Definitions

criss crosses

History of Gibraltar

This article details the history of Gibraltar.

Prehistoric

Evidence of hominid inhabitation of the Rock dates back to the Neanderthals. A Neanderthal skull was discovered in Forbes' Quarry in 1848, prior to the "original" discovery in the Neander Valley. In 1926, the skull of a Neanderthal child was found in Devil's Tower.

Mousterian deposits found at Gorham's Cave, which are associated with Neanderthals in Europe, have been dated to as recently as 28,000 to 24,000 BP, leading to suggestions that Gibraltar was one of the last places of Neanderthal habitation. Modern humans apparently visited the Gibraltar area in prehistoric times after the Neanderthal occupancy.

Ancient

The Phoenicians are known to have visited the Rock circa 950 BC and named the Rock Calpe. The Carthaginians also visited. However, neither group appears to have settled permanently. Plato refers to Gibraltar as one of the Pillars of Hercules along with Jebel Musa or Monte Hacho on the other side of the Strait.

The Romans visited Gibraltar, but no permanent settlement was established. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, Gibraltar was occupied by the Vandals and later the Goths kingdoms. The Vandals did not remain for long although the Visigoths remained on the Iberian peninsula from 414 to 711. The Gibraltar area and the rest of the South Iberian Peninsula was part of the Byzantine Empire during the second part of the sixth century, later reverting to the Visigoth Kingdom.

Muslim/Andalusi

  • 711 30 April - The Umayyad general Tariq ibn Ziyad, leading a Berber-dominated army, sailed across the Strait from Ceuta. He first attempted to land on Algeciras but failed. Upon his failure, he landed undetected at the southern point of the Rock from present-day Morocco in his quest for Spain. It was here that Gibraltar was named. Coming from the Arabian words Gabal-Al-Tariq (the mountain of Tariq). Little was built during the first four centuries of Moorish control (see Reconquista).
  • 1160 - The Almohad Sultan Abd al-Mu'min ordered that a permanent settlement, including a castle, be built. It received the name of Medinat al-Fath (City of the Victory). On completion of the works in the town, the Sultan crossed the Strait to inspect the works and stayed in Gibraltar for two months. The Tower of Homage of the castle remains standing today (Moorish Castle).
  • 1231 - After the collapse of the Almohad Empire, Gibraltar was taken by Ibn Hud, Taifa emir of Murcia.
  • 1237 - Following the death of Ibn Hud, his domains were handed over to Mohammed I ibn Nasr, the founder of the Nasrid kingdom of Granada. Therefore, Gibraltar changed hands again.
  • 1274 - The second Nasrid king, Muhammed II al-Faqih, gave Gibraltar over to the Marinids, as payment for their help against the Christian kingdoms.
  • 1309 - While the King Ferdinand IV of Castile laid siege on Algeciras, Alonso Pérez de Guzmán (known to the Spanish records as Guzmán el Bueno) was sent to capture the town. This was the First Siege of Gibraltar. The Castilians took the Upper Rock from where the town was bombarded. The garrison surrendered after one month. Gibraltar then had about 1,500 inhabitants.
  • 1310 31 January - Gibraltar was granted its first Charter by the king Ferdinand IV of Castile. Being considered a high risk town, the charter included incentives to settle there such as the offering of freedom from justice to anyone who lived in Gibraltar for one year and one day.

This fact marked the establishment of the Gibraltar council.

  • 1316 - Gibraltar was unsuccessfully besieged by the Nasrid caid Yahya (Second Siege of Gibraltar).
  • 1333 June - A Marinids army, lead by Abd al-Malik, the son of Abul Hassan, the Marinid sultan, recovered Gibraltar, after a five-month siege (Third Siege of Gibraltar).

King Alfonso XI of Castile attempted to retake Gibraltar aided by the fleet of the Castilian Admiral Alonso Jofre Tenorio. Even a ditch was dug across the isthmus. While laying the siege, the king was attacked by a Nasrid army from Granada. Therefore, the siege ended in a truce, allowing the Marinids to keep Gibraltar (Fourth Siege of Gibraltar).

  • 1344 March - After a two-year siege, Algeciras was taken over by the Castilian forces. Therefore, Gibraltar became the main Marinid port in the Iberian Peninsula. During the siege, Gibraltar played a key role as the supply base of the besieged.
  • 1349 - Gibraltar was unsuccessfully besieged by the Castilian forces led by the king Alfonso XI.
  • 1350 - The siege was resumed by Alfonso XI. It was again unsuccessful, mainly due to the arrival of the Black Death, which decimated the besiegers, causing the death of the king (Fifth Siege of Gibraltar).
  • 1369 - Algeciras was taken over by the Nasrids, destroyed and its harbour made unusable. This fact increased again the importance of Gibraltar in the strait trade.
  • 1374 - Gibraltar was recovered by the Nasrids (Sixth Siege of Gibraltar).
  • 1436 - Enrique de Guzmán, Count of Niebla, with large estates in Southern Andalusia assaulted Gibraltar. However, his attack was repelled and Castilian forces suffer heavy losses (Seventh Siege of Gibraltar).

