Falkland Islands

Islas Malvinas


Falkland Islands Defence Force



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The Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas) are a self-governing British Overseas Territory, with the United Kingdom responsible for its defence and foreign affairs.

The islands have a complex history stretching over five hundred years. Active exploration and colonisation began only in the 18th century. After the Treaty of Utrecht between Spain, France, and Great Britain of 1713 Spain claimed that this granted Spain sovereignty over the islands based on the Treaty of Tordesillas, a claim rejected by Great Britain.

Later this claim was continued by the Republic of Rio de la Plata, later Argentina, the successor state of the spanish vice-kingdom of Rio de la Plata.

In 1833 Great Britain effectuated its claim when it occupied the islands and installed its first British resident Lt Henry Smith in 1834.Under British rule a self-supporting colony was established in the latter part of the 19th century. The islands, due to their strategic importance, have remained a bone of contest between Great Britain and Argentina culminating into the Falklands War in 1982.




Falkland Islands


In January 1851, Samuel Lafone and his creditors established the Royal Falkland Land, Cattle, Seal and Whale Fishery Company. This Company became the Falkland Islands Company and was chartered by Queen Victoria  on 10.01.1852. It introduced Cheviot sheep to the Islands.

Samuel Lafone selled his rights on the Islands to the new company for £20,000, but remained a Director and Manager.

A population census estimated the peoples present on the Islands at 287.

Captain Campbell of the ship Levenside, was granted a licence to investigate the guano deposits of New Island.


An achievement of the Company shows:


Falkland Islands Company flag


The achievement on the flag is perhaps of Mr Samuel Fisher Lafone who possessed the southern part of East Falkland called after him Lafonia. The flag was found recently in a House in Stanley. [1]


The achievement is:

Arms: Tierced per fess: 1. a bull statant; 2. a fleece between two garbs; 3. a sailing ship on the roadstead.

Crest: Unidentified

Supporters: A cattle farmer and a horse

Motto: FORTUNATI PRENSOS DOMITARE TAUROS (The Fortunate take the chance to raise Cattle).[2]


On 10.02.1852  the Royal Falkland Land, Cattle, Seal and Whale Fishery Company became the Falkland Islands Company and introduced Cheviot sheep to the Islands.


Badge on blue ensign, 1876-1925


The badge of the Falkland Islands depicts a wild bull on the shore and HMS Hebe sailing on Falkland Sound. This badge was adopted 1876 and remained in use on the flag until 1948.

The picture was also on the royal seal:



The first Official Seal used during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), an impression in red wax on piece (80Í84mm.) with paper overlay. In addition to the Royal Arms and inscription VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITANNIAR. REG. F.D./FALKLAND ISLANDS, the design depicts a wild bull and other cattle with H.M.S. “Beagle” in the background.


H.M.S. Beagle was the ship with which Charles Darwin circumnavigated the globe on its second voyage.


In 1903 the picture on the royal seal was changed but the use of the badge was continued:



The Official Seal as amended in 1903 by Governor Grey-Wilson, an albino impression with grey background (88Í88mm.) on card. The inscription reads “EDWARDVS VII D: G BRITT: ET TERRARVM TRANSMAR: QVAE IN DIT: SVNT BRIT: REX F: D: IND: IMP:/FALKLAND ISLANDS” and the cattle replaced by a seal, a penguin and two flying geese



The Official Seal for the reign of King George V (1910-’36) by Governor Allardyce (1904-’14), an albino impression with grey background (78Í81mm.) on card. The inscription reads “GEORGIVS V D: G BRITT: ET TERRARVM TRANSMAR: QVAE IN DIT: SVNT BRIT: REX F: D: IND: IMP:/FALKLAND ISLANDS” with the wild bull (now alone) and H.M.S. “Beagle” returning from the original design


By Royal Warrant of 16 October 1925 a coat of arms was adopted. It is:


Adopted 16.10.1925


Arms: Per bend the sinister chief Azure, the rear of H.M.S. Endeavour in full sail proper; in dexter base Or, a sea-lion proper.

