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Former good article nomineeGibraltar was a Geography and places good articles nominee, but did not meet the good article criteria at the time. There are suggestions below for improving the article. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
July 18, 2010Good article nomineeNot listed


Source discussion[edit]

Pronunciation of "Gibraltar"[edit]

At the risk of sparking yet another discussion on San Roque:

I disagree with this edit and this revert.

This article is written in British English, yes, but that does not mean that it is solely aimed at British English speakers to the exclusion of others.

The page that the text links to and the tooltips over the letters give an explicit pronunciation system. In that system, /ər/ is the sound at the end of "letter" and /ə/ is the sound at the beginning of "about". You can see that explanation if you hover over the letters. In many English dialects, including British Received Pronunciation, these are identical (or, as near as makes no difference), but in many other places - including most North American, Scottish, Irish and, yes, Westcountry dialects - they are not. We have to respect these differences in our pronunciation guides.

In any case, as a rule, non-rhotic speakers will often leave the syllable-final /r/ off a word even if they are explicitly told that it is required or are speaking another language. If they're being told that it's an English word, as here, they're going to default to their native dialect rules. Kahastok talk 16:48, 6 January 2019 (UTC)

My preference would be to use the Oxford dictionary pronounciation which is "dʒɪˈbrɔːltə".[1] Perhaps an appropriate compromise would be the Macmillan version "dʒɪˈbrɔːltə(r)" [2] which is inclusive of rhotic speakers. Tammbeck (talk) 20:18, 6 January 2019 (UTC)
In the absence of further contributions I will implement the compromise proposal, if there are no objections. Tammbeck (talk) 16:22, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
I think you'll find it not much of a compromise since {{IPAc-en|dʒ|ɪ|ˈ|b|r|ɔː|l|t|ə(r)}} just comes out as /ɪˈbrɔːltər/.
The help page that it links to is fairly explicit that it "is best practice for editors" to mark rhotics in these cases - while yes, acknowledging that in practice if often won't be:

Note that place names are not generally exempted from being transcribed in this abstracted system, so rules such as the above must be applied in order to recover the local pronunciation. Examples include place names in much of England ending ‑ford, which although locally pronounced [‑fəd] are transcribed /‑fərd/. This is best practice for editors. However, readers should be aware that not all editors may have followed this consistently, so for example if /‑fəd/ is encountered for such a place name, it should not be interpreted as a claim that the /r/ would be absent even in a rhotic dialect.

I think this is the best idea. I'm happy for you to put the compromise in - but as I say, it isn't really a compromise since what is shown to the reader doesn't change. Kahastok talk 18:44, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
Many thanks for your input. I have implemented the proposed compromise as discussed. Tammbeck (talk) 18:58, 7 January 2019 (UTC)
Gibraltar is pronounced phonetically. According to "Pronunciation" in the MOS page on writing the lead, pronunciation should only be shown for foreign names whose pronunciations are not well known or very unusual English words. Since neither applies here, I suggest we remove it. TFD (talk) 22:50, 20 January 2019 (UTC)
I think it's useful to be able to compare and contrast the English pronunciation with the Spanish pronunciation. Gibraltar is after all effectively (but not formally) a bilingual territory.Tammbeck (talk) 10:54, 21 January 2019 (UTC)

@Kahastok and Tammbeck: mind if I take the discussion up again? Why should we use {{IPAc-en}} in a different way from how it is used in thousands of other articles, and differently from what is stated at the help? After all, I am pretty sure non-rhotic speakers would not pronounce that final /r/ anyway, no matter how you represent it. In any case, this is something that you either discuss for the system itself or just don’t, you cannot have a different usage according to case-to-case talks. Italy.png イヴァンスクルージ九十八(会話)Italy.png 12:47, 20 May 2019 (UTC)

I agree. There's no need for compromise here; the non-optional r should be there, not just because it is everywhere else in Wikipedia, but because it's explicitly mandated by the Manual of Style (MOS:RHOTIC) and makes sense. The R is there for everybody, even though in some dialects it gets elided so that the word sounds the same as if the R were not there. The people who speak those dialects know to do that. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 16:39, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
Since no one else replied, I changed the transcription following standard usage. Italy.png イヴァンスクルージ九十八(会話)Italy.png 11:40, 25 May 2019 (UTC)

Maritime border with Morocco[edit]

Out of curiosity, any authoritative source backing up this statement currently in the lead (and if possible explaining it)? It's not like the Strait area is precisely a very settled thing in terms of maritime borders (but precisely because of this?), if the Ceuta's and Gibraltar's territorial waters are admitted (that's one POV), Gibraltar's would not border Morocco's. Not to say that in any case Gibraltar would also share a maritime border with Spain aside from that alleged maritime border with Morocco.--Asqueladd (talk) 15:11, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

A source with a map (showing no less than the british version of the maritime borders: that is, that Gibraltarian territorial waters border Spanish territorial waters as well as international waters, but no Moroccan territorial waters) for more information: [3]. The statement "It shares a maritime border with Morrocco" [sic] was introduced in the lead by on 14 July 2018, providing no source.--Asqueladd (talk) 15:33, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
FWIW my understanding is that the British claim three nautical miles, though would assert a right to claim more. A brief search online shows other sources that accord with the El País article linked, but none that imply a Gibraltar-Morocco maritime border - even if we extend Gibraltar's claim out to 12 nautical miles.
As you note, there are also disputes between Spain and Morocco over their maritime boundary in the Strait.
So I would also be interested in seeing if any sources are available to support this claim. Kahastok talk 18:08, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
Asqueladd, thanks for pointing this out. I searched Google and Google books, and found nothing to support this. On the other hand, one can very easily find many sources and maps showing the territorial waters claimed by Gibraltar, and none of them come anywhere near Morocco's - only Spain's and international waters. It appears to have been nonsense inserted by an anonymous IP editor, so I've removed it. --IamNotU (talk) 20:07, 5 April 2019 (UTC)

