Malvinas Islands: Facts and Fictions

Let´s set the record straight



Fact 10: Despite UK claims, Argentina’s sovereignty exercise over Malvinas was public. The Times of London confirmed this on 3 August 1821

British pamphlets and recent Op-Ed’s published in dubious news sources show that UK propaganda campaign has reached alarming levels: UK now distorts historical facts and documents already acquiesced by the British government.

After the 1810 May Revolution, the United Provinces of the River Plate carried out acts demonstrating the effective exercise of sovereignty over the Malvinas. As an example, there is correspondence of José de San Martín, who in 1816 requested prisoners in Patagones and Malvinas to be sent to the capital of the United Provinces.

The act of possession of the islands exercised in 1820 by Colonel David Jewett on behalf of Argentina, then United Provinces of the River Plate, is another example of paramount significance.  So much so that it became another target of British propaganda in its attempt to distort reality and historical truth.

Early in 1820, Colonel David Jewett, Naval officer officially appointed by the Government of the United Provinces of the River Plate was sent to take possession of the Malvinas. Whalers and fishermen from different countries participated at the event.

This fact was widely reflected in international newspapers of that time in a “Circular” that informed the world of this official taking of possession of the islands “in the name of the Supreme Government of the United Provinces of South America”.

Not only “The Times” of London published this Circular on 3 August 1821 but also “El Redactor” of Cádiz, Spain,and the Salem Gazzette. UK remained silent and never protested this sovereign act.


The Argentine government took several actions in support of its sovereignty over the islands, including the appointment of governors, the enactment of legislation on fisheries and granting international concessions. These facts seem to go unseen for British propaganda.

As well as the fact that in 1825, Great Britain recognized Argentina as a sovereign state and made no reservation regarding Argentina’s exercise of sovereignty over the Malvinas Islands, which was then not only peaceful but public.

It is only now that British propaganda seeks to deny the very existence of the “Circular” published in The Times and accuses Argentina of a stunt. Any sensible interested human being can confirm the authenticity of this fact by consulting the archives of The Times of 3 August 1821 to find the Circular that was published and never protested by the UK.

The “Circular” appears in the right lower corner of the paper broad sheet (The Times, London, Friday, August 3, 1821). If the “Circular” was later reproduced out of its original format does not diminish the vital importance of this fact nor its authenticity. Any claim to the contrary is simply untrue.



Fact 9: UK distorts history in an attempt to disregard past actions of its own

The Duke of Wellington was not the only British High-Level Official who had doubts over British titles over Malvinas. There are tons of documents in which different officials express their concern on their alleged “rights”.

On the contrary, Argentine government officials had never had any doubt that the Malvinas belong to Argentina and that fact is reflected in myriads of documents including maps.

British propagandists now accuse Argentina of not reflecting its sovereignty over the islands in official maps published in the XIX century. There is specially one map in question over which UK propaganda seeks to distort history and reality: the 1882 Latzina map. More than 130 years later British propaganda now argues that the color in which the islands are depicted is similar to the ones used for Chile and Uruguay.

This map depicts the islands as “Islas Malvinas” and hence part of Argentina.

The 1882 Latzina map was adopted at the request of the National Government and portrays different farming opportunities for immigrants. It depicts the regions apt for farming throughout Argentina’s whole territory and regions are sketched with different shades of color. The Malvinas are colored in the same pale beige used for the city Buenos Aires as both territories offered the same scarce farming opportunities. One can easily see that the color used for Argentina’s mainland territory also varies depending on the region farming opportunities.

Besides, if Malvinas were not depicted as part of Argentina’s territory, why does the map include details of all geographical features and accidents as it does with the rest of Argentina’s national territory? And why does the map do not include the geographical accidents and features of Uruguay and Chile?

These geographical accidents are not detailed in the case of Chile and Uruguay, though they are the same color as the one used for Malvinas and the city of Buenos Aires. Why not? Because these are neighboring countries.

The fact is that British propaganda is seeking to distort historical documents and facts with blatant lies in a desperate attempt to fool public opinion. The distortion about the 1882 Map is part of that propaganda campaign.

Argentina always included Malvinas in its official cartography as “Malvinas” and hence part of its national territory. To name but a few, in 1886, Argentina’s Geographical Institute published a map depicting Tierra del Fuego Governance which included Malvinas. In 1918, the islands are presented as “Islas Malvinas” and hence part of Argentina on a map issued by the Agricultural Ministry that depicted the whole Argentine territory in different shades and colors according to degree of agricultural development and availability of railroad networks.


