Monday, June 20, 2011

Gibraltar, Spain

There's really nowhere quite like Gibraltar. A little piece of England looking out from Spain to the coast of Africa, with a rock fabled in ancient mythology and the only wild monkey population in Europe. Quite a cocktail, huh? Gibraltar was handed over to the British by Spain in the 18th century, and British - if its very own brand of hybridized, flashback British - it has remained ever since, despite Spain's best efforts to browbeat it into accepting its sovereignty. The Rock of Gibraltar is a fabulous chunk of limestone rearing up over the city and overrun by Barbary macaques. There is a legend that if these monkeys leave the rock, so will the British leave Gibraltar.


At the end of the War of Succession, after signing the Peace Treaty of Utrecht, Spain had to yield Gibraltar to England. Spain´s last armed intent to get Gibraltar back was in 1779 during the Great Siege, but once again Spain had failed. Finally, in 1783 the peace treaty of Versalles was signed putting an end to all the bloody fighting. In 1830 Gibraltar was given the name of “ The Colony of the Crown ”, with independent executive and legislative powers. During the Great Siege, many tunnels were built making Gibraltar self-sufficient. In 1963 it got more internal political freedom and Spain closed its borders in revenge. Up to date, there are still negotiations going on for Spain to lord once again over Gibraltar.

The Alameda Botanical Gardens are a delight to visit. These gardens date back to around 1816 when the main “promenade” was made around the castle giving a place dedicated to open fresh air activity much needed back then. Being as there was not much land available, these gardens were made in a terraced way with intricate connecting pathways using up some of the land used for growing vegetables and burial grounds. 

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