Add the position of Spain, as it claims its sovereignty, and that fact affects the present and future of Gibraltar. Add also the neutral position of the United Nations.[edit]

Good Morning, As I wrote in the title, I would like to put the Spanish point of view, I find that the page is politicized in favor of the United Kingdom. For example, in the first paragraph it states that Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory, having to go down to the twenty-fourth paragraph to see that the UN included it in its list of Non-Self-Governing Territories pending decolonization. This fact gives more visibility to one point of view than another, omitting that Spain also considers Gibraltar as a colony. By the way, the term colony is omitted in the article, I do not know if it is appropriate, but they are things like these that under my point of view give the article a biased appearance.

Following in the same line, in the third paragraph, it is said that Spain claims Gibraltar, but that 2 referendums were made, rejecting by popular majority joining Spain. But it is omitted that these referendums were not legally recognized either by the UN or by Spain, since it is based on several principles, such as the General Assembly resolutions 2231 (XXI) [43] and 2353 (XXII) and it is given a status of self-government to the Gibraltarians, of which they do not possess, being a colony. They also find the principle of the unity and territoriality of a country, in this case Spain. There is more talk about referendums in the history section, but there is no talk of the lack of legality, "legitimizing" by omission for the casual and uninformed reader, who will read what is written and will think that the referendums were legal.

In addition, I find that the issue of referendums is given too much importance when included in the introduction, instead of that there are facts, such as the recognition of the UN as a colony to Gibraltar, which are much more important, since they condition the referendums that have taken place. and what there may be in the future.

There are more facts about the article that I do not agree with, such as the surface of Gibraltar, saying it is 6.7 km, but there are no mentions to the UN that officially recognizes 5.8, or to Spain, which recognizes 4.8 km, since it does not recognize as English territory the Isthmus, since according to the Hispanic country it was illegally occupied after the Treaty of Utrecht, and there are no mentions to this fact in the article. The article should include the 3 points of view, the English, administrative power, the UN, the most "objective" and without political points of view, and the one of Spain, the claimant power. As it is now I find that only the English vision is given a voice.

There are more things that could be discussed, but I will finish this message here, since with the aforementioned there is debate material, and once that is resolved, we can proceed to discuss the rest. Hombre Gancho (talk) 11:12, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

  • @Hombre Gancho: There's a separate article for that, Status of Gibraltar, where everything you want to add already exists. This article is about Gibraltar, its people etc as it is today, only, not the disputed status of the territory, which is why multiple editors have reverted your edits on this article, and will continue to revert them. - Tom | Thomas.W talk 12:04, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
The problem is that all parts of the text you wrote, and all parts of your message above, treat pro-Spanish arguments as entirely factual and give them a high prominence in this article.
This is not an article about the status of Gibraltar. It's an article about Gibraltar as a whole. If it were an article on the status of Gibraltar, your proposal that it treat Spain's polemic as neutral fact would still be entirely inappropriate. Kahastok talk 13:56, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I do not agree with you. It does not make sense to mention two referendums in the introduction but do not say that they are not internationally recognized. Or that you have to go down to paragraph 24 to find out what is due (the fact that it is on the list of Non-Self-Governing Territory). Why is referendums more important than Gibraltar's status? Especially when the referendums depend a lot on the status of the region to have recognition. Both are important, but one can not be ignored, since in doing so, referendums are legitimized, when they do not.

If it is an article about Gibraltar as a whole, the term colony should be added in the introduction. Not only does the UN recognize Gibraltar as a colony, the European Union as well. As long as those organizations recognize it that way, referendums will never be recognized. It is a very important fact for it to be omitted, considering that there are claims for its sovereignty.

Kahastok, why do you say my proposal would be inappropriate? I'm just calling things by their name, Gibraltar overseas territory as recognized by the UK, and colony, as recognized by Spain and the UN; and everything that derives, sovereignty, territory, economy ... Hombre Gancho (talk) 18:34, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

  • Gibraltar isn't a colony, and would have been removed from the UN list many years ago if it hadn't been for very stubborn resistance from Spain. Which means that it's seen as a colony ONLY by Spain, and this isn't "Spainopedia". When Spain hands over Ceuta, Melilla and the islands off the coast to the North African countries that have long claimed those territories as theirs the Spanish claims on Gibraltar might get more support, but as it is no one outside Spain gives a rat's hindquarters about the Spanish claim. Spain ceded Gibraltar to the UK for eternal times long ago, and that's something Spain cannot change without the support of the people who live in Gibraltar, and they do not want to become Spanish. And even the UN recognises that changing sovereignty requires the support of the people who live there. Whether you like it or not. - Tom | Thomas.W talk 18:53, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
I think there is adequate discussion of Spain's claims in the article. While sovereignty is important, readers also want to know about the history, natural geography, who lives there, what languages they speak, how it is governed etc. The reason it is not called a colony is that both the UK and UN have replaced that term with British overseas territory and non self governing territory respectively. I agree though that the mention of referenda is one-sided and do not agree that the UN requires the support of the residents of Gibraltar to decide its future. That's a disputed issue. Spanish speaking countries do care about the issue because of other unresolved disputes over Puerto Rico, Guantanamo Bay, the Falklands and parts of Guyana and Belize. But otherwise the decolonization process has been a minor issue in the world for decades. TFD (talk) 19:54, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

(ec) The United Nations does not call Gibraltar a "colony". And as a rule, it doesn't recognise anything as anything. Nor is the United Nations generally in the business of recognising referendums. Just about every referendum ever held has gone unrecognised by the United Nations.

