Home button The Falklands Conflict - Chronology of Events

Please note that this chronology should not be considered as proof of anything. For a much more thorough timeline please visit this page on the Falkland Islands Info Portal (not that I'm suggesting that page should be considered proof of anything either).

Early History
1592 The Argentine version of the Islands' history states that "Spanish seamen" were the first to sight the island but without giving further details (names, dates etc.). Some claims say that Ferdinand Magellan was the first to see the islands on his voyage around the world but this is false since Magellan's route is clearly documented in historical charts to go along the South American east coast, close to the shore, until he hit the Magellan straits, rather than over 1000km out into the Atlantic. A further claim is based on one of Magellan's ships having deserting the expedition to return to Spain. While it is true that there was such a ship, there are no original documents claiming the actual sighting of the islands, except for much later speculations.
1690 Captain John Strong, whilst sailing for Chile, becomes first Englander to chart the Islands; Falkland Sound (and hence Islands) named after then First Lord of the Admiralty.
1713 Intense trade rivalry between Spain, Britain and France leads to Treaty of Utrecht; confirms Spain's control of South American territories, including the Islands.
1764 Antoine de Bougainville claims Islands in the name of Louis XV for France. Small settlement called Port Louis built on East Falkland.
1765 British Admiralty sends Commodore John Byron; arrives on West Falkland, unaware of the presence of the French, names a spot Port Egmont, raises the Union Flag, plants a small vegetable patch and leaves.
1766 Captain John McBride sent to consolidate Byron's landing and eject all other settlers. French colony now numbers 250.
1767 Spanish angered by British and French actions; French colony ceded to Spanish; governor Don Felipe Ruiz Puente installed.
1769 Buenos Aires captain general Francisco Bucarelli instructed by Madrid to drive any British from the Islands; 5 ships and 1400 men sent. Later British allowed to return to Port Egmont, but right of sovereignty retained by Spain.
1790 Spain and Britain sign Nootka Sound Convention in which Britain formally renounces "all colonial ambition" in S.America and adjacent islands. Spain continues to occupy Islands for next 40 years until collapse of New World empire.
1810 First moves of Argentinian independence from Spain; first Argentinian governor appointed in 1823.
c.1829 Argentinians arrest American ship 'Harriet' for illegal sealing. Ship sails to Buenos Aires. Encouraged by British, American consul refuses to accept Argentinian authority over Islands and dispatches warship USS Lexington to restore confiscated skins. Captain of Lexington, Silas Duncan, sacks Puerto Soledad, destroys Argentine guns and arrests inhabitants; declares Islands 'free of all governments' and leaves.
2/1/1833 UK claims Islands: warships Tyne and Clio under command of Capt. James Onslow. British take six months to round up rebels and convicts left on Islands by Argentina, who refused to accept British rule; one Antonio Rivero since cast as Argentine heroic guerilla.
Twentieth Century
1965 A UN General Assembly resolution calls for talks about the future of the Islands.
1966 Raid by Armed Peronist commandos who capture Port Stanley, only to later surrender.
Sept. 1967 Labour Foreign Secretary, George Brown, starts talks with Argentina and states that Britain are prepared to surrender sovereignty if the Islanders' rights and way of life can be guaranteed.
early 1968 Conservative MPs begin campaign to 'keep the Islands British'.
July 1968 UK, under the Harold Wilson government, began secret negotiations to hand sovereignty of the islands to Argentina, but backed out at the last minute.
Nov. 1968 Lord Chalfont fails to convince Islanders of benefits of agreement with Argentina.
Dec. 1968 Sir Alec Douglas Hulme, foreign affairs spokesman, promises that a returned Conservative government would 'stike Sovereignty from the agenda' of negotiations.
1970 Edward Heath's new government does exactly that.
1971 Argentina temporarily shelves question of sovereignty whilst they try to persuade Islands of negotiated settlement.
1973 Peronist government returns in Argentina and renews claim of sovereignty at UN.
late 1973 Islands governer is refused the defence of an RN Frigate.
1977 Group of Argentinian sailors landed on Morrell, South Sandwich Islands for 'scientific research'.
New Labour government under James Callaghan launches new talks with soverignty again under discussion.
Autumn 1977 Argentine naval manouvers alarm British. Callaghan responds with two frigates and an SSN; Argentine activities subside.
Nov. 1980 First suggestion of a 'lease back' arrangement, by Thatcher's Secretary of State Nicholas Ridley, to Islanders fails.
Events leading up to The Conflict
30/6/81 UK Government confirms its decision to withdraw HMS Endurance as part of their defence review. British Antarctic survey announces budget cuts will force closure of the Grytviken base on South Georgia.
