MAX PLANCK ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PUBLIC INTERNATIONAL LAW, Rüdiger Wolfrum, ed., Oxford University Press, 2009
10 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2011
Date Written: December 15, 2009
The entry discusses the legal status of Gibraltar in international and European Union law, including the Spanish and British claims to sovereignty and self-determination. Gibraltar is a promontory of about five square kilometres on the Southern coast of Spain. It comprises the rock, the town, its historically important fortifications and port. An isthmus with the Gibraltar airport links the foot of the rock and the Spanish mainland, bisected east-west by the Spain-Gibraltar line of control. The enclave is one of fourteen remaining British Overseas Territories. To the west, Gibraltar is bordered by the Bay of Gibraltar (Algeciras) and to the south by the Strait of Gibraltar, a major route for international maritime traffic between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. As guardian to the Western entrance to the Mediterranean Sea, Gibraltar’s naval base held great strategic significance during the two world wars.
Keywords: British overseas territory, territory, sovereignty, cession by treaty, Spain, referendum, self-determination, co-sovereignty
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation