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Gibraltar Collections

The British Library holds a rich collection of items from and relating to Gibraltar, including books, periodicals, official publications, maps, topographical prints, manuscripts, and stamps. The Library actively acquires Gibraltar publications through purchase and donation. The Library aspires to maintain a comprehensive coverage of newspapers from Gibraltar.

North Front of the Mountain of Gibraltar

A view of the North Front of the Mountain of Gibraltar by William Test, 1779. King George III Topographical Collection. Shelfmark: Ktop LXXII. 48-c.

Population and Language
Collections Highlights
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A dependant British territory since 1830 Gibraltar is a self governing British overseas territory in all matters but defence and foreign policy.

A narrow peninsula measuring only two and a quarter square miles Gibraltar lies south of Spain and is attached to the Andalucian region of Spain by a low isthmus, which is a neutral zone.

Due to its strategic location at the mouth of the Mediterranean (the Strait of Gibraltar is one of the world’s busiest inter-oceanic waterways) ownership of this small piece of land has been disputed between many nations including the Phoenicians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Moors, the Spanish and the British.

Spain ceded Gibraltar to Britain in the Treaty of Utrecht (1713) and in 1830 it was designated as a British Crown Colony. In the first half of the twentieth century its strategic importance was given new prominence during the two World Wars.

In 1967 a referendum was held asking Gibraltarians if they wished to go under Spanish sovereignty or remain under British rule. The result was 12,138 supported remaining with the United Kingdom with 44 votes supporting rejoining Spain.

Subsequently Gibraltar entered the EEC in 1973.

View of the Town of Gibraltar

View of the Town of Gibraltar. Map by Luis Bravo. Spain, 1627. Shelfmark Add.15152,f.23

Population and Language

The population of Gibraltar is mainly European, a mix of British, Genoese, Portuguese, Spanish and Maltese extraction. In the year 2002 the population numbered 28,000. English is the official language but Andalucian Spanish is the primary language spoken in the home as many Gibraltarians have Spanish wives or mothers. There is also a local Gibraltan dialect, Yanito (or Llanito in Spanish). Many inhabitants can trace their origins to Italian Genoese ancestors. Genoese immigrants came to Gibraltar after Napoleon occupied Genoa. Giovanni was a very common Christian name and there are a number of Genoese words identifiable in the local dialect of Yanito. In the Eighteenth Century government notices were published in Genoese, it was so widely spoken.

View of Gibraltar

A View Of Gibraltar from the Devil’s Tongue Battery by J.B. Harraden, 1804. Shelfmark: Ktop LXXII 48-n-2

Collections Highlights

Highlights include topographical prints of Gibraltar in the King George III Topographical Prints collection.

A number of Gibraltar websites have been archived by the Library within the UK Web Archive including Laws of Gibraltar, and the Library has digitised The Journal of the Blockade and Siege of Gibraltar, 5th edition. Dublin, 1802; British Library Shelfmark: 09077.aa.33.

Contemporary Gibraltarian author’s works are featured in the collections such as Mary Chiappe’s Cabbages and Kings (2006), an anecdotal account of Gibraltar’s social life and customs. Shelfmark: YK.2008.a.4385.

M.G. Sanchez, a Gibraltarian living in Britain has published The Prostitutes of Serruya’s Lane and other Hidden Gibraltarian Histories.(2007;Shelfmark: YK.2009.a.17731), essays on smuggling, racism and other aspects of nineteenth century life on the colony and Rockblack 0-10. A Gibraltar Fiction.(2006). Shelfmark: YK.2008.a.4385


A general bibliography of Gibraltar is Graham J. Shields, Gibraltar. (World Bibliographical Series. Vol 87.) Oxford: Clio Press, 1987 (Shelfmark: 2725.d.613). Other reference works include:

Benady, Tito. The Streets of Gibraltar. Grendon: Gibraltar Books, 1996. Shelfmark: YK.1996.a.21468

Gold, Peter. A Stone in Spain’s shoe: a search for the a solution too the problem of Gibraltar. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1994. Shelfmark: YC.1995.b.4094

Hills, George. Rock of contention: a history of Gibraltar. London: Robert Hale, 1974. Shelfmark: X.9313800

Kadish, Sharman. Jewish heritage in Gibraltar: an architectural guide. Reading: Spire Books, 2007. Shelfmark: YC.2008.a.5775

Kenyon,E.R. Gibraltar under Moor, Spaniard and Briton. London: Methuen, 1938. Shelfmark: 2362.c.18

Palao, George. The Guns and Towers of Gibraltar. Gibraltar: The Gibraltar Bookshop.1975. Shelfmark: X.611/7962

Stewart, John David. Gibraltar: the Keystone. London: John Murray, 1967. Shelfmark: YA.2003.a.1879

Levey, David. Language Change and Variation in Gibraltar. John Benjamin Publishing Co: Netherlands, 2008. Shelfmark: 4370.751500 v 23 DSC

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External Links

Gibraltar Heritage, Family History and General Information “This extensive website explores all aspects of the Rock's history, heritage and attractions. The website is aimed at those with an academic interest in Gibraltar whilst also providing tourists with a very good overview of places of interest.”

Friends of Gibraltar Heritage. “Dedicated to preserving the historical sites and monuments that form part of Gibraltar's varied history.”

Gibraltar Genealogy. A family history site.

Gibraltar Heritage Trust. “Dedicated to the preservation and restoration of its historic and domestic architecture”

Gibraltar Information. “Designed to give comprehensive information to all locals and tourists alike.”

Gibraltar Museum

Gibraltar on Wikipedia


Gibraltar Government and Law

Laws of Gibraltar

Government of Gibraltar


Gibraltar Media and Publishing

Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation

The Gibraltar Chronicle

The Gibraltar Magazine

Gibraltar News