Spain the Kingdom of Spain, is a country located in Europe. Its continental European territory is situated on the Iberian Peninsula, its territory includes two archipelagoes: the Canary Islands off the coast of Africa, the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea. The African enclaves of Ceuta, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera make Spain the only European country to have a physical border with an African country. Several small islands in the Alboran Sea are part of Spanish territory; the country's mainland is bordered to the south and east by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary with Gibraltar. With an area of 505,990 km2, Spain is the largest country in Southern Europe, the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, the fourth largest country in the European continent. By population, Spain is the fifth in the European Union. Spain's capital and largest city is Madrid. Modern humans first arrived in the Iberian Peninsula around 35,000 years ago. Iberian cultures along with ancient Phoenician, Greek and Carthaginian settlements developed on the peninsula until it came under Roman rule around 200 BCE, after which the region was named Hispania, based on the earlier Phoenician name Spn or Spania.
At the end of the Western Roman Empire the Germanic tribal confederations migrated from Central Europe, invaded the Iberian peninsula and established independent realms in its western provinces, including the Suebi and Vandals. The Visigoths would forcibly integrate all remaining independent territories in the peninsula, including Byzantine provinces, into the Kingdom of Toledo, which more or less unified politically and all the former Roman provinces or successor kingdoms of what was documented as Hispania. In the early eighth century the Visigothic Kingdom fell to the Moors of the Umayyad Islamic Caliphate, who arrived to rule most of the peninsula in the year 726, leaving only a handful of small Christian realms in the north and lasting up to seven centuries in the Kingdom of Granada; this led to many wars during a long reconquering period across the Iberian Peninsula, which led to the creation of the Kingdom of Leon, Kingdom of Castile, Kingdom of Aragon and Kingdom of Navarre as the main Christian kingdoms to face the invasion.
Following the Moorish conquest, Europeans began a gradual process of retaking the region known as the Reconquista, which by the late 15th century culminated in the emergence of Spain as a unified country under the Catholic Monarchs. Until Aragon had been an independent kingdom, which had expanded toward the eastern Mediterranean, incorporating Sicily and Naples, had competed with Genoa and Venice. In the early modern period, Spain became the world's first global empire and the most powerful country in the world, leaving a large cultural and linguistic legacy that includes more than 570 million Hispanophones, making Spanish the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese. During the Golden Age there were many advancements in the arts, with world-famous painters such as Diego Velázquez; the most famous Spanish literary work, Don Quixote, was published during the Golden Age. Spain hosts the world's third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Spain is a secular parliamentary democracy and a parliamentary monarchy, with King Felipe VI as head of state.
It is a major developed country and a high income country, with the world's fourteenth largest economy by nominal GDP and sixteenth largest by purchasing power parity. It is a member of the United Nations, the European Union, the Eurozone, the Council of Europe, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the Union for the Mediterranean, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Schengen Area, the World Trade Organization and many other international organisations. While not an official member, Spain has a "Permanent Invitation" to the G20 summits, participating in every summit, which makes Spain a de facto member of the group; the origins of the Roman name Hispania, from which the modern name España was derived, are uncertain due to inadequate evidence, although it is documented that the Phoenicians and Carthaginians referred to the region as Spania, therefore the most accepted etymology is a Semitic-Phoenician one.
