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Gibraltar Essay Research Paper IntroductionGibraltar has loomed

Gibraltar Essay, Research Paper Introduction Gibraltar has loomed large in the history books for 3000 years. Its name comes from Tarik, the leader of the Arabic army that invaded Spain in the eighth century. Over the centuries the Arabic name Gibel Tarik has altered to its present form of Gibraltar. The Rock remained in Arab hands until an unexpected attack by the Spanish in 1309.

Gibraltar Essay, Research Paper

Introduction

Gibraltar has loomed large in the history books for 3000 years. Its name comes from Tarik, the leader of the Arabic army that invaded Spain in the eighth century. Over the centuries the Arabic name Gibel Tarik has altered to its present form of Gibraltar. The Rock remained in Arab hands until an unexpected attack by the Spanish in 1309. This brief occupation was interrupted in 1333 and again reverted to Moorish control, but finally the Spanish reclaimed it and it was to remain that way for a further 240 years. In this time they developed Gibraltar as an important military and naval base.

Britain became interested in Gibraltar in the time of Oliver Cromwell, but the opportunity to capture it did not arise until the war of the Spanish Succession. It was then seized by a combined Anglo-Dutch fleet under Admiral Rooke, and British sovereignty was then formalised in 1713 by The Treaty of Utrecht.

Gibraltar thus became a British Garrison and in 1830 was declared a colony.

Unfortunately, Spain has never been able to accept the loss of Gibraltar and there have been several attempts to recapture it without success. Gibraltar has been besieged 15 times, the most famous being the Great Siege in 1779 which lasted an amazing 3 years, 7 months and 12 days. Also in more recent years we have seen the closing of the Frontier between 1969 and 1985. However, Gibraltar has held fast and remained British to this very day.

Gibraltar remained a Spanish possession until the beginning of the eighteenth century. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713), the Rock of Gibraltar became a pawn in the struggle between the two rival claimants to the Spanish throne, the Frenchman Philip of Anjou (”Philip V”) and the Austrian Archduke Charles (”Charles III”). Held by forces loyal to the former, Gibraltar fell to a combined Anglo-Dutch force supporting the latter in 1704. Gibraltar, then, had been captured on behalf of one of the claimants to the Spanish throne. However, as the war neared its end, English policy was beginning to attach greater importance to Gibraltar, and by the Treaty of Utrecht, which ended the conflict, the Fortress was yielded to the Crown of Great Britain “for ever.”

Spain laid siege to the place in 1727 and again in 1779. In the latter case, “The Great Siege” lasted for close on four years and great destruction was caused to the town and its fortifications. It was the last attempt to take the Rock by force of arms.

During the course of the nineteenth century, Gibraltar developed into a Fortress of renowned impregnability – the phrase “As safe as the Rock” became commonplace in the English language. At the same time, a civilian community grew up within its walls, earning its living primarily from commercial activities. In 1830, responsibility for Gibraltar’s affairs was transferred from the War Office to the Colonial Office and the status of Gibraltar was changed from “the town and garrison of Gibraltar in the Kingdom of Spain” to “Crown Colony of Gibraltar”. In that same year, a new Charter of Justice created a Judiciary independent of the Executive and Legislative powers vested in the Governor.

Improvements to the defences of Gibraltar continued throughout the nineteenth century, whilst increasing civilian participation in local affairs came with the establishment of Sanitary Commissioners in 1865 and the creation of a City Council in 1921.

At the turn of the century, Gibraltar entered a new phase in its history. The growing power of Germany led the British Government to look towards the expansion of her Navy, and this heightened Gibraltar’s role as an important naval base. It was then that the modern Dockyard and harbour were constructed, making Gibraltar ready for the wars of the twentieth century.

Twice during the first half of the twentieth century the value of Gibraltar as a strategic naval base was proved. In both the 1914-1918 and the 1939-1945 wars, Gibraltar was a key point in the anti-submarine campaigns. Patrols kept the Strait clear of enemy shipping, and the Bay became an important assembly point for convoys. The new Dockyard worked flat out repairing British and Allied warships.

During the Second World War, the bulk of Gibraltar’s civilian population was evacuated for security reasons; most went to Britain, others to Madeira and Jamaica. Gibraltar underwent dramatic changes during the war, the most notable being the transformation at North Front where beautiful gardens, a racecourse, football and cricket pitches disappeared to make way for the construction of an airfield.

Gibraltar “under ground” developed apace as miles of tunnels and chambers were dug out of the limestone and an underground city, with its own electricity supply, telephone exchanges, frozen meat stores, water distillers, bakery and hospitals was created.

After the war there was a growing demand by certain section of the civilian population for greater self-government. The Association for the Advancement of Civil Rights was formed during the war, and in 1945 the City Council was reconstituted, for the first time with an elected majority. The Governor’s monopoly of legislative authority ended five years later with the formation of a Legislative Council.

The post-war years were also marked by considerable expansion and progress in social and economic spheres. Medical, Educational, Housing and Social Security Services were developed.

