Gibraltar: Wild Monkeys, Pirate Caves and British Force. Credit BFBS Creative

Gibraltar

Gibraltar: Wild Monkeys, Pirate Caves and British Forces

BFBS Creative has been exploring the Rock

Gibraltar: Wild Monkeys, Pirate Caves and British Force. Credit BFBS Creative

On the southern tip of Europe, next door to Spain, is not where you would expect to find a Morrisons supermarket and a plethora of British pubs and fish and chip shops - welcome to Gibraltar.

BFBS Creative visited Gibraltar to find out more about the British Overseas Territory and why monkeys play a key part in keeping it British.

The UK Armed Forces Gib, as it is known colloquially, plays a vital role. Even BFBS has a local radio station, BFBS Gibraltar, stationed there.

Gibraltar guards the Strait of Gibraltar, the only entrance to the Mediterranean sea from the Atlantic Ocean. Half of the world’s sea trade stills passes through, and about seven miles across the sea, with a clear view, is Africa. Those who have been on a Mediterranean cruise from the UK will have likely called at the port.

Walking around, the blend of Mediterranean and British culture is clear to see, with bright red post boxes and phone boxes dotted around typical southern European buildings.

 

Why is Gibraltar British?

During the Spanish War of Succession in the 1700s, Gibraltar was captured by the British. At the end of the war, as part of peace talks, it was given to Britain for ever more.

During World War Two, most of the civilian population was evacuated, and the Rock was strengthened as a fortress, with the tunnels in the rock providing an important location.

Legend says that if the monkeys leave, then so will the British.

The Barbary Macaques monkeys are iconic to Gibraltar, although they are native to Northern Africa. No one really knows how they came across the sea and made their home in Gibraltar.

Winston Churchill was aware of the legend and so sent for more to be brought over from North Africa during the Second World War to combat dwindling numbers.

His plan worked and the monkeys thrived - there are almost 300 monkeys roaming around Gibraltar today. 

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