Historical Security Council

The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located 300 miles from the coast of Argentina, 671 miles west of the Shag Rocks (South Georgia), and 584 miles north of Antarctica (Elephant Island). They consist of two main islands, East Falkland and West Falkland, together with 776 smaller islands. Stanley, on East Falkland, is the capital city. The islands are a self-governing Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom, but have been the subject of a claim to sovereignty by Argentina since the re-assertion of British sovereignty in 1833.

The islands' position was debated by the UN committee on de-colonization. Argentina based its claim to the Falklands on papal bulls of 1493 modified by the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), by which Spain and Portugal had divided America between themselves; on succession from Spain; on the islands' proximity to South America; and on the need to end a colonial situation. Britain based its claim on its "open, continuous, effective possession, occupation, and administration" of the islands since 1833 and its determination to grant the Falklanders self-determination as recognized in the United Nations Charter. Britain asserted that, far from ending a colonial situation, Argentine rule and control of the lives of the Falklanders against their will would, in fact, create one.

The UN General Assembly called upon by the resolution reached to start negotiations and to find a peaceful way to solve this problem.

March 23, 1979
In reaction,, the Argentine government sent the Navy transport "Bahía Paraíso." to the South Georgias in an attempt to occupy them peacefully.

By the early 1980s
The Argentine President, Army General Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri, and his high command had been planning an invasion of the Falklands Islands since he became leader of the "junta" in December 1981. Galtieri wanted to force a quick negotiation with the United Kingdom over the sovereignty of the Islands and he had strong reasons for using military means to achieve his goal. International opinion leaned toward the dismantling of old empires, which the British possession of the Falklands and South Georgias represented. But Argentina's position and negotiations in the regular circles the, United Nations and international courts, had not advanced after 150 years of English occupation. - 1-

Historical Security Council

March 19, 1982
A group of Argentine scrap metal merchants working in the South Georgia island is escorted by some military personal. Britain calls Argentina to remove the military personnel without response.

March 26, 1982
The Argentine military junta decides to invade the islands. The third dictatorship president since the 1976 coup, General Leopoldo Galtieri launches a military invasion of the islands, code named Operación Rosario. The invasion is planned by the commander of the Navy Admiral Jorge Anaya to be launched on one of the most important national celebrations (The revolution anniversary on May 25th or Independence day on July 9th). Its main purpose is to divert public attention from the distressing internal problems and restore the long lost popularity and prestige of the dictatorship. Due to the mounting pressures on the government, and mass union demonstrations in late March, the date of the invasion is moved earlier to April 2nd in an act of desperation.

April 2, 1982
Before dawn on the morning of April 2, 1982, Argentine commandos took over the barracks of the English Marines near Port Stanley in East Falkland. They were soon joined by the rest of the invading forces coming by air and sea. By the end of the day, Falklands' Governor Rex Hunt surrendered and the commander of the invasion force, Major General Mario Benjamin Menéndez, was named governor of "Las Islas Malvinas." The marine forces are flown to Montevideo along with the British governor.

April 3, 1982
Argentine troops seize the associated islands of South Georgia and the South Sandwich group (1,000 miles [1,600 km] east of the Falklands) following a short battle in which an Argentine helicopter is forced down and 4 Argentine troops are killed. General Mario Menendez is proclaimed military governor of the islands. As Galtieri has predicted, the move proves to be extremely popular: In Buenos Aires, where the unions had a week earlier demonstrated against the government, there are massive outbursts of solidarity in the streets. The United Nations Security Council passes Resolution 502 calling for the withdrawal of Argentine troops from the islands and the immediate cessation of hostilities. First Royal air force transport aircraft deploy to Ascension Island. - 2-

Historical Security Council

Late March to early April 1982
Thousands of Argentine were quickly trained and sent to the falklands. Argentina accumulates more than 10,000 troops on the Falklands.

April 8, 1982
The US secretary of State, Alexander Haig, arrives in London to begin shuttle mediation.

April 10, 1982
EEC approves trade sanctions against Argentina. Haig flies to Buenos Aires for talks with the Junta.

April 17, 1982
Haig meets again with the Argentine junta. After a breakdown in the mediation talks, he returns to Washington April 19.

April 20, 1982
In this day it starts the british´s response. When their war cabinet ordered the repossession of the falklands islands.

April 23, 1982
British Foreign Office advises British nationals in Argentina to leave.

April 30, 1982
Alexander Haig's mission is officially terminated. President Ronald Reagan declares US support for Britain and economic sanctions against Argentina. The British war exclusion zone comes into effect.

May 1st, 1982
Harrier and Vulcan British´s planes attack the Port Stanley (Named ``Puerto Argentino'' by Argentina) airfield. Three Argentine aircraft were shotted down.

May 2, 1982
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Historical Security Council

Belaunde Terry, President of Peru, presents a peace proposal to Argentine President Leopoldo Galtieri, who gives a preliminary acceptance with some proposed modifications. Before the Argentine junta ratifies the acceptance, British submarine HMS Conqueror sinks the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano outside the war zone and while sailing away from the islands. Almost 400 crewmen die. At this point the junta rejects the proposal.

May 4, 1982
Argentine air attacks from Super Etendard fighter planes using Exocet air to surface missiles sink the British destroyer HMS Sheffield with twenty men on board. One British Harrier plane is shot down.

May 7, 1982
UN enters peace negotiations.

May 9, 1982
The islands are bombarded from sea and air. Two sea Harriers sink the Argentine trawler Narwal.

May 11, 1982
Argentine supply ship Isla de los Estados is sunk by the British HMS Alacrity.

May 14, 1982
Three Argentine Skyhawks are shot down. Prime Minister Thatcher warns that peaceful settlement may not be possible. Special British forces night raid on Pebble Island; 11 Argentine aircraft destroyed on the ground.

May 18, 1982
A peace proposal presented by the United Nations Secretary General, Perez de Cuellar, is rejected by Britain.

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