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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Peter CaruanaAlfred Holmes
Joe BossanoPaul IsolaAdolfo Canepa
Some notable Gibraltarians:
Peter Caruana • Alfred Holmes
Joe Bossano • Paul Isola • Adolfo Canepa
Total population
About 40,000
Regions with significant populations
 Gibraltar 23,757+[1]
 United Kingdom 11,830+[2]
 United States 570[2]
Andalusia Andalusia[citation needed]
Other: 905[2]

English · Spanish
Llanito (vernacular)


Christianity (mostly Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism) · Islam · Judaism · Hinduism

Related ethnic groups

Andalusian · British · Genoese · Maltese · Portuguese

Gibraltarians encircle The Rock during the tercentenary of British Gibraltar, 4 August 2004.

The Gibraltarians (colloquially Llanitos) are a cultural group native to Gibraltar, a British overseas territory located near the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance to the Mediterranean sea.



Gibraltarians are a racial and cultural fusion of the many immigrants who came to the Rock of Gibraltar over three hundred years. They are the descendants of economic migrants that came to Gibraltar following its capture by Britain in 1704. All but 70 of the existing population of 4,000 fled to the surrounding Campo de Gibraltar.[3] The few Spaniards who remained left in 1727 when Gibraltar was subjected to its second Spanish siege.

Most Gibraltarian surnames are typically of Mediterranean extraction. The exact breakdown is as follows:

Rank Origin Proportion (%) of family names
on 1995 electoral register[4]
1 British 27%
2 Spanish (excluding Minorcan) 24%
3 Italian 19%
4 Portuguese 11%
5 Maltese 8%
6 Jewish 3%
7 Minorcan 2%
8 Other 4%
9 Unassigned 2%

Genoese and Catalans (who arrived in the fleet with Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt, possibly some two hundred in all), became the core of Gibraltar's first civilian population under Habsburg Gibraltar. Sephardic Jews from Tetouan in Morocco, who had previously been suppliers to the English territory of Tangier, started supplying fresh produce to Gibraltar from 1704.

In 1728 the settlement of Jews in Gibraltar was such that by 1755 they formed 50% of the 1,300 civilian population together with the Genoese. In 1888 the construction of the new harbour at Gibraltar started in order to provide an additional coaling station on the British routes to the East. This resulted in the importation of Maltese labour both to assist in its construction, and to replace striking Genoese labour in the old coaling lighter-based industry. Maltese, and Portuguese people formed the majority of this new population. Other groups include Minorcans (due to the links between both British possessions during the 18th century; immigration begun in that century and continued even after Minorca was returned to Spain in 1802 by the Treaty of Amiens[5][6]), Sardinians, Sicilians and other Italians, French, Germans, and the British.

Immigration from Spain and intermarriage with Spaniards from the surrounding Spanish towns was a constant feature of Gibraltar's history until General Francisco Franco closed the border with Gibraltar, cutting off many Gibraltarians from their relatives on the Spanish side of the frontier. The Spanish socialist government reopened the land frontier, but other restrictions remain in place.


Gibraltarians are British, albeit with a distinct identity of their own.

noun: Gibraltarian(s) adjective: Gibraltar

Rank Nationality Proportion (%) of the population (2001)[7]
1 Gibraltarian 83.22%
2 Other British 9.56%
3 Moroccan 3.50%
4 Spanish 1.19%
5 Other 1.54%
6 Other EU 1.00%

Estimates for 2008 show a small decrease in the proportion of Gibraltarians (81.12%), a significant increase in the ratio of "Other British" (11.09%) and a small increase in the ratio of "Other" (7.79%). No further breakdown is provided in this figure.[1]


Gibraltarians, 1856.


Gibraltarians' main religion is Christianity, with the majority of Gibraltarians belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. Other Christian denominations include the Church of England, the Gibraltar Methodist Church,[8] Church of Scotland, various Pentecostal and independent churches mostly influenced by the House Church and Charismatic movements, as well as a Plymouth Brethren congregation. There is also a ward of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Jehovah's Witnesses. There are also a number of Hindu Indians, a Moroccan Muslim population, members of the Bahá'í Faith[9] and a long-established Jewish community.[10][11]

Rank Religion Proportion (%) of Gibraltarians[7]
1 Roman Catholic 78.09%
2 Church of England 6.98%
3 Muslim 4.01%
4 Other Christian 3.21%
5 None 2.86%
6 Jewish 2.12%
7 Hindu 1.79%
8 Other or unspecified 0.94%


English (used in schools and for official purposes) and Spanish are the main languages of Gibraltar. Most Gibraltarians converse in Llanito, an Andalusian Spanish based creole. It consists of an eclectic mix of Andalusian Spanish and British English as well as languages such as Italian of the Genoese variety, Maltese, Portuguese and Haketia. Among more educated Gibraltarians, it also typically involves code-switching to English. Arabic is spoken by the Moroccan community, just like Hindi and Sindhi are spoken by the Indian community of Gibraltar. Maltese is still spoken by some families of Maltese descent.


  1. ^ a b Abstract of Statistics 2008
  2. ^ a b c "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved 2009-06-21. 
  3. ^ Gold, Peter (2005). Gibraltar: British or Spanish?. Routledge. p. 2. 
  4. ^ Edward G. Archer (2006). "Ethnic factors". Routledge. p. 36. ISBN 9780415347969. 
  5. ^ Jackson, William (1990). The Rock of the Gibraltarians. A History of Gibraltar (second edition ed.). Grendon, Northamptonshire, UK: Gibraltar Books. p. 225. ISBN 0-948466-14-6. :
    The open frontier helped to increase the Spanish share, and naval links with Minorca produced the small Minorcan contingent.
  6. ^ Edward G. Archer (2006). Gibraltar, identity and empire. Routledge. pp. 42-43. ISBN 9780415347969. 
  7. ^ a b Census of Gibraltar 2001
  8. ^ "Gibraltar Methodist Church". The Methodist Church. Retrieved 2007-10-30. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "People". Official Government of Gibraltar London website. 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-06. 
  11. ^ Jacobs, Joseph. "Gibraltar". Retrieved 2007-11-06. 

See also


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary




  1. Plural form of Gibraltarian.


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