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Pre-World War III
In Prehistoric times, evidence suggests that the Neanderthals inhabited the Rock. The area known as Gibraltar was known as one of the Pillar's of Hercules and was settled by the Moors during the 12th century. It was retaken back by the Spaniards in the 15th century.
Following the victory of Great Britain on the Spanish War of Succession, Gibraltar was permanently seceded to the British in the Treaty of Utrecht. Years after this, Spain would unsuccessfully try to recapture Gibraltar numerous times.
The Rock would become a key base for the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars. A century later during World War II, Gibraltar's civilian population was evacuated (mainly to London, England, but also to parts of Morocco, Madeira and Jamaica) and the Rock was strengthened as a fortress. Spanish dictator Francisco Franco's reluctance to allow the German Army onto Spanish soil frustrated a German plan to capture the Rock, code named Operation Felix. In the 1950s, Franco renewed Spain's claim to sovereignty over Gibraltar and restricted movement between Gibraltar and Spain. Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly to remain under British sovereignty in the Gibraltar sovereignty referendum, 1967, which led to the passing of the Gibraltar Constitution Order in 1969. In response, Spain completely closed the border with Gibraltar and severed all communication links. The border with Spain was partially reopened in 1982 and fully reopened in 1985 prior to Spain's accession to the European Community.
World War III
Gibraltar was heavily defended by American, British, French, Italian, and Spanish ships for it served as the entrance of the Atlantic Ocean. NATO ships effectively formed a blockade of the Straits of Gibraltar, preventing any Soviet submarine from leaving the Mediterranean Ocean. The British Armed Forces made Gibraltar one of the top priorities of defense. However, once, Soviet submarines were able to sneak through the blockade and shelled the territory and several other Spanish coastal cities. These were quickly dealt by both the U.S. and Spanish Navy and Air Force.
In May 9, 2014, a referendum was held in which 99% of Gibraltarians voted to remain a territory of the United Kingdom. A similar referendum held in the Falkland Islands a year later would yield a similar result. For this time being, it would appear that a joint-sovereignty is not yet possible.
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory. The British Nationality Act 1981 granted Gibraltarians full British citizenship.
Under its current constitution, Gibraltar has almost complete internal democratic self-government through an elected parliament, elected for a term of up to four years. The unicameral parliament presently consists of 17 elected members, and theSpeaker who is not elected, but appointed by a resolution of the parliament. The government consists of 10 elected members. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who is represented by the Governor of Gibraltar. The governor enacts day-to-day matters on the advice of the Gibraltar Parliament, but is responsible to the British government in respect of defence, foreign policy, internal security and general good governance. Judicial and other appointments are made on behalf of the Queen in consultation with the head of the elected government.
GeographyGibraltar is located in the lower part of the Iberian peninsula, sharing a land border with Andalusia, Spain. It shares maritime borders with Morocco and Algeria. The climate in the Rock is Mediterranean, that being located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is hot during summer but mild temperatures during cooler months. The territory is home to a variety of wildlife, of which the Barbary macaque is famous. These primates are primarily seen roaming around the Rock of Gibraltar.
Gibraltar has a diverse culture, mainly mixed of Spanish, British and North African. While the predominant religion is Roman Catholicism, other religions are also found on the Rock such as Christianity, Anglicanism, Judaism, and Islam.