The Falkland Islands – History & Timeline

Falkland Wars 1480 – now!

1480 – 1768 Age of Discovery

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1481 – in June, a Papal Bull, Aeterni regis, issued by Pope Sixtis IV, confirms the Treaty of Alcáçovas 1479 between Castile (Spain) and Portugal. Four agreements had been reached at Alcáçovas one of which recognised two zones of influence. Castile’s sovereignty over the Canary Islands was confirmed while Portugal gained the right to explore, conquer and trade in the Atlantic to the south of the Canaries; The lands discovered and to be discovered, found and to be found … and all the islands already discovered and to be discovered, and any other island which might be found and conquered from the Canary islands beyond toward Guinea.”

1491 – ships leave Bristol;in search of the island of Brasil and the seven cities.”

1492 – October 12th, the Castillian expedition seeking a westerly route to China, led by Christopher Columbus, sights land 5 weeks after leaving the Canary Islands.

1493 – March 4th, Columbus, returning to Spain, arrives in Lisbon where the Portuguese King, John II, first hears of the new discovery. Portugal promptly claims the new land as theirs under the terms of the  Treaty of Alcáçovas 1479. Castile disgrees and petitions the Pope, a Valencian born Roderic Llançol i de Borja.

May 4th, Pope Alexander VI issues the Inter caetera, which divides the New World between Castile and Portugal by establishing a north-south line of demarcation 100 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. Undiscovered non-Christian lands to the west of the line are to be Castillian possessions and those to the east belong to Portugal.

It was part of Augustinian theory that, the world belonging to God, mankind held no more than a right of user to the land. It was for the Pope as God’s representative on Earth to grant rights to lands not already part of Christendom… There was no immediate political confrontation over the Papal grants. England was only just emerging from years of civil war. In a cautious way Henry VII steered a course between acknowledging Portuguese and Spanish rights on the one hand, and attempting to limit those rights to territories which had already been discovered and were in the possession of those state.“ (Greig 1983)

1494Portuguese threats prompt the Castillian King to propose a conference between the two crowns and their representatives meet in the town of Tordesillas.

On June 7th, the two sides sign the Treaty of Tordesillas with the line of demarcation now relocated to a position 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands. [This conference, and the subsequent Treaty, show that Rome’s authority could be challenged; that the Pope thought otherwise is probably indicated in his refusal to recognise the agreement for 15 years. The Falklands lay within the area granted to Castile, while South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands were within Portugal’s sphere of influence.] The agreement is not recognised by other European States nor, for 15 years, by the Pope. Pacta tertiis nec nocent nec prosunt’ (a treaty binds the parties and only the parties).

The 1493 Bull forbad “any persons of whatever dignity” from approaching “for the purpose of trade or for any other reason” any lands discovered in the areas concerned without the licence of Portugal or Spain. Not surprisingly this admonition was taken by those two States to carry with it a right of exclusive access by sea to the areas in question. In the Treaty of Tordesillas this interpretation was spelt out in the form of an undertaking that neither would enter the region allocated to the other with the intention of discovering, trading with or conquering territories that might lie within that region.” (Greig 1983)

.. the scanty international code of the Middle Ages could deal with questions of vassalage and supremacy, and settle the legal effects of the conquest or cessation of territory; but it was powerless to decide what acts were necessary in order to obtain dominion over newly discovered territory, or how great an extent of country could be acquired by one act of discovery or colonization.” [Lawrence 1905]

1496 – March 5th, aware that new lands lie undiscovered to the west, and in defiance of the pretensions of Rome, Spain and Portugal, King Henry VII issues Letters Patent to John Cabot for an expedition: Be it known and made manifest that we have given and granted … to our well- beloved John Cabot, citizen of Venice, and to Lewis, Sebastian and Sancio, sons of the said John, … full and free authority, faculty and power to sail to all parts, regions and coasts of the eastern, western and northern sea, under our banners, flags and ensigns, with five ships or vessels of whatsoever burden and quality they may be, and with so many and with such mariners and men as they may wish to take with them in the said ships, at their own proper costs and charges, to find, discover and investigate whatsoever islands, countries, regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world placed, which before this time were unknown to all Christians. .. And that the before-mentioned John and his sons … may conquer, occupy and possess whatsoever such towns, castles, cities and islands by them thus discovered that they may be able to conquer, occupy and possess, as our vassals and governors lieutenants and deputies therein, acquiring for us the dominion, title and jurisdiction of the same towns, castles, cities, islands and mainlands discovered;..”

Cabot sails from Bristol in the summer of 1496, but encounters bad weather and returns.

1497 – May 2nd, Cabot sails from Bristol for a second time.

June 24th, Cabot sights land; This year, on St. John the Baptist’s Day, the land of America was found by the Merchants of Bristow in a shippe of Bristowe, called the Mathew; the which said the ship departed from the port of Bristowe, the second day of May, and came home again the 6th of August next following.”

Cabot lands and claims the new discovery for the King of England.

Columbus seeks information regarding Cabot’s discovery which may be a challenge to the monopoly Castile believes that it holds to lands discovered to the west of the Tordesillas line. [ Columbus is believed to have gained details of the voyage from a Bristol merchant – John Day.]

1498 – July 25th, the Spanish Ambassador, Don Pedro de Ayala, writes to the Court of Spain; I think your Majesties have already heard that the King of England has equipped a fleet in order to discover certain islands and continents, which he was informed [by] some people from Bristol, who manned a few ships for the same purpose last year, had found. I have seen the map which the discoverer has made, who is another Genoese like Columbus, and who has been in Seville and in Lisbon asking assistance for his discoveries. The people of Bristol have, for the last seven years, sent out every year two, three, or four light ships, in search of the island of Brazil and the seven cities, according to the fancy of this Genoese … I have seen on a chart the direction which they took and the distance they sailed, and I think that what they have found, or what they are in search of, is what Your Highnesses already possess. … I write this because the King of England has often spoken to me on this subject, and he thinks that Your Highnesses will take great interest in it. . . . I told him that, in my opinion, the land was already in the possession of Your Majesties; but though I gave him my reasons, he did not like them. I believe that your Highnesses are already informed of this matter; and I do not now send the carta, or mapa mundi which that man has made, and which, according to my opinion, is false, since it makes it appear as if the land in question was not the said islands.”

1499 – William Weston sails from Bristol to explore the new lands.

1500 – March 9th, a Portuguese expedition led by the navigator Cabral sails south from Lisbon intending to round Cape Horn.

April 22nd, sailing to the west of Africa to take advantage of the trade winds, the vessels stray so far that they sight a coast – Brazil; “.. the Portuguese had almost certainly been aware of the existence of the South American continent some years before Columbus made his voyage. Although it cannot be proved, it is very probable that Cabral had received instructions to visit this new land on his way to India.” (Hunter-Christie 1951)

1501 – March 19th, Letters Patent, issued by Henry VII, grant permission to Richard Warde, Thomas Ashurst and John Thomas, of Bristol; “to undertake explorations in the west.”

May 13th, another Portuguese expedition, with the Florentine astronomer Amerigo Vespucci aboard the flagship as an observer, sails from Lisbon looking to follow up Cabral’s discoveries.

1502 –  the Portuguese expedition arrives on the Brazilian coast at 5º south latitude. The ships sail south down the coast of South America.

It has been asserted, that Americus Vespucius saw these islands in 1502, but if the account of Americus himself is authentic, he could not have explored farther south than the right bank of La Plata. In 1501-2 Americus Vespucius, then employed by the King of Portugal, sailed 600 leagues south and 150 leagues west from Cape San Agostinho (lat. 8° 20′ S.) along the coast of a country then named Terra Sancte Crucis. His account of longitude may be very erroneous, but how could his latitude have erred thirteen degrees in this his southernmost voyage? … If the Portuguese or any other people actually traced or even discovered portions of coast south of the Plata before 1512, it appears strange that so remarkable an estuary, one hundred and twenty miles across, should have been overlooked; especially as soundings extend two hundred miles seaward of its entrance:—and that the world should have no clear record of its having been discovered prior to the voyage of Juan de Solis, in 1512. Vespucius has already robbed Columbus and his predecessor, Cabot, of the great honour of affixing their names to the New World—shall he also be tacitly permitted to claim even the trifling distinction of discovering the Falklands, when it is evident that he could not have seen them?” (Fitzroy 1839)

…we believe it very improbable that Vespucci discovered the Malvinas.” (Destefani 1982)

1506 – the Pope grants official recognition to the Treaty of Tordesillas

1507 – islands near South America, indicated as close to the 50º parallel, appear in a map by a German cartographer, Martin Waldseemuller.

1515 – Johannes Schöner, another German, prints a globe showing a strait, at 53º south latitude, between the southern tip of America and the land to the south.

1516 – Juan Diaz de Solis, a Spanish navigator, steps ashore on land to the south of the Rio de la Plata

1519 – August 10th, Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer employed by Spain, sets sail for South America in his quest to find a western route to the spice islands of the Pacific.

December 13th, on reaching the coast of Brazil, Magellan’s fleet turns south, hugging the coast.

1520 – January 10th, Magellan’s expedition arrives at the Rio de la Plata. Sailing south, Magellan sights what he believes to be an island or islands. 

“ … nothing is mentioned of such a discovery in the famous Diaries of Antonio de Pigafeta, the Piloto Albo, nor in what is related by Maxiliano de Taancilvano, which can be found in the “Collection of Documents” in Navarrete’s and other editions. They are the only complete and contemporary accounts of the voyage.” (Destefani 1982)

There is ample evidence that Magellan’s expedition did not visit the Islands … the Falklands were first sighted by an otherwise unknown Portuguese expedition in around 1518-19, which explored the north coast and sailed down Falklands Sound but did not see any outlying islands.” (Pascoe 2008) [Pigafetta, the official chronicler of Magellan’s voyage, was not called to the Valladolid enquiry into the expedition. Had he done so then he would have confirmed that the islands that Magellan had discovered lay above 50° S latitude, and as Magellan’s expedition hugged the South American coast these could not have been the Falkland Islands. In 1540, a Spanish publication known as Islario by Santa Cruz referred to Yslas de Sanson y de Patos, described as being 18 leagues (54 miles) off the South American coast; which some commentators have since claimed to have been the Falkland Islands. This assumes that early navigators could not tell the difference between 18 leagues, and 100 leagues.]

In Europe, Johannes Schöner prints a globe on which the archipelago is named the Maiden Group.

October 21st, the expedition arrives at the mouth of the strait which they enter on November 1st.

November 20th, Estêvão Gomes, a Portuguese captain with Magellan, deserts the expedition and returns to Spain on board the San Antonio. [ It has been claimed that Gomez encountered islands near the coast of South America which members of his crew named the ‘Islas de Sansón y de los Patos’. None of the chroniclers aboard the vessel make mention of this discovery however, and Spain did not raise it before 1765; and then produced no evidence in support of it either.] 

Ratto has supposed that Gomez, on leaving the Straits, bound for the Cape of Good Hope, discovered the Malvinas. This is not so; the documents of the hearings show that he did not set sail for the Cape but for the Guineas… Neither is anything is anything said about the discovery of the islands in the testimony given by 53 members of his crew during the hearings.” (Destefani 1982)

1522 – September 6th, the battered remains of Magellan’s expedition arrive back in Spain.

… no log of Magellan’s voyage survived and the map-makers of the time had to rely on word of mouth and memory of the survivors when they eventually returned to Spain…” (Cawkell 1983)

Portuguese cartographer Pedro Reinel ‘s Circolus Antarcticus chart shows a group of islands near to 50º parallel.

1529 – cartographer Diego Ribeiro calls the archipelago the Ascension Islands on his world map.

In Diego de Ribero’s charts of 1529, a group of islands appears which are named “Sanson.” They are 8 or 9 islands which could be the Malvinas. Others which are called “de los Patos” are very close to the coast. The Sanson islands are quite a lot further North (49º S) than the Malvinas (51º S) and a little more than half the distance to the coast.” (Destefani 1982)

1536 – February 2nd, a settlement on the Rio de la Plata is founded by Pedro de Mendoza and is named Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre.

1540 – January, three vessels of the Francisco de Camargo expedition attempt an east-west crossing of Magellan’s Strait. Two ships become lost.

A stronger claim for discovery could be put forward on behalf of a Spaniard, Alonso de Camargo, in 1540. One of the ships from his expedition, which had been sent out by the Bishop of Plasencia, may have sailed close to the archipelago and may even have sent some men ashore, for the accounts, although confused and confusing, contain descriptions of the shore, birds and seals that corresponded to those of the Falklands.” (Dunmore 2005) [It is occasionally suggested that one of the ‘lost‘ ships was blown “60 miles” from the coast and overwintered in the Falkland Islands. The latitude given for this was 41º 06′, which would put the location off the Rio Negro, and as the Falkland’s archipelago are more than three times that distance from South America, this claim appears unfounded]

1541 – the settlement is abandoned following repeated attacks by Indians.

Following objections to French exploration of the Americas, expressed by Spain’s Carlos V, François I declares; “The sun shines for me as for others and I would like to see the clause in Adam’s testament which excludes me from a share in the world.”

1549 – Spain establishes the Gobernación del Río de la Plata to administer its lands around the River.

1562 – the archipelago appears in Diego Gutiérrez’s map as the Ascension Islands.

1571 – Fernao Vaz Dourado’s map shows the archipelago.

FD1577 – November 15th, Francis Drake sets out on an expedition to the South Seas.

