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28 October 2014
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You are in Jersey > My Island > History > In the Beginning
 In the beginning
Continuous war
Peace - but not for long
Growth of new trades
German Occupation
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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.

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.


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