Jewish Community of Gibraltar
The Rock of Gibraltar
Gibraltar (often referred to affectionately as the Rock or Gib) is an overseas territory of the UK, occupying a narrow peninsula protruding from Spain's southern Mediterranean coast. It was captured from Spain in 1704 and formally ceded to the Kingdom of Great Britain (later the United Kingdom), in perpetuity, under the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713.
Gibraltar became a British Crown Colony in 1830. In 1981, its status was changed to that of a "British Dependent Territory", which term was replaced by "British Overseas Territory" in 2002. Gibraltar is part of the European Union and Gibraltarians have full British citizenship.
It is believed that there were Jews in Gibraltar prior to its capture in 1462 by Spanish (Castilian) forces, which ended 700 years of Moorish rule. In 1474, Gibraltar was sold to a group of Jewish conversos (Spanish and Portuguese Jews who, generally under force, had converted to Catholicism). However, two years later, the conversos (estimated to number some 4,350) were expelled as part of the Spanish Inquisition.
In 1705, shortly following the capture of Gibraltar by Anglo-Dutch forces, a number of Jewish merchants (primarily from London, Lisbon, Livorno and Tetuan, Morocco) settled in the town and established a community, only to be expelled in 1717, at Spain's insistence, pursuant to the terms of the Treaty of Utrecht. Within a year or two, Jews again resettled in Gibraltar, principally from Tetuan, and by 1754, formed one third of the total population.
During the World War II, most of Gibraltar's civilian population was evacuated, initially mainly to London. In July 1944 thousands of these evacuees were moved from London to several emergency camps in Northern Ireland. One of these camps, Camp 4, at Saintfield, County Down, was known as the Jewish camp, as it included some 300 Gibraltarian Jews, who set up those institutions needed to maintain the community, including a synagogue. The camp was closed by about 1947, many of the inhabitants returning to Gibraltar.
The present Jewish population, almost exclusively Sephardi, numbering some 600 persons, maintains a vibrant community, with four active synagogues, Jewish schools and kosher restaurants.
Page created by David Shulman: 7 November 2011
Contact JCR-UK Webmaster
This website is
owned by JewishGen and the Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain. All
material found herein is owned by or licensed to us. You may view, download, and
print material from this site only for your own personal use. You may not post
material from this site on another website without our consent. You may not
transmit or distribute material from this website to others. You may not use
this website or information found at this site for any commercial purpose.
Copyright © 2002 - 2023 JCR-UK. All Rights Reserved