A Short History of Guernsey

by Peter Johnston Guernsey Society c/o The Guernsey Press Shop

The Channel Island of Guernsey has a unique and fascinating history.  Nestling in the English Channel between France and England the island has been involved with major historical events for centuries.

From c.10,000BC when the island was still connected to mainland France, it was visited by hunter-gatherers and fishermen. As sea levels rose and it became separated from France, it was settled by early farmers w ho built dolmens to bury their dead.  The Romans established the first permanent settlement around St Peter Port.  Guernsey was on the 'winning side ' of the Battle of Hastings (being part of Normandy at that time) but two centuries later became a dependency of the English Crown in exchange for certain privileges that continue to this day.

More recently in the 18th century it played an important role in developing the brandy trade and its privateers threatened the French Navy and the 19th century saw it threatened with invasion from Napoleon and giving refuge to Victor Hugo and was occupied by the Germans in WW2.

The island is known worldwide for The Guernsey (a specific wool jumper), its granite, the rich milk and cream of the unique Guernsey cow, its tomatoes and flowers by post and is now an international finance centre and draws tourists from around the world.

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