Gibraltar sovereignty referendum, 1967

Gibraltar sovereignty referendum, 1967

Gibraltar's first sovereignty referendum [cite book |first=Joseph |last=Garcia |year=1994 |title=Gibraltar - The Making of a People |publisher=Medsun |location=Gibraltar Dr Garcia graduated with a first class honours degree in history and obtained a doctorate on the political and constitutional development of Gibraltar.] was held on 10 September 1967, in which Gibraltarian voters were asked whether they wished to either pass under Spanish sovereignty, or remain under British sovereignty, with institutions of self-government.


The Spanish claim had little chance of being accepted by Gibraltarians, even having promised that Gibraltarians could keep their British citizenship and the town would retain a special status within Spain. At that time, such a claim was being made by an extreme right-wing dictatorship which had arisen from a bloody civil war (neutral but aligned with the Axis Powers in the Second World War) which did not allow its own citizens the civil liberties that the British government guaranteed to the Gibraltarians. Furthermore, the Spanish economy, though beginning to grow, was still very backward (especially compared to the living standard the Gibraltarians had achieved), while at the same time working class people across the frontier were living in a state of great poverty. Economic considerations aside, the idea of Spain participating in any way the sovereignty or government of The Rock was (and remains) unacceptable to nearly all Gibraltarians.


Not surprisingly, Gibraltarians ignored Spanish pressure and voted overwhelmingly by 12,138 to 44 to remain under British sovereignty. The Spanish government achieved a diplomatic triumph in the United Nations (with resolution 2353 stating that "the holding of the referendum [...] to be a contravention of the provisions of General Assembly resolution 2231 (XXI)"). This has been ignored and as a result of the referendum work on a constitution started.Another result of the Spanish campaign was the emergence of a movement for the integration of Gibraltar with the United Kingdom. In February, the Integration with Britain Party, hitherto a “pressure group”, formed itself into a political party under the leadership of Robert Peliza.

The closing of the border was a severe shock for the Gibraltarians, who became aware that across the frontier there was a hostile and threatening foreign power. The closure of the frontier would last thirteen years and was considered by the Gibraltarians as the last in a series of sieges held by Spain to attempt to secure the surrender of the town.


ee also

* Gibraltar Constitution Order 1969
* History of Gibraltar

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