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The frontier has not always been marked by a barrier. In 1909 Britain was aware of the need to reduce the number of sentries and built a fence 7 ft (c. 2m) high, however there was suspicion about the motives for the fence.
Spain closed the border to vehicles in 1969 and again completely later on in the year following heightened tensions with Britain as a result of the disputed status of Gibraltar. The border was not fully reopened until February 1985.
In 2013, due to growing tensions between Gibraltar (backed by Britain) and Spain, the Spanish border control began to search every passing car, creating queues on both sides of the border which were several hours long.