The Falklands War

Which islands did Argentina try to regain in 1982?

And the answers: The Falklands.    

Photo credit: US Naval Institute. 

In 1982, Argentina tried to regain sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, a British colony 650 km off the coast of South America. After the United Nations unsuccessfully asked Argentina to withdraw, a 10-week undeclared war began. The British reclaimed the islands, and to this day is still in control of them.

The Falkland Islands have an extensive colonial history. As a largely uninhabited string of islands, the land has been battled over for centuries. That is, of course, until the Falklands War: a battle of sovereignty of some 100 years in the making.

In the first invasion of British territory since World War II, Argentina made a grab at the Falklands in 1982. The move came out of necessity, as Argentina had been struggling economically under military dictator Leopold Galtieri. Unable to remedy the situation at home, Galtieri turned back to a past territory: the unmanned, relatively uninhabited islands of the Falklands.

Galtieri knew he would be popular if he could finally take back Argentina's Las Malvinas from the occupying British. And, after a small bout of resistance from the occupying forces, Argentina gained agency over the islands.

However, it was not to last. Margaret Thatcher, the then-prime minister of England, sent troops down to the islands in an escalating move. Fought over land and sea, the war began. While the Argentine Air Force rained down fire, the British Navy made contact with land and began to expand their forces. Two months later, after strenuous battle, the British were victorious.

To this day, remnants of the battles are palpable in the minefields that pepper the landscape. Argentina continues its claim over the islands, but in a 2013 referendum, 99.8% of islanders voted in favor of maintaining Britain's sovereignty.

Learn more about the war here.

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