Castilian / Spanish

  • 1462 20 August - Castilian forces captured Gibraltar (Eighth Siege of Gibraltar). (See Reconquista). An immediate dispute broke out between the House of Medina Sidonia (the Guzmán family) and the House of Arcos (the Ponce de León family) about the possession of the town. Finally, the initiative of Juan Alonso de Guzmán, 1st Duke of Medina Sidonia succeeded and he took possession of the town as personal property. However, the King of Castile, Henry IV declared Gibraltar to be Crown property and not the personal property of the Guzman family. Henry IV restored the charter granted to Gibraltar in 1310 and took two additional measures: the lands previously belonging to Algeciras (destroyed in 1369) were granted to Gibraltar; and the status of collegiate church was solicited from the pope Pius II and granted to the Santa María Church (the present day Cathedral of St. Mary the Crowned on the site of the old Moorish Mosque). St. Bernard of Clairvaux, whose feast falls on the 20 August, became the Patron Saint of Gibraltar.
  • 1463 - In a tour through Andalusia, Henry IV was the first Christian monarch to visit Gibraltar.
  • 1467 July - In the midst of a nobility revolt against the King, the forces of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, after a 16-month siege, took Gibraltar. Alfonso of Castile, half-brother of Henry IV and puppet pretender handled by the nobility, granted him the Lordship of Gibraltar (Ninth Siege of Gibraltar).
  • 1469 3 June - After the death of Alfonso de Castilla and the 1st Duke of Medina Sidonia, his son and heir Enrique de Guzman, 2nd Duke of Medina Sidonia changed side and in reward, saw the status of Gibraltar, as part of the domains of the Duke, confirmed by the Queen Isabella of Castile.
  • 1470 20 December - A new charter was granted to the town of Gibraltar, now a nobiliary town, based in the Antequera charter.
  • 1478 30 September - The Catholic Monarchs granted the title of Marquis of Gibraltar to the Duke of Medina Sidonia.
  • 1492 - After conquering Granada, the Catholic Monarchs expelled the Jews from Spain. Many passed through Gibraltar on their way into exile in North Africa.
  • 1492 Summer - After the death of the former Duke, his son and heir, Juan Alfonso Perez de Guzman, 3rd Duke of Medina Sidonia saw his lordship over Gibraltar reluctantly renewed by the Catholic Monarchs.
  • 1497 - Gibraltar became the main base in the conquest of Melilla by the troops of the Duke of Medina Sidonia.
  • 1501 2 December - Acknowledging the importance of the town, the Catholic Monarchs asked the Duke of Medina Sidonia for the return of Gibraltar to the domains of the crown. The Duke accepted the Royal request and ceded the town to the monarchs.
  • 1502 2 January - Garcilaso de la Vega took possession of the town on behalf of the Queen Isabella of Castile.
  • 1502 10 July - By a Royal Warrant passed in Toledo by Isabella of Castile, Gibraltar was granted its coat of arms: "An escutcheon on which the upper two thirds shall be a white field and on the said field set a red castle, and below the said castle, on the other third of the escutcheon, which must be a red field in which there must be a white line between the castle and the said red field, there shall be a golden key which hangs by a chain from the said castle, as are here figured". The Castle and Key remain the Arms of Gibraltar to this day.
  • 1506 - Alleging a false donation by the king Philip I of Castile, the Duke of Medina Sidonia attempted to recover Gibraltar by besieging the town. The siege was unsuccessful and the Duke was admonished by the Regency and forced to pay a fee to the town. The town received the title of "Most Loyal City" (Tenth Siege of Gibraltar).
  • 1540 8 September - Corsairs from the Barbary Coast (ruled by Barbarossa) raided Gibraltar and took away many captives.
  • 1552 - After the requests from the inhabitants of the town, Charles I of Spain (the Emperor Charles V) sent the Italian engineer Giovanni Battista Calvi to strengthen the defences of the town. A wall was built (nowadays known as Charles V Wall); also a ditch by the wall of the town and a drawbridge at the Landport (Puerta de Tierra).
  • 1606 - The Moriscos (the descendants of the Muslim inhabitants in Spain) were expelled from Spain by King Philip III. Many many passed through Gibraltar on their way into exile in North Africa.
  • 1607 25 April - During the Eighty Years' War between the United Provinces and the King of Spain, a Dutch fleet surprised and engaged a Spanish fleet anchored at the Bay of Gibraltar (Battle of Gibraltar).
  • 1649 - Typhoid epidemic in the town.
  • 1656 - In a letter to Councillor General Montagu (afterwards Earl of Sandwich), General-at-sea and one of the Protector's personal friends, Cromwell mentioned the necessity of securing a permanent base at the entry of the Mediterranean, preferably Gibraltar (the first suggestion for the occupation of Gibraltar as a naval base had been made at an English Council of War held at sea on 20 October 1625).
  • 1700 1 November - King Charles II of Spain died leaving no descendants. In the autumn he had made a will bequeathing the whole of the Spanish possessions to Prince Philip of Bourbon, a grandson of Louis XIV backed by France. The other pretender, an Austrian Habsburg, Archduke Charles, supported by the Holy Roman Empire, England, Holland did not accept Charles II's testament. The result was the War of the Spanish Succession.

The War of the Spanish Succession

  • 1701 September - England, the Netherlands and Austria signed the Treaty of The Hague. By this treaty, they accepted Philippe of Anjou as King of Spain, but allotted Austria the Spanish territories in Italy and the Spanish Netherlands. England and the Netherlands, meanwhile, were to retain their commercial rights in Spain. Later (in 1703), Portugal, Savoy and some German states joined the alliance.
  • 1702 May - Full-scale war broke out. It was the formal beginning of the War of the Spanish Succession.
  • 1703 12 February - The Archduke Charles was proclaimed king of Castile and Aragon in Vienna. He took the name of Charles III

Habsburg Gibraltar

The Gibraltar capture

(There is usually a discrepancy on the chronology between Spanish and British sources. The reason is that England still used the Julian calendar. By 1704, the Julian calendar was eleven days behind the Gregorian. Therefore, the siege began on 21 July according to the Julian calendar.)

