Jersey, an island in the English Channel

Jersey

Jersey is an island in the English Channel, part of the Channel Islands. It is the largest among the Channel Islands in terms of area (116 km²). Jersey is an autonomous state. The supreme authority on the island belongs to the Queen of England, but the jurisdiction of the British Parliament does not extend to it. Legislative power is exercised by the states, to which 12 senators, 12 constables and 29 deputies are elected for various terms by popular vote. The states are presided over by a Bailiff appointed by the Queen, who also presides over the government and judiciary of Jersey. Crown officials may sit and speak at the States, but have no voting rights.

According to the 2014 census, there are 100,080 people living on the island, only 52% of whom were born here.

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Administrative and Territorial Structure.

The island is subdivided into 12 parishes belonging to the Diocese of Coutance of the Roman Catholic Church. They are also the units of the administrative-territorial division of Jersey. The most densely populated parish is St Helier (St Helier) and the adjoining parishes of St Saviour (St Saver), St Clement (St Clement), Gorey and St Aubin (St Aubin).

Flora and fauna

The first thing that catches your eye here is the multitude of birds. They can be divided into two groups: those which come here to winter and spend time in the fertile lands of the south and south-east coasts, and those which settle in the Jersey Rocks in spring and summer to breed. In the fall, wading birds also appear on the island, looking for food in the coastal sands. It would take too much time to list all the species of Jersey’s feathered inhabitants, so perhaps we should only mention the most famous breeds. Thus, the most common species on the island are woodpeckers, pika, green-eyed cormorants, terns, sandpipers, kingfishers, herons, gulls and petrels. Among the rarest birds are owls, songbirds and canary finches.

As for animals, their diversity on the island is as great as the imagination of Nature. First of all, this applies to the local butterflies. Unfortunately, most of the fauna of Jersey is made up of rare species. For example, the Red Squirrel is an almost extinct resident of the island, and the Green Lizard and the Nimble Frog can only be seen in Ouazne.

In the open sea, the warm waters of St. Malo Bay support a variety of deep sea dwellers, both fish. Both fish and mammals. Several varieties of dolphins are most commonly seen here, whose numbers within the coastline number about 100 individuals. Whales and Atlantic seals have also been spotted in the vicinity of the island. A lot of interesting from the bright and diverse underwater life will be seen by those who are actively engaged in scuba diving. The coastal waters are inhabited mainly by sea bass and sea eel, the main prey of local fishermen. Jersey also boasts a huge population of reptiles and amphibians.

The flora of Jersey is no less diverse. Today, there are several hundred varieties of flowers alone on the island, not to mention the trees and shrubs, which are represented by more than 200 species. It seems that the inhabitants of the island erected flowers in a cult – they grow everywhere: in gardens, parks, greenhouses. Wildflowers are just as picturesquely scattered throughout Jersey. Heather, gorse, marsh wort, buttercup, daisy, dwarf reed, saffron, foxglove, and milkweed are considered the most common plants on the island.

The fact that such a small piece of land is home to so many species makes Jersey a unique place, not only in the British Isles but in the world.

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Climate

Jersey’s more southerly location, as well as protection from the Bay of St. Malo, has resulted in the island having a temperate, mild climate. Compared to the rest of the British Isles, Jersey has warmer and sunnier weather throughout the year. The average annual temperature on the island is +11.5 ° C, and in the summer the air warms up to +25 – +30 ° C.

English is the main language of Jersey, although some islanders, particularly the elderly people living in rural areas, still speak what is known as ‘Jerriais’, an island dialect of French – a mixture of old Icelandic and a Norman dialect. Until the 1960s, French was the official language on the island and is still used today by lawyers in the courts.

Religion

Jersey’s religious life is dominated by the Roman Catholic Church. The island was converted to Christianity in 538 by St. Markulphus. Soon afterwards, St Helier, who lived as a hermit in a cave on a secluded cliff, was martyred by axe-wielding pirates in 555. The capital of Jersey, St Helier, is named after him and bears an image of two crossed axes on its coat of arms.

Economy

Jersey, like all the Channel Islands, is an offshore and has long been recognized as a model of prosperity and stability.

There are no natural resources on the island. Jersey’s regular sources of income are activities as an offshore center (39% of GDP), tourism (35% of GDP), taxes paid by wealthy foreigners with residence permits on the island (20% of GDP), and agriculture and small light industry (a total of 6% of GDP). Fishing also plays an important role in the Jersey economy.

