Gilbraltar still a sore point between Spain and Britain





It has been 292 years since Britain's Navy finished muscling away Gibraltar, a speck at the tip of the Iberian Peninsula, from Spain. But for residents here, the fine print of the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht, which officially ceded Gibraltar to Britain, is as effortlessly quoted as this year's soccer standings. No historical slights are ever entirely forgotten in Europe, but few flourish quite as robustly as the one between Gibraltar and its formidable neighbor, Spain.

This is the heart of the feud: the Spaniards want to rule Gibraltar, claiming that the land is rightly theirs. Gibraltar scoffs, saying it has been ruled by Britain for nearly three centuries and is not about to trade down (as most people here view it). Britain, which has grown weary of the sniping and squabbling, has said, with an almost audible sigh, that it will respect Gibraltar's wishes.

Meanwhile, each year seems to give rise to a series of indignations and counterindignations between the t aggrieved parties, with the more dramatic complaints typically coming from tiny Gibraltar and its 30,000 residents. The disputes, all appear to agree, sometimes reek of the ridiculous, though there is some hope that will soon change.




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