The island of Jersey, the largest of the Channel Islands, lies in the bay of St Malo in the English Channel, about 30 miles from the north coast of France and 70 miles from the south coast of England. As well as the island of Jersey, the Channel Islands also include Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou, Burhou, Lihou and other islets. Jersey is not part of the United Kingdom or the European Union.
The island is divided into 12 parishes. Jersey has a rich history and many old local families. New families emigrated here in the past to work in the various industries like shipbuilding, growing, and tourism. Many local families emigrated to Australia, Canada, America and descendants of Jersey families are spread around the world.
Jersey became an island around 8000 years ago. As sea levels rose Jersey was cut off from Continental Europe.
Not much is known of the early history of Jersey although it was part of the Roman world.
The saints Branwald (Brelade) and Sampson are attributed to introducing Christianity to Jersey in the late 5th century.
The island took the name "Jersey" during the 9th and 10th centuries when the Vikings were active in the area.
In 933 AD the Channel Islands came under the control of the Duchy of Normandy. Jersey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Duchy of Normandy.
During the English Civil War Jersey remained Royalist while Guernsey sided with Parliament. Mont Orgueil castle was built to serve as a royal fortress and military base.
The island was repeatedly attacked during the Hundred Years War and was occupied for a few years in the 1380's.
Prosperity increased dramatically during the nineteenth century due to Jersey's success in the global maritime trade, building over 900 vessels.
During World War II, with the Channel Islands occupied by enemy forces, over 8000 Jersey islanders were evacuated and over 1200 were deported to concentration camps. Times were hard for those left behind as food and essential goods ran out. The Channel Islands were the only British soil to be occupied by German forces during WWII.
Today the island of Jersey prospers under the finance industry which has seen significant growth since 1960.