King's College London
Online Exhibitions
Ploughing the sea: Latin America observed

A claim to British sovereignty

Opening showing pages 76 to 77 from Bernard Penrose's Account of the last expedition to Port Egmont, in Falkland's Islands, in the year 1772.Pages 76-7 from Bernard Penrose's Account of the last expedition to Port Egmont, in Falkland's Islands, in the year 1772 ... The first permanent British settlement on the islands was at Port Egmont and lasted (notwithstanding a temporary evacuation caused by tensions with Spain in 1770) from 1766 to 1774. A ceremony marking the end of this particular settlement is shown here.

It is clear from the text that the claim to British sovereignty remains, the islands being 'the sole right and property of His most sacred Majesty George the Third', and the passage ends with the hoisting of the Union Flag and the traditionally British 'three cheers'.

The strong religious spirit of the first British settlement is also evident and Christian worship remains an important and binding factor within life on the Falkland Islands in the 21st century. After a week of hard work on an unforgiving land,

The Sabbath was constantly kept in a decent manner, divine service was performed by Mr Clayton himself, and the articles of war were read every month. Thus it appears we were by no means a disorderly community, and it was owing to these regulations that we had occasion to punish only six men during our stay.

Descriptions of the wild landscape and smaller islands are also included and there are tales of how game was hunted for the pot. There is also a tragic tale demonstrating how unforgiving the islands are, when the author describes how a sea-lion tore a man's leg 'entirely off just below the knee' and the man sadly 'only lived to undergo an amputation'.

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