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Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 11, Slice 8 "Germany" to "Gibson, William"

Much of which formerly came to Gibraltar


_Commerce._--Except in respect of alcoholic liquors and tobacco Gibraltar has been a free port since the year 1705--a distinction due, it is said, to the refusal of a sultan of Morocco to allow of much-needed exports from Morocco to Gibraltar if full liberty of trade were not granted to his subjects. During the great wars of the beginning of the 19th century trade was most active in Gibraltar, and some large fortunes were made; but trade on a large scale has almost disappeared. At the point of contact of two continents, on the direct line of ocean trade with the far East, in regular steam communication with all the great ports of Europe and with North and South America, Gibraltar, by its position, is fitted to be a trade centre of the world, but the unrest and suspicion engendered in Morocco by the intrigues and designs of the European powers, and excessive protective duties and maladministration in Spain, have done much to extinguish the trade of Gibraltar. There are, however, no trustworthy statistics of imports and exports. Before the year 1898 wine, beer and spirits were the only goods which paid duty. In that year a duty of 1d. per lb. was for the first time put upon tobacco and produced L1444; the duty was, however, in force only for a part of the year; in 1899 the duty, at the same rate, produced L7703. In 1902 the duty on tobacco was raised to 2d. per lb. and produced L29,311. In 1905 this duty produced L24,575. The chief business
of Gibraltar is the coaling of passing steamers; this gives work to several thousand men. Goods are also landed for re-export to Morocco, but the bulk of the Morocco trade, much of which formerly came to Gibraltar, is now done by lines of steamers trading to and from Morocco direct to British, German or French ports. Nearly all the fresh meat consumed in Gibraltar comes from Morocco, also large quantities of poultry and eggs. A fair amount of retail business is done with the passengers of ocean steamers which call on their way to and from the East and from North and South America.

The steam-tonnage cleared annually since 1883 is shown in the following table:--

+----------------+-----------+----------+-----------+ | Yearly Average.| British. | Foreign. | Total. | +----------------+-----------+----------+-----------+ | 1883-1885 | 3,525,135 | 817,926 | 4,343,061 | | 1886-1890 | 4,507,101 | 908,419 | 5,415,520 | | 1891-1895 | 3,710,856 | 975,390 | 4,686,246 | | 1896-1900 | 3,281,165 |1,063,367 | 4,344,532 | | 1901-1905 | 2,810,849 |1,309,649 | 4,120,498 | +----------------+-----------+----------+-----------+

The main sources of revenue are (i.) duties upon wine, spirits, malt liquors and tobacco; (ii.) port and harbour dues; (iii.) tavern and other licences; (iv.) post and telegraph; (v.) ground and other rents; (vi.) stamps and miscellaneous. The returns before 1898 were made in pesetas (5 = $1). In the following table these have been converted into sterling at an average of exchange 30 = L1.

+---------------+--------+-------+------+-------+------+--------+--------+ |Yearly Average.| i. | ii. | iii. | iv. | v. | vi. | Total. | +---------------+--------+-------+------+-------+------+--------+--------+ | 1886-1890 | 9,692 |17,070 | 5387 | 6,805 | 6485 | 2,873 | 48,312 | | 1891-1895 | 9,250 |13,157 | 4275 | 7,833 | 6208 | 10,113 | 50,836 | | 1896-1900 | 14,071 | 8,435 | 4136 |10,016 | 5924 | 14,460 | 57,042 | | 1901-1905 | 35,900 | 6,028 | 3905 |12,091 | 6945 | 15,859 | 80,728 | | Year 1905 | 36,554 | 5,872 | 4050 |16,551 | 7489 | 17,007 | 87,523 | +---------------+--------+-------+------+-------+------+--------+--------+


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