Motto: Desire the Right on a plaited leather strap


The H.M.S. Endeavour was the ship used for shipping Navy stores to the Falkland Islands 1771-’73.



The Official Seal for the reign of King George VI (1936-‘52), an albino impression on wove paper (78 Í 78mm.), the inscription reading “GEORGE VI BY THE GRACE OF GOD/OF GREAT BRITAIN IRELAND AND THE BRITISH DOMINIONS BEYOND THE SEAS/KING DEFENDER OF THE FAITH EMPEROR OF INDIA” surrounding the arms of the colony inscribed “FALKLAND ISLANDS”.


1946: Britain included the Falkland Islands among the non-autonomous territories subject to its administration, under Chapter XI of the UN charter


By Royal Warrant of 29 September 1948 the arms were changed. The new arms are:


Adopted 1948.09.29



Arms: Per fess wavy, the chief Azure an cheviot sheep on a grassy ground, proper; in base barry wavy of five pieces Argent and Azure the ship ‘Desire” with which John Davis took shelter among the Falklands in 1592.

Motto: DESIRE THE RIGHT in black script on agolden scroll


Æ See illustration in the head of this essay.


The Falklands motto Desire the right is in part based on Davis' ship Desire





Armed Forces




FIDF Cap Badge


The Falkland Islands Defence Force (FIDF) is the locally maintained volunteer defence unit in the Falkland Islands. The FIDF works alongside the military units supplied by the United Kingdom to ensure the security of the islands. It traces its origin back to 1854


Islas Malvinas


The strategic importance of the Falkland Islands was negated by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914.

To illustrate the Argentine claim on the isles, called Islas Malvinas by Argentina, several coats of arms were designed the first of which was:

Design of a coat of arms for the Malvinas

loaded with symbolism


Arms: Oval, a fess Argent, two arms shaking hands proper symbolizing the historical, geographical and legal union of the minland and the Islands. The chief tierced of the national colors Azure, Argent and Azure symbolizing the Argentinity of the Islands. In base  the schooner "Sarandi" on waves of the sea, which had to leave the port of Soledad of the Falkland Islands, where it was located on 2 January 1833, fulfilling a government mission in custody of sovereignty and respect for fishing rights in those latitudes when attacked by the "Clio" corvette.

Crest: The Argentine sun of Liberty

Supporters: Two dolphins to remember the maritime dependence of the place and the navigation that necessary to arrive at those Islands, since this, amongst others, is the symbolism of the dolphin since ancient times.


A second design is from 1969 [3]

Arms: Parted per pale, the base per point arched. In the sinister and dexter Two dolphins respecting Gules, The chief of Castile and Leon, the base barry wavy of five pieces Azure and Argent. In nombril point and escutcheon Azure, the Argentine sun of Liberty.

Crown: An Argentine naval crown surmounted by the four stars of the Southern cross, Or.

Supporters: Two tritons amed with tridents

Compartment: Waves of the sea



From: Jorge de Zarazaga-Berenguer: "Qué es la Heráldica". "Esquemas", de Editorial Columba, 1969.


A third design is from Juan Andrés Codazzi Aquirre: “El escudo de armas de las Malvinas” in “Nuestras Malvinas-Terres Australes y Fronteras Argentninas” N° 2 de invierno de 1977.[4]



Arms: A narrow curve wavy Or. In chief tierced per pale Azure, Argent charged with the Argentine sun of Liberty and Azure; in base an anchor between two dolphins addorsed, heads in base, Argent, and three five-pointed stars Or, 2 &1

Garland: a crown of laurel tied with a ribbon of the national colors Azure-Argent and Azure


Nevertheless, the continued sovereignty dispute between the United Kingdom and Argentina led to the Falklands War in 1982.


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© Hubert de Vries 2012-04-04. Updated 2019-07-29


[1] https://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/fk_1876.html

[2] From: http://www.crwflags.com/fotw/flags/fk_1876.html

[3] https://heraldicaargentina.blogspot.com/2017/04/escudo-para-las-islas-malvinas.html

[4] http://www.historiaydoctrinadelaucr.com/2011/04/el-escudo-de-armas-de-las-malvinas-por.html