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State

Capital

Gibraltar*

Gibraltar

Currency unit

British pound

Connections

Borders

British Empire

Spain

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

History

Gibraltar means Gebel al Tarik, the mountain of Tarik, the leader of the Arab invaders of Spain in 711. Christian Spain regained it in 1462, thirty years before the final conquest of the last Moorish kingdom of Granada.

Ceded by Spain to Britain at the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, it became an important naval base and the key to the British Royal Navy's control of the Mediterranean and middle Atlantic. It was an important stage on the route to India both before the Suez Canal was built and after. The conditions of the Treaty are that if Britain leaves the colony, Spain must have the right to take it back, which means it cannot become an independent territory.

The Royal Navy has now left and the colony is something of an anomaly in the modern world. Spain wants it back. Britain says the inhabitants of the town must agree first, and in every election they vote against.

The inhabitants speak English and Spanish. They come from many parts of the Mediterranean area.

A possible solution would be a special status like Andorra or Liechtenstein. One proposal is that it should become a territory of the European Union, neither British nor Spanish.

In 2001 there were talks between Britain and Spain which seem likely to result in a possible agreement.

Spain claims that the land the airport is built on is not part of the Treaty of Utrecht territory and has in effect been annexed illegally by Britain.

There are rumors (early 2002) of an agreement between Britain and Spain about the future of the colony.

Tension with Spain has eased (2006) to the point that the airport is now open to both British and Spanish airlines - Spanish passengers pass directly into Spain.

Languages

English

Spanish

 History

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

Politics

Internal self-government, with a Chief Minister chosen by an elected parliament. Britain threatens to abolish the government if banking laws and practices are not cleaned up.

 History

 Politics

 Green

 Rights

Economics

Ship repairing and tourism, suspected money laundering and illegal gambling web sites.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

Green/Ecology

Notorious for having a colony of apes - the only wild apes in Europe.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

Human Rights

British norm (though alleged Irish terrorists were shot dead without warning).

Last revised 12/07/09


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