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The Balliwick of Jersey is a semi-independent country European country. Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm are former feudal fiefdoms in the English Channel. They were ruled by William the Conqueror, the Norman Duke of Normandy, prior to his conquest of England in 1066. As such William, and subsequent monarchs, remained sovereign over these fiefdoms in his or her capacity as Duke or Duchess of Normandy -- not as sovereign of England, or later Great Britain or the United Kingdom.

The suffix "sey" shows the Norman roots of these fiefdoms. In the Norse languages the suffix "sey" is only applied to Island -- see Surtsey and Anglesey.

During wars in France, in the centuries following William's conquest of England, English sovereigns lost all of continental Normandy, retaining only Jersey and the other Channel Islands.

Jersey had different laws than the United Kingdom, particularly different tax laws, making it a popular place for wealthy UK citizens to retire.

Jersey and the other Channel Islands were the only part of the British empire to be occupied by Nazi Germany, during World War 2.