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5 Islands with Hotly Disputed Histories (Slideshow)

5. Falkland Islands

Not every modern-day sovereignty dispute takes place in the Pacific. Located near the southern tip of South America, controversy over the governance of the Falklands hit its peak in 1982 with the Falklands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom. Thousands of mines left by the Argentine military still lurk in the waters surrounding the islands to this day.

Although diplomatic relations between the two countries have, of course, normalized since the dispute 30 years ago, the Falklands can still be a sore point between both sides. Just this year, a legal decision over oil exploration around the Falklands drew heated responses, with Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner describing the United Kingdom’s claim as a relic of the colonial past.

BLOG: Caribbean Islands Heading for the Atlantic

A vote scheduled for early 2013, however, will give the 3,000 residents of the Falkland Islands the right to self-determination, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Although these disputes may have claims from both sides dating back centuries, these long-standing issues aren’t irreconcilable. In the 20th century, the United States had its share of territorial disputes with other nations. The Department of the Interior lists 30 islands or atolls once claimed by both the United States and a foreign power. In all cases, the matters were settled, and no remaining claims are still outstanding.

Photo Credit: Ben Tubby ( [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons



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By Talal Al-Khatib, Discovery Channel

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11:00AM PDT on Oct 8, 2012

just makes ya love greed(not)....thanks!

12:21PM PDT on Oct 5, 2012

Wow, no surprise, 4 out of the 5 islands have oil or natural gas reserves. Oh yeah (Sarcasm) who would ever go to war over something like that ?

2:21AM PDT on Sep 29, 2012


11:10AM PDT on Sep 26, 2012

I agree JohnD it's more about perceived mineral riches than anything to do with the land itself.

10:46AM PDT on Sep 26, 2012

Ain't greed grand?

8:48AM PDT on Sep 26, 2012

Interesting - thanks

5:57AM PDT on Sep 26, 2012

Rising sea levels will not render these disputes moot. The conflict is not over living space, but oil, natural gas, and fishing. Look for more, and more heated, such conflicts in the future as oil and sea food run out.

2:20AM PDT on Sep 26, 2012

Lovely places!

12:05AM PDT on Sep 26, 2012

I like the look and name of the Spratlys. Where can I file my claim?

9:58PM PDT on Sep 25, 2012

Poor islands.

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