Let's say that there's a 2-million-year-old impact crater where the Strait of Gibraltar used to be, and that there's an impact peak or a series of impact peaks in the middle that are far enough above the water to be used as ports/forts/etc.

However, consider that this crater is a product of a meteor impact. Does this add any other reasons for a country to want to hold these islands, besides the fact that they're strategic chokepoints? (whoever controls the islands controls the nearby waters)

For instance:

  • the meteor brought a large quantity of natural resources to the area, and mining them is significantly easier (more of a modern thing, given that a lot of it would be underwater)

  • salt deposits being pushed up the sides of the crater by the blast wave (more of a pre-industrial thing; for instance, salt was very valuable back then)

  • impactite being used as a valuable commodity

  • coral reefs growing around the impact mountains, meaning everything from tourism to pearl harvesting

  • $\begingroup$ Isn't that very story or opinion based? $\endgroup$
    – MolbOrg
    Aug 2 at 18:27
  • $\begingroup$ What time period are you asking about? Is it a modern world similar to ours in everything but the crater? $\endgroup$
    – Otkin
    Aug 2 at 19:36

Bird Crap

No, seriously. Guano is a hugely valuable source for fertilizer and (moreso bat guano) explosives. (Bat guano especially has high concentrations of saltpeter.) To the point where multiple wars have been fought over guano deposits. Not a massive thing in the ancient/medieval world, but once you get gunpowder and a dense enough population to feed it becomes a critical strategic resource. The guano wars seem to have been fought over deposits on the west coast of South America or the Pacific Islands, but given the right migratory patters/bird species your craggy rocks in the middle of the (I assume enlarged by the impact) straight of Gibralter would be a huge strategic boon to whatever european power controlled it. At the very least they'd be saving a monumental amount compared to shipping it in from South America or the Pacific!

That's the only thing I could think of that would "compete" on a Grand Strategic scale with their location being a valuable place for naval installations, barring precious metals. Salt deposits aren't super valuable, especially so near the sea. Salt mines/getting it from seawater is easy enough that it'd be hard to justify trying to secure the islands just for that. Iron deposits et al aren't so uncommon as to make the islands desirable just for that, and I've never heard of a country going to war over tourism destinations or pearl harvesting. Rare earth elements etc might make it a key area in the modern world, but not before. So unless your meteor contained a large amount of gold/precious metals the only thing your islands could have worth fighting over historically apart from their very location would be guano deposits.


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