The civil and state flag of Gibraltar is unusually ornate for modern-day flags. Proportionally, it is 1:2 in terms of height by length, making it appear thinner than many national flags. The top two-thirds is white; the bottom third is red.
A castle is set in the center of the upper white field. A golden key hangs from the center door of the castle by a chain into the lower red field of the flag. The castle has three towers with each of these having a black door and window. The central tower has additional ornamentation in the form of three vertical slits above its window. The castle has a strong and fortress-like appearance.
The hanging key is an old-fashioned skeleton key that represents Gibraltar’s place as the key to the Mediterranean in terms of naval strategy. Likewise, the castle represents the fortifications of Gibraltar. Historians consider Gibraltar one of the most fought over locations in Europe due to its strategic importance. This is still represented in their modern flag.
Unlike most flags belonging to British Overseas Territories, the official flag of Gibraltar does not include the Union Jack associated with Great Britain and its holdings. However, Gibraltar’s civil ensigns do include this feature, generally in combination with the castle and key.
The current Gibraltar flag was adopted on November 8, 1982. Before this time, Gibraltar had a variety of flags, most of which included the British Union Jack.
The people of Gibraltar are very proud of their flag, and many citizens display it on Gibraltar National Day (September 10) at their homes and places of business. Students who study abroad from here often take the national flag with them to their host country.
Prominent locations for displaying the flag include the frontier with Spain and over the parliament building, not to mention at the top of the famed Rock of Gibraltar.
An interesting fact about the flag is that a Lego flag of Gibraltar is on display at the John Mackintosh Hall. The flag measures 4 meters high and 8 meters long. When first constructed, the flag of Gibraltar was the largest ever made out of Legos, utilizing a grand total of 393,857 bricks.