The island of Guernsey lies in the English Channel approximately thirty miles west of the coast of Northern France and sixty miles south west of England. While the island is physically closer to France, its loyalties remain with the British crown. Originally the island belonged to the Duchy of Normandy but it ended up with the British Crown after the Norman conquest of 1066. Guernsey has been the centre of many battles between the UK and France ever since. The self-governing island is a key port for international imports to the UK.
The history of Guernsey is rich and varied going as far back as 10,000 B.C.E. Archaeological evidence shows farming in the Neolithic as well as Bronze Age. Warrior graves have also been uncovered belonging to the Iron Age. The Romans knew the island by the name of Lisia, but he name Guernsey is believed to be given by the Vikings. Guernsey’s history can be traced by visiting the museum, art gallery, Fort Grey and Castle Cornet. Victor Hugo, a famous resident of Guernsey, completed his world renowned novel Les Misérables and other famous works while in exile on the island.
The lax taxes are a major allure for the financial services industry in Guernsey and make up over thirty per-cent of the island’s total revenues. Tourism, horticulture and light manufacturing were the traditional industries, but they are in decline now. Even though the island is a British territory, it issues its own stamps and currency.
Guernsey’s cuisine is made up of fresh crab, bass, mussels, lobster and scallops. Ormer flesh, a rare mollusc, is a local delicacy and is typically consumed raw or cooked in different dishes. The area is also recognized for its traditional dishes like bean jar, and gâche (fruit loaf). Recipes for the traditional dishes have been passed down through the ages. Local produce includes dairy items like butter, milk and cheese and vegetables.
There are plenty of activities in Guernsey that visitors can enjoy throughout the year. From fishing and sailing on the marina, to enjoying the sun on one of the many beaches and windsurfing, water-skiing or playing golf on one of the three golf courses on the island. There are also a number of football and athletic clubs.
Capital: Saint Peter Port
Government: Monarchy, Consensus democracy
Language: English French
Total area: 30 sq. mi (78 sq. km)
Currencies: Guernsey pound, UK Pound
Religion: Roman Catholicism
Dialling code: +44