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Falklands War

The Falklands War or the Malvinas War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas), was an armed conflict between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the Falkland Islands, also known in Spanish as the Islas Malvinas, between March and June of 1982. The Falklands consist of two large and many small islands in the South Atlantic Ocean east of Argentina, whose ownership had long been disputed. (See History of the Falkland Islands for the background of that dispute.)

Argentina was in the midst of a devastating economic crisis and large-scale civil unrest against the military junta that was governing Argentina in the period leading up to the war. The government, headed by President General Leopoldo Galtieri, decided to play off long-festering nationalistic sentiment by launching what it thought would be a quick and easy war to reclaim the Falkland Islands. The ongoing tension between the two countries over the islands increased on 19 March when 50 Argentines landed on the British dependency of South Georgia and raised their flag, an act that is seen as the first offensive action in the war. On 2 April, Galtieri ordered the invasion of the Falkland Islands, triggering the Falklands War.

Though initially surprised by the Argentine attack on the South Atlantic islands, Britain launched a naval task force to engage the Argentine navy and air force, and deployed Royal Marines on the ground. After heavy combat, the British eventually prevailed and the islands remained under British control, although as of 2005, Argentina has still not relinquished its claim to the Falkland Islands. The political effects of the war were strong in both countries. The Argentine loss prompted even larger protests against the military government, which prompted its downfall, while a wave of patriotic sentiment swept through the United Kingdom, bolstering the government of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The war has played an important part of the culture of both countries, and has been the subject of several books, movies, and songs, although due to the low number of casualties on both sides it is not seen as a truly major event in either countries' individual histories.

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