May 1, 2013

0217, 0623 UNITED KINGDOM (Gibraltar) - Aerial view of Gibraltar

0217 Aerial view of Gibraltar (1)

Posted on 23.05.2012, 01.05.2013
For the ancient Greeks, this was the west edge of the world. Gone to fulfill the tenth labour ordered by King Eurystheus, i.e. to fetch the red cattle of Geryon, Hercules marked the place where Libya meets Europe with two rocks, one on each shore, to immortalize his journey. Since then, these promontories were named Pillars of Heracles (Hercules for Romans). The 14 km of water that separates Africa from Europe have never been an obstacle for those who wanted to cross from one continent to another, be they Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths, Byzantines or Muslims.

0623 Aerial view of Gibraltar (2)

Actually, the Muslim Berber general who led the Islamic conquest of Visigothic Hispania in 711-718 A.D., Tariq ibn Ziyad on his name, gave the current name of the Mons Calpe, respectively Gibraltar (Jabal Tāriq - mountain of Tariq). Strait of Gibraltar was also, during many hundreds of years, a easy way to pass from the Mediterranean into the Atlantic or vice versa. And all those listed before did it easily, plus the Vikings, Venetians, Spaniards and others, including pirates of all nations, only the development of artillery complicating things later.

In other words, until the 15th century the stretch of water was narrow enough to not be an obstacle for the circulation ashore, but also wide enough so that the naval traffic couldn't be controlled sufficiently. The artillery, the development of navigation and the occurrence of the maritime powers on the shores of the Atlantic changed things forever. In 1704, a combined Anglo-Dutch force captured the town of Gibraltar, and under the terms of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht it was ceded to Britain "in perpetuity", becoming a key base for the British Royal Navy.

Gaining control over the Suez Canal in the late 19th century ensured to British Empire an absolute control over the navigation to and from the Mediterranean. In nowadays, the Gibraltarians rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty, in a 1967 referendum and again in 2002, by an overwhelming majority (99% from the almost 30,000 inhabitants), so that Gibraltar still is a British overseas territory. Nevertheless, it's the single one from those territories which not include the British flag on its flag.

In these aerial views is seen the whole Gibraltar, which covers 6.843k2 and shares a 1.2km land border with Spain. Its shoreline measured 12km in length, split in two coasts: the East Side, which contains the settlements of Sandy Bay and Catalan Bay, and the West Side (with the harbour), where lives the vast majority of the population. Gibraltar's terrain consists of the 426m high Rock of Gibraltar and the narrow coastal lowland surrounding it.

About the stamps
On the postcard 0217

The two stamps are part of a series of nine, issued on April 24, 2004 to commemorate the The 300th Anniversary of the Crown Colony Gibraltar. The stamps were designed by Stephen Perera, who used his own photographs, but also the illustrations by Simon Williams.
• The Royal Katarine with Admiral Sir George Rooke aboard, arriving in 1704 (0.30 GIP) - It's on the postcard 0217
• British Merchants landing in Gibraltar (0.30 GIP) - It's on the postcard 0217
• The Foxes Marine, Royal Artillery and Royal marines from the 18th century (0.30 GIP)
• A depiction of Gibraltar's judiciary system featuring the Mase (0.30 GIP)
• The UK flag (1.20 GIP)
• Gibraltar's phone booths and police hat (0.30 GIP)
• Local post pillar boxes (0.30 GIP)
• The educational system (0.30 GIP)
• The people of Gibraltar celebrating in the streets with Gibraltar and UK flags (0.30 GIP)

On the postcard 0623
The stamp is part of the series Abes - Gibraltar Barbary Macaques, designed by Stephen Perera (photography: Jon Pointer) and issued on September 28, 2011.
Macaca sylvana (0.10 GIP)
Macaca sylvana (0.42 GIP) - It's on the postcard 0623
Macaca sylvana (0.44 GIP)
Macaca sylvana (0.51 GIP)
Macaca sylvana (0.59 GIP)
Macaca sylvana (1.50 GIP)
42p, 44p (it's on the postcard), 51p, 59p, 1,50£.

Gibraltar - Wikipedia

Sender 0217: Fabienne (direct swap)
Sent from Gibraltar, on 14.05.2012
Sender 0623: Ana
Sent from Gibraltar, on 23.04.2013


  1. Beautiful postcard (I've never seen Gibraltar so clearly) and interesting history lesson!

  2. Indeed, beautiful postcard, but didn't want to be a history lesson, but only some considerations, with a slight personal touch. :)

  3. Your cards remind me of good memories of my trip there one year ago. Fabulous and impressive views of the Rock of Gibraltar!