Falkands vs. Malvinas

A confusing and confused article in the UK tabloid the Sun states that “the British islands in the South Atlantic have been given Argentinian place names on the interactive Google Earth site.”

falkinas.gifWell, in Maps the Spanish names are appended in parentheses. I have no problems with that, as it makes the map more useful to finding the islands when cross-referencing from other (Spanish-language) sources. (No access to Earth right now so if somebody could check…)

The Sun, however, loves to get on a patriotic high horse every so often, so we’ll see how this plays out.

[Update 15:20 UTC: Just had a look at Google Earth’s representation of the Falklands. Searching for either “malvinas” or “falkland islands” (but not “falklands”) gets you there, with your search term of choice displayed atop the islands. Once there, if you have place names turned on you also get to see an ‘official’ “Falkand Islands” title. If you have the Google Earth BBS Earthbrowsing category turned on, then you also get to see a collection of Spanish-language placemarks. Perhaps it is this that the Sun objected to? It’s slim pickings for patriotic fulminating in any case.]

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13 thoughts on “Falkands vs. Malvinas”

  1. To understand, it’s important to know the history of the Falklands war, and the Argentine dictatorship that precipitated it. Though the islands once belonged to Spain and later to Argentina, in the 19th Century, from the 1830s onward they were completely under British sovereignty. There are no Argentines living in the Falklands. The name “Malvinas” was about as significant up to the mid-1970s as was the Argentine abbreviation for los Estados Unidos (EEUU), which is not printed next to the name of the US on any international maps I’m aware of.

    When Argentina’s vicious dictatorship began to collapse toward the end of the ’70s, they resurrected this 150-year-old dispute in a desperate attempt to rally the population and the military behind a common cause. The political effect was similar to the Nazis labeling of the Sudetenland as part of greater Germany. Then the Argentines invaded and had their asses handed to them, which was crucial in bringing that dictatorship to an end.

    Monuments still exist all over Argentina to the soldiers lost in the “Malvinas” war. They are remnants from a time when the government was coining pesos commemorating the mass annihilation of the Indians (with the sickening title “el conquisto del desierto”), concurrently with perpetrating the worst sort of repression, torture and murder against its citizens.

    In short, the name “Malvinas” has taken on ugly connotations akin to the use of the name “Myanmar” to describe Burma. This is generally understood by the British, which is why the Sun can shorthand it thusly.

  2. International maps do label the United States EEUU — if they’re in Spanish. Check out Swedish placenames in Google Earth; you’ll find that both English and Swedish variants will get you where you need to go. Plenty of pro-British websites about the Falklands war will gladly refer to the Malvinas. It’s just what you call those islands in Spanish. Nothing sinister about it.

  3. You say there’s nothing sinister about it, but try refering to that place as the Falkland Islands to your average Argentine and you’ll get an earful. Though this is the first I’ve heard of the British being equally sensitive on the subject (the Argentines are just bitter they lost the war) it’s definitely a contentious point between the two countries even now.

    Don’t forget that the British invaded Argentina briefly in the early 19th Century. Some Argentine leftists to this day will secretly admit it’s a shame they’re not all speaking English – they could have been one of the richest countries in the world.

  4. If you are Argentine you call them Malvinas, if you are British you know this group of islands as the Falklands. In any case the Argentine government has the Malvinas in the agenda. Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana published an op-ed in the Argentine newspaper Pagina 12 arguing his case for their recovery. He basically wants the English government to sit in the negotiation table twenty years after the war Argentina lost.

    Britain had occupied and administered the islands since 1833 and had consistently rejected Argentina’s territorial claims. In 1982 Argentina invaded the islands starting a war that produced close to a thousand casualties and returned control of the territory to Britain. The total population of the islands is of roughly three thousand people.

  5. Islas Malvinas will always be Argentinas! British go home! You owned the world unfearly, it is time to pay your duty with South America! South will rule! ¡Viva la revolución!

  6. Malvinas Ingles!

    Remember there are people living on the islands who want to stay resolutely British. The subject was brought up by the Argentine military dictatorship in the 70’s. No one in Argentina cared much before.

  7. “You owned the world unfearly, it is time to pay your duty with South America”

    Well the British also exported civil society to a a lot of the world, along with more modern inventions than you possibly know. As for paying duty, you’re kidding right? Let the British go home when the Spaniards do. The Current argentine population have no more claim to the islands or even the main land for that matter. Yes it’s taken in 1833 by the British. So what! The whole of South America is nothing more than the remnants of the Spanish empire, which to be fair is a lot worse off than the British equivalent.

  8. “Las Malvinas son de nosotros”???

    The Falkland Islanders are there and don’t want to be Argentinian at all.

    Quite understandably, they want to continue their strong relationship with the UK.

    “The Falkland Islands are ours”!!!

  9. Hi,

    I’ve got a question for you all.

    I seem to remember there was an official UN Resolution resolving that that group of islands should ALWAYS be given BOTH names: Islas Malvinas/Falkland Islands (if you are Spanish-speaker) or Falkland Islands/Islas Malvinas (if you are English speaker).

    Unfortunately I have not been able to locate that UN Resolution – could anybody please do the favour of posting the link here? Thank you/muchas gracias.

  10. ¡Qué difícil! Sin ninguna duda que mis afectos están junto a los que murieron y fueron heridos, hermanos argentinos. ¡Sin embargo siento una serena melancolía por todos los que cayeron de ambos lados! ¿Qué será de nosotros y nuestros recuerdos cuando el paso de los siglos se ocupe de otros ciudadanos del mundo? ¿Habrá aún Great Britain, aún Argentina? Lamento que todo lo que queda en el tiempo son números. Legalmente nunca develaremos el misterio de saber a quiénes pertenecen o a quiénes pertenecieron. A pesar de creer que son nuestras.

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