Even if neither of those points were true, it is worth remembering that the United Nations is not some inherently neutral body. Shoot, the United Nations has fought wars in the past. It has a POV that may or may not be significant in any given situation.

Why would your text be inappropriate? Because as I said, it repeatedly and unquestioningly accepts pro-Spanish talking points as fact and in Wikipedia's voice, giving them vastly undue prominence and treating them as though they were neutral. Instead of a neutral point of view, you propose to use an explicitly pro-Spanish point of view. This is unacceptable. Kahastok talk 19:57, 7 July 2019 (UTC)

The reason I find the reference to the referenda to be appropriate and neutral is that it isn't there to argue that the UK is right and Spain is wrong. It's there to answer the question that any reader upon finding out there's a dispute over who should control a place would ask: What do the people there think? Are there factions, constantly fighting like Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, or do they consider themselves an oppressed people like Estonians under the USSR, or is everything how they want it to be, like in Taiwan? The legal effect of the referenda (and there wasn't any -- nothing changed) isn't the point; it's a poll of the people.

If there is an identifiable international position on Spain's claim to Gibraltar that can be discerned from UN resolutions and succinctly stated, I would support adding that information to the article, summarized by one short sentence in the lead. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 01:13, 8 July 2019 (UTC)

Who "the people" actually are is disputed. According to the Gibraltar, the residents who are British citizens are the people while according to Spain the people refers to the people of Spain, of which Gibraltar is part. Gibraltar is on the UN list of non self governing territories because the UK put it there and is committed to resolving the dispute. The UK cannot keep Gibraltar under the UN treaty nor can it provide formal independence under the 1713 treaty. I think that the presentation of the referenda is misleading because it presupposes that the Spanish position is wrong. It may or may not be, but until there is academic consensus one way or the other, we cannot come down on one side. TFD (talk) 04:52, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
@Thomas.W I have reviewed and the UN does not call Gibraltar a colony, but a Non-Self-governing Territory. But it is under its special decolonization committee, whose mission is to examine the situation of the Non-Self-Governing Territories under its supervision and to guarantee the application of the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. Although it is not directly called colony, being under a process of decolonization, it is recognized as a colony. I attached a page of the UN. Ceuta, Melilla and the islands of the coast are not colonies, however much they are claimed by Morocco. And this is how they were already part of Spain long before Morocco was created. The mention of Western Sahara would have been more suitable. And I take the question of Western Sahara to make similarities with Gibraltar. Western Sahara is currently pending decolonization, and although the administering power is Spain, it is occupied by Morocco, who allows a referendum of self-determination, but only of the Moroccan colonist population that moved Sahrawi autochthonous people. This, according to the UN and international law, can not be done (only the original inhabitants, that is, the Sahrawis) are entitled. And it is similar to what happens in Gibraltar, but with 300 years in between. I would like you to pass the UN sources that say that the support of the Gibraltarians is required to change their sovereignty. By the way, I have written here, I am not sure if I have to write below what I want to answer or at the end of everything. If this did not belong in this part of the text, apologies.Hombre Gancho (talk) 14:40, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
I could point out that you are incorrect on multiple points but that would be immaterial per WP:NOTFORUM. The purpose of the talk page is not for debate. The UN has never spoken of colonies, these territories were considered dependent territories and were named by states upon joining the UN in 1947. The reason why Gibraltar was listed was the UK chose to do so when it joined the UN in 1947. Spain chose not to list Ceuta and Melila. And that's it, it was down to the choice of individual countries. They are now termed a Non-Self-governing Territory, which of itself is a misnomer as it does not refer to whether territories are self-governing (most of those listed are). To infer this means they are classed by the UN as a colony is simply WP:OR and WP:SYN, since this is not what the very source quoted says - it is a conclusion you have inferred. So I and others object to your proposed edit, it is decidedly POV in nature and not one supported by sources. WCMemail 15:39, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
To add, the very fact that they are considered by the C24 confirms that the people of Gibraltar are recognised as a people. Were they not, it would be outside of the remit of the C24. WCMemail 15:41, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
I do not think it follows that since Gibraltar is listed as a non self governing territory, that means the inhabitants are recognized as a people. That wasn't the case in Hong Kong or Goa. TFD (talk) 17:30, 8 July 2019 (UTC)
Technically it does, territories without a people aren't considered by the C24, e.g. South Georgia. The role of the C24 is to represent the people of dependent territories, something it has consistently failed to do. WCMemail 15:38, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
It refers to ""territories whose peoples have not yet attained a full measure of self-government." But it does not say that those people are actually resident there. But the people of the territory are not necessarily the settler population, as for example in the European colonies in India and China. All of these territories were returned to India and China, not made independent. The Panama Canal Zone is another example. TFD (talk) 23:42, 9 July 2019 (UTC)
I think your inferences go a long way beyond what your sources can sustain. The people of Gibraltar are the people of Gibraltar.
The issue more broadly is that you're assuming that the C24 list is based on logical and consistent system of objectively-judged criteria. That's what was intended - but it couldn't much further from the reality. As with much of the UN's business, inclusion the C24 list is in practice based purely on political considerations, with only lip service paid to the principles it is supposed to uphold.
The most obvious example of this is Western Sahara, which is on the list because it is supposed to have "not yet attained a full measure of self-government" - but formally (and contrary to the incorrect assertion above) has no "administering power" at all. Listen to the C24, and you would assume that Western Sahara is in some kind of anarchy - not governing itself, not governed by anyone else either. There is not even an attempt at even internal consistency here. But the countries on the C24 want it on the list, so it's on the list. Kahastok talk 21:57, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
According to Spain, Gibraltar "was converted to a military base and the inhabitants were expelled....[It] rejects the notion that the interests of the inhabitants of Gibraltar are paramount because its interpretation of Article 73 of the UN Charter is that the reference to “the inhabitants of these territories” was to “indigenous populations who had their roots in the territory”, and this does not apply to the present inhabitants of Gibraltar." (Peter Gold (2009) Gibraltar at the United Nations: Caught Between a Treaty, the Charter and the “Fundamentalism” of the Special Committee, Diplomacy & Statecraft, 20:4, 697-715)[4]
I don't know what relevance Western Sahara has. The administering state (Spain) has no power to govern it or to dispose of it according to its obligations under the UN. It remains on the list because the UN does not recognize its annexation by Morocco.
I am not saying that you have to recognize Spain's position or that it is necessarily correct or even reasonable. I am just saying that the current reference to the referenda without mentioning Spain's position is a violation of weight: "Neutrality requires that each article or other page in the mainspace fairly represents all significant viewpoints that have been published by reliable sources...."
TFD (talk) 22:35, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
I don't get that assertion, what we currently have is a statement of facts. It simply doesn't comment or discredit Spain's position, so I don't get how you have inferred it presupposes that the Spanish position is wrong. WCMemail 09:33, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
The implication was that there was nothing controversial about the referenda and therefore the results were decisive in the determining the legitimacy of the British position. In other cases where there is a question whether referenda were legitimate, we always mention it. For example, the 2014 Crimean status referendum.
Why do you object to including the Spanish position, other than you consider it to be wrong?
TFD (talk) 15:37, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
There's a separate article about the Spanish claim and the disputed status (Status of Gibraltar, which is already mentioned, and linked to, further up in this discussion...) where that material belongs. This article is about Gibraltar as such, not about the dispute between Spain and the UK. - Tom | Thomas.W talk 16:19, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
In that case, why mention the referenda at all instead of leaving it in the Status article. After all, the referenda would never have been held if no dispute existed. TFD (talk) 19:27, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
There is no such implication, either that there was nothing controversial or the results were decisive in determing the legitimacy of the British position. It is merely a statement of fact.
Your comparison with the Crimea referendum is specious, there is no suggestion that either referendum was not conducted fairly or democratically.
Have you stopped beating your wife yet? WCMemail 16:32, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