  • 1704 1 August - During the War of the Spanish Succession, and when returning from a failed expedition to Barcelona, an Anglo-Dutch fleet, under the command of sir George Rooke, chief commander of the Alliance Navy, began a new siege (the eleventh siege of the town). They demanded its unconditional surrender and an oath of loyalty to the Habsburg pretender to the Spanish throne, the Archduke Charles. The Governor of Gibraltar, Diego de Salinas, refused the ultimatum. A brigade of Dutch and British Marines, 1,800 strong, under the command of Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt, chief commander of the Alliance Army in Spain, began to besiege Gibraltar, in the name of the Archduke Charles. A small group of Spaniards, mainly Catalans, was integrated in the troops of the Prince of Hesse.
  • 1704 night of 3-4 August - Heavy shelling targeted the castle and the town.
  • 1704 4 August - The Governor Diego de Salinas Terms of surrender of the Spanish authorities of Gibraltar in 1704 the town to Prince George of Hesse, who took it in the name of Archduke, as Charles III, king of Castile and Aragon. This was the end of the Eleventh Siege of Gibraltar (a map on the situation of attacking forces can be seen in)

The exact beginning of the English/British control of Gibraltar is hard to determine. From the eighteenth century, Spanish sources reported that immediately after the takeover of the city, Sir George Rooke, the British admiral, on his own initiative caused the British flag to be hoisted, and took possession of the Rock in name of Queen Anne, whose government ratified the occupation. On the other hand, even the British or the Gibraltarians sometimes date the beginning of British sovereignty in 1704 (for instance, in its speech at the United Nations in 1994, the Gibraltar Chief Minister at the time, Joe Bossano, stated that Gibraltar has been a British colony ever since it was taken by Britain in 1704). Also, some British sources have accounted the flag story (He [Rooke] had the Spanish flag hauled down and the English flag hoisted in its stead; Rooke's men quickly raised the British flag ... and Rooke claimed the Rock in the name of Queen Anne; or Sir George Rooke, the British admiral, on his own responsibility caused the British flag to be hoisted, and took possession in name of Queen Anne, whose government ratified the occupation).

However, it is proved by present-day historians, both Spanish and British, that this version is apocryphal since no contemporary source accounts it. Isidro Sepúlveda, William Jackson and George Hills explicitly refute it (Sepúlveda points out that if such a fact had actually happened, it would have caused a big crisis in the Alliance supporting the Archduke Charles; George Hills explains that the story was first accounted by the Marquis of San Felipe, who wrote his book "Comentarios de la guerra de España e historia de su rey Phelipe V el animoso" in 1725, more than twenty years after the fact; the marquis was not an eye-witness and cannot be considered as a reliable source for the facts that took place in Gibraltar in 1704. As Hills concludes: "The flag myth ... may perhaps be allowed now to disappear from Anglo-Spanish polemics. On the one side it has been used to support a claim to the Rock 'by right of conquest'; on the other to ... pour on Britain obloquy for perfidy").
What does seem nowadays proved is that the British troops who had landed on the South Mole area raised their flag to signal their presence to the ships, and avoid being fired upon by their own side.
However, whatever the exact events of the time, Gibraltar ceased being under the rule of Philip V of Spain in 1704. A statue to Sir George Rooke was erected in 2004 as part of the tercentenery celebrations.

  • 1704 7 August. A dejected procession, numbering some 4,000 according to most of the sources, such as Hills or Jackson filed out of the Land Port with Queen Isabella's banner at their head, and led by the Spanish Governor, Diego de Salinas, the Spanish garrison, with their three brass cannon, the religious orders, the city council and all those inhabitants who did not wish to take the oath of allegance to Charles III as asked by the terms of surrender. They took with them the symbols and objects of Spanish Gibraltar's history: the council and ecclesiastical records, including the historical documents signed by the Spanish Catholic Monarchs in 1502, granting Gibraltar's coat of arms, and the statue of the Holy Crowned Virgin Mary. Most of them took refuge in the proximity of the nearby Chapel of San Roque, possibly hoping for a rapid reconquest of Gibraltar, which never materialised. There, a new settlement was formed, being granted a council two years later (1706), with the name of San Roque, and being considered by the Spanish Crown as the heir to the lost town of Gibraltar (historical objects and records predating 1704 were subsequently taken to San Roque where they remain to this day.) Others settled down in what today is Los Barrios or even further away, in the ruins of the abandoned city of Algeciras. Only about seventy people remained in the town, most of them religious, people without family or belonging to the Genovese trader colony (see list in).
  • 1704 24 August - The Alliance fleet, under the command of Rooke, set sail from Gibraltar and intercepted a joint Spanish-French fleet that attempted to recover Gibraltar by the coast of Málaga (Battle of Vélez-Málaga). The result was uncertain, with heavy losses on both sides, but the Spanish-French fleet was stopped and prevented from arriving at Gibraltar.

The first Spanish siege (Twelfth Siege of Gibraltar)

  • 1704 5 September - Troops of France and Spain under the marquis of Villadarias, General Captain of Andalusia, started to besiege Gibraltar to try to recover it (this one would be the Twelfth Siege of Gibraltar). In the town, the Marine brigade, still under the command of the British admiral Sir John Leake, and the governor, Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt (who had commanded the land forces in August), and reinforced shortly before by a further 400 Royal Marines, held the fortress against repeated attacks.
  • 1704 11 November - A notable incident during the siege: 500 French and Spanish volunteer grenadiers tried to surprise the garrison. Captain Fisher of the Marines with 17 of his men successfully defended the Round Tower against their assault. A contemporary report of this noted defence says, "Encouraged by the Prince of Hesse, the garrison did more than could humanly be expected, and the English Marines gained an immortal glory".
  • 1705 January - Philip V replaced Villadarias with by the Marshal of France de Tessé.
  • 1705 7 February - The last assault before the arrival of de Tessé was executed. The Gibraltar wall was damaged, but French troops refused to go on until the arrival of de Tessé (who arrived the day after). The assault becomes unsuccessful.
  • 1705 31 March - The Count de Tessé gave up the siege and retired.

