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Britain went to war this year, although officially war was never declared. The British Empire had long since disappeared but various places around the world were still British colonies. One such place was at the bottom of South America and was made up of the Falklands Islands and some more islands including South Georgia. Interestingly, it was on the coast of South Georgia that Sir Ernest Shackleton landed after his epic voyage in 1916 (I told you to try to find out about this) and six years later it was where he died and is buried.

Anyway, these islands were far closer to Argentina than Britain, about 7,00 miles (11,000 kms) closer to be not very precise. In 1927 Argentina claimed South Georgia as theirs. They also claimed the Falklands had been given to them in 1816 when the islands became independent from Spain. There were a few little arguments but nothing much happened over the years. Britain had a Royal Navy Ice Patrol vessel called Endurance in the region but in 1981 the British government suggested that this might be withdrawn. This may have given the Argentine government the idea that Britain couldn't now defend the islands.

On 19 March some Argentinians planted their flag on South Georgia and on 2 April 1982 Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands. The British response was quick and pretty dynamic. A task force was sent from England comprising 28,000 troops and over 100 ships. Argentina had about 12,000 soldiers and 40 boats. Britain also declared a 200 mile exclusion zone around the Falklands, something that would cause controversy later.

South Georgia was recaptured on 25 April and on 1 May the RAF launched an air assault on the airport at Port Stanley, the capital of the Falklands. The following day, the British sunk the Argentinian cruiser, HMS Belgrano. 368 of the crew were killed. It is still disputed whether the ship was outside the exclusion zone, it seems it was, or if that zone still existed or Britain had said any ship anywhere was a genuine target, it seems they had. Two days later the British destroyer, HMS Sheffield, was hit by an Argentinian missile and sank and 20 of its crew died.

British troops landed on the Falklands on 21 May and on 14 June they marched into Port Stanley, the capital. Argentinian forces surrendered. The Falklands war was over. 655 Argentine and 255 British servicemen lost their lives, as did three Falkland Islanders. It was on TV every night.

Arguments still remain but in 2013 the islanders held a referendum and 99.8% voted to remain British. Argentina maintains a peaceful claim to the islands, but the UK says sovereignty is not open to negotiation. About 1,000 British troops are posted in the Falklands and are involved in patrolling the islands as well as road building and monitoring minefields. Except for defence, the 2,955 islanders are self-supporting.

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