The Falkland Islands and South Atlantic
THE LAWLESS YEARS 1811-1820, old print of fur sealers clubbing fur seals lawless years


After the Spanish departed Puerto Soledad the only people on the Falklands between 1811 to 1820 were the itinerant sealers and whalers. There was no authority at all in the islands. Sealers and whalers took made harbours temporary bases for their ships. This included the abandoned Port Egmont, New Island and West Point Islands. In 1816 the future state of Argentina , newly independent from Spain, laid claim to the previous colonial territories. Eventually in 1820 David Jewett, privateer and mercenary (American by birth), struggled in to Berkeley Sound with a sick and dying crew aboard the 'Heroína' . He had been engaged in harrying Spanish shipping for the United Provinces and had captured and lost the 'Carlota' actually a Portuguese ship which he technically should not have touched at all. Unsure of his reception back in Buenos Aires he decided to go the Falklands which he surely considered Spanish hoping to gain credits there. On 6 November 1820 Jewett read out a declaration that he was taking possession of the Islands for the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata. The whalers and sealers paid little attention to David Jewett's letters forbidding whaling and sealing.





Sources include: "The Falkland Islands- Ian J Strange, Falkland Islands History- G Moir, The Falkland Islands- Mary Cawkell, A Brief History of the Falkland Islands- Wayback Machine, Falkland Islands portal.
Photographs by Ailsa Heathman