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Lord Anson had seen the potential for a British base in the South Atlantic but it was Lord Egmont that pushed forward with the plan to make use of the Island claimed by Hawkins for England in 1593. Byron was sent, in 1765, to see whether Hawkins’ Maidenland was actually worth the trouble. Trouble that was bound to come when Spain saw, yet again, that its pretentious claims to all the Americas were being eroded. Byron thought what he found in the west of the Islands was certainly that which Anson had considered necessary for a British base – and worth the effort.
MacBride followed, with a garrison and settlers. He was rather less impressed with what he discovered on his arrival – a cold, wind blasted, treeless terrain. What he also found were the French.
Bougainville had read Anson and got to the archipelago first, in 1764; establishing a settlement on the eastern side of the main eastern island, tucked away in the far reaches of what Byron had named Berkeley Sound.
Spain was no more impressed by France’s incursion than it was by that of Britain but with the Spanish and French crowns related by blood, France was the easier to deal with. Bougainville was pressured to hand over his settlement to Spanish forces in 1767, and so Spain finally arrived in the archipelago. The third nation to get there.
A whistle blew. Spain versus Britain in the Falklands was a game that would play out until 1833. This period saw just the opening moves. A test of strength.