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1590s, ancient Calpe, captured 710 C.E. by Saracen leader Tariq, renamed Jebel el Tarik "the Mountain of Tarik," hence the English name. A British possession since 1704. Figurative of impregnability by 1856.
Note: Located on the Rock of Gibraltar, a huge limestone mass.
Note: Spain has protested British control of Gibraltar, but the dispute has remained unsettled for years.
Note: Location of an important military base; strategically significant because it can be used to keep ships from entering or leaving the Mediterranean Sea.
Note: Its seeming impregnability as a fortress during several wars led to the saying: “solid as the Rock of Gibraltar.”