(2 April–14 June 1982)
The Argentine–British war in the Falkland Islands, a UK Overseas Territory comprising a group of islands in the south Atlantic, about 480 km (300 miles) off the coast of Argentina. The islands were first occupied by the French in 1764. The British ousted the French settlers within a year but the French sold their claim to Spain. In 1820 Argentina claimed sovereignty as Spain's successor and have disputed Britain's claim to the islands since 1833. Repeated attempts at negotiation for the transfer of the islands from British to Argentine rule having failed, an Argentine warship was sent by General Leopoldo Galtieri's military junta to land a party of “scrap dealers” on South Georgia on 19 March 1982 with the intention of reclaiming the Falklands. This was followed on 2 April by a full-scale military invasion. Attempts by the UN, the USA, and Peru to secure a peaceful resolution to the conflict failed, and Britain sent a task force of 30 warships with supporting aircraft and auxiliary vessels across 13,000 km (8,000 miles) of sea to recover the islands. Although all but three Latin American nations supported Argentina, the USA, in a difficult position because of close ties to both countries, sided with the British. The ten-week conflict, which claimed the lives of nearly 1,000 British and Argentine servicemen and civilians, ceased with the surrender of the Argentine forces on 14 June. The British victory contributed to the downfall of General Galtieri's government. Argentina officially declared a cessation of hostilities in 1989.