Luis Vernet

Luis Vernet was born in Hamburg but of French Huguenot descent. He emigrated to Philadelphia at the behest of his father when he was 14 to take up a role in a trading company there. He travelled extensively between North and South America and Europe. Whilst in South America he became involved in cattle concerns in lands to the south of Buenos Aires. He had heard that hardy, wild cattle roamed the islands of the Falklands and put in a claim to exploit this resource. He was encouraged to do so by the United Provinces Company in return for debts that they owed to his family. It was his pursual of his rights to the resources of the island that brought the matter of sovereignty of the islands to a head. In turn, he attracted the attention of the Argentines, British and most fatefully of all, the Americans as to who held ownership and exploitation rights on the islands. It was due to the lack of clarity as to who had what rights that led to decisive action, first by the Americans and then by the British. Vernet's company interests were kept in Port Louis and his employees were encouraged to stay in order to keep the colony going. However, his rights had certainly been reduced and he petitioned for compensation. It took him many years of legal wrangling, but in 1857 he did receive 2,400 pounds for his loss of rights from the British government. They believed that the issue was now at rest.

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