Channel Islands (UK)

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The original British Commonwealth (1931) evolved into the “free and equal” Commonwealth of Nations (1949). Today’s Commonwealth of Nations is a voluntary association of 53 independent and sovereign states of which 3 are in Europe, 12 in North America, 1 in South America, 18 in Africa, 8 in Asia, and 11 in Oceania. Seventeen of those share the same monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. The Channel Islands (a.k.a. Îles d’la Manche, or Îles de la Manche) are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. The permanently inhabited islands of the Channel Islands are: Alderney, Brecqhou (Brechou), Guernsey, Herm, Jersey, Jethou, Sark.

Click these links to go to the major islands: Aldernery, Guernsey and Jersey. To learn more about the remaining Channel Islands, scroll down this page.


In the photo above, Guernsey is in the foreground, and Sark is in the distance.

Sark is a royal fief, which forms part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, with its own set of laws based on Norman law and its own parliament. Sark has a population of about 600. Sark (including the nearby island of Brecqhou) has an area of 2.10 square miles (5.44 km2). The landholdings of Sark are held by 40 tenants representing the parcels of the 40 families who colonized Sark. There is no true freehold, all land being held on perpetual lease (fief) that can only pass by strict rules of inheritance or by sale.

Brecqhou is part of Sark and part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Since 1993, the tenant of this 74 acre island is Sir David Barclay.

Herm is also part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Herm is 1.5 miles (2.4 km.) long and under 0.5 miles (0.80 km.) wide.

Jethou is also a small island of about 44 acres (18 hectares) that lies immediately south of Herm and is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Jethou is privately leased, and is not open to the public.

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