Channel Islands

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Channel Islands
The English Channel with the Channel Islands Guernsey and Jersey
The English Channel with the Channel Islands Guernsey and Jersey
Waters English Channel
Geographical location 49 ° 25 ′  N , 2 ° 20 ′  W Coordinates: 49 ° 25 ′  N , 2 ° 20 ′  W
Channel Islands (United Kingdom)
Channel Islands
Number of islands 14 (8 inhabited)
Main island jersey
Total land area 198 km²
Residents 166,000
Channel Islands map
Channel Islands map

The Channel Islands or Norman Islands ( English Channel Islands , French Îles Anglo-Normandes , Norman Îles de la Manche ) are an archipelago in the southwestern part of the English Channel - near the coast of the French department of Manche . About 166,000 people live on them (as of 2015).

The Channel Islands are geologically remains of the summit of the Armorican massif and consist primarily of deep rock (0.4 to 2.6 billion years old). They became islands after the sea level rose after the last ice age around 10,000 years ago. Today's surface forms were formed by erosion : Jersey and Sark are flat plateaus with high coasts; On the other hand, Guernsey , Alderney and Herm - located further north - slope from south to north and have flat beaches in the north. Their climate, influenced by the Gulf Stream , favors a special flora.

During the Second World War , the German Wehrmacht was the only one able to occupy British territory - from 1940 until the end of the war .


Politically, they are divided into the administrative districts or bailiwicks (English bailiwick ) of Guernsey and Jersey . The two administrative districts have their own parliaments , the States .

As the rest of the historical Duchy of Normandy , the mainland territory is now part of France, the Channel Islands, neither part of the United Kingdom nor a colony , but directly as Crown Estates (English crown dependency ) of the British Crown assumed (in its capacity as Dukes of Normandy) ( → suzerainty ). Otherwise only the Isle of Man has this special status .

Although the Channel Islands are not geographically part of the British Isles , they are often included for political reasons. When Great Britain joined the European Community in 1973 , the status of the Channel Islands was regulated in an additional protocol. The Channel Islands were therefore not members of the EU , but belonged to their customs territory .

With more than 100 financial institutions and 352 insurance companies (as of 2008), the Channel Islands are an important financial center and are still an attractive tax haven today .


f1Georeferencing Map with all coordinates: OSM | WikiMap

Bailiwick of Jersey

island Area
jersey 119.6 100,800 49 ° 13 ′ 0 ″ N, 2 ° 7 ′ 57 ″ W.
Les Dirouilles <1 uninhabited 49 ° 19 ′ 30 "N, 2 ° 2 ′ 30" W.
Ecréhous <1 uninhabited 49 ° 17 ′ 30 ″ N, 1 ° 55 ′ 30 ″ W.
Minquiers <1 uninhabited 48 ° 58 ′ 30 "N, 2 ° 7 ′ 30" W.
Pierres de Lecq <1 uninhabited 49 ° 17 ′ 30 "N, 2 ° 12 ′ 10" W.

Bailiwick of Guernsey

island Area
guernsey 63.4 62,533 49 ° 27 ′ 21 ″ N, 2 ° 34 ′ 39 ″ W.
Alderney 7.8 2020 49 ° 42 ′ 0 ″ N, 2 ° 12 ′ 0 ″ W.
Sark 5.5 492 49 ° 26 ′ 0 ″ N, 2 ° 22 ′ 0 ″ W.
Herm 2 79 49 ° 28 ′ 22 "N, 2 ° 26 ′ 58" W.
Brecqhou 0.6 2 49 ° 25 ′ 53 "N, 2 ° 23 ′ 14" W.
Burhou 0.13 uninhabited 49 ° 43 ′ 53 "N, 2 ° 15 ′ 7" W.
Jethou 0.18 3 49 ° 27 ′ 28 "N, 2 ° 27 ′ 45" W.
Lihou 0.156 uninhabited 49 ° 27 ′ 38 "N, 2 ° 40 ′ 6" W.
Casquets 0.03 uninhabited 49 ° 43 ′ 4 "N, 2 ° 22 ′ 7" W.
  1. a b c d e group of reefs and cliffs
  2. including Jethou
  3. Tidal Island