During the rest of the war

Although nominally in the hands of the Archduke Charles, Britain began to monopolize the rule of the town. Even if the formal transfer of sovereignty would not take place until the signature of the Treaty of Utrecht, the British Governor and garrison become the de facto rulers of the town.

  • 1705 2 August - The Archduke Charles stopped over in Gibraltar in his way to the territories of the Crown of Aragon. The Prince of Hesse joined him, thus leaving the town (he would die one month later in the siege of Barcelona). The English Major General John Shrimpton was left as governor (appointed by the Archduke Charles on the recommendation of Queen Anne).
  • 1706 17 February - Queen Anne, though she has not yet a de jure title to do so, declared Gibraltar a free port (upon request of the Sultan of Morocco, who wanted Gibraltar being given this status in return for supplying the town)
  • 1707 24 December - The first British Governor directly appointed by the Queen Anne, Roger Elliott, took up residence in the Convent of the Franciscan Friars.
  • 1711 - The British government, then in the hands of the Tories, covertly ordered the British Gibraltar governor, Thomas Stanwix, to expel any foreign (not British) troops (to foster the Great Britain's sole right to Gibraltar in the negotiations running up between Britain and France). Although he answered positively, he allowed a Dutch regiment to stay. It remained there until March 1713.

British rule

Treaty of Utrecht

  • 11 April 1713 - The territory was subsequently ceded to the Crown of Great Britain in perpetuity by Spain under article X of the Treaties of Utrecht. Despite some military attempts by the Spanish to retake it in the eighteenth century, most notably in the Great Siege of 1779-1783, the Rock has remained under British control ever since.

In that treaty, Spain ceded Great Britain "the full and entire propriety of the town and castle of Gibraltar, together with the port, fortifications, and forts thereunto belonging ... for ever, without any exception or impediment whatsoever."
The Treaty stipulated that no overland trade between Gibraltar and Spain was to take place, except for emergency provisions in the case that Gibraltar is unable to be supplied by sea. Another condition of the cession was that "no leave shall be given under any pretence whatsoever, either to Jews or Moors, to reside or have their dwellings in the said town of Gibraltar." This was not respected for long and Gibraltar has had for many years an established Jewish community, along with Muslims from North Africa.
Finally, under the Treaty, should the British crown wish to dispose of Gibraltar, that of Spain should be offered the territory first.

Until the Peninsular Wars

  • 1721 March - Philip V of Spain requested the restitution of Gibraltar to proceed to the renewal of the trade licenses of Great Britain with the Spanish possessions in America.
  • 1721 1 June - George I sent a letter to Philip V promising "to make use of the first favourable Opportunity to regulate this Article (the Demand touching the Restitution of Gibraltar), with the Consent of my Parliament". However, the British Parliament never endorsed such promise.
  • 1727 February-June - Second of the sieges by Spain tried to recapture Gibraltar (Thirteenth Siege of Gibraltar). Depending on the sources, Spanish troops were between 12,000 and 25,000. British defenders were 1,500 at the beginning of the siege, increasing up to about 5,000. After a five-month siege with several unsuccessful and costly attempts, Spanish troops give up and retire.
  • 1729 - At the end of the Anglo-Spanish War of 1727-1729, the Treaty of Seville confirming all previous treaties (including the Treaty of Utrecht) allowed Great Britain to keep Menorca and Gibraltar.
  • 1730 - A Belgian Engineer, the Marquis of Verboom, Chief Engineer of the Spanish Royal Engineer Corps, who has taken part in the 1727 siege, arrived in San Roque commissioned by the Spanish government to design a line of fortifications across the isthmus. Fort San Felipe and Fort Santa Barbara are built. The fortifications, known to the British as the Spanish Lines, and to Spain as La Línea de Contravalación were the origin of modern-day town of La Línea de la Concepción.
  • 1776 23 February - One of the heaviest storms ever recorded in Gibraltar. The lower part of the town was flooded. Linewall was breached along 100 m.
  • 1779 June - In the midst of the American Revolutionary War, Spain declared war against Great Britain (France had done it the year before)

  • 1779 July - Start of the Great Siege of Gibraltar (fourteenth and last military siege). This was an action by French and Spanish forces to wrest control of Gibraltar from the established British Garrison. The garrison, led by George Augustus Eliott, later 1st Baron Heathfield of Gibraltar, survived all attacks and a blockade of supplies.
  • 1782 13 September - Start of an assault involving 100,000 men, 48 ships and 450 cannon. The British garrison survived.
  • 1783 February. By now the siege was over, and George Augustus Eliott was awarded the Knight of the Bath and was created 1st Baron Heathfield of Gibraltar. The Treaties of Versailles reaffirmed previous treaties.

In 1782, work on the Great Siege Tunnels started. The tunnels became a great and complex system of underground fortifications which nowadays criss-crosses the inside of the Rock. Once the Siege was over, the fortifications were rebuilt and, in the following century, the walls were lined with Portland limestone. Such stone gives the walls their present white appearance.