Down the centuries there have been a number of accounts and hypotheses: The Renaissance scholar Antonio de Nebrija proposed that the word Hispania evolved from the Iberian word Hispalis, meaning "city of the western world". Jesús Luis Cunchillos argues that the root of the term span is the Phoenician word spy, meaning "to forge metals". Therefore, i-spn-ya would mean "the land where metals are forged", it may be a derivation of the Phoenician I-Shpania, meaning "island of rabbits", "land of rabbits" or "edge", a reference to Spain's location at the end of the Mediterranean. The word in question means "Hyrax" due to Phoenicians confusing the two animals. Hispania may derive from the poetic use of the term Hesperia, reflecting the Greek perception of Italy as a "western land" or "land of the setting sun" (Hesperia
First Siege of Gibraltar
The First Siege of Gibraltar was a battle of the Spanish Reconquista that took place in 1309. The battle pitted the forces of the Kingdom of Castile under the command of Juan Núñez II de Lara and Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, against the forces of the Emirate of Granada who were under the command of Sultan Muhammed III and his brother, Abu'l-Juyush Nasr; the battle resulted in a victory for the Kingdom of Castile, one of the few victories in what turned out to be a disastrous campaign. The taking of Gibraltar increased the relative power of Castile on the Iberian Peninsula though the actual city was recaptured by Muslim forces during the Third Siege of Gibraltar in 1333. On 19 December 1308, at Alcalá de Henares, King Ferdinand IV of Castile and the ambassadors from the Crown of Aragon, Bernat de Sarrià and Gonzalo García agreed to the terms of the Treaty of Alcalá de Henares. Ferdinand IV, supported by his brother, Pedro de Castilla y Molina, the archbishop of Toledo, the bishop of Zamora, Diego López V de Haro agreed to wage war against the Emirate of Granada by 24 June 1309, when a previous peace treaty between Granada and Castile was set to expire.
It was further agreed that the Aragonese monarch, James II, could not sign a separate peace accord with the Emir of Granada. A combined Aragonese-Castilian navy was formed to support the siege in a blockade of the coastal Granadian towns, it was stipulated that the Kingdom of Castile would attack the towns of Algeciras and Gibraltar and that the Aragonese forces would attempt to conquer the city of Almería. Ferdinand IV promised to cede one sixth of the conquered Granadan territory to the Aragonese crown and therefore chose the entirety of the Kingdom of Almeria as its limits for the agreement with the exception of the towns of Bedmar, Quesada and Locubin which would stay as part of Castile, having all been part of the Kingdom of Castile and León prior to their Muslim takeovers. Ferdinand IV further stipulated that if the lands taken from the Kingdom of Almería did not amount to one sixth of Granadan territory, that the Archbishop of Toledo would step in to resolve any differences related to the matter.
These concessions to the Crown of Aragon led a few of Ferdinand IV's vassals to protest the ratification of the treaty, amongst them were John of Castile and Juan Manuel, Prince of Villena. The concessions to Aragon, which had begun a period of relative irrelevancy compared to Castile, would once again restore the kingdom's power within the Iberian Peninsula. Aragon had reached its height under the Treaty of Cazola and the Treaty of Almizra which saw its territory and influence expand considerably. Ferdinand insisted on the Aragonese alliance to cement an alliance between Aragon and the King of Morocco so that they would not intervene in the coming war with Granada. After the signing of the treaty at Alcalá de Henares and Aragon both sent emissaries to the court at Avignon to gain the support of Pope Clement V and to obtain the clerical backing of an official Crusade to further support military operations, they asked for the papal blessing of a marriage between the Infanta Eleanor of Castile, the firstborn daughter of Ferdinand IV and Jaime de Aragón y Anjou and heir of James II of Aragon.
The Pope agreed to both ventures and on 24 April 1309, Clement V issued the papal bull Indesinentis cure which authorised a general crusade against Granada to conquer the Iberian Peninsula together with mandates to conquer Corsica and Sardinia. At the Courts of Madrid of 1309, the first courts to occur in the actual Spanish capital, Ferdinand IV publicly announced his desire to wage war against the Emirate of Granada and demanded subsidies to begin battle manoeuvres; the main vassals contributing to operations against Gibraltar were Juan Núñez II de Lara, Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, Fernando Gutiérrez Tello, the Archbishop of Seville and Garci López de Padilla, the grand master of the Order of Calatrava. The majority of this army consisted of the militia councils of Seville and the noblemen of that city. On 29 April 1309, Pope Clement V issued the papal bull Prioribus decanis which conceded to Ferdinand IV one 10th of all clergy taxes collected in his kingdoms for three years to aid in financing the campaign against Granada.
