|THE GIBRALTAR COAT OF ARMS|
Location of Gibraltar within the continent of Europe
Map of Gibraltar
Flag Description of Gibraltar:horizontal bands of white (top, double width) and red with a three-towered red castle in the center of the white band; hanging from the castle gate is a gold key centered in the red band; the design is that of Gibraltar's coat of arms granted on 10 July 1502 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain; the castle symbolizes Gibraltar as a fortress, while the key represents Gibraltar's strategic importance - the key to the Mediterranean
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. Between 1997 and 2002, the UK and Spain held a series of talks 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, Spain, the UK, and Gibraltar have held tripartite talks 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. The UK retains responsibility for defense, foreign relations, internal security, and financial stability.
A British overseas territory occupying a narrow peninsula of Spain’s southern Mediterranean coast, just northeast of the Strait of Gibraltar, on the east side of the Bay of Gibraltar (Bay of Algeciras), and directly south of the Spanish city of La Línea. It is 3 miles (5 km) long and 0.75 mile (1.2 km) wide and is connected to Spain by a low, sandy isthmus that is 1 mile (1.6 km) long. Its name is derived from Arabic: Jabal Ṭāriq (Mount Tarik), honouring Ṭāriq ibn Ziyād, who captured the peninsula in 711. Gibraltar is a heavily fortified British air and naval base that guards the Strait of Gibraltar, which is the only entrance to the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. Since the 18th century, Gibraltar has been a symbol of British naval strength, and it is commonly known in that context as “the Rock.”
With the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, Gibraltar increased in strategic importance, and its position as a provisioning port was greatly enhanced. Since World War II the British military garrison and naval dockyard have continued to be an important part of Gibraltar’s economy, and naval operations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) often use the port facilities.
The Rock of Gibraltar is considered one of the two Pillars of Heracles (Hercules); the other has been identified as one of two peaks in northern Africa: Mount Hacho, near the city of Ceuta (the Spanish exclave on the Moroccan coast), or Jebel Moussa (Musa), in Morocco. The Pillars—which, according to Homer, were created when Heracles broke the mountain that had connected Africa and Europe—defined the western limits of navigation for the ancient Mediterranean world. Area 2.25 square miles (5.8 square km). Pop. (2007 est.) 29,257.
Land of Gibraltar
The peninsula consists of a limestone and shale ridge (the Rock), which rises abruptly from the isthmus to 1,380 feet (421 metres) at Rock Gun, its northernmost summit. Its highest point, 1,396 feet (426 metres), is attained near its southern end. The Rock shelves down to the sea at Great Europa Point, which faces Ceuta. From the Mediterranean Sea, Gibraltar appears as a series of sheer, inaccessible cliffs, fronting the sea on the peninsula’s east coast. The Rock’s slope is more gradual on its western side and is occupied by tier upon tier of houses that stretch for some 300 feet (90 metres) above the old defensive walls. Higher up, limestone cliffs almost isolate the Upper Rock, which is covered with a tangle of wild trees.
Gibraltar has no springs or rivers. An area of sand slopes above Catalan and Sandy bays has been sheeted over to provide a rain-catchment area, which was once the sole source of potable water for Gibraltar. The water was stored in a number of tanks blasted into the Rock. The rainwater was then blended with water pumped from wells on the isthmus or distilled from the sea. The catchment ceased to be used as a source of potable water in the 1990s, when a desalinization plant built in the 1980s was expanded, but it still is used as a service reservoir. Gibraltar has hot, humid, and almost rainless summers; mild winters during which there is usually adequate rain; and warm, moderately rainy, transitional seasons. The territory is subject to strong easterly winds.
There are more than 500 species of small flowering plants on Gibraltar. The Gibraltar candytuft is a flower native only to the Rock. Wild olive and pine trees grow on the Upper Rock. Mammals include rabbits, foxes, and Barbary macaques (often erroneously identified as apes). Barbary macaques have roamed the Rock for hundreds of years and are Europe’s only wild monkeys. Although free to wander, they are generally seen on the Upper Rock. The macaques were once protected by the British army in Gibraltar, and, according to legend, British dominion over the Rock will cease when these animals are no longer present; their protection is now the responsibility of the Gibraltar Ornithological and Natural History Society. Migratory birds are common, and Gibraltar is the home of the only specimens of Barbary partridge in Europe.
Demography of Gibraltar
About four-fifths of the population are Gibraltarians, which includes those born in Gibraltar before 1925 and their descendants, as well as the spouses of Gibraltarians. The remainder are resident aliens and the families of British military personnel. Most Gibraltarians are of mixed Genoese, British, Spanish, Maltese, and Portuguese descent. Moroccans and Indians predominate among the resident aliens.
