not expect permanent prosperity, unless placed under the sovereignty of a Government capable of protecting us against filibustering or other aggressions. As to the grants of Land, wild cattle, and privileges, these were originally obtained not with the view to establish any claim to the Islands on the part of Buenos Ayres, but merely to secure the best protection I could for my new colony, from the Authorities for the time being, regardless who they might be.

    It was largely thanks to Louis Vernet that Argentina acquired a basis for a claim to the Falklands, but his often-expressed preference for British sovereignty makes him a poor proponent of the Argentine case.

    • CLopez January 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm #

      What a load of bollocks. First of all, you never talk about Jorge Pacheco, the man who originally got the permission from Buenos Aires to establish a business on the islands in 1823. Vernet was only his associate back then.

      Second, Anomalous, you’re transcribing a letter from 1856 (!). Back in 1820s, Argentine independence was a holiday in the islands, as the diary of María Saez de Vernet show us. Also, if you read the report submitted by Vernet to the US in 1832, after the Lexington’s attack, you’ll see a very different picture. And after all, he is buried in Argentina, not in England.

      “Technically speaking, when Spain left the Islands in 1811, the title reverted back to France” –> legal basis for this claim? It doesn’t fit within the commonly accepted ways of acquiring land. Sounds more like a rather desperate attempt of excuse from your part… at least you’re getting creative.

      • Anomalous January 3, 2013 at 1:48 pm #

        More lies from Argentina. Pacheco may have been given permission to establish a business, but the venture did not reach the Falklands until 1824 (not 1823 as the Argentine governmentclaims). Even then within 2 weeks the people that went to the Islands were desperate to leave them. Within 6 months, all of them had gone.

        The letter from 1856 only re-iterates Vernet’s wishes. Vernet knew full well that Britain claimed sovereignty of the Islands. He also knew that they were the preeminent naval power in the world. If he invaded British territory without permission, he knew that his colony would be evicted. He did not want to spoil his business venture, so he sought permission from the British Counsel Parrish.

        There is a more important reason why Vernet believed that the Islands were British. The United Provinces had changed leadership. The people who granted the rights to Pacheco were out of office and the new dictator General Rosas, expressed interest in the business purportedly to seize control of it and plunder its wealth. Vernet was well aware that if he made a success of the business (and he was almost assured of this given the resources) then he did not want all his gains, his wealth, seized and stolen from him by Rosas. So he sought the protection of the British through Parrish.

        Vernet knew that Rosas would not risk a war with Britain and would be extremely reluctant to take any action which provoked the British to re-establish their settlement on the islands.

        However, Vernet was a greedy man and he could see British and American whalers taking vast quantities of seals and whales which Vernet considered his property. Vernet knew that an attack on the British ships would be an act of war and Britain would withdraw permission for him to be on the Islands. So he attacked the American ships instead and that provoked the Lexington incident.

        As for the clause about maintaining a colony, I refer you to the work of Roberto C Laver. In his book on the subject, he stated:

        “France finally agreed, in mid 1765, to transfer the colony to Spain. As part of the final settlement, to be worked out with Bougainville, Spain would reimburse all expenses incurred by the French in making the settlement. France further insisted that Spain maintain the colony in Port Louis and thus prevent the British from claiming title to the islands. Spain agreed and instructed the governor of Buenos Aires to proceed at once in the establishment of a colony in the islands. Spain also agreed to allow French ships en route to China and the East Indies to use the islands as a stopover station. ”

        This agrement (not the same as the Bougainville agreement) is in the French and Spanish diplomatic archives. It was a diplomatic clause agreed by the governments. The French were extremely reluctant to give up such a strategic colony and base for ships travelling to the Pacific. They needed to ensure that the British did not get full title to the islands. The French knew that the British were in the Islands, but not exactly where. The French knew that they arrived first. The irony is that Bougainville first heard of the islands from the British.

        The British first made plans to occupy the Islands in 1749 under Admiral Anson. The Spanish ambassador heard about this and protested. As a treaty with Spain was being prepared in 1750, the project was shelved, but when it became known that France was intending to occupy the Islands (based on knowledge they obtained from the British) the British re-awakened their plans and set off for the islands in 1764, arriving in 1765.

      • lordton1955 January 3, 2013 at 2:01 pm #

        The attempt in 1824 failed !

        Vernet’s ‘Report’ was in answer to the allegations made by the USA and can be found here – Vernet is not always honest.

        Bougainville certainly felt that France’s claim was better. He wrote to Napolean about it. Not that it matters very much – after all there was no inheritance, and Spain maintained its own claim until 1863.

      • CLopez January 3, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

        Anamalous: eighteen hundred and twenty-nine. That’s the year in which the British finally remembered that 60 years ago they had a shameful skirmish with Spain.

        In the meanwhile, you have the granting of fishing permissions in 1813, Jewett in 1820, Pacheco and Vernet in 1823/24, Vernet in 1826, etc.

        British lies.

      • lordton1955 January 3, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

        And of course we have the Royal Navy survey, and the whaling industry, etc, etc.

        Talking of Jewett. There was no Decree praising his voyage. What there was, was an inquiry into the mutiny on board the Heroina and a final confirmation that exonerated Jewett from blame and approved the discipline measures that he’d taken. No mention of the Falklands at all.

        Something to consider. In the 1820’s everybody, who was anybody, was an avid reader. So therefore, although Jewett’s final report made no mention of his claim, the news report from Salem would have been noted. Jewett was still in BA so it would follow that he would be asked about it, and why he had failed to mention it in his report. Still there was no official acknowledgment or reaction. Why? The obvious answer is that Jewett had received no orders to make the claim, and the authority in BA knew that there were already 2 claimants. Vernet, in his report, passes it off as BA not being in a position to do anything about the claim. That is also true.

        One more thing about Jewett. There is a report, that before Silas Duncan left Rio in the Lexington, he was briefed by Jewett. Once again, it is hard to see the Lexington taking the action it did, if Jewett had told Duncan of his claim.

        Points to ponder.

      • CLopez January 3, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

        Lordton: nice work transcribing all that, honestly.

      • lordton1955 January 3, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

        Thank you – took me a while!

  2. Clematys January 3, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    Cristina is keeping up the good work in the name of the Argentine people. The British empire is going all the way down to the very gutter it originated from, and its clerks are busier than ever.

    • Stan Smith January 7, 2013 at 7:02 pm #

      Yeah right. There is no British Empire so how can it go anywhere? A silly comment full of wishful thinking.

  3. 7rin January 5, 2013 at 12:03 am #

    Reblogged this on The Re-blog Blog.

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