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Panorama 22/11/99

Spain's own "Gibraltar" in Portugal

Exiting Portugal through the Badajoz frontier post, we all invariably take the main road down to Gibraltar. However, one of the minor roads would take you to Olivenša, Spain's "Gibraltar" in Portugal. Say the Portuguese: "If Spain claims from Britain the devolution of Gibraltar, a territory with an area of less than 6 square kilometres, what is the reason why Portugal should not demand the return of Olivenša, 125 times bigger than Gibraltar, over which there exist no doubts about Portugal's rights?"

A long stretch of frontier, going down kilometre after kilometre, is not recognised by the Portuguese in their official maps. Olivenša has been under Spanish control since 1806 but this has never been recognised by Portugal.

Now and again, the problem arises in newspaper reports like a recent one in Spain where the Spanish mayor says: With the disappearance of frontiers in the European Union, it seems anachonic to claim this territory.

Using the same logic, it would appear equally anachonic that Spain should be claiming Gibraltar!

Where is Olivenša?
Olivenša is about 24 kilometres south of Badajoz, almost triangular in shape, sited to the left of the river Guadiana. It's population - now Spanish - is of about 11,000 inhabitants in a total area of 750 sq kms.

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