About four-fifths of Gibraltarians are Roman Catholic. The Anglican bishopric also covers communities in southern Europe, mainly in Spain’s Costa del Sol. The small Jewish community is of Sephardic descent. English is the official language of government and education, though most Gibraltarians are bilingual in English and Spanish, and many speak an English dialect known as Yanito (Llanito), which is influenced by Spanish, Genoese, and Hebrew.
Economy of Gibraltar
Because of lack of space on the peninsula, there is no agriculture. There is a small amount of light industry—tobacco, beverages, canning—but the main sources of income are the provisioning of ships and military personnel, tourism, and the re-export trade. Tourism was stimulated through the large-scale expansion of hotel and beach facilities and gambling casinos. The port facilities occupy most of the western shore and a portion of land reclaimed from the sea. Income taxes and customs duties produce most of Gibraltar’s revenue. The United Kingdom supplies a significant amount of development aid. Principal expenditures include social services, public works, and municipal services. Gibraltar joined the European Economic Community (later succeeded by the European Union [EU]) with the United Kingdom in 1973. The monetary unit is the Gibraltar pound.
Passenger and cargo vessels stop at Gibraltar’s port, and ferries cross daily to Tangier, Morocco. Gibraltar has an international airport, and regular flights link the territory to London, Tangier, and many other destinations. The peninsula has a road system and a system of tunnels within the Rock for vehicular traffic. A cable car ascends to the central summit of the ridge. As the United Kingdom is not party to the Schengen Agreement, the crossing between La Linea and Gibraltar is one of the few remaining controlled internal borders in western Europe.
Government and Society of Gibraltar
Gibraltar is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom and is self-governing in all matters but defense. Its constitution was established by the Gibraltar Constitution Order in 1969, which provided for a House of Assembly consisting of the speaker (appointed by the governor), 15 members elected to four-year terms, and 2 ex-officio members. (A new Constitution Order was approved by referendum in November 2006 and was implemented in January 2007; it renamed the House of Assembly as the Gibraltar Parliament and increased its number of members to 17.) In 1981 Gibraltarians were granted full British citizenship. Gibraltarians age 18 or older and British civilians resident for more than six months are entitled to vote. The governor, appointed by the British sovereign, is the head of the executive Gibraltar Council and appoints the Council of Ministers, composed of the chief minister and other ministers, from the party or coalition of parties that gains a majority of seats in the Gibraltar Parliament. Instead of a city council, one minister is responsible for municipal affairs.
Education is free and compulsory between ages 5 and 15. Educational facilities include several government primary schools and two comprehensive secondary schools. There are also private and military institutions, a school for children with disabilities, and a technical college.
Culture Life of Gibraltar
- Cultural milieu
Ghana has a rich indigenous culture. Culturally, the peoples of Ghana have many affinities with their French-speaking neighbours, but each ethnic group has distinctive cultural attributes. In all parts of the country the cultural heritage is closely linked with religion and the institution of chieftaincy. Various festivals and rites are centred on chieftaincy and the family and are occasioned by such events as harvest, marriage, birth, puberty, and death.
Ghanaian society is without sharp class distinctions. Insofar as traditional authority is based on a system of hereditary chieftaincy, it is possible to speak of aristocratic classes within the ethnic groups, but the institution of chieftaincy is essentially democratic in operation, and the authority of chiefs is broadly based. Land is usually owned by families, militating against the emergence of a small, powerful landed class wielding economic control over a landless class. These inherent egalitarian tendencies of the society have been heightened by economic and social mobility, depending on education and individual enterprise.
- Daily life and social customs
Although the bonds of the extended family are an important factor in the social norms of Ghanaians as a whole, they tend to be much less pronounced among the urban population, where the trend is toward the nuclear family, especially among the professional classes and scattered immigrant groups. Nevertheless, many urban inhabitants return regularly to their rural villages for funerals and renewal of family ties.
Traditional social values, such as respect for elders and the veneration of dead ancestors, are generally more evident among the rural than the urban population. However, a revival in the importance of these values and a closer identity with traditional social roots, as expressed in the institution of chieftaincy, is gaining ground among the urban diaspora drawn from different parts of Ghana.
There are also differences between the urban and rural populations in dress and eating habits, with the urban dwellers being distinctly more Westernized and sophisticated. Ghana is one of the few countries in tropical Africa that can be said to possess a rich indigenous cuisine. Reflecting the country’s agricultural wealth and varied historical connections, it includes fufu (starchy foods—such as cassava, yams, or plantains—that are boiled, pounded, and rolled into balls), kenke (fermented cornmeal wrapped in plantain leaves or corn husks), groundnut (peanut) soup, palm nut soup, fish, and snails.
