The World at War



1502Italian navigator in service to Portugal Amerigo Vespucci may have sighted the Falklands during his third voyage to America.
1503 - 1504 French slave trader Binot Palmiere de Gonneville may have sighted the Falklands during a voyage from West Africa to South America.
1520Esteban Gomez, pilot of the galleon San Antonio, may have sighted the Falklands during the Magellan expedition’s circumnavigation of the world. Spain later asserts that Gomez discovered the islands known to them as the Islas Malvinas.
1530s The Falklands appear on Spanish charts of the era under the name Sanson Islands.
1534Spanish navigator Simon de Alcazaba may have sighted the Falklands during a failed attempt to reach Peru via the Straits of Magellan.
1540A ship from Francisco de Camargo’s Spanish expedition winters in islands that may have been the Falklands.
1592August English navigator John Davis of the Desire makes the first confirmed sighting of the Falkland Islands.
1594English navigator Sir Richard Hawkins of the Dainty maps the northern coastline and names the Falklands Hawkins’ Maydenlande after himself and Queen Elizabeth I.
1598Dutch navigator Sebald van Weerdt discovers the Jason Islands which he names the Sebaldines.
1684English explorers William Dampier, John Cook and Ambrose Cowley of the Bachelor's Delight sighs the Falkland Islands.
1690Captain John Strong of HMS Welfare sails through the channel between East and West Falkland which names Falklands Sound in honor of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Viscount Falkland. Strong lands at Bold Cove on East Falkland where he discovers the warrah aka the Falkland Islands fox or Antarctic wolf.
1696English explorer William Dampier returns to the Falklands and circumnavigates the islands.
1701French explorer Jacques Gouin de Beauchesne of Saint Malo discovers Bauchene Island.
1708English privateer Woode Rogers explores the Falkland Islands.
1740Captain George Anson, later Admiral and First Lord of the Admiralty, visits the Falklands and recommends their use as a base for British exploration of the Pacific.
1761Lord Anson takes possession of the Falklands in the name of the British Crown by right of first discovery and in doing so nearly provokes war with Spain.
1763French explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville departs Saint Malo for the Malouines.
1764Louis Antoine de Bougainville claims the Malouines (Falklands) for King Louis XV of France and establishes the colony of Saint Louis on Berkeley Sound, East Falkland.
1765Commodore John Byron of HMS Tamar is sent to survey the Falkland Islands. Byron lands on Saunders Island in West Falkland. Byron leaves a small party of settlers at a spot he names Port Egmont in honor of the First Lord of the Admiralty, Lord Egmont.
1766January Captain John McBride of HMS Jason establishes a naval garrison on Saunders Island called Fort George.
December Captain John McBride discovers the French settlement at Saint Louis.
During the Year The French settlers at Saint Louis are withdrawn under pressure from Spain.
1767Saint Louis is ceded to Spain upon payment of £25,000 compensation to Antoine de Bougainville and renamed Puerto Soledad.
Don Felipe Ruiz Puente is appointed Governor of the Islas Malvinas by Spain.
1769English and Spanish ships meet while surveying the Falklands and exchange letters each accusing the other of being in the islands unlawfully.
1770General Madariaga reaches the Falklands with a fleet of 5 ships and 1,400 man force. The Royal Navy’s HMS Favourite surrenders and the British settlers withdraw from Port Egmont.
1771January 22 Spain signs a convention yielding the Falklands to Great Britain in order to avert war and agrees make restitution for confiscated goods to the British who re-occupy Port Egmont.
1776Governor Samuel Clayton and the British naval garrison withdraw from Port Egmont leaving behind a plaque claiming British sovereignty over the islands. Spain claims the withdrawal is fulfillment of a secret agreement to cede the islands and grants jurisdiction over the Malvinas to the newly established Viceroyalty of Buenos Aires.
The Spanish return to the islands and build houses and fortifications.
1789The coronation of King Charles IV is celebrated by the Spanish settlers at Puerto Soledad with a bullfight.
