2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Great Britain

Bailiwick of Jersey
Bailliage de Jersey
Flag of Jersey Coat of arms of Jersey
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: God Save the Queen (official)
Ma Normandie (My Normandy) (official for occasions when distinguishing anthem required)
Patron saint: St. Helier
Location of Jersey
(and largest city)
Saint Helier
49°11.401′N 2°06.600′W
Official languages English, French ( Jèrriais recognised as regional language)
 - Chief of state Elizabeth II, Duke of Normandy
 - Lt. Governor Lt. Gen. Andrew Ridgway
 - Bailiff Sir Philip Bailhache
 - Chief Minister Senator Frank Walker
Status British crown dependency 
 - Separation from
   mainland Normandy

 - Liberation from
   Nazi Germany

9 May 1945 
 - Total 116 km² ( 219th)
45 sq mi 
 - Water (%) 0
 - July 2006 estimate 91,084 ( 198th)
 - 2001 census 87,186
 - Density 783/km² ( 12th2)
2,018/sq mi
GDP ( PPP) 2003 estimate
 - Total $3.6 billion ( 167th)
 - Per capita $40,000 (2003 estimate) ( 6th)
HDI  (n/a) n/a (n/a) ( n/a)
Currency Pound sterling1 ( GBP)
Time zone GMT ( UTC)
 - Summer ( DST) ( UTC+1)
Internet TLD .je
Calling code +44-1534 (landline)
+44-7797 (Jersey Telecom mobile)
+44-7700 (Cable & Wireless mobile)
1 The States of Jersey issue their own sterling notes and coins. See Jersey pound
2 Rank based on population density of Channel Islands including Guernsey.

The Bailiwick of Jersey ( Jèrriais: Jèrri) is a British Crown dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, it also includes the uninhabited islands of the Minquiers and Ecréhous, the Pierres de Lecq and other rocks and reefs. Along with the Bailiwick of Guernsey it forms the grouping known as the Channel Islands. The defence of all these islands is the responsibility of the United Kingdom. However, Jersey is not part of the UK, nor the European Union, but is rather a separate possession of the Crown, comparable to the Isle of Man.


Jersey history is influenced by its strategic location between the northern coast of France and the southern coast of England; the island's recorded history extends over a thousand years.

Evidence of bronze-age and early iron-age settlements can be found in many locations around the island. While archaeological evidence of Roman influence has been found, in particular the coastal headland site at Le Pinacle, Les Landes, where remains of a primitive structure are attributed to Roman temple worship (fanum), evidence for regular Roman occupation has yet to be established. Formerly under the control of Brittany and named Angia, also spelled Agna, Jersey became subject to Viking influence in the 9th century, one of the "Norman Islands". The name for Jersey itself is sourced from a Viking heritage: the Norse suffix -ey for island can be found in many places around the northern European coasts. However the significance of the first part of the island's toponym is unclear. Among theories are that it derives from jarth (Norse: earth) or jarl, or perhaps a personal name, Geirr, to give "Geirr's Island". Alternatively support for a Celtic origin can be made with reference to the Gaulish gar- (oak), ceton (forest). It is also said to be a corruption of the Latin Caesarea, the Roman name for the island, influenced by Old English suffix -ey for "island"; this is plausible if regional pronunciation of Latin implied that Caesarea was not pronounced [kaisarea] but [tʃeːsarea], probably under the influence of Ecclesiastical pronunciation of Latin.

The island was eventually annexed to the Duchy of Normandy by William Longsword, Duke of Normandy in 933; his descendant, William the Conqueror, conquered England in 1066, which led to the Duchy of Normandy and the kingdom of England being governed under one monarch. The Dukes of Normandy owned considerable estates on the island, and Norman families living on their estates founded many of the historical Norman-French Jersey family names. King John lost all his territories in mainland Normandy in 1204 to King Philip II Augustus, but retained possession of Jersey, along with Guernsey and the other Channel Islands; the islands have been internally self-governing since.

Islanders became involved with the Newfoundland fisheries in the late 16th century. In recognition for all the help given to him during his exile in Jersey in the 1640s, Charles II gave George Carteret, Bailiff and governor, a large grant of land in the American colonies, which he promptly named New Jersey, now part of the United States of America.

Trade laid the foundations of prosperity, aided by neutrality between England and France. The Jersey way of life involved agriculture, fishing, shipbuilding, and production of woollen goods until 19th century improvements in transport links brought tourism to the Island.

Jersey was occupied by Nazi Germany from 1 July 1940, and was held until 9 May 1945.


The States building in St Helier.
The States building in St Helier.

