Falkland Islands War
There are very few subjects that will arouse more debate and passion in an Argentinian than that of Las Islas Malvinas. Whatever you do, DO NOT call them the Falkland Islands. At least not in the presence of an Argentine.
The war between Great Britain and Argentina in the early 1980s was probably the first time that most people had heard of these scraggly, desolate crags of rock 463 km's off the Argentinian coast. Ronald Reagan reportedly had to be shown their location on a map...four times, following the Argentine invasion of 1982. Up to that point, aside from a few sheep, the islands had nothing to warrant the world's attention, except the distinction of being the last vestige of the once great British Empire.The subject of sovereignty over the Malvinas had long been an issue of contention between Great Britain and Argentina. Britain's claim of jurisdiction over the islands dates back to 1833 when British forces expelled the Argentine governor. Despite over a century of animosity between the two countries, a military strike to reclaim the islands had never been seriously considered.
That all changed on April 2, 1982. The military junta in Buenos Aires, desperate to distract public attention from the failing economy, launched a sea, air and land assault to reclaim the islands. At first the invasion appeared to be a rousing success. Argentine troops quickly over ran the small British garrison in the capital Stanley and hoisted the Argentine flag over the government house.Jubilant crowds appeared in the Streets of Buenos Aires. There was one casualty and three wounded. Mission accomplished. However, as events would quickly illustrate, they were a bit premature breaking out the champagne.Britain immediately dispatched a naval task force comprised of aircraft carriers, submarines and amphibious assault ships to retake the islands. The numerically inferior British fleet was able to quickly retake the islands after a month of intense naval and air battles. Argentina lost 650 killed to Britain's 258.The initial public euphoria in Argentina quickly turned to anger. Thousands of protesters filled the streets of Buenos Aires. Public outrage directed at the junta is widely credited with driving them from office and restoring democracy to the country.Following the conflict, Britain greatly increased its permanent military presence in the Malvinas, constructing a new base outside the capital Stanley, and remains in control of the islands today.
In 2007, following the discovery of petroleum reserves in the vicinity of the islands, Argentina renewed its claim of sovereignty over the Malvinas. Britain, however, said that returning the islands to the Argentines was completely out of the question and that the islands would remain a British protectorate.