A panoramic view of Gibraltar from the sea

Gibraltar, The Rock - in a Nutshell

Author: Sue
Date: 26th May 2018
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Where Does Gibraltar Get Its Name From?

  • The Rock of Gibraltar is named after Tariq ibn Ziyad, the Muslim governor of Tangier who landed here in 711, to launch the Islamic invasion of the Iberian Peninsula. Jabal Tariq (Mountain of Tariq) eventually became Gibraltar.

Facts and Factoids

  • The Rock is mainly Jurassic Limestone, some 200 million years old.
  • Gibraltar is situated at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula and is recognised as the southernmost point of Europe.
  • It's also of strategic importance, right at the western narrow end of the Mediterranean, It forms one of the ancient Pillars of Hercules.
  • Gibraltar is famous as home to the Barbary tailless macaque (incorrectly referred to as apes at times). This is the only population of wild monkeys in Europe. They were introduced into the area by the Moors. There is a saying that Gibraltar will remain under British rule as long as the 'apes' remain. This caused some agitation in 1913, when the monkey population dwindled to only ten.
  • Anyone can get married in Gibraltar, with just one day's notice.
  • Lack of space on the island causes some problems. The airport runway is crossed by its busiest road, Winston Churchill Avenue.
  • The locals on this densely populated island speak “Llanito”, a mixture of Andalusian Spanish and English, with a few other words from European languages like Maltese, Portuguese and Hebrew, thrown in for good measure.

Which Country Owns Gibraltar?

  • Gibraltar, colloquially known as The Rock, (or simply 'Gib'), is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom. It was ceded in perpetuity to Great Britain, by Spain, in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht. Spain would very much like it back.
  • Gibraltar has its own government, making many decisions within the territory, although the UK government in London determines defence and foreign affairs policy.
  • The official currency of Gibraltar is the Gibraltar pound (GIP). This is pegged to the British pound sterling at a 1:1 exchange rate. The British pound sterling is also legal tender in Gibraltar, and is accepted everywhere, but the Gibraltar pound is not legal tender in the UK.
  • Because of its close proximity to the European mainland, traffic in Gibraltar moves on the right-hand side of the road and the speed limits are in kilometres per hour.
  • Many bookmakers and online gaming operators relocated to Gibraltar in the 2000s to benefit from operating in the favourable corporate tax regime. They remained, even when the regulations changed.

What to See and Do on Gibraltar?

  • Gibraltar is a great place for a weekend break. Most of the accommodation is mid - range and not hugely cheap.
  • Easyjet fly in regularly.
  • There are beaches, the stuck in the last century town, and The Rock itself to visit - this hosts a multiplicity of attractions including caves, castles and the famous apes. Gibraltar - A Weekend on the Rock
  • The shopping is tax free
  • If you tire of the land and the views, there are plenty of excursions on the sea, leaving from the busy harbour,
  • And if you want still more, Spain waits across the border.

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