I received an email this morning from a reader:
I insist that you publish a correction.
The Falklands are disputed, for sure, but not by a country which had previously “owned” them. The Spanish landed there once and left them. The British occupied an empty space and made them productive. All this before Argentina even existed.
Remember, Ceuta and Melilla are “disputed” in the same way that the Falkland Islands are “disputed”: that is, they once belonged to another country, but are now in the possession of a different country, and the majority of their inhabitants are citizens of the country that owns them.
Instead of “belonged to”, I should have written “were claimed by”, since Argentina has never in any sense owned the islands in question. The original post has been modified accordingly.
The history of claims, counterclaims, and settlements in the Falklands is fascinating. The Dutch made the original discovery; the French, the British, and the Spanish all played parts in the drama, with the Argentines being relative latecomers. The Wikipedia entry on the topic is recommended reading.
I’m happy to set the record straight.