From Toledo, Ferdinand IV and his army marched to Córdoba where the emissaries of James II announced that the Aragonese king was prepared to besiege the city of Almeria. Final preparations for the siege were carried out in Seville, where Ferdinand IV arrived in July 1309; the supply line for the invasion army passed through Seville and crossed the Guadalquivir River and travelled by sea to the territories of the Kingdom of Granada. After the start of the siege of Algeciras, Ferdinand IV sent part of his army from the military councils of Seville to complete their remaining objective of capturing Gibraltar, whilst keeping the larger portion of his forces encamped around Algeciras; the force sent to besiege and capture Gibraltar was put under the command of Juan Núñez II de Lara, Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, Fernando Gutiérrez Tello, the Archbishop of Seville and the council of nobles associated with that city. The group was further bolstered by Garci López de Padilla, the contemporary grand master of the Order of Calatrava and a contingent of his knights.
The forces from the Crown of Aragon, under the command of James II had begun their own war against the Kingdom of Granada and were in place besieging the city of Almería by 15 August 1309. That ill-fated venture lasted until 26 January 1310 when the forces of Aragon were obliged to withdraw from the campaign due to stalemate; the chronicles of Ferdinand IV mention that the Castilian forces surrounded the city of Gib
Sark is an island in the Channel Islands in the southwestern English Channel, off the coast of Normandy, France. It is a royal fief, which forms part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, with its own set of laws based on Norman law and its own parliament, it has a population of about 500. Sark has an area of 2.10 square miles. Sark is one of the few remaining places in the world where cars are banned from roads and only tractors and horse-drawn vehicles are allowed. In 2011, Sark was designated as the first Dark Sky Island in the world. Sark consists of two main parts, Greater Sark, located at about 49°25′N 2°22′W, Little Sark to the south, they are connected by a narrow isthmus called La Coupée, 300 feet long and has a drop of 330 feet on each side. Protective railings were erected in 1900. There is a narrow concrete road covering the entirety of the isthmus, built in 1945 by German prisoners of war under the direction of the Royal Engineers. Due to its isolation, the inhabitants of Little Sark had their own distinct form of Sercquiais, the native Norman dialect of the island.
The highest point on Sark is 374 feet above sea level. A windmill, dated 1571, is found there, the sails of which were removed during World War 2; this high point is named Le Moulin, after the windmill. The location is the highest point in the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Little Sark had a number of mines accessing a source of galena. At Port Gorey, the ruins of silver mines may be seen. Off the south end of Little Sark are the Venus Pool and the Adonis Pool, both natural swimming pools whose waters are refreshed at high tide; the whole island is extensively penetrated at sea level by natural cave formations that provide unique habitats for many marine creatures, notably sea anemones, some of which are only safely accessible at low tide. Sark is made up of amphibolite and granite gneiss rocks, intruded by igneous magma sheets called quartz diorite. Recent geological studies and rock age dating by geologists from Oxford Brookes University shows that the gneisses formed around 620–600 million years ago during the Late Pre-Cambrian Age Cadomian Orogeny.
The quartz diorite sheets were intruded during metamorphic event. All the Sark rocks formed during geological activity in the continental crust above an ancient subduction zone; this geological setting would have been analogous to the modern-day subduction zone of the Pacific Ocean plate colliding and subducting beneath the North and South American continental plate. Sark exercises jurisdiction over the island of Brecqhou, only a few hundred feet west of Greater Sark, it is a private island, but it has been opened to some visitors. Since 1993, Brecqhou has been owned by David Barclay, one of the Barclay brothers who are co-owners of The Daily Telegraph, they contest Sark's control over the island. The candidates endorsed by their various business interests on the island failed to win any seats in the elections held in 2008 and 2010; the etymology of Sark is unknown. Richard Coates has suggested that in the absence of a Proto-Indo-European etymology it may be worthwhile looking for a Proto-Semitic source for the name.