The Channel Islands are among the areas that existed before the post-glacial rise of the sea, which occurred around 4000 BC. Was completed, were part of the continental mainland and were settled early. The oldest finds from the Middle Paleolithic come from the cave of La Cotte de St. Brelade . Les Fouaillages on Guernsey and Le Pinnacle on Jersey are considered to be the oldest Neolithic sites , even if the attribution of the finds from Les Fouaillages to ribbon ceramics can no longer be maintained. In the further course of the Neolithic , numerous megalithic systems and stone boxes were built. 25 of the original systems have been preserved. There are some menhirs , two of which (the Castel Church menhir and the Gran 'Mère du Chimquière , both on Guernsey) are anthropomorphic . St. Peter Port was a trading post as early as the Iron Age . Numerous Roman finds, including a wreck in the port of Saint Peter Port , document trade with the mainland.

In the Middle Ages, the Channel Islands were part of the lands of the Duke of Normandy . In 1066 William the Conqueror , Duke of Normandy, conquered England and became King of England . In the course of the following centuries all lands in France were lost, only the Channel Islands remained in the possession of the Norman dukes; this title is still held today in personal union by the kings and queens of the United Kingdom. The French language is still spoken by parts of the population in the form of a special dialect ( patois ) (see below Languages ​​of the Channel Islands ).

During the Second World War , the Channel Islands were demilitarized by the Krone in mid-June 1940 and declared an open city . On June 28, in particular, 44 people, exclusively civilians, were killed in German air raids. Obviously no one had notified the Germans of the demilitarization. On the evening of June 30, 1940, five German Ju-52s landed on the deserted airfield of St. Helier without any resistance. They confiscated vehicles and drove into town. Ten Ju-52s landed in Guernsey on July 1st. 22,656 of the approximately 94,000 inhabitants, including almost the entire population of the island of Alderney, had recently been evacuated to Great Britain. Only on Sark there were no evacuations.

The German occupation was considered a "mild occupation". The occupiers practiced an " indirect rule "; administration remained in the hands of the local authorities. Wehrmacht soldiers and British police officers went on patrol together. 1309 residents of the Channel Islands were arrested and sentenced for violating the orders of the German occupiers. 200 to 250 of these men and women were deported to France and Germany. 29 of them died as a result of the conditions in the prisons and concentration camps (KZ). Among them were three Jewish women from Austria and Poland who were deported to Auschwitz concentration camp in 1942.

The occupiers converted the Channel Islands into a heavily fortified part of the Atlantic Wall : the defense plans included reinforced concrete structures, underground chambers and tunnels as shelters, as well as railroad tracks and anti-tank walls . The islands had 16 coastal batteries as well as light and heavy flak positions. These facilities played no role during the war, however, as Great Britain did not want to endanger the residents. Therefore there was no fighting. On May 9, 1945, Major General Wulf surrendered the Channel Islands to the British troops without a fight. Since then, May 9 has been celebrated as "Liberation Day". British troops did not reach Alderney until May 16.

The languages ​​of the Channel Islands

As subjects of the duke of Normandy residents of the Channel Islands saying that of the English with Norman French called medieval French in a Norman variant. The Jersey born Robert Wace (about 1110–1174), the first French poet known by name, wrote his chronicles Roman de Brut and Roman de Rou [=  Rollo ] et des ducs de Normandie in this language , which were written around 1161 in verse . The Norman patois has survived , especially in Jersey and Guernsey, in different variants, which vary from parish to parish, and which some island families still dominate. Scandinavian and Old Norse influences have been preserved more strongly than in standard French . So etacq or etacquerel comes from Old Norse stakkr , which means "high rock". The suffixes on -ey are also interpreted as Scandinavian: ey or oy means island. The name of the most important place of worship from the Neolithic on Jersey, La Hougue Bie , is composed of Scandinavian words: Hougue means "hill" and Bie is reminiscent of by , place or place. The name of the Dehus dolmen on Guernsey also comes from the Nordic language, where dysse means "dolmen".

