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The Falkland Islands Conflict No one really knows who discovered the Falkland Islands Nearly every British historian will insist that the English explorer John Davis discovered the islands in 15921 while Argentineans typically credit Vespucci Magellan or Sebald de Weert 2 The events of January 2 1883 are not in dispute however On this date James Onslow captain of the HMS Clio dropped anchor just off the Falklands The next day he went ashore and raised the British flag 3 This action infuriated the Argentines who had taken control of the Falklands upon receiving independence from Spain in 1816 With his imperialistic seizure of the islands Onslow began a sequence of events that would end nearly 150 years later in war Shortly after the invasion the Argentine government set out four arguments in favour of their ownership of the Falklands 1Argentina ruled all land in the region formerly held by Spain 2Spain had purchased the islands from France 3Britain had abandoned its claim to the Falklands in a secret 1771 agreement 4Britain had abandoned its settlement in West Falkland in 17744 No matter how well formed these arguments may have been they fell on deaf ears in Britain Lord Palmerston the British Foreign Secretary simply asserted that the Falklands had been British since the initial claim of sovereignty in 1765 5 Although Argentina remained in a state of official protest few things changed over the next 132 years The issue was finally brought to the forefront in 1965 when the United Nations passed Resolution 2065 which called upon Britain and Argentina to come to an agreement on the issue with reasonable speed 6 With this resolution began what came to be called the Seventeen Year War between the two nations In March 1967 Britain agreed that it might be possible to cede sovereignty of the Falklands to Argentina as long as the islanders agreed 7 While
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