The isles have been conquered, abandoned, reconquered and envied in successive occupations by the French, Spanish, Argentinians and English up to the war of 1982.
They were discovered by the English navigator, John Davis in 1592 but not explored until 1690 by another Englishman, John Strong. The isles were not inhabited until 1764 when some French sailors from St-Malo first colonised them, hence the French name of Malouines.
They were thrown out of the islands in 1766 by the Spanish who were already masters of most of South America. In addition to the Spanish implantation, a British colony had already been established on part of the western isle in 1765 without suspecting that the French were living on the eastern isle.
In 1774 the English left the islands, for financial reasons, to the Spanish who were in charge of the archipelago until 1811 which was the beginning of the revolution of South America countries.
At this agitated time Spain left the Isles which became then officially no man's land. In 1820 Argentina, no longer under Spanish domination set up a colony and a governor in the Falklands.
In 1833 the English navy threw out the Argentinians and took sovereignty of the isles. There was then a period of 150 years of peace apart from the two world wars in which the strategic value of the Isles was demonstrated. In December 1914 a squadron of the British navy based in Stanley fought the German navy and retook control of the South Atlantic. In December 1939, the battle of the River Plate was won by a group of Royal Navy cruisers and after the battle one of the ships docked at Stanley for repairs.
On 2nd April 1982, Argentina took back possession of the Isles. This action was supported by the majority of Latin-American states in spite of their opposition to the regime of the Argentinian junta. The geography seemed to play a role in this.
England, thanks to the determination of its government and the capacity of its armed forces, managed to reconquer the Isles in two months with the support of the United Nation Security Council. On the 14th June the Argentinians were defeated after violent fighting on land, sea and in the air (for more information see Conflict).
The fighting-spirit of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher during this conflict, confirmed her nickname The Iron Lady.
This defeat contributed to the decline of the Junta in power in Argentina. In the Falklands it allowed an important economic boom and the creation of large infrastructures such as the airport of Mount Pleasant.