British to the core

There are no native trees or mammals in the Falkland Islands, but there are lots of sheep. In fact, the sheep has pride of place on the island’s coat of arms – no surprise, since it is the third most important local industry. The mostly barren islands are home to about 60 species of birds, including five penguin species. Not only, but the elephant seal, the fur seal, and sea lions all like to breed there. The maritime sub-arctic to polar tundra climate, means it’s usually cold and nearly constantly windy and wet, with an average of 270 days of rainfall a year. Of the 776 islands in the Falklands archipelago, only two are inhabited by the roughly 3,000 or so islanders, also known as “kelpers,” fully fledged British residents according to the British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act of 1983 – and intend to remain so, as evidenced by the recent referendum in which 99.8% voted in favor of remaining British. In clear disaccord with the Argentinian government, of course, which in fact claims them as their own, offering full citizenship, passport, and national documents of identification to anyone born on the islands. But who’s right? Although the islands lie approximately 450 km northeast of the southerly tip of Tierra del Fuego, supporting the geographical argument, they have been part of the British Overseas Territories since Britain in it’s great tradition of claiming territories with a flag, left a plaque there claiming its ownership in 1774. Still, this doesn’t seem to wash very well with the Argentinians, especially now that  sizeable deposits of oil have been found near the islands. Yet despite their theatrical ways of acquiring it, the Brits take their territoriality seriously, as evidenced by the “undeclared” war of 1982, when the Argentinian army invaded the Falklands, claiming them as their own and hoping the English would just give them up.
No chance, seems to be the answer.