Bonne Nuit, Jersey
|Main town:||St Helier|
|Area:||45 square miles|
Jersey is an island which attracts many visitors for its fair beaches, little villages and air of peaceful contentment. It is also an offshore financial centre.
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Name of the island
- 4 Economy
- 5 People
- 6 Culture
- 7 Environment
- 8 Outside links
- 9 References
Jersey is an island of 46 square miles (or 65,569 vergée in the traditional measure of the island), which includes reclaimed land and the foreshore.
Jersey is in the English Channel, about 12 nautical miles from the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy, France, and about 87 nautical miles south of Great Britain. Jersey is the largest and southernmost of the Channel Islands.
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. It is not a hilly place, and reaches its highest point at 469 feet above sea level at Les Platons.
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.
Stone Age man was certainly here: in a cave at La Cotte in Ouaisne Bay archaeologists have found tools and the fossilised bones and teeth of woolly mammoth, woolly rhinoceros, cave bear and reindeer. The common belief is that Stone Age men killed mammoths for meat by driving them over the cliff here, though this assumption has been re-examined uncertainly.
Evidence of Bronze Age and early Iron Age settlements can be found in many locations around the island. 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 Gallo-roman temple worship.
After the collapse of Roman power, Jersey was part of Neustria with the same Gallo-Frankish population as the continental mainland. The Viking onslaught allowed the Duke of Brittany to seize the Channel Islands and the Cotentin peninsula, though in turn the Norsemen settled and William Longsword absorbed the Channel Islands into their Duchy of Normandy in 933. When William's descendant, William the Conqueror, conquered England in 1066, the Duchy of Normandy and the Kingdom of England were governed under one monarch. The Dukes of Normandy owned considerable estates in the island, and Norman families living on their estates established 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 and the other Channel Islands.
The island was fortified against the French in the Middle Ages; castles remain along the coast to bear witness.
In the late 16th century islanders travelled across the North Atlantic to participate in the Newfoundland fisheries.
In recognition for 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 in between the Hudson and Delaware rivers which he promptly named New Jersey. It is now a state in the United States of America.
On 6 January 1781, a French invasion force of 2,000 men (of whom half didn't arrive) landed to take over the island. The battle by 9,000 men to defend the Island, although touch-and-go, and decisive, only lasted about half an hour. There were about thirty casualties on each side, and 600 French prisoners were taken. Both commanders were slain.
Trade laid the foundations of prosperity, aided by peace between England and France. The Jersey way of life involved agriculture, milling, fishing, shipbuilding, and manufacture of woollen goods. 19th century improvements in transport links brought tourism to the island.
During Second World War, Jersey was occupied by Nazi Germany from 1 July 1940 until 9 May 1945, when Germany surrendered. During this time the Germans constructed many fortifications using Russian slave labour. After 1944 supplies from mainland France were interrupted by the D-Day landings and food on the island became scarce. The SS Vega was sent to the island carrying Red Cross supplies and news of the success of the Allied advance in Europe. The Channel Islands were one of the last places in Europe to be liberated.
In the years after the war Jersey reinvented itself. It retained low taxation when the rest of the industrialised word increased it and thus became a tax haven. Jersey soon established itself as one of the world's leading centres of off-shore finance.
Name of the island
The name of Jersey is from Old Norse, the tongue of the Vikings who fell upon the coast and created the Duchy of Normandy, though the island was known of course from the ancients, if rarely appearing in records.
The Channel Islands are mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary as following: Sarnia, Caesarea, Barsa, Silia and Andium, but which is Jersey cannot be known. Furthermore, later records evoke Angia (also spelled Agna ).
Traditionally Jersey is taken to be Caesarea. Andium appears to be a Latinized version of the Gaulish *Andion, with and- the Gaulish intensive prefix meaning "very", "much", "big". Andium roughly translates as "big Island". As Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, this seems appropriate.
The speculative identification as Caesarea suggests a development to “Jersey” with the addition of the Norse -ey (“island”), if Caesarea was originally pronounced with a "k" sound, turned into g later.
If the island's name is purely Norse, scholars surmise that the first element derives from a personal name, Geirr (thus "Geirr's Island") or jarð ("earth") or jarl (“earl”).
Jersey's economy is based on financial services (43% of Gross Value Added in 2009), tourism (hotels, restaurants and bars making 3% of GVA in 2009), electronic commerce, and agriculture (2% of GVA in 2009).
Thanks to specialisation in a few high-return sectors, at purchasing power parity Jersey has high economic output per capita, substantially ahead of all of the world's large developed economies. Gross national income in 2009 was £3.7 billion (approximately £40,000 per head of population). However, this is not indicative of each individual resident's purchasing power, and the actual standard of living in Jersey is comparable to that in the United Kingdom outside central London. The island is recognised as one of the leading offshore financial centres. In June 2005 the States introduced the Competition (Jersey) Law 2005 to regulate competition and stimulate economic growth. This competition law was based on that of other jurisdictions.
