Has Argentina ever defeated Great Britain in battle?



After six weeks of military defeat by British forces, Argentina finally surrendered to Great Britain on June 14, 1982, thus ending the Falklands War.

Settlement of the Falkland Islands


The Falkland Islands are around 500km off the southern tip of Argentina and were occupied by the British for a long time. The English navigator John Davis is said to have sighted the islands in 1592 and according to records, the British captain John Strong set foot on the archipelago for the first time in 1690. He named her after Viscount Falkland, who at the time led the British Navy.

In 1764, the French navigator Louis-Antoine de Bougainville founded the first human settlement on the eastern island, which was taken over by the Spanish three years later. In 1765 the British had occupied the western half of the island, but left a few years later for economic reasons. The Spaniards gave up their settlement in 1811. Five years later, in 1816, Argentina proclaimed its independence from Spain and in 1820 declared the Falkland Islands to be Argentine territory.


Historically contested


The Argentines built a fort on the eastern island, but it was destroyed by the United States in 1832 in retaliation for the seizure of US ships in the area.

In 1833 British forces expelled the remaining Argentine officers from the island and began their military occupation. In 1841 a British lieutenant was appointed governor and by 1880 the meanwhile 1,800 people on the island were able to support themselves.

In 1892 the windy island was given colony status. For the next 90 years, life in the Falkland Islands did not change much for residents, although Argentina repeatedly tried to regain control of the islands.

In 1981, the 1,800 Falcon countries, most of whom were sheep farmers, voted in a referendum to remain part of Great Britain and it seemed unlikely that the Falkland Islands would ever come under Argentina again.


Argentina under pressure


In Argentina, the military, led by Lieutenant General Leopoldo Galtieri, was exposed to criticism of the prevailing oppressive rules and the country's economic governance. In order to appeal to the patriotism of the population and thereby strengthen the regime, Galtieri planned a military move. On April 2nd, the large-scale invasion of the Falkland Islands began.

The Argentine forces quickly defeated the small garrison of British marines at Stanley on the Eastern Island and took the dependent territories of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Group the following day.


Britain strikes back


There were no deaths on the orders of their commander, but the British government was furious and then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher unceremoniously put together a naval mission consisting of 30 warships to recapture the islands.

With the UK being nearly 8,000 miles from the Falkland Islands, it took a few weeks for the warships to reach their destination. On April 25th, South Georgia Island was retaken and after some intense sea battles, British troops were able to enter the eastern island on May 21st.


Falkland Islands again under the British Crown


After several weeks of fighting, the great Argentine garrison on Stanley finally surrendered. The conflict ended on June 14th. Britain lost five ships and 256 soldiers to re-annex the Falkland Islands to the United Kingdom. On the Argentine side, 750 soldiers lost their lives.

Humiliated by the defeat in the Falklands War, the Argentine military lost power over the country in 1983 and the people ruled again. Margaret Thatcher, however, enjoyed increased popularity after the conflict and her Conservative Party won the parliamentary elections in the same year with an overwhelming majority.


Memorial to the war in the Falkland Islands

Memorial to the Falkland Islands War