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There was no obvious authority remaining in the Islands, despite neither Britain nor Spain abandoning their claims to all, or part of, the archipelago. Not that the Falklands were deserted. Quite the contrary. Whalers and sealers from the USA and UK still dominated there, spending up to two years at a time building temporary settlements and pursuing their bloody business, as David Jewett found on his arrival in 1820.
There were still profits to be made, and the lure of easy money drew the attention of a German businessman, Luis Vernet, a resident of Buenos Aires. Large herds of wild cattle were his first aim, but also he saw an opportunity to take over the oil business by controlling it. For that he needed a State to back him up. Unable to raise Great Britain’s interest, Vernet chose Buenos Aires, the city State at the heart of the United Provinces – a revolted colony of Spain.
Only when he had their public interest did Britain turn its gaze towards its old claims to the Falkland Islands.