The main type of tax on the island is the income tax. Currently, its amount for residents of the island is 20%. There are no estate, capital gains, gift or inheritance taxes.

Jersey is an international financial center with 73 banks, over 33,000 registered companies and over 100,000,000 pounds of deposits, 62% of which are in foreign currency. Local currency is in circulation on the island along with the English pound sterling. There is no control over foreign exchange transactions. There is only one type of company on Jersey and there is no distinction between a private firm and a public limited company. Due to Jersey’s close ties with the UK and the rest of Europe, the island benefits from free trade and financial autonomy.

As far back as Napoleon’s time, Jersey attracted immigrants seeking the benefits of such lucrative financial conditions. But the rather densely populated island can only afford to accept the “best of the best” for permanent residence. Candidates for today’s immigrants are carefully scrutinized. Permission to stay on the island can be granted only to those who have liquid assets of at least 8,000,000 pounds, and whose stable annual income is at least 500,000 pounds. Thus, a maximum of 10 people move to the island each year.

The tourism sector is important for the island not only because of the fairly high profits, but also because of the opportunity to make permanent connections. About 1,000,000 tourists visit Jersey every year. The vast majority of them are British (about 80%), about 10% come from France and Germany, 2% come from the other Channel Islands and a very small number come from all over the world. There are about 190 registered hotels on the island, able to accommodate more than 14,000 people at a time.

Agriculture steadily provides about 5% of GDP. The main export items are dairy products, meat of the famous local cows, potatoes “Jersey Royal”, as well as a huge range of horticultural crops and flowers.

Jersey has an excellent air transport system. Flights to London are the most frequent; there are also regular services to many European centers, including Paris and Amsterdam. Water transport is used for importing most goods and materials. Jersey’s telecommunications system is based on the British digital network.

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Currency

The English pound sterling and Jersey’s own pound, equal to the English pound, are used in Jersey. There are no currency controls on the island.

Main attractions

Jersey’s heritage is vast, with neolithic tombs, medieval castles, rich museums and sites that recall the five-year occupation of Jersey during the Second World War. There are many churches on the island, many of them very interesting because their history goes back centuries.

Mont Hogway Castle and Elizabethan Castle are considered to be the most beautiful fortresses in Europe.

Medieval Grosnez Castle – the castle was built on a high promontory in the north-western part of the island in the 14th century. Today it is just a ruin. From the castle observation deck you can see the rest of the Channel Islands and the vast expanses of the Atlantic Ocean.

Jersey Island Museum – winner of two national awards, the Jersey Museum uses the latest technology and impressive displays to introduce visitors to the island’s history, traditions, culture and industry.

The Maritime Museum – winner of a national award, offers visitors a new and quite fascinating concept, combining historical exhibitions and a number of pictorial and sculptural works on the relationship of Jersey residents with the sea: the waves, sea travel, boat building and much more.

Pottery Factory – you can trace the entire cycle of pottery making. On the territory of the factory, in addition to the exhibition hall, there is a museum dedicated to the history of pottery, as well as an art painting studio.

La Mare Vineyards – in fact, La Mare produces not only excellent wine and the famous Jersey Calvados, which all guests are invited to taste, but also traditional Jersey black butter, marmalades, jams, jellies, delicious fudge and even mustard. Another pride of the company is chocolate. Traditionally, visitors are invited to learn about the processes of making all of these products.

Jersey Zoo – one of the best in the world, in a beautiful park square is a station for raising endangered species of animals.

Lavender Farm – Here you can observe the processes of growing, harvesting, cleaning and drying lavender. A walk through the lavender fields is a lot of fun. You can buy products from the farm in the souvenir store.

Shells Garden is a unique park, the only one in the world where shells are collected. It counts more than a million specimens. The garden has a souvenir store selling handmade shells and souvenirs.

History

Jersey Island is the largest of the Channel Islands, known to history for nearly 8,000 years. Norman-style houses, narrow winding streets with French names all reflect the island’s fascinating and complex history, which has woven it into the fortunes of two great nations, England and France, for more than a millennium.

The oldest evidence of human life on the island, such as crude stone tools, dates scholars to about 250,000 years ago, when tribes of hunters used caves on the coast at St. Brelade for shelter. Artifacts from the prehistoric period, when Jersey was still part of the continent, can be seen today at low tide and in St. Owen Bay. The first settled communities appeared here during the Neolithic period, as the ritual burial sites known as dolmens remind us today.

