Why British territory Gibraltar is such a rocky point with Spain

Gibraltar has been a British territory since 1713. Credit: James Edgar/PA Wire

There has been an escalation in tensions between Gibraltar and Spain in recent weeks following a number of alleged Spanish incursions into the British territory .On Sunday, Spain) fee to enter and leave Gibraltar through its border post.

In response, the Foreign Office voiced concerns and said Britain would not compromise its sovereignty over the Rock.

Read more: 'Serious concern' on Gibraltar

Read more: 'Serious concern' over Gibraltar

Below are some key events in the past and recent history of the dispute.

The Treaty of Utrecht was signed 300 years ago. Credit: ITV News
  • Spain has since reasserted a claim to sovereignty over the Rock which stands on the southernmost tip of the Iberian peninsula.

  • The UK Government has made clear that it will not negotiate over sovereignty as long as residents want to remain British.

Gibraltar borders the southern coast of Spain Credit: Google Maps
  • In 1967, a referendum was held and residents of Gibraltar overwhelmingly voted for continuing their association with Britain.

  • In 1969, the frontier between Spain and Gibraltar was closed by Spanish dictator General Francisco Franco in pursuit of his claim for the territory. It resulted in friends and families making a day-long journey by sea to visit each other.

  • Gibraltarians were granted full British citizenship in 1981.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Gibraltar on their honeymoon in 1981
  • In 1981, King Juan Carlos of Spain rejected an invitation to attend the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales over the ongoing dispute and anger over the royals' plan to visit the Rock on their honeymoon.

  • In 1983, Spain reopened the border gate for pedestrians only. Two years later it opened fully.

A demonstrator in London ahead of talks on the sovereignty of Gibraltar in 2002. Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Archive
  • In 2002, a referendum revealed 99% of residents opposed the prospect of Britain and Spain sharing sovereignty over Gibraltar.

  • Britain, Gibraltar and Spain signed up to the Cordoba Agreement in 2006 which included deals on issues like border crossings and access for flights.

  • In July 2009, a Spanish minister visited Gibraltar for the first time in more than 300 years. But Spain said Miguel Angel Moratinos' visit did not signify any change to its claim to the Rock.

Miguel Angel Moratinos (centre) with Gibraltar's Chief Minister and then Foreign Secretary David Miliband.
  • The Earl and Countess of Wessex visited Gibraltar in 2012, as part of the territory's Diamond Jubilee festivities. As a result, Spain's Queen Sofia cancelled a visit to the UK.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex. Credit: PA
David Cameron said he wanted a full investigation into the incident involving a jet skier.
Spain increased border checks creating long lines at the Gibraltar. Credit: Reuters/Jon Nazca

Source: Gibraltar.gov and Press Association