The Gibraltar Peninsula is located in the most southwestern corner of Europe, across the Strait of Gibraltar and the African continent. The Strait of Gibraltar is 58 kilometers long, and the narrowest point is only 14 kilometers, but its narrow body connects the Mediterranean and the Atlantic.
Among the most important straits in Europe, the Strait of Gibraltar may be the most important one (base map from: shutterstock@Anton Balazh)▼
在欧洲最重要的海峡中，直布罗陀海峡可能是最重要的海峡（基础图来自：shutterstock @ Anton Balazh）▼
From the map, the Strait of Gibraltar appears to be the border between Spain and Morocco, a North African country. But in fact, the territorial ownership of the two sides of the strait and the outlying islands of the strait are complicated, including African cities belonging to Spain and islands belonging to North African countries. The most important of these is the Gibraltar Peninsula on the Spanish side, but its sovereignty belongs to the United Kingdom.
What kind of history is this?
The territorial ownership of the Strait of Gibraltar is complicated. On the Moroccan side there is Ceuta controlled by Spain, and on the Spanish side there is Gibraltar controlled by the United Kingdom (base map from: NASA)▼
The Mediterranean is the origin of the world's marine civilization. Early ancient Egypt, Cretan civilization, and Aegean civilization were all born along the Mediterranean coast.
In the 3rd century BC, the Roman Republic obtained hegemony on the Mediterranean coast through three Punic Wars, and finally formed a huge empire spanning three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. The economic and cultural development of the Mediterranean and its coastal areas also flourished during this period. Until Columbus discovered the New World, the Mediterranean was the economic center of the Western world.
The early humans did not master mature ocean navigation technology. The Mediterranean with many peninsulas and harbors was very suitable for the development of early marine civilization. Before the era of great navigation, the Mediterranean was the most economically developed region in Europe for a long time (viewed horizontally)▼
The great discoveries of western geography promoted the advent of the great nautical era, and the status of the Mediterranean coastal economic center quietly changed. The desire to explore the unknown world and the temptation of high profits have made the Atlantic shipping more busy, and the slave trade ships to and from Europe, Africa and the Americas have brought a lot of wealth to Europe, especially Western European countries.
The economic center of the Western world has gradually shifted from the Mediterranean coast to the east coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Western European countries represented by Spain, Portugal, France, and the United Kingdom gradually replaced southern European countries Italy and Greece and became the new center of Western civilization.
The prosperity of Atlantic trade has driven the development of Western Europe and North America. The traditional Eurasian trade through the Mediterranean and the Middle East has been relatively weakened. The powerhouses in the Middle East (Ottomans) are the losers in this transition, but hubs like Gibraltar and Istanbul are still crucial (View in horizontal screen)▼
But it is undeniable that in the early days of the great voyage, civilizations along the Mediterranean still had the first-mover advantage. The sailing knowledge of Arabs and Italians provided valuable experience for Western European navigators, and most of the navigators who first started the pace of exploring the world came from countries around the Mediterranean.
For example, Columbus’s hometown is Genoa, Italy (Da Gama and Magellan are Portuguese) (Spain-Seville Cathedral-Tomb of Columbus) (Photo from: Hans C. Schrodter / Shutterstock)▼
Although the era of great navigation shifted the focus of the European economy to Western European countries, this prosperity also drove the demand for North-South trade in Europe. Before the advent of railways, water transport was still the most effective mode of transportation.
Before the completion of the Suez Canal, a narrow Strait of Gibraltar was the only passage from the Mediterranean and Black Sea coastal countries to the Atlantic coast. Its strategic significance is self-evident. It can be said that mastering the Strait of Gibraltar is tantamount to choking the throats of the countries on the Mediterranean coast leading to the ocean.
After the opening of the Suez Canal, the Eastern route once again returned to the Mediterranean, and the importance of the Strait of Gibraltar has also increased (picture from: shipmap)▼
After the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the Strait of Gibraltar became an important route to Southern Europe, North Africa and the Indian Ocean via the Atlantic Ocean. With the later development of oil fields in the Persian Gulf, the Gibraltar route became the lifeline of energy transportation in Western Europe. Thousands of ships pass through the strait every day, up to 100,000 ships per year, making it one of the busiest passages in international shipping.
