What follows is a condensed, Cliff Notes version of the Anglo-Argentine sovereignty dispute over the Falkland Islands. If you find this information inadequate (and you should), feel free to view these more comprehensive sources on both the archipelago’s general history and the history of the sovereignty dispute .
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago chain situated in the South Atlantic under competing claims by both the United Kingdom and Argentina. Argentina, the UK, and many other European powers asserted various claims to the island throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but numerous failed colonizing ventures meant that the island was only inhabited in any real permanent sense by the British during the middle of the 19th century.
Located roughly three hundred miles from Argentina’s western seaboard, the islands have been the result of numerous diplomatic disputes between Argentina and the United Kingdom. These diplomatic rows turned into military ones in 1982 when Argentina’s military junta authorized the military occupation of the Falkland Islands, as well as other UK islands in the area including South Georgia and the Sandwich Islands.
To the surprise of many, the Tory government of Margaret Thatcher pledged to retake the islands, eventually forcing the Argentine garrison’s capitulation later that same year. The war resulted in the fall of the Argentine junta, and more infamously led to Thatcher’s Tories retaining their ascendancy until the early 1990’s.
Despite military defeat, Argentina has never conceded its claim, nor has the UK accepted any entreaty to negotiate the issue. Generally, the sovereignty dispute over the Falklands has remained in the background of Anglo-Argentine relations since the mid-1990s until 2009-10 when oil was first discovered in some quantity near the Falklands. Following that discovery, the Argentines have vigorously reasserted their claim for the islands, and have accused the UK of being an imperial power. The UK, in response, has dispatched a Type-45 anti-air Destroyer to the South Atlantic. While military conflict would be a lose-lose for both Argentina and the UK, tensions continue to climb.
The UK asserts that this is an issue of self-determination for the islanders who, especially after the Argentine occupation, generally wish to remain a self-governing British Overseas Territory. Argentina argues that self-determination is inapplicable as almost the entirety of the island’s inhabitants are not aboriginal—arriving at the earliest during the 1840’s, with most arriving well into the 20th century. There is also the labyrinth of claims made by both the UK and Argentina in respect to their claims on the islands during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries which, depending on your opinion on the issue of self-determination, may or may not be relevant.
I had anticipated focusing this discussion on opinions regarding the sovereignty dispute issue, but I’ll leave it open ended to discuss the issue generally.
The issue of acquisition of territory by use of force only really became unlawful in the 20th century according to international law principles if I remember rightly. Self-determination is a doctrine many people believe in but I don't think it has any strength in international law.
So since the Falklands have been British territory since 1840 if what you say is true, it is still rightly British territory.
This is bearing in mind that I haven't looked at international law for about 18 months.
"Even should the heavens fall, let Justice prevail."
The people of the Falklands are registered as British citizens and have been for many decades. Internationally by law, they're recognized as British, and by legal rights, the Falklands are recognized as British territory ever since the early 1800's. Argentina has no basis to their claim over the islands other than being geographically close, and have aggressed against the Falklands and the UK during the 1980's. Ultimately as Dovahkiin said, it's the people of the islands who have the final say as to what country they want to belong to. Unless they choose to renounce British sovereignty and join Argentina, then Argentina has no legal right whatsoever to the islands.
From my understanding the Argentinian government is perfectly aware they have no basis on which to claim the islands. The military government a couple of decades ago made a big stink about how the island were Argentinian to create a feeling of patriotism and distract from problems at home.
i guess the people have just ran with it ever since then.
In a facepalm worthy development, while the UK sends a state of the art Type-45 anti-air destroyer to the South Atlantic, Argentina responds with naval activities of its own: naming a FIFA tournament after an Argentine cruiser sunk by a British submarine during the Falkland Wars; an amusing if perplexing sign of increased hostilities in the region.
I'm surprised Fifa allowed that? I would have thought they'd demand neutrality in the issue.
I believe it's under dispute. The AFA is presently sending a written statement that justifies its decision. Whether or not that will appease FIFA is anybody's guess, but I would guess that FIFA doesn't want to exacerbate that kind of controversy. England v. Argentina games are pretty dramatic and intense as is.