Sunday, March 22, 2015


The entry for Guernsey more or less applies here, plus, in small addition...

The Bailiwick of Jersey. Like the other Channel Islands - the only British soil occupied by German troops in World War II - the term represents the last remnants of the medieval Dukedom of Normandy that once held sway in both France and England. Jersey is a British crown dependency, though it is not part of the UK or of the European Union; nevertheless, the UK Government is constitutionally responsible for its defense and international representation.

Not being part of the UK allows Jersey to have its own semi-official national anthem. Written and composed by Frédéric Bérat, a remarkable Napoleon Buonaparte lookalike, it makes no mention of Jersey and is really an anthem for Norman nationalism, except that there is no Norman nationalism, save only among a small number of residents of Jersey, who sing it, at island sports' events, and even, because obviously "God save The Queen" would be confusing, at the Commonwealth Games, at which Jersey has participated since 1958, as part of the Channel Islands, and even won a gold medal equivalent once (in Auckland, in 1990, when Colin Mallett took the Open Full Bore Rifle Queen's Prize, whatever that is).

                                               "Ma Normandie"

                             Quand tout renaît à l'espérance,
                             Et que l'hiver fuit loin de nous,
                             Sous le beau ciel de notre France,
                             Quand le soleil revient plus doux,
                             Quand la nature est reverdie,
                             Quand l'hirondelle est de retour,
                             J'aime à revoir ma Normandie,
                             C'est le pays qui m'a donné le jour.
                             J'ai vu les champs de l'Helvétie,
                             Et ses chalets et ses glaciers,
                             J'ai vu le ciel de l'Italie,
                             Et Venise et ses gondeliers.
                             En saluant chaque patrie,
                             Je me disais : « Aucun séjour
                             N'est plus beau que ma Normandie,
                             C'est le pays qui m'a donné le jour.
                             Il est un âge dans la vie,
                             Où chaque rêve doit finir,
                             Un âge où l'âme recueillie
                             A besoin de se souvenir.
                             Lorsque ma muse refroidie
                             Vers le passé fera retour,
                             J'irai revoir ma Normandie,
                             C'est le pays qui m'a donné le jour.

For any American reading this, and wondering if there is a connection between Jersey and New Jersey, the answer is yes. New Jersey was granted as a colony jointly to John Berkeley, the 1st Baron Berkeley of Stratton, and to Sir George Carteret, the bailiff of Jersey who defended his birthplace against the Parliamentarians during the Civil War, and even proclaimed Charles II king of Jersey when Charles I was executed, until surrender became inevitable, he fled to France, was briefly imprisoned, fled to Venice, where he remained in exile until the English civil war finally ended, and was among those who led Charles II in triumph into London for his coronation. Carteret was rewarded with a place on the Privy Council, and a grant of land, the New Netherlands, which he renamed New Jersey; the town of Elizabeth, new Jersey, was named for his wife. He was also one of those who bought land further south, and named it Carolina for the king; he is remembered there through the eponymous Carteret County. That part of the university of California which is named Berkeley is not, however, connected; that was Bishop George Berkeley, and you can click the link on his name to read the completely absurd and arbitrary non-reason why the good bishop found his name, and his poem - though not its title, which would at least have had some merit - attached.

Marks For: 2

Marks Against: 2

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
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The Argaman Press

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