Straits of Gibraltar
The Straits of Gibraltar is located at the southern Spain, with the Northern of the Morocco, with the is Atlantic Ocean, with the western of the the Mediterranean. It is the only maritime passage between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. It is broad 14,4 km and a depth from approximately 300 Mr. In the Antiquité this strait was called “the Pillars of Hercules”, but it owes its name of Gibraltar with a deformation of Djebel Tarik according to the Berber general Tariq ibn Ziyad which in April 711 crosses the strait to make a raid against wisigothic Spain , first incursion Musulman E into the Iberian peninsula.
The rock and the town of Gibraltar, which give their name to the strait, are on a very narrow peninsula, on European bank, at the entry is strait. In the west, the strait emerges in the gulf of Cadiz, which opens largely on the Atlantic. In the east, on the contrary, the Golfe of Algeciras is closed more, broad of a hundred kilometers approximately, and length of almost two hundreds. The Mediterranean being a quasi closed sea, and undergoing an important evaporation, the current dominating in the strait goes from the Atlantic towards the Mediterranean on the surface but there exists permanently current reverses weaker in-depth. These opposite marine currents meet there violently, making navigation dangerous. The limit between water of the Atlantic and the Mediterranean (in term of temperature and salinity in particular) is far towards the east, almost all the gulf of Algeciras is Atlantic from this point of view.
East-West connectionsThe strait is a major point of the sea links in the world. It is crossed every year by approximately 90 000 trading vessels. Its position has a very great strategic importance at least since the end of the Moyen-âge, a trade by the sea was established between Northern Europe and the Italy. The town of Gibraltar is a colony of the Great Britain since the Traité of Utrecht in 1713, which made it possible the British fleet to have naval supremacy in the Mediterranean from. The strait became even strategic during the boring of the Suez Canal in 1869. Since then, it allows the passage of the Atlantic not only towards the Mediterranean, but also towards the Indian Ocean, avoiding the long roads of the Cape of Good Hope. Gibraltar was thus a great British naval base a long time, but it was strongly reduced since the end of the Cold war. On its side, Spain has the town of Ceuta, on Moroccan bank of the strait. Conquered in 1415 by the Portugal, it passed to Spain under the reign of Philippe II, when he was king of the two countries. Gibraltar is asserted by Spain and Ceuta by Morocco. The sea Transport in the strait is controlled by a Separation device of the traffic.
The strait separates also the Europe from the Africa. Transporter traditional rapids and ensure the connection, for the passage of the people and the vehicles. It is a point of passage of clandestine immigration towards Europe, especially since, on the one hand the growth of Spain during the Années 1980 made a destination of immigration of it, on the other hand because the disappearance of the frontier checks interior of the European Union (Single act and the Convention of Schengen) in fact a main door of the whole Union. Immigration can be done via Ceuta, enclave European in Africa. Spain very strongly reinforced the border starting from 1999. Immigration is also done by crossing of the strait, sometimes on boats of fortune (called will patera ), causing many deaths. The figure is the subject of a polemic: it is at least several tens per annum, but some speak about thousands. The situation is similar on two other straits giving access to Europe, the Détroit of Sicily, between the Tunisia and the Sicily, and the Canal of Otranto at the entry of the Adriatic Sea, between the Albania and the Italy.
The boring or the construction of a fixed bond is a recurring idea since the beginning of the Eighties. An agreement between the Spain and the Morocco was signed on December 12th, 2003 for a study on the construction of a railway tunnel under the strait.
See also: Afrotunnel
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