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Guernsey

Guernsey Explanation ::--Guernsey History||Guernsey Geography||Guernsey Administration||Guernsey Heritage Site

 

Guernsey, officially the Bailiwick of Guernsey is a British Crown dependency in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy.
The Bailiwick, as a governing entity, embraces not only all 10 parishes on the Island of Guernsey, but also the islands of Herm, Jethou, Burhou, and Lihou and their islet possessions. The Bailiwick of Guernsey also administers some aspects of two nearby crown dependencies (Alderney and Sark), and the island of Brecqhou.
Although its defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom, the Bailiwick of Guernsey is not part of the UK; and while it participates in the Common Travel Area, it is not part of the European Union.
The Bailiwick of Guernsey is included (along with the Bailiwick of Jersey) in the grouping known as the Channel Islands.

Bailiwick of Guernsey

Unlike many countries, Guernsey has not delegated money creation to the central bank and has instead issued interest-free money from 1822 to 1836, stimulating the growth of economy after Napoleon's wars without creating public debt and without increasing taxes. Also gold and silver coin remained money in Guernsey in the period 1822 to 1836 – and indeed long after.

 

Guernsey issues its own sterling coinage and banknotes. UK coinage and (English, Scottish and Northern Irish faced) banknotes also circulate freely and interchangeably. Public services, such as water, wastewater, the two main harbours and the airport are still owned and controlled by the States of Guernsey. The electricity, and postal services have been commercialised by the States and are now operated by companies wholly owned by the States of Guernsey. Guernsey Telecoms, which provided telecommunications, was sold by the States to Cable & Wireless.

 

Newtel was the first alternative telecommunications company on the island providing a range of residential and business telecommunication services as well as high specification data centres. Wave Telecom, owned by Jersey Telecom, also provides some telecommunications excluding local loop services. Newtel was acquired by Wave Telecom in 2010. Gas is supplied by an independent private company. Both the Guernsey Post postal boxes (since 1969) and the telephone boxes (since 2002) are painted blue, but otherwise are identical to their British counterparts, the red pillar box and red telephone box. In 2009 the telephone boxes at the bus station were painted yellow just like they used to be when Guernsey Telecoms was state-owned.

 

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Guernsey Culture

English is the language in general use by the majority of the population, while Guernésiais, the Norman language of the island, is spoken fluently by only about 2% of the population (according to 2001 census). However, 14% of the population claim some understanding of the language. Sercquais is spoken by a few people on the island of Sark and Auregnais was spoken on the island of Alderney until it became extinct in the early twentieth century. Until the early twentieth century French was the only official language of the Bailiwick, and all deeds for the sale and purchase of real estate in Guernsey were written in French until 1971 . Family and place names reflect this linguistic heritage. Georges Métivier, considered by some to be the island's national poet, wrote in Guernesiais. The loss of the island's language and the Anglicisation of its culture, which began in the nineteenth century and proceeded inexorably for a century, accelerated sharply when the majority of the island's school children were evacuated to the U.K. for five years during the German occupation of 1940–1945.

map guemsey

Victor Hugo wrote some of his best-known works while in exile in Guernsey, including Les Misérables. His HOME in St. Peter Port, Hauteville House, is now a museum administered by the city of Paris. In 1866, he published a novel set in the island, Travailleurs de la Mer (Toilers of the Sea), which he dedicated to the island of Guernsey.
The greatest novel by a Guernseyman is The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, by GB Edwards which, in addition to being a critically acclaimed work of literature, also contains a wealth of insights into life in Guernsey during the twentieth century. In September 2008 a Blue Plaque was affixed to the house on the Braye Road in which Edwards was brought up. A more recent novel by Guernseyman Peter Lihou called Rachel's Shoe describes the period when Guernsey was under German occupation during the Second World War.
Henry Watson Fowler moved to Guernsey in 1903 where he and his brother Francis George Fowler composed The King's English and the Concise Oxford Dictionary, and much of Modern English Usage.

The national animals of the island of Guernsey are the donkey and the Guernsey cow. The traditional explanation for the donkey (âne in French and Guernésiais) 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), although it is also used in reference to Guernsey inhabitants' stubbornness.
The Guernsey cow is a more internationally famous icon of the island. As well as being prized for its rich creamy milk, which is claimed by some to hold health benefits over milk from other breeds,Guernsey cattle are increasingly being raised for their beef, which has a distinctive flavour and rich yellow fat. Although the number of individual islanders raising these cattle for private supply has diminished significantly since the 1960s, Guernsey steers can still be occasionally seen grazing on L'Ancresse common.
There is also a breed of goat known as the Golden Guernsey, which is distinguished by its golden-coloured coat. At the end of World War II, the Golden Guernsey was almost extinct, due to interbreeding with other varieties on the island. The resurrection of this breed is largely credited to the work of a single woman, Miriam Milbourne. Although no longer considered in a 'critical' status, the breed remains on the "Watch List" of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

 

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