Monday, November 7, 2022

The Channel Islands

The Channel Islands consist of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey.  They are two of the three Crown Dependencies and they are located in the English Channel, off the coast of France

Each of the two bailiwicks have their own money, legal and healthcare systems, as well as, their own individual immigration policies.  Since 1290, they have been Crown Dependencies which means that they are not part of the United Kingdom, but the UK is responsible to represent them internationally and to provide for their defence.  Together the two bailiwicks have a population of almost 172.000 people.

The Bailiwick of Jersey consists of the island of Jersey plus the uninhabited islets Écréhous and Minquiers, with Jersey being a single jurisdiction.  Jersey the is largest and southernmost island with 118 km² (46 square miles).  It is 23 km (14 miles) from the coast of Normandy and 160 km (100 miles) south of England.  There are almost 108.000 people living in Jersey.  About a third of the population lives in the capital Saint Helier.

People have been living on Jersey since at least 12.000 BC.  The island has Bronze and Iron Age settlements and the islands have controlled by the Romans, Vikings, and Normans.

The official languages are English, French, and Jèrriais which is a Norman French dialect.

The Bailiwick of Guernsey consists of the islands of Alderney, Brecqhou, Guernsey, Herm, Jethou, Lihou, and Sark.  Guernsey is the second-largest and westernmost island with 78 km² (30 square miles).  It is roughly 48 km (30 miles) off the coast of Normandy.  Guernsey is home to about 64.000 people with roughly 20.000 living in the capital St. Peter Port.

There are actually three different jurisdictions.  Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, each have their own parliaments but they do work closely together.

History on Guernsey goes back to at least 6000 BC.  There's evidence that Neolithic farmers lived here, plus the Romans, Vikings, and Normans.

Flag of Guernsey.svgGuernsey has jurisdiction over the islands of Herm, Jethou, Limo, and a few other small uninhabited islands.

Flag of Alderney.svgAlderney is a small island that is only 7,7 km² (3 square miles) and home to over 2000 people.  It is the northernmost Channel Island and the closest to France which is only 13 km (8 miles) west of La Hague.  Saint Anne is the capital.  English is the only official language.  Auregnais was a Norman French language spoken here but it is now extinct.

Flag of Sark.svgSark is an even smaller island that is just 5,4 km² (2,1 square miles) and home to about 500 people.  It is about 32 km (20 miles) from France.  Sark also has jurisdiction over the island Breqhou which is almost uninhabited, plus some other smaller uninhabited islands.  There's no official capital city but the de facto capital is La Seigneurie.  English is the only official language but a few people still speak Sercquiais which is another Norman French dialect.

Sark became a democracy in 2008 and until then it was Europe's last feudal political entity.

The official currency in the Channel Islands is the pound sterling.  However, both Jersey and Guernsey issue their own pounds which are pegged one-to-one to the UK pound.  British £ are valid in the Channel Islands but the Jersey and Guernsey pounds aren't accepted in the UK.

Guernsey £ on top and Jersey £ below

The Channel Islands were occupied by Nazi Germany during WWII.  The only part of the British Islands to be occupied by Germany.

Here's a short video I found on YouTube that talks about how the Channel Islands came to be.

©History HQ

And here's another short video specifically about the German occupation during the war.

©Smithsonian Channel

There was a 2017 film, takes place in Jersey during the occupation that was based on a true story.  Here's the movie trailer for Another Mother's Son

©Vertigo Releasing

On Netflix I saw the 2018 film, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society that also takes place during the occupation. 


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