─────────────────────────The Spanish position is that elgible votes were not allowed to vote while inligible voters were, according to their understanding of who the legitimate inhabitants are. That would be undemocratic, which of course was the accusation made in the Crimean referendum. Again, I am not defending the Spanish position merely stating that per policy it should be mentioned. I have posted a question about this at NPOVN. TFD (talk) 19:27, 11 July 2019 (UTC)

I find it ironic that you think putting that in the article would push the POV balance toward the Spanish side.
The argument you're assigning to the Spanish relies on there being a significant living population of 320-year-old townspeople demanding a vote in Gibraltar's elections. Which as a concept is so obviously ridiculous that anyone reading it is going to conclude that the Spanish government is talking out of its hat and dismiss their POV out of hand. Kahastok talk 19:46, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Can you please quote the section of policy or guidelines that you are relying on. TFD (talk) 19:55, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
What I am saying is that you've completely misunderstood this. The Spanish government doesn't make the argument you assign to them. If they tried, it wouldn't persuade anyone. It would just make them look silly.
So, in terms of policy, I would suggest that putting it into the article would break all three of WP:NPOV, WP:V and WP:NOR. Because what we would effectively be doing is inventing a straw man and assigning it to one side of a political dispute. Kahastok talk 20:18, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Sorry, but that was not my interpretation of the Spanish position, I was quoting an article by Peter Gold. Anyway, based on your reply, I probably did not phrase my question well. Could you please quote the section of policy or guidelines that you are relying on. I cannot find anything that says views should be omitted because they are "obviously ridiculous," so perhaps you could tell me where to find it. I feel particularly embarrassed since you have found the rule in three places: NPOV, V and NOR. Maybe my word search is broken. TFD (talk) 20:43, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
Are you claiming that the second part of this edit quotes an article by Peter Gold?
Spain does not claim the existence of of a significant population 320-year olds as you argue. Of course they don't. And your quote from Peter Gold above doesn't claim they do. Kahastok talk 21:00, 11 July 2019 (UTC)
No, that summarized an article by Peter Gold who wrote that according to Spain, Gibraltar "was converted to a military base and the inhabitants were expelled....[It] rejects the notion that the interests of the inhabitants of Gibraltar are paramount because its interpretation of Article 73 of the UN Charter is that the reference to “the inhabitants of these territories” was to “indigenous populations who had their roots in the territory”, and this does not apply to the present inhabitants of Gibraltar." (Peter Gold (2009) Gibraltar at the United Nations: Caught Between a Treaty, the Charter and the “Fundamentalism” of the Special Committee, Diplomacy & Statecraft, 20:4, 697-715)[36] Presumably the allegedly expelled persons had descendants.
I don't know where you get the impression he is referring to 320 year old people. Maybe you could drop him a line.
TFD (talk) 15:00, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
He isn't. You have essentially synthesised such a claim by arguing:

"The Spanish position is that elgible votes were not allowed to vote while inligible voters were, according to their understanding of who the legitimate inhabitants are."