1790Spain and Britain sign the Nootka Sound Convention. Great Britain renounces all colonial ambition in South America but continues to claim the Falklands despite a lack of official presence among the sealers and whalers working in the islands.
1806Governor Juan Crisostomo Martinez withdraws from Puerto Soledad leaving behind a plaque claiming Spanish sovereignty over the Islas Malvinas.
1807The Spanish settlers at Puerto Soledad are reduced to near starvation after the British capture Montevideo and halt delivery of supplies from the mainland.
1810The Provisional Government of the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata is established following the overthrow of the Spanish Viceroyalty in Buenos Aires.
1811The United Provinces of Rio de la Plata withdraws all settlers from Puerto Soledad.
1813HMS Isabella under Captain George Higton is wrecked on the shores of Speedwell Island. Six of the crew reaches the mouth of the Rio de la Plata after a 31 day voyage in an open longboat. The rest of the ship’s company are rescued by the American sealer Nanina under Captain Charles Barnard. The Nanina is taken as a prize of war by HMS Nancy. Captain Barnard and 4 of his men are marooned by the British on New Island.
1814Captain Barnard and his companions are picked up by HMS Indispensable and HMS Asp after spending 18 months on New Island.
1816July 9 The United Provinces of Rio de la Plata declare their independence from Spain.
1820The United Provinces of Rio de la Plata claim sovereignty over Islas Malvinas and send American mercenary Daniel Jewitt of Heroina to visit the Islands, assert their sovereignty and warn off whalers and sealers.
The United Provinces establishes a penal colony at Port Louis. It appears promising until a mutiny turns it into a potential pirate base.
1823The United Provinces of Rio de la Plata grants a land concession on East Falkland to a French partnership headed by Louis Vernet.
Captain Pablo Areguati is appointed military commandant of Puerto Soledad by the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata.
1824Captain Areguati leads an unsuccessful expedition to the Malvinas to exploit wild cattle.
1826Louis Vernet leads a successful expedition to the Malvinas to exploit wild cattle.
1827January 28 The earliest known letter is sent from the Falklands. The mail service depended on irregular port calls by ships connecting to the Brazil packet via Montevideo.
1828The United Provinces of Rio de la Plata grant Louis Vernet’s partnership rights to all of East Falkland including the fishery and sealing resources. Vernet is exempted from taxation on condition that he colonize the island within three years. Louis Vernet accepts British sovereignty claims over the Falklands and calls on the Consul General to request protection for his venture.
Louis Vernet returns to the Falklands accompanied by his family, British Consul Matthew Brisbane and a few Dutch and German families.
1829The United Provinces of Rio de la Plata appoint Louis Vernet Governor of East Falkland. Great Britain protests Vernet's appointment and reiterates its claims.
1831January 4 The United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata join the newly formed Argentine Confederation.
During the Year Governor Vernet orders the arrests of 3 American ships the Harriet, Superior and Breakwater for illegal sealing and confiscates their catch.
December The USS Lexington under Captain Silas Duncan sacks Port Louis in retaliation for the arrest of the American sealers. Captain Duncan, acting on orders of the American consul in Buenos Aires, declares the Falklands free from the jurisdiction of any government. Governor Vernet is absent but his deputy, Matthew Brisbane, is arrested by the Americans and taken to Montevideo. Storekeeper William Dickinson takes charge of the colony once the Americans depart.
1832The United Provinces of Rio de la Plata appoint Juan Esteban Mestivier Governor of Islas Malvinas. Mestivier is murdered by mutineers shortly after his arrival in the islands and Captain Jose Maria Pinedo of the United Provinces warship Sarandi takes charge of the colony.
HMS Clio under the command of Captain James Onslow and HMS Tyne visit the Falklands to reiterate the British sovereignty claims.
