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 Spain to close the border and sever all communication links. Between 1997 and 2002, the UK and Spain held a series of talks 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 late 2004, Spain, the UK, and Gibraltar have held tripartite talks with the aim of cooperatively resolving problems that affect the local population, and work continues on cooperation agreements in areas such as taxation and financial services; communications and maritime security; policy, legal and customs services; environmental protection; and education and visa services. Throughout 2009, a dispute over Gibraltar's claim to territorial waters extending out three miles gave rise to periodic non-violent maritime confrontations between Spanish and UK naval patrols and in 2013, the British reported a record number of entries by Spanish vessels into waters claimed by Gibraltar following a dispute over Gibraltar's creation of an artificial reef in those waters. A new noncolonial constitution came into effect in 2007, and the European Court of First Instance recognized Gibraltar's right to regulate its own tax regime in December 2008. The UK retains responsibility for defense, foreign relations, internal security, and financial stability.



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

36 08 N, 5 21 W

Map references



total: 6.5 sq km
land: 6.5 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative

more than 10 times the size of The National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Land boundaries

total: 1.2 km
border countries (1): Spain 1.2 km


12 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 3 nm


Mediterranean with mild winters and warm summers


a narrow coastal lowland borders the Rock of Gibraltar


mean elevation: NA
elevation extremes: lowest point: Mediterranean Sea 0 m
highest point: Rock of Gibraltar 426 m

Natural resources


Land use

agricultural land: 0%
arable land 0%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%
forest: 0%
other: 100% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land


Natural hazards


Environment - current issues

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

strategic location on Strait of Gibraltar that links the North Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea

People and Society


29,328 (July 2016 est.)


noun: Gibraltarian(s)
adjective: Gibraltar

Ethnic groups

Spanish, Italian, English, Maltese, Portuguese, German, North Africans


English (used in schools and for official purposes), Spanish, Italian, Portuguese


Roman Catholic 78.1%, Church of England 7%, Muslim 4%, other Christian 3.2%, Jewish 2.1%, Hindu 1.8%, other 0.9%, none 2.9% (2001 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 20.12% (male 3,024/female 2,878)
15-24 years: 15.02% (male 2,305/female 2,101)
25-54 years: 38.94% (male 5,804/female 5,617)
55-64 years: 10.15% (male 1,328/female 1,649)
65 years and over: 15.76% (male 2,276/female 2,346) (2016 est.)

Median age

total: 34.5 years
male: 33.6 years
female: 33.5 years (2016 est.)

Population growth rate

0.24% (2016 est.)

Birth rate

14.1 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Death rate

8.4 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)

Net migration rate

-3.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2016 est.)


urban population: 100% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 0.07% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major urban areas - population

GIBRALTAR (capital) 29,000 (2014)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.1 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.81 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.97 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2016 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 6 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 6.7 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 5.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2016 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 79.4 years
male: 76.6 years
female: 82.5 years (2016 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.91 children born/woman (2016 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate


HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS


HIV/AIDS - deaths


Education expenditures



Country name

conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Gibraltar
etymology: from the Spanish derivation of the Arabic "Jabal Tariq," which means "Mountain of Tariq" and which refers to the Rock of Gibraltar

Dependency status

overseas territory of the UK

Government type

parliamentary democracy (Parliament); self-governing overseas territory of the UK


name: Gibraltar
geographic coordinates: 36 08 N, 5 21 W
time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions

none (overseas territory of the UK)


none (overseas territory of the UK)

National holiday

National Day, 10 September (1967); note - day of the national referendum to decide whether to remain with the UK or join Spain


history: previous 1969; latest passed by referendum 30 November 2006, entered into effect 14 December 2006, entered into force 2 January 2007
amendments: proposed by Parliament and require prior consent of the British monarch (through the Secretary of State); passage requires three-quarters majority vote in Parliament followed by simple majority vote in a referendum; note – only sections 1 through 15 in Chapter 1 (Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms) can be amended by Parliament (2016)

Legal system

the laws of the UK, where applicable, apply


see United Kingdom


18 years of age; universal; and British citizens with six months residence or more

Executive branch

chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II (since 6 February 1952); represented by Governor Lt. Gen. Edward DAVIS (since 19 January 2016)
head of government: Chief Minister Fabian PICARDO (since 9 December 2011)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed from among the 17 elected members of Parliament by the governor in consultation with the chief minister
elections/appointments: the monarchy is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or majority coalition usually appointed chief minister by the governor

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament (18 seats; 17 members directly elected in a single nationwide constituency by majority vote and 1 appointed by Parliament as speaker; members serve 4-year terms)
elections: last held on 26 November 2015 (next to be held not later than December 2019)
election results: percent of vote by party - GSLP 68.4%, GSD 31.6%; seats by party - GSLP 10, GSD 7

Judicial branch

highest resident court(s): Court of Appeal (consists of at least 3 judges, including the court president); Supreme Court of Gibraltar (consists of the chief justice and 3 judges); note - appeals beyond the Court of Appeal are heard by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)
judge selection and term of office: Court of Appeal and Supreme Court judges appointed by the governor upon the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, a 7-member body of judges and appointees of the governor; tenure of the Court of Appeal president based on terms of appointment; Supreme Court chief justice and judge normally appointed until retirement at age 67, but can be extended 3 years
subordinate courts: Court of First Instance; Magistrates' Court; specialized tribunals for issues relating to social security, taxes, and employment

