William Dickson (Falklands)

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William Dickson
Born Dublin, Ireland
Died 26 August 1833
Falkland Islands, UK
Allegiance United Kingdom United Kingdom

William Dickson, born Dublin, Ireland[1] (died 26 August 1833) was an Irish-born settler in Port Louis in the Falkland Islands during a pivotal time in its history, following the removal of the Argentine military presence and leading up to the Port Louis Murders,[2][broken citation] also known as the Gaucho Murders, during which he was killed in 1833.

Appointment as British Representative[edit]

On 2 January 1833, Captain Onslow, of the brig-sloop HMS Clio, arrived at Louis Vernet's settlement at Port Louis to request that the flag of the United Provinces of the River Plate be replaced with the British one, and for the administration to leave the islands. While Major José María Pinedo, commander of the schooner Sarandí, wanted to resist[citation needed], his numerical disadvantage was obvious[original research?], particularly as a large number of his crew were British mercenaries who were unwilling to fight their own countrymen[citation needed]. Such a situation was not unusual in the newly independent states in Latin America, where land forces were strong, but navies were frequently quite undermanned. As such he protested verbally, but departed without a fight on 5 January.

Initial British plans for the Islands were based upon the continuation of Vernet's settlement at Port Louis. William Dickson was requested to fly the British flag whenever ships were in harbour.[3] Dickson held this office until his death on 26 August of the same year during the so-called Gaucho Murders.[4]

Gaucho Murders[edit]

On 26 August 1833, armed with weapons provided by American sealers, a gang of creole and Indian gauchos led by Antonio Rivero ran amok in Port Louis. The gang killed five settlers including William Dickson.[5] The survivors (13 men, 3 women and 2 children) took refuge on Turf Island in Berkley Sound until they were rescued by the British sealer Hopeful in October 1833.

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