The Mediterranean - An Up-to date and Concise Handbook for Travelers was an American publication written by Rolland Jenkins with a few extras supplied by George G. Brownell. So far I have been unable to trace the identity of Rolland Jenkins.
Dr Brownell on the other hand was easier to research. He was an American, the possessor of a Philosophical Doctorate and the son of Walter Brownell, founder of Brownell Tours. George took over the firm in 1900 and successfully expanded it into a million dollar business. Today it is considered one of the most important luxury travel agents in the USA.
The handbook includes a chapter on Gibraltar and its residents - most of which I quote below.
“The very image of an enormous lion, crouched between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, and set to guard the passage for its British mistress.” W. M. Thackeray (see LINK) ( Quote and Illustration from the book )
Gibraltar gets its present name from the Arabic Jeb-el-Tarik, the "mountain of Tarik," in memory of the Moorish leader who, about 711 AD, invaded Andalusia with 12,000 Arabs and Berbers, in order to secure communication with Africa. Impressed by the commanding position of the rock, Tarik erected a fort upon it, part of which remains to this day as the “Moorish Castle, "a prominent feature of the northerly aspect of the rock.
Modern research suggests that Tarik actually landed some distance from the Rock itself and that he almost certainly never built a fortress on it. (See LINK) The origins of Gibraltar’s Moorish Castle (see LINK) are still the object of much debate but the date of construction of the present tower was probably during the 14th century.
( Early 20th century – L Roisin ) (See LINK)
Gibraltar, as a consequence of its immense strategic value, has undergone many battles and sieges. Much of its early history is lost, but in 1309 the Castilians took it from the Moors, (see LINK) who, however, recaptured it in 1333 (see LINK) only to lose it again to the Spaniards in 1462. (See LINK)
After undergoing ten sieges at various periods, the British captured the fortress in 1704. A thirteenth siege occurred in 1727, (see LINK) but the “great siege" of 1779-1783 (see LINK) left England in final possession.
The rock is approximately three miles long and less than a mile wide. The highest point rises about 1400 feet above the sea. The lowest portion is Europa Point at the southern extremity, while at the northern end of the rock is a low, sandy isthmus connecting Gibraltar with the mainland. This is divided by two lines of sentry boxes, marking the extent of the British and Spanish territory; the space between is the Neutral Ground.
The north, east, and south sides of the rock are considered inaccessible. On the west, the slope is more gradual, and here is built the city, an interesting, lively place, where one meets representatives of all races in picturesque array.
Map of Gibraltar which is at least twenty years out of date – Neither the detached mole nor the three main dry docks are shown – the first was completed in 1901, the last of the docks around 1905 (From the book )
“Tommy Atkins" is present in large numbers. The defenses of Gibraltar are numerous and elaborate. The celebrated galleries (see LINK) honeycomb the face of the rock, especially on the north, toward Spain. These galleries, extending over a mile in two tiers, one above the other, resemble a railway tunnel. There are openings, at frequent intervals, for the cannon.
High above, on the summit of the rock, are powerful guns. One of these is the "Rock Gun," which gives the signal on the King's Birthday for the "lion's roar"- a stupendous salute to the sovereign from every cannon on the rock. Permission may be secured to visit the galleries, and, at times, to ascend higher to the signal tower – a magnificent view.
To the north are the mountains of Ronda; more to the east are the Sierras about Granada; Ceuta is on the opposite African shore, while across the bay to the westward is the interesting little Spanish city of Algeciras. At our feet is the curving bay of Gibraltar, crowded with great merchant ships of all nations: - the great dreadnoughts and tiny destroyers of Britain, and numerous auxiliaries in the form of fuel and supply vessel:- usually hulks from long ago. (See LINK)
When the rock is freshened by winter rains, there is a considerable growth of vegetation all along its face. There are patches of arable soil among the ledges, and in these, flourish a variety of plant life. In summer, however, the rock has a bare appearance, the grey limestone being relieved by little that is pleasing.
A rather bare looking rock showing the “celebrated Galleries” ( A contemporary postcard )
Gibraltar is a free port, and as a consequence, articles such as tourists wish to purchase may be bought here in great variety, and at fairly reasonable prices. It is necessary to bargain, nevertheless, and the asking price should be an index to the final purchase price, as no merchant expects to receive more than one-half to two-thirds of the original amount. This rule should be followed with little variation all through these countries. There are few shops which have fixed prices, and even these will strike a bargain upon occasion.
Goods are brought from Spain, Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, India, China and Japan, and are placed on sale in scores of attractive shops which line Main Street. (See LINK) The life on the streets is fascinating; here are Arabs and Moors, bare-legged, with flowing costumes of bright colors; Spaniards, both men and women, with their distinctive dress; all branches of Britain’s military are represented; East Indians, Nubians, and many other races.
