Alderney

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Channel Islands. All that remains to the monarchy of its once extensive possessions in France, retained when John lost the rest of the duchy of Normandy in 1204. They consist of the four larger islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark, with a number of smaller islands. A determined attempt by the French in 1781 to capture Jersey was beaten off by the heroic defence of Major Pierson. The population of Jersey in 1991 was 84,000, Guernsey 59,000, Alderney 2,300, and Sark 570. Alderney is no more than 10 miles from the French coast. Jersey, the largest of the islands, is some 10 miles from east to west and 5 from north to south; its capital, St Helier, is on the south coast. The official languages are English and French, with some Norman-French patois still in use. The queen appoints a lieutenant-governor as her representative in the two bailiwicks of Jersey and Guernsey. The islands have their own assemblies, legal systems, and currency. Their economy depends greatly upon tourism, but they also export fruit, flowers, and vegetables, and the low rate of income tax makes them a tax haven. During the Second World War, the islands were occupied by German troops and liberated on 9 May 1945.

J. A. Cannon

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