Where Is French the Official Language of British Citizens?

There’s an American state named New Jersey. Did you ever wonder where “old” Jersey is? Yes, it’s in England, well, not really in England. Jersey belongs to England, but the closest country to Jersey is actually France.

Jersey is one of the Channel Islands, a group of islands in the English Channel between France and England. Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, with an area of about 50 square miles. In addition to Jersey, the Channel Islands include Guernsey, tiny Alderney and Sark, and a number of smaller islets, some of them uninhabited.

All the Channel Islands are much closer to France than to England. Jersey, for example, is less than 15 miles from France and can be seen from the French coast, but it lies more than 80 miles from the English coast. Even so, the Channel Islands have belonged to England for many centuries. Officially, they are not part of England but form territories known as British Crown Bailiwicks.

Jersey and Guernsey are both noted for their pedigreed cattle, the Jersey and Guernsey cows. These breeds are probably descended from French cattle, but today they can be found all around the world. Guernsey cows have been raised in the United States since 1830.

Until the nineteenth century, almost all the people in the Channel Islands spoke French rather than English. French was the official language of Guernsey until 1946. And though they are British citizens, most of the people of Jersey still speak French!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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