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Steven Dutch
University of Wisconsin – Green Bay
Strait of Gibraltar
View of Gibraltar
May have been inhabited 100,000 years ago
20,000 years ago: The Last Neanderthals?
One of the two pillars of Hercules
No strategic significance in ancient times
– No water, wood, arable land, safe anchorage
• Tariq ibn Zayid lands nearby in 711
– Jebel al-Tariq  Gibraltar
• Spain recaptures Gibraltar 1462
• Dutch fleet destroys Spanish fleet 1607
• Philip II dies childless in 1700
– Two rival claimants: French and Austrian
– War of the Spanish Succession
– Britain takes Gibraltar, 1704
• British Gibraltar
– Base against pirates
– Bargaining chip
First Known View, 1567
British Gibraltar
• Spain did not like losing Gibraltar (and still not
happy about it)
• Numerous attempts to recapture
• Great Siege 1779-1782
– Siege ends when Britain returns Florida and
Minorca to Spain
– You didn’t even know Britain owned Florida, did
• Crimean War (1854-56) and Suez Canal (1867)
finally make strategic value obvious
Gibraltar in World War II
1939: Airfield Constructed
1940: Most civilians evacuated
1940: Vichy French air raids
1940-43: Italian air and frogman raids
Sabotage by Spanish Agents Working for
• 1940-41: Operation Felix
– German plan to capture Gibraltar
– Spanish refuse to cooperate
Gibraltar in World War II
• 1941-42: Operation Tracer
– Stay-behind team in case of German capture
• 1942: North African campaign
– Eisenhower uses Gibraltar as HQ
– 30 miles of tunnels dug, housed 30,000 troops
– Gibraltar has more tunnel than road
• After 1943, Gibraltar became a Rear Supply
View From the Top
The Moorish Castle
Waterfall on Gibraltar
Waterfall on Gibraltar
The Real Owners of Gibraltar
Riddled With Caves
St. Michael’s Cavern
Great Siege Tunnels
WWII Tunnel
How Did Gibraltar Come to Be?
The Mediterranean, 200 m.y.
The Mediterranean, 195 m.y.
The Mediterranean, 175 m.y.
The Mediterranean, 165 m.y.
The Mediterranean, 148 m.y.
The Mediterranean, 123 m.y.
The Mediterranean, 110 m.y.
The Mediterranean, 80 m.y.
The Mediterranean, 63 m.y.
The Mediterranean, 53 m.y.
20 Million Years Ago
15 Million Years Ago
6 Million Years Ago
Filling the Mediterranean
National Geographic, January, 1973