The Falkland Islands – The Empire’s Last Outpost
The Falkland Islands have always been on my bucket list. Ever since I heard about these tiny islands 8000 miles away off the coast of Argentina, I was intrigued about this clear throwback to the era of the British Empire.
Apparently, they are a perfect microcosm of 1960s Britain, right down to the old style red postboxes and vintage cars. The scenery is meant to be stunning and reminiscent of the Scilly Isles or New Zealand.
To say the Falklands are controversial is an understatement. In essence, the Argentinians claim the Islands (which they call the Malvinas) as their territory and have been demanding that the British return it for years. The British claim the Islands are theirs and are prepared to defend them from any incursions, as evidenced by the Falkland Wars in 1982.
In brief, the British claim sovereignty over the Islands from the 18th Century till now, whilst the Argentinians claim it was seeded to Spain in the 15th Century when Spain and Portugal divided up the New World. However, the British were the first to establish a colony on the Islands. Throughout the 19th and 20th Century there were disputes eventually culminating in war.
Recently, the Falkland Islanders themselves have had a referendum with the result magnanimously in favour of remaining a British Territory. Argentina does not recognise this referendum as they state that the Falkland Islanders are just historically British invaders and do not have the right to the land, so their opinion does not matter.
Even President Obama has waded into the diplomatic foray, though neither side intends to back down. So, for now, the British and the Argentinians are in a stalemate.
I don’t believe that any of these overseas territories/colonies actually belong to anyone other than those who are native to the land. I’m thinking the Native American Indians in North America and the Aborigines in Australia. Both sets of indigenous people have felt the rough end of European Imperialism and come off worse for it. Don’t even get me started on what the French, Dutch and English did to Africa.
What it really boils down to is the people currently living on the Falkland Islands. Yes, they are probably ancestrally British, but as far as I know the islands were uninhabited prior to the British establishing a colony. For the Argentinians to kick these people off a land that they have been living on for over a hundred years is unnecessary and undiplomatic. The Falkland Islanders voted to stay under British rule, so respect their decision.