Etymologie, Etimología, Étymologie, Etimologia, Etymology
JE Jersey, Isla de Jersey, Jersey, Isola di Jersey, Jersey
Geschichte, Historia, Histoire, Storia, History











History of Jersey


Situated off the north-west coast of France, in the Bay of Mont St Michel, is the Island of Jersey, largest of the Channel Islands which form the last vestiges of the Duchy of Normandy still attached to the British Crown. The area of Jersey is 45 square miles. The census in March 2001 revealed that the Island had a population of 87,186.

The capital and chief port is "St Helier", established on the east side of the broad sweep of St Aubin’s Bay in the southern and most populated part of the Island. The Island’s countryside is varied and most attractive, containing 12 historic parish churches and many beautiful old granite farmhouses. Gorey and St Aubin are two of the many picturesque little harbours, and rural and village developments provide population centres out of town.
Archaeological investigation at La Cotte de St Brelade points to human occupation as long ago as 250,000 BC. During the following Millennia, the rise and fall in sea level by several tens of metres resulted in what is now Britain, at times, being joined to Europe. The end of the most recent period of glaciation saw the sea level rise (due to the melting of the vast ice sheets) so that, around 4,000 BC, Jersey was finally cut off from what is now Normandy. It was following this separation that the recent history of Jersey can be said to begin, with the arrival of the megalith builders whose structures are still in evidence in several parts of the Island, including one of the most notable to be found in Europe, La Hougue Bie.
The Duchy of Normandy was established by Rollo the Viking in 911 and, some years later, Jersey and the other Channel Islands were annexed by the Normans. After Duke William (the Conqueror) invaded and took the throne of England in 1066, the fortunes of Jersey became linked to those of England. Along with the other Channel Islands, Jersey remained in the hands of the English Crown after King John lost all his other continental territories in 1204. Yet Jersey was never assimilated into the English political system, but remained a separate Bailiwick in personal allegiance to the Sovereign. During the Civil War the Island’s governor, Sir Philippe de Carteret favoured the Royalist’s side and, in 1644, King Charles I appointed him Vice Admiral, giving him power to attack Parliamentary shipping. Two years later, Jersey gave hospitality to the young Prince of Wales, later Charles II; it was in Jersey that, following the execution of Charles I in 1649, the Prince was proclaimed as King by Sir George de Carteret, Sir Philippe’s successor, the first part of the British realm in which he was thus recognised. Sir George, later Admiral and Comptroller of the Navy at the same time that Samuel Pepys was Secretary of the Navy, was repaid by gifts of land in the Americas, and founded New Jersey.

During the long wars between Britain and France which dominated the 18th century, Jersey was often in the forefront of the action. The most famous episode from this period was that of the Battle of Jersey in 1781 when a French invasion force took the Island by surprise but was defeated in battle by British and Jersey troops commanded by Major Peirson.

The upheavals of the 18th century had not been without advantage to Jersey, many Islanders deriving a lucrative income from privateering and smuggling. When the peace between Britain and France in the 19th century brought these opportunities to an end, the Island found new prosperity, first in ship building and, as steam replaced sail, in tourism and the cultivation of early crops for the English market; these have continued to influence the economy of Jersey ever since. However, in recent decades the rapid growth of Jersey as a major international finance centre has dominated the economy.