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Falkland Islands History

  • West Point Island or Albatross Island, during the 1890s
  • Old england cannon on Falkland islands
  • Memorial to the 1982 Falklands War in Port Stanley
  • Monument Port Stanley

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The Falkland Islands were officially discovered by John Davis during an English naval expedition in August of 1592.  Despite Davis’ discovery, no European settlements were established on the islands until 1764 when the French came to East Falkland.  They settled a garrison at Port Louis in spite of the fact that a papal treaty had divided the New World territory between Spain and Portugal. This treaty, therefore, meant that the Falkland Islands were under Spanish control. When Spain learned of the French settlement, the islands were quickly and amicably ceded back to Spain.

The British also set up an outpost on West Falkland in 1765 but were expelled by the Spanish by 1767. Later, in order to avoid a war, the Spanish restored the settlement of Port Egmont to the British but it was abandoned just a few years later, yet Britain never renounced their territorial claims. Into the 18th century, Spain maintained the islands using them as a penal colony. By the beginning of the 19th century, the remoteness of the islands caused both Spain and Britain to withdraw, leaving no permanent inhabitants. The Falklands thus became a stopover destination for whalers and sealers.

In 1820, a ship from Argentina arrived at the islands with the goal of creating a permanent settlement. They were driven out by British forces in 1832 and Britain went on to claim full sovereignty a year later. Argentina did not recognize this claim, instead maintaining its right to sovereignty. By the middle of the 19th century, sheep became incredibly important to the economy of the islands as wool became a major export. While the economy was doing well, the island’s inhabitants were, for the most part, poor labourers working for landlords who remained in London. Since the land had been divided early on, it made it difficult for islanders to purchase any property. 

The islands received little attention from the outside world until an invasion of the Falklands led by Argentina occurred in 1982. For many years Argentina had maintained their claim to sovereignty and had pursued it diplomatically but without avail. Therefore, in 1982, Argentine forces overran the British garrison, establishing a military base. Britain responded and Argentina surrendered ten weeks after their invasion. Diplomatic relations between the two nations were eventually restored yet Argentina still maintains that the islands will one day be returned.  Following the war, British interest in the islands was rejuvenated and what the islanders wanted became very important. The islanders wished to remain British and were granted full British citizenship.

Today, the Falkland Islands are still an Overseas Territory of the United Kingdom and have grown into a very popular tourist destination, particularly amongst nature lovers and those who are interested in the history of the 1982 conflict. Up close and personal visits with wildlife as well as tours of battlefields dominate itineraries. Once just an add-on stopover for visits to South Georgia, the islands are a unique and truly worthwhile destination all on their own.



Falkland Islands Travel Information

At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to the Falkland Islands.

Learn about the history and culture of the Falkland Islands, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Falkland Island's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering the Falkland Islands for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Falkland Islands tours today!


Extend Your Trip

After your Falkland Islands tours, why not consider another of Goway's Latin America tours. These include a large selection of other exciting countries in Central and South America. We offer Chile vacation packages and Easter Island toursEcuador vacation packages which include Galapagos cruises, Peru vacation packages which include Machu Picchu tours and Brazil tours including Iguassu Falls tours among many others.



Latin America by Goway is an exclusive division that specializes in planning and organizing Falkland Islands tours, vacations and experiences. To design the best itinerary for you, we at Goway would like to know how specific your interests are;

  • Meeting the people
  • Hearing about the 1982 Conflict
  • Encountering specific wildlife

We also offer Antarctica cruises that stopover in the Falklands.


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