Jersey's legislature is the States of Jersey. It includes 53 elected members — 12 senators (elected for 6-year terms), 12 constables (heads of parishes elected for three-year terms), 29 deputies (elected for three-year terms); the Bailiff and the Deputy Bailiff (appointed to preside over the assembly and having a casting vote in favour of the status quo when presiding); and three non-voting members — the Dean of Jersey, the Attorney General, and the Solicitor General all appointed by the Crown. Government departments are run by a cabinet of ministers under a Chief Minister. The civil head of the Island is the Bailiff.

All current States Members have been elected as independents. Formally constituted political parties are unfashionable, although groups of "like-minded members" act in concert.

The Jersey Democratic Alliance is the only party currently having States Members, although these were elected as independents. The Centre Party (Jersey) has committed to only proposing candidates for Senatorial elections, though members are free to, and have, stood for Deputy as independents. They would remain independent in the Chamber. Stuart Syvret is often reported to be of the Jersey Green Party.

The legal system is based on Norman customary law (including the Clameur de Haro), statute and English law; justice is administered by the Royal Court.

Elizabeth II's traditional title as head of state is that of Duke of Normandy, but she does not hold that title formally. She reigns by her position as Queen over a crown dependency. Her representative in the island is the Lieutenant Governor, who has little but a token involvement in island politics. Since 2006 the incumbent Lieutenant Governor is Lieutenant General Andrew Ridgway.


Map of the parishes of Jersey

Administratively, Jersey is divided into 12 parishes, all having access to the sea and named after the dedications of their ancient parish churches:

  • Grouville (historically Saint Martin de Grouville)
  • Saint Brelade
  • Saint Clement
  • Saint Helier
  • Saint John
  • Saint Lawrence
  • Saint Martin (historically Saint Martin le Vieux)
  • Saint Mary
  • Saint Ouen
  • Saint Peter
  • Saint Saviour
  • Trinity

The parishes of Jersey are further divided into vingtaines (or, in St. Ouen, cueillettes), divisions which are historic and nowadays mostly used for purposes of local administration and electoral constituency.

The Constable (or Connétable) is the head of each parish, elected at a public election for a three year term to run the parish and to represent the municipality in the States. The Procureur du Bien Public (two in each parish) is the legal and financial representative of the parish, elected at a public election (since 2003 in accordance with the Public Elections (Amendment) (Jersey) Law 2003; prior to that an Assembly of Electors of each parish elected the Procureurs in accordance with the Loi (1804) au sujet des assemblées paroissiales). A Procureur du Bien Public is elected for a mandate of three years as a public trustee for the funds and property of the parish and to be empowered to pass contract on behalf of the parish if so authorised by a Parish Assembly.

Centeniers are elected at a public election within each parish for a term of three years to undertake policing within the parish. The Centenier is the only officer authorised to charge and bail offenders. Formerly, the senior Centenier of each parish (known as the Chef de Police) deputised for the Constable in the States of Jersey when the Constable was unable to attend a sitting of the States — this function has been abolished.

International relations

Although diplomatic representation is reserved to the Crown, Jersey negotiates directly with foreign governments on matters within the competence of the States of Jersey. Jersey maintains a permanent non-diplomatic representation in Caen, the Maison de Jersey. A similar office in St. Helier represents the Conseil général of Manche and the Conseil régional of Basse-Normandie and hosts the Consulate of France.

Jersey is a member of the British-Irish Council, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and the Assemblée parlementaire de la Francophonie. Jersey is aiming to become a full member of the Commonwealth in its own right.

The Federal Court of Justice of Germany ruled on 1 July 2002 (case: II ZR 380/00), that under German law, for the purposes of § 110 of the German Civil Procedures Act (ZPO), Jersey is to be deemed part of the UK and part of the EU as well. The European Union classes Jersey as a "special territory". It is part of the Common Customs Territory.

Jersey is currently considering its stance on the signing of European treaties. Should the UK sign up to the single-currency treaty, Jersey may decline and choose to maintain the Pound on its own, endowed as it is with its own treasury and economic prosperity as a result of its status as one of the world's largest offshore financial centres.

In a survey carried out by Channel Television in the summer of 2000 700 people were questioned, with 68% supporting independence from the United Kingdom. Senator (now Deputy) Paul le Claire lodged a projet calling for Jersey's independence shortly thereafter. Subsequently, the Jersey Law Review published an editorial and articles touching on the possibility of full independence.


Satellite view of Jersey
Satellite view of Jersey

Jersey is an island measuring 118.2 square kilometres (65,569 vergee / 46 sq. mi.), including reclaimed land and intertidal zone. It lies in the English Channel, approximately 22.5 kilometres (12  nm) from the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy, France, and approximately 161 kilometres (100 mi) south of Great Britain. It is the largest and southernmost of the Channel Islands.

