Who remembers the Falklands War?

falkland_oil.gifIn 1982, following years of civil unrest and economic crisis in Argentina, the Argentine military government invaded the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic in an effort to reclaim the territory from the British. This is known as the Falklands War. Nearly 900 people died in the conflict, mostly Argentines. At the time, few knew of the Falkland Islands, and fewer knew Argentina was capable of mounting an amphibious attack.

Now, 25 years later, the secret’s out. It was all about oil. Plans are underway to start drilling within the Falklands EEZ. “The area might hold 60 billion barrels of oil – equivalent to the North Sea’s estimated original reserves”, says PriceofOil.org.

The website reports:

“…preparations are under way in the South Atlantic to ensure that the islands can cope with sudden wealth” and “the successful extraction of oil could bring billions of pounds to the 3,000 islanders, in a cash bonanza similar to that enjoyed by Gulf states after the development of oil fields there.”

Just in case you were wondering if first world imperialism was alive and well…you can read this story, too from the Telegraph UK. Apparently from the British perspective, the real problem is how to cope with all this sudden wealth. Argentina continues to maintain their claim over the Falklands, as they have since the 19th century, and this is now embedded in the Argentine constitution since 1994.

Peter Etnoyer (406 Posts)

PhD candidate at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi and doctoral fellow Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.





31 comments on “Who remembers the Falklands War?
  1. I’m from Argentina, and we do remember about the war. I don’t think that the war was about oil at that time, I think that at that time was about strategic position (the Islands are near to the Straits of Magellan and from there you can control the passing from the atlantic to the pacific). And I also think that the United Kingdom wouldn’t allow another country to take over one of their (many) colonial posessions, because it can encourage others to do the same.
    But now that they know that there is oil there I don’t think that they where willing to leave for a long time…

  2. We do remember the war in a very active way!!!
    I manage a discussion forum since 1996:
    http://www.falklands-malvinas.com/forum
    The proposal there is “Peace and Development in the South Atlantic,” and we foster peaceful interactions between Falkland Islanders, argentines and british people.
    The vision is to have a respectful conversation where some shared projects for the future could develop, without war or the argentine pretense of “sovereignty.”
    The Islanders need to be recognized for what they are and left alone to be whatever they want to be.
    Thanks for the opportunity!

  3. The conflict in 1982 had nothing to do with oil – it had all to do with manipulation of the Argentine populace.

    The people were not happy with the military dictatorship and the generals, in an effort to ameliorate their lack of popularity, decided to invade the Falkland Islands.

    Argentina has been mistakenly claiming sovereignty over the archipelago since 1833 and this has become part of the country’s folklore. The invasion briefly attracted the support of almost the entire Argentine population – this quickly changed to rejection of the generals when it became clear that the conflict was badly conceived and managed and the British forces, after many losses on both sides, were able to repel the invasion. The conflict ended when the general commanding the Argentine forces signed a document of surrender.

    After the conflict democracy was restored to Argentina but clearly, from the most recent events in that country, democracy is difficult to achieve there.

    The resulting status quo has enabled the native islanders, supported by British military presence, to improve their standards of living and the territory enjoys a high standard of economic stability in spite of immature “sniping” from Argentina. The islanders wish to determine their own destiny and this may well include autodetermination sometime soon.

  4. I didn’t think ScienceBloggers were this susceptible to woo.

    “After 10 years of delays since oil was discovered off the Falkland islands, oil companies are planning to start drilling within the next 12 months.”

    Yes Peter, clearly Argentina and Britain went to war in 1982 to fight over oil fields that weren’t discovered until 1998.

  5. I apologize. The point about oil was used too loosely for the internet crowd. My point was that Britain staked a claim for resources long ago, including geostrategery and fisheries, and, now, oil. I am an in-law to Argentina and wanted people to remember the conflict. That’s all. Forgive me for speaking to lightly.

  6. Well, i dont think we went to war for oil. It was cleary a political war, the military junta wanted an extension of its power, the same happened with maggie tatcher. I hope you guys be more inteligent so as to not believe what ever Nora Femenia or david glaziars Can say, two antiargentines punks with the absolute idea that we argentines wants the islanders off the islands.

  7. The Falklands Conflict was never about oil. It was always about Argentine irredentism. It seems that Argentina has always considered itself incomplete in some way and is always seeking some mysterious solution to complete its identity, apparently stolen from them by all and sundry over the years. If it wasn’t the Falklands it would be something else.

