Gibraltar, on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula,
has a long and complex history.
Throughout the centuries many have coveted the land,
and who wouldn’t?
The Rock of Gibraltar boasts panoramic views
of the Mediterranean Sea and North African coast.
and is strategically located at the gateway to the Atlantic
its location, location, location at its best!
它的位置 位置 位置是最有优势的！
Today, at just 6.7 square kilometres
and home to over 30,000 people
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory.
So why is a small piece of land on the southern end of Spain,
one of the last remaining colonies of the British Empire?
We pick up our story in October 1700.
The Kingdom of Spain,
with Charles the Second on the throne, controls Gibraltar.
Generations of royal inbreeding
had left Charles physically, emotionally, and mentally retarded
as well as infertile.
He died childless on the first of November,
leaving Spain without a clear heir.
European powers had seen this coming
and had attempted to make diplomatic arrangements.
There were three competing claims for the throne
from Austria, France and Bavaria.
Bavaria being the weakest of the three
was preferred by European leaders.
King Louis the 14th of France colluded with his rival, William of Orange
who was both Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic
and the King of England.
The two signed the Treaty of Den Haag to resolve the issue.
They proposed dividing the Spanish Kingdom,
which included holdings in Italy,
the Southern Netherlands,
and colonies in the Americas and Pacific between the three houses.
But Joseph Ferdinand of Bavaria
was suggested as the bulk of the Spanish Empire.
preserving the balance of power between France and Austria.
Quite to everyone’s surprise, however,
the health stricken Spanish King outlived Joseph,
undermining the whole treaty.
Louis and William reconvened and signed another treaty
under the new arrangement;
Archduke Charles from Austria was to inherit the Spanish Crown,
with the Italian holdings going to France.
However the Spanish didn’t want to see their Empire split,
and refused to sign.
As did the Austrians, who desired the entire inheritance for themselves
and furthermore were more interested in Italy than Spain.
In one final effort to find a diplomatic solution
Charles on his deathbed, named his grandnephew Philip,
the second-eldest grandson of King Louis as Heir to the Spanish Crown.
As Philip was not directly in line for the Throne of France
his advisors hoped this would ease tensions
and stabilise the power dynamics across the continent.
This left Louis with a decision to make.
He could follow through with his agreement and forbid his grandson from claiming the throne
or he could accept the will of Charles of Spain
and back Philip’s claim
Both option appeared to lead to war,
and accepting the Austrian claim would leave France with nothing,
so he choose the latter.
The growing dominance of Europe’s big blue blob
worried the other European powers.
The Grand Alliance that had fought France in Nine Years’ War was reconvened
And Britain, The Dutch Republic, and Austria
declared war on France on the 15th of May 1702.
The War of the Spanish Succession had begun.
While the majority of the land offence took place to the north of the Pyrenees
the British sent a force to the Mediterranean
to carry out a diversionary naval offensive.
This took the form of an attack on Gibraltar.
After heavy bombardment,
British marines attacked the town,
and the Spanish surrendered shortly after.
Although the Spanish attempted to retake Gibraltar
they failed to do so before the end of the war.
Legend has it, that during one such attempt
Spanish soldiers attempted to sneak into position
to launch a surprise attack,
only the monkeys that inhabit the Rock spoilt the surprise.
This has led to the notion
that as long as the monkeys remain on Gibraltar
so will the British
However, during the war, the King of Austria
然而 在战争期间 奥地利的国王
who was by way, the Holy Roman Emperor
and his successor died, leaving the Empire to Charles.
The prospect of a union of the Austrian and Spanish crowns
was just as undesirable as a unified Bourbon monarchy of France and Spain.
Peace would come with the Treaty of Utrecht;
Philip was accepted by Britain and Austria as King of Spain.
In exchange for guarantees that the crowns of France and Spain would not be unified
and Spain ceded lands to the Austrians and British.
Crucially for our story, Gibraltar was officially ceded to Britain,
But Spain resented the loss of territory.
Spain attempted to recapture Gibraltar
during the Anglo-Spanish War of 1727 to 1729,
and again during the American War of Independence.
But they failed to retake the region.
Gibraltar’s strategic value became more apparent with time.
Allowing the Allies to control naval traffic into and out of the Mediterranean Sea during war
and during peace she was a useful port for trade vessels sending cargo east via Egypt.
In 1954 the Queen visited Gibraltar,
this angered Spain’s fascist Dictator General Franco
who responded by imposing increasingly stringent restrictions on trade and the movements with Gibraltar.
But this didn’t weaken the resolve of the population to remain British as intended,
the isolation did quite the opposite,
and now they say that Gibraltarians are more British than the British.
After the war
the United Nations was established, and opposed to imperialism.
The UN called for decolonisation throughout the world,
But while other British colonies moved through self-governance and then onto independence,
that option was unavailable to Gibraltar.
The Treaty of Utrecht contains a reversion clause
where if Britain is to give up her claim on Gibraltar,
it will be returned to Spain.
But the UN push for decolonisation
reignited Spanish efforts to recover the territory.
The result was a referendum in 1967
where Gibraltarians were asked
to choose between Spain and Britain.
The results were resounding,
with over 12,000 opting to maintain the current relationship with Britain,
to only 44 supporting a union with Spain,
less than the number of invalid or blank votes.
The Francoist regime responded to the defeat
by ramping up pressure on the dependency and closed the border.
While Gibraltar moved to establish a constitution
that agreed the British would not impose a solution on Gibraltarians
and acknowledged their right to self-determination.
After General Franco’s death,
Spain sought to join the European Economic Community,
and needed British support.
The Lisbon Agreement was the first of a series between the British and Spanish Governments
intended to resolve their differences over Gibraltar.
These talks eventually led to the reopening of the border,
but didn’t quite settle the issue.
Eventually, in 2002,
Britain and Spain proposed to share sovereignty,
but the government of Gibraltar,
excising their now constitutional right, put it to a referendum
and the agreement was rejected 17,900 to 187.
It seems, given their options,
the Gibraltarians wish to remain a British dependency.
But Britain’s impending departure from the European Union
has once again brought up the issue,
and Gibraltar finds itself again
as a pawn in a bigger European game.
Gibraltar, on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula,