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Thousands of years ago, around the time of the Ice Age, the Channel Islands were high ground forming part of a plain connecting the European Continent, and southern England, due to lower sea levels.

The islets, along with the other Channel Islands and the Cotentin Peninsula, were annexed to the Duchy of Normandy in 933. After William, Duke of Normandy conquered England in 1066 the islands remained united to the Duchy until the conquest of mainland Normandy in 1204 by Philip Augustus. In 1259 Henry III did homage to the French king for the Channel Islands. While Edward III in the 1360 Treaty of Brétigny waived his claims to the crown of France and to Normandy, he reserved various territories to England.

The 1911 Britannica says that Maîtresse Île "affords a landing and shelter for fishermen."


In 1950 Britain and France went to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for friendly discussions to decide to which country the Minquiers and Écréhous belonged. The French fished in the waters, but Jersey exercised various administrative rights. The ICJ considered the historical evidence, and in its Judgment of 17 November 1953 awarded the islands to Jersey (as represented by the United Kingdom) [1].

In 1998 there was an 'invasion' of the Minquiers by some French on behalf of the 'King of Patagonia' in 'retaliation' for the British occupation of the Falkland Islands. The Union Jack was restored the next day, despite Jersey not being a jurisdictional part of the UK. (source Wikipedia)