Gibraltar's History

Gibraltar's history stretches back to Neanderthal man while records date back to the Phoenicians who fist arrived in 950 BC. Greeks, Carthaginians and then Romans contested the Rock and with Rome's fall the area was briefly occupied by the Vandals. In 711 the Muslim Moors selected Gibraltar as launchpad for their takeover of the Iberian Peninsula and Gibraltar was the last Islamic foothold in Western Europe when they yielded to the Catholic Duke of Medina Sidonia in 1462. The Duke granted sanctuary to Sephardic Jews in Gibraltar who were fleeing the Spanish Inquisition, but were soon made unwelcome here too. In 1501 Gibraltar came under the Spanish Crown. In 1607 the Dutch surprised the Spanish fleet in Gibraltar harbor and sank it in four hours. In 1704 a joint British/Dutch force captured Gibraltar during the War of the Spanish Succession and the British have never left.

Our Pick


Dolphins call Gibraltar home too and are one of the colony’s most friendliest visitors. These adorable mammals are a definite highlight and the Dolphin spotting boat tour is guaranteed to thrill. book-now

Right Now

Gibraltar was an important Royal Navy base during WWII but British control of the Rock was never seriously in question. Spain still lays claim to the British Crown Dependency of Gibraltar however with Spain's admission to the EU in 1982 it is not the bone of contention it once was. Gibraltarians are fiercely British, repeatedly rejecting Spanish claims in referenda. The economy of tiny Gibraltar is reliant on tourism, with visitors enjoying the living history, endless warmth and apes in Britain's legendary continental outpost. Cruise ships are frequent visitors as is the Royal Navy which still maintains a significant base.

Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player