As I have pointed out on quite a few occasions now, this is not something that Spain argues and it's nothing something that Peter Gold says that Spain argues. It's a claim that you appear to have come up with on your own and assigned to the Spanish government. Kahastok talk 17:05, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
So your interpretation of the Spanish position is that the residents of Gibraltar are the legitimate inhabitants and that no legitimate inhabitants were ever expelled. Since that sounds a lot like the Gibraltar position, I am confused why there is any dispute at all. Or maybe there isn't and I have misread the sources. TFD (talk) 17:31, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
Now you're inventing positions and assigning them to me. That's not significantly more helpful. Kahastok talk 17:36, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

I find that the paragraph in the lead that mentions the referenda is neutral, because while saying the referenda went against Spain, it also says in the present tense that Spain asserts a claim, so obviously Spain didn't accept the referenda as dispositive.

The details in the history section are another matter. The chronology makes it sound like Spain asserted a claim, the residents voted against it, and that disposed of Spain's claim. (In fact, it talks about Spain closing the border, which is consistent with Spain recognizing Gibraltar as another country). If there are sources saying Spain maintained its claim in spite of the referenda, I think that ought to be mentioned at the proper place in that chronology, to maintain objectivity. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 02:11, 12 July 2019 (UTC)

I would say that that is fairly strongly implied by the fact that Spain closed the border.
Part of the problem though is that there is a lot of nuance here that is not necessarily appropriate to this article. For example, while Franco's régime disputed the existence of British sovereignty in Gibraltar, modern Spain does not.[1] I'm not sure precisely when it changed - possibly in 1975, possibly during EU accession talks in the 1980s, possibly gradually over time - but I am sure it'll be difficult to source a date. And I am also sure that dealing with this sort of detail would be far too much weight for this article. Kahastok talk 17:18, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
What about noting, "Even before [the 2002 referendum] happened it was dismissed as irrelevant by the British and Spanish governments."[5] It's not particularly excessive to mention the recognition given to referendum results. TFD (talk) 20:50, 12 July 2019 (UTC)
Except after the referendum the British Government changed it's position. I've read the article again, "The chronology makes it sound like Spain asserted a claim, the residents voted against it, and that disposed of Spain's claim." I really don't see how you can infer that from:
All I see is a neutral presentation of fact, there is no inference in what is stated. WCMemail 12:48, 13 July 2019 (UTC)


