CHANNEL ISLANDS, a group of islands in the English Channel belonging to Great Britain, off the west coast of the department La Manche, in France. The islands lie 10 to 30 miles distant from the Normandy coast and 50 to 120 miles south of the English coast. They consist of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and Sark, with some dependent islets; area, 75 square miles. They are picturesque and very fertile and arc celebrated for a peculiar breed of cattle, the chief strains of which are the Jerseys, Guernseys and the Aldetneys, which differ from each other in minor characteristics. Boland, 'Les iles de la Manche' (Paris 1904). The islands are almost totally exempt from taxation and the people enjoy besides all the privileges of British subjects. There are two lieutenant-governors, one for Jersey and the other for Guernsey, Alderney and Sark. The government is in the hands of two correspond ing bodies called the *states,* some members of which are named by the Crown, while others are chosen by the people and others sit ex officio. These islands have been fortified at an immense expense. Ecclesiastically they be long to the diocese of Winchester. The Chan nel Islands form the only remains of the Nor man provinces once subject to the English Crown. They now export large quantities of fruit, vegetables and flowers to the English markets, including grapes, tomatoes and pota toes, partly grown under glass. The annual yield of potatoes in Jersey exceeds 60,000 tons, valued at $1,320,000. The chief fertilizer is ((vraic,)) or seaweed, the regular gathering of which; controlled by legislation, is one of the characteristic insular scenes. A large quantity of kelp is used in the manufacture of iodine, its value to Guernsey being estimated at $150, 000 annually. There are important fisheries of turbot, conger eels, oysters, lobsters, monster crabs, etc. The quarries of Jersey and Guern sey are extensively worked and export fine granite for building purposes. There is daily
communication by steamer with various Eng lish and French ports and an average of 3,000 vessels of 200,000 gross tonnage enter and clear the Channel Island p, :s annually. The chief town is Saint on the island of Jersey.
Among the farming population the ver nacular is old Norman French, which differs in peculiarities of spelling and pronunciation in each island and even in parishes of the same island. English predominates in the town dis tricts, which contain a large proportion of British and many French residents.
Military service at fixed periods is compul sory on all male natives and residents. Cave dwellings and numerous megalithic cromlechs, tumuli and menhirs prove the habitation of a prehistoric race; a few old Norman chapels remain; the oldest churches, Saint Brelade's, Jersey, and Saint Sampson's, Guernsey, date from 1111, and earthworks, fortifications and castles dating from Roman and subsequent pe riods exist. The Romans occupied the islands during the 3d and 4th centuries; Cmsarea (Jer sey) and Sarnia (Guernsey) occur in the of Antoninus. After the Con quest the islands alternated between Norman and English rule until 1204, when with the loss of Normandy they remained faithful to Eng land and steadfastly resisted many subsequent attempts on the part of France to capture them. In the reign of Henry VI the French held part of Jersey for six years. During the civil war they were the scene of many notable events. A French expedition landed in Jersey in 1781, but was defeated with great loss. During the French and American wars, the islanders fitted out many privateers and captured many rich prizes. The islands are favorite asylums for political refugees. Their numbers have in cluded Charles II, Earl Clarendon, Victor Hugo and General Boulanger. Lord Tennyson was a frequent visitor. Pop. (1911) 96,900. Consult Ansted, 'Channel Islands' (1893); Boland, 'Les iles de la Manche' (Paris 904).