The small but strategically important peninsula belongs to the UK, has a total area of 6.5 square kilometres and a 12 km long coastline. In 1713 it was ceded to Great Britain by Spain and was declared a colony in 1830. Since then Gibraltarian citizens have voted twice to remain part of Britain.

The highest point on the peninsula is the rock of Gibraltar which is 426 meters above sea level and on which one can find wild Barbary apes - a tourist attraction. Other points of interest are the natural caves which were used for military purposes during both World Wars.

The winter in Gibraltar is mild with temperatures of approximately 15.6 Degrees C and the summer is hot with an average temperature of 21.1 Degrees C.

Gibraltar is an Overseas Dependant Territory of the United Kingdom. It is close to the most southerly part of Spain at the entrance to the Mediterranean. It has a strategic location on the Strait of Gibraltar where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea, with Europe to the north and Africa to the south. Gibraltar has been important base for the British Armed Forces for three hundred years. Although that presence is now much reduced, this has left many unique structures and artefacts of historical interest.

The issue of sovereignty over Gibraltar is a major issue of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations. Spain requests the return of sovereignty over Gibraltar, captured in 1704. Britain has explored options for joint sovereignty, this is consistently rejected by the Gibraltarians. A majority of 98.97 percent of the Gibraltar population voted in a referendum in November 2002 not to share sovereignty with Spain.
Gibraltar is a part of the European Union, having joined under the British Treaty of Accession, with exemption from some areas such as the Customs Union & Common Agricultural Policy.

The name is believed to come from the Arabic name of Jebel Tarik meaning Tariq's mountain. It refers to the Ummayad general Tariq ibn-Ziyad who led the Muslim conquest of Spain in 711 at the head of an army of Berbers, Syrians and Yemenis. Earlier it was Calpe, one of the Pillars of Hercules. Today, Gibraltar is also known colloquially as 'Gib' or 'the Rock'.

The territory covers 6.543 square kilometres (2.53 square miles). It shares a 1.2 kilometre land border with Spain and has 12 kilometres of shoreline. There are two coasts (sides) of Gibraltar - the East Side which contains the settlements of Sandy Bay and Catalan Bay and the West Side where the vast majority of the population lives.

The climate is Mediterranean with mild winters and warm summers. Its terrain is a narrow coastal lowland bordering the 426-metre (1.397-foot) high Rock of Gibraltar. It has negligible natural resources and limited natural freshwater resources, until recently using large concrete or natural rock water catchments to collect rain water. It now has a desalination plant soon to be replaced by a reverse osmosis plant (currently operational) built into the rock itself.

The House of Assembly, which represents the Legislative powers, consists of a speaker, 15 elected members and 2 ex officio members. Gibraltar itself has a governor who is advised by the Gibraltar Council and represents the Crown.


Below is a short film about Gibraltar.