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Last updated:18 June 2015

Falklands War

The Falklands War was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands. The Falklands (Islas Malvinas to Argentineans) consist of two large and several small islands in the South Atlantic Ocean east of Argentina. The sovereignty of these islands had long been disputed. The conflict started on 2 April 1982 with the Argentine invasion of the islands and ended with Argentine surrender on 14 June 1982.

Neither state ever officially declared war.  Fighting was largely limited to the territories under dispute and the South Atlantic.  The initial invasion was considered by Argentina as the re-occupation of its own territory, and by the UK as an invasion of a British overseas territory.  Since World War Two Great Britain had been painfully coming to terms with the loss of its Empire. The Falklands War resuscitated a sentimental attitude to Empire and a sense of antagonism towards foreigners interfering in British interests.

The Argentine loss of the war encouraged protests against the military regime and is credited with giving the final push to drive out the military government.  For the British, the war cost  in casualties, equipment and money.  Overall however the campaign was considered a great victory and it undoubtedly boosted the popularity of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and played a role in her re-election in 1983.

It has emerged that there are huge reserves of oil and gas in the seas surrounding the Falklands, and some have suggested that this may have been the real reason for the war.

Although our collection focuses on the UK and Ireland, the Library does also hold material relating to colonialism, and information that shows how important events in other countries affected people in the UK - find out more here.