Description: As long as Barbary Apes remain on Gibraltar, Britain will rule 'The Rock'
Origin: Gibraltar, 18th Century
This superstition sprang up when the French and Spanish tried to snatch British Gibraltar during the American War on Independence. But the British hung on and gave the credit to their mascots - a troop of wild Barbary Apes, or macaques, that lived atop the Rock. Since then this superstition has become an official part of British foreign policy, to the enduring annoyance of the Spanish who still claim Gibraltar as their territory.
During the Second World War just seven apes remained, and Winston Churchill was concerned enough to order new recruits ferried from North Africa. Today an officer of the British Army's Royal Artillery is appointed to care for the apes, and maintain an official record of their births and deaths.
Note: These superstitions
were researched and written by Stuart Macfarlane (Website:
and Tom Metcalfe (Website:
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