Beautiful Africa

Strait of Gibraltar

The Strait of Gibraltar (Arabic: ? , Spanish: Estrecho de Gibraltar) is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Gibraltar and Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa. The name comes from the Rock of Gibraltar, which in turn originates from the Arabic Jebel Tariq (meaning "Tariq's mountain"[1]) named after Tariq ibn Ziyad. The Arab name for the Strait is Bab el-Zakat, meaning "Gate of Charity". It is also known as the Straits of Gibraltar, or STROG (Strait Of Gibraltar), in naval use[2] and as the "Pillars of Hercules" (Greek: ? )[3] in the ancient world. Europe and Africa are separated by 7.7 nautical miles (14.3 km; 8.9 mi) of ocean at the strait's narrowest point. The Strait's depth ranges between 300 and 900 metres (160 and 490 fathoms; 980 and 3,000 ft)[4] which possibly interacted with the lower mean sea level of the last major glaciation 20,000 years before present[5] when the level of the sea was believed to be lower by 110120 m (6066 fathoms; 360390 ft).[6] Ferries cross between the two continents every day in as little as 35 minutes. The Spanish side of the Strait is protected under El Estrecho Natural Park Gibraltar (pron.: /d?br?lt?r/) 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 6.8 square kilometres (2.6 sq mi) and a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region. At its foot is the densely populated city area, home to almost 30,000 Gibraltarians and other nationalities.[4] An Anglo-Dutch force captured Gibraltar from Spain in 1704 during the War of the Spanish Succession. 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.[5][6] The sovereignty of Gibraltar is a major point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations as Spain asserts a claim to the territory.[6] Gibraltarians rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty in a 1967 referendum and again in 2002. Under the Gibraltar constitution of 2006, Gibraltar governs its own affairs, though some powers, such as defence and foreign relations, remain the responsibility of the UK Government. Etymology The name Gibraltar is the Spanish derivation of the Arabic name Jabal-? Tar?q (? ), meaning "mountain of Tariq."[7] It refers to the geological formation, the Rock of Gibraltar, which in turn was named after the Umayyad general Tariq ibn-Ziyad who led the initial incursion into Iberia in advance of the main Moorish force in 711 under the command of Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I. Earlier, it was known as Mons Calpe, one of the Pillars of Hercules. [edit]Early history Main article: History of Gibraltar View of the northern face of the Moorish Castle's Tower of Homage. Built in the 14th century, it is the only Marinid construction outside Africa. Evidence of Neanderthal habitation in Gibraltar between 128,000 and 24,000 BC has been discovered at Gorham's Cave, making Gibraltar the last known holdout of the Neanderthals.[8] Within recorded history, the first inhabitants were the Phoenicians, around 950 BC. Subsequently, Gibraltar became known as one of the Pillars of Hercules, after the Greek legend of the creation of the Strait of Gibraltar by Heracles. The Carthaginians and Romans also established semi-permanent settlements. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Gibraltar came briefly under the control of the Vandals. The area later formed part of the Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania until the Islamic conquest of Iberia in 711 AD.