1579 – June 17th, after passing through the Magellan Strait and sailing up the Pacific coast of South America, Drake claims land on the western coast of North America for England; naming it New Albion.

The unexpected appearance of Drake in the South Seas was a matter of serious alarm to the Spaniards. Their exclusive navigation of that Ocean was now gone; .. they perceived that henceforth they would have to contend for their riches with a powerful and ambitious enemy.”

1580 – September 26th, Drake arrives back in England having circumnavigated the world. His ship’s hold is full of gold, silver and jewels taken from Spanish treasure ships.

Bernardino de Mendoza, Spanish Ambassador to the Court of St. James, complains about English ships in ‘Spanish’ seas; making an angry and vehement demand for satisfaction. Queen Elizabeth I responds; ” .. she would not persuade herself that [the Indies] are the rightful property of Spanish donation of the Pope of Rome in whom she acknowledged no prerogative in matters of this kind, much less authority to bind Princes who owe him no obedience; or to make that New World as it were a fief for the Spaniards … and that only on the ground that Spaniards have touched here and there, have erected shelters, have given names to a river or promontory; acts which cannot confer property. So that … this imaginary proprietorship ought not to hinder other princes from carrying on commerce in these regions, and from establishing Colonies where Spaniards are not residing, without the least violation of the law of nations. … every nation had a right by the law of nature to freely navigate those seas and transport colonies to those parts where the Spaniards do not inhabit.”

The view so strongly asserted by Elizabeth did have the support of the civil law. In the middle of the fourteenth century, Bartolus had linked the Roman rules of private law for the acquisition of dominium over a newly created island by occupation (the taking possession of a res nullius with the intention of acquiring ownership) to the acquisition of imperium or sovereignty over it by a prince or ruler through a similar process.”  (Greig 1983)

1582 – November 2nd, disturbed by Drake’s successes, an expedition consisting of 23 ships and 2,500 men under Diego Flores Valdés is sent to the south Atlantic. Valdés re-founds a Spanish settlement on the Rio de la Plata and calls its harbour there – ‘Puerto de Santa María de los Buenos Aires.’

1586 – André de Thévet, a Frenchman, produces an engraved map showing the Falklands. Thévet claims that his work is based on a Portuguese original.

December 17th, Thomas Cavendish sails into an estuary on the South American coast at 45° 47′ south latitude; and names the natural port there after his ship, Desire.

1588 – Spain sends an Armada to invade Britain. The attempt is thwarted by good seamanship, good luck, bad weather and a resolute Queen; “ .. I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation or sport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down, for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honor and my blood, even the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a king of England, too; …”

1591 – August 26th, Cavendish, in Leicester Galleon, sails from Plymouth for the south Atlantic with orders to round the Horn seek the fabled North-West Passage from the Pacific side. He is accompanied by four other ships including a pinnace, Black, under Capt. Toby Stafford and Desire commanded by Capt. John Davis.

1592 – May 20th, the Desire and the pinnace Black, under Capt. Toby Stafford, lose contact with Cavendish during the night. Davis decides to return to Port desire in the hope that Cavendish will also go there. Cavendish believes that Davis has taken an opportunity to abandon the expedition.

August 7th, Desire and Black sail from Port Desire having abandoned the wait for Cavendish.

August 14th, Davis is; “.. driven in among certain isles never before discovered by any known relation, lying fifty leagues or better from the shore, east and northerly from the Straits …”

.. while the explorer who is generally credited with a discovery may not have been the first to see land in that spot, the modern historian is bound to give credit only to those who have left more or less accurate records…” (Hunter-Christie 1951)

1593 – Richard Hawkins is commissioned; “To attempt some enterprise with a ship, bark, and pinnace against the king of Spain, his subjects, and adherents upon the coasts of the West Indies, Brazil, Africa, and America, or in the South seas, …

June 11th, Davis arrives in Berehaven, Ireland with just 4 other survivors.

June 13th, Hawkins sails from Plymouth with three ships, Daintie, Fancy and a storeship, Hawk.

1594 – February 2nd, Hawkins, blown off course by a storm, sees a group of islands; “… about nine of the clocke in the morning, wee descried land, which bare South-West of us, which we looked not for so timely and coming neerer and neerer unto it, by the lying, wee could not conjecture what land it could be….It hath great Rivers of fresh waters; for the out-shoot of them colours the Sea … The Land, for that it was discovered in the Reigne of Queene Elizabeth, my Sovereigne Lady and Mistris, and a Mayden Queene, and at my cost and adventure, in a perpetual memory of her chastitie, and remembrance of my endevours, I gave it the name of Hawkins Maiden land … the Westernmost part lyeth some threescore leagues from the neerest Land of America.”

John Ellis, one of the Captains with Hawkins’ expedition, notes; “.. wee fell in with the land of Terra Australis, in 50 degrees, 55 leagues off the straits of Magellan, which land lay East North-east from the Straite, which is a part of Terra Australis: from which land wee entered the Straite upon the West South-west course.”

The most noteworthy event during the voyage across the Atlantic was the sighting of land of which Hawkins believed himself to be the first discoverer, and which he named “Hawkins’s maiden-land.” … in latitude, according to Hawkins, about 49º 30′ S. Hawkins wrote from memory, and fortunately he is corrected, as regards his latitude, by one of his officers named Ellis, who tells us that the land was in 50º S and about fifty leagues off the Strait of Magellan. “ (Markham 1878)

Hawkins sees a prominent rock to the north of the islands; “This rock was seen by Hawkins, and named by him ‘White Conduit.’ Now it is called Eddystone.” (Fitzroy 1839)

Hawkins sails back to South America and passes through Magellan’s Strait en-route to Peru.

June 22nd, after a 3 day battle with Spanish forces in the Bay of San Mateo, Hawkins is captured.

The French claimed the honour of having made the original discovery but Frézier, a French author, whose relation of a voyage to the South-Sea was published at Paris in 1716, admits that “ces Isles sont sans doute les memes que celles que le Chevalier Richard Hawkins decouvrit en 1593” and his admission has been adopted by MalteBrun, his countryman, the inimitable Geographer of modern times.” (Francis Baylie to Manuel Vicente de Maza, July 10th, 1832.)

[Held in Spanish prisons for 8 years, Hawkins’ account of his voyage was not published until after his death although it was probably composed around 1603. Some of his observations, such as sightings of fires, have resulted in doubts as to what exactly he did see – the Falklands, or some part of the mainland. Cape Tres Puntas was suggested by Commander B. M. Chambers in Can “Hawkins Maidenland” Be Identified as the Falkland Islands, (The Geographical Journal vol.17 No.4 Apr 1901) which was cited by M. Paul Groussac in his work ‘Les Isles Malouines’ (1910). However, H. Henniker-Heaton in Did Sir Richard Hawkins Visit the Falkland Islands (the Geographical Journal vol.67 No.1 Jan 1926), argued that Hawkins had indeed seen the Falklands following a professional assessment by round-the-world yachtsman, Connor O’Brien. Chambers defended his 1901 conclusion in Hawkins Maiden Land and the Falkland Islands: A reply … (The Geographical Journal vol.67 No.6 June 1926), in which Chambers accused Hawkins of “cooking” the bearings. Ellis’ supporting account merits no mention which is surprising.]

1600 – January 24th, Dutchman, Sebald de Weerdt, a vice-admiral of the Dutch East India Company makes the first accurate charting of the Islands’ location; We found three small islets to windward, not marked on any maps, which we named the Sebaldine islands. These are in lat. 50 deg. 40’S., sixty leagues from the continent, and contained abundance of penguins, but we could not catch any having no boat.”

1604 – August 28th, the Treaty of London between England and Spain brings peace after nineteen years of the Anglo-Spanish War. England agrees to curtail the activities of its privateers in the West Indies while Spain agrees to freedom of commerce as it stood before the war started.

As to trade with the Indies, the treaty remained intentionally ambiguous. It simply declared that commerce could be resumed it had taken place before the war. The Spanish believed that this clause boiled down to a general exclusion. The English took it as an authorization to trade outside the existing Spanish dominions. Neither side thought it prudent to seek further clarification.”

At the time the Treaty of London was concluded in 1604, James I asserted that England would respect Spain’s monopoly of trade and settlements in all territories effectively occupied by her but could recognise non in unoccupied territory. At this point in time the unoccupied Falkland Islands were a thousand miles away from the nearest point of the Spanish Vice-Royalty.”

1606 – James I founds the Virginia Company to establish settlements on the east coast of North America.

1612 – Don Pedro de Cuñega, Spanish Ambassador to the English Court, demands that England removes its colonies in the Americas.

June 20th, England’s representative in Madrid, Sir John Digby, writes to London;“They are very much displeased with our new discovery of the North-West passage, but more particularly with our Plantation of Virginia, which they stick not now to say, that if his Majesty will not cause it to be recalled, this King will be forced by a strong hand to essay the removal of it; and I hear that Don Pedro de Cunega hath commission to move his Majesty that his subjects may desist from any farther proceeding therein. If he have, I doubt not but he will receive a cold answer, and for their doing anything by the way of hostility, I conceive they will be very slow to give England (who is very apt to lay hold on any occasion) so just a pretence to be doing with them.”

1616 – January 18th, the Dutch ship Eentacht, under William Schouten, sights the islands.

1648 – January 30th, a Treaty of Peace is signed between Philip IV, Catholic King of Spain, and their Lordships the States General of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, limiting the Treaty of Tordesillas.

“The navigation and trade to the East and West Indies shall be kept up and conformably to the grants made or to be made for that effect; for the security whereof the present treaty shall serve, and the Ratification thereof on both sides, which shall be obtained; and in the said treaty shall be comprehended all potentates, nations, and people, with whom the said Lords the King and States, or members of the East and West India Companies in their name, within the limits of their said grants, are in friendship and alliance. And each one, that is to say, the said Lords the King and States, respectively, shall remain in possession of and enjoy such lordships, towns, castles, fortresses, commerce and countries of the East and West Indies, as well as of Brazil, and on the coasts of Asia, Africa, and America, respectively, which the said Lords the King and States, respectively, hold and possess, in this being specially comprised the spots and places which the Portuguese since the year 1641 have taken from the said Lords the States and occupied, comprising also the spots and places which the said Lords the States hereafter without infraction of the present treaty shall come to conquer and possess. And the directors of the East and West India Companies of the United Provinces, as also the servants and officers, high and low, the soldiers and seamen actually in the service of either of the said Companies, or such as have been in their service, as also such who in this country, or within the district of the said two companies, continue yet out of the service, but who may be employed afterwards, shall be and remain to be free and unmolested in all the countries under the obedience of the said Lord the King in Europe; and may sail, traffic and resort, like all the other inhabitants of the countries of the said Lord and States. Moreover it has been agreed and stipulated, that the Spaniards shall keep their navigation to the East Indies, in the same manner they hold it at present, without being at liberty to go further; and the inhabitants of those Low Countries shall not frequent the places which the Castilians have in the East Indies.”

1655 – Oliver Cromwell’s, ‘Western Design’ sees English forces attacking Spanish possessions in the Caribbean.

1667 – May 23rd, a treaty of peace and commerce is signed between Spain and England.

July 31st, the Treaty of Breda is agreed between England, France, Holland and Denmark: The principle adopted in framing the treaty was that of uti possidetis, which of course left the parties, in regard to possession, exactly as they stood at its date.” (Beveridge 2012)

1669 – in September, John Narborough sails from England in the Sweepstakes, accompanied by a merchant vessel carrying trade goods valued at £300 and orders from the Lord High Admiral to make a discovery in the South Seas and to lay the foundations of trade.

1670 – Narborough claims Port Desire for Charles II. The Sweepstakes’ Spanish pilot tells Narborough that he; “ .. did not understand the coast, nor where ’twas inhabited.” [Narborough passed through Magellan’s Strait to Valdivia and then returned; the first recorded navigation in both directions. The pilot’s comments are important as they suggest that Spain had neither settled the area nor knew those parts well – despite later claims to the contrary. Narborough’s claim was never followed up, nor any effective occupation made; probably due to the new Treaty with Spain and a wish not to cause further conflict so soon. The harbour is now known as Port Deseado.]

July 18th, the Treaty of Madrid is signed between England and Spain. Under the terms of the Treaty, Spain recognises English possessions in the Caribbean and both sides agree not to trade in each other’s territory, but there is no reciprocal recognition of Spanish possessions.

“Moreover, it is agreed, that the Most Serene King of Great Britain, his Heirs and Successors, shall have, hold, keep, and enjoy for ever, with plenary right of Sovereignty, Dominion, Possession, and Propriety, all those Lands, Regions, Islands, Colonies, and places whatsoever, being situated in the West Indies, or in any part of America, which the said King of Great Britain and his Subjects do at present hold and possess, so as that in regard thereof or upon any color or pretense whatsoever, nothing more may or ought to be urged, nor any question or controversy be ever moved, etc.”

There is no reciprocal recognition of Spanish possessions.

News of Narborough’s expedition reaches Lima. Fearing an attack on the city, the Viceroy halts the regular silver shipment to Panama.

1673 – Narborough’s detailed chart of the Strait of Magellan is published in England.

1675 – Anthony de la Roche, an English merchant, discovers South Georgia after being blown off course.

A Dutchman, Frederik de Wit, produces a map of South America with the Falklands shown as the ‘Sybold de Waerde Eylanden’.