The climate is temperate with mild winters and cool summers, it also averages the most sunshine per year in the British Isles. The terrain consists of a plateau sloping from long sandy bays in the south to rugged cliffs in the north. The plateau is cut by valleys running generally north-south.


Jersey's economy is based on financial services, tourism, electronic commerce and agriculture; financial services contribute approximately 60 per cent of the Island's economy, and the Island is recognised as one of the leading offshore financial centres.

Major agricultural products are potatoes and dairy produce. The source of milk is Jersey cattle, a small breed of cow that has also been acknowledged (though not widely so) for the quality of its meat. Small-scale organic beef production has been reintroduced in an effort to diversify the industry.

Farmers and growers often sell surplus food and flowers in boxes on the roadside, relying on the honesty of those who pass to drop the correct change into the money box and take what they want.

On February 18, 2005 Jersey was granted Fairtrade Island status.

The absence of VAT has led to the recent growth of the 'fulfilment' industry, whereby low-value luxury items, such as videos, lingerie and contact lenses are exported to the UK, avoiding VAT on arrival and thus undercutting UK prices on the same products. The States of Jersey announced in 2005 limits on licences granted to non-resident companies trading in this way.

Duty free goods are available for purchase on travel to and from the Island.

Aside from its banking and finance underpinnings Jersey also depends on tourism. Notable hotels include:

  • the Pomme d'Or overlooking Liberation Square in St. Helier, which during the Occupation served as the German Navy Headquarters and from whose balcony the Liberation force raised the Union Flag on Liberation Day, 9 May 1945;
  • the Hotel de France, formerly the Imperial and the Jesuit college, in St. Saviour overlooking the town of St. Helier;
  • the Hotel L'Horizon in St. Brelade's Bay.
  • La Grande Vere, in St. Helier overlooking St. Aubins Bay, with views of Elizabeth Castle and the Waterfront


Until the 20th century, the States relied on indirect taxation to finance the administration of Jersey. The levying of impôts (duties) was in the hands of the Assembly of Governor, Bailiff and Jurats until 1921 when that body's tax raising powers were transferred to the Assembly of the States, leaving the Assembly of Governor, Bailiff and Jurats to serve simply as licensing bench for the sale of alcohol (this fiscal reform also stripped the Lieutenant-Governor of most of his effective remaining administrative functions). The Income Tax Law of 1928 introducing income tax was the first law drafted entirely in English. Income tax has been levied at a flat rate of 20% for decades.

As VAT has not been levied in the Island, luxury goods have often been cheaper than in the UK or in France providing an incentive for tourism from neighbouring countries.

On 13 May 2005 the States of Jersey approved the introduction of a goods and services tax, scheduled for 2008.


Twin cash machines at a bank in Jersey dispense a choice of Bank of England banknotes or Jersey banknotes
Twin cash machines at a bank in Jersey dispense a choice of Bank of England banknotes or Jersey banknotes

Jersey issues its own Jersey banknotes and coins which circulate with UK coinage, Bank of England notes, Scottish notes and Guernsey currency within the Island.


Designs on the reverse of Jersey coins:

  • 1p Le Hocq Tower (coastal defence)
  • 2p L'Hermitage, site where Saint Helier lived
  • 5p Seymour Tower (offshore defence)
  • 10p La Pouquelaye de Faldouet (dolmen)
  • 20p La Corbière lighthouse
  • 50p Grosnez Castle (ruins)

Pound coins are issued, but are much less widely used than pound notes. Designs on the reverse of Jersey pound coins include series of crests of the 12 parishes, and historic Jersey-built ships. The motto round the milled edge of Jersey pound coins is: Insula Caesarea ("island of Jersey" in Latin). Two pound coins are issued also, but in very small quantities.


Mont Orgueil was built in the 13th century to protect Jersey from French invasion
Mont Orgueil was built in the 13th century to protect Jersey from French invasion

The Island plays host to large amount of people born outside Jersey; roughly 50% of the population are not originally from the island.

30% of the population is concentrated in Saint Helier, site of the only town. Of the roughly 87,000 people in Jersey, around two fifths are of Jersey/Norman descent and two fifths of British (English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish) descent. The largest minority groups in the island, after the British, are Portuguese (around 6% — especially Madeiran), Irish and Polish. The French community is also always present. The people of Jersey are often called Islanders, or in individual terms Jerseyman or Jerseywoman. Most Jersey-born people consider themselves British and value the special relationship between the British Crown and the Island.

