Gibraltar, the rocky outcrop at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula, home to 30,000 Gibraltarians and one of the last remaining British Overseas Territories. Most people will know Gibraltar for the Rock, the dominant feature of this tiny territory. It is also one of the smallest independent places on earth, at 2.5 square miles it is the 3rd smallest country or territory. Most people know these facts about Gibraltar, however this small haven has a lot more going for it and a vast history that you may not know about.
It hosts an annual music festival
Since 2012 there has been the annual Gibraltar Music Festival held in the British Overseas Territory. This annual festival has taken place each year since and has brought together internationally renown artists and grouped them with number of unsigned or up and coming acts. Held at Victoria stadium, next to the airport, the festival has one of most incredible backdrops of any in the world – the stage backs onto the Rock of Gibraltar. With acts including Kings of Leon, Duran Duran and Kaiser Chiefs having played the festival in 2015, it appears to be one to add to the wish list for avid festival goers.
Most people will know about the Neanderthal Man and how the discovery of a male’s skull in 1856 in the Neander Valley near Dusseldorf, Germany heralded in new understanding about the history of humankind. Many Gibraltarians contest the name Neanderthal Man as there was a discovery of a females skull at the base of the north face of the Rock of Gibraltar in 1848. This skull was from the same period as the one discovered in Germany and therefore many feel that the discovery in Gibraltar is unfairly overlooked in favour of the Neanderthal Man. For some as the Gibraltar discovery predates the Neander Valley find, they believe the phrase to describe the early homo sapiens should be the Gibraltar Woman, rather than the Neanderthal Man
Its Economy is 100% Services
The Gibraltarian economy is thriving with a GDP of $1.887 billion, or a GDP per capita of $70,364 – which would place it 5th on the International Monetary Funds list of countries with the highest GDP per capita, unfortunately Gibraltar is not recognised on these lists. It’s economy is 100% service led with shipping, tourism, financial services and internet businesses being its main pillars. Gibraltar has always been an important shipping post as it is a short distance away from Africa and provides the gateway to the Mediterranean Sea. In terms of tourism, Gibraltar receives over 12 million visits per year giving it one of the highest tourist to resident ratios anywhere in the world.
It has a national football team
In 1993 Gibraltar set up a football team to compete in the 1993 Island Games, with their first unofficial national match against Jersey taking place on the Isle of Wight, just of the south coast of England. Before this there had been a few matches taken place under the guise of the Gibraltarian national team, notably a friendly against Seville in 1923. It was not until 2013 that it could be said that Gibraltar had an officially recognised national football team. It was at this point that Gibraltar applied for full UEFA membership and were granted it via the Court of Arbitration. This allowed the national team to compete in the European Championships Qualifying stage for the 2016 finals. Whilst they finished bottom of the group, this qualifying campaign was successful in delivering officially sanctioned international football to the rock.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer in the travel industry – working alongside a selection of companies including Gibraltar based law firm Isolas, who were consulted over the information contained in this piece.