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Gibraltar should be returned to Spain

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/2/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 862 times Debate No: 74677
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (2)
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My opponent and I will list arguments and historical facts to support our positions on the prompt. Because the answer is ultimately subjective there is no BoP. This is a persuasion argument.


I accept and I along with many think that Gibraltar should remain in the UK overseas territories.
I await your first argument why Spain should own Gibraltar.
Debate Round No. 1


DiogenestheDog forfeited this round.


History aside, the best way to decide whether Gibraltar should go to the Spanish is simple. Let them decide on it. So it was done in 1967.
The people of Gibraltar voted to stay as a British sovereign state. By 99.64%.
Now this is a little out of date, so we bring the second vote which was in 2002. Gibraltar voted again to stay as a UK sovereign state by 98.48%. This alone tells you that the people of Gibraltar want to stay as a part of the UK family.

Even if Britain wanted to give up Gibraltar, it encounters an issue. The constitution of Gibraltar states that "Her Majesty's Government will never enter into arrangements under which the people of Gibraltar would pass under the sovereignty of another state against their freely and democratically expressed wishes."

As pointed before, the people of Gibraltar want to remain with the UK.

It isn't just Britain who has little enclaves. Spain has had some disputes over some islands near Morocco. But the people there want to remain Spanish, therefore are. Why should Gibraltar be different.

Therefore, I make my case here, Gibraltar is by the wishes of the people, apart of the UK colonies.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent brings up the conventional and convienent argument of self determination.

But one only needs to take a basic look at the events surrounding how gibralatar came to be a British colony to see how confidently self serving this actually is. This is a rare example where lip service to self determination is little more than a way to obstruct justice by a colonial occupier.

1. Where was britains respect for the rights or self determination for the original inhabitants of gibralatar? Does it not seem strange that suddenly gibalatar must remain a British possession because of self determination when Britain itself respected the same principle when it took Gibralatr in the first place?

How can Britain acquire colonial possession by force without respect to human dignity but then defend its right to keep them with that same excuse? They do not have the right. Modern law is dominated by the idea of contextual law, that law needs to be interpreted to the specific context of the situation for justice to be achieved, we have exactly such a situation here.

2. To call the current inhabitants the 'people of gibralatar' is disingenuous to their actual origin. They are the colonial occupiers of gibralatar under british colonial rule. The original inhabitants were all either expelled or murdered. By calling them so Britain is sweeping its past crimes under the rug. This cannot and should not be allowed. Britain must face its colonial past and not be allowed to make up irrelevant political/legal excuses to avoid it.

3. In reality letting England get away with this would only send one message to would-be future colonizers or genociders. "Get rid of the indigenous as fast as you can and then you can claim it as yours." Is this really the message we should send? Because that is really what England has done here.

Under that rational is it totally then acceptable to move anywhere you want, expell everyone and repopulate it with your own.

I thought the human race was agreed in the modern age that this type of behavior is a crime. We shall not let Britain profit from it.

4. The UN have classified Gibralatr as colony that does not rule itself since 1946 to today. The British only recently made moves to get Gibralatr reclassified in light of the political pressure to return it to spain. These moves are only recently done in response to such pressure. They are not genuinely reflective of Gibralatr's true stats as a colony. In reality Gibraltar is still a colonial possession that does not truly have self determination according it the UN. This also is reality compared to British excuses to keep them as a 'non-colonial' possession in name only.

5. As detailed in comments ; there is no historical justification for taking gibalatar in the first place. Where was britains respect for the self determination of Spain when they interfered with the Spanish civil war at the time? A civil war is an entirely domestic affair and the country in question is divided and unable to negotiate or defend itself properly. Such disgraceful opportunism and complete lack of any sort if justification for the original taking of Gibraltar on behalf if Britain must have a bearing on its current determination.

6. The importance of Gibraltar to Spain goes far beyond of it to Britain; that much is obvious just from a map. But further still Gibraltar has been a key territory of successive civilizations in Spain. It was considered the dominant geographical feature since classical antiquity and has featured on Spanish coat of arms since around 14th century. Even the Spanish national motto, further beyond, is commonly accepted as a reference to go beyond the pillars of Hercules, the Ancient Greek name for gibralatar.

Overall the importance and historical claim spain has on Gibralatr is self evident and non-negotiable. And clearly far above anyclaim than any Britain could have. If not for a spat of britains greedy opportunism it would never have been separated from Spain at all.

7. Self determination is not a valid excuse. Never mind that the inhabitants don't have the right to decide because they are are mere colonial occupiers, but in reality there is nothing that would change for the inhabitants that would justify it. The lives of those living in Gibraltar would be unaffected by a transfer of sovereignty. And in realty only aided by it since they rely on Spain for supply of amenities and trade.

Spain the same system of autonomous self governing regions as most of Europe. What argument is there that anything changes when gibralatar becomes an autonomous Spanish territory instead of a British colonial possession besides just correcting historical injustices?

The only reason the inhabitants of Gibralatr would really have to vote against joining Spain is British nationalism. Which considering the wrongs and crimes Britain committed to get Gibraltar in the first place is clearly nonsense.

8. Any defense of Gibraltar being British ultimately defends colonial behavior, defends aggressive opportunist expansion and interference in domestic civil wars, and defends expelling and massacring original inhabitants and replacing them with your own as an acceptable way to make territory 'yours' for all of time.

