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The Gibraltarians (colloquially Llanitos), are a Southern European nation and cultural group native to Gibraltarmarker, a British overseas territory located near the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsulamarker at the entrance to the Mediterranean seamarker.


Gibraltarians are a racial and cultural fusion of the many immigrants who came to the Rock of Gibraltarmarker over three hundred years. They are the descendants of economic migrants that came to Gibraltar after the majority of the Spanish population left in 1704. The few Spaniards who remained in Gibraltar in August 1704 left in 1727 when Gibraltar was subjected to its second Spanish siegemarker.

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

Rank Origin Proportion (%) of family names

on 1995 electoral register
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%

Genoesemarker (who arrived to work for the garrison and later went on to form the basis of Gibraltar's civilian police force) 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 Tetouanmarker in Morocco, who had previously been suppliers to the English territory of Tangiermarker, 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), 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)
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.


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 Churchmarker, Church of Scotlandmarker, 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 Moroccanmarker Muslim population, members of the Bahá'í Faith and a long-established Jewish community.

Rank Religion Proportion (%) of Gibraltarians
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 Maltese, Portuguese, Italian of the Genoese variety 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. :
  2. Census of Gibraltar 2001
  3. Abstract of Statistics 2008

See also

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