Guernsey is one of the so-called Channel Islands in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy. It is located north of Saint-Malo, northwest of Jersey and west of the Cotentin Peninsula. With several smaller nearby islands, it forms an administrative unit within the Bailiwick (bailiwick) of Guernsey, a British crown possession.
Guernsey is not part of the United Kingdom, although defence and most foreign relations are handled by the British government.
The entire administrative unit is located in the Common Travel Area of the British Isles and is not a member of the European Union, but has a special relationship with it, since it is treated as part of the European Community with access to the Internal market for the purposes of free movement of goods. Together with the separate administrative units of Alderney and Sark, it forms the Bailiwick of Guernsey.
The name “Guernsey”, as well as the name of the neighboring “Jersey”, is of Old Norse origin. The second element of the word, “-ey”, is Old Norse for “island”, while the original root, “guern(s)”, is of uncertain origin and meaning, possibly deriving either from a personal name such as Grani or Warinn, or from gron, which means pine.
Previous names for the Channel Islands varied throughout history. Common were, among others, Lenur Islands and Sarnia. Sarnia, and also Lisia, was the Latin name for Guernsey.
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