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History of the Maltese in Gibraltar: Wikis

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Maltese Gibraltarians
Flag of Malta Flag of Gibraltar
The flags of Malta and Gibraltar.
Regions with significant populations
 Gibraltar
Languages

English, Spanish, Maltese, Llanito

Religion

Roman Catholic

Related ethnic groups

Maltese people

Gibraltar
Tipos de Gibraltar.jpg

This article is part of the series:
Culture of Gibraltar



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A Maltese community has existed in Gibraltar since shortly after the British conquest in 1704. Gibraltar, Malta and Cyprus were the three stepping stones whereby Great Britain controlled the Mediterranean and the vital route to the Suez Canal and thence to India. When the British conquered Gibraltar, the majority of the inhabitants fled and sought refuge principally in the nearby Spanish town of San Roque, leaving behind a place to be taken by immigrants, mostly from Malta and Genoa. Immigration from neighboring Spanish towns soon followed giving the colony a very cosmopolitan population. Years of coexistence and intermarriage on the colony soon led to a coalescence of Maltese, Italian and Andalusian culture, preserving the Mediterranean and Catholic uniqueness of the colony despite centuries of British occupation.

Contents

Colonialism

Gibraltar prospered by the arrival of 19th century trade with Africa and the presence of the British Fleet. This prosperity attracted immigrants from neighbouring Mediterranean lands and in 1885 there were about 1,000 Maltese people living on The Rock. Early in the twentieth century the British undertook vast naval works to make the colony practically impregnable. The base in Gibraltar was to prove its strategic value in the two world wars. It was only to be expected that, given the common cultural bond between Malta and Gibraltar, some Maltese would be lured by the prospect of lucrative employment there.

Maltese in Gibraltar

By 1912 the total number of Maltese living in Gibraltar was not above 700. Many worked in the dockyard and others operated businesses which were usually ancillary to the dockyard. However, the economy of Gibraltar was not capable of absorbing a large number of immigrants from Malta and by 1912 the number of Maltese was already in decline as they returned to their homeland. Eventually those who stayed in Gibraltar became very much involved in the economic and social life of the colony, most of them also being staunch supporters of links with Great Britain. The situation in Malta was very different, where a rising sense of nationalism resulted in the eventual establishment of a Maltese republic.

Notable Gibraltarians of Maltese Descent

See also

References

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