For nearly three centuries, the Rock of Gibraltar has been the focus of heated debate. One of the few remaining vestiges of a once-mighty British Empire, "the Rock" is an ever-present thorn in the side of Anglo-Spanish relations. In its time, no nation or empire possessed such an imposing symbol of its imperial pride and glory as did Britain. Gibraltar - the awesome limestone monolith standing sentinel over the Atlantic approaches to the Mediterranean - has for nearly three centuries been a symbol of power and strength, of permanence, endurance - and jut-jawed defiance. From the time of its capture from Spain in 1704, Gibraltar has been a prized British fortress and crown colony. Without "the Rock," the British Empire would have been difficult to maintain. Gibraltar looks westward to the Atlantic, northward to Europe, southward to Africa, and eastward to the Mediterranean.
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