Although Jersey was part of the vast Roman Empire, it was scarcely mentioned until the 11th century. It is known only that in the 6th century the hermit Helier, recognized as a saint, lived on the island. He lived and preached in that part of the island just south of Elizabeth Castle and was probably killed by Saxon pirates. Six centuries later, a chapel was erected on one of the rocks in honor of the saint.

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In the 9th century, the island began to be invaded by the Vikings, also known as the Normans, who had a huge impact on life on the island. Throughout the 9th century, they plundered the island during the summer months, until finally the French King Charles the Simple decided to make a deal with them. As a result, in exchange for peace, the Norman leader Rollo received lands later known as Rouen, the French province of Normandy. Many of the laws and customs of Jersey emerged during the Norman rule of 933-1204.

The Channel Islands remained politically linked to Brittany until 933, when the Norman duke William Longsword seized the Cotentin Peninsula in northwestern France and neighboring islands and annexed them to his dominions. In 1066 Duke William II of Normandy defeated King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings and became the new king of England, continuing to rule the French territories as a separate territory. In 1204, King Philip-Augustus of France reclaimed the Duchy of Normandy from King John of England, but the islands remained the property of the British crown. From that moment on, the Channel Islands became a center of common interest between England and France. At the same time the British royal fortress and military base of Mont Orgey were built.

During the Hundred Years’ War of 1337-1453, Jersey was repeatedly attacked and even occupied for several years in the 1380s. Because of the island’s strategic importance to the English crown, its inhabitants were able to bargain the most favorable conditions for their lives with the king. In 1455-1485, during the War of the White and Scarlet Rose, Jersey was occupied by the French for seven years (1461-1468), and then, at the insistence of Sir Richard Harliston, was returned to England.

In the 16th century, the islanders converted to Protestantism, and life became extremely ascetic. A new fortress was built at that time to protect St. Auban Bay. A militia was organized, and each church parish was given two cannons, which were usually stored in the walls of the temples. One of the cannons can be seen today at the foot of Beaumont Hill. During the same period, knitwear production reached such a level on the island that Jersey’s ability to produce its own food was threatened. As a result, laws were passed that strictly regulated who, with whom, and when could engage in knitting. Another extremely prolific occupation of the islanders was fishing. Boats left Jersey in February to March after a solemn service at St. Breld’s Church and did not return until September to October.

In the 1640s England was shattered by civil war, with fighting also spreading to Scotland and Ireland. Discord also divided Jersey: the sympathies of part of its people were on the side of Parliament, while supporters of George Carteret supported the king. The future king, Charles II, visited the island twice: once in 1646 and again in 1649 after his father’s execution. Parliamentarians eventually captured Jersey in 1651, and in gratitude for his help during the exile, Charles II rewarded George Carteret with an extensive landholding in the North American English colonies, which he immediately named New Jersey. By the end of the 17th century, Jersey had developed strong ties with America. Many of its inhabitants immigrated to New England and northeastern Canada, and merchants from the island established thriving trading empires in Newfoundland and Gaspé.

The 18th century was a period of political tension between Britain and France as the growing ambitions of the two major powers collided around the world. Because of its location, Jersey was constantly at war. New attempts to seize the island were made during the American War of Independence. In 1779 the prince of the German duchy of Nassau tried to land his troops at St. Owen Bay. The attempt was unsuccessful. In 1781, an army led by Baron de Rullecourt captured St. Helier, but was quickly defeated by British troops led by Major Peirson. A brief peace was followed by the French Revolution and then the Napoleonic Wars, which changed Jersey forever after their end. The large number of English-speaking soldiers and retired officers stationed on the island, as well as the laborers who arrived here in the 1820s, meant that Jersey gradually became saturated with English-speaking culture. At the same time, the island became one of the largest shipbuilding centers in the British Isles. More than 900 ships were built here. At the end of the 19th century, farmers on the island began to benefit from the breeding of two luxuries – Jersey cows and Jersey Royal potatoes. And while one was the result of careful selection and laborious cultivation, the other came about entirely by accident.

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The 20th century in Jersey’s history is marked by the occupation of the island by German troops from 1940-1945. As a result, some 8,000 of its inhabitants were evacuated, 1,200 were exiled to camps in Germany, and over 300 were sentenced to imprisonment and concentration camps in continental Europe. That is why Liberation Day, May 9, is now celebrated here as a national holiday. Finally, the event that had the greatest impact on modern Jersey life was the intensive development of the island’s financial industry in the 1960s.