1681 – English captain, Bartholomew Sharpe, circumnavigates the Falklands archipelago. (Gazette d’Amsterdam August 14th, 1764)

1684 – January 28th, William Dampier, John Cook and Ambrose Cowley anchor off the Falklands in Bachelor’s Delight; “..we made the Sibbel de Wards, which are 3 islands lying in the latitude of 51 deg. 35 min. south, and longtitude west from the Lizard in England, by my account, 57 deg. 28 min.”

“ … And Whereas there is reason to believe that Lands and Islands of great extent hitherto unvisited by any European Power may be found in the Atlantick Ocean between the Cape of Good Hope and the Magellanick Streight, … as likewise His Majesty’s Islands called Falkland’s Islands, lying within the said Tract, notwithstanding the first discovery and possession thereof taken by Cowley … “ (Instructions to Byron quoted in Byron’s Journal of his Circumnavigation 1764-1766 Gallagher R. E. 1964)

1689John Locke publishes his Two Treatises. In the second of the two essays he suggests that; “.. discovery alone, not followed by Actual Possession and Establishment, can never be admitted as giving any Right to the Exclusion of Other Nations.”

1690 – January 27th, the Islands are sighted by Captain John Strong from the ship Welfare. Capt. Strong records in his log, “.. We saw the land; when within three or four leagues, we had thirty-six fathoms. It is a large land, and lieth east and west nearest. There are several quays that lie among the shore. We sent our boat to one, and she brought on board abundance of penguins, and other fowls, and seals. We steered along shore E. by N., and at eight at night we saw the land run eastward as far as we could discern. Lat. 51° 3′ S. Tuesday 28th. This morning at four o’clock we saw a rock that lieth from the main island four or five leagues. It maketh like a sail.  At six, we stood into a sound that lies about twenty leagues from the westernmost land we had seen. The sound lieth south and north nearest. There is twenty-four fathoms depth at the entrance, which is four leagues wide. We came to an anchor six or seven leagues within, in fourteen fathoms water. Here are many good harbours. We found fresh water in plenty, and killed abundance of geese and ducks. As for wood, there is none.”

On January 29th, Strong sails down the passage between the main Islands which he names ‘Fawlkland Channel’;  This sound, Falkland Sound as I named it, is about seventeen leagues long; the first entrance lies S. by E., and afterwards S. by W.”

The ship’s surgeon, Richard Simpson, notes, “As for Hawkins Land, tis parted by a great sound which we passed through …The Sound in several places was so full of weeds that the ship could hardly make her way and if one might judge by appearance, there it was we sailed through a medow. The island,if it were not quite destitute of wood would make a Nobel plantation;it bears an English name, good Harbage and a great variety of land and sea fowl.”

February 1st, Capt. Strong makes the first recorded landing at Bold Cove; ” Wednesday this morning we weighed and stood unto an harbour on ye west side and there came to ane anchor and sent our boat on shoar for fresh water and did kill abundance of geese and ducks but as far as wood there is none…”

Captain Strong in the “Welfare,” sailed through between the two principle islands in 1690, and called the passage Falkland sound, in memory of the well-known Royalist Lucius Cary, Lord Falkland, killed at the battle of Newbury in 1643;..” [Bernhardt 1911]

Richard Simson, records a description of the Falklands wolf in his log.

1696 – William Dampier returns and circumnavigates the Falklands archipelago.

1698 – French privateer-entrepreneurs from St. Malo are increasingly active around the tip of South America.

January 4th, Whitehall Palace burns down destroying many public records, including Francis Drake’s charts.

1699 – surgeon Lionel Wafer publishes a book in which he advocates the establishment of English settlements on the isthmus and in Chile as a way of getting around Spain’s protectionist trading methods which has seen ports in South America closed to English merchants.

1700 – Edmund Halley publishes a map of the Atlantic Ocean showing magnetic variation which identifies the ‘Seebold de Waerds Isles’ off the coast of South America.

French naval captain, Jaques Gouin de Beauchene in the Prudent, anchors off the east coast of East Falkland.

1701de Beauchêne discovers a remote island to the south of the main Falklands archipelago. French investment in the south seas trade is estimated at 500,000 livres per annum; .. Between the years 1700 and 1708 many French ships from St. Maloes, sailed into the South Seas, by some of them these Islands were discovered and the French name of Malouines was attached to them, which name the Spaniards have adopted.”

In Europe, the War of Spanish Succession embroils England, France, Austria, Savoy, the Spanish Netherlands, Prussia and other Germanic principalities. Spain itself is divided.

Daniel Defoe publishes Reasons Against a War arguing for a profitable maritime war against Spain rather than an expensive continental conflict. Defoe advises the English monarch, King William III, to establish a colony in Chile and supporting settlements both in the Rio de la Plata and near the Strait of Magellan.

1702 – Halley publishes a revision of his map with the archipelago named ‘Falkland Islands.’

1703 – 3 vessels return to St Malo from South America. Their combined cargoes realise 7 million livres.

1704 – August 3rd, the forces of the Grand Alliance, fighting in the War of Spanish Succession, capture the fort of Gibraltar following an invasion by English and Dutch marines.

1705 – French investment in the south seas trade is now estimated to average 4 million livres per annum.

1706 – Maurepas, and St. Louis, both French ships, visit the Falklands; “If I have in this chart suppressed imaginary Lands, I have also added some real, in 51 Degrees Latitude, which I have called New Islands, because discover’d since the Year 1700, most of them by ships of S. Malo. I have laid them down according to the memoirs or Observations of the Maurepas and the S. Louis, Ships belonging to the India Company, which saw them near at hand and even the latter was watered there in a Pool, which I have set down, near Port St. Louis. The water was somewhat ruddy and unsavory; in other respects good for the Sea. Both of them ran along several Parts of them, but non .. so close as the S. John Baptist, commanded by Doublet of Havre, who endeavorour’d to pass into an Opening he saw about the Middle; but having spy’d some low islands, almost level with the Water, he thought fit to tack about. …”

“In 1706, the French ships Maurepas and Saint Louis sailed homeward from the South Sea. The Saint Louis put into a harbour in the SE part of John Davis’s Land, where they found fresh water of a reddish colour and soft, but in other respects good. This harbour they named Port Saint Louis. About this time, John Davis’s South Land began to be distinguished by the name of the Malouines, given to them by the seamen of Saint Malo, by whom they were most frequently seen.” (James Burney 1803-1817 p.454)

1707 – England unites with Scotland to become Great Britain.

1708 – December 23rd, privateers Woodes Rogers and William Dampier, in Duke and Duchess, pass by “Falkland’s Land” on their way to the Pacific.

Woods Rogers, who ran along the N.E.. coast of these isles in the year 1708, tells us, that they extended about two degrees in length, and appeared with gentle descents from hill to hill.” (Pernetty 1771)

July 16th, Assumption, a French vessel, sails along the northern coasts of the East Falkland Island.

1711 – in June, the British ‘South Seas Company’ is established and granted a monopoly to trade with Spanish colonies; “.. the sole trade and traffick into, unto, and from all of the kingdoms, lands, countries, territories, islands, cities, towns, ports, havens, creeks, and places of America, on the east side thereof from the river of Aranoca, to the southernmost part of the Terra del Fuego, … “

Defoe writes; “New Spain is the Spouse of Old Spain, and they will no more prostate her to be debauch’d in Trade by us, than they, the most Jealous People in the world, should allow us to come to Bed their Wives.”

St. Jean Baptiste, a French ship, visits the archipelago, while the Jasons are seen from Incarnation; “..commanded by Sicur Brignon of S. Malo. .. they are at least seven or eight Leagues from the New Islands” (Frezier 1716)

In September, a London merchant, Thomas Bowrey, proposes that English bases be established on the Atlantic coast of South America for the protection of trade with America.

1712 – January 7th, Amédée-François Frézier, a Lieut. Colonel in the French intelligence service, is sent to South America with orders to survey Spanish defences in Chile and Peru, and to; “.. chart the coast while the French could still enter the Pacific, and before the expected ban on such voyages became operative. Thus, if war should break out between France and Spain, the French would have a sound knowledge of the coast for possible military operations against the poorly defended Spanish Pacific..”

The name, Falkland Islands, is used in a publication describing the Welfare’s journey in 1690.

1713 – treaties at Utrecht are signed; ending the War of Spanish Succession. Two concern Anglo-spanish relations. The first is a peace agreement in which Britain gains Gibraltar and Minorca, ceded by Spain in perpetuity while the second deals with commercial matters; granting to Britain the right sell slaves in Spanish America for 30 years – known as the asiento.

Under Article 8 of the peace agreement, Britain promises to assist in the return of Spanish possessions in the West Indies, as they had existed at the start of the war in 1701.

And whereas, among other conditions of the general peace, it is by common consent established as a chief and fundamental rule, that the exercise of navigation and commerce to the Spanish West Indies should remain in the same state it was in the time of the aforesaid King Charles the Second; that therefore this rule may hereafter be observed with inviolable faith, …

And, that more strong and full precautions may be taken on all sides, as above said, concerning the navigation and commerce to the West Indies, it is hereby further agreed and concluded, that neither the Catholic King, nor any of his heirs and successors whatsoever, shall sell, yield, pawn, transfer, or by any means, or under any name, alienate from them and the crown of Spain, to the French, or to any other nations whatever, any lands, dominions, or territories, or any part thereof, belonging to Spain in America.

On the contrary, that the Spanish dominions in the West Indies may be preserved whole and entire, the Queen of Great Britain engages, that she will endeavour, and give assistance to the Spaniards, that the ancient limits of their dominions in the West Indies be restored, and settled as they stood in the time of the above-said Catholic King Charles the Second, if it shall appear that they have in any manner, or under any pretence, been broken into, and lessened in any part, since the death of the aforesaid Catholic King Charles the Second.”

The terms of these conventions were however so vague, that they seemed rather to increase than lessen the causes of dispute. The meaning of the expression Spanish West Indies never could be fixed or defined to the satisfaction of both parties…” (Greenhow 1842)

Elsewhere, France cedes Newfoundland and the Acadian colony of Nova Scotia to Britain.

1716/17 Frézier, publishes a book and a map of the South American coastline. He shows a small group of islands named, I. Sebald, sitting to the west of a larger island, which has a number of islets positioned around it. These he refers to as ‘Les Isles Nouvelles’. Only the eastern side of the larger island is shown, on which a pond, small lake or watering hole is marked (Étang), and the name, ‘Port St. Louis’ indicated. The map tracks the routes taken by Maurepas and St.Louis in 1706, and the Assumption in 1708.

“Ces îsles sont sans doute les mêmes que celles que le Chevalier Richard Hawkins découvrit en 1593.” (Frézier 1716)

1721 – the Dutch explorer Jacob Roggewein sights the islands and names them South Belgia; We looked for Hawkins’ Maiden Land but could not find it; but we discovered an island 200 leagues in circuit, in latitude 52º South, about 200 leagues distant to east of coast of S. America, which we named Belgia Austral.”

1722 – a new French map by Guillaume Delisle refers to the islands as ‘Les Iles Malouines’.

1732 – British settlers colonize the Mosquito Coast of South America with the town of Black River.

1740 the War of Austrian Succession commences, pitting Spain against Britain yet again. Commodore George Anson sails from England in HMSCenturion intent on attacking Spanish possessions in South America. Accompanied by Gloucester, Severn, Pearl, Wager, Tryal and the store ships Anna and Industry, the journey turns into a circumnavigation of the world. Anson has a copy of Frézier’s book and map with him.

1744 – Anson arrives back in England with the bullion from the galleon Nuestra Senora de Covadonga.

1748 – Anson’s A Voyage Round the World’ is publishedAdmiral Anson uses the book to promote his argument for the establishment of British bases in the South Atlantic and South Pacific. He notes that Woode Rogers had taken only 35 days to reach Juan Fernandez Island in the Pacific and outlines his concerns that Portugal immediately informs Spain of the location and purpose of English ships visiting their ports; “ .. they may certainly depend on having their strength, conditions and designs betrayed to the Spaniards, as far as the knowledge the Governor can procure of these particulars will give leave. And as this treacherous conduct is inspired by the view of private gain, in the illicit commerce carried on to the river Plate, rather than by any natural affection which the Portuguese bear the Spaniards, the same perfidy may perhaps be expected from most of the governors of the Brazil coast, since these smuggling engagements are doubtless very extensive and general…”

Referring to the Falkland Islands, Anson says; “That it was scarcely to be conceived of what prodigious import a convenient station might prove, situated so far southward and close to Cape Horn … and that (these islands) might be of great consequence to this nation and in time of war would make us masters of those seas.”

In October, the War of Austrian Succession comes to an end.

1749 – Anson’s book is published in French. The Admiral persuades the Earl of Sandwich, and the Admiralty, to send two sloops into the Pacific Ocean by way of Cape Horn, stopping to survey the Falkland Islands so that their utility can be assessed. Coming so close on the heels of a peace treaty, information of the venture alarms the Spanish court which immediately protests.

April 24th, the Duke of Bedford writes to Ambassador Benjamin Keene in Madrid; “The Board of Admiralty having proposed to His Majesty some time ago the sending out two Frigates in order to make Discoveries in the American Seas, which might tend to the Improvement of Commerce and navigation in general, the King, … was graciously pleased to approve of their Intention… But as this scheme has been represented by Major General Wall, to His Catholick Majesty’s Minister at this Court, liable to so many Misrepresentations at the Court where you reside, and which might possibly tend towards creating an Uneasiness and Suspicion between His Majesty and the Catholick King, I am commanded to inclose to you, for your Information a Copy of the Earl of Sandwich’s Letter to me, explaining the Design of the Board of Admiralty… .. you will find that the full Discovery of Pepys’s and Falkland’s Islands, lying to the eastwards of Cape Blanco, was the first Object of this undertaking, which when completed, the Ships were to return to Brazil to refit, to proceed afterwards into the South Seas in order to make further Discoveries there.