    In the days of Roca the Patagonian Indians were the victims when Argentina colonised that area. Then there were disputes over land with Chile, (Patagonia, Picton etc) Uruguay, (Martin Garcia, Pulp Mills), Paraguay (Missiones) to mention one or two. Nowadays there is the attempt to grab the business of the pulp mills by trying to intimidate Uruguay and the continuing childish sanctions against the Falklands, not to forget that it now seems the ‘Mar Argentino’ extents to the whole of the South Atlantic and people fishing and prospecting in International and Falklands waters are expected to acknowledge Argentine sovereignty to avoid harassment and confiscation.

    One day Argentina may realise that its condition is nobody’s fault but its own and whacking other people is no cure for their ills.

    Perhaps Falkland Islanders may one day forgive Argentina for the Military Action against their country but I sincerely doubt they will ever forget the lessons they learned.

  8. May I just refute Dario’s description of me as one of “two antiargentines punks”?

    I am not anti-Argentine – I just believe that in the case of the Falkland Islands Argentina has behaved and is behaving in an unacceptable and undemocratic manner which is not worthy of the great nation it aspires to be.

    I am proud to count many Argentines as my close friends.

    PS And how Nora can be said to be “antiargentine” when she is from Argentina, I don’t know!

  9. My wife is from Argentina, and I can say that her family has no pride for the provocation of war in 1982, for what its worth. Its considered a rather scandalous affair, as are so many things from that era. Thank you Falklands-Malvinas forum for your efforts to promote peace and cooperation in this increasingly complicated situation.

  10. Hi there!!! in response to many questions i will respond first to david. David first of all we are not talking about how many friends you have, i saw you posted in the old falklands-malvinas forum many times telling your story of your argentines friend after throw lot of crap on my country. and about Nora, yes unfortunally she is Argentine but she as a mediator between argentines and british i would prefer any british with less enthusiasm, i mean if to resolve the conflict argentina depends on a british citicen the islands would be british and if it would depends on Nora femenia i think that not only the islands would be british, half of argentina. And in response to ernie you compare the islanders with patagonians indians???? so you put islanders as victims in the same levels as the patagonian indians????. Come on we are not talking of expell british islanders as you did with argentines islanders, they have their rights. And in response to Peter i have no pride either for the war of 1982.

  11. Dario,

    Argentina has declared Falkland Islanders to be implanted colonists in spite of them living there for many generations. With this attitude how can they ever expect to be given respect and equal treatment under any Argentine rule? My earliest ancestors were there in the 1840′s, long before most Argentine’s ancestors arrived in Argentina.

    There were never any Argentine Falkland Islanders, at best a few Argentines lived there for three years or less, which wouldn’t even qualify them for Falklands status these days. No Argentine residents were expelled only the recently arrived garrison. By the way the female residents (3) remained in the islands for the rest of their lives.

    See http://www.wildisland.gs/atlantis/gettingitright.pdf for what actually happened.

    Face up to the fact that there are never going to be any sovereignty negotiations. The Islanders are entitled to choose their own future status democratically at a time of their own choosing, not if and when your country gives them permission. This includes the development of their resources.

    If Argentina wanted to make genuine progress at least they would offer to establish normal relations with the Islands and talk directly to the legitimate Island Government (recognised by the UN) without always seeking to gain a political advantage with every move.

    If your country could just pack in the maudlin sentimental neo hispanic colonialist approach in wanting to restore the Vice Royalty of the River Plate (look out Uruguay, Paraguay etc.) maybe it would be seen through different eyes.

    In hope of equal status and the same choices you give yourself. What do you think??

  12. Hi Ernie, well we could discuse it for ever.Its always the same story, with the corrupted, colonialist and dictatorial Argentine empire, while england were freeing people.Im sure it’s what you learned in school on your country. im very sure many of you were fooled in the iraq’s war. Dont get me wrong i dont want to change the subject but the british were the pirates of past centuries, they expelled the original inhabitants of the islands and implanted their own, and i can asure you there is descendant of argentine citicens who lived in the islands with older generations than the actual inhabitants. Besides give me the link where you say the Un recognice the falklands as a separate nation.

  13. Hi Dario,

    I have no love of any colonialist empires, past or present, and the UK’s record in the Falklands was just as bad as anywhere else, believe me I lived there then and I am a fair age now. Please dont try and tell me that Spain was not the biggest Pirate of all, a country that existed on looted gold and didn’t even pretend to trade honestly.

    I repeat there was no expulsion of any Argentine ‘inhabitants’, the proof rests in the AGN with Pinedo’s report. Falkland’s archives also contain records of the lives of Antonina Roxa and the other women and children.

