Returning the Rock

Will the UK ever return Gibraltar to Spain?

Returning the Rock It's 300 years since Gibraltar was handed over to the British, and controversy has erupted between Spain and Britain once again. This historic report examines why the issue refuses to go away.
The colony of just 6.5. sq km has been in British hands since the early 18th century. It was an important staging post for the Empire, and played a vital role in both world wars. On 14 occasions the rock has come under siege from Spain, but Britain has always clung on to its colony. "Spain has never liked the fact that they lost Gibraltar and have consequently made difficulties", says the Governor of Gibraltar. Now the strategic importance has declined, and with Britain and Spain partners in the EU, the British government views it as an anachronism. "There is enormous room for Anglo Spanish relations that for many years have been conditioned by the claim on Gibraltar", says Alberto Aza. But as the politics rages it's the ordinary people in Gibraltar who most keenly feel a sense of desertion. "Tell Spain that you can't force people to become Spaniards", says one local resident. "Gibraltarians will not stand for it", says another. "We will fight to our deaths." With Britain set to cut their colony adrift, the Gibraltarians are steeling themselves for their toughest battle yet

Produced by ABC Australia

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