The History and Making of Jersey

There is so much to Jersey and here we will go through the history and how the island has been shaped to what it is today.

Saint Ouen Military Museum


Jersey was part of mainland Europe, until approximately 6000 years ago, when the rising tides isolated Jersey from what is now France. Jersey has some of the most significant tidal changes in the world, with a range of about 12 metres. Although this might not sound like a lot, the tide can drop that you can walk miles out to sea before the next morning needing a boat to cover the same distance.

The rock formations along the coastline, also share the story of volcanic activity with La Crete being the answer to the Giant’s Causeway.

Walking the causeway at Elizabeth Castle

Independence & People

In 1259, Jersey became a self-governing territory of the British Crown, rather than under British Law or later part of the United Kingdom or even the EU. Jersey does answer to the Queen and British Army, if the situation arose, such as that in World War II.

Although there have been attempts to invade Jersey, it was in 1940-1945 where the Island was occupied by Nazi German troops (find out more information about this period in our post about the War Tunnels here.)

The demographics of Jersey is made up of Norman French and British settlers, even with there own native language: Jerriais. A language under threat from extinction with only 8% of the population speaking it. This eclectic mix means that the architecture of Jersey is so diverse. No two buildings appear the same. With cosy little French villas, brutalist World War II structures and typical British cottages.

Jersey Flag at Mont Orgueil Castle

Food and Wildlife

Jersey is famed for its potatoes and cows (with some delicious ice cream!) but there are also a winery, breweries and some amazing seafood on offer. Well worth taking a trip to the central market, which has been open since 1882 to sample the food at some of the little cafe’s in this traditional marketplace.

Other than the cows and Durrell Zoo (more information here), there is incredible diversity wildlife on the island due to its isolation. The Marsh Harrier was on the edge of extinction, but numbers are now resurgent. The Brent Goose makes an 8000 mile trip from northern Canada for the winter. Even down to insects, with the native Tiger Moth and its two-inch wingspan of cream and brown stripes seen from London to the Mediterranean.

Discover the Island’s maritime past, explore iconic castles, learn about Jersey’s unique heritage or find out more about Jersey’s rural past.

Jersey heritage

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