Celebrations on Gibraltar National Day 2013. Image: InfoGibraltar
When is Gibraltar National Day?
How long until National Day?
|This holiday next takes place in 175 Days.|
Dates of Gibraltar National Day
|Gibraltar voted to remain under British sovereignty in a referendum of 1967|
Gibraltar National Day, celebrated annually on 10th September, is the official national day of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar.
The day commemorates the referendum of 1967, in which the citizens of Gibraltar overwhelmingly voted to remain under British sovereignty.
History of Gibraltar National Day
Coveted since antiquity for its strategic position at the entrance to the Mediterranean from the Atlantic, the 'Rock' has passed through Phoenician, Carthaginian, Roman and Visigoth hands.
It was occupied by the Moors in 711AD. It gets its name from the Spanish version of an Arabic name given to the area during the conquest.
It came under Spanish control in 1462 as the Moors were driven out of Spain.
In 1501, Isabella I of Castile issued a Royal Warrant granting Gibraltar the coat of arms that it still uses today.
In 1704, Anglo-Dutch forces captured Gibraltar from Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession on behalf of the Habsburg claim to the Spanish throne. The territory was ceded to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.
It gained its current status as a British Overseas Territory in 2002.
Since it fell under British control, Spain has continued to push its territorial claims over Gibraltar. And although the diplomatic spats of recent decades have thankfully replaced the sieges and military assaults of previous centuries, the Spanish desire to see Gibraltar become part of Spain again remains undiminished.
To respond to the Spanish claims, a sovereignty referendum was held on 10 September 1967, in which voters were asked whether they wished to either pass under Spanish sovereignty, or remain under British sovereignty, with institutions of self-government. The voter turnout was 100% with 99.64% voting to remain under British sovereignty.
The first National Day was held on 10 September 1992, the 25th anniversary of the referendum.
How is Gibraltar Day Celebrated?
The official Gibraltar National Day events begin with a children's fancy dress competition held at the Parliament building in Main Street, followed by a street party in John Mackintosh Square.
The main event of the day is the Freedom of the city Ceremony where the Mayor recites the names of the recipients of the Gibraltar Medallion of Honour and then reads the Gibraltar National Day Declaration.
A tradition since National Day began was to release 30,000 red and white balloons, representing the population. This has now been stopped as the plastic in the balloons is seen as a threat to marine wildlife.
The official celebrations are then followed by live music, aerial displays and family fun activities.
The day draws to a close with a fireworks display and a rock concert.
- Schedule of events for National Day from Visit Gibraltar