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Gibraltar - Referat

Gibraltar is a little peninsula located in southern Spain. It is one of the 14 British overseas territories and the only one in Europe.
All British overseas territories are under the control and sovereignty of the British Crown. In all territories the Queen is head of state. She is represented by a Governor, in Gibraltar by Sir Robert Fulton. He appoints the Chief Minister, Peter Caruana, who is head of Government and leader of the strongest party in parliament.

The influence of Britain is very strong, the political systems corresponds to the British one, furthermore, the main language is English and many customs and habits have British origin.
Despite this British and some other Spanish influences, Gibraltar has its own culture and can be described as an own nation.
Gibraltar has three important economy branches. First, since World War II. military played a big role and was the highest source of income. But in the last decades, Britain slashed the expenses for military on Gibraltar.

Second, Gibraltar also serves as a financial centre and lots of offshore companies have settled down in Gibraltar. In the future, the building of banks and offices will be benefited.
The most important economy branch remains the tourism. Gibraltar became so popular as a holiday destination, because you can enjoy the Mediterranean climate and also capture a piece of the British lifestyle there.

In 711, the Moors cam from Africa to Europe and occupied the area around Gibraltar. Finally, in 1462 the Spanish conquered the territory back and in 1502 Gibraltar eventually became Spanish. 200 years later, the British captured Gibraltar, but most inhabitants moved away, because they feared the British reign. In 1713, the treaty of Utrecht was signed, and Spain officially had to give Gibraltar to Britain. Since then, the relationship between Spain and Great Britain got more and more worse and Spain tried several times to recapture Gibraltar again, but without success.

After World War II. and after the decolonialization of some British colonies, Spain saw a chance to make demands on Gibraltar. The United Nations proposed a shared-sovereignty but the Gibraltarians decided in a referendum that didnít want a change, they wanted to remain British. In 1969 a new constitution became effective, which guarantees no status modification without the Gibraltarian agreement. Spain entered a protest by closing the border. Despite the opening of the border in 1985 the relationship havenít changed for the better.

The conflict between Britain and Spain concerning Gibraltar dates back to the Treaty of Utrecht. Since then, both parties have laid claim to Gibraltar.
The reason, why Britain want to keep Gibraltar as a colony is firstly the close link to the little territory and secondly the promise made in 1969. Back then, Britain declared to
accept the Gibraltarian wishes and interests. Even today they accept Gibraltarís self-administration and its contribution in the Gibraltar conflict.
Spain by contrary has a completely different opinion. They donít accept the treaty of Utrecht, which was signed in 1713. Since the signing problems came up. Britain for example, disobeyed the treaty by changing Gibraltarís status without Spanish agreement and claimed the isthmus, which have officially been a neutral zone .
Gibraltar has on the one hand a close relationship to their mother country Great Britain and the Gibraltarians want to remain British in future but on the one hand the traditional relation has changed in the last years, because Britain slashed expenses for Gibraltarís economy and so many Gibraltarians became unemployed. Therefore, the Gibraltarians envisions themselves as their own nation with their own culture.

In the last years Gibraltar has finally achieved a lot and now in 2007 it seems as the conflict is solved. In 2006 Spain and Gibraltar signed the Cordoba Agreement, which brought relief to the tight border controls and furthermore the Gibraltarian citizens voted in a referendum upon their future. A new constitution became effective, which ensures Gibraltarís self-government and finally no change in sovereignty. The Gibraltarians will remain British for as long as they want.

In 2002 I made a day trip to Gibraltar on my holiday in Andalusia. I was surprised to see so much British lifestyle on a little peninsula in southern Spain. We had a guided tour, enjoyed the view to Africa, had a meal in a British pub, visited the gentle Barbary Apes. All in all I liked this little territory on the Mediterranean, close to Africa and I think I will visited it again.

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