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18 April 2014
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You are in: Jersey » About Jersey » Island history

In the beginning
The sea rising around Jersey
How Jersey became the island it is today

Jersey's first foundations were laid when muddy currents running down a sloping seabed deposited layer after layer of fine sand and shale.

HISTORIC SITES
La Hougue Bie
Find out about one
of the earliest Neolithic burial mounds in Jersey
Hamptonne
Explore a traditional Jersey farmhouse
 
Mont Orgueil & Elizabeth Castle
Two examples of how Jersey has defended its coastline through the centuries
 
Jersey War Tunnels
A stark reminder of the German Occupation
 
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  Jersey Heritage
Trust
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FACTS

The Romans named
the island Andium. The island was named Jersey as a result of Viking activity in the region between the 9th and 10th centuries

 
The language of Jersey - Jerriais - can be traced back to Roman times. Over the centuries, the language developed from Vulgar Latin to medieval and modern French  
St Helier arrived in Jersey around 540 AD, and lived on a rock near to where Elizabeth Castle now stands. The main centre of the island is named after him   
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600 million years ago a second generation of rocks were produced by ash falls and lava. 100 million years after this, granite was formed by the molten magma that welled up into cracks in the earth's crust.

About 100 million years later, the conglomerates were formed. As mountains were eroded, the pebbles and clay were carried down a river, deposited, and cemented together.

Between this formation of the conglomerates 400 million years ago, and the ice ages that began two million years ago, no new rocks were formed.

Major changes in the earth's crust formed a plateau. As the sea level rose and fell, Jersey constantly changed.

The first settlers

250,000 years ago, the first people appeared on Jersey. They were nomadic hunters, and used the caves at St. Brelade as a base whilst hunting mammoth.

The island was used on and off for 200,000 years until the first ice age ended and Jersey again became an island. The island was unoccupied for 120,000 years until the end of the second ice age.

Permanent settlements

At the end of the second ice age, settlements appeared around Jersey, on the coastal plains. Permanent settlements were not established on Jersey itself until 4500 BC.

These neolithic settlers established trading links with Brittany and with the south coast of England.

Very little else is known about the island from here until about 930 AD. There is evidence of the Gauls and the Romans in the island, but it does not seem that they were permanent settlers.

In 511 Jersey became part of the kingdom of Neustria. It was around this time that the first Christian missionaries arrived in Jersey - St Magloire and St Samson.


For the next 200 years, Jersey's history is almost a blank. So let's fast forward through to 800 AD, when the Vikings arrived...

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