[From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
Gibraltar (pron.: /dʒɨˈbrɒltər/) is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. It has an area of 6.8 square kilometres (2.6 sq mi) and a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the only landmark of the region. At its foot is the densely populated city area, home to almost 30,000 Gibraltarians and other nationalities.
An Anglo-Dutch force captured Gibraltar from Spain in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession. The territory was subsequently ceded to Britain «in perpetuity» under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. It was an important base for the Royal Navy; today its economy is based largely on tourism, online gaming, financial services, and shipping.
The sovereignty of Gibraltar is a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations as Spain asserts a claim to the territory. Gibraltarians rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty in a 1967 referendum and again in 2002. Under the Gibraltar constitution of 2006, Gibraltar governs its own affairs, though some powers, such as defence and foreign relations, remain the responsibility of the UK Government.
View of the northern face of the Moorish Castle’s Tower of Homage. Built in the 14th century, it is the only Marinid construction outside Africa.
Evidence of Neanderthal habitation in Gibraltar between 128,000 and 24,000 BC has been discovered at Gorham’s Cave, making Gibraltar the last known holdout of the Neanderthals. Within recorded history, the first inhabitants were the Phoenicians, around 950 BC. Subsequently, Gibraltar became known as one of the Pillars of Hercules, after the Greek legend of the creation of the Strait of Gibraltar by Heracles. The Carthaginians and Romans also established semi-permanent settlements. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Gibraltar came briefly under the control of the Vandals.
The area later formed part of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania until the Islamic conquest of Iberia in 711 AD.