Gibraltar. British troops being inspected on the occasion of Queen Victoria’s birthday. Original antique print published 24th. June 1854, in the Illustrated London News.
Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located at the southern tip of the Iberian Peninsula. It has an area of 2.6 sq miles and is bordered to the north by Spain. The landscape is dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar at the foot of which is a densely populated town area, home to over 30,000 people, primarily Gibraltarians. It shares a maritime border with Morocco. In 1704, Anglo-Dutch forces captured Gibraltar from Spain during the War of the Spanish Succession on behalf of the Habsburg claim to the Spanish throne. The territory was ceded to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. During World War II it was an important base for the Royal Navy as it controlled the entrance and exit to the Mediterranean Sea, which is only 8 miles wide at this naval choke point. It remains strategically important, with half the world’s seaborne trade passing through the strait. Today Gibraltar’s economy is based largely on tourism, online gambling, financial services and cargo ship refuelling. The sovereignty of Gibraltar is a point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations because Spain asserts a claim to the territory. Gibraltarians rejected proposals for Spanish sovereignty in a 1967 referendum and, in a 2002 referendum, the idea of shared sovereignty was also rejected.
The first issue of The Illustrated London News appeared on Saturday, 14 May 1842, timed to report on the young Queen Victoria‘s first masquerade ball. Its 16 pages and 32 wood engravings covered topics such as the war in Afghanistan, a train crash in France, a survey of the candidates for the US presidential election, extensive crime reports, theatre and book reviews, and a list of births, marriages and deaths. By 1863 The Illustrated London News was selling more than 300,000 copies every week, enormous figures in comparison to other British newspapers of the time. The ILN (as it was affectionately known) appeared weekly until 1971, then less frequently thereafter. Publication ceased in 2003.