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Vintage English
It is foretold! The torrential flow of inexorable destiny!

Places - Gibraltar

In this section, a place or geographical location with some connection to English history is discussed.

Gibraltar is located on the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, facing the Strait of Gibraltar. It is a land space connected to Spain in the north. Since 1713, this place has been under British control. The place is a very stable and prosperous area. It is part of the British overseas territory. It is an important base of the British Armed Forces, and also of the Royal Navy.

During the War of Spanish Succession, in Europe, British and Dutch troops attacked the southern towns of coastal Spain. The town of Gibraltar was captured by Admiral Sir George Rooke. Under the Treaty of Utrecht, Spain ceded Gibraltar to the Crown of Great Britain forever. Currently Spain wants it back, but has not succeeded in displacing British sovereignty.

Many times Spain tried to take the place back militarily, so Britain established various military fortifications inside an area called ‘the British Neutral Ground’. During the American Revolution, Spain tried to make use of the distraction by imposing a blockade on Gibraltar with French help. This lasted for more than three years. However, later in 1782, the British were able to destroy the French and Spanish besiegers.

Later this place was made into an important base of the Royal Navy. During the Battle of Trafalgar, this base serves the British forces fantastically in the ensuing sea battle.

When the Suez Canal was opened, there was a dramatic change in the sea route to the east. That is, to British colonies in the east, including India and Australia. Gibraltar stood fantastically in a very strategic position in this sea route.

During the Second World War, this place was converted into fortress. An airfield was built. Guns were placed on strategic positions on the rocks, which could more or less protect the entrance to the Mediterranean sea. There were plans by the Nazi’s to capture this place, but they never bore fruit.

When General Franco was the dictator of Spain, there were renewed claims to Gibraltar from Spain. This again created tension between Britain and Spain. In 1967 on the 10th of September, a sovereignty referendum was held. The citizens of this place were asked to choose between British and Spanish sovereignty. An overwhelming percentage of the people voted for British sovereignty. In fact, the count was 12, 138 for Britain to 44 for Spain. In 1969, Britain granted autonomy to Gibraltar, which was also opposed by Spain.

Again in 2002, a second sovereignty referendum was conducted. Again 17,900 voted for British citizenship to 187 for Spanish citizenship. Britain has promised the people of Gibraltar that ‘ the UK will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes.’

Officially, Gibraltar is an overseas territory of UK. The head of state is the monarch of Britain. He or she is represented by the Governor of Gibraltar.

The people of Gibraltar are not entirely British, for they belong to various nations, including Europe. Currently the population include Catalans, Genoese, Maltese, Portuguese, Minorcans, Sardinians, Sicilians, Italians, French, Germans, and the British.

The official language is English. Most of the people do speak at least one other language such as Spanish, Arabic, Hindi, Sindhi, Hebrew, and Maltese. They do have another language also, the Llanito, which is unique to Gibraltar. It is a mix of Andalusian Spanish and British English. Most of the other languages in the place have also contributed to it. This language is unique to this place.

Book profile



Author: Somerset Maugham

The Story

Folk songs:

On the banks of Allen Water,

On the banks of Clyde

Excerpt: Magnus in The Apple Cart

English Colonial History:

Emancipation of slaves

Scientist: Sir. Isaac Newton

Geo discoverers: Captain James Cook

Film: The bridge on River Kwai

Actress: Vivien Leigh

Battle: Jameson Raid

Incidence: Nelson’s death



Popular songs: Jingle Bells

Place: Rocks of Gibraltar

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