Tourism supports not only hotels, but also retail and services: in 2009 there were 685,200 visitors spending £230 million. Duty-free goods are available for purchase on travel to and from the island.
In 2009, 57% of the island's area was agricultural land (an increase on 2008). Major agricultural produce are potatoes and dairy produce; agriculture's share of GVA increased 5% in 2009, a fifth successive year of growth. Jersey cattle are a small breed of cow widely known for its rich milk and cream; although the quality of its meat is also appreciated on a small scale. The herd total in 2009 was 5,090 animals. Fisheries and aquaculture make use of Jersey's marine resources to a total value of over £6 million in 2009.
Farmers and growers often sell surplus food and flowers in boxes on the roadside, relying on the honesty of customers to drop the correct change into the money box and take what they want. In the 21st century, diversification of agriculture and amendments in planning strategy have led to farm shops replacing many of the roadside stalls.
53,460 people were employed in Jersey as of December 2010: 24% in financial and legal services; 16% in wholesale and retail trades; 16% in the public sector; 10% in education, health and other private sector services; 10% in construction and quarrying; 9% in hotels, restaurants and bars.
The island has numerous residents born outside Jersey; 47% of the population are not native to the island. The total resident population is estimated at 92,500. Thirty percent of the population is concentrated in Saint Helier, the island's only town.
Of the roughly 88,000 people in Jersey, around 40 percent identify themselves as of Jersey-Norman descent and 40 percent from the United Kingdom. The largest minority groups in the island are Portuguese (around 7%, especially Madeiran); and Irish. The ethnic French community is also present and there is a growing community of Russian immigrants.
The people of Jersey are often called Islanders or, in individual terms, Jerseyman. All are Jersey-born folk are Britons and the special relationship between the Crown and the island is valued.
The majority of Jerseymen belong to the established church, the Church of England. The island is within the Diocese of Winchester. In the countryside, Methodism is strong. A few Roman Catholics can also be found in Jersey, supporting a pair of private secondary schools.
Although for immigration and nationality purposes, the United Kingdom generally treats Jersey as though it were part of the United Kingdom, Jersey is constitutionally entitled to restrict immigration and does so. Immigration is controlled by a mixture of restrictions on those without residential status purchasing or renting property in the island and restrictions on employment.
Historical large-scale immigration was facilitated by the introduction of steamships (from 1823). By 1840, up to 5,000 mainland Britons, mostly half-pay officers and their families, had settled in Jersey. In the aftermath of 1848, Polish, Russian, Hungarian, Italian and French political refugees came to Jersey. Following Louis Napoléon's coup of 1851, more French proscrits arrived. By the end of the 19th century, well-to-do British families, attracted by the lack of income tax, were settling in Jersey in increasing numbers, establishing St Helier as a predominantly English-speaking town.
Seasonal work in agriculture had depended mostly on Bretons and mainland Normans from the 19th century. The growth of tourism attracted staff from the United Kingdom. Following Liberation in 1945, agricultural workers were mostly recruited from the United Kingdom as the demands of reconstruction in France employed the Bretons and Normans.
Until the 1960s, the population had been relatively stable for decades at around 60,000 (excluding the Occupation years). Economic growth spurred immigration and a rise in population. From the 1960s Portuguese workers arrived, mostly working initially in seasonal industries in agriculture and tourism.
A trend that has developed over the past few years is the setting up of recruitment agencies in a number of countries in the world, to employ either cheap labour (often from poor countries) or qualified/experienced labour.
Until the 19th century, indigenous Jèrriais, a variety of Norman French, was the language of the island, though French was used for official business. During the 20th century an intense language shift took place and Jersey today is predominantly English-speaking. Jèrriais nonetheless survives; around 2,600 islanders (three percent) are reckoned to be habitual speakers, and some 10,000 (12 percent) in all claim some knowledge of the language, particularly amongst the elderly in rural parishes. There have been efforts to revive Jèrriais in schools, and 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 place-names of the island increased apace with the migration of mainland Britons to Jersey.
The traditional folk music of Jersey was common in country areas until the mid-20th century. It cannot be separated from the musical traditions of Europe, and the majority of songs and tunes that have been documented have close parallels or variants, particularly in France. Most of the surviving traditional songs are in French, with a minority in Jèrriais.
Some Neolithic carvings are the earliest works of artistic character to be found in Jersey. Only some fragmentary wall-paintings remain from the Middle Ages, the rest cleared out in the wholesale iconoclasm of the Reformation of the 16th century.
The island holds the famous Battle of Flowers, a carnival held annually since 1902.
Other festivals include La Fête dé Noué (Christmas festival), La Faîs'sie d'Cidre (cidermaking festival), the Battle of Britain air display, Jersey Live Music Festival, Branchage Film Festival, food festivals, and parish events.
