Gibraltar recently allowed a detained Iranian supertanker Grace 1 to leave the British overseas territory after a last-minute U.S. attempt to seize the vessel.
- Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the bottom of Spain on the narrow gap between Europe and Africa.
- Known as the Gib or the Rock, it is a small 2.5-mile-squared area with a population of just 30,000 – but it has huge strategic importance.
- This is because from this spot a navy can potentially control shipping in and out of the Mediterranean – much of it coming from Asia having travelled through the Suez Canal.
- The UK, a key member of NATO, has a naval and military base there for this reason.
History of Gibraltar
- Spain originally began controlling Gibraltar in 1501.
- But the Rock then came under British control during the War of Spanish Succession in 1704.
- Then in 1779 Spain tried but failed to win it back in what was known as the Great Siege of Gibraltar.
- The rock was declared a colony in 1830.
- The people of Gibraltar voted in 1967 to be a dependency of the United Kingdom.
- This effectively guarantees the unique community independence from Spain but allows support from a major Western country.
- In June last year, 99 per cent voted to remain in the UK.