“This isn’t Spain,” my DIL told me. We had driven from the home of my son and his wife in Puerto de Santa Maria on the Atlantic Coast in Spain, along the Straights of Gibraltar, to the rock made famous by an insurance company.
One of the Pillars of Hercules which marked the westernmost edge of the Classical World, Gibraltar has existed through recorded time. Owing to its importance as a shipping channel, the area has seen many naval battles.
Seized by the British when they defeated Napoleon’s Empire at Cape Trafalgar, today it elects to remain a part of the British Commonwealth of Nations.
But southern Spain and Cape Gibraltar have a prehistory. Here our paleoancestors hunted, and Cape Gibraltar, the source of valuable fossils was probably the last redoubt of the Neanderthals 100,000 years ago, according to Clive Finlayson.
The area of sea before the rock in the photo above was once a grassland filled with grazing animals during the last ice age. Today, water covers the openings to the ‘city’ of Neanderthal caves in the Rock of Gibraltar.
Scientists think the channel to the Mediterranean from the Atlantic Ocean arose violently, long after the limestone barrier formed by collision of the continents of Africa and Europe (thus blocking the Mediterranean) formed.
When the ice melted and the sea rose, the limestone dissolved leaving remnants of the former wall at Gibraltar in Europe. (see Noah’s Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About The Event That Changed History, by William Ryan.) Along our drive from the East I could see the remnants of the limestone wall across the channel in Africa. (See header photo above)