  • 1802 - Several mutinies among some regiments garrisoned in Gibraltar.
  • 1802 - The first merchant token to bear the name Gibraltar (albeit spelt Gibralter) was issued by Robert Keeling in order to alleviate a shortage of copper.
  • 1803 June - Admiral Nelson arrived in Gibraltar as Commander-in-Chief Mediterranean.
  • 1804 - Great epidemic of "Malignant Fever" broke out. Although traditionally labelled as "Yellow Fever" now it is thought to have been typhus.
  • 1805 January - The great epidemic ended. Over a third of the civilian population (5,946 people) died.
  • 1805 21 October - Battle of Trafalgar.
  • 1805 28 October - HMS Victory was towed into Gibraltar bringing Nelson's body aboard. The Trafalgar Cemetery still exists today in Gibraltar.
  • 1806 - Gibraltar was made a Catholic Apostolic Vicariate (until then Gibraltar belonged to the See of Cadiz). Since 1840 the vicar is always a titular bishop.
  • 1810 - Britain and Spain became allies against Napoleon.
  • 1810 February - The Governor of Gibraltar removed the Spanish forts of San Felipe and Santa Barbara, located on the northern boundary of the neutral ground. Fearing that the forts might fall into French hands, Lieutenant General Sir Colin Campbell instructed Royal Engineers to blow the forts up. Such a task was carried out on 14 February together with the demolition of the rest of fortifications of the Spanish Lines.

According to George Hills, there are no primary sources that could explain whether such a demolition was requested or authorized by any Spanish or British authority. According to him, over the time, three different theories has been handled: (a) Campbell ordered the demolition on his own responsibility (b) under instructions from the British Government (c) upon request of Spanish General Castaños, who was at the time in Cádiz. Spanish authors from 1840 have usually favoured theory (b) while British ones have supported (c). As long as there is no contemporary source or dispatch on the topic, Hills does not personally discard (a) considering it the most likely possibility.

  • During the Peninsular War, contingents from the Gibraltar Garrison were sent to aid Spanish resistance to the French at Cádiz and Tarifa.

Until the Second World War

  • 1814 - Outbreak of malignant fever.
  • 1817 - The first civil judge was established.
  • 1822 21 August - The Anglican Diocese of Gibraltar was founded by Letters Patent and took over the pastoral care of the chaplaincies and congregations from Portugal to the Caspian Sea.
  • 1830 - Gibraltar became a British Crown Colony.

Gibraltar Police Force was established.

  • 1832 - The Church of the Holy Trinity, built for the needs of Anglican worshippers among Gibraltar's civil population, is completed. (Ten years later it will become the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity).
  • 1842 21 August - The Church of England Diocese of Gibraltar was founded by Letters Patent and took over the pastoral care of the chaplaincies and congregations from Portugal to the Caspian Sea. George Tomlinson is enthroned as the first Bishop of Gibraltar. The Church of the Holy Trinity, Gibraltar becomes Cathedral for the Diocese.
  • 1842 - Official Coins of the Realm were struck for Gibraltar by the Royal Mint. Coins were issued in ½, 1 and 2 Quart denominations.
  • 1869 - The Suez Canal was opened. It heavily increased the strategic value of the Rock in the route from the United Kingdom to India.
  • 1891 17 March - America-bound steamer "Utopia" slammed in heavy weather into the iron-plated British battleship "HMS Anson" and sank in the Bay of Gibraltar; 576 people died.
  • 1894 - The construction of the dockyards started.
  • 1908 5 August - The British Ambassador in Madrid informed the Spanish Minister of State 'as an act of courtesy', of the British Government's intention to build a fence along the line of British sentries on the isthmus to prevent smuggling and reduce sentry duty. According to the British government, the fence was erected 1 metre inside British territory. Spain currently does not recognize the fence as the valid border, since it claims the fence was built on Spanish soil. Even though Spain, the United Kingdom and Gibraltar are all part of the European Union, the border fence is still relevant today since Gibraltar is outside the customs union. The border crossing is open 24-hours a day as required by EU law.
  • 1921 - Gibraltar was granted a City Council status in recognition for its contribution to the British war efforts in the First World War. The council had a small minority of elected persons. First elections held in Gibraltar.

Second World War and after

The history of Gibraltar from the Second World War is characterized by two main elements: the increasing autonomy and self-government achieved by Gibraltarians and the re-emergence of the Spanish claim, especially during the years of the Francoist dictatorship.

