The Alameda Gardens were established in 1816 by Lieutenant-Governor Sir George Don, who was the first commander in Gibraltar since 1704 to dedicate significant resources to public well-being.
The gardens were funded by voluntary contributions, including some from the Amateur Theatre, and monies raised via a series of public lotteries. The Alameda was laid out with numerous interconnecting paths and terraced beds, using mainly the local limestone.
The original layout remains largely intact and a series of guns and commemorative busts attest to the gardens' age and Gibraltar's important military history. It is for this reason that several of the monuments within the Alameda are listed under the Gibraltar Heritage Act.
During the 1970s the Alameda Gardens gradually fell into a state of disrepair. They were finally rehabilitated and converted to a Botanic Garden in 1991, expanding the Alameda's role to include education, research and the conservation of flora.
Although restoration is ongoing, works around the gardens mostly consist of new projects and consolidation of the vast improvements that have been made over the past three decades. These include the continued development of planting beds, enhancement of recreational areas and a glasshouse in which to display plants from tropical and extreme arid climates.
The term Alameda is derived from the Spanish word 'Alamo', or Poplar. It is commonly used to describe promenades that are lined with Poplars or other trees.