Total population
c. 40,000[1][2][dubious ]
Regions with significant populations
 Gibraltar23,757+[3][dubious ]
 United Kingdom11,830+[1][dubious ]
 Spain~3,000[2][clarification needed]
 Morocco1000[citation needed][clarification needed]
 Portugal1000[citation needed][clarification needed]
 United States570[1][dubious ]
 Tunisia100[citation needed]
866[1][dubious ]
English (official)
Spanish, Llanito (vernacular)
Majority : Roman Catholic

Minority :

Anglicanism, Protestant, Sunni Islam, Hindu, Irreligion.
Related ethnic groups
Spanish, Andalusians, Catalans, Italians (Genoese), Maltese, Portuguese, Jews, British
Gibraltarians encircle The Rock during the tercentenary of British Gibraltar, 4 August 2004.

The Gibraltarians (colloquially: Llanitos) are an ethnic group native to Gibraltar, a British overseas territory located near the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance to the Mediterranean Sea.


Some Gibraltarians are a racial and cultural mixture of the many immigrants who came to the Rock of Gibraltar over 300 years. Following its capture by an Anglo-Dutch force in 1704, all but 70[4] of the existing inhabitants of Gibraltar elected to leave[5] with many settling nearby. Since then, immigrants from Britain, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Morocco, Menorca, and India have settled at Gibraltar, as have Sephardic Jews from North Africa.[6]

Most Gibraltarian surnames are of Mediterranean or British extraction. The exact breakdown (including non-Gibraltarian British residents) according to the 1995 Census was as follows:

Rank Origin Proportion (%) of family names
on 1995 electoral register[7]
1 British 27%
2 Spanish (excluding Menorcan) 24%
3 Italian 19%
4 Portuguese 11%
5 Maltese 8%
6 Jewish 3%
7 Menorcan 2%
8 Other 4%
9 Unassigned 2%

Genoese and Catalans (who arrived in the fleet with Prince George of Hesse-Darmstadt) became the core of Gibraltar's first civilian population under Habsburg Gibraltar. Sephardi Jews from Tetouan in Morocco, who had previously been suppliers to English Tangier, began supplying fresh produce to Gibraltar in 1704.

Jews in Gibraltar by 1755 together with the Genoese formed 50% of the civilian population (then 1,300). In 1888 construction of the new harbour at Gibraltar began to provide an additional coaling station on the British routes to the East. This resulted in the importation of Maltese labour both to assist in its construction, and to replace striking Genoese labour in the old coaling lighter-based industry. Maltese and Portuguese people formed the majority of this new population. Other groups include Menorcans (due to the links between both British possessions during the 18th century; immigration began in that century and continued even after Menorca was returned to Spain in 1802 by the Treaty of Amiens),[8][9] Sardinians, Sicilians and other Italians, French, and British people.

Immigration from Spain (including refugees from the Spanish Civil War) and intermarriage with Spaniards from the surrounding Spanish towns was a constant feature of Gibraltar's history until General Francisco Franco closed the border with Gibraltar, cutting off many Gibraltarians from their relatives on the Spanish side of the border. The Spanish government reopened the land border, but other restrictions remain in place.

For the period of World War II the border was closed, although Spain was nominally neutral, as Franco's regime was effectively allied with Nazi Germany.

Genoese/Italian surnames

Research by Fiorenzo Toso in 2000 about the names of Gibraltarian families of Genoese origins found that most of the emigration from the Italian region Liguria was from the areas of Genoa and Savona, and some surnames such as Caruana, often believed to be Maltese, originate from Sicilians who emigrated to Malta during the Italian Renaissance).[10]

The following are the most common Genoese surnames in Gibraltar, according to Toso's research. The number of Gibraltarian residents who have these surnames, according to Gibraltar's Yellow Pages are provided in parenthesis.

  • Parody (45), Baglietto (45), Danino (33), Olivero (50), Robba (32), Montegriffo (34), Chipolina (25),[11] Ferrary (35), Ramagge (24), Picardo (6), Isola (24), Canepa (12), Cavilla (14) and Bossano (15).[12]

Maltese surnames

By 1912, the total number of Maltese living in Gibraltar was not above 700. Many worked in the dockyard and others operated businesses which were usually ancillary to the dockyard. However, the economy of Gibraltar was not capable of absorbing a large number of immigrants from Malta; the number of Maltese was already in decline as they returned to the Maltese Islands. Eventually those who stayed in Gibraltar became very much involved in the economic and social life of the colony, most of them also being staunch supporters of links with the UK.

Below is a list of the most common Maltese surnames in Gibraltar along with the current number of Gibraltarians who possess them.

  • Azzopardi (22), Barbara (12), Borg (46), Bugeja (11), Buhagiar (14), Buttigieg (18), Zammit (37).[12]


Gibraltarians are British citizens, albeit with a distinct identity of their own. Gibraltar is sometimes referred by the younger generation as "Gib" (/dʒɨb/). They are colloquially referred to as Llanitos (or Yanitos),[13] both locally and in Spain.[14] Additional nicknames exist for them in English for Gibraltar relating to the Rock of Gibraltar.[15]

2012 census

Statistics for the usually-Resident Population and Persons Present in Gibraltar.[16] A usual resident of Gibraltar, for census purposes, is anyone who, on 12 November 2012: (a) was in Gibraltar and had stayed or intended to stay in Gibraltar for a period of 12 months or more, or; (b) has a permanent Gibraltar address but is outside Gibraltar and intends to be outside Gibraltar for less than 12 months.

