Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula bordering Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar dominates the landscape, and just at the end of it lives approximately 32,000 people, known as Gibraltarians. Gibraltar’s modern history dates back past 1704 when the Anglo-Dutch forces captured the country from Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession. In the Treaty of Utrecht, the territory was ceded to Great Britain in 1713. Over several centuries, Spain, France and other countries have attempted to capture Gibraltar from the British because of its strategic location. During World War II, Gibraltar played a critical part in the Royal Navy’s strategy because of its placement in the Mediterranean Sea. The “Strait of Gibraltar” is only 8.9 miles wide and is the only way to enter the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. It remains strategically important because half of the world’s oversea trade passes through this strait!
Gibraltar uses pound, and any Gibraltar coin or banknote of the pound are issued by the Government of Gibraltar. Although Gibraltar notes are denominated in "pounds sterling", they are surprisingly not legal tener anywhere in the United Kingdom.
At the start of the first World War, Gibraltar started using banknotes due to the limited availability of silver and gold. The banknotes used were issued under the emergency wartime legislation in 1914. They continued using the banknotes ever since. The latest series was issued in 2010-2011. On this series, the Queen is featured to the center left side on the obverse of the banknotes. On the reverse, different monuments and landmarks throughout Gibraltar are highlighted.
Although Gibraltar is not technically a member of the Commonwealth, it is represented by the United Kingdom and was granted Associate membership of the Commonwealth in 2004. This explains why Queen Elizabeth, II and the crown are featured on their banknotes and embedded in their culture.
The Queen has been a prominent part of Gibraltar’s history from afar, however has only visited the territories once. About 65 years ago Queen Elizabeth II visited Gibraltar on May 10th, 1954. She visited just one year after being coronated as Queen. She was accompanied by her husband, Prince Phillip, and their two children Prince Charles and Princess Anne. They stayed in the country for two days. As she was leaving, Queen Elizabeth II summarized the connection between Gibraltar and England stating, “This occasion may be regarded as a landmark in your history and it indicates a determination to go forward in the future in partnership and in amity for the good government and sure safekeeping of the Colony and Fortress of Gibraltar.”
The Queen participated in the Gibraltar Diamond Jubilee Flotilla on June 4th, 2012. The festivities ended with The National Anthem being performed by the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir, and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as fireworks from the Tower bridge. This was to commemorate the accession of Queen Elizabeth II on February 6th, 1952.