Throughout history, many lands would change hands through royal marriages, conquests or treaties - yet, in most cases, they were located next to another part of the country they currently belonged to. Over the last several centuries, quite a few countries in the New World had been “discovered” by European superpowers and made into their colonies or protectorates. That uncalled for relationship would produce inevitable tensions - and eventually result in some kind of uprising (from guerilla wars in Northern Africa to Gandhi's peaceful “salt marches” in India) aiming at getting rid of the foreign yoke. Surprisingly, there are also territories that fell between two stools by finding themselves far away from their official homeland, so-to-say, while being utterly content to be incorporated into it politically. To be precise, there are 71 entities officially known as “overseas territories”, one of them named after an 8th century military leader who spearheaded the Berberian invasion of the Iberian Peninsula. Capturing a territory right after crossing what wasn't yet known as "the Strait", must have seemed like a really big deal to Tariq ibn Ziyad - so, he commemorated the deed by calling his prized possession “Tariq's Mountain”/ "Jabal Tariq". An inevitable linguistic corruption gradually turned that name into “Gibraltar”.
For centuries, the “Mountain” oscillated between various caliphates and - at a later stage - the Kingdom of Castile where it eventually ended up after Spanish Reconquista. It would've likely remained a rather spectacular but still regular “nook” of Spain but for an all-European war known as The War of the Spanish Succession that broke out at the very beginning of the 18th century. After 12 years of fighting, there appeared a chance to end the war if Great Britain (a marine superpower of the time) could be convinced to bow out of it - so, the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht (the choice of location was anything but incidental, because the Netherlands was Great Britain's closest ally, as well as another marine superpower) provided for an offer the Brits couldn't possibly refuse - to wit, Gibraltar!
Ever since, “Tariq's Mountain” has been anything but regular - and never failing to challenge or surprise in most aspects of one's daily life. For instance, more than 50% of people employed in Gibraltar, don't actually live there but rather come from a small village, La Linea de la Concepcion lying on the other side of the border with Spain. It might be more appropriate to call it the “border” because, in reality, it's nothing but a single room people pass through while waving their passports nobody usually looks at! (The border would become harder every time the relationship between the countries temporarily deteriorated, but the familiar picture kept returning right after the current conflict has been resolved). For that reason, many people also travel to Gibraltar via Spain rather than taking a direct flight. The overseas territory does have an airport but…it's heavily weather-dependent as high winds can render it completely useless. When it's windy in Gibraltar, its Mediterranean climate notwithstanding, it's WINDY - so flying in the area becomes unsafe… Yet another proof of the Rock's (as it's fondly called by the locals) uniqueness sounds almost miscellaneous but it's amusing enough to be worth mentioning: Gibraltar's economy relies on shipping and tourism (more than natural, considering the country's location, history and aura), finances and…online gambling! One of those “go figure!” cases…
The Rock's location does affect its personality. English naturally being the official language of the country, many people speak Spanish, as well as one of local dialects, Llanito. Quite a few Gibraltarians have traditional Mediterranean roots, their ancestors coming not only from Spain but also from Italy, Portugal, Malta… Names and places like
are quite common there. On the other hand, the local population is fiercely proud of their Britishness - many a time the Rock has been offered to switch allegiance to Spain, and each and every time the answer was a resounding NO!