- The arts
Ghana’s arts include dance and music, plastic art (especially pottery and wood carving), gold- and silverwork, and textiles, most notably the richly coloured, handwoven kente cloth of the Akan and Ewe. Local and regional festivals celebrated throughout Ghana provide opportunities for the display of ornamental art, clothing, and chiefly and ceremonial regalia.
Indigenous art is in keen competition with various art forms of foreign origin, especially in those areas in which the end product is intended for practical household or personal use, such as pottery, carving, gold- and silversmithing, and weaving. Consequently, only the unique and most indispensable of these forms have managed to survive without special public support or patronage. The increased national self-consciousness generated in Ghana and in other African countries by the independence movement, however, was instrumental in fostering and popularizing many art forms in the mid- to late 20th century. Specialized craft villages found throughout Ghana continue to engage in traditional ceremonies and to create fine traditional products for wealthy professional Ghanaians and tourists. Some of the most famous craft villages are located near Kumasi: Bonwire, known for kente cloth; Ntonso, for Adinkra cloth; Kurofuforum, for brass figures; and Ahwiaa, for wood carving.
Ghanaian writers—such as Francis Selormey, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ayi Kwei Armah, Kofi Awoonor, Frank Kobina Parkes, and Efua Sutherland—have produced a number of literary and dramatic works written mostly in English. Ghanaian works have attracted world attention in the fields of popular music, painting, sculpture, and film production. As early as the 1930s, Ghana became known for the dance music called highlife, which combined European dance steps with indigenous rhythms. It was widely popularized by the music of the world-famous Ghanaian saxophonist, trumpeter, and bandleader E.T. Mensah. Important innovations in traditional dance have taken place since the mid-1960s, when the University of Ghana’s Institute of African Studies embarked on the systematic study and organization of indigenous dance forms. It also trains artists in the perpetuation of Ghana’s traditional drama, drums, and musical heritage.
- Cultural institutions
Apart from small groups of craftsmen who provide the chiefs’ stools and skins throughout the country—a stool is the traditional symbol of office for chiefs in southern Ghana, and a skin is the equivalent symbol in the north—there are few established cultural institutions. The most outstanding are the National Cultural Centre, based in Kumasi, and the Arts Council of Ghana, based in Accra, with branches throughout the country. The National Cultural Centre is primarily concerned with the cultural heritage of the Asante, while the Arts Council is concerned with the preservation of indigenous Ghanaian culture in all of its forms and with its development and improvement in light of contemporary local and world trends. Dance, music, drama, painting, and sculpture all come within the purview of the council as well as that of the National Theatre and the Ghana National Art Museum. The Ghana Museum and Monuments Board is based in Accra, where it maintains an ethnological museum and a science museum. It is also responsible for the maintenance of buildings and relics of historical importance, such as forts and castles, and for the preservation of important art treasures throughout the country. The forts, built by various European powers, mostly between the 14th and 18th centuries, are all, except the Kumasi fort (1897), located on the coast. The forts and castles were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979. The board is also involved with the preservation of traditional Asante buildings located northeast of Kumasi; among the last remaining of their kind, they were collectively designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1980.
- Sports and recreation
After Ghana became independent in 1957, Pres. Kwame Nkrumah encouraged the development of sports to forge a national identity and to generate international recognition for the emerging country. Political support in the 1960s led to giant strides, especially in athletics (track and field), boxing, and football (soccer). Superb performances at the Commonwealth Games and the All-Africa Games brought such track stars as Leonard Myles-Mills to the sporting world’s attention.
Ghanaians have also performed well internationally in cricket, basketball, and volleyball; however, the country’s passion is football, and Ghana is recognized as one of Africa’s powerhouses. The national obsession for the sport originated in the colonial era. The men’s national team, the Black Stars, has won several African championships. Women’s football has gained in popularity, especially after the national team, the Black Queens, placed second in the 1998 African Championships and competed in the 1999 Women’s World Cup. The junior men’s national teams are the pride of Ghanaian football, having won several international cups and titles.
Ghana’s first Olympic participation was as the Gold Coast at the 1952 Summer Games in Helsinki. That was also the year the country’s Olympic committee was formed and recognized. Ghanaian boxer Clement (“Ike”) Quartey became the first black African to win an Olympic medal when he took a silver in the lightweight division at the 1960 Games in Rome.
