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For other uses, see Jersey (disambiguation).

The Bailiwick of Jersey (Jèrriais: Jèrri) is a Crown dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. As well as the island of Jersey itself, it also includes the uninhabited islands of Minquiers and Ecréhous. 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, but is rather a separate possession of the Crown, comparable to the Isle of Man. It is not a part of the European Union either.

Bailiwick of Jersey
Bailliage de Jersey
Flag of Jersey
(In Detail)
Coat of Arms of Jersey
(Full Size)
Location of Jersey
Official languages English, French (Jèrriais recognised as regional language)
Capital Saint Helier
Lieutenant Governor and Commander in Chief Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire, KBE, CBE
Bailiff Sir Philip Bailhache
Currency Jersey pound (on par with Pound Sterling)
Time zone UTC (DST)
National anthems Ma Normandie
God Save the Queen
National holiday May 9: Liberation Day
Internet TLD .je
Calling Code +44-1534



Main article: History of Jersey

Jersey was 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. King John lost all his territories in mainland Normandy in 1204 to the King of France, but retained possession of Jersey, along with Guernsey and the other Channel Islands which have been internally self-governing since.

Trade, aided by neutrality between England and France, laid the foundations of prosperity. 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 May 1940, and was held until 9 May 1945, the end of World War II.


Main article: Politics of Jersey

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 3-year terms), 29 deputies (elected for 3-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 3 non-voting members - the Dean of Jersey, the Attorney General, and the Solicitor General all appointed by the Crown. Government departments are run by committees of the States. The civil head of the Island is the Bailiff.

Most States Members are elected as independents. The only political party currently claiming representation in the States is the Jersey Democratic Alliance.

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.


Satellite view of Jersey
Satellite view of Jersey

Main article: Geography of Jersey

Jersey is an island measuring 118.2 km² (65,569 vergee / 46 sq. mi.), including reclaimed land and intertidal zone. It lies in the English Channel, approximately 22.5 km (12 mi.) from the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy, France, and 161km (100 mi. approx.) 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.

Politically, Jersey is divided into 12 parishes, all having access to the sea and mostly named after saints:

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.

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.


Main article: Economy of Jersey

Jersey's economy is based on financial services, tourism, internet trade and agriculture. Financial services contribute approximately half of the Island's economy.

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, 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.


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

Main article: Demographics of Jersey

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

30% of the population is concentrated in Saint Helier, site of the only town. Of the roughly 88,000 people in Jersey, around two fifths are of Jersey/Norman descent and two fifths of British descent. The largest minority groups in the island are UK (N. Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales), Portuguese (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.

The Church of England is the established church, but Methodism is traditionally strong in the countryside and there is a large Roman Catholic minority.

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.

There is no free movement of people between the United Kingdom or other countries of the European Union and Jersey.


Main article: Culture of Jersey

Jèrriais, the island's indigenous language is a variety of Norman. It is spoken by a minority of the population, although it was the majority language in the 19th century. Though there are efforts to revive the language in schools, it is still spoken mostly by older people (most commonly in the country parishes, although the capital has the highest number of declared Jèrriais speakers). 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 only arrived in Jersey 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.

Jersey's only newspaper, the Jersey Evening Post, is widely read, being the main printed source of local news and official notices. BBC Radio Jersey provides a radio service, and television news. Channel Television is a regional ITV franchise shared with the Bailiwick of Guernsey but with its headquarters in Jersey. Channel 103 is a popular local radio station.

Food and drink

Jersey wonders, or mèrvelles, are a favourite snack, 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, 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 crabsormers, 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 cheesemaking, 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 any 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.

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.

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.

See also

External links

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