In 1963, the question of Gibraltar’s status came before the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation, and Spain seized the opportunity to revive her claim for the reversion of the Rock to Spanish sovereignty. The claim was accompanied by increasing restrictions at the border between Gibraltar and Spain, which culminated in the complete closure of the frontier and all other means of direct communication with the mainland in 1969.

Gibraltar remained a Spanish possession until the beginning of the eighteenth century. During the War of the Spanish Succession (1702-1713), the Rock of Gibraltar became a pawn in the struggle between the two rival claimants to the Spanish throne, the Frenchman Philip of Anjou (”Philip V”) and the Austrian Archduke Charles (”Charles III”). Held by forces loyal to the former, Gibraltar fell to a combined Anglo-Dutch force supporting the latter in 1704. Gibraltar, then, had been captured on behalf of one of the claimants to the Spanish throne. However, as the war neared its end, English policy was beginning to attach greater importance to Gibraltar, and by the Treaty of Utrecht, which ended the conflict, the Fortress was yielded to the Crown of Great Britain “for ever.”

Spain laid siege to the place in 1727 and again in 1779. In the latter case, “The Great Siege” lasted for close on four years and great destruction was caused to the town and its fortifications. It was the last attempt to take the Rock by force of arms.

During the course of the nineteenth century, Gibraltar developed into a Fortress of renowned impregnability – the phrase “As safe as the Rock” became commonplace in the English language. At the same time, a civilian community grew up within its walls, earning its living primarily from commercial activities. In 1830, responsibility for Gibraltar’s affairs was transferred from the War Office to the Colonial Office and the status of Gibraltar was changed from “the town and garrison of Gibraltar in the Kingdom of Spain” to “Crown Colony of Gibraltar”. In that same year, a new Charter of Justice created a Judiciary independent of the Executive and Legislative powers vested in the Governor.

Improvements to the defences of Gibraltar continued throughout the nineteenth century, whilst increasing civilian participation in local affairs came with the establishment of Sanitary Commissioners in 1865 and the creation of a City Council in 1921.

At the turn of the century, Gibraltar entered a new phase in its history. The growing power of Germany led the British Government to look towards the expansion of her Navy, and this heightened Gibraltar’s role as an important naval base. It was then that the modern Dockyard and harbour were constructed, making Gibraltar ready for the wars of the twentieth century.

Twice during the first half of the twentieth century the value of Gibraltar as a strategic naval base was proved. In both the 1914-1918 and the 1939-1945 wars, Gibraltar was a key point in the anti-submarine campaigns. Patrols kept the Strait clear of enemy shipping, and the Bay became an important assembly point for convoys. The new Dockyard worked flat out repairing British and Allied warships.

During the Second World War, the bulk of Gibraltar’s civilian population was evacuated for security reasons; most went to Britain, others to Madeira and Jamaica. Gibraltar underwent dramatic changes during the war, the most notable being the transformation at North Front where beautiful gardens, a racecourse, football and cricket pitches disappeared to make way for the construction of an airfield.

Gibraltar “under ground” developed apace as miles of tunnels and chambers were dug out of the limestone and an underground city, with its own electricity supply, telephone exchanges, frozen meat stores, water distillers, bakery and hospitals was created.

After the war there was a growing demand by certain section of the civilian population for greater self-government. The Association for the Advancement of Civil Rights was formed during the war, and in 1945 the City Council was reconstituted, for the first time with an elected majority. The Governor’s monopoly of legislative authority ended five years later with the formation of a Legislative Council.

The post-war years were also marked by considerable expansion and progress in social and economic spheres. Medical, Educational, Housing and Social Security Services were developed.

In 1963, the question of Gibraltar’s status came before the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonisation, and Spain seized the opportunity to revive her claim for the reversion of the Rock to Spanish sovereignty. The claim was accompanied by increasing restrictions at the border between Gibraltar and Spain, which culminated in the complete closure of the frontier and all other means of direct communication with the mainland in 1969.

In that same year, Gibraltar was granted a new Constitution by Great Britain by which the functions of the Legislative Council and the City Council were merged and a Gibraltar House of Assembly was established. The Gibraltarians had now achieved self-government in domestic matters.

The “Gibraltar problem” simmered on, and after sixteen years of isolation from mainland Spain, the frontier gates were again opened. However, Spain continues to pursue her claim for the re-integration of the Rock into her territory, whilst the Gibraltarians continue to insist on their rights to their land.

The Old Rock, then, has witnessed many changes over the centuries in its vigil at the intersection of two continents and the meeting point of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Sir Joshua Hassan retired as Chief Minister in December 1987, a few days after the airport agreement, having been at the helm of Gibraltar politics for over forty years. In elections held in March 1988 Mr Joe Bossano, leader of the Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party was elected Chief Minister. Mr Bossano bettered this win in the elections of January 1992, where he was re-elected on a huge landslide, winning 73% of the vote.

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