Argentina says it inherited the islands from Spain after winning its independence in 1816 only to be plundered by British pirates 17 years later.
Argentina’s so-called revisionist historians have reclaimed Antonio “El Gaucho” Rivero, once a condemned figure in Argentina’s history as the leader of a murderous rebellion in the Falklands, as a patriot. Mr. Rivero, hired by French merchant Luis Vernet to work in a settlement that was sold to him by the United Provinces of the River Plate, the predecessor to the Argentine republic, murdered the settlement’s five commanders, the event that triggered Britain’s return to enforce its claim.
In a recent episode of “Zamba’s Amazing Tour,” a popular children’s show produced by a state-run animation company in which a little boy revisits key moments in Argentina’s history, Zamba travels back to 1982 to learn why the islands are Argentine and the injustice of the British occupation.
“There are countries that think they own the world," an Argentine fighter pilot tells Zamba.
Jan Cheek, a member of the territory’s legislative assembly who oversees education, condemns such programming as “almost indoctrination.”
Falkland Islanders, whose educational system is modeled after the British, are not taught about the sovereignty dispute until they reach high school, Cheek says.
Unlike Argentine students, who are taught that the British invaded the islands in 1833, islanders learn in classrooms that the British never gave up its claim, originating from an Englishman’s discovery in 1592, and had no colonial interests because the islands were empty when they arrived.
“The accusation that we expelled an Argentine population is not correct because there was no indigenous population. The people who were expelled in 1833 were a small garrison from South America of several nationalities who had been behaving riotously, killed the commanding officer and were shipped back. But all the civilians who had settled on the islands in prior years were invited to stay,” Cheek says.