Ships passing through Gibraltar, it looks like some are from the Middle East (picture from: artba_nwh / Shutterstock)▼
船只经过直布罗陀，看起来有些是从中东来的（图片来自：artba_nwh / Shutterstock）▼
The Strait of Gibraltar has been a battleground for military strategists since ancient times, as can be seen from its name. Gibraltar is derived from Arabic. At the beginning of the 8th century, the Umayyad Arab dynasty launched a conquest war. During the war, the Umayyad general Tariq Ziad led 7,300 soldiers across the Strait of Gibraltar. Tariq stood on the Gibraltar Peninsula. Commanding the battle on the huge rock, it defeated the Visigothic kingdom that ruled Spain at that time and had several times its own strength.
Although the Arab Empire was blocked by Byzantium in the east, it took the Iberian Peninsula from North Africa by crossing the sea. This is also the most powerful period in the history of the Islamic world against the Christian world▼
To commemorate the victory of this cross-sea operation, the strait that Tariq crossed is called the "Strait of Zhibur Tariq", which means mountain in Arabic. Later, the Arabs withdrew from the place, but the name remained. After translation in many languages, "Gibraltar" became the name of the Strait.
The "Gibraltar Rock" on the coast is the most spectacular of the "Pillars of Hercules" (picture from: Andreas Poertner / Shutterstock)▼
At present, Port Huron and Cape Marokie belong to Spain. The most important strategic significance of the Gibraltar peninsula, where Tariq commanded combat, Britain and Spain both claimed sovereignty over it. However, 93% of the residents on the peninsula have British nationality and are actually controlled by the United Kingdom.
In fact, the Gibraltar peninsula is only a small part of the coast of the strait, but if it is from the United Kingdom, it seems to be a nail wedged to Spain (picture from Aitor Serra Martin / Shutterstock.)▼
实际上，直布罗陀半岛只是海峡沿岸的一小部分，但是如果它来自英国，那似乎是钉在西班牙的钉子上（图片来自Aitor Serra Martin / Shutterstock。）▼
Spain’s history of losing the Gibraltar Peninsula can also be said to be the history of the replacement of Western maritime hegemonies.
As one of the first countries to initiate colonial plunder, Spain accumulated a large amount of wealth in the 16th century and opened the era of maritime hegemony belonging to the Spanish Empire.
Spain did have a great first-mover advantage during the colonial era. The colonies controlled by Spain often produced high-priced cash crops, which brought more wealth to the royal family than the British and French colonies in North America.
The most symbolic of its status is the Spanish Armada at the end of the 16th century. The fleet has more than 150 warships, more than 3,000 artillery pieces and tens of thousands of skilled naval soldiers. At its peak, the fleet has more than a thousand ships. This invincible fleet sailed in the Mediterranean and Atlantic waters to escort Spanish merchant ships. At the end of the 16th century, 83% of the world's precious metal mining was earned by Spain, and the limelight was the same.
Of course, Spain’s precious metals came from the plundering of resources in the New World, and along with slavery-like exploitation of the local indigenous people, there was no returning fleet to escort, fearing that every ship would be taken away by British and French pirates (Bolivia-Potosi Silver Mine) ) (Picture from: Inc/Shutterstock)▼
当然，西班牙的贵金属来自新世界的资源掠夺，加上奴隶制对当地土著人民的剥削，没有返回的护航舰队护送，他们担心每艘船都会被英法两国夺走。海盗（玻利维亚-波托西银矿））（图片来自：Inc / Shutterstock）▼
Just as the Spanish royal family relied on the wealth it had seized in the colonies and desperate for extravagance, Britain, lonely outside the European continent, was experiencing a series of revolutionary historical events. A group of emerging bourgeoisie emerged in Britain, which has accumulated a lot of capital through overseas trade. They consolidate their wealth by buying land in Britain. A large number of farmers are forced to leave their land and enter workshops to become handicraft practitioners.
Enclose more land, raise more sheep, gather more wool, and then send it to the workshop for processing and sell it to the generous Spaniards..., and Spain itself is rich in wool, but it gives away the industrial opportunities ( British ranch, picture from: Jeff BaumgartIn/Shutterstock)▼
围拢更多的土地，饲养更多的绵羊，收集更多的羊毛，然后将其发送到车间进行加工，然后出售给慷慨的西班牙人...西班牙本身拥有丰富的羊毛，但它却提供了工业机会（英国牧场） ，图片来自：Jeff BaumgartIn / Shutterstock）▼
British society is changing rapidly, and it has also begun to challenge Spanish authority in Europe.
