On Tuesday, the British government said the Falkland Islands had cleared all landmines from its territory in response to a request for help from the UN Security Council.
The Falkland Islands are 300 miles off the south coast of Argentina and remain British overseas territory, but Argentina has repeatedly challenged Britain's claim to sovereignty. The Argentine government says sovereignty over the Falkland Islands has been up for discussion since Britain claimed it 187 years ago and won a war for the territory in 1982. Argentina wants the islands, 300 miles off its coast, to fly its flag and has said it will not be subject to any discussion until Britain regains its claim to sovereignty, which it has repeatedly questioned. The Alkland Islands government also administers a number of other islands in the South Atlantic, including the Shag and Clerke Rocks, 700 miles south - east of Buenos Aires on the coast of South America - and the small island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The disputed islands, which Argentina calls Las Malvinas, are considered British overseas territory by the UK along with Bermuda and Gibraltar. The Falkland Islands Government issues its five pound note, and the city is also featured on the Falklands Philatelic Bureau town and city stamps and a number of stamps reflecting the history and wildlife of the region since the late 19th century. As well as the £5 notes and stamps issued for the towns of St Vincent and the Grenadines, the Falkland Islands has also issued stamps to reflect its wildlife history.
The conflict was Britain's last colonial war, triggered by Argentina's attempts to assert its sovereignty over the Falkland Islands in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. British military removed the remaining Argentines in 1833, but returned the following year, claiming they had always been British. The conflict boiled over in 1914, when Argentina invaded and took control of it, prompting the British government to respond, resulting in a ten-week war that Britain won. Argentine troops invaded the islands again in 1916, triggering a two-year war between the two countries that led to the defeat and withdrawal of Argentine troops.
The Argentine authority over the people of the islands was expelled by the United Kingdom on 3 January 1833, and this effective exercise of sovereignty was interrupted by Argentina's attempt to permanently exercise its rights on the island itself, "it said.
Britain lodged a diplomatic protest, saying the islands were British territory and Argentina had no right to do so, but Argentina ignored it. When Argentina refused, the British sent their troops to retake the island by force, leading to a brief but intense Falklands War. Thatcher testified before the Falklands Review Committee and said she never, ever expected the Argentines to invade head-on. Believing that Britain would not retake the islands militarily, Argentina invaded them on March 29, 1982, occupying Stanley and invading all of them.
Prime Minister Thatcher declared: "I must tell Parliament that the Falkland Islands and their dependence remain British territory." And I must explain that.
The Falkland Islands are defined as Argentine islands and called Las Malvinas, and the islanders should decide their future. The Argentine government and its allies tend to regard the use of the name "Malvinaas" as offensive, but they had no business in the islands.
In the case of Britain, the British Nationality Act of 1981 stripped many Falkland Islands of British citizenship and encouraged Argentina to make the Falkland Islands an even more central issue. In the 1981 referendum, a majority of those who voted to remain in the EU voted for "British." It seemed unlikely that they would ever return to "Argentine" rule.
In 2013, the people of the Falkland Islands were asked in a referendum to support the UK's membership of the European Union (EU), to which the people of the islands responded almost unanimously. In 2014, the people of all Falkland Islands were asked in a second referendum whether they wanted to retain sovereignty over their own islands. A majority of those asked to vote for "British" or "Falkland Islands" - which they want to keep - voted for "United Kingdom."
The Falkland Islands are self-sufficient and self-governing and do not require any financial support from the UK, except for defence. This has allowed the Falkland Islands and their economy to diversify and move out of their dependence on agriculture, and it has allowed the Falkland government and economy to develop themselves - sufficiently.
The new Falkland Islands Constitution, signed by HMG, entered into force on 1 January 2009 and enshrines the rights of the local people of the Falkland Islands to govern themselves in all areas except defence and foreign policy. The coalition government has strengthened the independence and self-government of the Falklands, as well as its government and economy.