Sat, Jun 16, 2007 - Page 14 News List

Globe trotting -- Gibraltar 世界走透透:直布羅陀

The flag of Gibraltar is unusual in that it has no British ensign. Rather, it boasts the Arms of Gibraltar, which were granted by Royal Warrant of Queen Isabella of Castille on July 10, 1502.

Known colloquially as the Rock, Gibraltar looms impressively over the Gibraltar strait, the narrow divide between Europe and North Africa and the meeting point of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. Read on to discover more about this tiny, yet diverse Overseas British territory.


A Closer look 說古論今

Gibraltar is a corruption of Gibel Tariq, meaning "rock of Tariq" in Arabic. Despite being an overseas British territory, it has an exceptionally diverse population drawn from many parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. The most famous residents are the Barbary Apes, the only wild primates in Europe. They are actually monkeys. The misnomer comes from the fact that they are tailless. Since 1915, the British army or the local government has cared for the monkeys. They are named and registered at birth, given medical care and even have a food allowance! They are receptive towards interaction with humans, but it is strictly forbidden to feed them.

The Rock is formed of limestone and riddled with caves. One legend is of a naturally occurring 24km tunnel that links Gibraltar to Morocco (some people believe that this is how the Barbary Apes arrived). St Michael's cave is a large chamber that is often used to stage ballets, drama and concerts. Of particular interest is a fallen stalagmite, a cross section of which allows visitors to chart its growth through the centuries, including two glacial periods.

Gibraltar has a wealth of flora, including the Gibraltar candytuft and Gibraltar Sea Lavender. A trip out to sea is often enlivened by an entourage of dolphins and flying fish. Many migrating birds stop off at the Rock, and resident species are numerous, including peregrine falcons, owls, and eagles. 

(catherine Thomas, staff writer)

Gibraltar之名源自Gibel Tariq(阿拉伯文,意指高山─rock of Tariq)。雖是英國海外屬地,直布羅陀的人口組成十分多元,境內歐、非及亞洲各地的族群齊聚。最知名的住民就屬歐洲唯一的野生靈長目動物─Barbary Apes(叟猴),實為猴子的牠們因無尾而被誤稱為Apes。



直布羅陀植物種類多樣,包括直布羅陀白燭葵和直布羅陀星辰花。海上行程也因海豚及飛魚隨行而充滿生氣。許多遠征的候鳥中途會在此歇腳;此外,包括遊隼、貓頭鷹及鷹在內的留鳥數目也不少。 (翻譯:林倩如)

Who Knew? 你知道嗎?

From 711 to the early 1462 the Rock was mainly under Moorish control. Gibraltar was ceded in perpetuity to Britain by Spain in 1713. In the 1950's Spain tried to reassert its claim to Gibraltar. In 1967 a referendum was held among the residents regarding Spanish sovereignty, resulting in a decisive 12,138 to 44 rejection. A further referendum on joint sovereignty was rejected with 17,900 votes to 187. Britain reconfirmed its position that it would never "enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes." However, it seems the real power lies in the hands of the Barbary Apes. A popular myth states that the day the Apes leave the Rock is the day that it will cease to be a British Territory.


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