I'm Anpu and I'm a third-year student studying Geography at UCL.
One of the UK’s fourteen Overseas Territories, Gibraltar has been under British control since 1704, and remains the subject of ongoing tension between the UK and Spain, which also claims it. Today Gibraltar is an affluent center of offshore finance, online gambling, and data management. It also retains its connection to the British military, with modern bases wedged at the base of the famous Rock of Gibraltar, whose military impregnability is the reason this polity exists at all. We went on a weeklong field course examining this unique place, with a focus on its political geography and the way that it can inform our understandings of diplomacy, territory, and political geology in today’s world.
The field class was inspired by the 2016 Brexit Referendum, which called for the UK to leave the EU. Inside the EU but outside the Schengen Area and the Customs Union, 96% of Gibraltarians voted to remain, because the EU provided a venue for diffusing tensions with Spain over UK sovereignty. Now Gibraltar confronts the possibility of returning to an ‘island garrison’ state of being, as it soon will be without the EU to maintain a relatively open border with Spain