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Government booklet marks 50 years of border closure - 691/2019

September 23, 2019

The Government have published a commemorative booklet to mark the 50th anniversary of the closure of the border in 1969.

It will be recalled that on 8 June 1969, General Franco closed the land border between Gibraltar and Spain. This was part of a two-pronged approach on Gibraltar. The first was a campaign against the United Kingdom at the United Nations and the second direct action against Gibraltar and its people on the ground.

The booklet contains a chronology of events leading up to the closure and includes photographs and press cuttings of the time. It opens with a joint-foreword by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo and the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia and ends with pages of testimonials from people who lived the event.

This is the third in a series of commemorative booklets that the Government have issued on important historical events. The first in 2015 marked 75 years of the wartime evacuation of the people of Gibraltar. The second in 2017 featured the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum.

Commenting on the latest commemorative book, the Deputy Chief Minister Dr Joseph Garcia said:

“The Government took a policy decision early during our first term of office that we needed to mark important milestones in the history of Gibraltar. We have done this in relation to the evacuation, the 1967 referendum and now the closure of the land border by Spain in 1969. The border closure was a traumatic event for many people in Gibraltar. It separated families and tore communities apart. It also meant that Gibraltar had to turn to Morocco for the supply of goods and labour. Land, sea and telephone communications with Spain were completely cut-off and we became a city under siege. Franco predicted that Gibraltar would fall like a ripe fruit. He could not have been more mistaken. The people of Gibraltar were united in their resolve to defend their right to self-determination, their sovereignty and their way of life. This whole episode cemented the Gibraltarian identity together and became a building-block of nationhood.”

The latest commemorative booklet will be distributed to all schools in Gibraltar over the next few weeks. It is also available, free of charge, at the offices of the Heritage Trust in John Mackintosh Square and from No 6 Convent Place.