  • 1939-1945 - During the Second World War the civilian residents of Gibraltar were evacuated, and the Rock was again turned into a fortress. Control of Gibraltar gave the Allied Powers control of the entry to the Mediterranean Sea (the other side of the Strait being Spanish territory, and thus non-belligerent). The Rock was a key part of the Allied supply lines to Malta and North Africa and base of the British Navy Force H, and prior to the war the racecourse on the isthmus was converted into an airbase and a concrete runway constructed. The repatriation of the civilians started in 1944 and proceeded for some six years, causing considerable suffering and frustration. However, most of the population had returned by 1946.
  • 1940 4 July - French bombers, based in French Morocco, carried out a retailatory air raid over Gibraltar as a reprisal for the destruction of the French fleet at Mers-el-Kebir, Algeria, by the Force H (about 1,300 French sailors were killed and about 350 were wounded in the action against the French fleet).
  • 1941 - Germany planned to occupy Gibraltar (and presumably hand it over to Spain) in "Operation Felix" which was due to start on 10 January 1941. It was cancelled because the Spanish government were reluctant to let the Wehrmacht enter Spain and then attack against the Rock, its civilians or the British Army from Spanish soil, because Franco feared that it may have been impossible to remove the Wehrmacht afterwards. In any case, Hitler was too busy elsewhere in Europe to give this much priority.
  • 1940-1943 - Gibraltar harbour was attacked many times by Italian commando frogmen operating from Algeciras. Underwater warfare and countermeasures were developed by Lionel Crabb.
  • 1942 September - A small group of Gibraltarians, who remained in the town serving in the British Army, joined a mechanic official, Albert Risso, to create 'The Gibraltarians Association', the starting point of what be named the Association for the Advancement of Civil Rights (officially established in December that year), the first political party in Gibraltar. Joshua Hassan (a young lawyer then, later Sir and Chief Minister) was among the leading members of such association. The AACR was the dominant party in the Gibraltar politics for the last third of the twentieth century.
  • 1942 8 November - Operation Torch launched with support from Gibraltar.
  • 1946 - The United Kingdom inscribed Gibraltar in the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories kept by the UN Special Committee on Decolonization.
  • 1950 - Gibraltar's first Legislative Council was opened.
  • 1951 24 April - The RFA Bedenham explodes while docked in Gibraltar, killing 13, damaging many buildings in the town and delaying the housing program essential for repatriation.
  • 1954 - This was the 250th anniversary of its capture. Queen Elizabeth II visited Gibraltar, which angered General Franco, who renewed its claim to sovereignty, which had not been actively pursued for over 150 years. This led to the closure of the Spanish consulate and to the imposition of restrictions on freedom of movement between Gibraltar and Spain. By the 1960s, motor vehicles were being restricted or banned from crossing the border, while only Spanish nationals employed on the Rock being allowed to enter Gibraltar. For about 30 years, the land border was closed (from the Spanish side), to try to isolate the territory.
  • 1955 - Spain joined United Nations.

At the United Nations, Spain reactivated its claim, arguing that the principle of territorial integrity, not self-determination, applied in the case of the decolonization of Gibraltar, and that the United Kingdom should cede sovereignty of the Rock to Spain (what the Spanish Government named "retrocession"). Madrid gained diplomatic support from countries in Latin America, with the UN General Assembly passing resolutions (2231 (XXI), "Question of Gibraltar and 2353 (XXII), "Question of Gibraltar). Resolution 2231, which recalls UN Resolution 1514(XV) (which guarantees the right of self determination of all peoples), states that Considering that any colonial situation which partially or completely destroys the national unity and territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which forms part of the Spanish claim. It also urges United Kingdom and Spain to overcome their differences, respecting the "interests" of the people of Gibraltar and declares de 1967 referendum being a "contravention of the provisions of Resolution 2231. Resolution 2353 remains the official position of the United Nations on the "question of Gibraltar", since no new resolution has been issued on the question since then. There have been no subsequent resolutions on the subject, however the matter is discussed regularly at the UN special committee on decolonisation.

Resolution 2353 (XXII) was supported by seventy-three countries (mainly Latin American, Arab, African and Eastern European countries), rejected by nineteen (United Kingdom and the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations), while twenty-seven countries abstained (Western Europe and the United States).

  • 1965 April - The British Government published a White Paper dealing with the question of Gibraltar and the Treaty of Utrecht.
  • 1966 - In response, the Spanish Foreign Office Minister Fernando Castiella, published and presented to the Spanish Courts the "Spanish Red Book" (named so because of its cover; its reference is "Negociaciones sobre Gibraltar. Documentos presentados a las Cortes Españolas por el Ministro de Asuntos Exteriores", Madrid, 1967)
  • 1967 - The first sovereignty referendum was held on 10 September, in which Gibraltar's voters were asked whether they wished to either pass under Spanish sovereignty, or remain under British sovereignty, with institutions of self-government. Over 99% voted in favour of remaining British.
  • 1968 A group of six Gibraltarian lawyers and businessmen, calling themselves the palomos or 'doves', advocated a political settlement with Spain in a letter published in the Gibraltar Chronicle, and met with Spanish Foreign Office officials (a meeting was even held with the Spanish Foreign Office Minister) to try and bring this about. This provoked widespread public hostility in Gibraltar (with attacks on their homes and properties and civil unrest). Things quickly calmed down, although today the term retains a negative meaning in Gibraltar politics.
  • 1969 30 May - A new constitution for Gibraltar was introduced by the United Kingdom Parliament, under the initiative of the British Government (Gibraltar Constitution Order 1969). Under it, Gibraltar attained full internal self-government, with an elected House of Assembly. The preamble to the Constitution stated that:

"Her Majesty's Government 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."

