The Falklands

27 Jun

I recently attended a presentation about the Falkland Islands. I found it useful and felt a blog might be helpful to others.
The islands remain in the public consciousness because of the ongoing sovereignty dispute between Britain and Argentina that continues despite the fact that the islanders (and the British), considered the situation settled after the 1982 conflict between the two countries.
The presence of oil in commercial quantities has recently reawakened Argentine’s interest in the Falklands Dependency. There is oil to the North East of the island and in the South. Argentina threatens to prosecute companies that drill for oil around the archipelago. Their government states that it may be forced to take defensive action to protect its natural resources, (which are within the internationally recognised off- shore sea limits of the Falklands Dependency)
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, accuses the Argentines of bullying. He states that the Falkland Islanders have a perfect right to develop their own economic resources..
The island remains well defended and in a state of alert, a situation well appreciated by the islanders: low flying jets represent the ‘sound of freedom’. The islanders themselves (about 3000) do not control defence priorities, but otherwise the island is self-.governed to a large extent. A cradle-to-grave welfare system, hospital, airport, docks, freezer plants, and roads are fully established.
The prosperity of the island relates to commercial fishing (particularly squid, two local species are particularly popular with consumers), sheep (about 50.000) and tourism which is the second largest part of the economy; the war brought the Islands new found fame and tourists (about 60,000 visitors) travel to see the islands’ wildlife and to go on tours of the war memorial sites.
The Falkland Island history goes back for hundreds of years. The islands have been claimed by France Britain Spain and Argentina at various times. The British settled in the islands in 1833, Argentina invaded on 2 April 1982. Britain responded with an expeditionary force that caused the Argentines to surrender. Argentina argues that the Brutish abandoned the islands in the late 1700s, never occupied the site of the capital, Port Stanley and maintain their claim as heirs of the Spanish empire. The British claim that the expeditionary force of 1982 was to protect the islanders, who wished to remain British and to continue to defend them against any Argentine assault.
The Falklands are not the only far flung unexpected British dependency-the Channel Islands, a few miles off the French Coast, are British, a remnant of William the Conqueror’s Duchy of Normandy. The Spanish eye Gibraltar. It is the Falklands’ huge market potential that makes it unique.
I feel certain that the views of the islanders will have not changed. Their destiny is in their own hands as it had been since 1982.
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