History of Gibraltar
Excavations of limestone caves in the Rock have revealed that Gibraltar was sporadically inhabited from prehistoric times. The Muslim commander Ṭāriq ibn Ziyād captured Gibraltar in 711, and the site was thereafter held as a fortress by all its successive occupiers. The Muslim occupation was permanently ended by the Spanish in 1462, and Isabella I annexed Gibraltar to Spain in 1501. But in 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession, Sir George Rooke captured Gibraltar for the British, and Spain formally ceded it to Britain under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The Spanish nevertheless made several attempts to retake Gibraltar from Britain, most notably in a protracted but unsuccessful military siege that lasted from 1779 to 1783. In 1830 Gibraltar became a British crown colony. The opening of the Suez Canal (1869) heightened British determination to keep possession of Gibraltar, since the Mediterranean was the main route to Britain’s colonies in East Africa and southern Asia.
Early in the 20th century the Rock was tunneled to facilitate communication between the peninsula’s east and west sides, and the excavated material was used to reclaim 64 acres (26 hectares) from the sea and thus expand the area of the cramped settlement. Gibraltar was a vital repair and assembly point for Allied convoys during the World Wars.
In the 1960s the Spanish government stepped up its demands for the “decolonization” of Gibraltar. A referendum in Gibraltar in 1967 gave residents a choice of opting either for Spanish sovereignty or for continued close association with Britain; the result was an overwhelmingly pro-British vote (12,138 votes to 44). The new constitution that Britain introduced for Gibraltar in 1969 explicitly reaffirmed Gibraltar’s link with Britain while also granting it full internal self-government. Spain responded by closing its border with Gibraltar, thus depriving the territory of its Spanish trade and a labour force of Spanish commuters. Spain lifted its border blockade in 1985.
The status of Gibraltar has remained a source of friction between the Spanish and British governments. In a nonbinding referendum in 2002 recognized by neither government, 99 percent of Gibraltar’s voters rejected joint British-Spanish sovereignty. Gibraltar subsequently was allowed by both governments to represent itself in negotiations on its future.
In 2004 the creation of the Trilateral Forum of Dialogue, bringing together representatives of the governments of Britain, Spain, and Gibraltar, helped to ease tensions. On July 21, 2009, a trilateral meeting in Gibraltar marked the first time since 1704 that a Spanish minister visited the territory. In August 2013 a dispute over fishing rights led the Spanish government to increase border controls on Gibraltar; the United Kingdom criticized the move as a violation of EU laws governing freedom of movement.
Gibraltar remains-Human fossils
Gibraltar remains, Neanderthal fossils and associated materials found at Gibraltar, on the southern tip of Spain. The Gibraltar limestone is riddled with natural caves, many of which were at times occupied by Neanderthals during the late Pleistocene Epoch (approximately 126,000 to 11,700 years ago).
Four sites in particular have produced archaeological and paleoanthropological evidence of occupation: Forbes’ Quarry, Devil’s Tower, Gorham’s Cave, and Vanguard Cave. The first locality yielded the second Neanderthal fossil ever discovered, the skull of an older adult female; though found in 1848, it was not announced to science until 1865. In 1926 the second site yielded a Paleolithic tool assemblage and the scattered remains of a child’s skull. Although the last two caves have relinquished only archaeological materials, they confirm the survival of a Middle Paleolithic technology to about 30,000 years ago, long after it had been replaced by improved toolmaking methods in northern Spain and elsewhere in Europe.
The Forbes’ Quarry skull is relatively small, with a small and rounded braincase, a prominent but lightly built browridge, a very large and projecting nose (in both absolute and relative terms), swept-back cheeks, and details of the ear and neck region that align it with the Neanderthals. Its teeth are damaged, with some worn down almost to the roots and rounded from use, a pattern seen in the remains of all other older (over age 40) Neanderthals. The skull also exhibits a bony growth on the inside of the forehead, which is associated with menopause among modern humans; this may be the oldest evidence of the uniquely human pattern of menopause.
Most of the Devil’s Tower skull is preserved, at least on one side, and it is clearly that of a child with a very large braincase. There are clear beginnings of a browridge (small, as befitting the individual’s youth), a long and wide face, and large front teeth. The child sustained an injury to the mouth, and the teeth exhibit developmental defects, a common feature among the Neanderthals that usually indicates seasonal episodes of starvation. Neanderthal life was difficult from an early age, but these and other such finds show that many survived the hardships.
by: Erik Trinkaus
Pillars of Heracles-Promontories, Strait of Gibraltar
Pillars of Heracles, also called Pillars of Hercules, two promontories at the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar. The northern pillar is the Rock of Gibraltar at Gibraltar, and the southern pillar has been identified as one of two peaks: Jebel Moussa (Musa), in Morocco, or Mount Hacho (held by Spain), near the city of Ceuta (the Spanish exclave on the Moroccan coast). The pillars are fabled to have been set there by Heracles (Hercules) as a memorial to his labour of seizing the cattle of the three-bodied giant Geryon.
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