The people of Gibraltar are of mixed races. After the capture of the town by the British, nearly the whole of the Spanish population emigrated in a body, and founded, six miles away to the north, the little town of San Roque. Most of the native inhabitants are of either Italian or Maltese descent. Owing to the stringent character of the building laws, house-room available for the poorer classes is being steadily reduced. The poor are thus gradually pushed across the border into the neighboring town of La Linea de la Concepcion, itself a mere suburb of Gibraltar. The population here, however, is nearly double that of the parent city. A large army of workers comes daily over the lines into Gibraltar.
In 1901 there were 27,460 inhabitants of Gibraltar, of which the garrison, and families, numbered 6,598.
An appendix written by Brownell carries a section on Gibraltar that is longer than the chapter by Jenkins and repeats much of it. Here are one or two comments which might be worthwhile quoting:
The Rock . . . resembles a crouching lion, although the Spaniards call it “el Cuerpo. . . . Fifty million pounds have been expended upon this little tip of Spain . . . whether Gibraltar is worth its cost and the advisability of abandoning it are frequently discussed in England, but public sentiment seems in favour of holding it as the key to the Mediterranean.
There are . . . vast military supplies of food in the magazines of the Rock, enough it is said to last seven years. Drinking water is caught in cisterns from rain.
The Rock, producing absolutely nothing, is dependent entirely on external supplies. Thus the markets are large and interesting. Moorish and Spanish markets are situated at the town end of the wharf upon which you land, and both should be visited. Meat, vegetables, and fruit come from Andalucía. Taste the sweet Spanish lemons, which may be eaten like oranges. The Moors, long-robed and stately, come every morning from Africa bringing boatloads of eggs and fowls.
A new market was constructed in the late 1920s with the subsequent destruction of the one described above.
The old Moorish Market
From the markets you pass directly through the city gates, closed every night, across a square, lined with barracks, and enter Waterport Street. This is a level thoroughfare running parallel with the shore and containing all the shops and cafes of interest to the visitor. The cross-streets are merely passages leading up or down hill. Every inhabitant of Gibraltar may be seen upon Waterport Street at some time during the day.
Here moreover is a true mingling of the nations—English soldiers and sailors, and their families, Spaniards who sleep every night in Spain, Moors who sleep in Africa, East Indians, Maltese, Italians, Jews, and travelers from every country of the globe.The whole atmosphere of the Rock is military; batteries, bastions, barracks, dry docks, magazines, hospitals, marching, drilling, bugle calls, and cannon fire—everywhere stone, iron,khaki.
Parade honouring some visiting royal passing through Casemates Gates on their way to Waterport Street with barracks at the back and Casemates square to the left ( Early 20th century )
Each English shop is a little bit of England, looking honest but unattractive. Here are sold the standard goods for the inhabitants. The shops which most interest the tourist (there is very little for a man to buy in Gibraltar) are the gaudy, tempting bazaars of embroidery, lace, Spanish shawls, and East Indian stuffs.
Qualities are various and prices more so, especially as the hour approaches for the departure of the steamer. The suave, brown-skinned, keen-eyed merchants live by seeing their ships come in. Their motto is, “Gather the roses while you may." It is said that no one has ever yet landed for a day at Gibraltar without being fleeced in some way.
The English officers lead a social, out-of-door life, their sports including tennis, golf, cricket, yachting, aquatics, horse-racing, (see LINK) polo, (see LINK) and shooting in Spain and Africa. These, with the clubs and the amusements of fox-hunting, (see LINK) dancing, and bull-fights help to occupy the hours which are not spent in defense of Gibraltar.
Horse Racing at North Front
Barbary apes (see LINK) have lived upon the Rock since remote times. Being the only monkeys in Europe, they are carefully protected and may be seen frequently upon the walls above the town. There are extensive natural caverns in the Rock through which, legend says, the monkeys pass to a tunnel underneath the straits into Africa . . .
Gibraltar and Mt. Hacho upon the opposite African coast are the classic Pillars of Hercules. (See LINK) . . . These pillars, bound together by a scroll, were represented upon old Spanish coins, a device which is supposed to be the origin of the American dollar mark.
Europa Point is the name of the extreme southern end of the Rock. Here a very fine view is obtained of two seas and two continents, of the Sierra Nevada range in Spain and the Atlas Mountains in Africa.
At the Straits of Gibraltar, a constant current flows into the Mediterranean from the Atlantic at the rate of five miles per hour. Out-bound sailing vessels find it difficult to pass under a strong western breeze. Opposing this inflow there is a west flowing undercurrent from the Mediterranean into the Atlantic. The water of the sea is slightly saltier and heavier than that of the ocean, probably due to the greater evaporation.
The Rock, firm, stable, and apparently indestructible has become the symbol of endurance and strength - “As solid as the Rock of Gibraltar." Witness also the great insurance advertisement, one of the most striking ever conceived.
Recently a London maker of reinforced trunks labelled them "Gibraltarized." The best season to visit Gibraltar is between the first of November and the first of May.
Early 20th century "Gibraltarized" trunk