This is because the British Isles were repopulated from the Iberian Peninsula following the last Ice Age. He proposes a comparison between the probable root of Sark, *Sarg-, Proto-Semitic *śrq "redden. In ancient times, Sark was certainly occupied by the Veneti; these people were subdued by the Roman Empire about the island annexed. After the Roman retreat during the fifth century AD, Sark was an outpost of one or other Breton-speaking kingdoms until 933, when it became part of the Duchy of Normandy. Following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the island was united with the Crown of England. In the thirteenth century, the French pirate Eustace the Monk, having served King John, used Sark as a base of operations. During the Middle Ages, the island was populated by monastic communities. By the 16th century, the island was uninhabited and used by pirates as a refuge and base. In 1565, Helier de Carteret, Seigneur of St. Ouen in Jersey, received letters patent from Queen Elizabeth I granting him Sark as a fief in perpetuity on condition that he kept the island free of pirates and occupied by at least forty men who were of her English subjects or swore allegiance to the Crown.
This he duly did, leasing 40 parcels of land at a low rent to forty families from St. Ouen, on condition that a house was built and maintained on each parcel and that "the Tenant" provided one man, armed with a musket, for the defence of the island; the 40 tenements survive to this day, albeit with minor boundary changes. A subsequent attempt by the families to endow a constitution under a bailiff, as in Jersey, was stopped by the Guernsey authorities who resented any attempt to wrest Sark from their bailiwick. In 1844, desperate for funds to continue the operation of the silver mine on the island, the incumbent Seigneur, Ernest le Pelley, obtained Crown permission to mortgage Sark's fief to local privateer John Allaire. After the company running the mine went bankrupt, le Pelley was unable to keep up the mortgage payments and, in 1849, his son Pierre Carey le Pelley, the new Seigneur, was forced to sell the fief to Marie Collings for a total of £1,383 (£6,000 less the sum borrowed and an accumulated interest of £616.13
Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory in the Caribbean. The island in the Leeward Islands, part of the chain known as the Lesser Antilles, in the West Indies. Montserrat measures 16 km in length and 11 km in width, with 40 km of coastline. Montserrat is nicknamed "The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean" both for its resemblance to coastal Ireland and for the Irish ancestry of many of its inhabitants. On 18 July 1995, the dormant Soufrière Hills volcano, in the southern part of the island, became active. Eruptions destroyed Montserrat's Georgian era capital city of Plymouth. Between 1995 and 2000, two-thirds of the island's population was forced to flee to the United Kingdom, leaving fewer than 1,200 people on the island as of 1997; the volcanic activity continues affecting the vicinity of Plymouth, including its docking facilities, the eastern side of the island around the former W. H. Bramble Airport, the remnants of which were buried by flows from volcanic activity on 11 February 2010. An exclusion zone, encompassing the southern half of the island to as far north as parts of the Belham Valley, was imposed because of the size of the existing volcanic dome and the resulting potential for pyroclastic activity.
Visitors are not permitted entry into the exclusion zone, but a view of the destruction of Plymouth can be seen from the top of Garibaldi Hill in Isles Bay. Quiet since early 2010, the volcano continues to be monitored by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. A new town and port are being developed at Little Bay, on the northwest coast of the island. While this construction proceeds, the centre of government and businesses is at Brades. In 1493, Christopher Columbus named the island Santa María de Montserrate, after the Virgin of Montserrat in the Monastery of Montserrat, on Montserrat mountain, near Barcelona in Catalonia, Spain. "Montserrat" means "serrated mountain" in Catalan. Archaeological field work in 2012, in Montserrat's Centre Hills indicated there was an Archaic occupation between 4000 and 2500 BP. Coastal sites show the presence of the Saladoid culture. In November 1493, Christopher Columbus passed Montserrat in his second voyage, after being told that the island was unoccupied due to raids by the Caribs.
A number of Irishmen settled in Montserrat in 1632. The preponderance of Irish in the first wave of European settlers led a leading legal scholar to remark that a "nice question" is whether the original settlers took with them the law of the Kingdom of Ireland insofar as it differed from the law of the Kingdom of England; the Irish being historical allies of the French in their dislike of the English, invited the French to claim the island in 1666, although no troops were sent by France to maintain control. It was captured shortly afterwards by the English and English control of the island was confirmed under the Treaty of Breda the following year. Despite the seizing by force of the island by the English, the island's legal status is that of a "colony acquired by settlement". A neo-feudal colony developed amongst the "redlegs"; the colonists began to transport Sub-Saharan African slaves for labour, as was common to most Caribbean islands. The colonists built an economy based on the production of sugar, rum and sea island cotton, cultivated on large plantations manned by slave labour.
