General Information

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory and headland, on Spain’s south coast. It’s dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar, a 426m-high limestone ridge. First settled by the Moors in the middle Ages and later ruled by Spain, the outpost was ceded to the British in 1713. Layers of fortifications include the remains of a 14th-century Moorish Castle and the 18th century Great Siege Tunnels, which were expanded in WWII.

Population

Gibraltar is one of the most densely populated territories in the world, with a usually-resident population in 2012 of 32,194 equivalent to approximately 4,959 inhabitants per square kilometer (12,840/sq. mi).

Political Structure

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory. The British Nationality Act 1981 granted Gibraltarians full British citizenship. Under its current constitution, Gibraltar has almost complete internal democratic self-government through an elected parliament, elected for a term of up to four years. The unicameral parliament presently consists of 17 elected members, and the Speaker who is not elected, but appointed by a resolution of the parliament. The government consists of 10 elected members. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who is represented by the Governor of Gibraltar.

Infrastructure and Economy

The British military traditionally dominated Gibraltar’s economy, with the naval dockyard providing the bulk of economic activity. This, however, has diminished over the last 20 years, and is estimated to account for only 7 percent of the local economy, compared to over 60 percent in 1984. Today, Gibraltar’s economy is dominated by four main sectors: financial services, online gambling, shipping, and tourism, which includes retail sales to visitors. The territory also has a small manufacturing sector, with one company supplying ambulances produced from converted SUV vehicles to the United Nations and other agencies.

Languages

The official language of Gibraltar is English, and is used by the government and in schools.

Currency

Gibraltar pound (£) (GIP)

Exchange Controls

The official currency of Gibraltar is Sterling and there are no exchange controls.