About our UK/Gibraltar News
Latest news on UK-Gibraltar relations, including updates on trade, defence, and tourism between the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territory.
Gibraltar was originally a part of the Kingdom of Spain, until it was ceded to the British as part of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht after it was taken from pro-Bourbon forces during the Twelfth siege of Gibraltar. Since 1713, Gibraltar has continuously been a British overseas territory despite Spanish military efforts to the contrary, the most notably being the 'Great Siege of Gibraltar' during the American War of Independence.
During the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries, Gibraltar's importance to Britain was in its function as an 'Imperial Fortress' (alongside Halifax, Nova Scotia, Bermuda, and Malta) which served as lynch pins in Britain's domination of the oceans, allowing the UK to project and supply naval power, deny safe passage to enemy naval and merchant shipping, whilst protecting British trade. This primacy of Gibraltar's military function in its importance to the UK wound down following the end of the Second World War and ended with the closure of HM Dockyard, Gibraltar in 1984.
In modern times, British-Gibraltar relations have mainly focused on trade, finance, and tourism. The Gibraltarians have maintained a strong wish to remain part of the United Kingdom in referendums held in 1967 and 2002. This has served as a point of contention with Spain, particularly during the 20th century under the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco who closed the border between Spain and Gibraltar in 1969, isolating the territory and severely impacting its economy. The border would not be reopened until ten years after Franco's death in 1985.
UK-Gibraltar relations have also evolved in the context of Brexit. Gibraltar, being part of the European Union through the UK's membership, faced uncertainties about its future relationship with the EU after Brexit. Negotiations between Spain, Britain, and Gibraltar continue, with efforts being made to try to ensure that Gibraltar's border with Spain remained open and allowing for cooperation in various areas.