Gibraltar, identity and imperialism : a study of an evolving Gibraltarian community
This study provides an account of the influences which have contributed to the creation of a Gibraltarian sense of identity, with particular reference to the British imperial presence. Primary sources are of considerable importance, especially when no previous studies are available as in the case of key aspects of the history of education and informal cultural influences. Much use is made of oral evidence. Secondary sources are also used extensively. The prologue sets the scene, establishes the structure and outlines the methodology, while chapter one explores the changing contexts and values which form the background to the study. An account of geographical, environmental and ethnic factors follows, outlining how British interests have played their part. Economic and political factors are then reviewed and they indicate both past and present dependence on the British and a substantial legacy of British ideas and practices. In the case of religion and language both British and non -British influences are shown to have been at work. The Anglican and other non-conformist churches have been vehicles for British influence while Roman Catholicism, with its direct link to Rome, has been the religion of the people. As regards language, the British imposed English as the prestigious language, in direct competition with the language of the area, Spanish. Thus, Gibraltarians have become bilingual but, as is demonstrated, with their own linguistic idiosyncrasies. The study goes on to show that the formal educational system, first religious later largely secular, has been among the most powerful formative factors. The colonial government began to take charge after 1945, prior to a Gibraltaradministered system being put in place. Practice has followed and continues to follow English examples closely and higher education has come to rely entirely on provision in the United Kingdom. Informal influences, through a wide range of social, sporting and cultural activities, have also been of very great importance. Equally, they have reflected British ideas and values. They are given due weight in the last two chapters. In particular, they have furthered the development of Gibraltar's class structure while reinforcing a Gibraltarian sense of identity. The epilogue draws the overall conclusion that the Gibraltarian people and the Gibraltarian community, while separate and unique, are largely the product of the British colonial presence on The Rock. Gibraltar is very much an "offspring of empire". The present strong allegiance of Gibraltarians to Britain makes this clear.