What Country Is Gibraltar in

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: August 31, 2020
What Country Is Gibraltar in

You may have heard about Gibraltar, or at least about the Gibraltar rock, the closest European point to Africa and the only place in the continent where you can see monkeys walking around its streets.

Though this piece of land is on the Iberian Peninsula, it does not belong to neither of the countries that form it (Spain, Portugal and Andorra). This small piece of land actually belongs to the United Kingdom. How can that be? Keep on reading this OneHowTo article to find out what country Gibraltar is in.

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  1. Where is Gibraltar?
  2. Is Gibraltar its own country?
  3. The Utrecht treaty

Where is Gibraltar?

Geographically speaking, Gibraltar is a piece of land that covers 6.7 square kilometers around the Rock of Gibraltar and surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea. It's right at the South of the Iberian Peninsula and borders with the Spanish regions of Cádiz and Malaga.

Currently, Gibraltar has around 30 thousand inhabitants, most of whom have a British nationality and can speak both English and Spanish, though the first is the official language.

What Country Is Gibraltar in - Where is Gibraltar?

Is Gibraltar its own country?

But what country is Gibraltar in? Officially, even though it is surrounded by Spanish territory, Gibraltar belongs to the United Kingdom. More specifically, it is one of the British Overseas Territories, which are all under the sovereignty of this country.

This means that all Gibraltar citizens have a British passport and National health service. Which is why it is so easy for people from the UK to move to Gibraltar. The territory also has its own self-government and parliament, though the governor of Gibraltar does have to respond to the Queen of England, whom the governor represents. This is why the people of Gibraltar still have to follow the same policies in most political matters.

Though Spain has claimed this land for centuries, referendums held in Gibraltar showed the will of its people to stay within the UK. However, the possible exit of the UK from the European Union (known as Brexit) has made Gibraltarians doubt about staying part of the United Kingdom.

The Utrecht treaty

You might be asking yourself how this part of land can belong to the UK being so far away from the Saxon island. Between 1701 and 1715, the War of the Spanish Succession took place. As the last Spanish king died without succession, two European royals were eligible to hold the Spanish crown: Phillip V, who came from the French royalty and represented the absolutist house of France and Charles of Austria, whom created an alliance of countries formed by the Dutch Republic, Austria and England.

This war, which divided Spanish citizens and historical regions between supporters of each side; consequently ended with the Utrecht treaty (1713), in which the allied forces of the Austrian side declared a truce and negotiated the withdrawal of their troops in exchange for the concession of certain territories. Thus, England was promised Gibraltar if the Bourbonic troops won the war. It was in 1715, when Cardona, the last of the Catalan cities surrendered to the Bourbon troops; that the Utrecht Treaty became effective and Gibraltar was ceded to Great Britain.

What Country Is Gibraltar in - The Utrecht treaty

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What did you think of this article?
Lily Cazares
I am interested in the history of Gibraltar since my maternal grandfather was born there, probably late 1800s. I regret not knowing location, education, or business. My grandfather's name was Thomas (Tomas) Acres. I will appreciate whatever advice you can send me. Thank you
Brexit has made Gibraltarians doubt about staying part of the United Kingdom. that's not true get your facts right.
Rama Rao Kona
I like due to one of the top country in the world
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What Country Is Gibraltar in