Rank Nationality Percent of total population[16] Population
1 Gibraltarian 79.0% 25,444
2 UK and Other British 13.2% 4,249
3 Spanish 2.1% 675
4 Moroccan 1.6% 522
5 Other EU 2.4% 785
6 Other* 1.6% 519
(*) Includes all nationalities different from Gibraltarian, UK and other British and Moroccan.

The 2012 census showed a total Usually-Resident population of 32,194. There was a small decrease in the proportion of Gibraltarians (79.0%), an increase in the ratio of "Other British" (13.2%) and a small increase in the ratio of "Other" (6.2%).[16]


Gibraltarians, 1856


The main religion of Gibraltar is Christianity with the majority of Gibraltarians belonging to the Roman Catholic Church. Other Christian denominations include the Church of England, the Gibraltar Methodist Church,[17] the Church of Scotland, various Pentecostal and independent churches mostly influenced by the House Church and Charismatic movements, as well as a Plymouth Brethren congregation. There is also a ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Jehovah's Witnesses. There are a number of Hindu Indians, a Moroccan Muslim population, members of the Baháʼí Faith[18] and a long-established Jewish community.[19][20]

Rank Religion Proportion (%) of Gibraltarians[21]
1 Roman Catholic 78.09%
2 Church of England 6.98%
3 Muslim 4.01%
4 Other Christian 3.21%
5 None 2.86%
6 Jewish 2.12%
7 Hindu 1.79%
8 Other or unspecified 0.94%


English (used in schools and for official purposes) and Spanish are the main languages of Gibraltar. Although English is the official language, Gibraltarians are typically bilingual, speaking Spanish as fluently as English.[22] Most Gibraltarians converse in Llanito, Gibraltar's vernacular. It is an old dialect of Andalusian Spanish with modern British English influence, as well as influences from Genoese Ligurian, Maltese, Portuguese and Haketia. Gibraltarians may also code-switch to English. Hebrew is spoken by the significant Jewish community. Arabic is also spoken by the Moroccan community, similar to Hindi and Sindhi being spoken by the Indian community of Gibraltar. Maltese is still spoken by some families of Maltese descent.

Gibraltarians have a light, but unique accent when speaking English, primarily influenced by Andalusian Spanish and southern British English. Many educated Gibraltarians are able to converse in Received Pronunciation.

Notable Gibraltarians

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Country-of-birth database". Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Archived from the original on 4 May 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2009.
  2. ^ a b Appearance of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Spain under the Foreign Affairs Commission (Senate of Spain), 5 October 2006.
  3. ^ Abstract of Statistics 2008 Archived 13 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Gold, Peter (2005). Gibraltar: British or Spanish?. Routledge. p. 6.
  5. ^ Harvey, Maurice (1996). Gibraltar: A History. Spellmount Limited. p. 68. ISBN 1-86227-103-8.
  6. ^ Gold, Peter (2005). Gibraltar: British Or Spanish?. Psychology Press. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-415-34795-2 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Edward G. Archer (2006). "Ethnic factors". Gibraltar, identity and empire. Routledge. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-415-34796-9.
  8. ^ Jackson, William (1990). The Rock of the Gibraltarians. A History of Gibraltar (second ed.). Grendon, Northamptonshire, UK: Gibraltar Books. p. 225. ISBN 0-948466-14-6. The open frontier helped to increase the Spanish share, and naval links with Menorca produced the small Menorcan contingent.
  9. ^ Edward G. Archer (2006). Gibraltar, identity and empire. Routledge. pp. 42–43. ISBN 978-0-415-34796-9.
  10. ^ Research on Genoese surnames in Gibraltar (in Italian)
  11. ^ History of the Chipulina family in Gibraltar
  12. ^ a b "Gibraltar Telephone Directory".
  13. ^ Levey, David (2008). "English, Spanish... and Yanito". Language Change and Variation in Gibraltar. John Benjamins Publishing. p. 1. ISBN 978-9027218629. Yanito (or Llanito) is the name popularly given to the native of Gibraltar as well as the local/vernacular they speak
  14. ^ Real Academia Española, ed. (2014). Diccionario de la lengua española (in Spanish) (23rd ed.). Madrid: Espasa-Calpe. llanito, ta: adj. coloq. gibraltareño. Apl. a pers., u. t. c. s.
  15. ^ Adrian Room (1 January 2006). Nicknames of Places: Origins and Meanings of the Alternate and Secondary Names, Sobriquets, Titles, Epithets and Slogans for 4600 Places Worldwide. McFarland & Company. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-7864-2497-9.
  16. ^ a b c "Census of Gibraltar" (PDF). 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2017.
  17. ^ "Gibraltar Methodist Church". The Methodist Church. Retrieved 30 October 2007.
  18. ^ "National Baha'i Communities | The Baháʼí Faith". Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  19. ^ "People". Official Government of Gibraltar London website. 2005. Archived from the original on 13 October 2007. Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  20. ^ Jacobs, Joseph. "Gibraltar". Retrieved 6 November 2007.
  21. ^ Census of Gibraltar 2001[permanent dead link]
  22. ^ "Language of Gibraltar". 16 April 2014.
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