From the end of the 16th century to the early part of the 17th century, the old overlord Spain launched five wars against Britain, the emerging sea power country, while Britain united the Netherlands and pirate forces to resist, and did not allow the Spanish invincible fleet to take advantage.
At that time, the naval battle was already an artillery battle. This level of war in the Indian Ocean can indeed crush the Arabs (modern Spanish Invincible Fleet replica) (picture from: McCarthy's PhotoWorks/Shutterstock)▼
当时，海战已经是炮战。印度洋的这场战争确实可以摧毁阿拉伯人（西班牙现代无敌舰队的复制品）（图片来源：麦卡锡的PhotoWorks / Shutterstock）▼
Although the result of the war was both defeats, Spain's decline appeared in the war, and the decline of a huge empire had begun. In 1700, King Carlos II of Spain died. The old king was sterile for life. It became a question of who would inherit the Spanish throne.
The highly recognizable Carlos II, the last Spanish king of the Habsburg dynasty (picture from: wikipedia)▼
In modern history, European royal families have had blood ties with each other due to frequent marriages, and the three heirs who were eligible to inherit the throne from Carlos II at that time happened to be foreign princes.
Carlos II’s will was to make his grand-nephew and cousin Philip, grandson of French King Louis XIV, as his successor. This move was strongly opposed by countries such as Austria, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, because if Philip became the king of Spain, France and Spain, the two most powerful countries on the European continent, would be co-hosted, and it would be very difficult for neighboring countries to rise again. .
卡洛斯二世（Carlos II）的遗嘱是让他的侄子和表弟腓力（Philip）继任法国国王路易十四。此举遭到奥地利，荷兰和英国等国家的强烈反对，因为如果菲利普成为西班牙，法国和西班牙的国王，欧洲大陆上两个最强大的国家将被共同主办，邻国再次崛起将是非常困难的。 。
In Europe in 1700, Spain's territories included not only modern Spain but also the territories of Italy and Flanders. If it were merged with France, it would undoubtedly seriously break the balance of power in Europe (picture from: wikipedia
These countries support Prince Charles of Habsburg, Austria, who is the nephew of the old King Carlos II and has certain inheritance legitimacy. The contradictions between the two sides were irreconcilable, and the Spanish throne war officially kicked off.
In the early days of the war, the British and Dutch forces were victorious. The British made precise attacks on Gibraltar in southern Spain, forming a north-south attack on the French and Spanish forces, severely injuring the Spanish and French fleets. However, the powerful army France managed to drag the war into a stalemate.
Naval warfare is a bottomless pit of money, land warfare is a bottomless pit of human life, the British-Dutch fleet wins at sea, and the French dominate on land (picture from: wikipedia
The war dragged on for 13 years, and years of losses left the people of all countries impoverished. Russia in the East was secretly accumulating power and rising. In the end, Britain, France, West Holland and other countries could only shake hands and formally sign the Utrecht Peace Treaty in 1713.
The Peace Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 (picture from wikipedia)▼
The content of the treaty was to recognize that Philip of France succeeded the king of Spain, but France also had to make a compromise and promise that the two countries would not merge. The Gibraltar peninsula became part of the compromise and became the territory of the British Empire.
Gibraltar flag and the British flag (picture from DorSteffen/Shutterstock)▼
直布罗陀国旗和英国国旗（图片来自DorSteffen / Shutterstock）▼
However, although the British claimed that they had won the rights and interests of the peninsula that year, in fact, the Utrecht Peace Treaty was ambiguous regarding the sovereignty of the Gibraltar peninsula. The treaty stipulated that the British Empire had ownership of houses and military installations on the peninsula. Rather than sovereignty in the modern political sense. Therefore, successive Spanish governments have claimed sovereignty over the Gibraltar Peninsula.
Find a world map on hand
After Gibraltar is "(British Occupied)" and Ceuta on the other side of the Strait is behind "(West)"▼
In the three hundred years after the signing of the contract, Spain has repeatedly united with France and other countries to launch military, economic, and diplomatic means to regain this piece of land that held the throat of Europe and Africa.
But the declining Spain can no longer compete with the flourishing empire.
Since the British occupied this strategic location, it has spent a lot of energy building it into a stable springboard into the Mediterranean. Not only established naval and air bases, built a large number of fortifications, but also expelled the original Spanish residents, and attracted a large number of immigrants from Britain, Italy, and Morocco through preferential policies to enrich the local population.
