13 Interesting Facts About Gibraltar

1. Gibraltar is a British territory, although it has been a point of contention with Spain since forever (and by forever I mean the early 1700s).

European politics made easy.
European politics made easy.

2. The population of Gibraltar is about 30,000, so rumors spread quickly.

3. Most people in Gibraltar speak English, although members of the older generation are often bilingual in Spanish and speak a form “Spanglish” known as Llanito at home.

(yes... I stole this from Buzzfeed)
Yes… I stole this from Buzzfeed. And yes, George Lopez is a proud Mexican American and not from Gibraltar. But do you know how hard it is to find Gibraltar memes?

4. Gibraltarians consider themselves to be culturally British, rather than culturally Spanish.

britishflag2

5. To American ears Gibraltarians sound more or less British.

6. A lot of people who work in the shops are actually from Spain.

7. Gibraltar is one of the richest countries in the world and has an excellent education system.

Probably every day in Gibraltar.

8. Gibraltarian and British children who live in Spain cross the border by foot each day to attend school in Gibraltar.

Screenshot 2014-09-14 18.02.55

9. The government of Gibraltar pays to send its students to university in the United Kingdom.

Where I’m sure they send them.

10. Although there is currently no university in the territory, plans for a University of Gibraltar are in the works.

Screenshot 2015-05-29 00.56.57

11. Gibraltar has a very religiously diverse population. Spanish and British influence brought Catholicism and Protestantism to Gibraltar respectively. The territory’s proximity to Morocco accounts for the large Muslim population, and Gibraltar is also home to many Jews whose ancestors fled south following the Spanish Inquisition. There is also a small Hindu population and a Hindu temple.

This is what Gibraltar looks like (but this is not Gibraltar).

12. Gibraltar uses the pound (although many stores also accept the Euro). However, their money says Gibraltar on it.

13. Gibraltar celebrates National Day on September 10th. Each year they release 30,000 red and white balloons – one for every citizen.

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34 thoughts on “13 Interesting Facts About Gibraltar”

  1. Very good although a slight correction for number 8). Only a small number of Spanish children attend the private school in Gibraltar. All others crossing into Gib for schools are British or Gibraltarians who live in Spain.

    Very good memes and so glad you enjoyed your time here. All the best.

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  2. I’d like to add a few corrections too (I live here).

    Most older and younger speak Spanish although may not read and write it. A lot of older people don’t speak English. Most people speak llanito. Not Spanglish. Llanito is very different.

    Gibraltar is largely Catholic, some 70 to 80%. That does not make it religiously diverse.

    It is not Independence Day, it is national day. It marks, oh never mind…

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    1. Thank you soooo much for your help! I tried to do my best by talking to locals, but it’s hard to get everything right in just a day. I’ll update the post to show the corrections.

      If you don’t mind could you clarify a few things for me?

      What are the main differences between Spanglish and Llanito besides the fact that Llanito has a few loan words from other languages? I looked at the Wikipedia article, and I got the sense that it was mostly spelling, but I wasn’t sure. Would the difference be that Spanglish is mixed at random and one would have to speak both Spanish and English to understand it, but Llanito has a set system of when you should use Spanish words and when you should use English words? Also, when you say most people speak Spanish, did you mean as a Native language?

      Would you say that Gibraltar is more religiously diverse than it’s neighboring countries? I was a bit surprised that you said it wasn’t religiously diverse because I’m Jewish and I saw plenty of other Jews in Gibraltar but I haven’t seen any yet in Spain. It also seemed to have more Protestants than neighboring countries.

      I can’t thank you enough for all your help!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really appreciate it. 🙂

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      1. I also until recently lived in Gibraltar, Llanito is widely spoken and is a random mix of Spanish and English, no set patterns, English is the language in schools and commerce but most Gibraltarians speak Spanish too, the ‘Native’ language is Llanito. Gibraltar is considered religiously diverse although the majority of the population are Catholic. As you point out, there is a large Jewish community, Islamic, Protestant and Hindu. Thee is a very large mosque at Europa Point, the most southern part of Gib together with at least two other, much smaller worship places. There are both Catholic and Protestant cathedrals and a number of synagogues – take your pick!

