Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands and is located just off the coast of Normandy, France. While it is part of the British Crown Dependency, it has remained largely independent and self-governing. This sparkling gem of an island has an interesting history thanks to its strategic location in the Channel. During World War II the island was occupied by Germany for 5 years. The island is split into 12 different parishes all with a seacoast. The island now relies heavily on a year-round tourism industry, financial and banking services, and also its fertile soils and temperate climate for growing crops and other agricultural businesses. The terrain of the island is one of high plateaus sloping away to long, sandy beaches in the south and more raw and rugged coastlines in the north, and its relatively compact size means you are never far from a beach of water. The largest town on the island is St Hellier.