1833January 3 A Royal Navy expedition under Captain James Onslow is dispatched to the Falklands to enforce British claims. Captain Onslow forces Governor Piñedo to close the United Provinces’ penal colony at San Carlos and withdraw from the islands. The Union Jack is hoisted in Port Louis and William Dickson is put in charge of the colony pending the return of Matthew Brisbane.
March 1 – April 6 Naturalist Charles Darwin visits the Falklands aboard HMS Beagle. Darwin names the longest of the islands’ peri-glacial boulder fields or stone runs, “Princes Street” after the main thoroughfare in his hometown of Edinburgh. August
Antonio Rivero’s Gaucho Gang, armed by American sealers, murders Matthew Brisbane, William Dickson and 4 other colonists. Lieutenant Rea of the British sealer Hopeful rescues the surviving colonists.
1834HMS Challenger and HMS Hopeful arrive at Port Louis which is renamed Anson’s Harbour. Lieutenant Henry Smith is left as Naval Officer in Charge of the re-established colony. Antonio Rivero and the Gaucho Gang arrested and taken to London for trial but the High Court declare that the Crown had no authority over the Falklands. The defendants are returned to Argentina.
March 10 – April 5 HMS Beagle and Charles Darwin return for a second visit to the Falklands. Darwin notes that the flora of both main islands is very similar to that of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.
1839London merchant G. T. Whittington forms the Falkland Islands Commercial Fishery and Agricultural Association and petitions British government to allow colonization.
John Jacob Astor’s American Fur Company sends a vessel to the Falkland Islands for warrah (Falklands Wolf) skins. Colonel Hamilton Smith writes the, Falkland Island Aquara Dog after observing, "the fur stores of Mr. Astor in New York, a large collection of peltry which came from the Falkland Islands, where, according to reports that gentleman had received, his hunters had nearly extirpated the species".
1840April G. T. Whittington writes to the Colonial Secretary, Lord Russell, proposing that the Falkland Islands be colonized by his Association.
May The Colonial Lands and Emigration Commissioners approve the colonization of the Falkland Islands.
October G. T. Whittington dispatches his brother J.B. Whittington with two vessels, settlers and stores to Port Louis without waiting for authorization of the British Government.
1841January The Whittington party arrives in Port Louis without prior notice to the Naval Officer in Charge Lieutenant John Tyssen. Whittington demands possession of land his brother has allegedly purchased from Louis Vernet. Tyssen insists he has no authority to put Whittington into possession of any lands but is unable to prevent the party from landing. Whittington settles in Port Louis where he builds a nine room house for his party and sets up a fish salting business in a building Vernet had built for that purpose.
October The newly appointed Lieutenant Governor of the Falkland Islands, Lieutenant Richard Moody RN, arrives at Anson’s Harbour aboard the brig Hebe along with twelve Sappers and Miners accompanied by their families. The population of the Anson's Harbour colony numbers some 50 persons.
During the Year General Juan Manuel Ortiz de Rosas, Governor and dictator of Buenos Aires, offers to surrender the United Provinces’ claim to the Falklands in return for the discharge of debt owed by the United Provinces to the City of London. Captain Allan Gardiner arrives in the Falklands with his wife and family. Gardiner founds the Patagonian Missionary Society to work among the Indians of Patagonia.
1842Lieutenant Moody converts the stone chapel built by Antoine de Bougainville into Government House.
The British Government concludes that Port Louis’ anchorage is too exposed. Lord Stanley, the British Secretary of State for the Colonies, instructs Lieutenant Governor Moody to investigate the potential of the Port William area as the site of a new capital. Governor Moody assigns Captain James Clark Ross of the Antarctic Expedition to carry out the survey work.
1843Great Britain issues Letters Patent formally annexing the Falkland Islands and their dependencies. Lieutenant Richard Moody is promoted to Governor of the Falkland Islands.
Captain Ross concludes that Port William will make a good deep-water anchorage for naval vessels and that Port Jackson to the south would be a suitable place to build a settlement as it had shelter, fresh water, a plentiful supply of peat and a natural harbor.
