History of the discovery of the Falkland Islands
The history of the discovery of the Falkland Islands is somewhat complicated, as there are claims that a number of different explorers first sighted one or other of the many Islands, which make up the group. It is generally agreed that two of the earliest sightings were those made by the British sea captain John Davis in his ship Desire in 1592 and by the Dutch navigator Sebald De Weert in 1600.
In 1690 the English sailor John Strong, in the vessel Welfare made the first recorded landing on the Falklands. He then sailed between the two main islands of East and West Falkland and named the channel Falkland Sound after the fifth Viscount Falkland, Treasurer of the Navy.
Louis De Bougainville
The French navigator Louis De Bougainville made the first settlement on the Falkland Islands in 1764, at a site on East Falkland he named Fort St. Louis, in later years to become known as Port Louis. In 1765, unaware of Bougainville's settlement Captain John Byron, on a British naval expedition, surveyed the area around Port Egmont on Saunders Island and took possession of the Falklands in the name of King George III. The following year Captain John MacBride established a British settlement at Port Egmont. At the same time, the Spanish government forced the French to withdraw from the Falklands and took over Bougainville's settlement at Port Louis. In 1770 the Spanish attacked Port Egmont and expelled the British. Under the terms of a Peace Treaty in 1771 the British returned, but both sides continued to claim sovereignty of the Islands. Due to the costs of the American War of Independence, Britain withdrew from the Falklands in 1774, leaving behind a plaque asserting her claims. The Spanish maintained their settlement until 1811, when they too left the Islands.
During the following years, Argentina declared independence from Spain and also laid claim to the Falklands. In 1820 an American privateer, David Jewett, raised the flag of the United Provinces of the River Plate at Port Louis, but his occupation lasted little over six months. In 1826 Louis Vemet, a merchant of French origin, established a new settlement at Port Louis under license from the Buenos Aires government. But in 1831, he arrested three American sealing ships and in revenge the American war ship Lexington destroyed the defenses of the settlement and declared the Falklands free of all government.
In 1832 Buenos Aires sent a small military detachment to Port Louis, mainly deportees serving a term of punishment, but they had only been there a month when there was a mutiny and Mestivier, the garrison commander, was murdered. The murderers were being pursued by the Argentine armed schooner Sarandi, commanded by Don Jose Maria Pinedo, when the Royal Navy ships HMS Clio and HMS Tyne arrived at Port Louis, having been dispatched to re-enforce the British claim to the Falklands. On 2nd January 1833 Captain Onslow of the Clio informed Pinedo that he intended to raise the British flag, and made the request to Pinedo to "haul down your flag on shore, and withdraw your forces, taking with you all stores etc. belonging to your Government".
On the morning of 3rd January, despite Pinedo's protests, the British flag was raised and the Argentine flag returned to Pinedo, who departed in the Sarandi two days later, with seven men later executed for the murder of Mestivier, and the remainder of the militia.
This marks the beginning of permanent British settlement in the Falkland Islands. This new issue shows Captain Onslow and the British contingent raising the Union flag with the Clio in the background.
The 200p souvenir sheet shows an image of the ceremony with Captain Onslow picked out in the actual stamp. The 27p shows one of the sailors raising the flag, whilst the 65p shows three Royal Marines. The images on the stamps are taken from the surround of the souvenir sheet.
Postage stamps in detail
Issue: Falkland Islands, 22 September 2008
Stamp design: Victor Ambrus
Print: Stochastic Lithography by BDT International
Perforation: 14 per 2cms
Stamps size: 27p and 65p 28.45 x 42.58mm, 200p 105 x 63mm
More information Postage Stamps
Postage Stamps 2008
Postage stamps of Falkland Islands
Southern Elephant Seal
Anniversary RAF on Falkland Islands 2008