  1. ^ Spain disputes the location of the border and the extent of British sovereignty (e.g. whether it extends to airspace and territorial waters). Spain also argues that Britain should hand over its existing sovereignty. Spain does not argue that British sovereignty does not exist.
Spain's rejection of the 1967 referendum is conspicuous in its absence because this is a chronology. Histories are expected to lead up to something, and the last thing stated is the result. It reads like in response to conflict in the 1950s, the governments of Spain, UK, and Gibraltar agreed in 1967 to resolve the issue by asking the residents what they want, the residents spoke unambiguously, and that ended it and Franco's claim became history. There must be subtleties of border politics that I don't get if Spain's closing the border in response to the people saying they wanted to remain British clearly shows Spain thought the referendum was meaningless and continues to this day to think Gibraltar should be part of Spain. It would be better to include those facts explicitly so the history doesn't end with "the people have spoken." Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 20:17, 13 July 2019 (UTC)
Spain's objection is treated appropriately in the linked article on the sovereignty dispute. And really I don't see how you can make the inferences you have done so, unless with an overly active imagination to create a problem that does not in fact exist. We do not have to turn every article on Gibraltar into a treatise on the sovereignty dispute. I am minded to suggest that the better article to tackle would be the awful article on the sovereignty dispute that is basically three separate commentaries written by editors unable to collaborate. WCMemail 15:59, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
No one is saying that. The problem is that the sovereignty dispute is a major issue in Gibraltar so we should not ignore that it exists. Mentioning it does not legitimize Spain's position while ignoring it will not make it go away. We should present the topic in the same way as in reliable sources. TFD (talk) 18:07, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
And it is mentioned, with due promininence. It's the 3rd paragraph in the lede for god's sake. WCMemail 08:09, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
The lead says: The territory was ceded to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, and further down says: The sovereignty of Gibraltar is a point of contention in Anglo-Spanish relations because Spain asserts a claim to the territory. The first point is a blunt statement of POV fact that does not easily fit with the second broad non-specific point. Somebody reading the lead would conclude that Spain disputes the first statement in its entirety, which is only partly true. If the first point were changed to 1714, the details/interpretation of which are disputed by Spain, and if the two points were placed together, not separated, then the lead would flow better, would be more accurate, and would more closely adhere to what quality references say. The additional mention of the dispute further down in the article would similarly need tweaking. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 21:36, 14 July 2019 (UTC)
There isn't a POV issue at all, they're simple statements of fact. Spain asserts a claim as if Gibraltar is ever "decolonised", it has first dibs according to the Treaty of Utrecht. I really don't see the issue you're raising here. WCMemail 08:09, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Article X says The Catholic King does hereby, for himself, his heirs and successors, yield to the Crown of Great Britain the full and entire propriety of the town and castle of Gibraltar, together with the port, fortifications, and forts thereunto belonging; and he gives up the said propriety to be held and enjoyed absolutely with all manner of right for ever, without any exception or impediment whatsoever The sentence in the lead says: The territory was ceded to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. They are not quite the same thing and that is what is disputed, namely what exactly was handed over. By the narrow, and at first reading the correct interpretation of Article X, much of what is now Gibraltar was not ceded to GB. Although there is more to it than that, the Spanish view does have some merit and cannot be dismissed so lightly. The sentence in the lead does just that when it says: The territory was ceded to Great Britain in perpetuity under the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 when in fact what was ceded is what is specifically quoted above from Article X. That means that the current sentence in the lead is drawing a conclusion that the territory (current BOT) is the same as the forts, the castle, the town etc in 1713. Maybe they are the same, but without unambiguous reliable sources that claim that the current territory was ceded to GB in 1713 is only a POV. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 09:45, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
Spain also claims that the UN charter requires the United Kingdom to cede its sovereignty over Gibraltar, which the UK has agreed to. In fact the UK ceded sovereignty over many territories it acquired through cession, such as Hong Kong, Jamaica, St. Lucia, and Grenada, in order to fulfill its obligations. TFD (talk) 17:34, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
On the basis that exceptional claims need exceptional sources, I think you need a pretty solid source for your claim that the British agreed to hand Gibraltar over to Spain when they signed the UN Charter. Kahastok talk 17:54, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
That's your interpretation of a primary source. WP:PSTS is clear that we can't do that.
Taking the words of Article X, the Spanish emphasise the words "the town and castle of Gibraltar, together with the port, fortifications, and forts thereunto belonging", as you do.
The British emphasise the words "to be held and enjoyed absolutely with all manner of right for ever, without any exception or impediment whatsoever".
The limitations that Spain claims this places on British sovereignty are principally concepts that did not exist in 1713. Back then there were no territorial waters, no exclusive economic zone, no sovereign airspace. Spain argues that because they aren't listed, they aren't included. Britain argues that "all manner of right for ever, without any exception or impediment whatsoever" cannot reasonably be taken to exclude rights normally associated with sovereignty - such as the right to territorial waters and airspace.
Plus there is also the isthmus, which is separately disputed: the Spanish argue that the isthmus wasn't included in the original cession, the British argue that they hold sovereignty applies based on prescription, and the Gibraltarians argue that the isthmus was included in the original cession.
All of which is far too much detail for this article, which is not an article on the dispute, but an article on Gibraltar. Kahastok talk 17:54, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
I certainly did not say "the British agreed to hand Gibraltar over to Spain." Why are you misrepresenting me? TFD (talk) 18:53, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
"Spain also claims that the UN charter requires the United Kingdom to cede its sovereignty over Gibraltar, which the UK has agreed to." Probably because he didn't misrepresent you and you did. WCMemail 07:05, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
You seem to have a problem in reading comprehension. It would also be helpful if you were familiar with Chapter XI of the United Nations Charter and reliable sources that discuss it. Is there some sort of website I could go to that explains your understanding of the Charter. TFD (talk) 07:21, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
I too thought "Spain also claims that the UN charter requires the United Kingdom to cede its sovereignty over Gibraltar, which the UK has agreed to." said that the UK agreed to hand Gibraltar over to Spain, but I can see two other possible parsings now, one of which might be how TFT is reading it: 1) Spain also claims that the UN charter, which the UK has agreed to, requires the United Kingdom to cede its sovereignty over Gibraltar; and 2) Spain also claims that the UN charter requires the United Kingdom to cede its sovereignty over Gibraltar and claims that the UK has agreed that it does. Bryan Henderson (giraffedata) (talk) 20:16, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
I initially read it as the UK had agreed to hand over Gibraltar. I immediately re-read it because such a statement was so contrary to what I knew, and realised that alternative, and obviously intended, meaning. It took a moment and was put down to a very mild stylistic glitch, no different from a typo. Barely worthy of three seconds of my time. Can we move on? Roger 8 Roger (talk) 20:38, 16 July 2019 (UTC)
The UK agrees to UN General Assembly Resolution (XV), the "Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples" (1960), which includes Gibraltar. That's all I was saying. The UK has never agreed to cede sovereignty to Spain and I have never said that it did. Sorry, I thought that was clear from what I had written. TFD (talk) 20:58, 16 July 2019 (UTC)

I am not aware of any point at which the Spanish POV is actually missing from this page. The OP seems to be complaining about Spain's position being down in the 24th para, whilst Gibraltar's actual status (a British Overseas Territory) is mentioned in the first. This is for the very good reason that today, this is what Gibraltar is and is important for people to know about Gibraltar. Spain's continued claims to Gibraltar are mentioned in the 3rd para, which is basically the right place to put them. FOARP (talk) 09:51, 22 July 2019 (UTC)

