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Gibraltar, The Land and Population

Barbary ape, population of Gibraltar, woodcocks, Rock of Gibraltar, natural caves

The Rock of Gibraltar is composed of limestone. It arises abruptly from the sea in the east; its slope is more gradual on the west. The maximum elevation is 426 m (1,398 ft). Aloes, cacti, capers, and asparagus grow in the crevices. Certain parts contain grassy glens, in which pigeons, partridges, woodcocks, and the Barbary ape (the only wild monkey of Europe) are found. Among the natural caves of the promontory, Saint Michael's, with an entrance 335 m (1,100 ft) above the sea, is the largest. Climate is temperate, with temperatures averaging 15.6 C (60 F) in winter and 21.1 C (70 F) in summer. Average annual rainfall is 889 mm (35 in).

The population of Gibraltar in 2002 was 27,714. The overall population density was 4,254 persons per sq km (11,017 per sq mi). Most of the civilian inhabitants are of Portuguese, Italian, Maltese, English, or Spanish descent.

The official language is English, although Spanish is widely spoken. About 75% of the population is Roman Catholic, 8% is Anglican, and 9% Muslim. Education is compulsory between the ages of 4 and 15. In 1998-1999 some 2,764 students attended 11 primary schools in Gibraltar.

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