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The Bailiwick of Guernsey is a British crown dependency off the coast of France. As well as the island of Guernsey itself, it also includes Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou, Burhou and other islets. Together with the Bailiwick of Jersey, it is included in the collective grouping known as the Channel Islands. It is known in French as Guernesey.

Bailiwick of Guernsey
Official languagesEnglish, French
CapitalSt Peter Port
Lieutenant Governor and Commander in ChiefSir John Foley
BailiffSir de Vic Carey
Chief MinisterLaurie Morgan
CurrencyGuernsey pound (on par with Pound Sterling)
Time zoneUTC (DST +1)
National anthemSarnia Cherie, God Save the Queen
National holidayLiberation Day, 9 May
Internet TLD.gg
Calling Code+44-1481


Rising sea levels transformed Guernsey into the tip of a peninsula jutting out into the emergent English Channel until about 6000 BC Guernsey and other promontories were cut off from continental Europe, becoming islands. At this time, Neolithic farmers settled the coasts and created the dolmens and menhirs that dot the islands. The island of Guernsey contains three sculpted menhirs of great archaeological interest.

Saint Samson of Dol is credited with the introduction of Christianity to Guernsey

In 933 the islands, formerly under the control of the Duchy of Brittany were annexed to the Duchy of Normandy. The island of Guernsey and the other Channel Islands represent the last remnants of the medieval Duchy of Normandy. In the islands, Elizabeth II's traditional title as head of state is Duke of Normandy.

The islands were the only British soil occupied by German troops in World War II. Many people from Guernsey were deported into camps in the southwest of Germany, notably to Biberach an der Riss and interned in the Lindele Camp ("Lager Lindele").


The States of Guernsey, officially called the States of Deliberation, consists of 45 People's Deputies, elected from multi- or single-member districts every four years. There are also 2 representatives from Alderney, a self-governing dependency of the Bailiwick, but Sark sends no representative. There are also 2 non-voting members - the Attorney General and the Solicitor General both appointed by the monarch. Laws passed by the States are known as 'Ordinances'.

Until the General Election of 2000, there were 33 Deputies, and 12 Conseillers representing the Island, serving terms of six years, with half being elected every three. The Conseillers were not originally directly elected by the people (although latterly directly elected by Bailiwick-wide vote), and the office has now been abolished. The 10 Douzaine representatives (representing parish authorities) were removed from the States in the 2004 constitutional reform.

Parochial douzeniers representing parish authorities were removed from the States in 2004, as part of constitutional reform which also introduced ministerial government under a Chief Minister.

The legal system is derived from Norman French and English common law, justice being administered by the Royal Court.


At 49 28 N, 2 35 W, Alderney, Guernsey, Herm, Sark, and some other smaller islands have a total area of 78 sq km and a coastline of 50 km. Lihou is attached to Guernsey by a causeway at low tide. The terrain is mostly level with low hills in southwest. Elevation varies from sea level to 114 m at an unnamed location on Sark. Natural resources include cropland. There is a large, deepwater harbor at Saint Peter Port.

The climate is temperate with mild winters and cool summers. 50% of the days are overcast.


Financial services - banking, fund management, insurance, etc. - account for about 55% of total income in this tiny Channel Island economy. Tourism, manufacturing, and horticulture, mainly tomatoes and cut flowers, have been declining. Light tax and death duties make Guernsey a popular tax haven. The evolving economic integration of the European Union nations is changing the rules of the game under which Guernsey operates.

Guernsey issues its own coinage and banknotes. The Guernsey pound is at par with the British pound.

Ports and harbors exist at Saint Peter Port and Saint Sampson. There are two paved airports in the bailiwick, and 5 km of railways in the bailiwick (but none in Guernsey itself).


The population is 65,031, as of 2004. The median age for males is 39.6 years and for females is 41.5 years. The population growth rate is 0.31% with 9.16 births/1,000 population, 9.87 deaths/1,000 population, and 3.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population. The life expectancy is 77.17 years for males and for females. 1.38 children are born per woman. Ethnic groups consist of UK and Norman-French descent. The Anglican, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational, Methodist religions are practised.


English and French are spoken, while Dgèrnésiais, the Norman language of the island, is still spoken by a minority of the population. Place names and house names reflect this linguistic heritage.

The national animal of the island of Guernsey is the donkey. The traditional explanation of this is the steepness of St. Peter Port streets that necessitated beasts of burden for transport (in contrast to the flat terrain of the rival capital of St Helier in Jersey).

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