Skip to main content

A Colonial Hangover from the Past , Plain Old Piracy The Conflict of Gibraltar











It all began on August 4, 1704, when Admiral George Rooke hoisted the British flag on the rock. Since then, the Spaniards have not stopped claiming it. There have been sieges, border closures, petitions to the UN for their return. But what is behind the topic 'Spanish Gibraltar'? What rights the Spanish have over their terra firma of only six square kilometers?

01. How did the British conquer Gibraltar?

That outcrop of Spanish land was occupied by United Kingdom troops on August 4, 1704. That morning, under a rain of between 15,000 and 30,000 shells, an Anglo-Dutch fleet commanded by Admiral George Rooke seized the rock.

Admiral George Rooke
The landing took place within the framework of the war of Spanish succession. The death without descendants of Charles II, the last Spanish king of the house of Austria, and the appointment as successor of the Duke of Anjou and grandson of Louis XIV of France, Felipe V, divided to Spain and Europe during more than a decade. The supposed rights to the throne of the Viennese court, commanded by the other branch of the Austrias dynasty, and the suspicion of England and Holland before the possibility that France and Spain were united under the same king, made the war explode. In principle, the occupiers took Gibraltar on behalf of the Austrian suitor, but Rooke, aware of the strategic importance of the isthmus, ordered the English flag to be raised.

02.What established the Treaty of Utrecht?

The conquest was 'legalized' by the Treaty of Utrecht. The document, signed by Anne Stuart, Queen of England, and Philip V, states: "The Catholic King, by himself and by all his successors, gives by this treaty to the Crown of Great Britain the full and entire property of the city and Castle of Gibraltar, together with its port, and the defenses and fortresses that belong to it. "

03. What, in fact, is Gibraltar?

The territory in dispute occupies about six square kilometers, 4.5 long and 1.2 wide. The Treaty of Utrecht made no reference to the frontier boundaries or jurisdictional waters that were to be under British command. Only granted to England the town of Gibraltar and the Spanish forts built for its defense . In 1729, Felipe V began the construction of two forts a little more than a kilometer from the rock, establishing the so-called 'line of Gibraltar'. Its condition of exclusively military strength changed in 1830, when England granted unilaterally to Gibraltar the status of colony and recognized to the population diverse civil rights (Supreme Court and Police). Gibraltar went from being a British fortress to a colony of the Crown. Today,

04. Did Spain intend to recover the rock?

Yes, from the very moment of the British takeover. A month later, the captain general of Andalusia appeared in the square with 12,000 men, but the differences between the Gauls and Spaniards ruined the assault. After this first siege, the English troops fortified the territory. After several diplomatic failures, Philip V declared war on England and began the second siege on Gibraltar on February 11, 1727, with 25,000 men. The assault lasted until the 6 of March of 1728. During the reign of Carlos III there were other two sieges. The most important, that of 1782: after the reconquest of Menorca in February of that year, a fleet of 27 Spanish and 12 French ships and an army of 40,000 soldiers traveled to Gibraltar. The decisive battle, on 13 September, ended, once again, in failure,

05. Did Franco the Rock in his foreign policy?

The Franco dictatorship turned the claim on Gibraltar into one of its battle horses. The first friction between Franco and the United Kingdom occurred in 1954, with the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to the rock to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the conquest. The second, in May 1969, following the British decision to enact a Constitution for Gibraltar establishing a jurisdiction other than that of the United Kingdom and endowing this territory with government and administrative institutions of its own.

On 8 June, in the face of non-compliance with the Utrecht Treaty and UN Resolution 1514 on decolonization, Franco decided to unilaterally close the border. The measure, which sought to drown the colony economically, meant the birth of a hostile attitude of the Gibraltarians to Spain.

