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In pictures: the story of the Gibraltar/Spanish border

In the second part of his photo essay, local historian Tito Vallejo explores the repercussions of the 1969 border closure

By New Statesman

Following the closure of the border by General Franco, Gibraltar had – literally overnight – lost its Spanish labour force. Luckily, contingency plans had been made for this foreseeable turn of events.

Contact was made with the government of Morocco, who covered the shortage of labour by sending hundreds of Moroccans in the Spanish’s stead. Meanwhile, all Gibraltarians mucked in to cover whilst the shortages were filled. The most delicate places like the hospitals and old people’s homes were covered very effectively. Fresh fruit, vegetables and fish came from Morocco, whilst meat and other essentials were imported from UK and other countries. Nothing came from Spain, who wished to put a strangle on Gibraltar’s economy.

(Photographers capture the moment when the border is closed. 9th June, 1969)