Darwin, Falkland Islands

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Darwin in 2003
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Location of the Falkland Islands
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Location in the Falkland Islands
Coordinates: 51°48′0″S58°59′0″W / 51.80000°S 58.98333°W / -51.80000; -58.98333 Coordinates: 51°48′0″S58°59′0″W / 51.80000°S 58.98333°W / -51.80000; -58.98333
British Overseas Territory Flag of the Falkland Islands.svg  Falkland Islands
Region East Falkland
  Total7 [1]
Climate ET

Darwin is a settlement in Lafonia on East Falkland, Falkland Islands, lying on Choiseul Sound, on the east side of the island's central isthmus, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) north of Goose Green. It was known occasionally (and still is from time to time) as Port Darwin.

Lafonia peninsula of the Falkland Islands

Lafonia is a peninsula forming the southern part of East Falkland, the largest of the Falkland Islands.

East Falkland Island in Falkland Islands, Atlantic Ocean

East Falkland is the largest island of the Falklands in the South Atlantic, having an area of 6,605 km2 or 54% of the total area of the Falklands. The island consists of two main land masses, of which the more southerly is known as Lafonia; it is joined by a narrow isthmus that was the scene of the Battle of Goose Green during the Falklands War.

Falkland Islands British Overseas Territory in United Kingdom

The Falkland Islands is an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean on the Patagonian Shelf. The principal islands are about 300 miles east of South America's southern Patagonian coast, and about 752 miles from the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, at a latitude of about 52°S. The archipelago, with an area of 4,700 square miles, comprises East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 smaller islands. As a British overseas territory, the Falklands have internal self-governance, and the United Kingdom takes responsibility for their defence and foreign affairs. The Falkland Islands' capital is Stanley on East Falkland.


Attractions in Darwin include a corral, the Galpon building which was home to nineteenth century gauchos, the Argentine Military Cemetery, and birdlife both in the Sound and the pond. There is also a small racecourse here, for local amateur and hobby horse riders.

Gaucho Skilled horseman

A gaucho or gaúcho is a skilled horseman, reputed to be brave and unruly. The gaucho is a national symbol in Argentina and Uruguay, but is also a strong culture in the far south region of Brazil. Gauchos became greatly admired and renowned in legends, folklore and literature and became an important part of their regional cultural tradition. Beginning late in the 19th century, after the heyday of the gauchos, they were celebrated by South American writers.

Argentine Military Cemetery cemetery

The Argentine Military Cemetery, Spanish: Cementerio de Darwin, is a military cemetery on East Falkland that holds the remains of 237 Argentine combatants killed during the 1982 Falklands War. It is located west of the Darwin Settlement close to the location of the Battle of Goose Green and there is a replica of the cemetery at Berazategui in Buenos Aires Province Argentina.

Pond A relatively small body of standing water

A pond is an area filled with water, either natural or artificial, that is smaller than a lake. It may arise naturally in floodplains as part of a river system, or be a somewhat isolated depression. It may contain shallow water with marsh and aquatic plants and animals.


It is named after Charles Darwin, who carried out a zoological survey of the Falkland Islands on the Beagle's second voyage. Darwin was said to have spent the night here.

Charles Darwin British naturalist, author of "On the Origin of Species, by Means of Natural Selection"

Charles Robert Darwin, was an English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to the science of evolution. His proposition that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestors is now widely accepted, and considered a foundational concept in science. In a joint publication with Alfred Russel Wallace, he introduced his scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection, in which the struggle for existence has a similar effect to the artificial selection involved in selective breeding. Darwin has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history, and he was honoured by burial in Westminster Abbey.

HMS <i>Beagle</i> Cherokee-class 10-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy, carried Charles Darwin on his travels

HMS Beagle was a Cherokee-class 10-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy, one of more than 100 ships of this class. The vessel, constructed at a cost of £7,803, was launched on 11 May 1820 from the Woolwich Dockyard on the River Thames. Later reports say the ship took part in celebrations of the coronation of King George IV of the United Kingdom, passing through the old London Bridge, and was the first rigged man-of-war afloat upriver of the bridge. There was no immediate need for Beagle so she "lay in ordinary", moored afloat but without masts or rigging. She was then adapted as a survey barque and took part in three survey expeditions.