  • 1969 8 June - In response, Spain closed the border with Gibraltar, and severed all communication links. The closure affected both sides of the border. Gibraltarians with families in Spain had to go by ferry to Tangier, Morocco, and from there to the Spanish port of Algeciras, while many Spanish workers (by then about 4,800; sixteen years before, about 12,500 Spanish workmen entered Gibraltar every day) lost their jobs in Gibraltar.
  • 1969 - Major Robert (later Sir Robert) Peliza of the Integration with Britain Party (IWBP) was elected Chief Minister.
  • 1971 - The United Kingdom Government led by Heath considered the possibility of exchanging sovereignty for a 999 year lease on Gibraltar, as it was felt it had ceased to be of any military or economic value. The proposals remained secret until 2002.
  • 1972 - Joshua Hassan of the Association for the Advancement of Civil Rights (AACR) was returned to power.
  • 1973 - Gibraltar joined the European Economic Community alongside the United Kingdom.
  • 1975 - The British Foreign Office Minister Roy Hattersley ruled out integration with the UK, and stated that any constitutional change would have to involve a 'Spanish dimension'. This position was reaffirmed the following year when the British government rejected the House of Assembly's proposals for constitutional reform. The IWBP broke up and was succeeded by the Democratic Party of British Gibraltar (DPBG), led first by Maurice Xiberras, formerly of the IWBP, and subsequently by Peter Isola.
  • 1975 - Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco died, but nothing changed in relation to Gibraltar.
  • 1980 April 10th - The British and Spanish ministers of Foreign Affairs, Lord Carrington and Marcelino Oreja signs the Lisbon Agreement regarding 'The Gibraltar Problem' stating that the communications between Gibraltar and Spain would be re-established, and restating both Governments positions. The measures agreed were not implemented.
  • 1980 July - The Anglican Diocese of Gibraltar is amalgamated with the Jurisdiction of North and Central Europe to become the Diocese of Gibraltar in Europe. The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, Gibraltar remains Anglican Cathedral for the Diocese.
  • 1981 - The British Nationality Act 1981 effectively made Gibraltar a Dependent Territory and removed the right of entry into the UK of British Dependent Territory Citizens. After a short campaign Gibraltarians were offered full British citizenship (History of nationality in Gibraltar). The act was ratified in 1983.
  • 1982 15 December - The re-opening of the border was delayed in the wake of the war between United Kingdom and Argentina over the Falkland Islands. Upon the change in the Spanish government, with the Socialist Party in power, the border was partially re-opened (only pedestrians, resident in Gibraltar or Spanish nationals were allowed to cross the border by Spain; only one crossing each way per day was allowed).
  • 1984 - Spain applied to join the European Community, succeeding in 1986. Under the Brussels Agreement (27 November 1984) signed between the governments of the United Kingdom and Spain, the former agreed to enter into discussions with Spain over Gibraltar, including by first time the "issues" of sovereignty. The border was fully reopened.
  • 1987 2 December - A proposal for joint control of Gibraltar Airport with Spain met with widespread local opposition which was expressed in a protest march to The Convent. Chief Minister Sir Joshua Hassan resigned at the end of the year and was succeeded by Adolfo Canepa.
  • 1988 - Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP) leader Joe Bossano was elected as Chief Minister, and firmly ruled out any discussions with Spain over sovereignty and shared use of the airport.
  • 1988 7 March - The Special Air Service of the British Army shot dead three unarmed members of the Provisional IRA walking towards the frontier, claiming they were making "suspicious movements" (Operation Flavius). A subsequent search led to the discovery of a car containing a large amount of Semtex explosive in Spain, which they had planned to use to bomb the Changing of the Guard ceremony a few days later .
  • 1991 - The British Army effectively withdrew from Gibraltar, leaving only the locally recruited Royal Gibraltar Regiment, although the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy remain. Spain made various proposals involving the sovereignty of Gibraltar, which were rejected by all parties in the Gibraltar House of Assembly.
  • 1991 - The Spanish Socialist government of Felipe González proposed joint sovereignty over Gibraltar with the United Kingdom. A similar proposal was advocated by Peter Cumming, formerly of the Gibraltar Social-Democrats (GSD), in which the Rock would become a self-governing condominium (or "Royal City"), with the British and Spanish monarchs as joint heads of state.
  • 1995 - GSLP government losing support as a result of fast launch smuggling activity. Dissatisfaction leads to riots in July 1995.
  • 1996 - In a general election, Joe Bossano was replaced by Peter Caruana of the GSD, who while favouring dialogue with Spain, also ruled out any deals on sovereignty.
  • 1997 - The Partido Popular Spanish Foreign Minister, Abel Matutes made proposals under which Gibraltar would be under joint sovereignty for fifty years, before being fully incorporated into Spain, as an autonomous region, similar to Catalonia or the Basque Country, but these were rejected by British Government.
  • 2000 — An agreement was reached between the UK and Spain over recognition of 'competent authorities' in Gibraltar. Spain had a policy of non-recognition of the Government of Gibraltar as a 'competent authority', therefore refusing to recognise Gibraltar's courts, police and government departments, driving licences, and identity cards. Under the agreement, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London would act as a 'post box', through which Gibraltar's police and other government departments could communicate with their counterparts in Spain. In addition, identity documents issued by the Government of Gibraltar now featured the words 'United Kingdom'.
  • 2000 May - 2001 May — The nuclear submarine HMS Tireless (S88) was repaired in Gibraltar. This caused diplomatic tension with Spain, which expressed its concern about the effective safety for the inhabitants of Gibraltar and those living in its hinterland — some 250,000 people . The inhabitants of the area saw this repair as a precedent of future nuclear repair operations in Gibraltar. The Government of Gibraltar has accused Spain of using this incident as an excuse to go on creating a dispute over Gibraltar, since there are more severe environmental problems in the Bay and American nuclear vessels regularly visit and are possibly repaired in Rota, Cádiz without any complaint. Spain now frequently complains whenever a nuclear submarine docks in Gibraltar. However, Spanish organizations, such as left-wing Izquierda Unida, have also accused the Spanish government of not handling nuclear submarines docking in Gibraltar and Rota in the same way. A complaint about the repairs to the submarine was made to the European Court of Justice [ECJ] and formally rejected in March 2006.

Twenty-first century

  • 2001 — The UK Government announced plans to reach a final agreement with Spain over the future of Gibraltar, which would involve shared sovereignty; however agreement was not reached due to the opposition of the Gibraltarians.
  • 2002 — On the 12 July the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, in a formal statement in the House of Commons, said that after twelve months of negotiation the British Government and Spain are in broad agreement on many of the principles that should underpin a lasting settlement of Spain's sovereignty claim, which included the principle that Britain and Spain should share sovereignty over Gibraltar. Political commentators saw this as an attempt by Britain to get Spain to help counterbalance France and Germany's domination of the European Union. Straw visited Gibraltar to explain his ideas and was left in no doubt they had no support.
  • 2002 — In November the Government of Gibraltar called Gibraltar's second sovereignty referendum on the proposal, it achieved a turnout of 88% of which 98.97% of the electorate did not support the position taken by Mr Straw.

