Overview for JERSEY, JE1 3NH

Introduction

Jersey, also known as the Bailiwick of Jersey, is an island country and self-governing British Crown Dependency near the coast of north-west France. It is the largest of the Channel Islands and is 14 miles (23 km) from the Cotentin Peninsula in Normandy. The Bailiwick consists of the main island of Jersey and some surrounding uninhabited islands and rocks including Les Dirouilles, Les Écréhous, Les Minquiers, and Les Pierres de Lecq.

Jersey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes became kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the 13th century, and the ducal title surrendered to France, Jersey remained loyal to the English Crown, though it never became part of the Kingdom of England. Between then and the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Jersey was at the frontline of Anglo-French wars and was invaded a number of times, leading to the construction of fortifications such as Mont Orgueil Castle and a thriving smuggling industry. During the Second World War, the island was invaded and occupied for five years by Nazi Germany. The island was liberated on 9 May 1945, which is now celebrated as the island's national day.

Jersey is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems, and the power of self-determination. Jersey's constitutional relationship is with the Crown; it is not part of the United Kingdom. The Bailiff is the civil head, president of the States and head of the juridicary; the Lieutenant Governor represents the head of state, the British monarch; and, the Chief Minister is the head of government. Jersey's defence and international representation – as well as certain policy areas, such as nationality law – are the responsibility of the UK Government, but Jersey still has a separate international identity.

The island has a large financial services industry, which generates 40% of its GVA. British cultural influence on the island is evident in its use of English as the main language and Pound sterling as its primary currency. Additional British cultural similarities include: driving on the left, access to British television and newspapers, a school curriculum following that of England, and the popularity of British sports, including cricket. The island also has a strong Norman-French culture, such as its historic dialect of the Norman language, Jèrriais, being one of only two places in Normandy with government status for the language (the other being Guernsey), as well as the use of standard French in legal matters and officially in use as a government language, strong cultural ties to mainland Normandy as a part of the Normandy region, and place names with French or Norman origins. The island has very close cultural links with its neighbouring islands in the Bailiwick of Guernsey, and they share a good-natured rivalry. Jersey and its people have been described as a nation.

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