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The Rock HotelWinston Churchill

Sir Winston Churchill was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who twice served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, significantly from 1940 to 1945 during the Second World War. Churchill's impact on global affairs and his role in securing victory against Nazi Germany cement his legacy as one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century.

Churchill came to Gibraltar in several times. Between 2nd and 24th August 1942: During World War II, Churchill flew to Gibraltar as part of his extensive travels. In July 1960: On a Mediterranean cruise with his friend Aristotle Onassis, Churchill stopped in Gibraltar to visit the famous Barbary macaques (commonly called apes).

As Prime Minister, he was acutely aware of Gibraltar's role as a naval base and gateway to the Mediterranean. Churchill's involvement with Gibraltar during World War II was multifaceted, reflecting his understanding of its strategic and symbolic importance. On 2nd September 1944, amidst global conflict, Churchill issued a directive to increase the population of Barbary macaques in Gibraltar. His order ensured the replenishment of the macaque population from North Africa, reinforcing the legend that British rule in Gibraltar would persist as long as these macaques resided on the Rock. Churchill recognized Gibraltar as a vital naval base that controlled access to the Mediterranean Sea, essential for British naval dominance and the protection of maritime routes. His directives to reinforce Gibraltar's defences were critical in ensuring it remained an impregnable fortress against Axis powers. Furthermore, Churchill's visits to Gibraltar served as morale boosters for the troops stationed there and underscored the Rock's significance in British national defines strategy.

His legacy in Gibraltar is thus a testament to his broad vision, which encompassed not only the immediate tactical advantages but also the deeper symbolic gestures that bolstered British sovereignty and morale.


Winston Churchill with Gibraltar's apes.

Winston Churchill during WWII in Gibraltar.

Winston Churchill Curiosities