Invasions and defences

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Invasions and defences

Castel de Lecq.jpg

For over 600 years after the Channel Islands split from Normandy in 1204 they were under regular threat of invasion by the French and their mercenaries. Whenever England and France were at war (and that was a frequent occurrence) the islands were a prime target. Jersey was invaded on many occasions, sometimes successfully and leading to prolonged occupation, and eventually had to build up a sophisticated network of coastal defences in an attempt to repel further attacks.

Mont Orgueil Castle

Mont Orgueil 1680.jpg

Mont Orgueil Castle was Jersey’s major defensive installation for several centuries, and also a central part of island life, housing its garrison, providing a home for theGovernor and a prison. It came under seige on several occasions, both when islanders sought refuge there from invading troops and when forces which had invaded the island were removed from other areas and made a last stand in the castle.

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Battle of Jersey


Although several battles were fought on Jersey soil against French invaders, the one which has gone down in history as The Battle of Jersey was fought in the Royal Square on 6 January 1781. The French army, which had landed the night before on the East coast, was defeated thanks to the extreme courage of a young army officer.

German Occupation

Occupation parade.jpg

Although the majority of the invasions of Jersey over the centuries have been by, or on behalf of, the French, it was the German invasion and occupation in the 20th century which has become the most famous, even though it was not the longest period of occupation by enemy forces in the island’s history.

The Commonwealth Invasion

22 October 1651 was a unique day in the history of Jersey, because it saw the invasion of the island by English troops. These were supporters of Oliver Cromwell’s parliamentary regime, sent to capture the island’s leaders, who supported the Royalist cause and wanted to see Charles II on the throne, having already proclaimed him King. They were forced to flee into exile and the island was firmly under parliamentary rule for nine years until the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.

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