Strait of Gibraltar - small, but extraordinaryimportant for world shipping. It has always been and remains an important strategic object. The minimum width of the Strait of Gibraltar is only 14 kilometers. However, it is quite deep, which only contributes to navigation.
In this article we will talk about the strait, its history, and also about the islands located in it.
Strait of Gibraltar: a general characteristic
Any strait, as is known, binds something,while sharing. The value of Gibraltar is very difficult to overestimate, as it divides the two parts of the world: Africa and Europe. Border countries in this case are Spain and Morocco.
And what connects the Strait of Gibraltar? It connects two important water bodies: the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.
And what are its main parameters?The length of the Strait of Gibraltar is 65 kilometers. Despite the small size, the depths of Gibraltar are quite high. Thus, the average depth of the Strait of Gibraltar is about 340 meters, and the largest is over a kilometer (1180 meters, to be more precise).
The important strategic importance of the Straitis confirmed by the fact that on its shores there are four ports at once: three of them - Spanish, and one - Moroccan. In addition, there is also an important naval base Gibraltar - the domain of Great Britain.
In the strait, scientists recorded one interestingfeature. The fact is that the currents in it are directed in opposite directions: superficial - from the ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, and the deep ones, on the contrary, from the sea - to the Atlantic.
How did it come about?
Concerning the emergence of the Strait of Gibraltarthere are two versions. The first (more scientific) insists that the Mediterranean Sea is nothing but the remains of the ancient, single and vast ocean of Tethys, which was systematically reduced by the motion of lithospheric plates. Thus formed and Gibraltar, which remained a small link connecting the remains of Tethys with the Atlantic.
There is another (more "simple" and lessprobable) hypothesis, which explains the emergence of Gibraltar in that the waters of the Atlantic Ocean simply "rammed" this strait and thus formed the Mediterranean Sea (flooded it). This happened, according to some scientists, about five million years ago.
The minimum width of the Strait of Gibraltar
Despite the fact that the strait is not very wide,Through it a huge number of ships pass daily. What is the minimum width of the Strait of Gibraltar? There are some problems in the answer to this question. The fact is that some sources (mainly old ones) indicate a figure of 12 kilometers, while others (and their majority) are 14 kilometers away. Therefore, perhaps, it is worth considering that the minimum width of the Strait of Gibraltar, nevertheless, is 14 km.
As to the greatest width, almost all sources converge here on the value of 44 kilometers.
The Strait of Gibraltar in Culture, Literature and Cinema
In ancient times, Gibraltar was enveloped in manyvarious myths and legends. Thus, in particular, the first navigators were convinced that the strait is nothing but a gate between two worlds: inhabited by people (Oikumena) and unknown, full of mysteries and riddles.
In those days, by the way, the strait was exoticthe name "Hercules Pillars". What was the reason for this toponym? The fact is that the strait on both sides was surrounded by high steep cliffs. Therefore, the first people gave him such an interesting name. The very word Gibraltar comes from the Arab "Jabal Tariq". The strait was named after Tariq Ibn Ziyad, an Arab conqueror who captured the Pyrenees in his time.
Gibraltar is often mentioned in modernculture. So, about him wrote a science fiction writer Paul Anderson in 1975 (a book called "Gibraltar Falls"). The strait is in the center of attention and in the film-action movie "Das Boot" in 1981. According to the plot of the film, the crew of the German submarine must overcome the Strait of Gibraltar, which is reliably protected by the British.
In the Strait of Gibraltar there are two small islands, which you can not but mention - Perekhil and Tarif.
Perehil ("parsley" in translation and Spanishlanguage) is a tiny island in the Strait of Gibraltar, whose area is only 150 square meters. However, this little piece of land has a very turbulent history. Who did not claim to possess it for the whole history of the island: Spain, Britain, France, Morocco, and even the USA. The status of the island, by the way, is not clear until now: today it is a disputed territory between two countries: Morocco and Spain.
At the moment there is no Perekhil islandpermanent population. However, all are concerned that it can be used for illegal activities. In particular, there are fears that the island serves as a trans-shipment base for illegal migrants and smuggling. And this is supposedly the Moroccan mafia.
Another interesting island is in the Strait of Gibraltar. First of all, it is interesting by its name.
Tariff is a small rocky island thatIt is located opposite the homonymous Spanish town of Andalusia. The island does not have a permanent population, and its area is only 300 square meters.
As the story goes, before all the ships passing throughthrough the Strait of Gibraltar, passed this rocky island. And resourceful Arabs who owned it, they charged a certain fee from all ships. And its size depended on the volume, as well as the quality of the cargo carried. That's how the familiar word "tariff" appeared. Few people today know that this term originated precisely from the name of the island in the Strait of Gibraltar, where "enterprising" Arabs "hosted".
Gibraltar is the most important strait not only forEuropean region, but also for the whole world. After all, it provides a maritime connection between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. A lot of different legends are connected with this strait. After all, in ancient times it was perceived as a kind of line behind which a new and unknown world begins - a stranger, but so tempting!