The Gibraltar government has announced that several events are being planned this year to mark the 50th anniversary of the first referendum, in which the residents of Gibraltar decided that they wanted to remain British rather than accept the offer of Spanish sovereignty which had been made to the British government.
One of the events will be an exhibition at the Casemates galleries which will open on 14 June this year, 50 years exactly from the day upon which the British government announced that a referendum would take place.
The exhibition is being organised by the government archivist, who is asking anyone who has photographs, footage and memorabilia which relates to the 1967 referendum to contact him if they would like them to feature in the exhibition, which will continue until the first week of July. His phone number is 20079461.
Later in the year a memorial event and concert will take place, and special coins are to be minted to mark the 50th anniversary. A set of commemorative stamps will also be issued.
Other plans include painting the steps at Devil’s Gap red, white and blue, the colours of the Union flag, and a commemorative booklet similar to the one which was published to mark the 75th anniversary of the Evacuation in 2015.
In a statement, deputy chief minister Dr Joseph Garcia said: “The referendum took place on 10 September 1967. On a turnout of 95.8 per cent, 12,138 people voted to remain British and only 44 voted for Gibraltar to become a part of Spain. This was the first time that the Gibraltarians had been given the choice and encouraged to exercise it. They spoke with devastating clarity.
The Government considers that it is important to mark the 50th anniversary of this momentous occasion in the history of Gibraltar. The referendum represented, at a symbolic level, that fact that British sovereignty over Gibraltar had come to rest on the living wishes of the descendants of the people who had lived on this Rock since 1704.
September 10th was later chosen as the date for Gibraltar National Day because it marks the anniversary of the day on which this referendum took place. This year promises to be extra special.”
In a second referendum in 2002, 98.97 per cent rejected the idea of shared sovereignty.