    Don’t be a victim of your own country’s propaganda, I’m not, I take the trouble to find out for myself and not listen to the rubbish spouted by both sides.

    Yes we just saw an Areguati trotted out at the UN the descendant of someone who paid a 13 week visit to the Falklands in 1824. Just how does this confer any rights to Argentina? She was hardly a descendant of a resident, plenty of sealers stayed there longer, or should I start looking for descendents of the residents of Port Egmont (preceding both Argentina and Spain!!) and make myself look as stupid as your country does my pulling such silly stunts.

    The UN recognises the UK as the administering power in the Falklands and it requires and receives regular reports from them on the constitutional progress and commercial development of the inhabitants as a non self-governing territory subject to de-colonisation, why would it do this for a country it did not recognise?

    The fact that Argentina has intervened with a claim merely means that there needs to be a peaceful solution to that claim not that the Falklands cannot as part of the solution have self-determination. The UN does not recognise that Argentina’s claim is valid or just, nor does it support its point of view; it merely recognises the need for a peaceful solution because it exists.

    The rights to the Falklands belongs to the people who live there and have what they have through their own blood, sweat and tears in spite of the colonialists British and Argentine. The dream mongers who want to steal their inheritance can go hang for my part.

    Give me the names of your ‘inheritors’ and I am sure I can demolish the ‘rights’ of each and every one with a few salient facts as I have with Areguati.

    Take care.

  14. Dario – the actions of the United Kingdom in other spheres should have nothing to do with the Falkland Islands. Indeed, as Ernie Spencer has pointed out its “performance” in regard to the Falklands archipelago leaves a lot to be desired.

    The problem with the Falkland Islands rests entirely with Argentina and its failure to accept that its posturing has no validity! It is sad that a country, Argentina, with its history cannot accept the truth concerning the discovery and subsequent events leading to the present situation that, with no doubt at all, indicates that Argentina has no valid claim to sovereignty.

    This sadness is especially poignant in view of the enormous British investment in Argentina during its post independence period which, in part, led the country to become one of the most prosperous and wealtiest countries in the world at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth.

  15. All,
    It is ridiculous to even mention the Falklands dispute was about oil. The historical reality of dispute, as already mentioned here, is all to do with Argentine myth making and blatant distortions of the truth. I wish to God that free thinking Argentines would look closely at the period beginning1930 (the year of the first Argentine military coup) up to, and including the events of 1982. Throughout this whole period the myth of the Malvinas was cemented into the national mind-set, probably ignoring the fact that during the same period Argentina has a succession of 24 Presidents. Of these only 13 were civilian, although not one not one civilian government survived without having its 6 year term interrupted by the armed forces. Again, during this same period the false concept that the

  16. It is certainly not difficult to point a finger at Argentina and criticize their history of leadership. From my perspective, its also not difficult to imagine that Britain new there was oil there in 1982, and that Galtieri’s military government got wind of it, and this influenced his decision to provoke the Falklands War. The fundamental question for me is whether the conflict will escalate since Falklands is only 300 miles offshore on the Patagonian Shelf, while South America undergoes a quiet consolidation under Chavez.

    It would seem very important that the open and transparent government of the Falklands described by John above finds a way to share their new found wealth with the poor and politically agitated country to the west, given their history of volatility.

  17. John, let me tell you, your post made me laugh so much that i can’t describe it, i mean i remember a discussion in the old forum of falklands-malvinas(when there was less argentine’s brain-washing) where you swear that iraq’s invations was not about oil, that it was for weapons of mass destructions, i hope you are still looking for them becouse your alqaeda member sadam husein is dead now.
    Anyway my opinion is that the malvinas war was a political move, first from our dictatorial president (supported politically and military from western powers to promote capitalism against comunism) to make argentines support that cruel regime. and secondly that war was used by baroness tatcher for the same purpose.
    Anyway John if everytime islanders are called implanted you get sick you should see a doctor or may be you are too delicate, i see you writing “jack booted general peron” or comparing Argentina with hitler or mussolini but i dont see you comparing the fu… tatcher or her friend pinochet with hitler or mussolini. i believe pinoched was a very good friend of your president i never saw a single british say something about that.
    So stop with the crap ok? in this present day, the uk is still eating iraq’s oil, the british islanders of malvinas are not recogniced as a nation bye the UN becouse the Un only acept that british are adminitering the islands and they are not perfect you know? they have their corruption, search in the google http://www.falklands.net/FalklandsCorruption.shtml
    my email if there is any doubt is dariomesina@hotmail.com

  18. Thanks Dario for putting me right. I was confused and feeling delicate when I wrote the above. You are the man! The Man!

    ps: How much do you charge for consultations?

