English Channel

English Channel
English Channel Satellite.jpg
LocationWestern Europe; between the Celtic Sea and North Sea
Coordinates50°N 02°W / 50°N 02°W / River Exe, River Seine, River Test, River Tamar, River Somme
Basin countriesEngland (UK)
Guernsey (UK)
Jersey (UK)
Max. length560 km (350 mi)
Max. width240 km (150 mi)
Surface area75,000 km2 (29,000 sq mi)
Average depth63 m (207 ft)
Max. depth174 m (571 ft)
at Hurd's Deep
Max. temperature15 °C (59 °F)
Min. temperature5 °C (41 °F)
IslandsÎle de Bréhat, Île de Batz, Chausey, Tatihou, Îles Saint-Marcouf, Isle of Wight, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm
SettlementsBournemouth, Brighton, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Calais, Le Havre

The English Channel (French: la Manche, "The Sleeve"; German: Ärmelkanal, "Sleeve Channel"; Breton: Mor Breizh, "Sea of Brittany"; Cornish: Mor Bretannek, "British Sea"; Dutch: Het Kanaal, "The Channel"), also called simply the Channel, is the body of water that separates southern England from northern France and links the southern part of the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the busiest shipping area in the world.[1]

It is about 560 km (350 mi) long and varies in width from 240 km (150 mi) at its widest to 33.3 km (20.7 mi) in the Strait of Dover.[2] It is the smallest of the shallow seas around the continental shelf of Europe, covering an area of some 75,000 km2 (29,000 sq mi).[3]


Map with French nomenclature
Osborne House, the summer retreat of Queen Victoria on the Isle of Wight. Starting from the late 18th century, settlements on and around the English Channel coastline in England grew rapidly into thriving seaside resorts, bolstered by their association with royalty and the middle and upper classes.

Until the 18th century, the English Channel had no fixed name either in English or in French. It was never defined as a political border, and the names were more or less descriptive. It was not considered as the property of a nation. Before the development of the modern nations, British scholars very often referred to it as "Gaulish" (Gallicum in Latin) and French scholars as "British" or "English".[4] The name "English Channel" has been widely used since the early 18th century, possibly originating from the designation Engelse Kanaal in Dutch sea maps from the 16th century onwards. In modern Dutch, however, it is known as Het Kanaal (with no reference to the word "English").[5] Later, it has also been known as the "British Channel"[6] or the "British Sea". It was called Oceanus Britannicus by the 2nd-century geographer Ptolemy. The same name is used on an Italian map of about 1450, which gives the alternative name of canalites Anglie—possibly the first recorded use of the "Channel" designation.[7] The Anglo-Saxon texts often call it Sūð-sǣ ("South Sea") as opposed to Norð-sǣ ("North Sea" = Bristol Channel). The common word channel was first recorded in Middle English in the 13th century and was borrowed from Old French chanel, variant form of chenel "canal".

The French name la Manche has been in use since at least the 17th century.[3] The name is usually said to refer to the Channel's sleeve (French: la manche) shape. Folk etymology has derived it from a Celtic word meaning channel that is also the source of the name for the Minch in Scotland,[8] but this name was never mentioned before the 17th century, and French and British sources of that time are perfectly clear about its etymology.[9] The name in Breton (Mor Breizh) means "Breton Sea", and its Cornish name (Mor Bretannek) means "British Sea".

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Engelse Kanaal
العربية: بحر المانش
aragonés: Canal d'a Manga
azərbaycanca: LaManş
башҡортса: Ла-Манш
беларуская: Ла-Манш
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Ля-Манш
भोजपुरी: इंग्लिश चैनल
български: Ла Манш
bosanski: La Manche
brezhoneg: Mor Breizh
Чӑвашла: Ла-Манш
Cymraeg: Môr Udd
Deutsch: Ärmelkanal
eesti: La Manche
Ελληνικά: Μάγχη
Esperanto: Manika Markolo
français: Manche (mer)
Frysk: It Kanaal
Gaeilge: Muir nIocht
Gàidhlig: Caolas Sasannach
한국어: 영국 해협
հայերեն: Լա Մանշ
hrvatski: La Manche
Bahasa Indonesia: Selat Inggris
íslenska: Ermarsund
italiano: La Manica
къарачай-малкъар: Ла-Манш
қазақша: Ла-Манш
kernowek: Mor Bretannek
kurdî: La Manche
Кыргызча: Ла-Манш
latviešu: Lamanšs
Lëtzebuergesch: Äermelkanal
Limburgs: 't Kanaal
magyar: La Manche
македонски: Ламанш
მარგალური: ლა-მანში
مصرى: المانش
Bahasa Melayu: Selat Inggeris
Nederlands: Het Kanaal
нохчийн: Ла-Манш
Nordfriisk: Ingelsk Kanool
norsk nynorsk: Den engelske kanalen
Nouormand: Maunche (mé)
occitan: Marga (mar)
Picard: Manche
Piemontèis: Canal dla Mania
Plattdüütsch: Engelschen Kanal
polski: La Manche
português: Canal da Mancha
русский: Ла-Манш
Seeltersk: Sleeuwekanoal
Simple English: English Channel
slovenčina: Lamanšský prieliv
slovenščina: Rokavski preliv
српски / srpski: Ламанш
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: La Manche
татарча/tatarça: Ла-Манш
тоҷикӣ: Ла манш
Türkçe: Manş Denizi
українська: Ла-Манш
Tiếng Việt: Eo biển Manche
West-Vlams: Iengels Kanoal
粵語: 英倫海峽