Fact N° 7: United Kingdom’s alleged titles over the Malvinas

The UK was not always sure about the titles of the Malvinas. There are some interesting words expressed by the British Prime Minister, the Duke of Wellington in 1829:

“It is not clear to me that we have ever possessed the sovereignty of all these Islands. The Convention [of 1771] certainly goes no further than to restore to us Port Egmont, which we abandoned nearly sixty years ago. […] I confess that I should doubt
the expediency of now taking possession of them. We have possession of nearly every valuable post and colony in the world, and I confess that I am anxious to avoid exciting the attention and jealousy of other Powers by extending our possessions and setting the example of the gratification of a desire to seize upon new territories. But in this case, in which our right to possess more than Port Egmont is disputed, and at least doubtful, it is
very desirable to avoid such acts.”

Source: Letter from the Duke of Wellington to Sir George Murray (Foreign Office), in WELLESLEY, Arthur Richard, 2nd Duke of Wellington (Ed.), Dispatches, correspondences and memoranda of fi eld marshal Arthur Duke of Wellington, vol. VI, New York, Kraus Reprint Co, 1973, pp. 48-49.



Fact Nº 6: The UK Increased its Rhetoric About Other Topics Relating to Malvinas

As well as the top five facts you have just read, in recent years, the UK increased its rhetoric about other topics relating to the Malvinas Islands.

The Intercept revealed how the UK spied on Argentina government officials and how it decided to carry out a plan to shape public opinion in Latin America, by creating institutions, programs and plans funded by the UK government. It had also launched a Communications campaign that includes both traditional and social media.

The illegal government authorized illegal hydrocarbon activities in the islands. It had also granted numerous illegal licences for fishing. Both actions were carried out against UN Resolutions. Unilateral actions are not allowed.

The UK has increased drastically the military presence in the Islands, also in contravention of UN Resolutions. It is a matter of importance and of security for all countries in South America… and also in the Southern part of Africa.

The consequences of the British unilateral acts are not limited to the present, since they will continue to have an impact in the future generations.

The peaceful recovery of the Malvinas Islands, South Georgias and South Sandwich Islands and the Surrounding Maritime Areas is a permanent and unrelinquished objective of the Argentine people.

Fact Nº 5: Neither the UN nor any Other International Organizations Recognized the so-called “Referendum”

The Malvinas Islands are in a different situation from that of the classical colonial case. De facto and de jure, they belonged to the Argentine Republic in 1833 and were governed by Argentine authorities and inhabited by Argentine settlers. These authorities were ejected by violence and not allowed to remain in the territory. Most of them had been forced to leave after the 1832 attack. On the contrary, they were replaced during those years of usurpation, by a colonial administration and a population of British origin.

Thus there is no “people subjected to alien subjugation, domination and exploitation“, as required by the UN General Assembly 1514 (XV). Instead, there is a temporary population made up of British settlers that occupies the land and one that cannot be used by the colonial power in order to claim the right to apply the principle of self-determination. The basic principle of self-determination should not be used in order to transform an illegal possession into full sovereignty under the mantle of protection which would be given by the United Nations. To allow the British settlers on the Islands to decide on a sovereignty dispute to which their country is a party would distort the very noble spirit of self-determination of people suffering colonialism.

The inhabitants of the islands are British subjects who have stayed on the islands, under the protection a strict migratory policy that has discriminated systematically against mainland Argentines.

The unilateral act that only the UK describes as “referendum” and was held by the inhabitants that the UK settled in the Malvinas Islands was intended to ask them about questions that gloss over the true legal status of the islands. The predictable result confirmed that the subjects in question are British, does not modify the colonial nature of the issue and cannot bring an end to the dispute. Contrary to what the UK claims, there were not “international observers“, but eight individuals acting in their exclusively personal capacity. Neither the UN nor any other international organization recognized this illegal move.

The UN and several international bodies have continued to call both Argentina and the United Kingdom to solved the dispute pursuant to UN Resolutions.

Regional organizations, such as Mercosur, Unasur and Alba rejected the so-called “referendum” and reiterated their support for the legitimate rights of the Argentine Republic in the sovereignty dispute.

Finally, in another move to distract the public opinion, the propaganda booklet that is being distributed on social media  argues that the dispute is “settled”. This is false.

