Klaus Gallo examines the early nineteenth century relationship between Great Britain and the Rio de la Plata, a period that represents a crucial point in the transformation of this area of South America into the independent state of Argentina. He highlights the initial ambiguities of British aims, with the government entertaining both conquest and military aid, Gallo shows how the relationship survived this confusion and became much stronger once the Spanish colony gained independence in 1810. He unravels the tangled foreign policy implications for Britain, particularly in terms of its alliance with Spain, that ultimately led to its recognition of Argentina as a sovereign state.

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