Gibraltar from the air. *Photo from Wikipedia
September 10 is Gibraltar National Day.
It commemorates Gibraltar’s first sovereignty referendum of 1967, in which Gibraltarian voters were asked whether they wished to either pass under Spanish sovereignty, or remain under British sovereignty, with institutions of self-government.
An Anglo-Dutch force captured Gibraltar from Spain in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession on behalf of the Habsburg claim to the Spanish throne. The territory was subsequently ceded to Great Britain “in perpetuity” under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.
During World War II it was an important base for the Royal Navy as it controlled the entrance and exit to the Mediterranean Sea, which is only eight miles (13 km) wide at this naval “choke point” and remains strategically important to this day with half the world’s seaborne trade passing through the strait.
Gibraltarians overwhelmingly rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty in a 1967 referendum and again in 2002. Under the Gibraltar constitution of 2006, Gibraltar governs its own affairs, though some powers, such as defense and foreign relations, remain the responsibility of the British government.
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula. It has an area of 6.7 km2 (2.6 sq mi) and shares its northern border with Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region.