  19. You are welcome Jhon, anytime you know, with no charge of course, i know you are sometimes a liitle stupid insulting my polititians but i underestand people had told me that you british were a little.. let’s say “delicate”, nothing personal you know what i mean.

  20. Dario is, of course, just showing how blameless Argentina is and how all the blame for the problem of the Falklands Islands must be placed at the door of Britain or Lady Thatcher, NOT our President but our elected Head of Government at the time, or even President Pinochet. Can someone please tell me exactly what role did Argentina play in the conflict?

    And referring to corruption, I would just point out that in the view of Transparency International, Argentina is one of the most corrupt nations in the world!

  21. Hello Peter,
    For many decades now, Argentina has been conducting a commercial war against the islands – they make no secret of taking advantage of the islanders relative isolation, whom they totally ignore anyway. Of course it

  22. Hi John, well there is a dispute after all uh? well may be the uk should admit there is a dispute over those islands and sit in the negotiation table dont you think?. If they dont do it? well we will always be a pin in the ass. OF course im not validating all the propaganda you had wrote John, its true that Argentina prohibit companies to make deals with the islands and with argentina at the same time, and its true that Argentina is making all diplomatics moves with the end of compromise the uk to the negotiation but its all legal mechanism for diplomacy.
    Anyway John i dont see where you wanna go with that propaganda or perhaps David here “and all his friends” could explain me why corruption makes that anything i had say is not true?.
    John the fact is that while you are painting, people is dying on Iraq or Afghanistan, what did they do to you???(you = uk),you armed them, you trained them, you sold them weapons, and now you invaded them and of course stolen their natural resources. we havem done that yet.
    But i guess they are the axis of evil, hahaha, what a name, good for a movie. I think george bush is as drunk as galtieri was or lady tatcher, dont you agree John?.
    well i think you will not respond any of my questions but i still wonder if you think there are weapons of mass destructions on iraq? truly becouse at first you say they have them, when they invaded you said they were transported in trucks to jordania and now? they are just another brick in the wall?.

  23. Dario – you clearly don’t really have a grasp on reality! What do Iraq or Afghanistan have to do with the Falkland Islands?

    By all means, tell us what you think about the British attitude towards Argentina viz a viz the Falkland Islands! Other matters have no meaning.

    Why doesn’t Argentina take its case to the International Court of Justice? This would give Argentina a neutral audience for its folkloric claims to sovereignty of the archipelago – it would also give the United Kingdom the opportunity to present its reasons for rejecting Argentina’s pretences.

    Unlike the Argentine justice system, the ICJ has never been accused of bias or corruption!

  24. David, i know you are just a poor idiot with nothing else to do, but please people, look out your own nations that as proud as you might be you are not living in paradise you know?, So stop criticize my country.

  25. Argentina has no interest in negotiation and has made that very clear. She even changed her Constitution to make actual negotiation impossible. She is only interested in total annexation of the Falklands.

    The UK can not negotiate with Argentina as she does not have any policy, any option, any thought other than total annexation.

    You can not negotiate with someone who has decided what the outcome of the negotiation MUST be. When Argentina says she is interested in negotiation she is a LIAR and that is a fact.

  26. Rudy,
    You’ve got it in a nutshell. I just hope that the good people of Argentina will wake up and rid themselves totally of Peronist politics – get it out of their national system, together with the lies and corruption that goes with it.

  27. John and Rudy – be careful when you speak ill of Argentina! Dario will judge you to be idiots like David!

  28. I see we have all reached the usual level of peace and understanding in my absence this week. Situation normal then, very comforting to know that nothing changes.

    To summarise then. I would think that Peter could be forgiven for thinking that the conflict was about oil in 1982. It wasn’t actually but the circumstances could easily be misinterpreted that way.

    Argentina is now certainly making the claim about resouces these days, you only have to read the Argentine press to realise that.

    Rudy has hit the nail on the head completely. Argentina is not up for any negotiation at all. Their absolute position is now enshrined in their constitution. The Kirchners have set aside the Joint Hydrocarbons agreement which would have permitted joint exploration in favour of winner takes all. So its all or nothing for Argentina then, so whats new? Realism never mattered much.

    Falkland Islanders therefore have no option but to go it alone as always and make the best of the situation they find themselves in.

    Dario will be Dario as always predictable and amusing keeping us entertained with the party line.

    John there is only the Peronist party in Argetina

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