Part One Of Two
The Falkland Islands had been the subject of a sovereignty dispute almost since they were first settled in 1764, between the United Kingdom on one side, and successively France, Spain and United Provinces of the River Plate (later Argentina) on the other. A settlement was successfully established on the islands in 1828 by Luis Vernet (though there had been British, French and Spanish settlements before then). Vernet had acquired permission for his venture from both from the Government of the United Provinces and the British Consulate. Vernet provided regular reports to the British and had requested British protection for his settlement should the British return. Britain made diplomatic protests when Vernet was appointed as Governor by the United Provinces and both Britain and the United States made diplomatic protests over the attempt to curtail rights to sealing on the islands. After Vernet seized US ships sealing in the islands and confiscated their catch, the United States sent a warship to the islands, resulting in the destruction of Puerto Soledad and the voluntary repatriation of many of the settlers. Subsequently, the United Provinces tried to re-establish the settlement at Puerto Soledad as a penal colony but a mutiny resulted in the murder of one Governor. Shortly after that mutiny had been quelled, in January 1833, a British naval task force arrived charged with the re-establishment of British rule on the islands. The British requested that the Argentine administration leave the islands, who complied with that request without a shot being fired. Contrary to popular belief the settlers on the island were not expelled at the same time but were encouraged to continue by the British. The islands remained continuously in British possession from then until 1982.