06. Has the diplomatic strategy served any purpose?

The diplomatic route has been a constant since the restoration of democracy. In April 1980, as Foreign Minister Marcelino Oreja, the United Kingdom and Spain signed the Lisbon Declaration, a six-point document in which both nations expressed their desire to resolve their differences through negotiation. The greatest success of Spanish diplomacy came four years later, when Geoffrey Howe and Fernando Morán closed the Brussels Declaration, in which the United Kingdom accepted, for the first time, to include the question of the sovereignty of Gibraltar. 
Negotiations have not since been fruitful, except for the reopening of the gate by Spanish on the night of 4 to 5 February 1985. 
After a period of ruptures and return to the talks, In which Spain offered extensive autonomy, customs privileges and dual citizenship to Gibraltarians, relations with the United Kingdom became contaminated years later. The arrest of two members of the British secret services with military equipment in Malaga in 2004, the celebration of the third centenary of the conquest with the presence of Princess Anne of England and the scale of the nuclear submarine Tireless, which had already been docked almost a Year in 2000 in the Gibraltarian port to repair a fissure in one of its nuclear reactors, were muddying the relations.
The main problem for the resolution of the conflict is the position of the Gibraltarian population, who wants to decide their future and not to integrate in Spain. Gibraltar views its current situation as an anachronism, but claims its place as its own people, with its own institutions and administrations.

07. What does the UN think about the conflict?

At the request of the pro-Franco government, the UN Decolonization Committee enacted in 1960 a resolution, 1514, which stated: "Any attempt to totally or partially break national unity and territorial integrity of a country is incompatible with Purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. According to the UN, the colonial situation of Gibraltar destroys the unity and territorial integrity of Spain, and its maintenance is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations. That is why he has repeatedly urged the UK to end its presence in the rock. Faced with this position, London argues that the problem is not colonial, but self-determination,

08. Do you still have strategic and military importance?

Gibraltar has always been one of the most coveted geographical features of the Peninsula due to its position at the mouth of the Strait. His conquest by the British fleet was no accident. From the first half of the eighteenth century, rock was one of the main English maritime control points , and its importance was reinforced during the two world wars, the Spanish Civil War and the Falklands. Today, its port is a fundamental base for the British Navy. 
In addition, despite its authorities deny it, Gibraltar is today a dark tax haven. The Gibraltarian economy is growing like foam thanks to a special tax regime for companies that was declared illegal in 2004 by the European Commission. Thanks to him, The per capita income of every Gibraltarian citizen has grown to be above that of British citizens. Thus, it is not surprising that in this territory there are more companies than inhabitants. This economic boom has caused that tourism and the naval base have lost importance in the Gibraltarian economy.

09. Why is not it the same as Ceuta and Melilla?

While Gibraltar is a territory subject to decolonization, the five places Spain currently maintains in North Africa (Ceuta, Melilla, the peaks of Vélez de la Gomera and Alhucemas and the archipelago of the Chafarinas) have never appeared in the Lists of the UN Decolonization Committee. Morocco has never contested the list of Non-Self-Governing Territories that Spain submitted after its accession to the UN in 1955 and our country has never received from the UN any request for information on those territories. Unlike the United Kingdom, which in 1946 included Gibraltar on its list of Non-Self-Governing Territories, which is contested by Spain and controlled by the United Nations.



Mixture of people interviewed about the furor over the slightest suggestion of England ,possibly going to war with Spain over Gibraltar 
Hilariously funny lol as some in the UK particularly UK Politicians become hot and bothered over Brexit and Gibraltars future. Sir Michael Fallon, the UK defence secretary, has recently used robust language., . “We’re going to look after Gibraltar. Gibraltar is going to be protected all the way because the sovereignty cannot be changed without the agreement of the people of Gibraltar ,” he said.




Currently as the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, after the Brexit Vote and triggering article 50 under the Conservative Theresa May administration, the long subsequent negotiations with EU member states begin.


The majority of people living on the out crop of Gibraltar along with Scotland and Northern Ireland under the British Government, all voted to remain in the European Union ,with 51.9 percent of England wanting to leave the Europe.