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.

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