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Facts about Gibraltar

What is Gibraltar?
Gibraltar is an overseas territory and dependence of the United Kingdom.

Where is Gibraltar located?
Gibraltar is located on the southern coast of Spain in Western Europe.

Gibraltar borders the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. Its strategic location at the entrance
to the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic, along the Strait of Gibraltar, has been influential in the region’s history.

How big is Gibraltar?
Gibraltar has area of approximately 6.5 square kilometers.

What is the population of Gibraltar?
Gibraltar’s population is estimated around 29,000.

What religions are practiced in Gibraltar?
Gibraltar’s population primarily identifies as Christian, with about 78% Roman Catholic. Gibraltar has a significant Muslim and Jewish population, as well as Hindu.

The Jewish community in Gibraltar has been around for more than 650 years, who faced anti-semitism during Spanish rule of the region.

What languages are spoken in Gibraltar?
English is the official language, taught in schools, and used for official purposes, but Spanish, Llanito, Italian, and Portuguese are also spoken.

What does Llanito mean?
The people of Gibraltar call themselves Llanitos, meaning “people of the little flat land.”

Llatnito also refers to the language of Gibraltarians, which is a creole (mix) of Andalusian Spanish, and British English, creating a kind of Spanglish. The language has influences from Genoese (from Genoa, Italy), Hebrew, Maltese, and Portuguese. The language is mostly spoken, not written, and consists of code switching between Spanish and British English.

What is Gibraltar’s national holiday?
Gibraltar celebrates the date of its national referendum to determine whether it would remain a territory of the United Kingdom or return to Spain, which was decided on September 10, 1967.

Who are the political leaders of Gibraltar?
As a territory of the United Kingdom, Gibraltar’s Chief of State is Queen Elizabeth II, who is represented by Governor of Gibraltar, Vice Admiral Sir Adrian Johns. The head of government is Chief Minister Fabian Picardo.

What are the main features of Gibraltar’s economy?
Gibraltar is mainly financially self-sufficient. Its main industries are shipping trade, banking, tourism, and gaming. British military previously made up a large part of Gibraltar’s economy, but their presence has been reduced in recent years.

What form of currency is used in Gibraltar?
Gibraltar uses the Great Britain Pound Sterling (GBP) as its standard currency. As a British territory, Gibraltar is also allowed to issue its own currency, the Gibraltar Pound, which is fixed to the GBP. The Pound Sterling can be used in Gibraltar, but the Gibraltar Pound can only be spent in Gibraltar.

Which countries border Gibraltar?
Gibraltar is bordered by the continents of Africa and Europe, and the countries of Morocco, Spain, the British colony of Gibraltar, and the Spanish exclave of Ceuta. It also borders the Strait of Gibraltar, which links the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, on the southern coast of Spain.

What are the main ethnic groups in Gibraltar?
There is a large diversity of ethnic groups in the territory of Gibraltar. Spanish, Italian, English, Maltese, Portuguese, German, and North Africans are the main ethnic groups. However, there are some other groups, like Moroccans, Indians, French, Austrians, Chinese, Japanese, Polish and Danish.

What is Gibraltar’s relationship to Great Britain and Spain?
Spain and the United Kingdom have struggled for control of Gibraltar for many years.

In 1501, Gibraltar became ruled by the Spanish Crown, Isabelle I of Castile, after hundreds of years under the rule of the Moors after the Islamic conquest in 711. During the War of Spanish Succession, an Anglo-Dutch invasion in 1704 brought Gibraltar under British control. The 1716 Treaty of Utrecht gave Gibraltar to Britain in perpetuity, which lasted until 1779 when Spain began the Great Siege of Gibraltar, in an attempt to take the region back. Gibraltar was formally declared a British colony in 1830.

Gibraltar proved a valuable resource for Great Britain, helping in the Crimean War, and then when the Suez Canal opened, as an important port on the sea route between the UK and the rest of the British Empire, east of Suez. Gibraltar also served as a fortress for British troops during World War II.

Spanish dictator, Francisco Franco tried to renew Spain’s claim to control of Gibraltar in the 1950s. A 1967 referendum resulted in Gibraltarians voting to remain a dependency of Britain. Two years later, the United Kingdom granted Gibraltar autonomy, which Spain was upset about, closing the Spanish border and cutting off communication. The border was partially reopened in 1982, and fully reopened in 1985. Gibraltarians were given British citizenship in 1981.

Another referendum in 2002 resulted in Gibraltar overwhelmingly rejecting a proposal for Spain and Britain to share sovereignty of Gibraltar. The New Constitution Order of 2006 was approved.

Since 2004, negotiations between Spain, the United Kingdom, and Gibraltar continue, as they work together to resolve issues and end restrictions. Though Gibraltar is primarily self-governed, Britain is responsible for defense and security, foreign relations, and the financial stability of Gibraltar. Spain does not want Gibraltar to have additional sovereignty.


Last Updated on 07 March 2014

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