Fact Nº 4: Great Britain Never Possessed the Totality of the Archipielago

In 1790, upon the signature of the Treaty of San Lorenzo del Escorial, Great Britain undertook not to establish any settlements on either the Eastern or the Western coasts of South America or on the adjacent islands already occupied by Spain, with was the case of the Malvinas Islands. Spain appointed a succession of 32 governors until 1811, when the garrison at Puerto Soledad was required from Montevideo to defend the Monarchy at the beginning of the War of Independence. The first autonomous government of the United Provinces of the River Plate referred to the Malvinas Islands in various administrative acts. Malvinas were integral part of their territory, inherited from Spain by succession of States under the utis possidentis juris principle of 1810.

Officer Jewett took possession of the Malvinas Islands on behalf of the United Provinces of the River Plate at a public ceremony in Puerto Soledad, which was attended by sealers and whalers of different nationalities. There was no official comment from Great Britain, as Argentina´s possession was public, effective and peaceful.

In 1829, the Duke of Wellington stated: “I have perused the enclosed papers respecting the Falkland Islands. It is not clear to me that we have ever possessed the sovereignty of all those islands. The Convention certainly goes no further than to restore to us Port Gumont, which we abandoned nearly sixty years ago.”

In reality, Great Britain never possessed the totality of the archipelago.

Argentina´s officials had never had any doubt that the islands belong to Argentina. During the XIX century, Argentina´s maps reflected Argentina´s sovereignty over the islands. Among others, the 1882 Latzina Map depicts the islands as “Islas Malvinas” and part of Argentina. The islands are colored in the same pale beige used for Buenos Aires (this map depicts different opportunities for immigrants; regions apt for farming in whole Argentine territory are depicted with different shades of color). In 1886, Argentina´s Geographical Institute published a map depicting Tierra del Fuego Governance which included Malvinas. In 1918, the islands are presented as “Islas Malvinas” and hence part of Argentina on a map issued by the Agricultural Ministry that depicted the whole Argentine territory in different shades and colors according to degree of agricultural development and availability of railroad networks.

Fact Nº 3: At No Time Did England Object To the Argentine Settlement

At no time did England object to the Argentine settlement of the Malvinas, despite the fact that extremely important legal acts had taken place between the two countries, such as the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Trade and Navigation of February 1825.

This instrument does not contain any British reservation whatsoever on Malvinas Islands, despite the action in 1820 and other acts that the Government had carried out and authorized regarding the islands.

In forcing any argument to seek to justify that Argentina did what it never did- i.e. drop the claim- the UK even distorts the scope of the 1850 Convention between Argentina and Great Britain. This agreement was meant to put an end to the naval blockade imposed by the UK and France in the River Plate and all its provisions relate to the need to solve the situation in the River Plate and bring back trade and political stability. It has no relation whatsoever with the Malvinas Islands. So much so that in 1849, after signing the Convention, Juan Manuel de Rosas referred to the sovereignty claim over the Malvinas Islands in his message to the Legislative House.

The issue remained unsettled and this was recognized by the British Foreign Secretary in 1849. Argentina, meanwhile, continued to raise the issue at different levels of government and it became a subject of debate in the Argentine Congress. In 1884, in view of the lack of response to the repeated protests, Argentina proposed to take the issue to international arbitration, which was also rejected by the United Kingdom without any reasons provided.

Fact Nº 2: The British Government Designed “Britishness” of the Place

The act of force of 1833 was part of the imperialistic policies of the European Powers in the Americas, Africa and Asia during the XIX century. The invasion of the Malvinas as well as the two British attempts to invade Buenos Aires in 1806 and 1807 must be understood in this context, i.e. the British pursuit of a strategic point in the South Atlantic. Argentina was expelled from the islands in 1833 when Great Britain invaded the islands. The Argentine authorities settled there were forced to leave by the British fleet. Most of the settlers in Puerto Soledad had had to leave for Montevideo after the American attack of 1832.

After the Invasion, the British Government designed the composition of the population of the islands by importing settlers of British origin as part of a colonization plan which persists to this day. As the British Secretary of Foreign Affairs recognized in his letter of 5 March 1842: “Her Majesty having in the exercise of the Sovereign Rights, directed a permanent system of British Colonization to be established in those Islands.” As a result of this colonization plan and strict immigration control, Argentines from the mainland are not allowed to reside or own property in the islands thus preserving the fabricated “Britishness” of the place.

Contrary to what the UK describes as “free will” immigration not restricted to British Nationals, the plan to colonize the islands with settlers of British origin was expressly designed by the Commissioners of the Crown Lands and Emigration as early as 1840; non-British were only allowed to stay and work in farming but not as “settlers”, a condition only reserved for British nationals entitled to reside and own land.

The unbound booklet of the Illegal Government of the Islands posts photos of families who settled in the Malvinas Islands last century. Argentines were not allowed to reside or buy land after the invasion.

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