Gibraltar is an United Kingdom territory in the south of the Iberian Peninsula. Located next to the strait of the same name, at the base of a cliff limestone connected to the continent by a reduced sand tongue, is Gibraltar, the current colony of the British Crown. It is strategically precious as an aircraft base due to its key port position at the entrance to the Mediterranean, and a port of call for refueling, giving the city, in addition to its military function, a commercial function of relative importance. Occupying only 6.5 km2 of surface, Gibraltar has a population of 27 776 residents (July 2003 est.). Its capital is the City of Gibraltar.
It has a temperate Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. Since Gibraltar has neither agricultural nor mineral resources, its residents, for the most part, earn a living thanks to the port, docks and NATO bases. The main economic activities are ship repairs, ship supplies, the food and beverage industries, tourism, trade and re-export services.
Although the British naval presence in Gibraltar has greatly decreased since its peak before the Second World War, the Strait of Gibraltar is one of the most frequented seaways in the world, with a ship passing every six minutes.
Since the ancient Greeks settled there, Gibraltar has undergone numerous invasions and, until the 4th century BC. C., was considered by the Mediterranean navigators the end of the World. The Phoenicians called Alube Gibraltar and the Greeks called the Straits of Gibraltar the Straits of Hercules because, according to legend, it was Hercules who formed the Straits when separating Europe from Africa, erecting the Columns of Hercules, which would be Calpe(Gibraltar) and Abila (Ceuta). In 711, the Arabian Tárique landed in Calpe , which he fortified, joining his name to the continental shelf that gave him possession of the extreme south of Europe: hence the name of Gibraltar (from the Arabic Yebel al-Tarik , Tárique Rock). Muslims dominated this peninsula almost continuously until 1462, when they were expelled by the Spaniards. It was later captured by the British and Dutch in 1704, during the Spanish War of Succession and recognized as a British colony in 1713 by the Treaty of Utrecht, confirmed by that of Versailles (1783), having been surrounded by the Spanish and French over the years.
Gibraltar proved its strategic value in the war against Napoleon and in the two world wars (first half of the 20th century). Spain has tried to recover Gibraltar: militarily in 1726 and from 1779 to 1782, and, especially since the end of World War II, through a political solution. In a United Nations referendum held in 1967, only 44 of the more than 12,000 voters said they preferred to be governed by Spain. Britain’s respect for the wishes of Gibraltarians as regards their nationality is expressed in the Constitution of Gibraltar. Gibraltarians are a mix of Moorish, British, Maltese, Asian, Genoese and Spanish ancestry and speak both English and Castilian. Most are Catholic. Average life expectancy is 79 years.
- Countryaah.com: Offers a full list of airports in the country of Gibraltar, sorted by city location and acronyms.
- Abbreviationfinder.org: Provides most commonly used abbreviations and initials containing the country name of Gibraltar. Listed by popularity.
1UpTravel.com – Maps of Gibraltar
Browse a collection of three country maps of this southwestern European country, on the southern coast of Spain. View the shaded relief map of Gibraltar.
Gibraltar – Geography 2000
Presents a wide diversity of data and information about this UK Territory.
Gibraltar – National Geographic Map Machine
Check out a satellite image drawn into the country of Gibraltar. Includes zooming, emailing and printing features.
Gibraltar – WorldAtlas.com
Handy and concise guide to this tiny country at the tip of southern Spain, and only miles from Africa. Includes country facts and maps.