Gibraltar Travel Blog› entry 1 of 3 › view all entries
NOTE: beware of the barbary apes. they will take your hat and purse. they belong to gibraltar, they have their daily shots and vaccines.
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located near the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar. The territory shares a border with Spain to the north. Gibraltar has historically been an important base for the British Armed Forces and is the site of a Royal Navy base.
The name of the territory is derived from the Arabic name Jabal Tāriq, meaning "mountain of Tariq".It refers to the geological formation, the Rock of Gibraltar, and the Berber Umayyad general Tariq ibn-Ziyad, under the orders of Caliph Al-Walid I who led the initial incursion into Iberia in advance of the main Moorish force in 711.
A one-year investigation and analysis of 235 countries and territories by Jane’s Country Risk listed Gibraltar as the top stable and prosperous British Territory, in 5th position overall.
Gibraltar was ceded by Spain to Great Britain in perpetuity in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht though Spain requests its return. The British Government has stated it is committed to respecting the wishes of the Gibraltarians, who strongly oppose the idea of annexation along with any proposal for shared sovereignty with Spain.
The territory covers 6.843 square kilometres (2.
Having negligible natural resources and few natural freshwater resources, limited to natural wells in the north, until recently Gibraltar used large concrete or natural rock water catchments to collect water. Fresh water from the boreholes is supplemented by two desalination plants: a reverse osmosis plant, constructed in a tunnel within the rock, and a multi-stage flash distillation plant at North Mole.
Gibraltar is one of the most densely populated territories in the world, with approximately 4,290 inhabitants per square kilometre (11,100 /sq mi). The growing demand for space is being increasingly met by land reclamation; reclaimed land currently comprises approximately one tenth of the territory's total area.
The Rock itself is made of limestone and is 426 metres (1,396 ft) high. It contains many tunnelled roads, most of which are operated by the military and closed to the public.
The Barbary Macaque
The Barbary Macaque population in Gibraltar is the last in the whole of the European continent, which, unlike that of North Africa, is thriving.
The Barbary Macaque is considered Gibraltar's unofficial national animal.
Some scientists believe the Barbary Macaques were first introduced to Gibraltar from North Africa by the Moors (who occupied southern Iberia, including Spain and Portugal, between 711 and 1492), to be used as pets.
One thing that is certain is that the macaque population has been present on the The Rock long before Gibraltar became British in 1704. In 1610 Portillo wrote:
"But now let us speak of other and living producers which in spite of the asperity of the rock still maintain themselves in the mountain, there are monkeys, who may be called the true owners, with possession from time immemorial, always tenacious of the dominion, living for the most part on the eastern side in high and inaccessible chasms."
In 1782 Ayala, a Spanish historian like Portillo, wrote of the monkeys:
"Neither the incursions of Moor, the Spaniards nor the English, nor cannon nor bomb of either have been able to dislodge them