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      2. Hi there.. I can see a few things which aren’t 100% correct on the above… first of all they don’t all walk into Gibraltar to go to school.. many come by car or motorbike. we also have Jehovas Witnesses here and they have their own church, located next to the GASA swimming pool. There’s also an Aetheist group (including myself) but we are all open minded and all religions and races respect each other fully (my wife’s father was born Jewish and I was born catholic). Gibraltarians consider themselves of British nationality BUT culturally we tend to have more in common with the Spanish than the Brits. Most Gibraltarians of ALL AGES speak both, English AND Spanish and our llanito language is made up and can jump from one language to the other at any moment (when we speak from Gibraltarian to gibraltarian) it’s mainly a case of in which of the two languages does the next word in the sentence your saying pops into your head first. Though due to modern sources like the television, younger generations tend to speak more English than Spanish (including my 6 yr old) but they do understand Spanish. . It’s a case of asking a question in Spanish and getting the reply in English. Many Spanish work here in shops and all over the place mainly because our wages are higher than in Spain and our economy is stronger. Last but not least our population is around 36,000 local inhabitants with approximately 5,000 daily commuters who come into Gibraltar to work.. I hope this is helpful 🙂

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      1. Another feature of Llanito. Not only do we mix our words as the easiest word comes to mind, like I’m going to ‘El mercadillo, I am going to the market, but we also transliterate words mainly from English to Spanish,
        Like, pasame El tipa, meaning, pass me the teapot- tipa being a bad transliteration for teapot. There is a Llanito dictionary on sale in Gibraltar with hundreds of ‘mistransliterated’ words.
        A close friend of mine is keen on this phrase “for my mother” which in Spanish means “por mi madre”, affirming the veracity of what he is saying.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting facts about a little-known country that most people have never heard of! Those facts piqued my interest and the next time I am back in Europe, I might check it out 😀

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  4. As a gibraltarian myself spanglish or llanito is more or less the same its a mixture of english and spanish mixed togeather in a conversation swapping from english or spanish and adding some of our own words hence the llanito and gibraltar is a role model of religous tolerance to the world ,muslims ,jews catholics ,methodists hindus ,jehovahs witnesses all living togeather as one its the best place on earth ,the world could learn a few things from gib ☺

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  5. #1 – the “contention” is since the 1960’s when Franco invented the current dispute. As from 1783 Treaty of Versailles Spain accepted British sovereignty and there was no dispute until Franco decided to start one.

    #4 – Do you not like the Irish? That flag does not contain the cross of St. Patrick and has not been in use since 1801.

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    1. #4 I absolutely love the Irish (post about my amazing time in Ireland and the Irish people’s remarkable kindness coming soon.) I actually typed “British Flag” into google images and that is what came up. I can’t believe I didn’t catch that – good eye. I’ll fix it as soon as I have a chance.

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  6. I wouldn’t say they’re bilingual. Llanito is basically when they forget the word in one language so say it in the other. Nobody I know that is from gibraltar can translate most of the Spanish words or phrases they use into English.

    They sound far from “British”.

    The education system is terrible. I went to school in both England and Gibraltar and I have to say, most of the teachers in Gibraltar don’t seem to know what they’re doing. A lot of gibraltarians have even agreed with me on that point.

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  7. its a wonderful place to holiday in. I have a daughter who works in GIB. I find it cheaper to fly to Gibraltar from London than drive to Cornwall another lovely part of the UK and a place i spent many years of my life.

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  8. Please do not use the word Gibraltarian as if it were a nationality. We Gibraltarians are all British, and proud to be. The only comparison I can make is that a British person from, say, London is a Londoner, and a British person from Gibraltar is a Gibraltarian. We are all British Citizens and have right of abode in United Kingdom and vice versa.

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  9. hi, I’m sorry but I’ve to disagree with your 1st point, it’s not since forever, but since 1713 when Spain ceded Gibraltar to GB. (Research more about the Treaty of Ultrecht). Therefore I’ve to disagree with you in the 11th, when you talk about the Jews and Inquisition… That happened in the XV century… Around 1495… And at that time Gibraltar was still part of the Spanish territory, for another 200 years (ish), so Jews were expelled from there too.

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    1. Thank you so much for the date clarification – I will edit the post to add that when I get a chance. I’m American, and for us “forever” is the same thing as “since 1713” (which is really unfortunate given the fact that Native Americans have a history that dates back thousands of years).

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  10. Not bad, but not all strictly correct … Gibraltar has the Gibraltar Pound which is at the same exchange rate as the GBP.
    The Gibraltar Pound, GBP & the Euro are legal tender
    We don’t speak Spanglish we speak Llanito – a combernation of not only English & Spanish but also of Moorish. Not to forget our own words & sayings which make sense to nobody but us!

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  11. Many Gibraltarians speak better English than many in mainland Britain. True, Gibraltar can be rather boring BUT (and a huge but) it is the perfect place to bring up kids. Beach, weather, safe community, happy.. Well done to the blog. Enjoyed your charisma and sense of humour 🙂

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