Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)

And speaking of islands that belong to people who have no obvious grounds to own them, and which are thousands, literally thousands of miles away, Las Malvinas, or the Thatcher Islands as they are now known in Argentine military circles. Argentina has actually been claiming sovereignty since the Spanish left in 1811, which is almost a century longer than Madagascar has been claiming Europa Island. The British took it in 1833 and kicked out the Argentine garrison, since which time they have used it as a military base (not a lot of wars in that part of the world, except the one over Las Malvinas, but you never know when the polar bears might declare Islam and decide to establish a Chalifa). Oil exploration is of course the real reason; everyone who can wants to grab a slice of the Antarctic, so they can legally justify digging up the ice for any minerals that might be underneath it. The population is essentially Brits who went out to colonise, or were sent on military duty and remained, but there is little for them to do there except sheep farming, fishing and watching the penguins breed.

If you are interested in learning more about the stupidest war in history, the one in which the Argentine military who needed something glorious to support their fascist dictatorship invaded Las Malvinas to win it back for the nation, not anticipating that "Daggers"*, or Lady Thatcher, or Her Majesty Queen Margaret as she liked to address herself in private, would send an entire navy across ten thousand miles of ocean to claim them back again for Britain, in order to bolster her collapsing government...if you are interested in learning more, click here.

* "Daggers" was the private name, used by Cabinet colleagues behind her back. It is complicated. Daggers are a type of knife, often used for stabbing people in the back; this was a part of it. Daggers is short for Dagenham, and on London Underground's Central Line, Dagenham is one stop on from Barking. To describe someone as "barking" is slightly stronger than describing them as "mad", though clearly not as strong as calling them "daggers" behind their back.

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