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INTRODUCTION The Argentine flag was first raised in the Falkland Islands on 6 November 1820 by the new Government of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, as part of its effort to establish its right to the former possessions of Spain. On 3 January 1833 theflagwas lowered by the crew of a British warship and replaced by the Britishflag.It was not raised again for another 149 years when Argentine forces occupied the Islands on 2 April 1982. British forces lowered it again on 14 June ofthat year. When General Mario Benjamin Menendez arrived at Stanley on 7 April, following a few days after the occupying forces, he was to become the third Argentine Governor of the Islas Malvinas. The first such Governor had taken slightly longer to be appointed. A Frenchman , Louis Vernet, who had played a leading role in the attempt to establish a settlement on the Islands, did not take up his post until 1829. His period in office was almost as eventful as that of Menendez, for he also lost his position during the course of a major international crisis. This time the protagonist was the United States. Vernet sought to enforce Argentinefishingregulations by seizing three American ships which were claimed by the US Government to be engaged in lawful trade. The American Consul in Buenos Aires protested and threatened reprisals, supporting this protest with a warship USS Lexington, which happened to be in the River Plate at the time. At the initiative of its captain, Silas Duncan, the USS Lexington sailed to the Islands, XXM Introduction landed, destroyed all military installations, razed the buildings, seized sealskins, put most inhabitants under arrest and then left, declaring the Islands free of all government. As a result relations between Argentina and the USA were broken. On io September 1832 Buenos Aires appointed a new interim military and political commander to the Malvinas and dispatched a gunboat, the ARA Sarandi, to repair the damage and reinstate law and order in the colony. The second Governor landed, but two months later, as the gunboat was cruising away from the Islands, the garrison revolted and killed him. The Sarandi returned and attempted to rout the mutineers. As it was doing so the British sloop HMS Clio appeared in Puerto Soledad. Britain had established a fort at Port Eggmont, West Falkland , the previous century. It had almost gone to war with Spain after the latter had expelled British setders in 1770. When Spain apologized the British returned in 1771, although there was a presence only for a few years. Sovereignty was still claimed and so Britain had protested not long after Vernet had been given his formal status. Now the Clio had been sent by the Admiralty to reassert British sovereignty in the Islands, taking advantage of the dislocation created by the Lexington incident. Captain Onslow of the Clio informed Captain Pinedo of the Sarandi that the British flag would replace that of Argentina the next day, 3 January 1833. Pinedo protested but in the face of superior force he did not resist. No shots were fired and two days later the Sarandi left the Islands, taking with it the Argentine soldiers, convicts from the penal colony at San Carlos and some, but not all, ofthe Argentine setders. The Islands were formally established as a Crown Colony in 1840, and thefirstBritish Governor, Lieutenant Richard Moody, sailed from the United Kingdom in 1841. Thereafter, a small agricultural community was developed, and Britain remained in effective occupation until 2 April 1982. The inclement and inhospitable Islands themselves never became a jewel in the British imperial crown. The population in the 1980 census was 1,849 an d slowly declining. The local economy was also in decline. In 1982 it was dependent on the export of wool, and was dominated by the Falkland Islands Company (FIC). xxxii Introduction Thus was established what was to become a permanent British presence on the Islands and the basis for an assertion of sovereignty. In the process a sense of grievance was created in the then fledgling Argentine state that thereafter became part of the national consciousness . Part of this consciousness, in 1982, was that this seizure of Argentine territory had taken place 149 years earlier. When questions of nationhood are at stake, notable anniversaries can gain a symbolic significance that they might not otherwise warrant. At the start of 1982 the Argentine Government had made the recovery of the Malvinas, by the magic month ofJanuary...


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