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Strategically important, Gibraltar was ceded to Great Britain by Spain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht; the British garrison was formally declared a colony in 1830. In referendums held in 1967 and 2002, Gibraltarians ignored Spanish pressure and voted overwhelmingly to remain a British dependency.
Geography Gibraltar
Southwestern Europe, bordering the Strait of Gibraltar, which links the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, on the southern coast of Spain
Geographic coordinates:
36 8 N, 5 21 W
Map references:
total: 6.5 sq km
water: 0 sq km
land: 6.5 sq km
Area - comparative:
about 11 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
total: 1.2 km
border countries: Spain 1.2 km
12 km
Maritime claims - as described in UNCLOS 1982 (see Notes and Definitions):
territorial sea: 3 NM
Mediterranean with mild winters and warm summers
a narrow coastal lowland borders the Rock of Gibraltar
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Rock of Gibraltar 426 m
Natural resources:
Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
Natural hazards:
Environment - current issues:
limited natural freshwater resources: large concrete or natural rock water catchments collect rainwater (no longer used for drinking water) and adequate desalination plant
Geography - note:
strategic location on Strait of Gibraltar that links the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea
People Gibraltar
27,833 (July 2004 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 18% (male 2,554; female 2,452)
15-64 years: 66.2% (male 9,460; female 8,965)
65 years and over: 15.8% (male 1,939; female 2,463) (2004 est.)
Median age:
total: 39 years
male: 38.8 years
female: 39.2 years (2004 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.19% (2004 est.)
Birth rate:
10.99 births/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Death rate:
9.05 deaths/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2004 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.79 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2004 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 5.22 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 4.59 deaths/1,000 live births (2004 est.)
male: 5.81 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 79.52 years
male: 76.65 years
female: 82.54 years (2004 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.65 children born/woman (2004 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Gibraltarian(s)
adjective: Gibraltar
Ethnic groups:
Spanish, Italian, English, Maltese, Portuguese
Roman Catholic 76.9%, Church of England 6.9%, Muslim 6.9%, Jewish 2.3%, none or other 7% (1991)
English (used in schools and for official purposes), Spanish, Italian, Portuguese
definition: NA
total population: above 80%
male: NA%
female: NA%
Government Gibraltar
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Gibraltar
Dependency status:
overseas territory of the UK
Government type:
Administrative divisions:
none (overseas territory of the UK)
none (overseas territory of the UK)
National holiday:
National Day, 10 September (1967); note - day of the national referendum to decide whether to remain with the UK or go with Spain
30 May 1969
Legal system:
English law
18 years of age; universal, plus other UK subjects who have been residents six months or more
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor and Commander-in-Chief Sir Francis RICHARDS (since 27 May 2003)
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition is usually appointed chief minister by the governor
head of government: Chief Minister Peter CARUANA (since 17 May 1996)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed from among the 15 elected members of the House of Assembly by the governor in consultation with the chief minister
Legislative branch:
unicameral House of Assembly (18 seats - 15 elected by popular vote, one appointed for the Speaker, and two ex officio members; members serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 27 November 2003 (next to be held not later than NA 2007)
election results: percent of vote by party - GSD 58%, GSLP 41%; seats by party - GSD 8, GSLP 7
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court; Court of Appeal
Political parties and leaders:
Gibraltar Liberal Party [Joseph GARCIA]; Gibraltar Social Democrats or GSD [Peter CARUANA]; Gibraltar Socialist Labor Party or GSLP [Joseph John BOSSANO]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Chamber of Commerce; Gibraltar Representatives Organization; Women's Association
International organization participation:
Interpol (subbureau)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
none (overseas territory of the UK)
Flag description:
two horizontal bands of white (top, double width) and red with a three-towered red castle in the center of the white band; hanging from the castle gate is a gold key centered in the red band
Economy Gibraltar
Economy - overview:
Gibraltar benefits from an extensive shipping trade, offshore banking, and its position as an international conference center. The British military presence has been sharply reduced and now contributes about 7% to the local economy, compared with 60% in 1984. The financial sector, tourism (almost 5 million visitors in 1998), shipping services fees, and duties on consumer goods also generate revenue. The financial sector, the shipping sector, and tourism each contribute 25%-30% of GDP. Telecommunications accounts for another 10%. In recent years, Gibraltar has seen major structural change from a public to a private sector economy, but changes in government spending still have a major impact on the level of employment.
purchasing power parity - $500 million (1997 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $17,500 (1997 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
1.5% (1998)
Labor force:
14,800 (including non-Gibraltar laborers) (1999)
Labor force - by occupation:
services 60%, industry 40%, agriculture NEGL%
Unemployment rate:
2% (2001 est.)
revenues: $307 million
expenditures: $284 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (FY00/01 est.)
tourism, banking and finance, ship repairing, tobacco
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
100 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
93 million kWh (2001)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2001)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2001)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
42,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Oil - imports:
Agriculture - products:
$136 million f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities:
(principally reexports) petroleum 51%, manufactured goods 41%, other 8%
Exports - partners:
Switzerland 28.7%, UK 22.8%, Germany 9.6%, France 5.9%, Hong Kong 5.1%, Spain 5.1%, Turkmenistan 4.4% (2002)
$1.743 billion c.i.f. (2002)
Imports - commodities:
fuels, manufactured goods, and foodstuffs
Imports - partners:
Germany 27.5%, Spain 21.9%, UK 12.2%, Italy 8% (2002)
Debt - external:
$NA (2000 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Gibraltar pound (GIP)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Gibraltar pounds per US dollar - 0.6661 (2002), 0.6944 (2001), 0.6596 (2000), 0.6180 (1999), 0.6037 (1998); note - the Gibraltar pound is at par with the British pound
Fiscal year:
1 July - 30 June
Communications Gibraltar
Telephones - main lines in use:
24,512 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
9,797 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: adequate, automatic domestic system and adequate international facilities
domestic: automatic exchange facilities
international: country code - 350; radiotelephone; microwave radio relay; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 1, FM 5, shortwave 0 (1998)
37,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
1 (plus three low-power repeaters) (1997)
10,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
2 (2000)
Internet users:
6,200 (2002)
Transportation Gibraltar
total: 29 km
paved: 29 km
unpaved: 0 km (2002)
0 km
Ports and harbors:
Merchant marine:
total: 133 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 980,636 GRT/1,254,661 DWT
foreign-owned: Belgium 1, Cyprus 3, Denmark 1, Estonia 1, France 1, Germany 92, Greece 11, Hong Kong 2, Iceland 1, Monaco 4, Norway 6, Spain 1, United Kingdom 6, United States 2
registered in other countries: 4 (2003 est.)
by type: bulk 3, cargo 69, chemical tanker 14, container 27, multi-functional large load carrier 3, passenger 2, petroleum tanker 13, roll on/roll off 2
1 (2003 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2003 est.)
Military Gibraltar
Military branches:
Royal Gibraltar Regiment
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the UK; the last British regular infantry forces left Gibraltar in 1992, replaced by the Royal Gibraltar Regiment
Transnational Issues Gibraltar
Disputes - international:
since Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum in 2003 against a "total shared sovereignty" arrangement, talks between the UK and Spain over the fate of the 300-year-old UK colony have stalled; Spain disapproves of UK plans to grant Gibraltar greater autonomy