The Gibraltar peninsula is actually very small, and most of it is mountainous. A strong fortress is built on the mountain, backed by the mountain and facing the sea, easy to defend and difficult to attack (of course, it must have sea power) (picture from Cmspic/Shutterstock)▼
直布罗陀半岛实际上很小，并且大多数是山区。一座坚固的堡垒建在山上，背靠山峦，面朝大海，易于防御和进攻（当然，它必须具有海上力量）（图片来自Cmspic / Shutterstock）▼
In 1727, Spain surrounded Gibraltar with 25,000 troops and a large fleet. At that time, there were only 5,000 British defenders on the peninsula. Retired the Spanish army.
Gibraltar, the Moorish castle built on the mountainside, the question is, what is the relationship between this castle and the Moors? (Picture from: Raimundo79/Shutterstock)▼
直布罗陀，摩尔人的城堡建在山腰上，问题是，这座城堡与摩尔人之间是什么关系？ （图片来自：Raimundo79 / Shutterstock）▼
When the War of Independence broke out in the United States, the Spaniards got another chance to regain Gibraltar. With the support of France, the Spanish government dispatched 35,000 heavy troops, 47 warships, and more than one hundred heavy artillery pieces to siege Gibraltar, which was only guarded by 7,000 British troops, for 3 years and 7 months.
The Spaniards were full of ambition, but soon discovered that the landmark on the peninsula, the Giant Rock of Gibraltar, was already densely covered with bunkers and artillery, as if this natural creation had become a killing machine for the British army. This time the Spanish army still did not recover the lost ground.
British soldiers defending the fortress of Gibraltar (modern model) (picture from: Fabio Michele Capelli / Shutterstock)▼
Today, the immigrants recruited by the British in Gibraltar have lived here for hundreds of years. Most of them speak English, hold British passports and agree with British rule.
The local recognition of the United Kingdom is still very strong (picture from: JUAN ANTONIO ORIHUELA / Shutterstock)▼
英国对当地的认可度仍然很高（图片来自：JUAN ANTONIO ORIHUELA / Shutterstock）▼
In addition to the construction of military facilities, the British also built power stations, telephone systems, meat cold storage, desalination systems, food processing plants and hospitals on the small 6.5 square kilometers of land.
After the end of World War II, the world political structure changed. Europe, which was struggling for survival between the two giants of the United States and the Soviet Union, became united in the last century, and the relationship between Britain and Spain gradually eased. In February 1985, the Western government announced the opening of the borders of Gibraltar and the land and sea passages between the western mainland and Gibraltar, and the United Kingdom announced that it gave the Spaniards the right to work, live and purchase real estate in Gibraltar.
Welcome to buy a house, welcome to play (picture from: MikhailBerkut/Shutterstock)▼
欢迎买房，欢迎玩（图片来自：MikhailBerkut / Shutterstock）▼
On March 18, 1991, the British withdrew their army from the last battalion stationed in Gibraltar and officially handed over Gibraltar’s defense to a team composed of locals, thus ending the British military presence in this area for 287 years. Gibraltar The road to autonomy.
Britain and the West had negotiated on the sovereignty of the Gibraltar Peninsula and discussed the implementation of British and Western joint management in the area. But this news was strongly opposed by the residents of Gibraltar. In the follow-up referendum, 98% of the locals opposed the acceptance of Spanish management.
You can take a look, but not "return" (picture from: PauloBittes/Shutterstock)▼
您可以看一下，但不能“返回”（图片来自：PauloBittes / Shutterstock）▼
However, the situation has undergone some changes after Brexit: 96% of voters in Gibraltar chose to stay in the European Union, and there was a serious conflict with mainstream public opinion in Britain. The Spanish government wanted to take this opportunity to mention Anglo-Spanish co-management, but the Chief Minister of Gibraltar responded: "There is no room for talks on the sovereignty of Gibraltar, and even dialogue is impossible."
On the side of Spain, there is the Spanish flag, and on the other side, the flags of the United Kingdom, Gibraltar, and the European Union (picture from: JBenny Marty / Shutterstock)▼
西班牙的一面是西班牙国旗，另一面是英国，直布罗陀和欧洲联盟的国旗（图片来自：JBenny Marty / Shutterstock）▼
It has been more than three hundred years since leaving this land, and the language and customs are completely different. Spain wants to take it back, I am afraid it is already a delusion. But as a strategic location, the Moorish, Arab, and Spaniard regimes on the Gibraltar Peninsula have come and gone. The history of expulsion and deportation has been repeating itself. How long can the British rule last?