July A town site is laid out on Stanley Harbor, a sheltered recess within Port William, and construction of the new capital’s public buildings is begun.
1845July 18 The new capital is officially named Port Stanley in honor of Edward Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby and Secretary of State for the Colonies, at the suggestion of Governor Moody. A Legislative Council and an Executive Council are created.
1846The Falkland Islands Constabulary is founded. Francis Parry is appointed Chief Constable in charge of 4 officers seconded from the Royal Irish Constabulary.
The Falkland Islands Government awards Montevideo cattle merchant Samuel Fisher Lafone a contract to exploit wild cattle on East Falkland and farm the peninsula south of Darwin which he names Lafonia. Lafone instructs his employees to establish a settlement at Hope Place on the southern shore of Brenton Loch.
1849Stanley's economy receives a boost from repair and provisioning of the 777 ships sailing round Cape Horn to the California gold rush.
Governor George Rennie forms General Improvement Society to encourage cultivation of vegetables, dairy produce, poultry and pigs.
1851The Falkland Islands Company is established by Royal Charter and acquires Samuel Lafone’s interests on the Lafonia peninsula for £30,000.A census is taken.
Stanley’s 372 inhabitants include: 165 English, 90 Irish, 85 Spaniards, 15 Scots, and a few Germans, Gibraltarians, Americans, Frenchmen and one Welshman.
1852The Falkland Islands Company introduces the first successful strain of Cheviot sheep to the Islands.
1858The Falkland Islands Garrison Company is formed with the arrival of 35 Royal Marines.
1867The Falkland Islands Company makes large tracts of land on West Falkland available for lease.
1868The London Zoological Register reports that keeper Adolphe LeComte has returned from the Falklands aboard the mail steamer from Montevideo bringing back one Antarctic Wolf (warrah) along with three small birds. The other creatures collected in the islands by LeComte, sea lions, foxes, penguins, geese, wolves, starlings and finches all perished on the voyage.
1869The Reverend Waite Hockin Stirling, Superintendent of the Mission Station on Keppel Island, appointed Anglican Bishop of the Falkland Islands and all of South America.
1870December The London Zoo receives another "Antarctic Wolf" i.e. warrah, the surviving half of a pair sent by Mister Byng, the acting colonial secretary of the Falklands. Byng writes, "as Mister Darwin prophesied would probably be the case, the animal, formerly so common, has now become almost extinct on the Falklands, the depredations it commits upon the sheep having rendered its extirpation necessary."
1871Prince Alfred, the Duke of Edinburgh and second son of Queen Victoria visits the Falklands where he stays with Governor George D’Arcy at Government House and hunts Guanacos i.e. Patagonia grey fox on East Falkland.
1873June 15 Father Vincent de Vilas opens Saint Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Port Stanley.
1875The last sighting of a loup renard, a small wolf first reported by de Bougainville, is made on West Falkland.
1876The last warrah is killed at Shallow Bay, West Falkland.
1878June 19 The first Falkland Islands postage stamps are introduced.
1880Carriage of mail both in and out was is made a statutory duty for any ship's master calling at Stanley. The Kosmos Line, a German steamship company, is given a contract to carry mails on its Hamburg – Callao route.
1884Argentina asks that the Falklands sovereignty dispute be submitted to international arbitration. Great Britain ignores the request and issues a protest when Argentina issues a new map showing the Islands as Argentine territory.
1890Bishop Waite Hockin Stirling and Governor Thomas Kerr lay the cornerstone of Christ Church Anglican Cathedral in Stanley.
1892The Falklands are officially declared a British crown colony. A public holiday and a 17 gun salute from the dockyard mark the occasion.
The Falkland Islands Garrison Company of Royal Marines is disbanded and the Falkland Volunteer Corps is formed.
1893Construction of a navy coaling and refitting station begins on the north side of Stanley Harbor.
1897The Falklands first telephone line is run from Cape Pembroke lighthouse to the police station in Stanley.