By the late 18th century, numerous plantations had been developed on the island. Many Irish continued to work as indentured servants. On 17 March 1768, slaves failed to achieve freedom; the people of Montserrat celebrate St Patrick's Day as a public holiday due to the slave revolt. Festivities held that week commemorate the culture of Montserrat in song, dance and traditional costumes. In 1782, during the American Revolutionary War, as America's first ally, France captured Montserrat in their war of support of the Americans; the French, not intent on colonizing the island agreed to return the island to Great Britain under the 1783 Treaty of Paris. The Irish constituted the largest proportion of the white population from the founding of the colony in 1628. Many were indentured labourers; the geographer Thomas Jeffrey claimed in The West India Atlas that the majority of those on Montserrat were either Irish or of Irish descent, "so that the use of the Irish language is preserved on the island among the Negroes".
African slaves and Irish colonists of all classes were in constant contact, with sexual relationships being common and a population of mixed descent appearing as a consequence. The Irish were prominent in Caribbean commerce, with their merchants importing Irish goods such as beef, pork and herring, importing slaves. There is indirect evidence that the use of the Irish language continued in Montserrat until at least the middle of the nineteenth century; the Kilkenny diarist and Irish scholar Amhlaoibh Ó Súilleabháin noted in 1831 that he had heard that Irish was still spoken in Montserrat by both black and white inhabitants. A letter by W. F. Butler in The Atheneum quotes an account by a Cork civil servant, C. Cremen, of what he had heard from a retired sailor called John O'Donovan, a fluent Irish speaker: He told me that in the year 1852, when mate of the brig Kaloolah, he went ashore on the island of Montserrat, out of the usual track of shipping, he said he was much surprised to hear the negroes talking Irish among themselves, that he joined in the conversation… The British phonetici
Rugby union known in most of the world as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end. Rugby union is a popular sport around the world, played by male and female players of all ages. In 2014, there were more than 6 million people playing worldwide, of whom 2.36 million were registered players. World Rugby called the International Rugby Football Board and the International Rugby Board, has been the governing body for rugby union since 1886, has 101 countries as full members and 18 associate members. In 1845, the first football laws were written by Rugby School pupils. An amateur sport, in 1995 restrictions on payments to players were removed, making the game professional at the highest level for the first time.
Rugby union spread from the Home Nations of Great Britain and Ireland and was absorbed by many of the countries associated with the British Empire. Early exponents of the sport included New Zealand, South Africa and France. Countries that have adopted rugby union as their de facto national sport include Fiji, Madagascar, New Zealand and Tonga. International matches have taken place since 1871 when the first game took place between Scotland and England at Raeburn Place in Edinburgh; the Rugby World Cup, first held in 1987, takes place every four years. The Six Nations Championship in Europe and The Rugby Championship in the Southern Hemisphere are other major international competitions, held annually. National club or provincial competitions include the Premiership in England, the Top 14 in France, the Mitre 10 Cup in New Zealand, the National Rugby Championship in Australia, the Currie Cup in South Africa. Other transnational club competitions include the Pro14 in Europe and South Africa, the European Rugby Champions Cup in Europe, Super Rugby, in the Southern Hemisphere and Japan.
The origin of rugby football is reputed to be an incident during a game of English school football at Rugby School in 1823, when William Webb Ellis is said to have picked up the ball and run with it. Although the evidence for the story is doubtful, it was immortalised at the school with a plaque unveiled in 1895. Despite the doubtful evidence, the Rugby World Cup trophy is named after Webb Ellis. Rugby football stems from the form of game played at Rugby School, which former pupils introduced to their university. Old Rugbeian Albert Pell, a student at Cambridge, is credited with having formed the first "football" team. During this early period different schools used different rules, with former pupils from Rugby and Eton attempting to carry their preferred rules through to their universities. A significant event in the early development of rugby football was the production of the first written laws of the game at Rugby School in 1845, followed by the Cambridge Rules drawn up in 1848. Other important events include the Blackheath Club's decision to leave the Football Association in 1863 and the formation of the Rugby Football Union in 1871.