Only those willing to defend such crimes by meaningless lipmserivce to self determination that makes no practical difference in the governing and lives of those living in gibralatar can argue that it should remain a British colony, as according to the UN.


Well, you make the case for the original inhabitants of Gibraltar. Did the Spanish do that for those in South America? They wiped out an entire civilization from the map. You say "How can Britain acquire colonial possession by force without respect to human dignity but then defend its right to keep them with that same excuse?" I say how can Spain acquire colonial possession of the Moroccan islands without respect to human dignity.
It was only 1956 that Spain stopped claiming northern Morocco, however, they still claimed these outlying islands.
Same with the Canary Islands.

You make in point three, letting England get away with it. The issue is that Spain has made the same errors. Only that they released control of most of their colonies after America practically made them.

You make in point 5, that there was no justification. Well, Spain had no justification in taking over southern America, plundering its gold and murdering and wiping out an entire civilization: the Aztecs. Also, Britain was on one side of the Spanish wars of succession. It was originally a strategic plan. It was then handed over during the Treaty of Utrecht.

You are saying that the British are defending colonial behavior. Therefore is Spain in it's claim for certain islands and even on the mainland Morocco. The Canary Islands should be Moroccan. Many other places should belong to another country. The french Polynesian islands should be independent as it's "colonial". The US should give up Alaska.

So, you are saying that the people have no say in who governs them. While millions die for democracy round the world, you make your statement that it should be handed to the Spanish as the people don't matter.

You also claim that self-determination of the people does not matter. Not according to the UN. Article 1 point 2. Therefore I ask you, the United Nations clearly state that it DOES matter, so do you disagree with the UN that you quote so often? And if so, doesn't that mean all your other UN points are invalid as the Charter is wrong according to you.

To summon up the points made we CANNOT change the past. We CAN however change the future. What my opponent suggests is IGNORING the wishes of the people and of whom OVERWHELMINGLY voted to be a part of the UK. That the people DON'T MATTER. That the Spanish claims on Ceuta and Melilla DON'T MATTER. Therefore I make my point again. The people voted and they were listened to. Why should the democratic rights of the people be ignored?
Debate Round No. 3
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by DiogenestheDog 3 years ago
It feels that just because I ignored what was my opponents weakest argument, that my arguments work against Spain as well as Britain, he has seized onto this blind spot and made it his point of strength. I feel compelled to respond regardless if its in comments.

Basic info about the Spanish holdings in morocco vs Gibraltar show they are not the same, and even if they were the same that should be irrelevant to this debate. If justice demands both Spain and Britain were wrong they should both rerun their wrongfully held territories and it should not be contingent on British waiting in Spain to do what is right. Spain vs morocco is then really a separate unrelated debate.

My opponent should also not equate Spanish colonialism to that of Britain. We can see from former Spanish colonies wholesale genocide of the population was not something they did, we cannot say the same of the British who seemed to commit a whole lot of genocide and given all Europeans a bad name.

Furthermore con entirely ignores how the history of Gibraltar is so very very different from Cueta. Cueta was taken after the moors invaded Spain. A just action taken in retribution for 500 years of moorish invasion. The British had no cause nearly as just in regards to Gibraltar and interfered in a Spanish civil war that no one could ever possibly reason they had any business being involved in beyond just to serve their own greed.

Also what is the important is the history of cueta. I detailed how Gibralatr's history makes it irrefutably part of Spain. Cueta is similar. Cueta began as an outpost of Carthage, then Rome, then the visigothic kingdom of Spain. It is important to note cueta was actually in the hands of states Spain is successor to for over a thousand years BEFORE it gets taken in the Islamic conquests.

Even after Muslim domination in the Maghreb cueta was the dominant Christian city in the region and never had a dominant Muslim population. The history of cueta links it to Spai
Posted by DiogenestheDog 3 years ago
Whoops, didn't see that someone accepted. I thought no one was interested in the topic.

If I were to be allowed to insert R1 here;

Reasons Gibraltar should be returned;
-"Gibraltar has historically been a key feature/part of Spain, Hispania, or any organized state to which it is successor except the during the Muslim conquests. Even then, spain is still technically the successor state."

-"Gibralatr was wrongfully taken from Spain in a war that was really between France and the UK. Under what justification other than outdated colonialism does the UK have to take a historic part of Spain due to its disagreements with the fench?"

-"the modern British defense of its colonial possession of Gibraltar, that was acquired wrong fully during an essentially Spanish civil war it meddled in, centers on the self determination of the population. While that is admirable it does not take into account the fact the british expelled all the original inhabitants and replaced them with colonists. What of the rights to self determination of those who they evicted in the first place? How convenient now is it not?"

-"right to self determination is not even a valid reason to keep Gibraltar as a colonial possession. Spain is as much a democracy as the UK. The rights of the people of Gibralatr are in no way under any explicitly threat by a transfer of sovereignty. Certainly not compared to the spainards who lived there when the British took it in a war against against the freepnch."

-"can we just agree it pretty stupid that the annexed/colonized Grbaltar, a Spanish possession, in a war against their French rivals by interfering in a Spanish rival war? How does this concur tired justification even make sense?"

-"given the unjust expulsion of the orginal inhabitants, and the general injustice that gribaltar was ever taken from Spain at all. It should be also noted In general for 1500 to 1700 what britains proud navy mostly did was act as pirates preying on Spanish shipping
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