Approximately quarter of a century after Charles Darwin's visit, the settlement of Darwin was founded. The first building, erected in 1859, was the vicarage. [2] It was started as the centre for sheep farming in Lafonia, which it remained until 1922. The farm was then transferred to Goose Green, south of Darwin and separated by the Boca Wall of peat, which grew to overshadow Darwin. Darwin was initially the haunt of gauchos , and cattle farmers, but sheep farming came to dominate the area, and Scottish shepherds were brought in.

Sheep farming raising and breeding of domestic sheep

Sheep farming or sheep husbandry is the raising and breeding of domestic sheep. It is a branch of animal husbandry. Sheep are raised principally for their meat, milk, and fiber (wool). They also yield sheepskin and parchment.

Goose Green Place in Falkland Islands, United Kingdom

Goose Green is a settlement in Lafonia on East Falkland in the Falkland Islands. It lies on Choiseul Sound, on the east side of the island's central isthmus, 2 miles (3.2 km) south-southwest of Darwin. With a population of about 40, it is the third largest settlement of the Falkland Islands, after Stanley and Mount Pleasant.

Peat Accumulation of partially decayed vegetation

Peat, also known as turf, is an accumulation of partially decayed vegetation or organic matter. It is unique to natural areas called peatlands, bogs, mires, moors, or muskegs. The peatland ecosystem is the most efficient carbon sink on the planet, because peatland plants capture CO2 naturally released from the peat, maintaining an equilibrium. In natural peatlands, the "annual rate of biomass production is greater than the rate of decomposition", but it takes "thousands of years for peatlands to develop the deposits of 1.5 to 2.3 m [4.9 to 7.5 ft], which is the average depth of the boreal [northern] peatlands". Sphagnum moss, also called peat moss, is one of the most common components in peat, although many other plants can contribute. The biological features of Sphagnum mosses act to create a habitat aiding peat formation, a phenomenon termed 'habitat manipulation'. Soils consisting primarily of peat are known as histosols. Peat forms in wetland conditions, where flooding or stagnant water obstructs the flow of oxygen from the atmosphere, slowing the rate of decomposition.

A few years later, the first large tallow works in the islands (though not the first) was set up by the FIC in 1874. It handled 15,891 sheep in 1880. [3]

From the 1880s, until 1972, Darwin and Fox Bay had their own separate medical officers. Nowadays, most medical care is based in Stanley. [3]

Fox Bay Place

Fox Bay is the second largest settlement on West Falkland in the Falkland Islands. It is located on a bay of the same name, and is on the south east coast of the island. It is often divided into Fox Bay East ("FBE") and Fox Bay West ("FBW") making it two settlements: combined, these make the largest settlement on West Falkland, but if separated, Port Howard is the largest. Fox Bay takes its name, like the Warrah River, from the Falkland fox, an animal locally called the warrah and now extinct.

A telephone line was constructed between Darwin and Stanley in 1906, with the ship Consort landing poles on the coast. The Darwin line was finished in 1907, at a length of 49.5 miles (79.7 km). [3] The line was initially only for business, but the public could make calls from time to time. It suffered a few breakages in the early years of operations.

There are two listed buildings here, the galpon and the Stone Corral. [4]

Falklands War

Darwin and environs saw heavy fighting in the Falklands War during the Battle of Goose Green. A large number of Argentine casualties were buried near here.

On the morning of May 28, British troops from the 2nd PARA Regiment took Darwin Hill after fierce fighting with Argentine forces.

