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Falkland Islands

1878-PRESENT

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£1 King George V single

The Falkland Islands (with its dependencies) comprise some 200 islands off the southeastern coast of South America. Only the two main islands, East and West Falkland, are inhabited. Ninety-eight percent of the Falklanders are of British descent and have British nationality. The Falklands were discovered by the British in 1592 but were uninhabited until a French settlement was established in 1764 and a British settlement in 1765. The two countries disputed sovereignty until 1770 when France sold its claim to Spain. Spain and Britain disputed ownership of the islands until 1806, when the Spanish withdrew their settlement. Although Spain ceased pressing its claim at that time, the newly independent United Provinces of Rio de la Plata claimed the Falklands after 1816. A settlement was maintained 1820-33, when the British re-occupied the islands and peacefully expelled the Argentine garrison. Argentina has maintained its claim to the Falklands and, on April 2, 1982, seized the islands. A British fleet was immediately dispatched to oust the Argentines, and successfully recaptured the islands.

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