Falklands War 40th anniversary: What was it about and how many people died in the conflict?

·3-min read
Falklands War 40th anniversary: What was it about and how many people died in the conflict?

The Falklands War took place 40 years ago today, and it saw Britain liberate the Falkland Islands from Argentine rule after they had been seized.

On the 40th anniversary of the conflict, we take a look back at some of the facts and figures behind the war.

How many people died in the Falkland War?

Pictured Crosses at the memorial (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)
Pictured Crosses at the memorial (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

The Falklands War began on April 2, 1982, and after 74 days of fighting, it came to a close on June 14, 1982. By the time fighting was over, the British suffered 255 losses, 775 were wounded, and 115 were captured.

Argentina lost 649 military personnel as well as 1,657 wounded and 11,313 captured. Three Falkland Island civilians were killed by friendly fire when British forces shelled the islands.

Since the Falklands War, the only other conflict that has seen the British forces suffer the same amount of losses was in Afghanistan.

What was the Falklands War?

Veterans and members of the 2nd Battalion the Scots Guards (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)
Veterans and members of the 2nd Battalion the Scots Guards (Peter Byrne/PA) (PA Wire)

The Falklands War was a conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom, over the sovereignty of two British territories, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

After seizing control of the islands in 1883, the UK rejected claims of Argentina's ownership of the islands ever since, and, when plans to transfer the islands to Argentina broke in 1968, islanders lobbied against the move, upsetting the scheme.

In 1982, in a junta led by Lieut. Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, Argentina launched an invasion.

How long did the conflict last?

A series of lectures, memorials and other events are to be held to mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War (Cathal McNaughton/PA) (PA Wire)
A series of lectures, memorials and other events are to be held to mark the 40th anniversary of the end of the Falklands War (Cathal McNaughton/PA) (PA Wire)

The conflict lasted approximately 10 weeks or 74 days in total, and it saw 10,000 Argentinian troops stationed on the Falklands.

At the time, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher responded by sending a naval task force of two aircraft carriers, and two cruise ships to be used as troop carriers.

Where are the Falkland Islands?

A Royal Navy sailor manning an anti-aircraft gun aboard HMS Hermes as the British Taskforce sails south to the Falkland Islands (PA) (PA Archive)
A Royal Navy sailor manning an anti-aircraft gun aboard HMS Hermes as the British Taskforce sails south to the Falkland Islands (PA) (PA Archive)

The Falkland Islands are an internally self-governing set of islands, also called the Malvinas Islands or the Spanish Islas Malvinas.

They are located 400 miles off the southeast coast of South America and consist of approximately 740 islands. The largest islands are called East Falkland and West Falkland, and Capital Stanley is located on the former.

They are a United Kingdom territory by choice, with the UK having no doubts over their rights to sovereignty, as well as supporting the islander’s rights of self-determination.

When did the UK gain control of the Falkland Islands?

The United Kingdom first gained control of the Falkland Islands when the British Board of Trade saw the establishment of new colonies and trade with them as a way of expanding manufacturing jobs.

The Foreign and Colonial Offices agreed to take on the Falklands as one of those colonies, and in May 1840, a permanent colony was established in the Falklands.

Historically, Argentina has laid claim to the Falkland Islands and has said that it inherited them from the Spanish Crown in 1767. But, it claimed that in 1833 the islands were seized by Britain.

In the past, the UK said that it established a settlement there, while never relinquishing sovereignty, however, the South American nation refutes this story.

Most Argentinians agree with the Government’s stance, which maintains that the Falkland Islands belong to Argentina, where they’re known as Las Malvinas.

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