Located on the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, bordering a tiny portion of southern Spain, Gibraltar is a British territory covering just two and a half square miles. Historically a significant military base for the British, Gibraltar has been a point of controversy between the Spanish and English for centuries. Originally part of Spain, it was ceded to the British in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht, and Spain has continued since then to assert it reclamation of Gibraltar. However, in a 2002 referendum the populace overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to share the sovereignty of Gibraltar between the UK and Spain, preferring instead to keep the status quo.
Evidence of habitation in Gibraltar dates back as far as 24,000 BC, although the habitation isn't exactly human, but rather, Neanderthal. In fact, Gibraltar, as far as scientists know, was the final holdout for Neanderthals anywhere. Caves in the area contain fascinating evidence that Neanderthals used them as shelters for at least 1000,000 years. Around 24,000 BC, Cro-Magnon man replaced Neanderthals. Much later, Gibraltar's was inhabited by the Phoenicians starting about 1000 BC, and later became famous as one of the Pillars of Hercules. Later the Roman established settlements there and ruins are still to be found.
At the start of the Second World War, the British evacuated all civilians of Gibraltar to the UK, Morocco, Madeira and Jamaica in order to fortify the area against the Germans. By the middle of the war, 30,000 British airmen, soldiers and sailors were stationed in Gibraltar, making tunnels through the famous Rock. In 1997, a secret British plan, Operation Tracer, was uncovered, in which it was revealed that during the War, six men hid in tunnels in the Rock, outfitted with radio equipment in case of German attack. These six men had to wait undercover beneath the rock for two and a half years, all for nothing since the Germans never got close to Gibraltar.
The main attraction, and surely the most famous rock in the world, is the Rock of Gibraltar, which is a massive limestone ridge with steep sheer cliffs viewable for miles out at sea. While in Gibraltar, you can also visit the fascinating historic town of Tangier in Morocco as Gibraltar to Tangier ferry crossings are possible.
Seventy-seven percent of the population speak English as well as Spanish, or more like it, a strange mix of both languages. All signs are English and the people are well used to tourists. Gibraltar feels a little like 1960s England with its quaint red mail boxes and English pubs. Like other tiny European countries it lives off its tourist trade and its thriving casinos and has its fair share of bustling cafes and fancy restaurants. Travel from Malaga to Gibraltar is the most preferred form of travel to the this country.