The dispute between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands and its dependencies had a history as long as that of Argentina herself, but until March 1982 both sides had accepted a process of negotiation and compromise to resolve their claims. At the end of that month and despite the fact that negotiations were still in progress, the governing right-wing military Junta in Argentina took advantage of a local and minor dispute to settle its claim by force. A party of scrap-metal merchants, operating from Argentina but ironically based in the United Kingdom, landed in South Georgia to dismantle a disused whaling factory. The United Kingdom protested that the landing by this party was illegal and the Ice Patrol Ship HMS Endurance moved to evict its members. The Junta then despatched a force of ships and marine infantry which seized the capital of the Falklands, Port Stanley, on 2 April, a task that they quickly accomplished after a skirmish with the British garrison of only 78 Royal Marines and sailors based in and near the township. Two days later the Argentines landed a small force in South Georgia, and here too the garrison had little choice but to surrender.
KeywordsFalkland Island Attack Aircraft Merchant Ship Aircraft Carrier British Troop
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