What strait divides Morocco and Spain?
Last Updated on September 7, 2019 by Ephraim Iyodo
The Strait of Gibraltar (Arabic: مضيق جبل طارق, romanized: Maḍīq Jabal Ṭāriq; Spanish: Estrecho de Gibraltar) is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Gibraltar and Peninsular Spain in Europe from Morocco in Africa.
The two continents are separated by 14.3 kilometres (8.9 miles; 7.7 nautical miles) of ocean at the Strait’s narrowest point. The Strait’s depth ranges between 300 and 900 metres (980 and 2,950 feet; 160 and 490 fathoms) which possibly interacted with the lower mean sea level of the last major glaciation 20,000 years ago when the level of the sea is believed to have been lower by 110–120 m (360–390 ft; 60–66 fathoms). Ferries cross between the two continents every day in as little as 35 minutes. The Spanish side of the Strait is protected under El Estrecho Natural Park.
The name comes from the Rock of Gibraltar, which in turn originates from the Arabic Jabal Ṭāriq (meaning “Tariq’s Mount”),named after Tariq ibn Ziyad. It is also known as the Straits of Gibraltar, the Gut of Gibraltar (although this is mostly archaic),the STROG (STRait Of Gibraltar) in naval use,and Bāb al-Maghrib (Arabic: باب المغرب), “Gate of Morocco”. In the Middle Ages, Muslims called it Az-Zuqāq (الزقاق), “the Passage”, the Romans called it Fretum Gaditanum (Strait of Cadiz), and in the ancient world it was known as the “Pillars of Hercules”