- Television: BBC Channel Islands News
- Channel Television: the regional ITV franchise
- BBC Radio Jersey
- Channel 103 commercial radio
- SurfFM.co.uk internet-based radio
- The Jersey Evening Post is Jersey's only newspaper. it being the The newspaper features a weekly Jèrriais column accompanied by English-language précis.
- Gallery Magazine
- Jersey Now
- Les Nouvelles Chroniques du Don Balleine: a quarterly literary magazine in Jèrriais.
- "20/20 magazine": annual personal finance magazine
- Global Assets: online quarterly international offshore finance magazine
Food and drink
Seafood has traditionally been important to the cuisine of Jersey: mussels (called moules in the Island), oysters, lobster and crabs (especially spider crabs), ormers, and conger.
'Jersey wonders, or mèrvelles, are a favourite snack consisting of fried dough, found especially at country fêtes. According to tradition, the success of cooking depends on the state of the tide.
Jersey milk being very rich, cream and butter have played a large part in insular cooking. 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 popular with tourists.
Jersey Royal potatoes are the local variety of new potato, and the island is famous for its early crop of Chats (small potatoes) from the south-facing côtils (steeply sloping fields). Originally grown using seaweed ("vraic") as a natural fertiliser giving them their own individual taste, only a small portion of those grown in the island still use this method. They are eaten in a variety of ways, often simply boiled and served with butter or when not as fresh fried in 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. Cider used to be an important export. After decline and near-disappearance in the late 20th century, apple growing is being increased and promoted. Apple brandy is also produced, as is some wine.
Among other traditional dishes are cabbage loaf, Jersey wonders (les mèrvelles), fliottes, bean crock (les pais au fou), nettle (ortchie) soup, vraic buns.
In its own right Jersey participates in the Commonwealth Games and in the biennial Island Games, which it last hosted in 1997 and will host again in 2015.
In sporting events in which Jersey does not have international representation, when the British Home Nations are competing separately, islanders that do have high athletic skill may choose to compete for any of the Home Nations.
Jersey is an affiliate member of the International Cricket Council (ICC). The Jersey cricket team plays in the Inter-insular match among others. The Jersey cricket team competed in the World Division 4, held in Tanzania in October 2008, after recently finishing as runners-up and therefore being promoted from the World Division 5 held in Jersey. They also competed in the European Division 2, held in Guernsey during August 2008. The youth cricket teams have been promoted to play in the European Division 1 alongside Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, the Netherlands and Guernsey. In two tournaments at this level Jersey have finished 6th.
For horseracing, Les Landes Racecourse can be found at Les Landes in St. Ouen next to the ruins of Grosnez Castle.
The Jersey Football Association supervises football in Jersey. The Jersey Football Combination has 9 teams in its top division. The 2006/07 champions were Jersey Scottish where Ross Crick is the top scorer. The Jersey national football team plays in the annual Muratti competition among others.
Rugby union in Jersey comes under the auspices of the Jersey Rugby Association (JRA), which is a member of the Rugby Football Union of England. Jersey RFC competes in the National League 1 of England.
Swimming in the sea, surfing, windsurfing and other marine sports are practised. Jersey Swimming Club have organised an annual swim from Elizabeth Castle to Saint Helier Harbour for over 50 years. A round-island swim is a major challenge that a select number of swimmers have achieved. The Royal Channel Island Yacht Club is based in Jersey.
There is one facility for extreme sports and some facilities for youth sports. Jersey has one un-roofed skateboarding park. Coastal cliffs provide opportunities for rock climbing.
In golf, two golfers from Jersey have won The Open Championship 7 times between them, the famed Harry Vardon winning 6 times and Ted Ray winning once. Harry and Ted also won the US Open one time each and Harry's brother Tom Vardon had some smaller wins on European Tours.
Wace is Jersey's earliest known author. 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.The first Jèrriais book to be published was Rimes et Poésies Jersiaises de divers auteurs réunies et mises en ordre, edited by Abraham Mourant in 1865. Writers born in Jersey include Elinor Glyn, John Lemprière, Philippe Le Sueur Mourant, Robert Pipon Marett, and Augustus Asplet Le Gros. Frederick Tennyson and Gerald Durrell were among authors who made Jersey their home. Contemporary authors based in Jersey include Jack Higgins, and Sinclair Forrest, author of the 2007 novel, The Dragon of Angur.
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) founded by the naturalist, zookeeper, and author Gerald Durrell.
| ("Wikimedia Commons" has material|
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- Marie Fauroux, Recueil des actes des ducs de Normandie (911–1066), Mémoire de la Société des Antiquaires de Normandie XXXVI, Caen, 1961, p. 161, § 49.
- ibid., p. 255, § 99.
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- ibid., p. 94, § 11.
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- Ibid., p. 209, § 117.
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- ibid., p. 72a, § 393.
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