The main point is that the article says that the people of Gibraltar voted in two referenda to reject union with Spain, implying that the vote was uncontroversial. Then a number of editors seemed to think that mentioning the controversy was somehow endorsing the Spanish position. TFD (talk) 05:55, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
In what way does it imply that the referendums, which are necessarily a controversy between two options, were uncontroversial? It merely states what their outcome was - retaining the present status of Gibraltar. FOARP (talk) 13:38, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
That isn't anyone's position at all TFD. You have conjured up some inference that the article implies it was uncontroversial, when the text merely states the facts. The inference simply doesn't exist. Editors consider the suggestion that we need to address this inference of yours completely unnecessary. When the discussion dissolves into misrepresenting what people have said I believe it's come to a natural end, with simply no consensus to change. WCMemail 15:34, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
The controversy related to whether the referendums could legitimately determine the status of Gibraltar. It you don't mention that then the implication is that they could. There was a similar controversy with the 2014 Crimean status referendum. If you were to say that the people of Crimea voted to join Russia, without mentioning that the vote was controversial, then the implication would be that the transfer of Crimea to Russia was legitimate. In other words, it would present a pro-Russian narrative. TFD (talk) 16:10, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
There's the small difference of Russia invading Crimea and rigging the vote whilst it's troops were still on the streets. Asides from that, yes, the cases are exactly the same .... FOARP (talk) 20:07, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
In other words you believe this article should imply the referendums were uncontroversial because Spain has no legitimate claim. TFD (talk) 21:59, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
The final paragraph about sovereignty is not balanced. Omission of statements of fact can be just as powerful as inclusion of statements of fact. The view of the people there is an important part of one of the methods to determine sovereignty, but for another method it is not relevant. Both methods carry weight, with the UK preferring one and Spain the other. If the referenda are to be mentioned in the context of sovereignty then I think mention of the alternative view should also be made. The same applies to the comment in paragraph 2 about Utrecht. I think these should be put together in one paragraph at the end of the lead with a small addition of information to give balance. Alternatively, omit any reference to the sovereignty dispute in the lead and deal with it further down in the article. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 21:05, 23 July 2019 (UTC)
The paragraph is balanced, we mention the views of Gibraltarians as expressed through the referendum and we mention that Spain still maintains a claim. Point, counterbalance. That's expressing a NPOV distilled to the basic facts as appropriate for an overview. Now we have editors, for a reason I really can't fathom, arguing that we also have to mention that Spain rejected the referendum. Why? That isn't arguing for expressing a NPOV, it's arguing to give greater credence to the Spanish view and that is not a NPOV. The arguments are spurious for including the Spanish rejection and constantly changing, it doesn't presuppose the Spanish position is wrong, it doesn't state the Spanish claim is illegitimate, the article simply states the view expressed through two referenda and that Spain maintains a claim.
Where do we stop? Do we also mention Spanish hypocrisy over Ceuta, Melila and Olivenza? Do we also mention that since the 1960s the UK and Gibraltar have suggested the Spanish claim is examined and settled in the ICJ (including the dispute over the territory, the isthmus and territorial waters); on each occasion Spain has refused, which some argue is indicative of the lack of confidence in the legal basis for the Spanish claim. No the article is an overview, it should provide an overview and leave details for the article on the dispute. WCMemail 07:01, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
Quite. This is an attempt to "win" the article's lede by scoring more "points" there, and nothing more. There are dozens of things that *could* be mentioned there from either side of the dispute, but this being the lede of the article about the territory, and not even the article about the territorial dispute over the territory, we should stick to the most basic facts - Gibraltar is British-governed, the Gibraltese people approved this status, Spain maintains its claim. Job's a good-'un. FOARP (talk) 07:38, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
The UK's strongest point for maintaining the status quo is the Gibraltarians' right to self-determination argument, which is why the referenda are so important for the UK position. Spain's strongest point, and one that could be held by the UN too, is its interpretation of the territorial integrity argument, which is why the referenda are irrelevant to Spain. Both arguments carry weight. The lead is not balanced because it states what is the current position and gives a reason supporting that UK position and then states there is an alternative claim but does not state what that claim is or give a reason supporting that Spanish position. The Spanish exclaves and the interpretation of what was ceded under the terms of Utrecht are side issues even though, I agree, they are important. Another relevant problem with the lead as it currently reads is that equal importance is being implied to what the Gibraltarians want. They are not equal players and their opinion is only relevant to the UK position, because of the terms of Utrecht: put simply, if they are not part of the UK territory they are part of Spain. So, I think we should not imply that it is 2 v 1, as the lead currently does. Yes, this is the lead to an article about the territory, not the dispute, which is why I suggested earlier removing all reference to the dispute from the lead. Roger 8 Roger (talk) 10:17, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
If you were going to put the Spanish claim based on it's interpretation of UNGA 1514's territorial integrity clause, then it would also have to be mentioned that the Spanish position is rejected by most non-Spanish experts in International Law. They would point out the language in clause 6 is written in the future tense, the debates in the UN when the resolution was framed referred to the breaking up of dependent territories (and it would be hard for Spain to argue it was a dependent territory of the UK) and so the position is that UNGA 1514 and the UN charter do not provide redress for historical territorial claims that precede the formation of the UN. Interesting discussion for anyone who has studied the sovereignty dispute but not a great deal of interest for the average wikipedia reader who wants to know generally about Gibraltar.
There are repeated claims of some form of inference you can discern from a plain statement of facts. We are not giving undue prominence to the view of the people of Gibraltar and to suggest their views are subordinate to either the Spanish or British view is not conducive to portraying a NPOV; in fact it's giving greater weight to the Spanish position. I really do not see the problem with the current lede and do not agree with the suggestion of removing it; particularly if this is done on the basis some parties consider the view of Gibraltarians to be subordinate. Wikipedia doesn't and shouldn't take a position on such a view as it is fundamentally at odds with core pillars. WCMemail 13:35, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
@Roger 8 Roger: After looking over (and cleaning up a bit) Status of Gibraltar I see that the Spanish position is actually a number of positions and they would be tough to distill down to a sentence or two. At this point I think I agree with removing references to the details of the disputes from the lead, or stating simply that the UK, residents of Gibraltar, and Spain do not agree about its status or disposition, and link to the full article on the topic. —DIYeditor (talk) 14:57, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
@Roger 8 Roger:@The Four Deuces:I agree that the current lede is unbalanced. The Gibraltarians' referendum is relevant to one of the sides of the dispute that asserts that the will of the residents of Gibraltar is the most relevant part. The other side of the dispute (Spain and the UN's Decolonization Committee) asserts that the residents of Gibraltar do not have self-determination (as per "territorial integrity"). Both POVs are very relevant. Therefore, in order to have a balanced lede, we should either (a) mention both the referendum and the fact that "Gibraltar is a 'non self-governing territory' according to the UN's Committee on Decolonization" or (b) just mention that there is a dispute and not mention any of the two facts (which should be explained properly in the body of the article). - Imalbornoz (talk) 17:48, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I see the "points scoring" mentality very clearly in this "2 v 1" construction, particularly the main ground above seems to be that we have to discount one of "points" simply because it means that one side "wins" (never mind that there are three "teams" under this construction). I would also be fine with not mentioning the territorial dispute at all in the lede if this would mollify other editors - but I very much doubt they would be satisfied with that since any lede will necessarily mention that Gibraltar is British overseas territory and it is ultimately this that they are dissatisfied with. Therefore the best formulation is the one we have. FOARP (talk) 20:16, 24 July 2019 (UTC)
I don't think removing the dispute from the lede is a sustainable position. If we remove it, it'll find its way back in a couple of months' time.
The reality in general is that there are actually three different positions on a lot of the issues in this. You can't act as though the Gibraltar position is the same as the British position, because on several key issues the British and Gibraltar arguments are quite different. By trying to force the Gibraltar position into the British position, you create a false balance that does a disservice to the reader.
In this case, I see little need or benefit in going into vast detail on the arguments around these point in the lede of what is supposed to be an article about all Gibraltar and not just the dispute. But the reality of Gibraltar public opinion is a vital part of the point here, without which the reader will entirely fail to understand the nature of the dispute.
Our current formulation is purely fact-based and does not give the opinions of the two sides. Other proposals get bogged down in irrelevant detail and unnecessary point-scoring. I agree that the best formulation - at least the best option I've seen here - is the one we have. Kahastok talk 21:31, 24 July 2019 (UTC)

