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Gibraltar History, Gibraltar

Gibraltar, informally called the Rock, is an overseas British territory located at the westernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, and of Europe. Throughout history, Gibraltar has been a strategic point of crucial importance for whichever country possessed it. Gibraltar is real treat for travelers who like to explore a place on their own. It is a perfect holiday destination for tourists who want to satisfy their taste for adventure without wandering too far from their homelands. This Gibraltar History Guide offers a brief historical outline of the events that shaped Gibraltar’s past.

Gibraltar History - Antiquity and Moorish rule

There are signs of human habitation in Gibraltar since prehistory, but not much is known about the lines of the tribes that populated the areas. In the Antiquity, however, Gibraltar was known to the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks and Romans, and it is also part of Hellenic and Roman mythology. Gibraltar was one of the Pillars of Hercules, and some considered it the margin of the world. When the Moors started to extend their rule over the Iberian Peninsula, Gibraltar was the point where they first set foot on Europe. The Moors came from Ceuta and from Morocco, and they named the place Gabal‑al‑Tariq, or the mountain of Tariq. The Moorish castle, parts of which still stand today, was built in 1160 by the sultan Abd al-Mu’min. Although it is not as grand as the fortress at Granada, this Gibraltar History Guide recommends that you visit this beautiful historical site. Gibraltar has been a bone of contention between Castilians and Moors for several hundred years, but in 1462, it was finally captured during the eight siege of Gibraltar.

Gibraltar History - Castilian rule and British Conquest

Shortly after the conquest of Gibraltar, Spanish noble houses Medina Sidonia and Ponce de Leon started a dispute over it, but the king declared Gibraltar a possession of the Crown. After the Reconquista, Gibraltar began to flourish. Much of the city has remained virtually unchanged for 600 years. Gibraltar grew into quite a sizeable city in the later Middle Ages, and in 1501, Isabella of Castile granted the city the same coat of arms that is still used today. The British had no interest in Gibraltar until Oliver Cromwell came to power and decided that he needed a base in the Mediterranean. During the War of Spanish Succession, British and Dutch forces attacked Gibraltar, and after a bloody battle, Admiral Sir George Rooke captured the city. Over the time, Gibraltar became a very important base for the Royal Navy.

Gibraltar History - 20th century

For its contributions to the British war effort during WWI, Gibraltar was officially granted the statute of city, and the same year, in 1921, Gibraltar had its first elections. During Franco’s regime, Spain renewed its claims over Gibraltar, but in a referendum held in 1967, the people declared their allegiance to the British crown. A second referendum was held in 2002, but the people rejected the idea of a joint sovereignty. Therefore, the ‘question of Gibraltar’, as the Spanish call it, continues to affect the relations between the United Kingdom and Spain.

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