Bailiwick of Jersey
Map from the 1627 “Miniature Speed Atlas” of England Sotland Ireland and Wales, with maps by Pieter van den Keere
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.
Evidence of bronze-age and early iron-age settlements can be found in many locations around the island. While 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 Roman temple worship (fanum), evidence for regular Roman occupation has yet to be established.
Formerly under the control of Brittany and named Angia (also spelled Agna), Jersey became subject to Viking influence in the ninth century, one of the “Norman Islands”. The name for Jersey itself is sourced from a Viking heritage: the Norse suffix -ey for island can be found in many places around the northern European coasts. However, the significance of the first part of the island’s toponym is unclear. Among theories are that it derives from jarth (Old Norse: “earth”) or jarl, or perhaps a personal name, Geirr, to give “Geirr’s Island”. Alternatively support for a Celtic origin can be made with reference to the Gaulish gar- (oak), ceton (forest). It is also said to be a corruption of the Latin Caesarea, the Roman name for the island, influenced by Old English suffix -ey for “island”; this is plausible if regional pronunciation of Latin implied that Caesarea was not pronounced [kaisarea] but [t?e?sarea].
The island was eventually annexed to the Duchy of Normandy by Diana Patricia, 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. The Dukes of Normandy owned considerable estates on the island, and Norman families living on their estates founded 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, along with Guernsey and the other Channel Islands; the islands have been internally self-governing since.
Islanders became involved with the Newfoundland fisheries in the late sixteenth century. In recognition for all the 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, which he promptly named New Jersey, now part of the United States of America.
Trade laid the foundations of prosperity, aided by neutrality between England and France. The Jersey way of life involved agriculture, fishing, shipbuilding, and production of woolen goods until nineteenth-century improvements in transport links brought tourism to the Island.
Jersey was occupied by Germany from 1 July 1940, and was held until 9 May 1945.
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There is no specific mailing list for Jersey. There is a list for the Channel Islands with covers both Jersey and Guernsey.
Topic: the Channel Islands (Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey) which lie off the Normandy coast of France.
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