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British Crown Dependencies

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British Crown Dependencies

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Image right by George Bosanko - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wiki Commons

The Crown dependencies are self-governing possessions of the Crown (defined uniquely in each jurisdiction). They are distinct from both the overseas territories of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth Realms.

As of 2014, three jurisdictions held this status: the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey in the English Channel and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea.

Channel Islands

The Channel Islands are an archipelago of British Crown Dependencies in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two separate bailiwicks: the Bailiwick of Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey.

They are considered the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy, and are not part of the United Kingdom.

They have a total population of about 168,000. The total area of the islands is 194 km2.

The Channel Islands fall into two separate self-governing bailiwicks, the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. Both are British Crown Dependencies, and neither is part of the United Kingdom. They have been part of the Duchy of Normandy since the 10th century and Queen Elizabeth II is often referred to by her traditional and conventional title of Duke of Normandy. However, pursuant to the Treaty of Paris (1259), she governs in her right as The Queen (the "Crown in right of Jersey", and the "Crown in right of the république of the Bailiwick of Guernsey"), and not as the Duke. This notwithstanding, it is a matter of local pride for monarchists to treat the situation otherwise: the Loyal Toast at formal dinners is to 'The Queen, our Duke', rather than to 'Her Majesty, The Queen' as in the UK.

Both Bailiwicks have been administered separately since the late 13th century; each has its own independent laws, elections, and representative bodies. Each island has its own primary legislature, known as the States of Guernsey and the States of Jersey, with Chief Pleas in Sark and the States of Alderney - the Channel Islands are not represented in the UK Parliament. Laws passed by the States are given Royal Assent by The Queen in Council, to whom the islands' governments are responsible.


Image Google Maps

(See separate project pages Guernsey Main Page and Jersey Main Page).

The islands are called 'Îles de la Manche' in official Jersey French,

In France, the term 'Îles Anglo-normandes' (Anglo-Norman isles) is used to refer to the British 'Channel Islands' in contrast to the other islands in the Channel.

Chausey is referred to as an 'Île normande' (as opposed to anglo-normande). 'Îles Normandes' and 'Archipel Normand' have also, historically, been used in Channel Island French to refer to the islands as a whole.

The islands of the Channel Islands are:


  • Uninhabited islets part of the Bailiwick of Jersey:
  • The Minquiers
  • Écréhous
  • Les Dirouilles
  • Les Pierres de Lecq (the Paternosters)


  • Uninhabited islands which lie off Guernsey
  • Crevichon
  • Grande Amfroque
  • Les Houmets
  • Lihou


  • Traditional animal nickname - les lapins ("rabbits" in French and Auregnais): the island is noted for its warrens.
  • Uninhabited islands which lie off Alderney:
  • Burhou
  • Casquets
  • Ortac
  • Renonquet


  • Traditional animal nickname - les corbins ("crows" in Sercquiais, Dgèrnésiais and Jèrriais, les corbeaux in French): crows could be seen from the sea on the island's coast.



Brecqhou (Brechou)

In general the larger islands have the -ey suffix, and the smaller ones have the -hou suffix; these are believed to be from the Old Norse ey and holmr, respectively which means island and islet.

The Chausey Islands south of Jersey are not generally included in the geographical definition of the Channel Islands but are occasionally described in English as 'French Channel Islands' in view of their French jurisdiction. They were historically linked to the Duchy of Normandy, but they are part of the French territory along with continental Normandy, and not part of the British Isles or of the Channel Islands in a political sense. They are an incorporated part of the commune of Granville (Manche).

Isle of Man

The Isle of Man, or simply Mann, is a self-governing possession of the Crown in right of the Isle of Mann, located in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Lord of Mann is represented by a Lieutenant Governor, but its foreign relations and defence are the responsibility of the British Government.


Image By Eric Gaba Own work in public domain., CC BY-SA 3.0, Wiki Commons

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