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Sunday, August 2, 2015

The British Invasion of Buenos Aires 1806 - 1807 and Argentinas claimtothe Malvinas / Falkland Islands.

4:11 PM John Boyle
One of the forgotten wars of Britains past came in 1806 when they stormed Buenos Aires and initially took the city. The spanish had not wanted to arm and train the locals as they feared them as much as any potential invaders. After the initial success the British redcoats found themselves surrounded in the city and had to fight their way back out suffering huge losses on the way. But they did not go far, they crossed the river-plate (Rio de la Plata) and dropped anchor outside Montevideo. There they waited for reinforcements and laid siege to the city and stormed it. The then moved along the northern shore of the river-plate before once more crossing it (26 miles 42km) and laying siege to Buenos Aires once more.  But this time the portenoes (people of the port) had had a year to prepare. And were wise enough to know you don't fight the redcoats in the open field. They had prepared a defensive ring around the Plaza Mayor (now the plaza de Mayo) and along what is now know as defensa street.
The redcoats divided themselves into many groups of between 250 and 600 men depending on the objective at hand. They then launched many simultaneous attacks hoping to overwhelm the defenders, but found themselves charging head long at cannons packed with grapeshot (shrapnel). Many of the attacks floundered immediately and very quickly the redcoats had lost 2500 men either dead wounded or taken prisoner. By this stage the portenoes were firing down on them from every roof top from in front and behind them. the redcoats were trapped again. They finally had to plead for terms of surrender which were delivered to them written on the hide of a donkey. They finally had to leave Buenos Aires once more on condition that they sailed straight back to England. 
  In Buenos Aires jubilation turned to rebellion and 3 years later it would be the turn of the Spanish to flee. The uprising began on the 25th May in 1810 and the nation of Argentina was in the process of being born. The birth or the nation was completed on the 9th of July 1816 all that was held by Spain became part of the land signed over to the new Republic including the Malvinas Islands which the British know as the Falklands. Britain knew now that seizing Buenos Aires was out of the question but with naval superiority they knew they could size and hold the islands. And 17 years later in 1833 that's exactly what they did. But by this time the islands had and Argentine governor and a population, it was part of the sovereign territory of Argentina.
And that is why the Argentines feel very strongly that Las Malvinas Son Argentinas.
The photos below show the shrapnel damage to the church tower in defensa street 400 in the centre of Buenos Aires and inside the church are the battle standards of the British redcoats.



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