The GADA detachment, unaware of the situation, observed several platoons advancing down the southern slopes of the ridge. Identifying them as British, GADA 601 section engaged them in direct-fire mode. The 35 mm bursts blocked the advance of the leading companies of the 2nd PARA Regiment, who suffered a number of casualties. C Company bore the brunt of the Argentine fire, the Headquarters section of C Company was effectively put out of action [5] and 20% of the Company were injured, including the commander, Major Roger Jenner, and his signallers. [6] The rear platoon, attached from A Company, was forced to remain behind Darwin Hill for the rest of the battle. [7]

The last direct-fire mission of GADA 601’s section targeted the Darwin school-house, a position recently taken by troops of D Company. [8] The building was already on fire due to the use of white phosphorus grenades by the British, it was then systematically destroyed by 35 mm rounds and burnt to the ground, resulting in further casualties for the paratroopers. [9]

The British advance from this area was eventually halted on the orders of Major Chris Keeble who decided to stop the advance in order to consolidate his position. [10] [11] [12]

Shortly after, the GADA position was subjected to mortar fire, and the power generator of the guns was damaged beyond repair. A later Harrier strike was inaccurate and failed to hit the GADA 601 position, [13] as corroborated by a British account of the action. [14] The mortar barrage, however, forced the section to seek shelter. With the garrison now isolated and surrounded, the Argentine commanding officer chose to surrender the following day. [15]

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Brenton Loch

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Skirmish at Many Branch Point skirmish during the Falklands War

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  1. http://www.falklandislandsholidays.com/places-to-stay/darwin-goose-green/
  2. Wigglesworth, Angela. (1992) Falkland People. Pub. Peter Owen. ISBN   0-7206-0850-3
  3. 1 2 3 Strange, Ian (1983) The Falkland Islands
  4. "Falkland Islands Information Web Portal". Buildings and Structures in the Falkland Islands designated as being of Architectural or Historic Interest. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
  5. "C Company themselves were spotted moving down from Darwin Ridge and came under AAA fire suffering several major injuries, mostly among the Company Headquarters who were effectively put out of action." Battle of Goose Green Archived 2008-09-08 at the Wayback Machine
  6. Fitz-Gibbon, page 147
  7. "As for the rear platoon, according to Middlebrook War World I-style understanding of tactics, they actually failed their duty-they withdrew back over the crest. They had taken several casualties including three machine gunners and the platoon sergeant. 3 platoon were to take no further part in the action that day." Fitz-Gibbon, pp. 147-148
  8. "The patrols platoon commander, Captain Paul Farrar, writes: My aim in attacking the Schoolhouse was clear. Having found ourselves so far forward, it seems the best objective to go for. I, for one did not see the Patrols Platoon attacking Goose Green itself. My aim was to occupy the Schoolhouse area and provide a fire support base for D Company whom I assume would pass on along the axis of the track to Goose Green." Fitz-Gibbon, page 157
  9. Fitz-Gibbon, page 167, note 22
  10. "Major Keeble decided it was best to consolidate and dig in where they were." Battle of Goose Green Archived 2008-09-08 at the Wayback Machine
  11. "Lieutenant Waddington and a handful of others from 11 Platoon [from D company] progressed beyond the burning schoolhouse, but were stopped by fire from Goose Green. The same happened to the Patrols elements [From C company]. Farrar says he remembers 'engaging fleeing enemy along the shoreline', but that patrols eventually had to disengage after the Argentinians 'set about systematically demolishing' the schoolhouse with AAA fire." Fitz-Gibbon, page 157
  12. El avance por ese frente quedó frenado, evidentemente les habíamos causado muchas bajas. Braghini's statement, Rodríguez Mottino, page 196
  13. No habíamos terminado de tomar cubierta cuando un Harrier se desprende de entre los cerros y suelta una bomba "beluga" sobre el cañón; pero con tan mala puntería que la mitad del ramillete cae en el agua y el resto a unos 80 metros de la pieza. Braghini's statement, Rodríguez Mottino, page 196
  14. "Two misses and the cluster bombs the Harriers had been carrying killed fish as they exploded in the sea just off the settlement." Excerpt from Spearhead assault by John Geddes Archived 2011-05-31 at the Wayback Machine .
  15. According to Argentinian sources, the morale of GADA troops was still high after the battle: Quince minutos después un oficial dijo que debíamos rendirnos, y ninguno de nosotros quería hacerlo. Las bajas (por los dos lados) habían sido terribles, y queríamos seguir luchando. From an interview to GADA private Víctor Daniel Urbani, Somos magazine, issue 301, 25 June 1982