The code was known as "rugby football". Despite the sport's full name of rugby union, it is known as rugby throughout most of the world; the first rugby football international was played on 27 March 1871 between Scotland and England in Edinburgh. Scotland won the game 1-0. By 1881 both Ireland and Wales had representative teams, in 1883 the first international competition, the Home Nations Championship had begun. 1883 is the year of the first rugby sevens tournament, the Melrose Sevens, still held annually. Two important overseas tours took place in 1888: a British Isles team visited Australia and New Zealand—although a private venture, it laid the foundations for future British and Irish Lions tours. During the early history of rugby union, a time before commercial air travel, teams from different continents met; the first two notable tours both took place in 1888—the British Isles team touring New Zealand and Australia, followed by the New Zealand team touring Europe. Traditionally the most prestigious tours were the Southern Hemisphere countries of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa making a tour of a Northern Hemisphere, the return tours made by a joint British and Irish team.
Tours would last for months, due to the number of games undertaken. Touring international sides would play Test matches against international opponents, including national and county sides in the case of Northern Hemisphere rugby, or provincial/state sides in the case of Southern Hemisphere rugby. Between 1905 and 1908, all three major Southern Hemisphere rugby countries sent their first touring teams to the Northern Hemisphere: New Zealand in 1905, followed by South Africa in 1906 and Australia in 1908. All three teams brought new styles of play, fitness levels and tactics, were far more successful than critics had expected; the New Zealand 1905 touri
Rugby union in the Bailiwick of Guernsey
Rugby union in the Bailiwick of Guernsey is a popular sport. Outside the island of Guernsey itself, it is played in Alderney and Sark. Sark has its own rugby team, although it has to pick up "guest" players to make up its numbers, it has no national competitive side of its own, is not affiliated to the IRB in its own right. For this reason, it has no IRB ranking. Rugby is played in Guernsey under the auspices of the Rugby Football Union. Due to its proximity to the major rugby nations England and France, Guernsey rugby is among the oldest in the world, dating back to the mid 19th century. A number of schools play the sport the private ones, such as Elizabeth College. Guernsey RFC competes in the English leagues. There is only one other club in Guernsey, St Jacques RFC, founded in 1978. From the 2014/15 season St Jacques compete in the Hampshire Rugby Football Union Solent Merit league. St Jacques home ground is the King George V playing fields; the current coaches are Jon Bell, Rob Box and Peter Mcmachon, the current captain is Brett McFarlane.
St Jacques have a squad of around 40 players, with many being recent graduates of the Guernsey Rugby Academy. The Siam Cup is an annual Rugby Union competition held between Jersey Reds and Guernsey RFC, it was first contested in 1920. The trophy awarded. Development of the sport is limited due to the practicalities of small islands; the main sport is association football. Guernsey does have its own radio stations. British and French television can both be received in the islands, include extensive rugby coverage - such as the Rugby World Cup and Six Nations Championship. Rugby union in Sark Rugby union in Jersey Sark national rugby union team http://www.grufc.co.uk/ Guernsey Rugby Academy Guernsey Touch Guernsey vs Jersey http://www.ogier.com/AboutUs/Action/Sport/Pages/GuernseyRugbyAcademy.aspx http://www.thisisguernsey.com/2009/02/26/rugby-official-swore-but-was-not-disorderly/ BBC's Guernsey Sports page Sylvans RFC
History of Gibraltar
The history of Gibraltar, a small peninsula on the southern Iberian coast near the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea, spans over 2,900 years. The peninsula has evolved from a place of reverence in ancient times into "one of the most densely fortified and fought-over places in Europe", as one historian has put it. Gibraltar's location has given it an outsized significance in the history of Europe and its fortified town, established in medieval times, has hosted garrisons that sustained numerous sieges and battles over the centuries. Gibraltar was first inhabited over 50,000 years ago by Neanderthals and may have been one of their last places of habitation before they died out around 24,000 years ago. Gibraltar's recorded history began around 950 BC with the Phoenicians; the Carthaginians and Romans worshipped Hercules in shrines said to have been built on the Rock of Gibraltar, which they called Mons Calpe, the "Hollow Mountain", which they regarded as one of the twin Pillars of Hercules. Gibraltar became part of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania following the collapse of the Roman Empire and came under Muslim Moorish rule in 711 AD.
