Capital city: Gibraltar
Currency: Sterling or Gibraltar Pounds
Language: English and Spanish. The local dialect is a mixture of the two and is known as ‘Yanito’
GDP: 1.64 billion pounds / 50,941 pounds per capita
On the 20th of March 1969, John Lennon of Beatles fame, married Yoko Ono in a simple 10 minute civil ceremony in Gibraltar, causing a media sensation around the world. Lennon, who later immortalised the event in ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’, said,
“So we were in Paris and we were calling Peter Brown, and said, ‘We want to get married. Where can we go?’ And he called back and said, ‘Gibraltar’s the only place.’ So – ‘OK, let’s go!’ And we went there and it was beautiful. It’s the Pillar of Hercules, and also symbolically they called it the End of the World at one period. There’s some name besides Pillar of Hercules – but they thought the world outside was a mystery from there, so it was like the Gateway to the World. So we liked it in the symbolic sense, and the Rock foundation of our relationship.”
Situated at the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula, Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory spanning an area of 6.7 km2, and bordering with Spain in the north. Gibraltar is not an island – as many people believe. It is in fact an isthmus and has a geographically unique position.
With its origins dating back to the Jurassic Period, The Rock of Gibraltar, comprised of limestone and emerging out of the sea some 426 metres high is its most famous landmark, with over 130 caves. Climb to the top for spectacular views. The African coastline can also be seen.
There’s also Moorish Castle, Mediterranean Steps (1400 metres and rated as a hard 1.5 – 2.5 hours of steep walking, an abundance of wildlife including the Barbary Macaques and birdwatching, World War II Tunnels, museum, art gallery, diving, fishing, sailing, beaches, cable car ride with impressive views 412m above sea level, an abundance of plant life, and Irish Town in the commercial heart of the city of Gibraltar.
Summer temperatures can reach over 30 oC and winter 11-18 oC during the day. There are over 300 days of sunshine annually.
It took celebrities, David Walliams and James Cracknell 4 hours and 36 minutes to swim the 12-mile Strait of Gibraltar.
Captured by an Anglo-Dutch force in 1704 during the War of the Spanish succession (1701-1714), the territory was relinquished to Britain in 1713 under the Treaty of Utrecht and became a colony in 1830. Ever since 1713 Spain has been trying to get Gibraltar back.
Gibraltar’s economy today is largely based on tourism and its offshore financial sector – incorporation of offshore companies, offshore banking, plus insurance and investment fund management. Famous as a quality Tax Haven, in 2011 Gibraltar imposed a 10% corporate tax with no distinction between onshore or offshore companies (whether beneficiaries are resident or not), making it a low tax zone. Thinking of incorporating a business entity in Gibraltar? Well, this will take approximately one week. With its standard of living several times higher than areas across the border in Spain, there is also no sales tax, capital gains tax – inheritance, wealth or estate taxes.
Many of the world’s leading banks provide offshore banking in the Gibraltar territory. Gibraltar is also big on confidentiality. It does not feature in the Panama Papers which exposed offshore investments of celebrities and politicians in 2015. Current Chief Minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo has said, “Our corporate tax take used to be 20 or 30 million pounds. It’s now more than 100 million pounds.” Picardo welcomes more companies and his rationale that the appeal of a legitimate low-tax environment over a potentially embarrassing tax-free haven places Gibraltar in a prime position.
While you are thinking all this through, as in ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ by Lennon, ‘You can get married in Gibraltar near Spain.’ No residency required!
"You’d be stupid not to try to cut your tax bill and those that don’t are stupid in business"
- Bono: U2