Political parties and leaders

Gibraltar Liberal Party [Joseph GARCIA]
Gibraltar Social Democrats or GSD [Daniel FEETHAM]
Gibraltar Socialist Labor Party or GSLP [Fabian PICARDO]
Progressive Democratic Party [Nick CRUZ]

Political pressure groups and leaders

Chamber of Commerce
Gibraltar Representatives Organization
Women's Association

International organization participation

ICC (NGOs), Interpol (subbureau), UPU

Diplomatic representation in the US

none (overseas territory of the UK)

National symbol(s)

Barbary macaque; national colors: red, white, yellow

Diplomatic representation from the US

none (overseas territory of the UK)

Flag description

two horizontal bands of white (top, double width) and red with a three-towered red castle in the center of the white band; hanging from the castle gate is a gold key centered in the red band; the design is that of Gibraltar's coat of arms granted on 10 July 1502 by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain; the castle symbolizes Gibraltar as a fortress, while the key represents Gibraltar's strategic importance - the key to the Mediterranean

National anthem

name: "Gibraltar Anthem"
lyrics/music: Peter EMBERLEY
note: adopted 1994; serves as a local anthem; as a territory of the United Kingdom, "God Save the Queen" remains official (see United Kingdom)


Economy - overview

Self-sufficient Gibraltar benefits from an extensive shipping trade, offshore banking, and its position as an international conference center. Tax rates are low to attract foreign investment. The British military presence has been sharply reduced and now

The financial sector, tourism (over 11 million visitors in 2012), gaming revenues, shipping services fees, and duties on consumer goods also generate revenue. The financial sector, tourism, and the shipping sector contribute 30%, 30%, and 25%, respectivel

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$1.85 billion (2013 est.)
$2 billion (2012 est.)
$1.106 billion (2006 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate)

$1.85 billion (2013 est.)

GDP - real growth rate

6% (2008 est.)
8.8% (2007 est.)
0% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP)

$43,000 (2008 est.)
$41,200 (2007 est.)
$38,400 (2006 est.)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 0%
industry: 0%
services: 100% (2008 est.)

Agriculture - products



tourism, banking and finance, ship repairing, tobacco

Industrial production growth rate


Labor force

22,910 (2013 est.)

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: NEGL
industry: 40%
services: 60% (2001)

Unemployment rate

3% (2005 est.)

Population below poverty line


Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%


revenues: $475.8 million
expenditures: $452.3 million (2008 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

25.7% of GDP (2008 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

1.3% of GDP (2008 est.)

Public debt

7.5% of GDP (2008 est.)
9.3% of GDP (2006 est.)

Fiscal year

1 July - 30 June

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

2.5% (2013 est.)
2.2% (2012 est.)

Imports - commodities

fuels, manufactured goods, foodstuffs


$271 million (2004 est.)

Exports - commodities

(principally reexports) petroleum 51%, manufactured goods (2010 est.)


$2.967 billion (2004 est.)

Debt - external


Exchange rates

Gibraltar pounds (GIP) per US dollar -
0.9214 (2016 est.)
0.885 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)
0.64 (2012)


Electricity - exports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - production

200 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - consumption

200 million kWh (2014 est.)

Electricity - imports

0 kWh (2013 est.)

Electricity - installed generating capacity

43,000 kW (2014 est.)

Electricity - from fossil fuels

100% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Electricity - from other renewable sources

0% of total installed capacity (2012 est.)

Crude oil - production

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - imports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Crude oil - proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2016 es)

Refined petroleum products - production

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - consumption

80,000 bbl/day (2014 est.)

Refined petroleum products - exports

0 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Refined petroleum products - imports

76,680 bbl/day (2013 est.)

Natural gas - production

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - consumption

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - exports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - imports

0 cu m (2013 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves

0 cu m (1 January 2014 es)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

3.6 million Mt (2013 est.)


Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 23,400
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 80 (July 2014 est.)

Telephones - mobile cellular

total: 38,000
subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 130 (July 2014 est.)

Telephone system

general assessment: adequate, automatic domestic system and adequate international facilities
domestic: automatic exchange facilities
international: country code - 350; radiotelephone; microwave radio relay; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2015)

Broadcast media

Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) provides TV and radio broadcasting services via 1 TV station and 4 radio stations; British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS) operates 1 radio station; broadcasts from Spanish radio and TV stations are accessible (2008)

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 24,000
percent of population: 82% (July 2015 est.)


Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

VP-G (2016)


1 (2013)

Airports - with paved runways

total: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)


total: 29 km
paved: 29 km (2007)

Merchant marine

total: 267
by type: bulk carrier 3, cargo 146, chemical tanker 64, container 28, liquefied gas 2, petroleum tanker 14, roll on/roll off 2, vehicle carrier 8
foreign-owned: 254 (Belgium 1, Cyprus 1, Denmark 7, Finland 2, Germany 123, Greece 8, Iceland 1, Italy 4, Jersey 1, Morocco 4, Netherlands 34, Norway 46, Sweden 11, UAE 5, UK 6)
registered in other countries: 6 (Liberia 5, Panama 1) (2010)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Gibraltar


Military branches

Royal Gibraltar Regiment (2013)

Military - note

defense is the responsibility of the UK; the Royal Gibraltar Regiment replaced the last British regular infantry forces in 1992

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

in 2002, Gibraltar residents voted overwhelmingly by referendum to reject any "shared sovereignty" arrangement; the Government of Gibraltar insists on equal participation in talks between the UK and Spain; Spain disapproves of UK plans to grant Gibraltar even greater autonomy