It was permanently settled for the first time by the Moors and was renamed Jebel Tariq – the Mount of Tariq corrupted into Gibraltar. The Christian Crown of Castile annexed it in 1309, lost it again to the Moors in 1333 and regained it in 1462. Gibraltar became part of the unified Kingdom of Spain and remained under Spanish rule until 1704, it was captured during the War of the Spanish Succession by an Anglo-Dutch fleet in the name of Charles VI of Austria, the Habsburg contender to the Spanish throne. At the war's end, Spain ceded the territory to Britain under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht of 1713. Spain tried to regain control of Gibraltar, which Britain had declared a Crown colony, through military and economic pressure. Gibraltar was besieged and bombarded during three wars between Britain and Spain but the attacks were repulsed on each occasion. By the end of the last siege, in the late 18th century, Gibraltar had faced fourteen sieges in 500 years. In the years after Trafalgar, Gibraltar became a major base in the Peninsular War.
The colony grew during the 19th and early 20th centuries, becoming a key British possession in the Mediterranean. It was a key stopping point for vessels en route to India via the Suez Canal. A large British naval base was constructed there at great expense at the end of the 19th century and became the backbone of Gibraltar's economy. British control of Gibraltar enabled the Allies to control the entrance to the Mediterranean during the Second World War, it was attacked on several occasions by German and Vichy French forces, though without causing much damage. The Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco declined to join a Nazi plan to occupy Gibraltar but revived Spain's claim to the territory after the war; as the territorial dispute intensified, Spain closed its border with Gibraltar between 1969 and 1985 and communications links were severed. Spain's position was supported by Latin American countries but was rejected by Britain and the Gibraltarians themselves, who vigorously asserted their right to self-determination.
Discussions of Gibraltar's status have continued between Britain and Spain but have not reached any conclusion. Since 1985, Gibraltar has undergone major changes as a result of reductions in Britain's overseas defence commitments. Most British forces have left the territory, no longer seen as a place of major military importance, its economy is now based on tourism, financial services and Internet gambling. Gibraltar is self-governed, with its own parliament and government, though the UK maintains responsibility for defence and foreign policy, its economic success has made it one of the wealthiest areas of the European Union. The history of Gibraltar has been driven by its strategic position near the entrance of the Mediterranean Sea, it is a narrow peninsula at the eastern side of the Bay of Gibraltar, 6 kilometres from the city of Algeciras. Gibraltar is on the far south coast of Spain at one of the narrowest points in the Mediterranean, only 24 kilometres from the coast of Morocco in North Africa.
Its position on the bay makes it an advantageous natural anchorage for ships. As one writer has put it, "whoever controls Gibraltar controls the movement of ships into and out of the Mediterranean. In terms of military and naval power, few places have a more strategic location than Gibraltar."The territory's area measures only 6.7 square kilometres. Most of the land area is occupied by the steeply sloping Rock of Gibraltar which reaches a height of 426 metres; the town of Gibraltar lies at the base of the Rock on the west side of the peninsula. A narrow, low-lying isthmus connects the peninsula to the Spanish mainland; the North Face of the Rock is a nearly vertical cliff 396 metres high overlooking the isthmus. Gibraltar's geography has thus given it considerable natural defensive advantages, it is impossible to scale the eastern or northern sides of the Rock, which are either vertical or nearly so. To the south, the flat area around Europa Point is surrounded by cliffs which are up to 30 metres high.
The western side is the only practicable area for a landing, but here the steep slopes on which the town is built work to the advantage of a defender. These factors have given it an enormous military significance over the centuries. Gibraltar's appearance in prehistory was different. Whereas today it is surrounded by sea, th