In the early nineteenth century, Gibraltar's population growth was very rapid, even though punctured by massive drops when epidemics hit. Thereafter it grew dramatically, albeit more slowly. Nevertheless, it would be a mistake to deduce too much about the economy from the number of people living in Gibraltar at any one time, or from the slowing down of population growth from the 1830s. The colony's managers tried to obstruct inward migration and settlement, and many of those whose economic livelihoods depended directly on Gibraltar lived across the border in Spain. Because of population growth, civilian families in Gibraltar were also becoming increasingly dependent on outside supplies and on British government support. This chapter examines occupations and civilians' living standards in order to see how the resources and opportunities generated by economic activity were divided in Gibraltar, first considering demand and supply, import and export, and management of Gibraltar's economy.
During the nineteenth century, Gibraltar's civilians, by aspiration and by necessity, became further integrated into a world economy that was increasingly dominated by powerful commercial, industrial and financial enterprises centred on the advanced economies of Western Europe and North America. Domestically, they absorbed the material values and aspirations of western capitalism and accepted, pretty much, the ethics of free economic enterprise. This chapter examines the extent to which two other common though not invariable features of this western (and westernising) world may also be discerned in Gibraltar: first, the increased authority and roles of government; and second, the election of those who exercised that authority and provided services and their accountability to those who elected them. It first focuses on the governors and then turns to law and government, charities and education, the origins of the Sanitary Commission of 1865, Gibraltar politics, and the Civil Hospital and its transformation into the Colonial Hospital in 1889.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the great majority of the civilians living in Gibraltar had, legally, a secure right of residence. But home-grown civilian ministers had to face the challenge of determining who had and who had not unconditional rights of residence, and who else might be let in and on what terms. There was also a siege: the impediments to open access across the frontier with Spain beginning in 1954, and then the closing of the gates in 1969. This plunged relations across the isthmus back to a state not seen since the worst years of the eighteenth century, with serious effects on demographic flows and civilians' sense of their identity. This chapter deals with demography and aliens in Gibraltar during the twentieth century, first describing the Aliens Order Extension Order-in-Council of 1900 and then statutory aliens, British Indians and the Alien Traders Ordinances of the 1920s to 1950s. It also examines the Right of Residence in Gibraltar Ordinance of 1955, the Immigration Control Ordinance, and the Gibraltarian Status Ordinance of 1962 and after.
It was fortunate that, in the nineteenth century, the circumstances in which people in Gibraltar found themselves were eventually conducive to an improvement in material living standards. The important contextual elements facilitating economic activity included, first, the political stability and legal infrastructure provided by colonial authority and, second, investment, eventually, in public services such as water supply and improved sanitation. It is possible that the circumstances for natives of Gibraltar began to shape a British Gibraltarian identity as ‘better off’ in comparison with the ‘other’ across the frontier. It is therefore important to consider for the twentieth century what happened to Gibraltar's occupational structure and to the material rewards that accrued to Gibraltarians. This chapter explores how Gibraltarians earned a living during the twentieth century, focusing on such economic activities as import and export, tourism, finance and gambling, and also looks at occupations, living standards and health.
From the beginning of the century, the absolute right of all British subjects to take up residence in Gibraltar had been removed. Gibraltar for Gibraltarians signalled a distinctive and civilian identity. Moreover, the economic dependence of civilians on British garrison expenditure, although for a very long time not absolute, had been further reduced, in part as a result of government-led initiatives to diversify the economy, in part by the ambitions of civilian entrepreneurs and in part with the beginning of the rundown in the British military presence – though the step towards greater economic self-reliance had been complicated, latterly and considerably, by problems with Spain. This chapter focuses on government and politics in Gibraltar from 1915 to 1940, first looking at governors and law during 1915–1969 and then turning to the City Council and Executive Council to 1940. It also discusses the colonial government and housing between 1921 and 1940, before concluding with the politics of taxation during 1914–1939.
The evacuation from May 1940 of much of the civilian population from Gibraltar, and especially some of their uncomfortable experiences in Britain and Northern Ireland, did embitter the exiles and those still resident in Gibraltar, and did provoke demands for political change. The apparently tardy steps being taken by the British authorities to organise repatriation seemed to expose the limited political influence that Gibraltar civilians had over their own lives. The Association for the Advancement of Civil Rights (AACR), established in December 1942, became Gibraltar's first organised political party, dominating Gibraltar's electoral politics until the 1980s. It found in Lieutenant-General Sir Noel Mason-Macfarlane (May 1942–February 1944) an outspoken advocate of constitutional and administrative change. This chapter explores big government and self-government in Gibraltar from 1940 to 1969, first focusing on Mason-Macfarlane's proposed reforms of the constitution of the City Council, and then turning to the colonial government and post-war housing, Gibraltar's welfare state, government finance and the politics of taxation, constitutional change and the Legislative Council of 1950, and self-government and the Gibraltar constitution of 1969.
History does not stop, and certainly the political destiny of Gibraltar, internally and externally, was, in May 1969, still to be determined. Accordingly, subsequent political developments are reviewed as an introduction to this final chapter. The new constitution was certainly an important step, confirming and extending Gibraltar's democratic character. This chapter examines how the past – and remembrance of the past, which is not the same thing – and conditions in the present have created among the civilian population a sense of themselves as a distinctive community, different from Spain and Britain. Usually, such considerations are debated in relation to the national identity of a nation-state, which in the case of a place and a people not internationally recognised as a nation generates other interesting issues. After considering politics, Britishness and national identity, the chapter looks at Gibraltar's economy and consumption, ethnicity and culture, and the link between history and identity.
Interpreting a migrant’s letters from Australia, 1926–67
Archived letter collections written by migrants from the British Isles, often reflecting on journeys, reception and experiences tend to be limited to the nineteenth century. The collection adds up to 74 pieces, running from 18 April 1926 to 13 July 1967. This chapter presents the letters to Emiline Mary Viccars, nee Dawes, usually known as Maidie by her sister Grace. There are only four letters to Maidie, all from Grace, and all in 1945. The letters of these years are indicative of the tough economic times suffered by most of the new settlers, with low prices for their produce. But there is a further problem when the historian of migration endeavours to employ extracts from letters to answer large issues concerning, in this case, settlement, assimilation, Englishness and Australian identity. These letters appear to show an English migrant woman navigating between her past and her present, as all migrants do.