As this latter part of the Scheme cannot be carried into Execution without wooding and watering at the Islands of Juan Fernandez, & possibly coming sometimes within sight of the Spanish Coasts of Chile and Peru, it is apprehended here that an Attempt of this Nature may alarm the Court of Madrid, and give them Suspicions …This having been represented to the King in the Light I have now stated it to you, he has been pleased to direct the Admiralty to proceed no further in the projected Discoveries, than what is contained in the first Part of the plan laid down, & to direct the Sloops to return Home, after they shall have searched sufficiently the Seas about Pepy’s and Falkland’s Islands. There is no intention of making any Settlement in either of those Islands, and as His Majesty’s Sloops will neither touch upon, or even make any part of the Spanish Coast, the King can in no shape apprehend that this Design can give any Umbrage at Madrid, … I am commanded to give you this full & circumstantial Account of this Affair, to enable you to speak to the Spanish Ministers about it, in the same Manner as I have done to Major General Wall, …. and I am glad to be able to inform you, that I don’t find him averse to our proceedings on the first Part of the Plan, provided we are willing to depart from the second.” (Archivo General de Indias, Seilla Seccion V, Audiencia de Buenos Aires Correspondencia con los Gobernadores Anos 1732 – 1760)

This statement indicated British recognition not of Spanish right to the area but only of current Spanish predominance there.” (Gustafson 1988)

In May, Madrid writes to the Viceroy, Don Manuel de Amat, in Lima; “… we were confidentially appraised that the British Government projected forming a settlement either on the island of Juan Fernandez, or in the archipelago of Chonos, in consequence of the reports made by Commodore Anson on his return from those seas of the great advantages which might be expected from such an establishment. The King, naturally alive to the consequences of such a project on the part of the English, and seeing how detrimental it might prove to the peace and quiet of his Majesty’s dominions in these parts, desired that a ship-of-war should be immediately despatched to examine the said islands, as well as all the coasts to the southwards, with orders to expel any foreign ship whatever which might be met with in any of the ports or possessions of his Majesty….”

May 21st, in Madrid, Sir Benjamin Keene suggests to Spanish Minister Carvajal that Anson’s proposed expedition is only to rediscover and survey the Falkland Islands; “Carvajal said he was sorry that, so soon after the signature of a treaty for re-establishing the ancient friendship between the two crowns, new matter should be projected, which would probably throw us into the same, or worse, disputes than those which had been the cause of the last rupture. We knew, by experience, that our having possessions in the neighbourhood and way of each other, where communication and commerce were absolutely prohibited on both sides, had exposed us to many disagreeable accidents. … It was in this light he must look upon the preparations we were making at present, to send two frigates into the American seas; that neither he, nor anyone else could be a stranger to the rise and extent of such an expedition, since it was so fully explained in the printed version of Lord Anson’s voyages… Whatever I could say did not seem to render this scheme more palatable. When he appeared to give credit to our not having any design to settle on the two islands in question, he adverted to the inutility of pretending to a further examination of them and affirmed they had been long since first discovered and inhabited by the Spaniards; who called them the Islands de Leones from the number of sea lions on their coasts and that in the office books there were ample descriptions of the dimensions, properties, etc. If we did not intend to make any establishment there, what service could this knowledge be to us? We had no possessions in that part of the world, and consequently could want no passages or places to refresh in. He hoped we would consider what air it would have to see us planted directly against the mouth of the straits of Magellan, ready on all occasions to enter into the South Seas, where the first step would be to endeavour to discover and settle in some other islands, in order to remedy the inconvenience of so long a voyage as that to China, and to refit our naval force on any disappointment we might experience in our future attacks upon the Spanish coasts, as happened to Lord Anson.”

Keene also speaks to Minister Ensenada; “ .. who cut short my account by saying that the present time and circumstances appeared not the most proper for such an undertaking, from the rumours to which it would give rise. .. He repeated his hopes that it would be laid aside for the present.” (Coxe 1813)

In June, during negotiations for a new commercial treaty with Spain, the Duke of Bedford instructs the Admiralty to postpones the mission; ” .. for the present, and without giving up the right to send out Ships for the discovery of unknown & unsettled Parts of the World.” (Keene to Bedford May 21st 1749)

.. no declaration was required, by which our right to pursue it, hereafter, might be annulled. “ (Johnson 1771)

1750 – January 13th, the Treaty of Madrid is agreed between Spain and Portugal. This agreement rejects the limits placed on Portuguese expansion set by the Treaty of Tordesillas 1494, relying instead on a principle of Roman Law – ‘uti possidetis, ita possideatis’ (Who owns by fact, owns by right), which acknowledges the real situation in South America. In return Portugal relinquishes its territory on the eastern bank of the River Plate.

Governor of New France (Canada), the Marquis de La Galissoniere, positions lead plaques along the Ohio River containing a message that the territory is French. (demonstrating the use of such plates)

October 5th, another Treaty of Madrid, this time an Anglo-spanish commercial treaty, is signed by Minister Carvajal and Ambassador Keene. Britain renounces the remaining term of the asiento in exchange for £100,000 and Spain allowing England to trade “as native Spaniards” with ‘most favoured nation’ status.

December 8th, commenting on the recent exchanges, Benjamin Keen tells Lord Bedford; “The principle cause of this evil, on the part of Spain, consists in the very nature and spirit of the laws and original institutions, for the Government of the Spanish West Indies. They were framed at a time when Spain had extended a whimsical universal right to land, sea and the air itself of that vast country, and was resolved to do her utmost to prevent the approach of any stranger. The very act of appearing there was criminal, as long as she had force to enforce it. From this source all orders to governors, instructions to guarda costas, and ever public dispatch and determination in tribunals, were, and still are infected…. ”  (Coxe 1813)

1753 – in England, a chart is published, “ .. with the Admiralty’s endorsement,” showing the Falklands as a British possession. Spain protests.

17551754 – October 12th, a young French officer, Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, serves on the staff of the Marechal de Levis-Mirepoix, French Ambassador in London, where he hears details of Anson’s voyage.

1755 – in July, following incidents in Canada that raise tensions in Anglo-French relations, Ambassador Mirepoix and his staff return to Paris.

1756 – the Seven Years War sees Britain fighting France again.

1759 Bougainville fights the British in Canada.

In August, Carlos III succeeds to the Spanish throne on the death of his brother.

1761 – August 15th, the latest Family Compact between the Courts of Spain and France is completed; “.. the two Crowns will hereafter consider every Power as their common enemy who shall become such to either of them. II. The two contacting Kings reciprocally guarantee, … all the estates, lands, islands, and places, which they possess in any part of the world whatever, without any reserve or exception …”

France loses in Canada and its officers, including Bougainville, are shipped back to France. Once there, Bougainville, forbidden under the terms of the surrender to take up arms against Britain, formulates a plan with Nicolas Duclos-Guyot to place a settlement on the Falklands.

A perusal of Admiral Anson’s voyage around the world fixed his ideas for finding the Malouine Islands, and determined him to make them the first object of his expedition, and to form a settlement there.” ( Pernetty 1771)

1762 – January 18th, Spain joins France’s war with Britain.

During June, a company of British merchants and noble fund the purchase of two ships, Kingston and Ambuscade, for a venture in South America. Kingston is renamed Lord Clive before both vessels sail for Lisbon where they are joined by two Portuguese ships and 500 troops. Moving on to Rio de Janeiro, they are met by the Portuguese frigate, Nossa Senhora da Gloria, 8 transports and 600 more soldiers.

Far away, a British fleet arrives off Manila and lays siege to the Spanish City.

October 6th, when Manila’s walls are breached, the defenders sue for terms. The British agree not to sack the city in exchange for 4 million dollars, afterwards known as the ‘Manila Ransom’. Once an initial payment and the proceeds of looting is taken into account, there remains $2,000,000 outstanding which the acting-Governor, Archbishop Rojo, promises that Spain will pay.

November 20th, the Anglo-portuguese fleet sails from Rio de Janeiro to attack Buenos Aires.

1763 – January 3rd, while near Montevideo, the Anglo-Portuguese fleet are ordered to attack Colonia de Sacramento as their draughts are too great to approach further up the Rio de la Plata.

January 6th, during the engagement, Lord Clive is lost. The Anglo-Portuguese fleet returns to Brazil.

In Paris, Bougainville submits a plan to the French Minister of the Navy, Étienne-François, comte de Stainville, duc de Choiseul, proposing to send three vessels to the Falkland Islands, “ .. to serve as a supply store..” for further expeditions intent on discovering the southern continent. Bougainville also proposes an expedition to found a colony on the Pacific coast of North America.

The plan is also referred to France’s Colonies Minister, Jean Augustin Accaron, who requests more detail.

In February, to facilitate expedition funding, Bougainville forms the Compagnie de St. Malo with his uncle Jean d’Arboulin and a cousin, Michel-Francois Bougainville de Nerville.

Au commencement de l’année 1763, la cour de France résolut de former un établissement dans ces îles. Je proposai au ministere de le commencer à mes frais, et secondé par MM. de Nerville et d’Arboulin, l’un mon cousin-germain et l’autre mon oncle, je fis sur le champ construire et armer à Saint Malo, par les soins de M. Duclos Guyot, aujourd’hui mon second, l’Aigle de vingt canons, et le Sphinx de douze, que je munis de tout ce qui étoit propre pour une pareille expédition. J’embarquai plusieurs familles Acadiennes, espèce d’hommes laborieuse, intelligente, et qui doit être chère à la France par l’inviolable attachement que lui ont prouvé ces honnêtes et infortunés citoyens.”  (Bougainville 1772)

February 10th, the Seven Years War comes to an end, bringing peace between Britain, Spain and France; “Foiled and humbled in his hostile designs against England, the restless and vindictive minister of France (Choiseul) only meditated a more effectual and deeper vengeance. Even in signing the treaty, he looked forward to future retaliation, when England … should be unprepared for the renewal of the contest.” (Coxe 1813)

During March and April, Bougainville submits more detailed plans which emphasise the dominance of the English in the northern Americas whilst outlining the commercial and strategic advantages of a colony in South America. The plans suggests that a passage to the Pacific be opened up by founding a base on the Falklands; “Anson, in his voyages, stressed the importance of a settlement on the Malouine Islands or on the coast of Patagonia. Should that enterprising nation discover a port in the northern Pacific Ocean, Anson’s advice to them would acquire even greater importance. It is consequently of utmost urgency, both for the safety and the range of French navigation, to forestall the English by establishing a settlement, if that is possible, on the Southern lands.” (Dunmore 2005)

The plan suggests the use of displaced Acadians from Canada as colonists. Aware that funding may be a problem, Bougainville points out that the French Government are already providing for the displaced Acadians. As for Spanish pretensions in the America’s; “Choiseul did not feel that the Spanish king would raise any strong objections to their colonization by their French cousins.”

May 10th, Minister Choiseul, gives the Government’s blessing; “Approved. Let M de Bougainville receive by way of loan, against his receipt, all that he requires in the way of military equipment.” Bougainville is promoted to Capitaine de vaisseau, and Choiseul agrees that the French Government will underwrite some, but not all, of the costs.

June 18th, William Henry Nassau, the 4th Earl of Rochford, is named Ambassador to Spain.

choiseul

August 14th, King Louis XV formalises the arrangement with Bougainville; “… I am writing this letter to inform you that my wish is that you should proceed to Sain Malo to take over command of the frigate Aigle, in which you will embark, and of the corvette Sphinx commanded by Lieutenant de La Giraudais, to sail to the regions mentioned in your instructions and carry out the observations I have requested you to.”

September 9th, Bougainville departs France in the frigate, Aigle, with the corvette Sphinx, accompanied by 123 Bretons, 19 Acadians from Canada, 6 Parisians, 4 Normands plus 5 others and 3 stowaways.

December 28th, arriving at Montevideo before Sphinx, Bougainville arouses the suspicion of the Spanish authorities.

The Governor afterwards desired M. de Bougainville to permit him to take a copy of the orders he had received from the King of France .. because he was obliged to send it to the court of Spain, together with a circumstantial account of out anchorage. M. De Bougainville readily complied with his request.” (Pernetty 1771)

Spain’s Governor in Montevideo, Joaquín de Viana, sends a message to Madrid querying the purpose of the French ships.

In Madrid, Lord Rochford demands payment of the Manila Ransom, which demand is declined.

The Archbishop might as well have drawn on the King for the province of Grenada, or agreed to deliver up the city of Madrid. My master will wage eternal war, rather than submit to pay a single pistole of so degrading a demand; and I myself will rather be cut to pieces, than make so dishonourable a proposal.” (Coxe 1813)

1764 – January 1st, Sphinx arrives at the Rio de la Plata

January 16th, Bougainville’s vessels depart Montevideo after taking on supplies, including horses and cattle.

“ … the quantity of water, flour and animals M. de Bougainville asked for, excited the curiosity of the Governor with regard to the design of our voyage. All the crew, even the officers themselves, were perfectly ignorant as to this point, and thought, … that we were going to the West Indies. This report had been propagated, and M. de Bougainville confirmed it, by telling the Governor we were going to the Indies, without specifying to which of them. “ (Pernetty 1771)

January 30th, the crew of the Sphinx spy land; “ … on Tuesday January 30 at six o’clock in the morning we had acquaintance of land to the east of us distant six leagues in latitude fifty degrees the fifty eight minutes and longtitude, Meridien Paris …”

Bougainville searches for a suitable site with a supply of wood.

