The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
EarlyStanley print, Stanleys first residents page


In 1846 the new town of Stanley had successfully relocated 164 residents from Anson. Governor Moody found the seafaring community lawless and unruly. He considered the most of the disorderly were sealers, whalers, foreigners and Spanish gauchos who were 'more or less accustomed to a reckless life', badly influencing others, causing 'disturbances' in the town and bringing it in to disrepute. The gauchos were estimated by Moody at the time to number 106. The sealers and whalers were a floating population, much like pirates, with little respect for the British flag. Between 1811 and 1820 'the lawless years' when the Falklands were abandoned by all nations, the only people on the islands were the itinerant sealers and they had become accustomed to doing much as they pleased.

Moody suggested that settlers best adapted to colonize the Falklands would be from the 'industrious population' of the Orkneys and Shetland Islands who would be accustomed to a hardly life and as much seamen as landsmen. This however did not happen.

Governor Moody was succeeded by Governor George Rennie who too was greatly concerned by the lawless element and the wrong type of person entering the Colony as a settler. The early inhabitants had little to occupy their time and there was much drinking.

He wrote: ‘Of good dependable colonists there are few. There are a number of single men, some from the River Plate and others who had been shipwrecked on the Islands.  These, are the only description of emigrants that come here.’ The ‘single men from the River Plate’ were gauchos, imported to the islands for Mr Lafone’s wild cattle hunting enterprise then in full swing. In summer they were well employed in camp killing cattle but in winter they were irresponsibly discharged by Williams (Lafone's disreputable agent) and left poorly clothed and destitute until the next season. They flocked to Stanley and spent much of their time in the public houses (there were eight in the town by 1863). A jail was built in the new Government Dockyard and attempts to bring everyone to heel and law to the coasts was made. To protect his more respectable citizens Rennie brought in an Aliens Ordinance in 1849 and formed a Magistrate’s court. A jail was built in the new Government Dockyard and attempts to bring everyone to heel and law to the coasts was made. He applied to Britain for more suitable settlers. In answer to his request the British Government sent out more marines with their wives and families. By 1849, 30 married Chelsea Pensioners were settled there to help colonize and defend the islands. Their average age was 43, the youngest being 26 and the eldest 53, but life in barracks was a far cry from that of a pioneer settler. Some were able to settle down and became excellent gardeners and tradesmen, those who remained restive were finally granted passes back to Britain. Five families remained and their descendants still live there today.





A Brief History of the Falkland Islands- Wayback Machine, Falkland Islands portal, "The Falkland Islands- Ian J Strange, Falkland Islands History- G Moir, The Falkland Islands- Mary Cawkell,
Lieutenant George Rennie. Governor 1848-1855