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Alderney

From Academic Kids

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Flag of Alderney

Alderney (French Aurigny) is the most northerly of the Channel Islands and a British crown dependency. It is part of the bailiwick of Guernsey. It is 3 miles (5 km) long and 2 miles (3 km) wide making it the third largest island of the Channel Islands. It is around 10 miles to the west of Cap de la Hague in the Cotentin Peninsula, Normandy, in France, 20 miles to the north-east of Guernsey and 60 miles from the south coast of England. It is the closest of the Channel Islands to France as well as being the closest to England. It is separated from Cape de la Hogue by the dangerous Race of Alderney.

The island has a population of 2,400 people, and they are traditionally nicknamed lapins after the number of rabbits seen on the island. The only parish of Alderney is the parish of St Anne, which doubles as the main town, and features a pretty church and cobbled high street. There is a primary school, a secondary school, a post office, hotels, restaurants, banks, shops, etc.

Contents

History

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This is a map of the Bailiwick of Guernsey. Alderney is in the North East.

Alderney shares a history in common with the other Channel Islands. Known to the Romans as Riduna, its name is a corruption of "Adreni" or "Alrene," which is probably derived from an Old Norse word meaning "island near the coast." After choosing independence from France and loyalty to the English monarch (in its role as the Duke of Normandy) in 1204, Alderney developed slowly and was not much involved with the rest of the world. That is, however, until the British government decided to undertake massive fortifications and to create a strategic harbour to deter attacks from France in the 19th century. An influx of English and Irish labourers, plus the sizable British garrison stationed in the island, led to rapid anglicization. The harbour was never completed - the remaining breakwater (designed by James Walker) is one of the landmarks of the island.

When the advancing German army threatened in 1940, the entire population was evacuated. The Germans occupied the island until liberation on 16 May 1945 (a week after the other Channel Islands), but the population were unable to start returning until December 1945. The Germans left their mark on Alderney, running the island as a concentration camp for the duration of the occupation, building bunkers and other such concrete fortifications. For two years after the end of World War II, Alderney was operated as a communal farm. Craftsmen were paid by their employers, while others were payed by the local government out of the profit from the sales of farm produce. Remaining profits were put aside to repay the British Government for repairing and rebuilding the island. Resentment from the local population towards being unable to control their own land acted as a catalyst for the Home Office to create the "Government of Alderney Law 1948", which then came into force on the 1st January 1949. The law organised the make up and election of the States, the justice system and, for the first time in Alderney, the imposition of taxes. Due to the small population of Alderney, it was believed that the island could not be self-sufficient in the running of the airport and harbour, as well as in providing services that would match those of the United Kingdom. The taxes were therefore collected into the general Bailiwick of Guernsey revenue funds (at the same rate as Guernsey) and adminstered by the States of Guernsey. Guernsey became responsonbile for providing many governmental functions and services.

The 20th century saw a lot of change in Alderney, from the building of the airport in the late 1930's to the death of the last speakers of the island's language (Auregnais, a dialect of Norman language) some years earlier. The economy has gone from depending largely on agriculture to earning money from the tourism and finance industries.

The States of Alderney is the legislature of the island, and it has a voice in the States of Guernsey as well.

Geography

In terms of Geography, Alderney is similar to the other islands in that it has sheer cliffs broken by stretches of sandy beach and dunes. It has a temperate climate, moderated by the sea, and summers are usually warmer than elsewhere in the British Isles. Alderney has a somewhat ageing population, being popular with people wanting somewhere quiet to retire.

Alderney features a rich flora and fauna. Puffins are a favourite of many visitors to the island, and are often found on the cliffs around the island. The Blonde Hedgehog is a species native to Alderney.

Travelling to Alderney is fairly easy, and in season it is a popular holiday destination. Flights arrive daily from Bournemouth, Brighton, Southampton, Jersey and Guernsey. Boats sail regularly between the island and France, as well as the other Channel Islands.

The Alderney Railway is the only railway in the Channel Islands.

Culture

French is no longer spoken in the island (except by tourists), and ceased to be an official language in 1966.

Golf, Fishing and other water sports are popular on the island, though there are many clubs and associations on the island for ports and other leisure activities (List of Clubs & Associations (http://www.alderney.gov.gg/index.php/pid/21)). Due in part to the large numbers of tourists, Alderney has has a surprisingly large number of restaraunts and public houses.

Alderney Week (http://www.alderneyweek.net) is celebrated from the first Monday of August, during which a number of events take place. Calvacade Day takes place on the Monday, on which residents and organisations construct parade floats based upon a particular theme. The Torchlight Procession, on the Saturday evening of the week, sees a parade of people walking through the town centre, carrying torches towards a large bonfire upon the local green. The evening ends with a fireworks display and an open-air music event held in a now-disused quarry.

Being a quiet and secluded island, Alderney has attracted a number of famous residents, including authors T. H. White (The Once and Future King) and Elizabeth Beresford (The Wombles), cricket commentator John Arlott, cricketer Ian Botham and actress Julie Andrews.

External links

Template:Channel Islandsda:Alderney de:Alderney eo:Alderney fr:Aurigny gl:Alderney id:Alderney it:Alderney nl:Alderney no:Alderney sv:Alderney pt:Alderney

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