February 3rd, the expedition enters; “ … a great bay at the Eastern extremity of the Malouines.”

February 17th, Bougainville decides upon a settlement site on East Falkland Island. The season, already well advanced, did not allow me to search any longer. On Friday, 17th I landed with tents, the families and part of the crew … I ordered M. Lhuiller, the engineer, to draw up plans for a building that would take 30 people as well as the material needed to set up a colony .. on the 19th we began to break the ground”

There wasn’t enough wood, so even the oars were sacrificed to use as building tools.” (Scavennec 2005)

Buildings have stone and ‘grass-box’ walls, with rushes as a roof. Cattle are released.

February 25th, Bougainville adds the construction of a Fort to the plans; “On Saturday 25th, M. de Bougainville proposed at breakfast to both land and sea officers, to undertake the erecting of a fort upon the rising ground forming the hill, on which the habitation or place of residence was built for the colonists, who were to remain on the islands.” (Pernetty 1771)

March 21st, a small pyramid is constructed in the center of the fort. Inside is a silver plate and a sealed glass bottle containing names, ranks and countries of both ship’s companies. An inscription giving details of the expedition, its leaders and the latitude and longitude readings are set into one side of the pyramid. Two wooden medallions with the bust of the French King, and the Arms of France are set in the two other faces.

April 5th, a 21 gun salute heralds the ceremony to take formal possession of the island.Bougainville

“All the company being assembled at  the fort, the pyramid was opened; I then solemnly sang Te Deum, after that the psalm Exaudiat, then thrice Dominesahum sac regent. After this I rehearsed the verse Fiat manus tua, Domine, super virum dextera tuce … We cried Vive le Roy seven times and fire twenty-one cannon. We cried again Vive le Roy seven times. M. de Bougainville then produced the king’s commission, appointing a governor in the new colony, which was delivered to M. De Nerville, who was immediately received and acknowledged as such.”

Sphinx sails for Guadeloupe in the West Indies.

A boy, Francois, is born at Fort de St. Louis to Augustin Benoit and Francoise Terriot. [Exact date unknown. Francois had his marriage revalidated at St. Pierre on August 4th, 1791. His place of birth was noted in the record. Information on the Benoit family provided by David Ambrose Field of Newfoundland.]

April 8th, Bougainville departs on Aigle, leaving 28 settlers and his cousin – Bougainville de Nerville.

April 18th, HMS Dolphin is prepared for a journey to the East Indies; “.. the bottom was sheathed in copper, as were likewise the braces and pintles for the use of the rudder…”  HMS Tamar is also fitted out.

June 5th, on Admiralty orders, the compliment of Dolphin is raised to 150 men, and that of Tamar to 100. The same instructions also remind the officer-in-charge of the port that; “.. no Foreigner of any Rank or Character whatever be admitted, upon any pretence, to visit His Majesty’s said Yards, Docks, or Magazines, as they will answer the Contrary at their Peril.”

June 9th, HMS Dolphin, refurbished, sails to Long Reach where she receives her guns and meets up with Tamar before moving on to the Downs.

June 15th, the Gazette d’Amsterdam reports the imminent departure of an English expedition to the South Atlantic for the purpose of making observations and exploring the Magellan Strait.

June 17th, Commodore John Byron takes command of HMS Dolphin; “On the 17th, Byron, who had rejoined the ship, was ordered to take the Dolphin from the Downs to Plymouth Sound, there to take under his command the Tamar, to pay the crew two months’ wages in advance, then to sail at ‘the first opportunity of wind and weather’, then ‘to open the inclosed sealed Packet and follow such Instructions as are therein contained for your further proceedings.”

June 18th, Byron is appointed ‘Commander in Chief of His Majesty’s Ships and Vessels employed & to be employed in the East Indies’ and his destination is announced to be the East Indies. [This appears to have been in response to the rumours in the Gazette d’Amsterdam. Ships heading for the East Indies used the prevailing winds which, at that time of year, required sailing via Rio de Janeiro. As a result, Byron’s arrival there would not raise any eyebrows. The subterfuge was sufficient to convince the East India Company which requested that its mail accompany Byron. This title was only removed after Byron’s return to England in 1766.]

June 26th, Bougainville arrives back in France.

June 28th, reporting to Choiseul, Bougainville proposes that 50 more Acadian settlers be sent to the Malouines.

Final negotiations proved difficult as La Gazette de Hollande announced that a small English exploratory fleet was preparing to leave for the Malouines Islands area. … Bougainville felt France was within her right to colonize the Malouines as Spain did not move to do so.”

Uncertain of Madrid’s reaction, Choiseul consults an expert on the intricacies of Spanish politics, Abbe Augustin de Beliardi, the Italian Consul-General. Speaking to Beliardi, Bougainville stresses “… that the Spanish clearly had never had any use for the islands, and no real claim to being the first discoverers.” Beliardi responds that; “ .. France’s own claim was quite thin, and the British and the Dutch could equally well make a similar assertion.” However, Beliardi agrees to approach Madrid and attempt to persuade the Spanish that it is in their interests not to object to the French settlement; its purpose being to counter the threat of a British base in the islands. Choiseul emphasises that France will only consider abandoning their new territory provided the Spanish are prepared to, “settle there in a serious manner.” (Dunmore 2005)

July 3rd, Byron in the Dolphin, accompanied by the frigate Tamar (Capt. Patrick Mouat), sails from Plymouth; “The Wind being favorable, the two Ships are Unmooring.”

Off the coast, Byron opens his orders signed by King George III; “Whereas nothing can redound more to the honour of this Nation, as a maritime power, to the dignity of the Crown of Great Britain, and to the advancement of trade and navigation thereof, than to make discoveries of countries hitherto unknown; and to attain a perfect Knowledge of the distant Parts of the British Empire and whereas his Majesty’s islands called Pepy’s island, and Falklands islands, lying within said tract; have never yet been sufficiently surveyed as that an accurate judgment may be formed of their coasts and product: his Majesty; conceiving no conjuncture so proper for an enterprise of this nature; as a time of profound peace, which his kingdoms at present happily enjoy, has thought fit that it should now be undertaken. … ”  (Hawkesworth 1773)

The claim to the possession of the islands thus set forth, could only have rested on their supposed first discovery by Davis or Hawkins, and the visit made to them in 1690 by Strong ..” (Greenhow 1842)

July 6th, before the Italian Consul-General is ready to leave, Spain’s Ambassador, the Conde de Fuentes, demands an urgent meeting with Choiseul. Fuentes tells the French Minister that information from Montevideo describes a French expedition and that this, together with reports of a French settlement in the Malouine Islands, is causing some consternation within his Government.

Choiseul persuades the Ambassador to allow Beliardi to continue to Madrid, to explain French intentions.

July 8th, rumours of Bougainville’s settlement in the Falklands circulate Paris and appear in the Gazette d’Amsterdam on the 13th.

July 20th, details of Byron’s expedition are requested by the East India Company. Lord Stanhope passes the request on to the Admiralty.

If one takes Stanhope’s letter at its face value—and there is no reason for not doing so—it would seem that at this date, July 20, almost three weeks after Byron had sailed from Plymouth, the Secretary of State for the North was unacquainted with the ostensible details of the voyage, much less with the true objectives, the search for Pepys’s Island and the Falkland Islands, the cruising of the South Atlantic, and finally the search for the north-west passage. This fact, in turn, would lead one to believe that the decision to send Byron on his exploration was an Admiralty decision made in consultation with the King and that the Admiralty had not felt it necessary—nor possibly even wise—to take the cabinet into its confidences.

Admittedly, the evidence is slender; but, if these deductions are true, it is probable that no one outside the Admiralty, other than the King, was aware of what was taking place until late in July 1765 when the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Earl of Egmont, sent to the Duke of Grafton a letter from Byron telling of the re-discovery of the Falkland Islands. The fact that the First Lord of the Admiralty was able to keep all information regarding the Byron voyage from his fellow ministers for more than a year and that he chose to do so is not surprising. In the eighteenth century, more often than not, the cabinet was large, loosely-knit, and ill-organized; and the individual ministers considered themselves servants of the King rather than colleagues in a united ministry, whose members, agreeing on a common policy and giving one another mutual support, accepted the leadership of a parliamentary chief. As a result, Egmont was able to deal directly with the King without having to consult with his fellow ministers. ” (Gallagher 1964)

The Admiralty become aware that the French have landed on East Falkland; “ .. It was many months after Captain Byron’s expedition was planned and seven weeks (sic) after he had sailed that the first suspicion was entertained in England of any design on the part of France to attempt this island.” (Quoted in Laver 2001)

July 26th, a description of the new French colony is published in the Gazette d’Amsterdam.

August 1st, King Louis grants Bougainville an audience and a commission. His proposals for a second expedition are approved; “L’Aigle was to leave with 5 officers, 40 crew, writer, surgeon, with intent to take on 100, the mission be kept secret.” (Greenhow 1842)

In England, a storeship is fitted out for the resupply of Byron’s two ships; “The same concern for security was shown when it became necessary in August 1764, to purchase and fit out the store ship that would meet Byron at either Pepys’s Island or Port Desire. The Admiralty directed the Navy Board to purchase the Gloucester, 299 tons, to carry stores and provisions to the ‘Gulph of Mexico & coast of Florida’. The Gloucester, with a complement of twenty-four men, was to be ‘Put on the List of the Royal Navy, as a Storeship by the name of the Florida.’ “ (Gallagher 1964)

August 14th, a notice dated August 8th, announcing the new settlement, appears in the Gazette d’Amsterdam; “ The French, actually in possession of the Falkland Isles may well be the first occupants but not the first who made the discovery. In 1594, the Englishman Captain Hawkins, found the way on the road & appointed them Maidens Land. Then the Dutch, through the Strait of Le Maire, saw them & called them Staaten Land. After them, the Englishman Captain Sharpe, on his return from the South Sea in 1681, doubled the Isles, and gave the name d’Altmarle. Finally, the Captain of Eseadre, Reggewin, imposed the name Belga Australis; ..”

August 28th, the Sphinx arrives back in France.

… the French occupation of the Malouines/Falkland Islands is making headlines in the foreign press. Holland states that if England does not contest, then Holland will, as they discovered the territory in 1594. … Regardless, Choiseul gave orders for Guillot, commissaire de la Marine in St. Malo, to finish arming L’Aigle.” (Scavennec 2005)

September 6th, Bougainville and Choiseul finally agree on the layout of the Malouines settlement and the financial arrangements for the French colony.

September 12th, the French King formally accepts and approves his new lands; “ … they are regarded as being a dependence of the Kingdom of France and governed by the same laws and ordinances as other places, lands and countries subject to our obedience. “

October 6th, Bougainville in Aigle sets out for the Falklands again.

October 20th, having departed from Rio de Janeiro, the officers of Dolphin and Tamar receive new orders from Commander Byron; “ .. we were now relieved from our suspense; for a signal being made for the Commander of the Tamar frigate to come on board, he and our own company were informed, that the Commodore’s orders were to go on discoveries into the South Sea: a circumstance which, from the manner in which it was received furnishes the greatest reason to believe, that no one on board had before the least notion of the voyage in which they were now engaged. But to prevent the appearance of discontent, they were instantly acquainted with the intention of the government to allow them double pay, for their encouragement in the prosecution of the voyage…”

Only after the ships reached the Brazilian coast did the British Government acknowledge that Byron was to call on the Falkland Islands.” (Gustafson 1988)

November 5th, Bougainville notes that the Aigle is lying off the Cape Verde Islands.

December 4th, after taking on water, Byron sets out from Port Desire hoping to find Pepy’s Island; “ .. laid down in our charts in the latitude of 48 degrees south, and in the longitude of 64 degrees from the Meridian of London, bearing east by Cape Blanco… after many unsuccessful attempts to discover this island, .. we had the mortification to find, that all our endeavours were ineffectual..”

December 13th, in Paris, Spain’s First Secretary, Fernando de Magallon, broaches the issue of the Malouines settlement with Minister Choiseul; a discussion which quickly degenerates into an argument over the issue of sovereignty with Choiseul maintaining that France has the better claim. (Dunmore 2005)

(Spain’s) protest … rested on two grounds. One was purely political: that by making such a settlement the British would be impelled to follow suit and make settlements of their own. The other was the legal argument that the islands were in fact already part of the Spanish dominions by geographical proximity. “ (Calvert 1983)

December 14th, having reconsidered overnight, Choiseul agrees to remove the French colonists; “ .. with one condition: that Spain forms an establishment to remove any reason England might have to try and occupy the islands.” (Scavennec 2005)

December 15th, from Paris Ambassador Fuentes writes to Minister Grimaldi in Madrid; “ .. the islands are adjacent to a continent which could not be occupied without the consent of the owner and the islands should be regarded as adjacent to our shores, even though they are 50 leagues away or even more. “ (Bologna 1982)

December 16th, Bougainville records that Aigle is lying off Brazil.

1765 – January 3rd, Bougainville’s second expedition arrives at Fort Louis; “ .. Bougainville found that one died while hunting – Francois Perryer; one marriage took place – Genevieve Theriot, 16 yrs .. to Guillaume Guichard; one baptism, of Francois Benoist. ..” (Scavennec 2005)

Bougainville de Nerville reports that 3 horses and 4 heifers have gone wild.

