So Very English.....or?, Gibraltar
It has been a consistent goal of Spanish foreign policy to seek the return of Gibraltar to Spain ever since the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht that gave Gibraltar to Britain. The Franco dictatorship was hard line about its' demand and went as far as closing the border, trying to cut off water supplies and other tactics, none of which worked.
In 2002 a referendum was held offering shared sovereignty of Gibraltar. This was overwhelmingly rejected by 98.97% of Gibraltareans. In Spain, the right of center Partido Popular has kept Gibraltar as an essential part of its program, the PSOE (the Socialists) have said they will respect the will of the majority of Gibraltareans.
Though the issue should have faded away entirely with the 2002 referendum, it remains an important issue in local politics. Furthermore, given the present economic troubles in the Euro region, the status of Gibraltar is unlikely to change. Why? More than anything else there is an important economic benefit to keeping things as they are in Gibraltar. Gibraltar provides employment for a large number of Spaniards that come over the border every day to work. That money is then repatriated to Spain and contributes to the local economy. Further, Gibraltar imports many basic foods from Spain as well as energy needs.
When I was there they weren't wearing anything that said Police. They function as law enforcement as well as Customs. Since so many people come to shop for basics in Gibraltar, the bobbies seem to have a sixth sense about who is trying to take out stuff they shouldn't be.
When I was leaving Gibraltar the bobbie saw my passport. "Ah, a Yank!" he said to me in a thick cockney accent. But he was nice enough to give me something few people have, a stamp in their passport from Gibraltar.
If you do there are many pubs in Gib,they say one for each day of the year or more!
With names like The Angry Friar(where you can sit & watch changing of the guard)The Clipper,The Three roses etc etc etc(i could go on & on) ...how English is that?Walk into any pub here & you could be sitting sipping ale in an old english pub but with the extra bonus of wonderful sunshine.what more can you ask for a?
website below gives a list on it's Gibraltar page.
Before we visited Gibraltar, I had read that it is like Great Britain in the middle of South Spain: greyish and coldish weather comparing to sunny and hot South Spain. Therefore, I had some expectations, considering that recently we had visited Scotland. I couldn't have been more wrong! It was a very hot and humid day. Gibraltar is not like Scotland but in fact it is like the UK because it felt like London on a hot and humid summer day.
Although Gibraltar is about 1760 km away from London and directly borders Spain, the inhabitants want to retain as much British culture as possible.
Even traffic used to drive on the left until June 1929, but due to many accidents a change was ordered by the authorities. Nowadays traffic drives on the right - the same as their Spanish neighbours.
If you visit Gibraltar, you could be forgiven for thinking that it has no flag of its own and that the Union Jack (i.e. the flag of the United Kingdom) is the official flag of Gibraltar. This is because there are so many of them flown in Gibraltar, probably because the Gibraltarians want to emphasise to the Spanish that they are British and intend to stay that way.
Anyhow despite all of this, Gibraltar does indeed have her own flag, which is pictured here. It features a red castle on a white and red background, and a golden key dangling from below it. Apparently this flag was granted to Gibraltar in the 1500's by Spain (who owned Gibraltar at the time). There are unsubstantiated rumours that the British Government frowns on the use of a flag for a British colony that is of Spanish origin!
True there are many things in Gibraltar which on the outside appear English, the pubs, certain types of restaurants i.e fish and chips, bobbies (policemen), the Union Flag etc. etc. but although English is the country's official language you are much more likely to hear Spanish or indeed a local version of Spanglish entitled Llanito. The majority of Gibraltarians are much more comfortable speaking Spanish and that goes for the younger generation too which is surprising since their education is conducted in English.
Maybe that is one of the things which gives added charm to Gibraltar - it is British but not 100% when it comes to culture which, given its location, is not entirely surprising.
even if the place is still part of England, there is a lot of Spanish people and some of them consider it a part of Spain. So treat them with respect - and do remember to dress properly if you enter a catholic church!
If you're planning a vacation to Spain or Morocco, you might as well include a day-trip to Gibraltar. Here's a brief rundown of the major public holidays celebrated here:
Jan 1 2001 New Year's Day.
Mar 12 Commonwealth Day.
Apr 12 Maundy Thursday.
Apr 13 Good Friday.
Apr 16 Easter Monday.
May 7 May Day.
May 28 May Bank Holiday.
Jun 18 Queen's Official Birthday.
Aug 27 Late Summer Bank Holiday.
Sep 10 Gibraltar National Day.
Dec 25-28 Christmas.
Jan 1 2002 New Year's Day.
Mar 12 Commonwealth Day.
Mar 28 Maundy Thursday.
Mar 29 Good Friday.
Apr 1 Easter Monday.
May 6 May Day.
May 27 May Bank Holiday.
Jun 17 Queen's Official Birthday.
Aug 26 Late Summer Bank Holiday.
Sep 10 Gibraltar National Day.
Dec 25-26 Christmas.
Gibraltar takes its relationship Britain very seriously. There are more Union Jacks, red postboxes & telephones, fish & chip shops, etc, in Gibraltar than in your average English town.
the only cultural tips yuo need is that Gibralter is still English to its roots, they expect you to spend a good time there and lots of money.
Gif courtesy of Animation Graphics