Discussion of referendums in article body[edit]

The lead is fine as it is, but perhaps the body of the article could be improved. I think the explanation of the 2002 referendum in particular is a little confusing. Based on the sources in that section, my understanding of what happened is something like this: Britain and Spain negotiated between themselves a proposal where they would share sovereignty over Gibraltar. Gibraltar held a referendum on the proposal, and the population overwhelmingly rejected it, preferring the status quo. Britain committed to following the wishes of the population of Gibraltar when it came to issues of sovereignty. Maybe that section could be rewritten like this:

In the early 2000s, Spain and Britain attempted to settle the issue with an agreement which would result in the two nations sharing sovereignty over Gibraltar. The government of Gibraltar organized a referendum on the plan, and 99% of the population voted to reject it.[1][2] The British government committed to respecting the Gibraltarians' wishes.[3]

Additionally, the previous paragraph is a little unclear. In response, Spain completely closed the border with Gibraltar and severed all communication links. In response to what? I think we could do a better job of explaining why the Spanish government closed the borders. Something simple could help, like Seeing the referendum and constitution as an obstacle to its claim, Spain responded by completely closing the border with Gibraltar and severing all communications links. Or something along those lines. I don't think this is an issue of reporting each side's position, but rather just explaining the context surrounding these events a little more clearly. Red Rock Canyon (talk) 17:03, 27 July 2019 (UTC)

I tend to agree with you, the sentence is a little stilted and had a grammar error, now corrected. However, your proposal is not quite correct, the agreement hadn't been finalised and according to Peter Hain the Spanish had gotten cold feet about the deal.[6]. Plus the Spanish had insisted on a timetable for a full transfer of sovereignty and would not countenance a referendum by the people of Gibraltar on the matter.
On the second issue you raise I am less convinced, The quoted text is:
It seems clear to me that it accurately captures that the Spanish reprisal was a response to the 1967 referendum. WCMemail 18:05, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
Perhaps then "In the early 2000s, Britain and Spain were in negotiations over a potential agreement that would see them sharing sovereignty over Gibraltar," or something like that? I do think the order matters. It'd be more clear if we put cause before effect. As for the other referendum, the part that comes right before "in response" is the bit about the passing of the Constitution Order. Either way, I just think it'd be good to briefly explain why the referendum and the constitution offended Spain to the extent that they closed the borders. Red Rock Canyon (talk) 19:00, 27 July 2019 (UTC)
I could accept that suggestion. The border closure was a more a "fit of diplomatic pique"[4] as Dodds puts it by Franco. [7] Melissa Jordine, an American lawyer, explains it rather well. Spanish attitudes have always been rather counter productive in respect of their goals. Closing the border being an obvious example, since it created a real barrier to the interaction with local Spain that had always occurred. WCMemail 10:33, 28 July 2019 (UTC)
  1. ^ "Regions and territories: Gibraltar". British Broadcasting Corporation. 18 July 2007. Retrieved 20 December 2007.
  2. ^ Mark Oliver; Sally Bolton; Jon Dennis; Matthew Tempest (4 August 2004). "Gibraltar". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 20 December 2007.
  3. ^ Corrected transcript of evidence taken before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee; 28 March 2008; Answer to Question 257 by Jim Murphy: [T]he UK Government will never – "never" is a seldom-used word in politics – enter into an agreement on sovereignty without the agreement of the Government of Gibraltar and their people. In fact, we will never even enter into a process without that agreement. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 30 July 2008. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  4. ^ Dodds, Klaus (December 2004). "Solid as a Rock? Britain and Gibraltar". BBC History: 18–21.