1900The Pacific Steam Navigation Company is given a contract to carry mail by a monthly service operating between Liverpool and Valparaiso, Chile.
1903January 6 The Scottish National Antarctic Expedition led by William S. Bruce arrives in Stanley aboard the Scotia.
1904The Admiralty closes the coaling and refitting station on Stanley Harbor and orders its demolition.
1907The Swedish Magellanian Expedition, under Doctor Carl Skottsberg, conducts botanical and zoological studies in the Falkland Islands.
1909Christian Salvesen Limited establishes a whaling station and a post office opens on New Island.
1913The Wild Animals and Birds Protection Ordinance is enacted but only applies to a few species.
1914August 15 The opening of the Panama Canal removes most shipping routes from the passage around Cape Horn. Ships no longer put in to Stanley for provisions or repairs and the regular mail service (via Montevideo) is not resumed until 1927.
October 22 The Royal Navy’s South Atlantic Squadron under Admiral Craddock leaves the Falklands for the West Coast of South America in search of the German East Asiatic Squadron commanded by Vice Admiral Graf Von Spee. The battleship HMS Canopus is unable to leave Stanley due to mechanical problems.
November 1 Admiral Spee’s German squadron defeats the British at the Battle of Coronel off Valpariso, Chile. The cruisers HMS Good Hope and Monmouth are lost along with 1,654 British seamen including Admiral Craddock. HMS Glasgow and the armed merchant cruiser Otranto escape to alert the Canopus. November
HMS Glasgow and Otranto leave the Falklands for Montevideo. The islands are left defenseless and isolated. The Admiralty warns Governor Allardyce to expect a German attack and orders the destruction of any stores likely to be of help to them. The Volunteers Corps is mobilized, women and children evacuated and many personal possessions buried for safe-keeping,.
November 11 The battle cruisers HMS Invincible and Inflexible under Admiral Sir Frederick Doveton Sturdee are dispatched to the Falkland Islands with orders to intercept Admiral Spee’s squadron when it rounds Cape Horn.
December 7 Admiral Sturdee arrives at Port Stanley where he joins the battleship Canopus, the armoured cruisers Kent, Carnarvon and Cornwall, the light cruisers Bristol and Glasgow and the armed merchant cruiser Macedonia.
December 8 The German cruisers Scharnhorst, Gneisenau, Nurnberg and Leipzig are sunk along with 2,200 sailors in a day long battle off Stanley. The British casualties include seven men killed, of whom four were men of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, one able seaman, and another seaman of the Royal Naval Reserve, and a stoker petty officer. Two other able seamen were severely wounded, one of them dangerously, and a signalman and a shipwright were also severely wounded.
Governor Allardyce hosts a celebration of Admiral Sturdee's achievement in Stanley toasting, "the King and the Royal Navy.” Admiral Frederick Sturdee rewards Falklander Chris Anderson with a £5 note and a gold watch for spotting the German fleet before the battle.
1915January 3 The battle cruiser HMAS Australia, flagship of the Australian Navy, docks at Stanley while en route to join the Royal Navy’s cruiser squadron.
1916A 3 ½ mile long railway is completed along the northern bank of Stanley harbor from the coal depot at Navy Point to the steam generating plant powering the spark transmitter at the Admiralty’s wireless station on Moody Brook.
The whaling station on New Island is dismantled and shipped to Leith Harbour, South Georgia. The New Island post office is closed.
1919The Falkland Islands Volunteer Corps is reorganized as the Falkland Islands Defence Force.
1921The Falkland Islands Government enacts an ordinance prohibiting the slaughter of fur seals and acquires an armed patrol boat to enforce it.
1922The Falkland Islands Company moves its principal farming settlement from Darwin to Goose Green.
1925July Brodie Creek Bridge, a 400 foot long steel suspension bridge built by the Falkland Islands Company to facilitate sheep shearing operations at Goose Green, opens.
