Friday, May 27, 2005

History of Gibraltar

History of Gibraltar. This is a short overview to the history of this rock owned by the UK but coveted by Spain.

From the site:

Gibraltar is a rugged promontory in the province of Andalusia, Spain, about 6 miles in circumference. Its almost perpendicular walls rise to a height of 1396 feet. The town in on the west side; on the north a narrow isthmus (neutral ground) connects the fortress with the mainland of Spain. The great rock itself is the ancient Mount Calpe, which with Abyla (Ceuta) constituted the famous Pillars of Hercules. In antiquity Gibraltar belonged in turn to the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, and Visigoths. Scipio took it from the Carthaginians, and it remained Roman territory until A. D. 412, when the Goths became masters of Spain. Being Arians, they built two churches of their faith in the vicinity of Calpe; one at San Rocco, the other, a chapel, on the rock itself. In 710 the Visigothic kingdom in Spain, after an existence of 300 years, was torn with internal strife. Amid this dissension the Moors crossed from Africa, for the second time (711), under their leader Tarik-Ibn-Zeyad, who sent a detachment of soldiers to Mount Calpe, and had a castle built there, the ruins of which yet excite admiration. The mountain was thenceforth known as Gibel-Tarik, the mountain of Tarik, or Gibraltar. Thus began the Moorish conquest of Spain. Gibraltar was besieged, in 1309, and retaken from the Moors by Alonzo de Guzman. By 1462 it had sustained eight sieges, with varying fortune. The last of these was under Alonzo de Arcos, who captured it from the Moors in 1462, the surrender on this occasion taking place on 20 August, the feast of St. Bernard, in consequence of which he became the patron of Gibraltar. The Infante Don Alonzo gave the city and territory of Gibraltar to the Duke of Medina-Sidonia in absolute and perpetual possession for himself and his successors. Ferdinand and Isabella confirmed this gift, conferring on the Duke of Medina-Sedonia the title of Marquis of Gibraltar; at a later period, however, during the same reign, the place was annexed by the Crown.

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