In the census of 1851, the population of the Falkland Islands was recorded as 384, of whom 140 were children under 15.
The 1861 census gave a total population of 541 including 117 children in education, many of whom were born in the Islands.
By 1859 two more islands as well as East Falkland had been permanently settled: New Island and Keppel Island became inhabited for the first time in history.
In addition, 1851 saw the foundation of the Falkland Islands Company, which played a major role in the development of the islands for many years, initially a dynamic and positive role, though during the 20th Century it began to hold back the development of the islands.
In 1853 Hamburg (a partly independent state at that time), and in 1858 Denmark, opened consulates in Stanley. These were the first of a dozen countries that maintained consulates in the islands for much of the 19th century and well into the 20th, implying that they accepted the islands as British.
For the whole of the 1850s, Argentina did not mention the Falklands to Britain.
In 1875 the United States opened a consulate in Stanley, with a paid full-time American consul, thus abandoning the US government’s earlier policy of not recognising any territorial sovereignty in the Falklands.
In 1877 Chile opened a consulate, as did Sweden and Norway jointly (the two crowns were united at that time) – their consuls were unpaid honorary consuls, but they nevertheless counted in international law as full consuls.
The opening of a consulate is significant in international law. It does not constitute diplomatic recognition (that is achieved by the exchange of ambassadors), but it implies diplomatic recognition – if a country does not recognise the legitimacy of another’s government, it does not open a consulate there.
By the end of the 1870s there were consulates of Belgium, Chile, Germany, Italy, Sweden and Norway (jointly), and the United States in Stanley.
Those seven countries clearly did not accept that there was a valid Argentine claim to the Falkland Islands – and by 1875 Argentina had not mentioned it for over a quarter of a century anyway.
By 1880 the population of the Falklands had risen dramatically to 1,497, and 140 children were at school. There were 60 births that year and only 9 deaths, showing a natural increase of about 50 native- born people. A few of those children were second-generation Falkland Islanders – they were the children of parents who had themselves been born in the Falklands. The Falkland Islanders were beginning to become a distinct population.
For the whole of the 1870s, Argentina did not mention the Falklands to Britain.
© 2010 Graham Pascoe & Peter Pepper