The United Kingdom has objected to the European Union's use of the word "colony" to describe the island of Gibraltar. The European Council (a body that defines the EU's political direction) produced a document regarding UK nationals travelling to the EU after Brexit. It says in a footnote: "Gibraltar is a colony of the British Crown. There is a controversy between Spain and the UK concerning the sovereignty over Gibraltar, a territory for which a solution has to be reached." A UK government spokesperson said: "Gibraltar is not a colony and it is completely inappropriate to describe it in this way. She added: "Gibraltar is a full part of the UK family....This will not change due to our exit from the EU."
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Gibraltar is a British Overseas Territory located in the Mediterranean Sea between Spain and Morocco. It is home to over 30,000 people. In 1704, Anglo-Dutch forces captured it from Spain during a war. Spain handed Gibraltar to Great Britain in a 1713 treaty. However, Spain still asserts a claim to the territory. It wants Gibraltar excluded from all post-Brexit agreements between the UK and the EU. Gibraltar rejected proposals for shared UK-Spanish sovereignty by 99% to 1% in a 2002 referendum. Gibraltar's Chief Minister has accused Spain of bullying. He said: "No one will be surprised to hear the Spanish government making provocative statements in respect of Gibraltar."