Guernsey is one of those tiny islands, which were created in 6000 BC when there was a sudden upsurge in sea level that cut off tips of land from European continent. Today it is an island located in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. Certain evidences prove that Neolithic farmers first settled in Guernsey and were the main contributors behind the creation of dolmens and menhirs.
During World War II this beautiful island came under the power of German troops. Just before the war commenced many Guernsey children were transferred to England to live with relatives or strangers. Many citizens were sent to camps in southwest of Germany by the German troops.
Banking, fund management and the Insurance sector comprises of 55 percent of this island’s economy. Independent UK based companies are the chief providers of key public services like electricity, gas, and postal services.
Guernsey features among a group of small islands that cover a total area of 30 sq. miles on the southwestern side of the English Channel. It includes Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou, Burhou and other islets The landscape is mostly even with low hills appearing in the southwest side of the island. It has a low beach in the north and rocky cliffs along the south shore. Altitude varies from sea level to 375 feet (114 m) at Le Moulin on Sark. The uppermost point in mainland Guernsey is Hautnez (363 feet) in Alderney at Le Rond. The island of Guernsey is divided into ten parishes, namely Castel, Forest, St. Andrew, St. Peter Port, St. Pierre du Bois, St. Sampson, St. Saviour, Torteval and Vale. Natural resources of this beautiful country include cropland.
The local climate is influenced by its maritime position and does not experience the boundaries of temperatures found in more non-coastal areas. Thanks to the protection presented by their giant neighbours as they escape the most terrible of the winds often linked with offshore locations.
Guernsey and its adjacent peninsulas was basically a former chunk of continental Europe, which eventually made them islands. Following turbulence in seawaters, this group of islands appeared on the English Channel off the northwest coast of France. From the early pages of history, it can be seen that all around Guernsey, there are traces of Neolithic man, including defensive earth works, menhirs and dolmens. Then came the Romans who named Guernsey as Sarnia. But after the collapse of the Roman Empire, came the Dark Ages and history remains vague. It is found that somewhere during this period, Saint Samson of Dol introduced Christianity to Guernsey.
The Bretons moved to the island from between 600AD and 800AD. In 911, the Vikings took control of this island from the inhabitants of Breton. Gradually, Guernsey became a part of Duchy of Normandy. But it passed to the English Crown with the Norman conquest of England in 1066. In 1215, King John granted the islands, certain rights and privileges, which enabled them to be virtually self-governing, subject only to Royal assent and enactments through the Privy Council. In 1294 a large part of the Guernsey population were killed in French raids. In fact over the ensuing centuries, possession of the islands switched back and forth between the English and French six times. Large castles were built most of which still survive today. Finally, after a series of occupations and invasions, in 1481 the States of Guernsey had been formed. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, as a result of the Napoleonic wars, Guernsey suffered some major setbacks but survived. During 1940-1945, German forces occupied Guernsey. It was the only British possession occupied by Germany during World War II. The islands were liberated in May 1945 and every year islanders celebrate their freedom on 9th May.
Guernsey main income is derived from its flourishing finance industry. The banking, fund management and insurance sector generates 55% of total revenue of this country and proves to be the backbone of the economy. It has become an attractive financial destination thanks to the low rate of taxes and other advantages offered to companies wishing to set up offshore offices.
Tourism and flower growing provide a second and third leg to the economy, although these industries are not stable enough to provide sufficient back up to the company. But efforts continue to woo visitors and spruce up the tourism industry. Guernsey possesses its own currency that is known as the Guernsey Pound and is at par with the British pound. The presence of an efficient transport system and progressive policies of European Union are playing key role in evolving the Guernsey economy further.
Guernsey is a self-governing member of the British Commonwealth and has its own constitution. The monarch or Queen of England is considered the Chief of State and appoints the Lieutenant Governor who represents her in Guernsey. The Governor is allowed to observe States meetings, but cannot play any part in them. The Attorney General and the Solicitor General are also chosen by the monarchy. Both of them act as non-voting members in parliamentary activities. The States of Deliberation is the unicameral legislative body of Guernsey and comprises of 45 members known as the People's Deputies. They are elected through popular votes for every four years. Guernsey's legislations, known as 'Ordinances' has to be approved by the Queen in Council before it can be enacted locally.
The Chief Minister is considered to be the head of government and leads the cabinet. Both chief minister and his cabinet or Policy Council members are elected by the States of Deliberation. The Royal Court oversees legal matters in Guernsey and is presided over by The Bailiff. He is also president of Guernsey's legislative body, the States of Deliberation. There is no trial by jury in Guernsey. Here, a group of 12 Jurats, elected by the States of Election, sit in judgment on serious cases. The Magistrate’s Court, overseen by a single Magistrate, handles lesser matters. The ultimate court of appeal is the Privy Council.