January 12th, Byron sights the Falkland Islands; “.. about four o’clock I recovered sight of the land ahead which had the appearance of three islands: I imagined they might be the islands of Sebald de Wert..”

January 13th, Byron writes; “.. The second day after, at three in the morning, we stood in towards the land, and hoisted out our boats to sound. These were gone till noon, when they returned, with the agreeable news of their having found a fine convenient bay, entirely secure from the fury of the winds, with its entrance lying to northward… In passing on the starboard side many fine small bays and harbours open to the view, and to the third of these, we gave the name of Port Egmont,..”  (Byron 1767)

January 22nd, Byron holds a formal ceremony; .. I took Possession of this Harbour & all these Islands for His Majesty King George the Third of Great Britain & His Heirs, tho’ they had been before taken Possession of by Sir Richard Hawkins in the year 1593.”

“The Union Jack was erected on a high staff and being spread I named the whole of His Majesty’s Isles which I claimed for the Crown of Great Britain, His heirs and successors.” (PRO ADM 51/4535)

“ .. there is, I think, little reason to doubt that they are the same land to which Cowley gave the name of Pepy’s Island.” (Hawksworth 1773)

January 27th, Commodore Byron notes; “The surgeon of the Tamar made a pretty little Garden near the Watering Place which we surrounded with a Fence of Turf, for the benefit of those that may come next.” (Gallagher 1964)

Byron then sails east around the archipelago naming various features as he sees them.

Still unaware of the French settlement, Byron names the mouth of the estuary leading to Port Louis as Berkeley Sound; unaware of what lies within. However, a hunting party from the French settlement report seeing two ships which they believe to be British.

Commodore Byron had come, in the month of January 1765, to reconnoiter the Malvinas Islands. He had touched at the west of our settlement in a harbour which we had already denominated Puerto de la Cruzada, and had taken possession of those islands for the Crown of England. Without leaving, there, any inhabitant.” Bougainville quoted in Manuel Moreno’s Memoir and Protest to Viscount Palmerston June 17th, 1833)

February 2nd, Bougainville sails for Magellan’s Strait to obtain wood.

February 4th, in Paris, Minister Choiseul and the Spanish Ambassador agree that the French will remove their colony and that a Spanish garrison will replace it. It is also agreed that an inventory will be sent to Madrid detailing the costs expended by Bougainville. (Scavennec 2005)

February 5th, Byron meets up with Florida near Port Desire and hears of the French; “At four in the afternoon, the master of the storeship came on board the Dolphin, bringing a packet from the lords of the Admiralty.”

February 16th, Bougainville sees three ships on a similar course to his own.

February 18th, near the Strait of Magellan, Byron sees a French ship which offers assistance when Florida runs aground.

There was a fishing accident where men drowned … Their fishing boat was hit by a frigate. Bougainville was sure it was an English vessel. … What he found was not one but three ships. When one ran aground, Bougainville put a dingy out to sea to give assistance. The ship refused the assistance. … After observing the movements of the English, the men gathered plants – 10,000 trees for the colony.” (Scavennec 2005)

“After my return to England, I learnt that this vessel was the Eagle, commanded by M. Bougainville, and that her business in the Streught was, as I conjectured, to cut wood for the French settlement in Falkland’s Islands.” (Hawksworth 1773)

February 24th, Byron writes to Lord Egmont; “Mr. Stephens informs me the French have been lately at the Isles Malouins so Falkland Islands are call’d in some Charts; if your Lordship will please to look over Freziers Voyage You will see that the French themselves acknowledge Our Countryman Sir Richard Hawkins to be the first Discoverer of the Falkland Islands.” (Gallagher 1964)

February 26th, Byron sends the storeship Florida back to England from Port Famine; “ .. the Commodore sent home the draughts of all the places he had caused to be taken, .. ”

March 30th, Bougainville arrives back at Fort de St. Louis with a cargo of wood.

April 17th, Bougainville sails for France leaving 75 settlers at Port Louis.

June 21st, the Florida arrives back in Britain with news of Byron’s claim at Port Egmont. (Gustafson 1988)

July 20th, the Earl of Egmont writes to the Duke of Grafton claiming that a settlement in the Falkland Islands would be; “.. the Key to the whole Pacifick Ocean. This island must command the Ports & Trade of Chile, Peru, Panama, Acapulco, & in one word all the Spanish Territory upon that sea. It will render all our Expeditions to those parts most lucrative to ourselves, most fatal to Spain & no longer formidable tedious, or uncertain in a future War”

“ … as to Spain, it is impossible that even their pretended title from the Pope’s Grant or any Treaty (so far as I can recollect) can give them the least claim to an Island lying 80 or 100 leagues in the Atlantick Ocean eastward of the Continent of South America, to which it cannot be deem’d appurtenant. And the attempt of France to settle there seems to confirm this argument against all that can be urged hereafter by either of those Powers to that effect. With respect to France the first and second discoveries of this island were both by the subjects and authority of the Crown of Great Britain in the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and Charles the Second, and the French never saw them until the reign of Queen Anne.” (PRO SP 94/253 State Papers, Spain Supp 253)

On the same day, Henry Conway, Secretary of State for the Southern Department, instructs the Admiralty to ready a frigate, a sloop and a store-ship for an expedition to Port Egmont where they are to; “… immediately complete the settlement begun last year. … If any lawless persons should happen to be found seated on any Part of the said Islands, they are to be compelled either to quit the said island, or to take the oaths, acknowledge and submit themselves to His Majesty’s government as subjects of the Crown of Great Britain. And if, contrary to Expectations, the subjects of any Foreign Power in Amity with Great Britain, should under any real and pretended authority, have taken upon them to make any settlement of any kind … the commanders of His Majesty’s ships are to visit such settlement, and to remonstrate against their proceedings…to warn them off the said islands & to transport themselves with their effects within a time limited, not exceeding six months from the day of the notice so to be given.”

August 12th, Bougainville, after a journey beset by contrary winds and scurvy, arrives back in St. Malo.

August 25th, in Paris, Bougainville is told of Spain’s demands. He argues that the Spanish claim is invalid as they have never attempted to settle the Islands and do not appear to know how to find them. (Robson 2005) Choiseul responds that the matter is settled and that Bougainville will travel to Madrid to negotiate the details.

.. Bougainville reiterated that England was going about its own business, ignoring Spain, and looking to establish its own land holdings in the area. Bougainville had seen the English vessels with his own eyes. Choiseul jumped on the idea … and had Bougainville go to Spain and plead his case to the Spanish court. Bougainville … (reminded) … the minister of the urgency of having a ship leave to resupply the colonists …” (Scavennec 2005)

August 26th, Bougainville presents a memorandum to Minister Choiseul arguing that France should retain its base on the Falklands’ archipelago. Choiseul has doubts about his agreement with Spain, and authorises a supply ship to relieve the French Acadians at Fort de St. Louis.

September 2nd, Choiseul informs the Spanish charge d’affairs that he wishes to re-examine the question regarding the archipelago.

In Madrid, Lord Rochford again demands that Spain settle the outstanding amount of the Manila Ransom. Once more, he is rebuffed.

Captain John MacBride is ordered by the Admiralty to establish a permanent settlement at Port Egmont. He is to use the frigate, Jason, together with the sloop Carcass and storeship, Experiment.

In mid-September, the British Government ask the French charge d’affairs in London for details of his government’s intentions in the Falklands. The charge stalls by denying any knowledge. In Paris Choiseul uses the growing tension between London and Madrid over the Manilla Ransom as a reason to delay sending Bougainville to Madrid. (Dunmore 2005)

.. couriers were expedited from London to Paris, to Madrid, confirming the English intention to occupy the Malouines/Falkland Islands.” (Dunmore 2005)

In October, Spain’s charge d’affairs in Paris, presses Choiseul for a date when the French will abandon the Falkands. Choiseul prevaricates.

October 15th, MacBride sails from England carrying a prefabricated wooden blockhouse in his hold. (Philpott 1992)

October 26th, Choiseul orders the readying of Aigle and a storeship for the Malouines.

November 9th, Etoile sail from France for the south Atlantic with more settlers. Bougainville remains in Paris as an adviser to Minister Choiseul.

A girl, Adelaide, is born at Fort de St. Louis to Augustin Benoit and Francoise Terriot. [Date unknown. Adelaide was married in 1787 in St. Pierre, Newfoundland with her place of birth noted in the record]

1766– January 8th, John MacBride arrives at Port Egmont with 100 settlers and 25 marines. He erects permanent buildings including the blockhouse for the garrison and names the blockhouse Fort George. The settlement is called Jason’s Town. Cattle, goats, sheep and pigs are put ashore.

His Majesty had been pleased to exert a right, by taking possession of Falkland’s Island, followed by an exercise of sovereignty in the establishment of a fort..”

.. the very fact that the British settlement took place unhindered is the clearest possible evidence that French occupation was not effective over other islands in the group, and, given the numbers involved, probably not as far as the island of East Falkland itself was concerned. “ [Calvert 1983]

January 19th, the Spanish Court acknowledges that the Manila Ransom is a legal and just debt, but asks for more time to investigate. Rochford informs London that he does not believe Spain will pay. [Rice 1980]

January 25th, Macbride sets out to map the archipelago.

In mid-February, Etoile and Aigle arrive at Port Louis.

March 17th, London forwards information regarding the location of the French settlement to MacBride.

April 6th,  the storeship Experiment sails from Port Egmont with letters for the Admiralty. (Brown 1922)

April 7th,  Choiseul takes over the Foreign Ministry; handing responsibility for Marine Affairs to his cousin. Choiseul orders Bougainville to travel to Madrid with; “ .. a plan proposing (a) military alliance between France and Spain against England and to negotiate the occupation of the Malouines Islands.” (Scavennec 2005)

The first cargo of seal products is delivered by the St. Malo Company to France.

April 9th, Louis Bougainville leaves Paris for Madrid.

April 18th, Bougainville arrives in the Spanish capital.

April 26th, Louis Bougainville consults with the French Ambassador to Madrid; who agrees to propose that France is better placed to protect the Malouines Islands.

Grimaldi, however, rejects all the arguments put forward by France; “ .. as Spain considered the Spanish occupation and evacuation of the French colonists as already finalized and in no need of further discussion.” (Scavennec 2005)

Spain’s Finance Minister, Miguel Muzquiz, refuses to compensate Bougainville arguing that; “One should not erect buildings on someone else’s land. Let your King, who employed you, refund your expenses.” (Dunmore 2005)

Louis XV, the King of France, however, became aware of what was going on, and, being anxious to pass the remainder of his life in quietness, he forbade his Minister from proceeding further in the dispute, and wrote himself to his cousin Charles III of Spain, declaring his readiness to withdraw his subjects from Port Louis, provided they should receive indemnification for their expenses from Spain.” (Bernhardt 1911)

On May 5th, following an intervention by Carlos III, Spain’s Committee of Ministers announce that they are prepared to reimburse the French for the costs of the settlement. Bougainville has no choice but to agree; I find it now agreed between the French and Spanish Courts that the former shall renounce all claim to these Islands and that M. de Bougainville shall be reimbursed by Spain the expenses of his settlement, but this last matter is to be left to be finally adjusted by Count de Fuentes ..” (Goebel 1927)

May 9th, Byron returns to England after circumnavigating the world.

The French Ambassador to London wrote to his superiors that France and Spain should inquire into the return of Byron and question the mystery surrounding his voyage. … England declared they were going to set up an establishment on the lands (they) discovered in 1593. Neither Spain, nor France could oppose them.” (Scavennec 2005)

May 15th, Lord Rochford is appointed Ambassador to the French court.

May 29th, Bougainville arrives back in Paris to inform Choiseul of events.

June 19th, Macbride’s letters arrive in London. Macbride’s report is less complimentary than Byron had sent, and refers to; “the dreary prospect of a range of craggy barren mountains heightened by almost constant gales of wind.” Of particular interest to the Admiralty was the line; “ .. we have seen no appearance of any settlement or where any had ever been attempted.”

June 24th, the Scots Magazine reports; “It is said, that Com. Byron settled a colony at the isles of the Malouines, or Falkland islands, almost opposite to the mouth of the streight of Magellan, in the Atlantic, about five degrees from the continent. This island was first discovered in 1706, and may be of great use to Britain in any future rupture with Spain, as ships may sail from that island to the South Seas in a few days.”

July 3rd, Etoile sails for France.

Reports from his spies in London reach Choiseul, informing him that the British intend a permanent settlement on the Falklands; that they have designs on the Pacific and wish to control the route around Cape Horn.

July 21st, Count Fuentes summons Bougainville and demands the immediate handover of Port Louis. Bougainville agrees to meet the Spanish at Montevideo so that he can guide their frigate to the islands.

July 25th, France’s charge d’affaires in London, Durand de Distroff, reports to Choiseul that four ships are being prepared for a voyage to the Falkland Islands – Dauphin, Swallow, Swift and Roy. This fleet to be under the command of Samuel Wallis.

It was understood that England was gathering an armada of warships to go to the Malouines and reinforce their claim to the islands. This would most certainly lead to war. There was panic in Paris and Madrid as time was short to prevent the English takeover.” (Scavennec 2005)

In August, Spain’s Ambassador to the British Court, Don Filippo Vitorio Amadeo Ferrero de Biella, Prince of Masseran demands ‘clarification’ asserting that any settlement in the Americas would breach Article 8 of the Treaty of Utrecht. Lord Shelburne, the Southern Secretary, responds that British rights are based on first discovery and that Britain does not regard Article 8 as prohibiting further exploration in the south Atlantic.