8/12/81 General Leopoldo Galtieri takes the office of President of Argentina in a coup. Planning begins for the retaking of Las Malvinas.
9/1/82 British Embassy in Buenos Aires lodges formal protest against the visit of Constantino Davidoff to the Falklands dependancy of South Georgia.
12/1/82 Argentinian Joint Armed Forces committee begins planning for military invasion of the islands.
24/1/82 Consideration of Junta's plans to recapture islands first revealed in a series of articles in La Prensa newspaper.
9/2/82 Prime Minister Thatcher confirms retirement of HMS Endurance
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Richard Luce and Enrique Ros meet at the UN Building in New York.
1/3/82 Argentina issues total rejection of the outcome of the US talks.
3/3/82 PM Thatcher urges preparation of contingency plans in case of increased Argentine hostility towards islands.
5/3/82 UK Foreign Minister Lord Carrington rejects sending of SSN to patrol off the islands.
19/3/82 Davidoff's party of scrap metal workers lands on South Georgia: Britain issues formal protest
20/3/82 Admiral Anaya orders advance in invasion plans.
22/3/82 HMS Endurance ordered to remove scrap workers from South Georgia, but those orders are later rescinded.
25/3/82 Situation on South Georgia escalates with the arrival of armed personnel in military uniform from Argentine ship Bahia Paraiso.
26/3/82 The Junta decides on military action. The British Ministry of Defence advises against a military response and reminds Lord Carrington of withdrawal of HMS Endurance.
28/3/82 Argentine invasion fleet sets sail.
29/3/82 British PM and Foreign Minister agree to send SSN.
31/3/82 British intelligence learns of Argentine intentions to invade.
1/4/82 US President Reagan fails to persuade President Galtieri to abort the landings.
2/4/82 Invasion goes ahead - governor Rex Hunt surrenders after brief defence by overwhelmed detachment of Royal Marines.
3/4/82 PM Thatcher announces the despatch of the Task Force. UN approves Resolution 502.
5/4/82 Task force sets sail from Portsmouth. Gen.Al Haig, the US Secretary of State, begins marathon mediation effort; Lord Carrington resigns.
7/4/82 Britain declares 200 mile exclusion zone around Islands.
8/4/82 American Secretary of State Alexander Haig arrives in London.
10/4/82 Al Haig goes to Buenos Aires to begin talks with the Junta. The EEC, except Italy and Ireland, back trade sanctions against Argentina in protest of the invastion.
12/4/82 Britain declares a 200-mile exclusion zone around the islands. Al Haig back in London.
16/4/82 Al Haig makes final trip to Buenos Aires but talks end without an acceptable conclusion after 3 days. Peruvian initiative follows after.
17/4/82 Council-of-war planning session held at Ascension islands by Admiral Sir John Fieldhouse, C-in-C of the British Task Force.
20/4/82 British Government War Cabinet orders repossession of Falklands.
25/4/82 South Georgia recaptured, release by HM Government 'by Marines' after failed landing by SAS on the Fortuna Glacier. Surrender signed on HMS Plymouth. Follow this link for the true story.
28/4/82 200-mile exclusion zone announced surrounding Falkland Islands.
30/4/82 Task force arrives in exclusion zone. USA declares support for Britain.
1/5/82 First day of military action. Argentine Mirages attack Task Force. Ships and Harrier a/c attack Port Stanley Airport. Argentine Navy begins pincer movement against Task Force, but Argentine Cruiser General Belgrano is shadowed by British SSN HMS Conqueror.
2/5/82 General Belgrano is sunk by HMS Conqueror without knowledge of cancellation of Argentine pincer attack. Peruvian President renews the peace initiative; new British Foreign Secretary Francis Pym holds talks with General Haig in Washington.
4/5/82 British DDG HMS Sheffield hit by air-launched Exocet missile.
5/5/82 Peru drafts peace plan.
7/5/82 UN enters peace negotiations.
12/5/82 British cruise ship QE2 sets sail as troop transport.
19/5/82 UN peace initiative founders.
20/5/82 UN General Secretary announces collapse of peace effort.
21/5/82 British start landing troops in San Carlos water.
25/5/82 British container ship, carrying vital transport helicopters for land offensive, hit and sunk by air-launched Exocet.
27/5/82 British 2nd Parachute Regiment attacks Argentine garrison at Goose Green.
30/5/82 British 3rd Commando Brigade advances to within 25 miles of Port Stanley.
1/6/82 5 Brigade reinforcements arrive at San Carlos Water.
3/6/82 2 Para advance on and capture Fitzroy and Bluff Cove.
4/6/82 Britain vetoes ceasefire resolution tabled by Panama and Spain at the UN.
8/6/82 RFAs Sir Galahad and Sir Tristram bombed by A-4 Skyhawks at Fitzroy.
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British forces take Mount Longdon, Two Sisters and Mount Harriet.
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British take Mount Tumbledown and Wireless Ridge.
HMS Glamorgan becomes last ship to be bombed.
14/6/82 Argentine forces surrender to Major-General Jeremy Moore.
20/6/82 Britain re-takes South Sandwich Islands.
25/6/82 Govenor Rex Hunt returns to retake his role as Commissioner of the Falklands at Stanley.

Dates are in DD/MM/YY format.

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