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About Gibraltar

We have decided to include a section on Gibraltar to give our customers an insight into our fascinating and historically significant country. Its geographic position and easy access to international transport and communications networks make Gibraltar the perfect location for the supply of stock vehicles to aid and charity organisations.

Gibraltar's territory covers 6.843 square kilometres (2.642 sq mi) and shares a 1.2-kilometre (0.75 mi) land border with Spain. The town of La Línea de la Concepción, a municipality of the province of Cádiz, lies on the Spanish side of the border. The Spanish hinterland forms the comarca of Campo de Gibraltar (literally "Countryside of Gibraltar"). The shoreline measures 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) in length. There are two coasts ("Sides") of Gibraltar: the East Side, which contains the settlements of Sandy Bay and Catalan Bay; and the Westside, where the vast majority of the population lives. Gibraltar has no administrative divisions but is divided into seven Major Residential Areas.

Having negligible natural resources and few natural freshwater resources, limited to natural wells in the north, until recently Gibraltar used large concrete and/or natural rock water catchments to collect rainwater. Fresh water from the boreholes is supplemented by two desalination plants: a reverse osmosis plant, constructed in a tunnel within the rock, and a multi-stage flash distillation plant at North Mole.

Gibraltar's terrain consists of the 426-metre (1,398 ft) high Rock of Gibraltar made of Jurassic limestone, and the narrow coastal lowland surrounding it. It contains many tunnelled roads, most of which are still operated by the military and closed to the general public.

Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. It has an area of 6.843 square kilometres (2.642 sq mi) and a northern border with the Province of Cádiz in Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region. At its foot is a densely populated city area, home to almost 30,000 Gibraltarians and other nationalities.

An Anglo-Dutch force captured Gibraltar from Spain in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession on behalf of the Habsburg pretender to the Spanish throne. The territory was subsequently ceded to Britain "in perpetuity" under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. It was an important base for the Royal Navy; today its economy is based largely on tourism, online gaming, financial services, and shipping.

Gibraltar has a subtropical Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), with mild winters and warm summers. Rain occurs mainly in winter, with summer being generally dry. Its average annual temperature is about 21 °C (70 °F) during the day and 15 °C (59 °F) at night. In the coldest month, January, the temperature ranges from 11–18 °C (52–64 °F) during the day and 9–14 °C (48–57 °F) at night, the average sea temperature is 15–16 °C (59–61 °F). In the warmest month, August, the typical temperature ranges from 25–31 °C (77–88 °F) during the day, above 20 °C (68 °F) at night, the average sea temperature is 22 °C (72 °F).

Gibraltar is one of the most densely populated territories in the world, with a population estimated in 2011 of 29,752, equivalent to approximately 4,959 inhabitants per square kilometre (12,840 /sq mi). The growing demand for space is being increasingly met by land reclamation; reclaimed land currently comprises approximately one tenth of the territory's total area.

The 2001 Gibraltar Census recorded the breakdown of nationalities in Gibraltar as being 83.22% Gibraltarian, 9.56% "Other British", 3.50% Moroccan, 1.19% Spanish and 1.00% "Other EU"

Language

The official language of Gibraltar is English, and is used by the government and in schools. Most locals are bilingual, also speaking Spanish, due to Gibraltar's proximity to Spain.

Religion

According to the 2001 census, approximately 78.1% of Gibraltarians are Roman Catholics.

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 seventeen elected members, and the Speaker who is not elected, but appointed by a resolution of the parliament.[30] The government consists of ten elected members. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who is represented by the Governor of Gibraltar. The governor enacts day-to-day matters on the advice of the Gibraltar Parliament, but is responsible to the British Government in respect of defence, foreign policy, internal security and general good governance. Judicial and other appointments are made on behalf of the Queen in consultation with the head of the elected government.

The 2011 election was contested by the Gibraltar Social Democrats (GSD), Gibraltar Socialist Labour Party (GSLP)-Gibraltar Liberal Party (GLP) Alliance and the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP). The PDP is a new party, formed in 2006 and fielded candidates in the 2007 election, but none was elected. The head of government is the Chief Minister (as of December 2011, Fabian Picardo). All local political parties oppose any transfer of sovereignty to Spain, instead supporting self-determination. The main UK opposition parties also support this policy and it is UK Government policy not to engage in talks about the sovereignty of Gibraltar without the consent of the people of Gibraltar.

Gibraltar is part of the European Union, having joined through the European Communities Act 1972 (UK), which gave effect to the Treaty of Accession 1972, as a dependent territory of the United Kingdom under what was then article 227(4) of the Treaty Establishing the European Community covering special member state territory

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 twenty years, and is estimated to account for only 7% of the local economy, compared to over 60% in 1984. Today, Gibraltar's economy is dominated by four main sectors: financial services, internet gaming, shipping and tourism (including retail for visitors).

In the early 2000s, many bookmakers and online gaming operators relocated to Gibraltar to benefit from operating in a regulated jurisdiction with a favourable corporate tax regime. However, this corporate tax regime for non-resident controlled companies was phased out by January 2011 and replaced by a fixed corporate tax rate of 10%.

Tourism is also a significant industry. Gibraltar is a popular port for cruise ships and attracts day visitors from resorts in Spain. The Rock is a popular tourist attraction, particularly among British tourists and residents in the southern coast of Spain. It is also a popular shopping destination, and all goods and services are VAT free. Many of the large British high street chains have branches or franchises in Gibraltar including Marks & Spencer and Mothercare. Branches and franchises of international retailers such as Tommy Hilfiger and Sunglass Hut are also present in Gibraltar, as is the Spanish clothing company Mango.

A number of British and international banks have operations based in Gibraltar. Jyske Bank claims to be the oldest bank in the country, based on Jyske's acquisition in 1987 of Banco Galliano, which began operations in Gibraltar in 1855. An ancestor of Barclays, the Anglo-Egyptian Bank, entered in 1888, and Credit Foncier (now Crédit Agricole) entered in 1920.

In 1967, Gibraltar enacted the Companies (Taxation and Concessions) Ordinance (now an Act), which provided for special tax treatment for international business.

Education in Gibraltar generally follows the English model, operating within a three tier system. Schools in Gibraltar use the Key Stage modular approach to teach the National Curriculum. Gibraltar has fifteen state schools, a MOD school, a private school and a college of further education. As there are no facilities in Gibraltar for full-time higher education, all Gibraltarian students study elsewhere at degree level or its equivalent and also for certain non-degree courses. The Government of Gibraltar operates a scholarship/grant system to provide funding for students studying in the United Kingdom. All Gibraltarian students used to follow the UK student loans procedure, applying for a loan from the Student Loans Company which was then reimbursed in full by the Government of Gibraltar. In August 2010, this system was replaced by the direct payment by the government of grants and tuition fees. The overwhelming majority of Gibraltarians continue their studies at university level.