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Gibraltar is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom located in southwestern Europe, bordering the Straits of Gibraltar, which links the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, on the southern coast of Spain, at 36°11'N, 5°22'W, a strategic location on the Strait of Gibraltar that links the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

The territory covers 6.5 square kilometers. It shares a 1.2 kilometer land border with Spain and has 12 kilometers of shoreline. Its climate is Mediterranean with mild winters and warm summers. Its terrain is a narrow coastal lowland bordering the 426-meter-high Rock of Gibraltar[?]. It has negligible natural resources and limited natural freshwater resources (large concrete or natural rock water catchments collect rain water).

The name Gibraltar comes from the Arabic Jabal al Tariq, which means "Tariq's mountain". The territory was ceded to Great Britain by Spain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht as part of the settlement of the War of the Spanish Succession. 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."

Nonetheless, the treaty stipulates that no overland trade between Gibraltar and Spain is to take place, except for emergency provisions in the case that Gibraltar is unable to be resupplied by sea. Another condition of the cession is 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." If Britain decides to sell Gibraltar, Spain is guaranteed first purchasing rights.

In a 1967 referendum, Gibraltarians ignored Spanish pressure and voted overwhelmingly to remain a British dependency. This was emphasised in November 2002 when over 98% of the electorate rejected proposals to share sovereignty between the UK and Spain.

As such, its military forces are the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force; defense is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

Spain continues its policy of harrassing Gibraltar both politically and economically in order to pressure the Gibraltarians into accepting Spanish sovereignty.

External links

  • CountryGuide:: Gibraltar (http://www.countryguide.com/Gibraltar/) --editor-maintained directory focused on travel, vacations, relocation, or retirement research.

Gibraltar is also the name of a place in the State of Michigan in the United States of America. See Gibraltar, Michigan.

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