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1982: Spain's Rock blockade ends

The border between Spain and Gibraltar was closed by General Franco in 1969 during his siege of the British colony.

Friends, families and colleagues who had been allowed to walk across the frontier now had to make a day-long journey by sea to visit each other.

The border gates remained firmly locked even after the general's death in 1975.

They were opened for the first time in 13 years shortly after midnight on 15 December 1982.

Your memories:

I was seven at the time the Gibraltar frontier with Spain was opened, so I watched the opening on TV.

The whole family gathered around and cheered in celebration and disbelief as it finally opened.


" It was like a mini version of the Berlin wall "

David, Gibraltar

After a few days of trepidation, we ventured into Spain to visit family I had never met and that my family had been separated from for 13 years.

They had no telephone so we had not been able to contact them.

As a young boy I remember riding my bike up and down the closed frontier fence where people would shout out across to their relatives 100m or so away on the Spanish side. Mostly hand signals and waving and many people usually happy to catch a glimpse of relatives through binoculars.

Occasional bad news came across of the death of someone in the family and I witnessed many people break down in tears beside me.

In a sense it was like a mini version of the Berlin wall.
David R, Gibraltar

I served in Gibraltar with the Royal Navy from 1979 to 1982 and left The Rock just before the frontier was reopened.

I made many Gibraltarian friends during my posting there and understand their passion to remain British.

It seems completely incontestable that Spain should lay claim to the Rock simply because of its proximity to the Spanish mainland.

The claim has about as much relevance as a claim to France or Portugal.

If you look across the Straits of Gibraltar at Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on the Moroccan mainland, you may wonder what philosophy Spain is trying to impose on Gibraltar.
Nick Smith, UK

Spain's claim to Gibraltar is based on history and geographical logic - the Treaty of Utrecht was imposed on them, as well any historian knows.

The fact that 98% voted on remaining "British" sounds great but just go across the border and talk to families whose members had been deported in their thousands and who can claim and prove residence on the Rock sometimes for hundreds of years.

Then go back to Gibraltar and see how many of them were the result of encouraged immigration from anywhere but Spain; this is just another way of stuffing ballot boxes though without wasting paper.
Brian, Malaysia

As a child, I lived for three years in flats close to the border in Gibraltar.

I remember being told repeatedly by adults to stay away from the border fence. Needless to stay my little friends and I would frequently creep up to the fence and peer into Spain, wondering why it was we could not enter.
Ben Marman, Britain


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