Anglo Spanish War - The Falklands

After losing most of its colonies in the Seven Year War (1756-1763) France considered conquering a few territories and decided to colonize the Falkland Islands. Antoine Louis de Bougainville arrived in Malvinas in 1764 and founded the first colony in Soledad Island, Puerto Louis in May of the same year. A month later he took official possession of the Falklands in name of King Louis XV.

Falkland Islands

When the Spanish court heard the news they were not happy mostly because of the potential danger a French colony implied, the British would probably follow their example, in those years Spain and Britain were hardly on friendly terms.

Spain and France began negotiations. The Spanish, of course, wanted France out of the Falklands and preferred to pay compensations rather than begin a campaign, which is always more costly and usually at the expense of many human lives. In 1766 Bougainville accepted 618,000 pounds as indemnity. The French never claimed rights to the Falkland Islands again and on April 1767 Spain took over Louis Port and renamed it to Port Soledad.

The British claim

John Byron

But the British also had their eye set on the islands, and three months after the foundation of the first Port, an expedition in charge of John Byron set sail from England under utmost secrecy as to avoid Spanish claims. In 1765 Byron arrived in the Islands that he named Falklands and claimed them for his Majesty King George III of Great Britain. He settled on a place he named Port Egmont and never even knew about the French Colony.

When the English court heard the news of John Byron's success they decided to send another expedition in order to make a more permanent settlement. Captain John McBride's expedition arrives in Port Egmont in 1766. To his surprise he was informed of the French settlement and they finally found it in December of the same year

The Conflict

When the French colony in Falklands was transfered to Spain, the Spanish court wanted to throw the British out and orders the General Captain of Buenos Aires Francisco Bucareli to fight and kick out any British settlement. They Brits and Spaniards finally see each other face to face in The Falklands Islands in 1770, when captain Ruvalcaba in charge of a Spanish Frigate actually found Port Egmont.

Hunt, the English captain and Ruvalcaba threatened each other and both commanded the other to leave immediately, but it was not to be, as each of them believed they had claims to the Falklands in name of their respective kingss, but they didn't open fire

Bucareli, unhappy with the situation ordered an expedition to throw out the Brits under the command of Juan Ignacio de Madariaga. On the 10th of June Port Egmont surrendered after only a few shots. Britain of course, was less than thrilled when they heard of the news, and they decided this was an offense against honor

The Resolution

By August 1770 Spain and Britain were almost at war. France should have supported Spain after signing the Family Pact in 1761 in which both countries pledged mutual support in perpetuity, but now seemed doubtful. Without the French support Spain gave in and offer to keep the Islands' status quo as before of 1770. Some Spanish aristocrats spoke of a secret promise that Great Britain would leave the Falkland Islands after their honour was restored, but this promise has never been proven.