The culture of Gibraltar reflects Gibraltarians’ diverse origins. While there are Spanish (mostly from nearby Andalusia) and British influences, the ethnic origins of most Gibraltarians are not confined to these ethnicities. Other ethnicities include Genoese, Maltese, Portuguese and German. A few other Gibraltar residents are Jewish of Sephardic origin, Moroccan, or Indians. British influence remains strong, with English being the language of government, commerce, education, and the media.
Gibraltar’s first sovereignty referendum is celebrated annually on Gibraltar National Day (10 September). It is a public holiday, during which most Gibraltarians dress in their national colours of red and white and 30,000 similarly coloured balloons are released, to represent the people of Gibraltar. The 300th anniversary of Gibraltar’s capture was celebrated in 2004 on Tercentenary Day (4 August), when in recognition of and with thanks for its long association with Gibraltar, the Royal Navy was given the Freedom of the City of Gibraltar and a human chain of Gibraltarians dressed in red, white and blue, linked hands to encircle The Rock.
The Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation operates a television and radio station on UHF, VHF and medium-wave. The radio service is also Internet-streamed. Special events and the daily news bulletin are streamed in video. The other local radio service is operated by the British Forces Broadcasting Service which also provides a limited cable television network to HM Forces. The largest and most frequently published newspaper is the Gibraltar Chronicle, Gibraltar’s oldest established daily newspaper and the world’s second oldest English language newspaper to have been in print continuously with daily editions six days a week. Panorama is published on weekdays, and 7 Days, The New People, and Gibsport are weekly.
There exists a small amount of literary writings by native Gibraltarians. The first work of fiction was probably Héctor Licudi’s 1929 novel Barbarita, written in Spanish. It is a largely autobiographical account of the adventures of a young Gibraltarian man. Throughout the 1940s and 1950s, several anthologies of poetry were published by Leopoldo Sanguinetti, Albert Joseph Patron and Alberto Pizzarello. The 1960s were largely dominated by the theatrical works of Elio Cruz and his two highly acclaimed Spanish language plays La Lola se va pá Londre and Connie con cama camera en el comedor. In the 1990s, the Gibraltarian man-of-letters Mario Arroyo published Profiles (1994), a series of bilingual meditations on love, loneliness and death. Of late there have been works by the essayist Mary Chiappe such as her volume of essays Cabbages and Kings (2006) and by academic M. G. Sanchez, author of the novel Rock Black 0-10: A Gibraltar fiction (2006).
A number of local bands play original material and covers. Local venues have begun accepting Gibraltarian bands and those from nearby Spain, resulting in a varied mix of live performances every weekend as well as some weekday nights. Musicians from Gibraltar include Charles Ramirez, the first guitarist invited to play with the Royal College of Music Orchestra, successful rock bands like Breed 77, Melon Diesel, and Taxi. Albert Hammond had top 10 hits in the UK and US, and has written many songs for international artists such as Whitney Houston, Tina Turner, and Julio Iglesias among many others.