In Paris, Ambassador Fuentes meets with Bougainville to reconsider the details of a handover.

The Malouines would have to be transferred to Spain without further delay, so that the two Bourbon kingdoms could present the British with a united front.” (Dunmore 2005)

August 8th, French spies report to Choiseul that the British fully intend to reinforce Port Egmont.

August 11th, Prince Masserano writes to Grimaldi from London, urging an attack on the British fort.

Prince Masserano counselled his government to destroy the British colony before an English fleet arrived… He argued that the eighth article of the Treaty of Utrecht had guaranteed the Spanish rights to exclusive possession of the Americas and their adjacent islands. While Britain itself had wanted this guarantee so as to exclude the French from the area, the article and Britain’s 1749 acknowledgment of Spain’s right meant that the English had no right to be on the islands and could be forcibly evicted.” (Gustafson 1988)

.. there should be no waiting or negotiation but that steps should be taken to destroy the colony before the English fleet could reach the Falklands.” (Laver 2001)

August 15th, in London, there is disagreement over the orders for Wallis’ fleet. Should it sail in support of Macbride, or head straight for the Pacific Ocean?

August 25th, in Madrid, Miguel de Muzquiz suggests that two war vessels be sent to expel the British. The Marques de San Juan and the Conde de Aranda also favour the use of force. However, Juan Gregoria Muniain and Julian de Arriaga do not believe that Spain is in any condition to provoke a war.

.. since Spain had not yet taken possession of the colony, Masserano’s superiors found his advice extreme. Masserano did have reason to fear an English fleet would be sent to fortify Port Egmont. Lord Chatham had become the leading supporter of the Falklands colony after Lord Egmont resigned and was calling for the prompt despatch of a fleet.” (Gustafson 1988)

A minute of the discussions notes that; “ .. the destruction of Port Egmont was bound to lead to a trial of strength, that preparation should be made for war, and that, the greatest danger being that the British navy would operate in the South Atlantic near rather weakly defended parts of the Spanish empire, the fighting should be kept in the north.” (Tracy 1975)

In September 2nd, Bougainville leaves Paris for Madrid to negotiate the final details of transfer.

In Britain, Masserano again seeks information regarding the British position, asserting that Spain’s acquisition of the French settlement is, “in consequence of the Treaty of Utrecht…” which states that; “ . neither the Catholic King, nor any of his heirs and successors whatsoever, shall sell, yield, pawn, transfer, or by any means, or under any name, alienate from them and the crown of Spain, to the French, or to any other nations whatever, any lands, dominions, or territories, or any part thereof, belonging to Spain in America.” [Utrecht referred to the Spanish West Indies but failed to define the term. Spain saw it as being all the Americas, while the British interpreted it as meaning only the Caribbean.]

Etiole sails into Rochefort. Captain Giraudais immediately rides to Paris to consult Minister Choiseul; “La Giraudais had reported to Choiseul and to Fuentes, shortly after his return, while Bougainville was still in Spain. … The Ambassador had asked him whether he had seen any sign of a British presence in the Falklands … La Giraudais was adamant that no one had come across any British settlement … The odds against a British presence in the Malouines were a thousand to one, he told Fuentes.”

September 7th, Aigle sails from Fort de St. Louis.

September 9th, the sloop, HMS Swift, under Capt. John Raynor sails to relieve MacBride at Port Egmont.

The fact that the British presence at Port Egmont was a product of Britain’s strength in Europe had apparently been recognized by the Earl of Chatham in 1766 when he rejected a plan to increase Port Egmont’s local defences, and the absence of any significant local defences increased the importance of Port Egmont as a symbol of Spanish weakness.” (Tracy 1975)

September 11th, in Madrid, Bougainville continues the discussion regarding a handover; “The lack of precise information about British activities and the constant flow of rumours helped (Bougainville), ensuring that the Spanish remained anxious to settle the Malouines affair as quickly and as amicably as possible. … Madrid therefore went smoothly.”

September 14th, in Paris, the Duc de Choiseul speaks to Lord George Lennox about; “.. Les Islas Malouines which Spain had claimed and obtained from France, in consequence of the Treaty of Utrecht as by it all but Spaniards are excluded from sailing in that part of the World, and England’s having already observed the article of the treaty in laying aside, (as it is alleged) a project of Lord Anson’s in the year 1751 [sic] for those seas on the representation of Mr. Wall, … was given as a proof of the propriety of their demand…”

September 15th, in Madrid, the Conde de Aranda announces that in his opinion the Falklands are strategically more important than Cuba or Costa Rico. (Aguado 2012)

British spies report back to London; “ … with the ratification of the treaty of cession of the Malouines Islands to Spain by France … he (Bougainville) will embark in Ferrol with a King’s Commissioner (who will) take possession of the islands…” (De Visme to Shelburne September 15th, reported in Journal Politique: Pour l’Annee 1766 Octobre p.29)

September 25th, Masserano is referred to maps and books kept in the British Museum which show the Falkland Islands as English discoveries; he is also reminded that the Manila Ransom remains unpaid. (Affaires Étrangères: Angleterre, C.P. 470-471 Archivo General de Simancas, Spain Estado. Legajo 6961, no. 817)

The discoveries of the Spaniards in the new world, and the adjacent seas, were certainly extensive and important; but unfortunately for Spain, the information thus obtained was generally kept secret by her government, …while the English, the French and the Dutch, on the contrary, published accounts .. as soon as they had been made… when disputes arose,.. the Spanish government could only produce,.. bare assertions, or manuscript journals and charts of questionable authenticity.” [Greenhow 1842]

News of the settlement founded by Capt. John MacBride reaches Paris and Madrid. The reports also note rumours regarding the British intention to establish further forts in South America and the Pacific.

October 2nd, Choiseul writes to Grimaldi urging calm and arguing that reliance upon Article 8 of the Treaty of Utrecht requires evidence of Spanish occupation in the previous century. “.. on the ground that, if the settlement was on the Falklands and not in the South Sea, it was not prohibited by Article 8, unless it could be shown that there had been a Spanish presence on the Islands at the time of Charles II of Spain.” ([Greig 1983)

As for the Treaty of Utrecht, the British simply did not regard it as applicable. In this, amusingly enough, they were at one with the French minister Choiseul, who had told the Spaniards as much.” [Calvert 1983]

October 3rd, Spain’s King ratifies the agreement with the French.

October 4th, the St. Malo company officially signs over its settlement in the Falkland Islands –

“I, Monsieur Louis de Bougainville, colonel of his most Christian Majesty’s army, have received six hundred and eighteen thousand one hundred and eight livres, thirteen sols, and eleven deniers, being the amount of an estimate that I have given in, of the expenses incurred by the St. Malo Company in equipments for founding their intrusive establishments in the Malvina Islands, belonging to his Catholic Majesty, in the following manner:—

“Forty thousand livres delivered on account to me in Paris, by his Excellency the Count de Fuentes, ambassador of his Catholic Majesty to that court, for which I gave the proper receipt.

“Two hundred thousand livres, which are to be delivered to me at the same court of Paris, according to bills drawn in my favour by the Marquess of Zambrano, treasurer-general of his Catholic Majesty, upon Don Francisco Ventura Llorena, treasurer-extraordinary of the same; and sixty-five thousand six hundred and twenty-five hard dollars, and three-fourth parts of another, which are equivalent to the three hundred and seventy-eight thousand one hundred and eight livres three sous and eleven deniers, at the rate of five livres per dollar, which I have to receive in Buenos Ayres, on account of bills which have been delivered to me, drawn by his excellency the Baylio Fray, Don Julian Arriaga, secretary of state for the general department of the Indies and navy of his Catholic Majesty.

“In consideration of these payments, as well as in obedience to his Most Christian Majesty’s orders, I am bound to deliver up, in due formality, to the court of Spain, those establishments, along with the families, houses, works, timber, and shipping built there, and employed in the expedition; and, finally, every thing therein belonging to the St. Malo Company, as included in the accounts which are so settled, and to his Most Christian Majesty, by this voluntary cession, making void for ever all claims that the company, or any person interested therein may have, or might produce, upon the treasury of his Most Catholic Majesty; nor can they henceforth demand more pecuniary, or any other compensation whatsoever. In testimony whereof, I set my name to this present instrument and voucher, as one principally interested, as well as authorized to receive the whole of this sum, agreeably to a registry in the department of state in St. Ildefonso, 4th October, 1766.

(Signed) “LOUIS DE BOUGAINVIlLE.”

The documents are quite clear that the French settlement was relinquished as invalid and that no cession took place.”  (Calvert 1983)

(Bougainville) signed the formal handover document … This did not mean that he admitted the islands truly belonged to Spain – he never held that view – but it closed one chapter of his life.” (Dunmore 2005)

In Madrid, King Carlos issues a Royal Charter addressed to Felipe Ruíz Puente concerning the Malouines; “… there is agreement with His Very Christian Majesty to evacuate them because of my royal right. I have resolved that you should go with the frigates Liebre and Esmeralda under your command to the referred islands which will be handed to you by the Governor who is there, by virtue of orders from that other Sovereign which with you are being sent, and having been aware of your services, judgement and credited good conduct I have decided to choose you and name you as commander and consequently of those Islands as their Governor, and for this I order that you sail to Montevideo to provide yourself with food and water and other items which have been named under a separate order .., and agreed with the Governor and General Captain of the Province of Buenos Aires to whom you will report. I state that from now the government of the referred .. Islands depends on that General Captaincy for the future arrangements and communications that need to be established. … as soon as you get there present to the present Governor the orders which you carry from His Very Christian Majesty for him to hand over the said possession, and recording this act carry out what has to be done concerning this. Also I give you warning that all individuals that are there of any trade or occupation or condition that they have and which wish to remain under my Royal Rule, you are to admit them under the same contractual and remuneration conditions as they are now, and you should make available the above frigates for embarkation of all those who are to be transferred to Europe which do not wish to remain … .. I order all officers, ministers, sergeants, corporals, and other dependents of the named Islands who are or may be in future be on them, that they respect you and recognise you as their Governor, obeying the orders that you issue in writing, or by word of mouth, .. and which they shall obey without complaint or delay, and that they hold you with respect and treat you with deference and grace which corresponds to you, this is my will.” (AGN Sala IX Coleccion Colonia.)

October 6th, Bougainville leaves Madrid, bound for Paris, with the documents that require ratification.

October 15th, English Ministers consider exchanging the Falklands for a settlement of the Manilla Ransom.

The Chatham government had actually been willing to abandon Port Egmont in exchange for a Spanish agreement to pay the ransom contracted for at the capture of Manila in 1762, but only so long as it was ‘understood that the right of England to navigate the Atlantic and South Seas can never be departed from. . .’” (Tracy 1975)

Bougainville arrives in Paris, and presents the agreement to Choiseul.

October 18th, Bougainville calls upon Ambassador Fuentes; “Fuentes … was anxious to complete the agreed refund of his expenses in the Falklands, while making it quite clear that Spain was paying only for the cost of the failed colonisation. Nothing in the agreement could imply that France was selling the islands to Spain, as this would suggest that the original Spanish ownership was in doubt.” (Dunmore 2005)

October 19th, Minister Choiseul speaks to Lord Hertford, who is in Paris on private business. 1

” … I was sitting with my old acquaintance, the Comte de Fuentes, the Spanish ambassador at this court. The Duke came in and sat between us ….. M. de Choiseul then said, that he had taken that opportunity of talking to me, because he wished that my friend, the Comte de Fuentes, should be privy to what he said upon the establishment we were going to make in the Isles Maloines, and the just jealousy that Spain entertained upon our expedition into the South Sea. He said this matter was of so serious a nature, that he had already, by his own influence with the Spanish ministers employed at Paris and London, prevented a memorial being presented at the court of London, which was little less than a declaration of war, and that he had sent a messenger to Comte Guerchy relative to this matter, till time could be given for the two courts to know better upon what foundation these expeditions were made. He then told me, in the presence of M. de Fuentes, that when M. de Bougainville had made an establishment there for the court of France, it had given such offence to the Spanish court, that they were immediately obliged to desist from any further attempts upon it, without interrupting the harmony which at present subsisted between them; though there was not the same reason for jealousy whilst that intimate connection lasted, as there would naturally be with a power so formidable at sea as England was. To this matter I could properly make no other answer, than that commercial nations were desirous of trading and knowing the coasts of all parts of the world, and that if peace was to be preserved, the continuation of it was more likely to be obtained by confidence than by unreasonable suspicion; and that if the matter was thought of so serious a nature to the court of Spain, I took it for granted M. de Masserano would talk to the English ministers upon it. … The world at Paris is, I find, in possession of the uneasiness of the court of Spain, and with their usual quickness have determined that we shall soon have a war.”

In a further conversation with Hertford, Choiseul suggests that if Britain agrees not to establish itself in the South Seas, then France will act as a mediator over the outstanding Ransom amount. He also suggests that the matter could be resolved quickly if Hertford conveys the message to London. (Rice 1980)

October 27th, Ambassador Masserano receives instructions from Minister Grimaldi to present a protest on behalf of Spain, based upon Article 8 of the Treaty of Utrecht, under which Madrid believes it was granted the exclusive possession of the America’s and all adjacent islands.  (Laver 2001)

October 28th, delayed by illness, Lord Rochford finally arrives in Paris to take over as Ambassador.

