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Gibraltar:
Geography

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Gibraltar Page


Background
Definition
Strategically important, Gibraltar was reluctantly ceded to Great Britain by Spain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht; the British garrison was formally declared a colony in 1830. In a referendum held in 1967, Gibraltarians voted overwhelmingly to remain a British dependency. The subsequent granting of autonomy in 1969 by the UK led to Spain closing the border and severing all communication links. A series of talks were held by the UK and Spain between 1997 and 2002 on establishing temporary joint sovereignty over Gibraltar. In response to these talks, the Gibraltar Government called a referendum in late 2002 in which the majority of citizens voted overwhelmingly against any sharing of sovereignty with Spain. Since the referendum, tripartite talks on other issues have been held with Spain, the UK, and Gibraltar, and in September 2006 a three-way agreement was signed. Spain agreed to remove restrictions on air movements, to speed up customs procedures, to implement international telephone dialing, and to allow mobile roaming agreements. Britain agreed to pay increased pensions to Spaniards who had been employed in Gibraltar before the border closed. Spain will be allowed to open a cultural institute from which the Spanish flag will fly. A new noncolonial constitution came into effect in 2007, but the UK retains responsibility for defense, foreign relations, internal security, and financial stability.
Location
Definition
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
Definition
36 08 N, 5 21 W
Map references
Definition
Europe
Area
Definition - World rank and map
total: 6.5 sq km
land: 6.5 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Area - comparative
Definition
a little less than one half the size of Rhode Island
Land boundaries
Definition
total: 1.2 km
border countries: Spain 1.2 km
Coastline
Definition
12 km
Maritime claims
Definition
territorial sea: 3 nm
Climate
Definition
Mediterranean with mild winters and warm summers
Terrain
Definition
a narrow coastal lowland borders the Rock of Gibraltar
Elevation extremes
Definition
lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Rock of Gibraltar 426 m
Natural resources
Definition
none
Land use
Definition - World rank and map
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 100% (2005)
Irrigated land
Definition
NA
Natural hazards
Definition
NA
Environment - current issues
Definition
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
Definition
strategic location on Strait of Gibraltar that links the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea


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