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Some facts about Gibraltar
There used to be a lot of nonsense in the CIA World Factbook, but that has changed and
its now an excellent reference. There are, however a number of third party websites
on the net which reproduce old versions, so check out the original. There is a link
at the foot of this page.
This page was updated 13th February 2011.
|An Introduction to Gibraltar from the CIA World Factbook
Strategically important, Gibraltar was reluctantly ceded to Great Britain by Spain
in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht; the British garrison was formally declared a colony
in 1830. In a referendum held in 1967, Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly to remain
a British dependency. The subsequent granting of autonomy in 1969 by the UK led to
Spain closing the border and severing all communication links. A series of talks
were held by the UK and Spain between 1997 and 2002 on establishing temporary
joint sovereignty over Gibraltar. In response to these talks, the Gibraltar Government
called a referendum in late 2002 in which the majority of citizens voted overwhelmingly
against any sharing of sovereignty with Spain. Since late 2004, tripartite talks among
Spain, the UK, and Gibraltar have been held with the aim of cooperatively resolving
problems that affect the local population, and work continues on cooperation agreements
in areas such as taxation and financial services; communications and maritime security;
policy, legal and customs services; environmental protection; and education and visa services.
Throughout 2009, a dispute over Gibraltar's claim to territorial waters extending out
three miles gave rise to periodic non-violent maritime confrontations between Spanish
and UK naval patrols. A new noncolonial constitution came into effect in 2007, and the
European Court of First Instance recognized Gibraltar's right to regulate its own tax
regime in December 2008, but the UK retains responsibility for defense, foreign relations,
internal security, and financial stability.