Sunday, March 18, 2007

Las Malvinas son Argentinas

Over the next 3 months or so we're liable to hear quite a bit about the Malvinas. Tomorrow marks the 25th anniversary of the chain of events that came to be known as La Guerra de las Malvinas or the Falkland Islands War...even though no declaration of war was ever made.

The desolate little place (so desolate that it never even had any indigenous peoples) has an interesting history that involves the Dutch, French and even Yanquis in addition to Spain, Argentina and the UK.

It was discovered by the Dutch and the French built the first settlement, naming them Îles Malouines after St. Malo. Hence, the Spanish name Malvinas. A couple of years later the British built a fort on the islands without even knowing the French were there.

Spain eventually signed a treaty with France and Britain limiting its holdings in the New World... that included the Malvinas. Spain took over the French colony (they later reimbursed them) then they simply kicked the British out.

The Brits came back for while but ended up abandoning their colony. The British later signed another treaty renouncing all colonial ambitions in South America "and the islands adjacent" in exchange for an agreement on who was the boss of the west coast of North America.

Then the Spanish abandoned the islands, too. Like I said, the place is desolate.

About 15 years later the British invaded Buenos Aires twice in two years and were defeated both times. That made Argentines so cocky they declared independence from the mother country that never lifted a hand to help them with the invasions.

With independence, they got the Malvinas from Spain as a package deal.

The UK then signed a treaty recognizing Argentina's independence.

The newly minted Argentina sent a governor, built a prison, and started to farm and trade. A few years later, the settlers gave birth to some babies...the first people ever born on the islands.

Now come the yanquis. The Argentine governor of the islands had placed some pretty strict rules on the hunting of seals. Not long after, he caught a US merchant ship illegally hunting seals and seized it.

The US consul in Buenos Aires protested that his government didn't even recognize Argentina's ownership of the Malvinas.

The US sent a warship to get the ship back but the yanqui captain overstepped his orders and destroyed the entire Argentine settlement.

The UK then took advantage of the confusion and seized what was left of the islands without firing a shot. They later deported all the Argentines. That was 1833.

Argentina has never relinquished its claim to islands.


Anonymous said...

In the UK it was known as the "Falklands Conflict" and never as a war.

99 said...

Anonymous, please take a look at the number of Argentine casualties -mostly teenagers- , the power of the weapons involved, shipwrecks -like the wreckage of the General Belgrano by a nuclear powered submarine of the Royal Navy- , etc etc etc...

You can find detailed data at the Wikipedia under "Falklands War".

Then please, no offense but only then, tell me if you would still call it just a conflict.

Anonymous said...

99, 'war' isn't always defined by the number of casualties or firepower involved. Under some definitions, a war is declared and a conflict is undeclared.

But I hope we can all agree that the important thing is not the word used but the casualties - on both sides?

pfh said...

"war" / "conflict" both are meaning laden terms used to try to convince people of a particular spin on a point of view.

The reason I came to this post was that I was just in San Martin square looking at the public art display there and trying to find out whether the "Las Malvinas Son Argentinas" poster that forms part of the display was contemporary of the altercation (war/conflict - you choose) or is modern.

Either way, I came away from the piece thinking more about how the poor sods in the photographs were just the political pawns of their respective (not necessarily respectable) governments.

yanqui mike said...

I think that was the right way to come away, pfh.

I can't think of a country that actually honors the service of their veterans nor can I think of a time in history in which they were.

Careerists, yes. Dead, yes. Those are easy.

But I'm a veteran and I was proud to serve.

The Malvinas War is interesting for SO many reasons... but the most interesting is the most tragic: it apparently is the only war in which the number of suicides among veterans of either side has exceeded the battle deaths of either side.

You simply can't counsel a young man or woman to join the armed forces of any country. You can and should support their decision... but you cannot in good conscience advise them to do so.

Anonymous said...

Your History is at fault, the British invaded Buenas Aires in 1806 and 1807, and failed both times to hold the capital, and the Spanish abandoned the Islands in 1811, and the United Provinces of the River Plate (and area in what is northern Argentina today) declared Independence in 1816.
The uti possidetis juri can't apply to an Island Territory not in the possession of Spain, and is only possible in any event with peaceful transition of government, not armed declaration of independence.
Also the Nootka Convention of 1795 would still be in force in 1816, and under article 6 and the secret article of the convention, as soon as Argentina establishes a settlement of any kind on the Falklands, the NC is voided and the Islands return to British Sovereignty.
BTW the Falkland Islands were named by the British long before any settlement of the Islands by the French.
We didn't take advantage of any confusion, it takes a long time in the early 1830's to sail anywhere, and communications were slow back then, the British were already on their way long before the Argentines landed in 1832.
Also, only the Argentine Military Garrison, some prisoners of the Argentines, and two Argentine civilians were removed from the Islands, the rest of the population the majority not of British origin, decided to stay and make a go of it.
I suggest you get your facts right before trying to sound self-righteous on the matter.

Anonymous said...

Self-righteous Mr. Anonymous? I believe it only reiterates the point of the post, that the history is confusing. I do have a word thats suits you, Mr. "A", to the "T" and that is "arrogant".