Channel Islands

Channel Islands
Îles Anglo-Normandes  (French)
Îles d'la Manche  (Norman)
Channel Islands by Sentinel-2.jpg
Satellite photo of the Channel Islands in 2018
Channel Islands in its region.svg
Location of the Channel Islands
LocationWestern Europe
Coordinates49°26′N 2°19′W / 49°26′N 2°19′W / 49.433; -2.317

The Channel Islands (Norman: Îles d'la Manche; French: Îles Anglo-Normandes or Îles de la Manche)[note 1] are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown dependencies: the Bailiwick of Jersey, which is the largest of the islands; and the Bailiwick of Guernsey, consisting of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and some smaller islands. They are considered the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy and, although they are not part of the United Kingdom,[2] the UK is responsible for the defence and international relations of the islands.[3] The Crown dependencies are not members of the Commonwealth of Nations nor of the European Union. They have a total population of about 164,541, and the bailiwicks' capitals, Saint Helier and Saint Peter Port, have populations of 33,500 and 18,207, respectively.

"Channel Islands" is a geographical term, not a political unit. The two bailiwicks have been administered separately since the late 13th century. Each has its own independent laws, elections, and representative bodies (although in modern times, politicians from the islands' legislatures are in regular contact). Any institution common to both is the exception rather than the rule. The Bailiwick of Guernsey is divided into three jurisdictions – Guernsey, Alderney and Sark – each with its own legislature. Although there are a few pan-island institutions (such as the Channel Islands office to the EU in Brussels, which is actually a joint venture between the bailiwicks), these tend to be established structurally as equal projects between Guernsey and Jersey. Otherwise, entities proclaiming membership of both Guernsey and Jersey might in fact be from one bailiwick only, for instance the Channel Islands Securities Exchange is in Saint Peter Port (and therefore Guernsey).

The term "Channel Islands" began to be used around 1830, possibly first by the Royal Navy as a collective name for the islands.[4]:158 The term refers only the archipelago to the west of the Cotentin Peninsula. The Isle of Wight, for example, is not a "Channel Island" (though, being in the Channel, it remains a "Channel island").


The Channel Islands and adjacent coast of France

The two major islands are Jersey and Guernsey. They make up 99% of the population and 92% of the area.

List of islands

The permanently inhabited islands of the Channel Islands and their population and area are:

There are also several uninhabited islets. Four are part of the Bailiwick of Jersey:

These lie off Alderney:

These lie off Guernsey:

(See also List of islands of the Bailiwick of Guernsey)


The names of the larger islands in the archipelago in general have the -ey suffix, whilst those of the smaller ones have the -hou suffix. These are believed to be from the Old Norse ey (island) and holmr (islet).

The Chausey Islands

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). While they are popular with visitors from France, Channel Islanders rarely visit them as there are no direct transport links from the other islands.

In official Jersey French, the islands are called 'Îles de la Manche', while in France, the term 'Îles Anglo-normandes' (Anglo-Norman isles) is used to refer to the British 'Channel Islands' in contrast to 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 very large tidal variation provides an environmentally rich inter-tidal zone around the islands, and some islands such as Burhou, the Écréhous, and the Minquiers have been designated Ramsar sites.

The waters around the islands include the following:

  • The Swinge (between Alderney and Burhou)
  • The Little Swinge (between Burhou and Les Nannels)
  • La Déroute (between Jersey and Sark, and Jersey and the Cotentin)
  • Le Raz Blanchard, or Race of Alderney (between Alderney and the Cotentin)
  • The Great Russel (between Sark, Jéthou and Herm)
  • The Little Russel (between Guernsey, Herm and Jéthou)
  • Souachehouais (between Le Rigdon and L'Étacq, Jersey)
  • Le Gouliot (between Sark and Brecqhou)
  • La Percée (between Herm and Jéthou)

Highest point

The highest point in the islands is Les Platons in Jersey at 143 metres (469 ft) above sea level. The lowest point is the English Channel (sea level).

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Kanaaleilande
Bân-lâm-gú: Hái-tō Kûn-tó
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Нармандзкія астравы
bosanski: Kanalska ostrva
Deutsch: Kanalinseln
español: Islas del Canal
Esperanto: Manikinsuloj
한국어: 채널 제도
hrvatski: Kanalski otoci
Bahasa Indonesia: Kepulauan Channel
Interlingue: Canal-Insules
íslenska: Ermarsundseyjar
עברית: איי התעלה
Limburgs: Kenaaleilen
lumbaart: Isol del Canal
македонски: Каналски Острови
Nederlands: Kanaaleilanden
Nordfriisk: Kanooleilunen
norsk nynorsk: Kanaløyane
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Normandiya orollari
português: Ilhas do Canal
Ripoarisch: Kanalinsele
Simple English: Channel Islands
slovenčina: Normanské ostrovy
slovenščina: Kanalski otoki
српски / srpski: Каналска острва
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kanalski otoci
svenska: Kanalöarna
Türkçe: Manş Adaları
Tiếng Việt: Quần đảo Eo Biển
West-Vlams: Kanoaleilandn
吴语: 海峡群岛
粵語: 海峽群島
中文: 海峡群岛