Gibraltar is a small country positioned on the southernmost part of the Iberian Peninsula, south of Spain. This British settlement has a land area of 6.7 square kilometers, with the Rock of Gibraltar taking a huge chunk of the nation’s landscape. Gibraltar is home to about 32,000 people living at the foot of the promontory. Since the Strait of Gibraltar leads to the Mediterranean Sea, the British territory had been a Royal Naval base during the Second World War, the wars between powerful European forces and the French Empire, and even in today’s commercial affairs.
Along with financial services, web-based betting, offshore banking, and shipping, tourism contributes to the country’s economy with the Rock of Gibraltar as tourists’ favorite place of interest. In 1998, the nation recorded almost 5 million visitors. The tourism sector contributes 30% to Gibraltar’s GDP, while the financial industry makes 30% and 25% from the shipping sector.
In 1984, the British military presence contributed approximately 60% of the nation’s economy. However, in recent years, it has been reduced to only about 7%. Recently, the nation has undergone a major economic shift from the public to the private sector which caused government spending to fluctuate, creating an impact on the country’s level of employment.
From 1872 until 1898, Gibraltar’s national currency was the Spanish peseta. Following the Spanish-American conflict that led to the collapse of the Spanish peseta in 1898, the British pound became the country’s legal tender. In 1914, the government introduced its first banknotes to address the shortage of coins due to the First World War. These banknotes were stamped with an embossed Anglo-Egyptian Bank and were hand-signed by Treasurer Greenwood.
In 1954, another family of banknotes was issued by the government bearing similar designs with the notes released on October 21, 1915, but with a solid security thread. The first few batches of these banknotes were printed by Waterlow & Sons until Thomas De La Rue took over the production of these notes. Highlighted on their obverse design are the Rock of Gibraltar, the castle emblem with a key, and Queen Elizabeth II wearing the Kokoshnik tiara of Queen Alexandra, the floret earrings of Queen Mary, and King George VI’s festoon necklace. On these banknotes’ reverse side is a building.
Although today’s Gibraltar pound banknotes still feature the emblem of the castle with a key and Queen Elizabeth II, they have new designs and colors and bear improved security elements such as a watermark that reflects the Queen’s portrait, an electrotype value, and Cornerstones. These notes also carry a windowed security thread with a demetalized denomination.