The actual voting was as follows: 18,176 voted representing 87.9% of the electorate. There were 89 papers spoilt of which 72 were blank 18,087 of which 187 Voted YES, and 17,900 voted NO.

The Referendum was supervised by a team of international observers headed by the Labour MP Gerald Kaufman, who certified that it had been held fairly, freely and democratically.

  • 2002 — The British Overseas Territories Act 2002 made provision for the renaming of British Dependent Territories as British Overseas Territories, which changed the status of Gibraltar to an Overseas Territory. This act granted full British citizenship to British Overseas Territories, which was already available to Gibraltarians since 1983.
  • 2004 August — Gibraltar celebrated 300 years of British rule. Spanish officials labelled this as the celebration of 300 years of British occupation.

Despite this, Gibraltar celebrated its Tercentenery, with a number of events on the 4 August, including the population encircling the rock holding hands, and granting the Freedom of the City to the Royal Navy.

  • 2004 18 November — A joint commission (Comisión mixta de Cooperación y Colaboración) was established between the Mancomunidad de Municipios de la Comarca del Campo de Gibraltar (the Council Association of the Campo de Gibraltar, the historic Spanish county that surrounds Gibraltar) and the Government of Gibraltar.
  • 2004 28 October — The governments of the United Kingdom and Spain agreed to allow the Government of Gibraltar equal representation in a new open agenda discussion forum (so called Tripartite Talks).
  • 2005 July — First Tripartite Talks took place in Faro, Portugal.
  • 2006 August — The following was announced:

The three participants confirm that the necessary preparatory work related to agreements on the airport, pensions, telephones and fence/border issues, carried out during the last 18 months, has been agreed. Accordingly, they have decided to convene in Spain the first Ministerial meeting of the Tripartite Forum of Dialogue on Gibraltar on 18 September 2006.|

1. Spain agrees to recognise Gibraltar's international dialling code (350) and allow mobile roaming.
2. Spanish restrictions on civil flights at the airport will be removed. A new terminal building will also be constructed, allowing a direct passage to/from the north side of the fence/frontier (in order to overcome problems of terminology relating to references to the words “frontier” or “fence”, the phrase “fence/frontier” is used in the documents).
3. There will be normality of traffic flow at the fence/frontier.
4. Britain agrees to pay uprated pensions to those Spanish citizens who lost their livelihoods when the border was unilaterally closed by Francisco Franco in 1969.
5. A branch of the Instituto Cervantes will be opened in Gibraltar.

This agreement is seen as a major milestone in Gibraltar's history.

  • 2006 November — The new constitution was drafted and later approved by the people of Gibraltar in a referendum. It was described as non-colonial in nature by Britain and Gibraltar. However, UK Europe Minister Jim Murphy, told the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons said that new Constitution but he stated that "he has never described it as an end to the colonial relationship." Although others have.
  • 2006 16 December — The first passenger carrying Iberia aircraft landed in Gibraltar flying directly from Madrid, and a daily scheduled service started. The service was later reduced in frequency and terminated in September 2008.
  • 2007 10 February — Spain lifted restrictions on Gibraltar's ability to expand and modernise its telecommunications infrastructure. These included a refusal to recognise International Direct Dialling (IDD) code which restricted the expansion of Gibraltar's telephone numbering plan, and the prevention of roaming arrangements for Gibraltar's GSM mobile phones in Spain.
  • 2007 1 May GB Airways began scheduled flights between Madrid and Gibraltar which were later withdrawn in September.
  • 2007 29 June — With a unanimous vote in the Gibraltar Parliament, local MPs approved new legislation that removes the phrases 'the Colony' and 'UK possession' from Gibraltar's laws.
  • 2007 11 October The Gibraltar Social Democrats were returned to Government for a fourth term after a General Election.
  • 2008 18 June — In the annual UN Special Committee on Decolonization meeting on the Gibraltar question, Peter Caruana, Chief Minister of Gibraltar stated that he would not atend future meetings as the Gibraltar Government is of the opinion that "there is no longer any need for us to look to the Committee to help us bring about our decolonisation". The Committee agreed that the Question of Gibraltar would be discussed again next year.
  • 2008 22 September It was announced that the remaining Iberia flights to Madrid wout cease operation at the end of September 2008 due to "economic reasons", namely, lack of demand.

Notes

Bibliography

  • Hills, George (1974). Rock of Contention. A History of Gibraltar. London: Robert Hale. ISBN 0-7091-4352-4. George Hills was a BBC World Service broadcaster, Spanish Historian, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and a close friend of the Spanish dictator, Franco.
  • Jackson, William (1990). The Rock of the Gibraltarians. A History of Gibraltar. second edition, Grendon, Northamptonshire, UK: Gibraltar Books. ISBN 0-948466-14-6. General Sir William Jackson was Governor of Gibraltar between 1978 and 1982, a military Historian and former Chairman of the Friends of Gibraltar Heritage.
  • Sepúlveda, Isidro (2004). Gibraltar. La razón y la fuerza (Gibraltar. The reason and the force). Madrid: Alianza Editorial. ISBN 84-206-4184-7. Chapter 2, "La lucha por Gibraltar" (The Struggle for Gibraltar) is available online (PDF). Isidro Sepúlveda Muñoz is a Contemporary History Professor in the UNED ("Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia"), the biggest Spanish university.

External links


Search another word or see criss crosseson Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;