In addition, the French language was introduced and became the official language. The islands were still French-speaking around 1700. Today the majority of the place and field names as well as numerous family names are of French or French origin. So it was a matter of course that the first local newspapers on the islands appeared in French and were able to hold their position against the English-language press that was pushing into the market well into the 19th century.

English did not begin to be used in the legislative assemblies on each island until the late 19th century, and in schools even later. However, French formulations have been preserved to this day, especially for legal transactions. English is the colloquial language today, but the local patois can still be heard on the large islands - with the exception of Alderney; in St. Helier and in southwest Guernsey also in pubs, which are frequented mainly by locals. In recent years patois groups have formed in Jersey and Guernsey with the aim of preserving the language so important to the culture and tradition of the Channel Islands. Of the three (more or less) common languages, the patois has the most difficult class; because French is still spoken regularly in at least some churches.

See also, other name bearers

Channel Island is also the name of the following islands:

in the United States:

in Australia:

in New Zealand:

Or entire archipelagos, see:


  • Heather Sebire: Archeology and Early History of the Channel Islands. Tempus, Stroud 2005, ISBN 0-7524-3449-7 .
  • Margaret Rule , Jason Monaghan: A Gallo-Roman Trading Vessel from Guernsey. The Excavation and Recovery of a Third Century Shipwreck. (=  Guernsey Museum Monograph. Vol. 5). Guernsey Museums & Galleries, Candie Gardens 1993, ISBN 1-871560-03-9 .
  • Roy McLoughlin: British Isles under the swastika. The German occupation of the Channel Islands. Ch. Links, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-86153-305-7 .
  • John Nettles : Jewels and Jackboots. Hitler's British Channel Islands. The story of the German Occupation of the Channel Islands 1940-1945. Channel Island Publishing, Jersey 2012, ISBN 1-905095-42-2 .
  • John Nettles: Hitler's island madness. The British Channel Islands under German occupation 1940–1945. Osburg Verlag, Hamburg 2015, ISBN 978-3-95510-094-0 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Kanalinsel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Protocol No. 3 concerning the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, EC Official Journal No. L 073 of 27/03/1972 p. 0164
  2. Nikolaus Doll: Vanishing points for money in Europe. In: Die Welt online , from February 25, 2008.
  3. ^ "Who is who" of the European tax havens. May 20, 2013, accessed September 3, 2013 .
  4. Jersey Resident Population Estimate 2014 Report of the States of Jersey Statistics Unit dated June 24, 2015 ( PDF ), accessed April 25, 2016
  5. a b Guernsey Annual Electronic Census Report 31st March 2015 (English), p. 14, accessed on April 25, 2016 ( PDF ; 684 kB )
  6. Alderney Electronic Census Report 31st March 2015 Publication of the Alderney Island Administration (; English), accessed on April 25, 2016
  7. Too many people - or not enough? Jersey's population dilemma . In: Jersey Evening Post . April 9, 2015. Accessed April 25, 2016. (English)
  8. a b Michael Hechter: Alien Rule. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2013, ISBN 978-1-107-33708-4 , p. 99.
  9. ^ Madeleine Bunting: The Model Occupation. The Channel Islands Under German Rule 1940-1945. HarperCollins, London 1995, ISBN 0-00-255242-6 , therein the chapter Correct Relations , pp. 37-73.
  10. Gilly Carr, Paul Sanders, Louise Willmot: Protest, Defiance and Resistance in the Channel Islands German Occupation, 1940–45. Bloomsbury, London 2014, p. 88 (English). See also