ABOUT Gibraltar

Country Briefs: Lying at the southernmost tip of Spain, the small British colony of Gibraltar is a heady compound of anxieties. For the Romans and ancient Greeks, Gibraltar was one of the two Pillars of Hercules, established by the mythical hero to mark the edge of the known world.

Gibraltar basically is an overseas colony of the United Kingdom that lies in the Southwestern Europe and borders the strait of Gibraltar, which links the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, on the southern coast of Spain.

The name ?Gibraltar? is often to mean ?Gib? or ?the Rock?. A population of around 27,000 people in Gibraltar has adopted English as the official language.

Looking at the past of this tiny territory, Gibraltar we will find that during the pre-historic era the Neanderthals occupied it. Around 950 BC the Phoenicians came to dominate the area.

The Carthaginians and the Romans led to semi-permanent establishments in the region. It was during this time that Gibraltar was known as one of the Pillars of Hercules, a name given to the promontories that flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar.

Monarchy commenced in Gibraltar around 12th century. The Almohad Sultan Abd al- Mu'min was the pioneer of first permanent settlement in this territory. In the years that followed Gibraltar witnessed a range of rulers and empires governing it. Gibraltar became a part of Castile and then Spain.

In 1704 Gibraltar was invaded by the Great Britain during the War of Spanish Succession. This war culminated in the Treaty of Utrecht that was signed in Utrecht in 1713. It was peace treaty that divided Spain's European Empire and Spain ceded the territories of Gibraltar and Minorca to the United Kingdom.

Gibraltar played a crucial role in the Battle of Trafalgar that was fought on 21st October 1805. Gibraltar served as an important naval base for the Royal Navy, the senior service of the British armed services.

Since Gibraltar managed the important sea route between the UK and its colonies in India and Australia, the strategic value of Gibraltar augmented after opening up of the Suez Canal.

During the course of Second World War Nazi Germany tried to capture the territory but it could not achieve its goals due to Spain's persistent efforts to keep the German forces away from their soil.

In 1950 when Spain was under the domination of the Generalisimo Francisco Franco. Franco renewed its claim to sovereignty over Gibraltar when Queen Elizabeth II made a visit to Gibraltar in order to celebrate 250th anniversary of the Rock's capture. During this time Spain restricted the movement between Gibraltar and Spain.

On 10th September 1967 a referendum was held in Gibraltar. The referendum was crafted to know whether the people of Gibraltar wished to be under the Spanish sovereignty or remain under the British one, with self-government. The British sovereignty won the choice. As a result Spain closed the borders with Gibraltar and snapped all the communication links.

Time passed by and gradually the Gibraltar relations with Spain improved. In 1982 the borders with Spain opened partially and opened completely in 1985 after Spain?s accession.

Gibraltar Country
Country HASC Population Area(km.²) Area(mi.²) Capital
Gibraltar GI.GI 31,265 6 2 Gibraltar
  • Country: This division is the whole of the country, treated as a division for compatibility.
  • HASC: Two-letter code for international compatibility (defined by the author).
  • Population: 1991-10-14 census.
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