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Sunday, October 25, 1998 Published at 08:29 GMT


The battle over the Falklands

Fighting hotspots in the 74-day campaign

The long running dispute between Britain and Argentina over the ownership of the Falkland Islands has its origins in the founding of an Argentine settlement on the islands in 1826.

Victorious British troops walk through Port Stanley on June 14 1982
Most of the Argentine settlers were expelled by a US warship in 1831 and a British expedition took control of the territory in 1832. British sovereignty was declared in 1833, although Argentina has always disputed this.

Carlos Menem's visit to Britain this week is the first by an Argentine leader since the dispute erupted into war in April 1982. Britain lost and recaptured the islands within 74 days.

[ image:  ]
March 19
Scrap metal workmen, accompanied by a military presence, land on South Georgia Island, hoisting an Argentinian flag.

March 26
The Argentine military junta decides to invade the islands. Operation Rosario is planned for either May 25 or July 9 - both important national celebrations. Due to mounting domestic pressures, the date of the invasion is moved forward.

March 28
Reports that five Argentine warships have been sighted near South Georgia. March 30, British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington says a diplomatic solution is being pursued.

April 1
UN Security Council, meeting at Britain's request, calls for restraint and avoidance of force.

6pm news 2.4.1982: The Falklands has been seized
April 2
The Argentine Navy and thousands of troops lands on the Falklands. The Royal Marines based on the islands put up some resistance before Governor Rex Hunt orders them to surrender. The British Government immediately cuts diplomatic ties with Argentina and begins to assemble a large naval taskforce.

April 3
Argentine troops seize the islands of South Georgia and the South Sandwich group following a short battle, prompting enthusiastic celebrations in Buenos Aires. The UN Security Council passes Resolution 502 calling for troops on both sides to withdraw and renewed negotiations for a peaceful solution. Argentina refuses to comply. In a House of Common emergency session, the British government faces criticism for not foreseeing the Argentine attack. First Royal Air Force transport aircraft are deployed.

[ image: Troops begin to mass]
Troops begin to mass
April 5
British naval vanguard sets sail for Ascension Island. In subsequent days further ships, aircraft and troops head for the South Atlantic, including P&O cruise liner Canberra and QE2 as troopships.

April 7
The British Government says it intends to impose a 200-mile exclusion zone around the islands on April 26.

April 8
US Secretary of State Alexander Haig begins shuttle mediation. Two days later the EEC issues trade sanctions against Argentina while Mr Haig holds talks with Argentine junta. After further meetings the talks break down on April 17.

April 22
The British task force moves into Falklands waters.

April 25
A small British commando force re-takes South Georgia Island. Margaret Thatcher calls on Britain to "Rejoice".

South Georgia recaptured: Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said "Rejoice!"
April 26
Mrs Thatcher says time for diplomacy is running out. President Ronald Reagan declares US support for Britain and economic sanctions against Argentina.

Brian Hanrahan on Radio 4 News: "I counted them all out "
May 1
British planes attack the Port Stanley airfield. Three Argentine aircraft are shot down.

May 3
The President of Peru, Belaunde Terry, presents a peace proposal to Argentine President Leopoldo Galtieri, who gives preliminary acceptance with some modifications.

[ image: Belgrano: bombed 30 miles out of the war zone]
Belgrano: bombed 30 miles out of the war zone
Before it is ratified, British submarine HMS Conqueror torpedoes the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano 30 miles outside the war zone. 400 crewmen die. Britain claims the hit was made in self-defence. The Junta rejects the peace proposal.

May 4
Argentine air attacks sink the British destroyer HMS Sheffield with the loss of 20 men. One British Harrier is also shot down. Bombing of Port Stanley begins.

May 5
Peru drafts another peace plan. Two days later the UN enters peace negotiations while Britain extends its exclusion zone to include waters within 12 miles of Argentine mainland territory.

[ image:  ]
May 8
Islands are bombarded from sea and air. Two sea Harriers sink Argentine trawler Narwal.

May 11
Argentine supply ship Isa De Los Estados sunk by HMS Alacrity. Argentina declares the entire South Atlantic a war zone.

May 14
Three Argentine skyhawks shot down. Margaret Thatcher warns that peaceful settlement may not be possible. British special forces night raid on Pebble Island destroys 11 Argentine aircraft on the ground.

May 18
Britain rejects a peace proposal presented by the UN Secretary General.

May 21
British troops land near Port San Carlos and rapidly reinforce the bridgehead over the following days. The British HMS Ardent is sunk in the action. Nine Argentine aircraft are also shot down.

[ image: HMS Antelope burnt out and sank]
HMS Antelope burnt out and sank
May 23
The British HMS Antelope attacked and sinks after an unexploded bomb detonates. Seventeen Argentine aircraft are destroyed in two days.

May 25
HMS Coventry is bombed leaving 19 Britons dead. The MV Atlantic Conveyor is hit and sinks three days later.Twelve Britons are killed.

May 28
Britain takes the defended Argentine positions Darwin and Goose Green with the loss of 17 men. The Argentine death toll is ten times greater and 1,400 prisoners are taken. British commanding officer Col. "H" Jones dies in the battle and is later awarded a Victoria Cross. Air raids continue on Port Stanley.

May 29
Shelling continues as British troops advance. Douglas settlement, Teal inlet and Mount Kent are taken leaving Port Stanley surrounded. Britain repeats ceasefire terms on June 1.

June 4
Britain vetoes Panamanian-Spanish ceasefire resolution in the UN Security Council. Two days later the Versailles summit supports the British position on the conflict.

A survivor from Sir Galahad on the moment the ship was hit
June 8
Argentine aircraft attack British troops landing at Bluff Cove. HMS Plymouth is severely damaged. The landing ship Sir Galahad is sunk and its companion ship Sir Tristram is also badly damaged - 50 Britons die and 55 more are seriously wounded.

June 12
Britain mounts an assault on Mount Longdon taking the position after a long battle and hand-to-hand fighting with Argentine troops. Argentina suffers 50 dead. Britain loses 23 men including Sergeant Ian John McKay who was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. Six further Britons die shortly afterwards.

In other battles Britain takes Two Sisters and Mount Harriet. Forty Argentines and 9 British soldiers are killed in a further battle for Mount Tumbledown. The cruiser HMS Glamorgan is hit as it bombards on shore Argentine positions killing 13 Britons.

[ image: Victory flag is raised over Port Stanley]
Victory flag is raised over Port Stanley
June 14
The Argentine garrison at Port Stanley is defeated. Commander Mario Menendez signs a surrender document. 9,800 Argentine troops put down their arms.

June 20
Britain formally declares an end to hostilities. The 200-mile exclusion zone is replaced by a Falklands Protection Zone of 150 miles.

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