What Are 10 Interesting Facts About the Strait of Gibraltar?

What Are 10 Interesting Facts About the Strait of Gibraltar - Merchant Navy Info - Blog

Before the discovery of America in the West, Europe was generally perceived as the edge of the world. Apart from the northern Scandinavian countries and the southern African countries. There were unique geographical features that marked the country’s borders. This was the Strait of Gibraltar, also known as the Pillars of Hercules.

The Strait that runs near the Rock in Greek mythology already existed before 500 BC. An important role in human civilization. He is considered one of the busiest. And toughest waterways in the world and has a direct impact on world trade. This Strait connects the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the east.

In this article, we look at the top 10 facts you need to know about the Strait. From its strange etymology to its geographical and economic significance. This is your guide to everything related to the Strait of Gibraltar.

The word “Gibraltar” is Derived from the Arabic word “Jabal al-Tariq.”

One of the most impressive features near the Strait of Gibraltar is the large Rock that rises into the air. The island, which stands over 460 meters high, is actually where the name Gibraltar comes from. 

The word “Jabal” or “Jebel” means mountain in Arabic. Tariq refers to a Berber commander from North Africa who once led a major military expedition to the Strait. Commander Tariq ibn Ziyad crossed the Strait and reached the cape in the early 8th century AD. And since then, the place has been known as “Jabal al-Tariq” or “Mount Tariq.”

Gibraltar is a Spanish derivative of Arabic due to its proximity to mainland Spain. The ruler of Ceuta, Fnow an autonomous Spanish territory. Had arranged for Berber troops to cross into Spain from the North African kingdom.

Gibraltar is Close to Spain But is a British Colony.

When looking at a map of Gibraltar, it is easy to mistake it for a city in Spain. In fact, Gibraltar is a special overseas territory of the United Kingdom. It belonged to Spain but was ceded to England after the War of the Spanish Succession. A peace treaty signed in a Dutch city of Utrecht (known as the Treaty of Utrecht). Gave Britain the right to rule Gibraltar in perpetuity. However, there were multiple attempts by the Spanish to reconquer the region. Including armed conquest in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Spain insists it wants to reunite Gibraltar with the rest of the mainland. And has repeatedly raised the issue at the United Nations in recent days. However, Britain has repeatedly rejected Spain’s claims. Numerous referendums and popular votes were held in Gibraltar to give people the opportunity. To decide for themselves which countries they wanted to join. The votes included were overwhelmingly in favor of remaining in the UK. In the last referendum, 98% voted to remain in the UK.

The Rock of Gibraltar and the Mountains of North Africa Together form the “Pillars of Hercules.”

Over the Strait of Gibraltar hangs the mythical Pillars of Hercules, based on the Greek hero Hercules. According to the myth, during the 12 labors, Hercules broke through Atlas and created a strait. The pillar on the coast of Europe is the Rock of Gibraltar, but the pillar on the other side is still debatable. The Rock of Gibraltar is known as Mount Calpe, and the mountain opposite is known as Mount Avila. 

He has two main mountains, which have historically been considered the second pillar. Monte Acho (Ceuta) and Jebel Moussa (Morocco).This region is also special to the Greeks, who consider it the place where the Titan Atlas carried the weight of the sky. It is said that when Hercules crossed, he carved on the pillar “Non-Plus Ultra,” meaning “There is nothing more.” 

Gibraltar is Famous for “Europe Point”

The Mediterranean and Atlantic waters could not be more different. Although the ocean has a very high salinity concentration, it provides a calm environment in which a variety of organisms can survive. The exact point where these two bodies of water meet is known as ‘Europe Point’ or ‘Punta de Europa.’ Europa is located in Gibraltar, the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula. Another point, Punta de Tarifa, is further west and runs parallel to Europa Point.

This area is a famous tourist destination with famous buildings such as Harding Battery, Ibrahim Al Ibrahim Mosque, Europa Lighthouse, and Sikorski Monument. Hardinge Battery was a 19th-century British fort that could fire rockets across the Channel. Ibrahim Mosque was built in 1997 as a gift from Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz Al, his King of Saud. 