Religion in Jersey has a complex history and much diversity. The established church is the Church of England. In the countryside, Methodism found its traditional stronghold. A minority of Roman Catholic can also be found in Jersey, with two Catholic private schools situated in the main town of Saint Helier (De La Salle being an all-boys Catholic school, and Beaulieu Convant School down the road being an all-girls school where the sisters still have a presence in school life).

Jersey, like most places in the western world, has an ageing population. Reasons for this change particular to Jersey are the emigration of young people seeking opportunities the Island cannot provide.

For immigration and nationality purposes the United Kingdom generally treats Jersey as though it were part of the UK. However, Jersey is constitutionally entitled to restrict immigration by non-Jersey residents and maintains its own immigration and border controls. Population is currently controlled by restrictions on those without residential status purchasing or renting property in the Island. Although Jersey's citizens are full British citizens, an endorsement restricting the right of establishment in European Union states other than the UK is placed in the Jersey passport of British citizens connected solely with the Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Those who have a parent or grandparent born in the United Kingdom, or who have lived in the United Kingdom for five years, are not subject to this restriction.

Censuses have been undertaken in Jersey since 1821, the most recent being the 2001 Census (taken 11 March on the island).


Victor Hugo in exile, 1850s
Victor Hugo in exile, 1850s

In the 19th century, the most spoken language was Jèrriais, the island's indigenous language. It is a variety of Norman. However, the number of Jèrriais speakers has been decreasing. There have been efforts to revive the language in schools. Jèrriais language is still spoken mostly by older people, most commonly in the country parishes. The highest number of declared Jèrriais speakers is in the capital.

The dialects of Jèrriais differ in phonology and, to a lesser extent, lexis between parishes, with the most marked differences to be heard between those of the west and east. Many place names are in Jèrriais, and French and English place names are also to be found. Anglicisation of the toponymy increased apace with the migration of English people into the island.

Some Neolithic carvings are the earliest works of artistic character to be found in Jersey. Only fragmentary wall-paintings remain from the rich mediaeval artistic heritage, after the wholesale iconoclasm of the Calvinist reformation of the 16th century.

Printing arrived in Jersey only in the 1780s, but the Island supported a multitude of regular publications in French (and Jèrriais) and English throughout the 19th century, in which poetry, most usually topical and satirical, flourished. See Jèrriais literature.

John Everett Millais, Elinor Glyn, and Wace are among Jersey's artistic figures. Lillie Langtry, the Jersey Lily, is the Island's most widely recognised cultural icon. The famous French writer, Victor Hugo, lived in exile in Jersey 1852-1855.

The Island is particularly famous for the Battle of Flowers, a carnival held annually since 1902.

The Island's patron saint is Saint Helier.

Food and drink

Jersey wonders, or mèrvelles, are a favourite snack consisting of fried dough, especially at country fêtes. According to tradition, the success of cooking depends on the state of the tide.
Jersey wonders, or mèrvelles, are a favourite snack consisting of fried dough, especially at country fêtes. According to tradition, the success of cooking depends on the state of the tide.

Seafood has traditionally been important to the cuisine of Jersey: mussels (called moules locally), oysters, lobster and crabs — especially spider crabs — ormers, and conger.

Jersey milk being very rich, cream and butter have played a large part in insular cooking. (See Channel Island milk) However there is no indigenous tradition of cheese making, contrary to the custom of mainland Normandy, but some cheese is produced commercially. Jersey fudge, mostly imported and made with milk from overseas Jersey cattle herds, is a popular food product with tourists.

Jersey Royal potatoes are the local variety of new potato, and the island is famous for its early crop of small potatoes from the south-facing côtils (steeply-sloping fields). They are eaten in a variety of ways, often simply boiled and served with butter.

Apples historically were an important crop. Bourdélots are apple dumplings, but the most typical speciality is black butter (lé nièr beurre), a dark spicy spread prepared from apples, cider and spices.

Among other traditional dishes are cabbage loaf, Jersey wonders (les mèrvelles), fliottes, bean crock (les pais au fou), nettle (ortchie) soup, vraic buns.

Cider used to be an important export. After decline and near-disappearance in the late 20th century, apple production is being increased and promoted. Apple brandy is also produced. Some wine is produced.


Three areas of land are protected for their ecological or geological interest as Sites of Special Interest (SSI): Les Landes, Les Blanches Banques and La Lande du Ouest. A large area of intertidal zone is designated as a Ramsar site. Jersey is the home of Durrell Wildlife (formerly known as the Jersey Zoological Park) and Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, founded by the naturalist, zookeeper, and author Gerald Durrell.

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