28 February 2010

Geography quiz

That group of islands in the center of the picture - Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou, Lihou,  et al - belong to what country?

A)  France
B)  The U.K.
C)  The European Union
D)  China
E)  They don't belong to any country

Answer in the Comments section.  Some of you will be surprised - as I was.  I just learned the answer this morning.

12 comments:

  1. The islands constitute the Bailiwick of Guernsey, part of the Channel Islands. A "bailiwick" is an area under the jurisdiction of a bailiff (Fr. baile). The "-wick" is an Anglo-Saxon appendage meaning village.

    A bailiwick is thus owned by royalty - in this case the British Crown, and the islands do not belong to any country. They belong to the British royal family.

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  2. Back in the Norman times the English crown used to control a large portion of northern France, including the channel islands. They also had territory in Italy of all places.

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  3. If you're interested in these islands, be sure to read the novel The Book of Ebenezer Le Page, by G.B. Edwards: the novel is set on the island of Guernsey. It's a beautiful fictional memoir of an 80 year old man who has lived his entire life on the island. The NYRB Press recently reprinted it.

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  4. Requested from our library. Thanx, Philip.

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  5. The Channel Island were also "the only part of Britain conquered by the Germans in WW II", http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupation_of_the_Channel_Islands.

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  6. This is perhaps a simple rendering; they aren't part of the United Kingdom, but their residents are citizens of the UK. Furthermore, they are only limitedly independent of the normal UK government, and Sark recently removed its feudal government to comply with EU human rights laws. Despite this, their new constitution is currently tied up in EU courts. I don't think anyone would consider them "independent" of the UK (or EU) by these standards, just as we don't consider any of the US's overseas territories to "not be part of any country" even though they are partly administered by the US government.

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  7. Except the "Chausey" island, which was forgotten in the peace treaty and still belongs to France.

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  8. What's the status of the Isle of Man? I heard that it wasn't technically part of the UK.

    Ps: This blog just got a blog award because, shucks, it's pretty awesome. Here's the post.

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  9. dragonmamma/naomiMarch 2, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    I knew the answer to this because I just finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society.

    Good book. I betcha that tourism in the Channel Islands skyrockets because of it.

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  10. Our library has 83 copies of the book (!) and 113 hold requests, so I've added my name to the list. Tx for the suggestion.

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  11. Now, I could be wrong here but I seem to recall them having a very strange legal status in regards to the E.U. as far as i remember they were not allowed to vote in europarliamentary elections on account of not paying taxes in the E.U. Sort of a 'no representation without taxation' thing.

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  12. The Isle of Mann is a self-governing dependent of the UK - primarily the UK is responsible for their defense, foreign relations, and 'good governance' (whatever that means).
    They are not part of the UK (just dependent on it). They are not part of the EU, though they do have certain trade relations with the EU.

    There ARE taxes on the isle of man. It is a LOW Tax (not NO Tax) economy. There are very few taxes, most companies are not taxed; banks have a small tax, and there are taxes on income coming from land (eg, rent). Only a select few professions are subject to income tax.

    Btw, all of this info was easy to get from a google search on the Isle of Mann - (I had to check Mann's EU status and for what they relied on Britain.).

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