Gibraltar National Day is the official national day of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar and is observed every year on September 10. The referendum of 1967, in which the citizens of Gibraltar overwhelmingly voted to remain under British sovereignty, is celebrated annually on this day.
History of Gibraltar National Day
In 711 A.D., the Moors conquered Gibraltar. Its name comes from a Spanish translation of an Arabic name given to the region during the conquest. When the Moors were expelled from Spain in 1462, they fell under Spanish authority.
During the War of the Spanish Succession in 1704, Anglo-Dutch armies conquered Gibraltar from Spain on behalf of the Habsburg claim to the crown of Spain. In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht gave the area to Great Britain in perpetuity. In 2002, it was designated as a British Overseas Territory.
Spain has continued to press its territorial claims to Gibraltar since it came under British rule. Even though current diplomatic spats have gratefully replaced the sieges and military assaults of previous ages, the Spanish ambition for Gibraltar to once again become part of Spain has not waned.
In response to the Spanish claims, on September 10, 1967, a sovereignty referendum was held, in which voters were asked whether they wanted to pass under Spanish sovereignty or continue under British sovereignty with self-government institutions. The result was 100 % in favor of remaining under British dominion, with 99.64 % voting yes.
On September 10, 1992, on the 25th anniversary of the 1967 sovereignty vote, they held the inaugural Gibraltar National Day at John Mackintosh Square (the Piazza) to encourage public support for self-determination
Gibraltar National Day timeline
Spain reclaims Gibraltar from the Moors.
The Spanish government launches a campaign for the return of Gibraltar to Spain through the United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization.
After a struggle against the British Nationality Act, which proposed abolishing their right of admission to Britain, Gibraltarians are granted full British citizenship.
The United Kingdom and Spain agree to provide Spaniards in Gibraltar and Gibraltarians in Spain with similar rights.
Gibraltar National Day FAQs
Is Gibraltar worth visiting?
Gibraltar is a smorgasbord of Spanish, English, and North African cultures. One can enjoy sunny days throughout the year, exciting cliffs, and lots of fun things to do.
Do Gibraltarians speak English?
English is the official language in Gibraltar. It is the language adopted by schools and the government.
Is Africa visible from Gibraltar?
Several areas in the Strait of Gibraltar (the water channel linking Europe and Africa) provide a view of the African continent.
Gibraltar National Day Activities
Get the kids dressed up
It’s not Fashion Week, but there is still fun to be had. The official Gibraltar National Day celebrations kick off with a children's fancy dress competition on Main Street, followed by a street party in John Mackintosh Square.
Attend the Freedom of the City ceremony
The primary event of the day is the Freedom of the City Ceremony, during which the Mayor reads the Gibraltar National Day Declaration. He then recites the names of the winners of the Gibraltar Medallion of Honor.
Enjoy the fireworks and exciting activities
Live music, aerial displays, and family fun activities accompany the official ceremonies. A fireworks display and a rock performance bring the day to a close.
5 Facts About Gibraltar That Will Blow Your Mind
Gibraltar is home to fashion designer John Galliano, as well as the stunning Kaiane Aldorino López, the former Miss World crowned in South Africa in 2009.
A wedding party favorite
If you decide to elope and get married right away, Gibraltar may just be the location for you — if you fly in and complete your documents the next day, you can get married the following day.
Wild wild world
Gibraltar hosts the whole of Europe’s wild monkey population.
Due to a scarcity of land, Gibraltar's lone runway is intersected by the city's busiest road, which closes every time a jet arrives or departs.
The mother tongue
Gibraltar's language, ‘Llanito,’ is a curious blend of Andalusian Spanish and English, with some Portuguese and Maltese words, as well as terms from Genoese medieval dialect and even some from Hebrew provenance.
Why We Love Gibraltar National Day
It’s a nationwide celebration
Gibraltarians sure know how to mark Gibraltar National Day with style. From a fashion competition for kids to an excellent fireworks display, you won’t be forgetting the experience anytime soon.
Celebrating the country’s history
This celebration is the ideal opportunity to experience the rich history of Gibraltar. It tracks their journey to their eventual adoption by the United Kingdom.
It is a special place
Gibraltar is a representation of the U.K.’s naval strength. It is also fondly called ‘the Rock’ for the 1,397-foot limestone Rock of Gibraltar.
Gibraltar National Day dates