Gibraltar Has an Underground Labyrinth That Played a Role in Major Wars

Gibraltar has been the scene of countless wars since the 2nd century AD. The area played a key role in battles, from the Berber invasions that gave the region its distinctive name to repeated Spanish attempts to regain control of Gibraltar. One of the main reasons for this is the location of the Strait. It is a sea route between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea and is one of the busiest sea routes in the world. Therefore, in the event of war, the country controlling Gibraltar can intercept ships and prevent them from leaving port. Current UK government law allows any vessel to sail as long as it is registered, does not carry illegal cargo or passengers, and complies with maritime regulations.

There Are Regular Intercontinental Ferries and Services

The Strait of Gibraltar is known as the Strait that connects the continents of Africa and Europe by the closest sea. At its narrowest point, it is only 13 kilometers long, and on clear days, you can see the other side of the Strait. There are also shallow areas, making it easy to navigate. Maritime trade occurs across the Mediterranean and Atlantic Oceans, but voyages across the width of the straits are also possible.

There are a number of ferry services that run regularly between different ports on each coast, and it takes less than a few hours to reach a completely different continent. The most important ports on the European coast include Tarifa (Spain) and Gibraltar itself (United Kingdom). The most important ports on the African coast are in Morocco, including Tangier. The shortest route is between Gibraltar and Tangier, which can be completed in less than 30 minutes.

There Are Plans for an Undersea Intercontinental Tunnel

Gibraltar, on the coast of Europe, is one of the closest points of a contact between the African and European continents. It is only 8 miles (or 13 kilometers) wide at its narrowest point. Several ferries and maritime services operate between both points. However, there are plans to build an undersea tunnel that would directly connect the two continents. The project began in 1979 when the Spanish and Moroccan governments conducted the first feasibility study of the plan. The plan called for underwater tunnels, which could be created by excavating underground Rock or by laying tunnels on the ocean floor.

However, the material that formed the bottom of the Strait was extremely difficult to excavate, and the construction of underwater tunnels was far too expensive. The geological and sea conditions are very different from those of the Channel Tunnel, which connects England and France. The first phase alone is estimated to cost more than €5 billion. The proposal envisions road and rail routes with direct connections to major highways on each continent.

Gibraltar Is One of the Busiest Straits in the World

Gibraltar, connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, is considered one of the busiest waterways in the world. Large ships sail through this Strait every five minutes, and countless small boats and yachts pass by frequently. A large vessel is one that can carry more than 10,000 DWT of cargo or an equivalent number of passengers.

The main reason for large crowds of people is the geographical and economic importance of a place. Geographically, important trade areas along the Mediterranean Sea, as well as landlocked European and Asian countries, are accessible via straits. The blockade would halt world maritime trade. Alternative routes involve detours and take too long, while other routes may be unsafe due to weather conditions or piracy. 

Ocean Currents Bring in Different Types of Marine Life

The Strait of Gibraltar marks the mixing of the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, which have different natural properties such as density and salinity. The Mediterranean Sea water is very salty and denser, as oceans are generally saltier than seawater. Therefore, when water enters the Strait from the Atlantic Ocean, it pushes the seawater further down. There is an almost clear difference between the two bodies of water, as a chemical transition boundary known as the salinity facies forms.

A salinity gradient is a protected gradient between two different salt ranges that prevents organisms from crossing due to rapid changes in salt. Therefore, large numbers of marine animals can live far from the earth’s surface by living in the more dense lower halocline regions. As ocean currents flow from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, they also bring different species of whales and dolphins into the ocean. 

How the Straits Actually Formed 

Despite the myth that Hercules split the legendary Atlas into his two halves to form the Strait of Gibraltar, the actual geology behind the formation of this Strait is equally appealing. The part of the Mediterranean Sea near the Strait was formed by the impact of two meteorites, which created a deep but gentle crater in the area. The radius from the impact center is about 80 kilometers, and the depth can reach up to 2 kilometers in some areas.

As you continue through this section, you can also see the gentle slope of the Strait and some of the ripples on the ocean floor caused by the seismic shock waves from the impact of the crater.

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