1927The Battle of the Falkland Islands Memorial is unveiled. Thirty six Falkland Islanders enrolled with His Majesty's Forces during the First World War of whom ten lost their lives during service overseas.
Regular postal service (via Montevideo) is resumed after a 13 year hiatus.
1928The Falkland Islands and Dependencies Sealing Co. Ltd. is established at Albemarle.
1931December 7 The French cruiser Jeanne d'Arc arrives in Stanley on her maiden voyage.
December 8 A JA1-CAMS-37A seaplane carried aboard the Jeanne d’Arc takes off from Stanley Harbor and flies to Port Louis on the first airplane flight made in the Falklands.
1932September An unmanned light is erected at Bull Point at the southern most point of East Falkland. The 11 foot high structure and its beam are visible for a distance of 5-7 miles.
1933Whalebone Arch constructed from the jaws of blue whales is erected in front of Christ Church Cathedral in Stanley to mark the centennial of British rule in the Falklands.
1935The Anglican Bishopric of the Falkland Islands and South America moves its offices from Stanley to Buenos Aires, Argentina.
1936February An unmanned light is erected at Cape Meredith on the southernmost tip of West Falkland. The 202 foot high tower provides a visible light of up to 10 miles.
1938The Falkland Islands and Dependencies Sealing Company Limited is liquidated.
1939September 3 Great Britain declares war on Germany. The Falkland Islands Defence Force including a horse mounted rifle unit is mobilized to man the islands defensive outposts. The cruisers HMS Ajax and Exeter, under Admiral Henry Harwood and already stationed in the islands, begin patrolling the surrounding seas for German raider.
December HMNZS Achilles joins Ajax and Exeter in Stanley on a mission which results in the Battle of the River Plate.
December 13 British cruisers HMS Ajax, Exeter and HMSNZ Achilles engage the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee at the estuary of the River Plate. HMS Exeter is badly damaged with all her guns put out of action but still seaworthy, she suffers 64 killed and 45 wounded and is forced to make for Stanley to carry out repairs. Ajax and Achilles shadow the Graf Spee which seeks shelter in the neutral port of Montevideo, Uruguay.
December 14 Graf Spee drops anchor in Montevideo shortly after midnight. The Captain releases 61 captured British seamen to the Uruguayan authorities and requests 2 weeks to make repairs.
December 16 HMS Exeter limps back into Stanley harbor so badly damaged that most of her crew has to be temporarily billeted ashore with the townspeople. Among her crew are two Falkland Islanders.
December 17 Captain Langsdorff scuttles the Graf Spee in River Plate rather than submit to internment or risk a return engagement with the British.
December 22 HMS Ajax and HMSNZ Achilles rejoin Exeter in Stanley harbor.
1940Following the Battle of the River Plate the admiralty established a naval office in the Falklands named HMS Poursuivant.
The Falkland Islands Legislative Council appropriates £50,000 for the purchase of 10 Spitfires for the RAF. Funds for a further Spitfire were raised by the local Fellowship of the Bellows, which raised money by inviting members to subscribe one penny for each enemy plane shot down.
1942January A small British force including a Walrus seaplane is dispatched to the Falklands to counter the possibility of a Japanese attack due to the islands strategic position between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
February The Walrus seaplane begins patrolling the shipping lanes south and west of the Falklands on daily patrols but spots no enemy activity.
March 1 The Walrus seaplane is wrecked when its engine stops shortly after take-off. The pilot attempted an emergency landing which resulted in the aircraft bouncing twice on the water before turning over on its back. The pilot and crew escape.
August 11 A battalion of the 11th West Yorkshire Regiment is stationed in Stanley.
1944The British Broadcasting Corporation begins transmitting a twice weekly, 15 minute, shortwave program Calling the Falklands. The program of news and personal messages continues to be broadcast for the next 62 years.
1946June 8 A detachment of Falkland Islanders marches in the Victory Parade in London. More than 150 men and women left the islands during World War II to serve overseas in the Royal and Merchant Navies, Royal Air Force and various units of the British Army.

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