In 1979 the modern flag of Jersey, a red diagonal cross on a white background with three golden lions on a red coat of arms, surmounted by a golden crown, appeared in the upper triangle. It replaced the old flag, which did not have a coat of arms with a crown.

Jersey

The island of Jersey is a British overseas territory, and local hotels are typical of the whole country. Most are small hotels with bed and breakfast or private pensions, where locals rent one or two spare rooms. In the first case, the service and environment are quite standard, as in other hotels in Britain. In the second you can feel the real local flavor, try homemade food and share a table with the owners of the house.

It is easy to find a hotel, even during the season. Book a cottage, a room in a guesthouse or a modest apartment with airbnb.

Attractions

The island has been a British Crown land for 800 years, so there’s plenty to see and do. Sightseeing is fun and rewarding. There are a lot of them here, and they are well preserved to this day.

Elisabeth Castle is the most visited attraction on the island. The castle – a defensive structure was built to protect the island from the French army. When the “age of gunpowder” came the other Jersey fortresses became too vulnerable, so the Castle of Elizabeth (named after Elizabeth I) is the most modern fortress of the late sixteenth century. The journey to the castle is also quite unusual: it can only be reached by boat in the morning, but in the evening at low tide it can be reached on foot.

The medieval castle of Mont Orgel was built in the XIII century to protect the island from the French army. The castle is well preserved to this day, and its observation deck offers a picturesque panorama of the sea. It’s a place worth coming to Jersey for.

Museums

Jersey Museum is the main museum of the country. Make sure you have plenty of time before you visit: the collection is diverse, the presentation is interesting, and you can accidentally get carried away and spend an entire day here. The collection will tell you the history of the island, from the emergence of the Neanderthals to our days. Some of the information is presented through multimedia, children will be interested. Before the tour, there is a 20-minute film (very interesting) that tells you more about the island and a little bit about the museum.

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The Georgian House Museum is a real museum city. It’s actors dressed up in 19th century costumes. You can knock on any house and see how different people lived in those days.

Climate-Jersey:: Moderate. Mild winters and cool summers.

Resorts

The island has many good beaches where you can enjoy your time, swim with your children or do sports.

The beach “Port Anne” is a beautiful, secluded place, where there are few people due to the fact that there is no good parking nearby. There is good access to the water, high safety for swimming, from entertainment – you can rent a boat.

Beauport Beach is the best beach on the island. There is a well-developed infrastructure, despite the fact that this place is far from the roads. “Beauport” is protected from the winds, because it is located in the bay. A great place for leisurely walks, sunbathing and family picnics.

Leisure

Fans of active recreation will love what you can do on the island. There are good waves here, so you can go surfing (one of the few places in Europe, apart from Portugal, where you can do it), scuba dive, kayak, visit caves (including underwater), take a bike ride or just stroll along the picturesque coastline.

The towns in Jersey are small, there is not much entertainment. There are a few bars, restaurants, a shopping center and gift stores in the central squares. Children will be interested in a visit to the Gerald Durrell Zoo (it combines a pleasant place for walks and a research center) and the Aqua Splash water park. Many tourists come to the island not only to relax, but also to learn English. There are many language schools and special courses.

Terrain: Jersey: smoothly passes from plains to cliffs, along the northern coast.

Transportation

You can fly to Jersey from Russia by Aeroflot flight or make a connection in London if you fly British Airways. You can get to Jersey by sea from the ports of St. Malo in France or Poole in southern England.

There are buses between the cities, and they are the main public transport on a par with cabs.

Standard of Living

Victor Hugo called this place a piece of France that broke away from it. Jersey is the largest island in Normandy. It belongs to Great Britain (like Gibraltar and the Isle of Man, Jersey is its overseas territory). There is no unemployment, troubles, civil unrest (only one popular demonstration in 800 years) and crime. True, cars can disappear from the island, but the tide is out and hapless tourists who park their cars on the coast are to blame.

There are liberal tax laws, good business conditions, an offshore zone and a high standard of living (and, of course, high prices). This is one of the few places in Europe where business immigration is possible: fifteen million pounds sterling invested in the state economy, and you are a citizen of the country. Therefore, the main residents of the island are wealthy people.

Jersey has resources like:: Arable land.

Cities

St. Helier is the capital and main port of Jersey. It is a small and compact city with only 30,000 inhabitants. Despite its modest size, St. Helier is packed with sights so you need ten days to get around. The town is very beautiful, with well-maintained medieval streets and a picturesque waterfront.

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