The Occupation Of The Channel Islands

By | July 17, 2019

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Village of St. Aubin, Jersey. Source: (

Nestled along the coast of France's Cotentin Peninsula in the English Channel, the British Crown Dependencies of Jersey and Guernsey are among the most fascinating destinations in Europe for any World War II history buff. From June 1940 until May 9, 1945, the people of these islands lived under occupation in the only British territory lost to the Germans during the entire war.

The unique and tragic story of these islands has inspired historians, authors, and filmmakers since the end of the war. Even Netflix got involved when their original film The Guernsey Literary And Potato Peel Pie Society debuted in 2018. The real story, however, wasn't as romantic or simple as some of the books and movies make it out to be.

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Antique map of the Channel Islands. Source: (

The Channel Islands

Divided between the Bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey, the seven inhabited islands of the area are a unique territorial legacy of the Norman Conquest. While the Normans lost control of their territory on the European mainland in the 13th century, they managed to retain these small islands in the English Channel. Though not properly a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the government in London is still responsible for their defense and international relations.

Today, the islands are popular with tourists for their beautiful coastlines and charming villages, but the main industries are banking and financial services. Much like Bermuda or the Cayman Islands, the Channel Islands have low taxes and business-friendly policies—something we all need to keep in mind when those lottery tickets finally work out.