Portal:Channel Islands

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Introduction

Satellite photo of the Channel Islands in 2018

The Channel Islands (Norman: Îles d'la Manche; French: Îles Anglo-Normandes or Îles de la Manche) are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown dependencies: the Bailiwick of Jersey, which is the largest of the islands; and the Bailiwick of Guernsey, consisting of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and some smaller islands. They are considered the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy and, although they are not part of the United Kingdom, the UK is responsible for the defence and international relations of the islands. The Crown dependencies are not members of the Commonwealth of Nations nor of the European Union. They have a total population of about 164,541, and the bailiwicks' capitals, Saint Helier and Saint Peter Port, have populations of 33,500 and 18,207, respectively.


"Channel Islands" is a geographical term, not a political unit. The two bailiwicks have been administered separately since the late 13th century. Each has its own independent laws, elections, and representative bodies (although in modern times, politicians from the islands' legislatures are in regular contact). Any institution common to both is the exception rather than the rule. The Bailiwick of Guernsey is divided into three jurisdictions – Guernsey, Alderney and Sark – each with its own legislature. Although there are a few pan-island institutions (such as the Channel Islands office to the EU in Brussels, which is actually a joint venture between the bailiwicks), these tend to be established structurally as equal projects between Guernsey and Jersey. Otherwise, entities proclaiming membership of both Guernsey and Jersey might in fact be from one bailiwick only, for instance the Channel Islands Securities Exchange is in Saint Peter Port (and therefore Guernsey).

The term "Channel Islands" began to be used around 1830, possibly first by the Royal Navy as a collective name for the islands. The term refers only the archipelago to the west of the Cotentin Peninsula. The Isle of Wight, for example, is not a "Channel Island" (though, being in the Channel, it remains a "Channel island").

Selected island

Flag of Sark.svg

Sark (French: Sercq; Sercquiais: Sèr or Cerq) is a small island in the Channel Islands in the southwestern English Channel, off the coast of Normandy, France. It is a royal fief, which forms part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, with its own set of laws based on Norman law and its own parliament. It has a population of about 600. Sark and the nearby island of Brecqhou has an area of 2.10 square miles (5.44 km2). Sark consists of Greater Sark and Little Sark, linked by an isthmus called La Coupée. It is ruled by a Seigneur, French for "lord"; currently this is Michael Beaumont, who is the twenty second Seigneur.

The dialect on the island is English, but Sercquiais, a version of French, is also in (declining) usage. Sark allows no cars, only bicycles, horse drawn vehicles, tractors, and few motorised vehicles.

Selected biography

George Métivier

Victor Marie Hugo (French pronunciation: ​[viktɔʁ maʁi yɡo]; 26 February 1802 – 22 May 1885) was a French poet, novelist, and dramatist of the Romantic movement. He is considered one of the greatest and best known French writers. In France, Hugo's literary fame comes first from his poetry but also rests upon his novels and his dramatic achievements. Among many volumes of poetry, Les Contemplations and La Légende des siècles stand particularly high in critical esteem. Outside France, his best-known works are the novels Les Misérables, 1862, and Notre-Dame de Paris, 1831 (known in English as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame).

Hugo spent time in exile on Guernsey, where several of his notable works were penned, such as Les Misérables. He had a house in St. Peter Port, and is remembered with a statue in Candie Gardens. (Full article...)

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