Jersey is an island located off the Normandy coast of France. Together with the Bailiwick of Guernsey it forms the Channel Islands. Although closest to France physically, Jersey is a dependency of the British Crown, which dates back to 933AD when it was part of the Norman Realm. In 1066, when William of Normandy became William I of England, it was still governed as a part of Normandy but when mainland Normandy was lost in 1204 it remained loyal to the King of England as he promised to rule as though he were Duke of Normandy. These were set out in a Charter of the time, with similar Charters being ratified by successive British monarchs. Jersey is therefore completely independent except for matters of defence and international representation. Both Jersey and Guernsey are also independent of each other with their own laws and regulations. The islands have been a centre of conflict between England and France for many years due to their allegiance to England. This can be witnessed today by the various castles, towers and fortifications that dot the landscape. More recently, the Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the German forces during the 2nd World War. Islanders suffered great hardship during this period. Jersey was liberated on 8 May 1945, the day before Guernsey. Today the Channel Islands celebrate the liberation as a public holiday on 9 May. Today Jersey is a leading international finance centre, featuring on the OECD 'White List' and in the top tier of the Global Financial Centres Index.
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