November 2nd, Choiseul and Rochford meet. Choiseul suggests that the cancellation of Anson’s proposed expedition of 1748 was in recognition of Spanish rights in the South Atlantic. Rochford denies this, reasserting Britain’s right to claim unexplored lands; unrestricted by Article 8. Choiseul then suggests that, if both the Spanish and English Courts left it to them, the two Ministers could reach an accommodation combining both the Falklands and the Manila Ransom, within ‘half an hour’. Rochford declines to comment.

Hertford, now back in London, reports his conversations with Choiseul to Lord Shelburne, but fails to mention the prospect of French mediation. Hertford only relates the proposal of an exchange of the Falkland Islands for the Manilla Ransom which, if agreed, would have the Spanish Court settling its debt in January 1767. More importantly he fails to mention that Britain would have to recognise Spain’s interpretation of Article 8.

November 15th, Britain’s Cabinet meets to discuss the proposal as reported by Hertford. The decision is to proceed with a negotiation but to avoid any French involvement and Rochford is to reinforce to Choiseul that Article 8 of the 1713 Treaty does not restrict Britain’s rights in the South Seas; “ .. the Spaniards’ Romantick and absurd Notions to the Contrary not withstanding.”  [Rice 1980]

November 22nd, in a meeting between Lord Chatham and the French Ambassador in London, it becomes apparent that Hertford has misreported the proposal. 

November 25th, unaware of what is happening in London, Lord Rochford meets Choiseul once again, and proposes that both Spain and Britain desist from establishing themselves on the Falkland Islands, and that Spain promptly settles the outstanding Ransom amount.

On the same day, one of Macbride’s surveying parties discovers evidence that the French had visited West Falkland; “On the 25th November, the boats, having finished the survey of the west side, returned through Carlisle Sound and having landed on the east side of it, upon Mount B., the highest on the island, officers found a bottle containing enclosed papers which had been left by some French officers and others who had been on that part of the island in the beginning of 1765.”

November 28th, Lord Rochford writes to Earl Chatham from Paris, ” Your Lordship knows that a prime minister here has very extensive power, and I am convinced none of the Due de Choiseul’s predecessors ever enjoyed it in a greater extent. He has made himself absolutely necessary to the French King; and though much abuse in private is vented against him, it avails but little …. The only essential affair that can disturb the peace of Europe is our disputes with Spain ; and I here found him so sincerely terrified (if I may use the expression) at the court of Spain’s taking some absurd step, that I am confident there is no reasonable proposal he would not come into, for accommodating the Manilla ransom, and the affair of the islands of Falkland.”

December 2nd, Macbride sends an officer to observe Berkeley Sound; he sees the French settlement.

December 4th, MacBride arrives in Berkeley Sound; “I sent an officer ashore with a letter to the commanding officer demanding by what authority he had erected a settlement there, who, not understanding English, sent an officer on board with a letter to me, desiring to be informed of my intentions which when I had told him he said they would not permit me to enter the port or suffer any person to come on shore. I replied that I was determined to enter the port.”

December 5th, Bougainville sails for Montevideo on the frigate Boudeuse. The store-ship Etoile is to follow.

December 6th, after a short standoff, the French allow MacBride to inspect the settlement which consists of 1 stone house plus 16 others built of turf housing 130 inhabitants.

In compliance with his orders, Macbride then gives the French 6 months to evacuate the islands. Bougainville-Nerville responds with a similar demand.

Captain Macbride … came to our settlement in the beginning of December … His pretension was that these lands belonged to the King of Great Britain; he threatened to make a forcible landing if continued resistance was opposed to him; paid a visit to the Commandant; and, on the same day, put to sea. .. Such was the state of the Malvina Islands when we delivered them up to the Spaniards.”

The British believed that their settlement and their objection to the French colony had challenged France’s rights to the Islands soon enough to deny them title based on first occupation.” (Gustafson 1988)

December 12th, in Paris, Rochford learns of the confusion caused by Hertford’s omissions. Negotiations stall.

1767 – January 2nd, Earl Shelburn writes to Rochford; ” The King’s sincerity is undoubted as appears by the whole transaction. His steadiness I am certain will not be less. If any attempt therefore is made to negotiate away the substance of the proposal first made to His Majesty, your Excellency may be assured that His Majesty will not listen to it, so that if the Ministers of Spain endeavour on the return of their messengers to start fresh difficulties, the only consequence will be, that the station in question at the Isles of Falkland, the importance of which His Majesty fully knows, will remain open to be established by His Majesty, and the Manilla Ransom cannot be forgotten by His Majesty nor his subjects, till some happier moment shall come, when the Minister of the Court of Spain may be more disposed to do justice, where it is so unquestionably due.” (Fitzmaurice 1912)

January 4th, Captain John Raynor in the sloop, Swift, arrives at Port Egmont from Portsmouth.

January 13th, Spanish Minister Grimaldi informs Choiseul that his assistance is no longer required. Choiseul pointedly responds that France will not be in a position to support Spain if there’s a war.

January 30th, Louis de Bougainville arrives in Montevideo.

February 6th, Bougainville travels to Buenos Aires to discuss the transfer of the Fort de St. Louis settlement with the Governor, Fransisco de Paula Bucareli y Ursua.

“ … a memorandum of agreement was drawn up and signed within forty-eight hours. It covered the financial aspects of the transfer and the repayment of (Bougainville’s) expenses.” (Dunmore 2005)

A storeship, Prince Frederick, under the command of Lieut. James Brine arrives at Port Egmont with, inter alia, 50,000 bricks, 10 barrels of rum, 10 barrels of brandy, 120 barrels of beer, 120 barrels of Madeira, 400 casks of salt beef, 200 casks of pork, 25 marines, 9 women and 11 children.

February 28th, Bougainville, accompanied by the Spanish ships Esmeralda and Liebre, sails for the Falklands. With Spain’s new Governor, Felipe Ruiz Puente are Spanish settlers, 5 convicts and 4 priests. (Agreiter 2002)

A girl, Anne, is born to at Fort de St. Louis to Augustin Benoit and Francoise Terriot. [ Anne Benoit died September 4th, 1772 in St-Servan, Bretagne, France. Her place of birth was noted in the record.]

A child is born to Georges Joseph Charpentier and his wife at Port Louis. [RootsWeb World Connect Project]

March 20th, Capt. MacBride arrives back in England.

March 23rd, Boudeuse arrives at the French colony; “Bougainville had the pleasure of finding his cousin and old friends and finding the colony having developed since his last visit. Nerville told him about the arrival of an English Capt. MacBride on the frigate ‘Jason’ at the beginning of December, 1766. The English left after the colonists defended themselves, but vowed to return and expel the colonists within two months. …” (Scavennec 2005)

March 24th, the Spanish ships anchor near Port Louis having been guided from Montevideo by a French pilot.

March 29th, Fort Louis’ inhabitants are assembled so that their King’s letter can be read to them; “ .. his people, … were to be given the freedom to return to France on the vessels provided, .. (or) .. to remain under the domination of Spain, .. 37 persons chose to stay…” (Scavennec 2005)

The settlers were given the option of staying … (Bougainville) spoke to each in turn, trying to persuade them to stay. Thirty-seven agreed, a sufficient number for the continuation of the colony.” (Dunmore 2005)

In April, Capt. Raynor builds a bakery at Port Egmont.

On April 1st, in a simple ceremony, Louis de Bougainville hands over the French settlement to Felipe Ruíz Puente, Commander of the Esmeralda, and the new Spanish Governor of the Islas Maluinas. Port Louis is renamed Puerto Soledad. “I delivered our settlement to the Spaniards, who took possession of it by planting the Spanish colors which were saluted at sun-rising and sunset from the shore and on the ships. I read the King’s letter to the French inhabitants of this infant colony, by which his Majesty permits their remaining under the government of his Most Catholic Majesty. Some families profited of this permission, … “ (Bougainville 1772)

.. At first sight the transfer of the French rights in the islands to Spain… seems to have been a straightforward act of cession, enabling Spain thereafter to assert title in the islands, and to reinforce it by their own act of occupation. … the facts are not so simple, for Spain did not choose to regard the actions of 1767 at the time as an act of cession. … The agreement between France and Spain for the release of the islands does not confirm that France accepted the grounds for the Spanish claim, but it does serve as evidence that they did accept the claim itself, for Bougainville is paid compensation for his personal expenses …(Calvert 1983)

April 2nd, Governor Puente renames the settlement Puerto Soledad.

The next few days were spent making a detailed inventory of the settlement … The Spanish were disappointed by the rough, exiguous homes of the settlers, and by the absence of any chapel … Their homes and the fields they had cultivated were valued, and the totals were added to the amount Bougainville was collecting …” (Dunmore 2005)

April 27th, Puente writes to Don Francisco de Paula Bucarelli, Spanish Governor in Buenos Aires; “If His Excellency is good enough, as I hope, to send us frequent stores we might be able to live. If not, I think when we have consumed what we brought with us we shall soon find an end to our labours by departing this world. … What I desire the most is to get away from here as soon as possible, and I shall not cease to pester those who have shown me their favour.”

Puente’s officers write similar pleading letters requesting to be reposted which the Spanish ships taking 95 French settlers to Montevideo will deliver. Bougainville remains in the islands awaiting the arrival of Etoile.

June 2nd, believing that L’Etoile must be lost, Bougainville sails away, leaving behind 50 cows and 6 horses.

September, Lord Shelburne informs Prince Masserano; “..  that if the Spaniards, in talking of their possessions included the American and Southern Seas, and our navigating these gave occasion to them to suspect a war, he had no hesitation to say that he would advise one, if they insisted on renewing such a vague and strange pretension long since worn out.”

In October, Anthony Hunt is promoted to commander of the 16 gun sloop Tamar and ordered to sail for the Falkland Islands.

In November, Spanish spies obtain information about Port Egmont from English seamen; “There were two batteries of six 24-pounders on the right and left of the port, which is triangular in outline. There were 12 batteries at the inlet below the spur of the hill, where the Governor’s quarters are built. They are going to construct eight other flank batteries on either side of the inlet. There are 200 men working constantly, throwing up ramparts within which the ground is levelled over with course earth and gravel; but the piles and stakes were beginning to get scarce when he left. The New Experiment was to bring more.” (Corney 1913)

1768 – toreship HMS Florida, arrives at Egmont, followed by HMS Tamar on the 12th.

February 25th, Julián de Arriaga, Spanish Minister of the Navy and the Indies, issues an order to the Governor Bucarelli; “His Majesty orders me to instruct Your Excellency to be on the look out so that no British settlement whatsoever is allowed, and to expel by force any already formed if warnings according to law are not enough: and without the need for further orders or instructions, …”

March 9th, HMS Carcass arrives in Port Egmont harbour as HMS Florida leaves.

July 29th, further intelligence is passed to Minister Grimaldi in Madrid; “Description of Port Egmond (sic) given by seven seamen who came from there in the sloop Cracaza, arrived at Spithead on the 11th of June, and shortly afterwards paid off at Deptford. The Harbour of Egmond is large and convenient. It is situated at Falkland Island, .. The Harbour has three passages into it: one on the south-west, another on the north-east, and the third at the south-east. This last is the only one that can be used with safety; the other two are dangerous, being full of obstructions. There is a battery of four 24-pounder guns erected inside, which defends the entrance on the S.E. Side, which is the only one practicable. No fortifications have been built for the defence of the Harbour. There are no more than three houses built: to wit, one for a dwelling-house for the officers of the ships stationed there, another to serve as a magazine for stores, and the other for the officers’ and ships’ crews’ kitchens. When the Carcaza sailed from Egmond Harbour, she left the King’s frigate the Tamar and the sloop the Fly there, whose marines were occupied with doing sentry duty at the battery. There was nothing to show, at the time the Carcaza left that any further fortification of the place or additional buildings were in contemplation; and it is supposed that the several vessels that England has sent out to this Harbour are intended to serve as scouts. The seven seamen who made this statement are unanimous in what they declare, and they all say that there is no depot or stock of arms, nor of artillery, at Port Egmond.” (Corney 1913)

In August, Sir James Grey, Ambassador to the Spanish Court, leaves Madrid in the hands of the Secretary of the Embassy, Mr. James Harris, until his replacement, Lord Rivers, arrives. Lord Rochford resigns from his embassy to Paris, returns to Britain and accepts a cabinet seat.

December 12th, HMS Florida returns to Port Egmont.

December 20th, Fransisco Gil y Lemos, in the frigate Santa Rosa, sails from Buenos Aires to search for Port Egmont.

December 30th, Governor Bucarelli issues an Order to; “ … dislodge the English or upbraid them if you find them being superior forces, ..”

The 1766 dispute was not only Britain’s last chance to secure the Manila Ransom but the best opportunity which offered to prevent a serious confrontation over the Falklands. Both opportunities were lost, by a mixture of muddle, misunderstanding, and sheer bad luck, which helped to confirm the criticisms of inflexibility, short-sightedness, and lack of imagination which foreign observers often made of British statesmen in these years. This little-known and much-misunderstood episode must now be counted alongside its other deficiencies as one of the more significant forign policy failures of the ill-fated Chatham administration.” (Rice 1980)

[The picture below is entitled, ” Monsieur Bougainville Hoisting the French Colours on a Small Rock near Cape Forward in the Streights of Magellan” and is dated 1773.]

Written by Junius

October 22, 2011 at 3:21 am

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