Vernet, Louis (1792–1871)

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Vernet, Louis (1792–1871)

Louis Vernet (b. 1792; d. 1871), first governor of the Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands) under the authority of Buenos Aires (1829–1831). Vernet was a central figure in the incidents that led to the establishment of continuous British possession of the islands. He was born in France but he had lived in Hamburg and the United States before coming to Buenos Aires in 1817. In 1826 he set up a cattle business on the islands that provisioned passing ships with fresh and salted beef before they rounded Cape Horn. His presence and activities were challenged by seal hunters (mainly from the United States), so in 1829 the Buenos Aires government appointed him governor and gave him exclusive control of fishing and hunting in the area, an act that was protested by the British. In 1831, after several warnings against unlawful hunting, Vernet seized the Harriet, a U.S. sealing vessel, and took it to Buenos Aires. George W. Slacum, the U.S. consul in Buenos Aires, reacted strongly, called Vernet a pirate, and demanded payment for damages. The U.S. Navy corvette Lexington was in the Río de la Plata at the time, and at Slacum's instigation its captain, Silas Duncan, sailed to the islands in late 1831, destroyed Vernet's settlement, and declared the islands res nullis (property of no one). A little over a year later the British expelled the remaining Argentines and began their century and a half of continuous occupation of the islands.

See alsoFalklands/Malvinas War .


Mary Cawkell, The Falkland Story 1592–1982 (1983).

Lowell S. Gustafson, The Sovereignty Dispute over the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands (1988).

Eugenio A. L. Ravenal, Las Islas de la Discordia, el asunto de las Malvinas (1983).

Additional Bibliography

Balmaceda, Rodolfo. La Argentina indefensa: Desmalvinización y desmalvinizadores. Buenos Aires: Editorial Los Nacionales, 2004.

                                             Jack Child

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Vernet, Louis (1792–1871)

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