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Known locally as the Minkies, Les Minquiers are a group of islands, reefs, sandbanks, and rocks located about nine miles south of the island of Jersey, forming part of the the Bailiwick of Jersey. Administratively a part of the parish of Grouville, the islands have no permanent residents, although there are buildings there. The five islands in the Les Minquiers group are Maîtresse Île, Les Maisons, Le Niêsant, Les Faucheurs and La Haute Grune.

During the last Ice Age, the islands were high ground. There was a plain which connected the European continent and the south of England.

When the tide is low, the Minquiers has a surface which is larger than Jersey, but during high tide, only a few of the main heads are above water. Before the 19th century, fishermen visited often. In the middle of the 19th century, quarrymen arrived and built 18 stone buildings which were inhabited during the spring and summer. It is believed that the fishermen who lived there managed the vegetation and created habitat for various plants and grasses. Today, there are no permanent residents in the Minkies, although fishermen, yachtmen, seaweed collectors and a canoeist or two come and go during the summer.

During World War II, a small company of Wehrmacht soldiers who occupied the Miniquiers. On May 23, 1945, a full three weeks after the war was over, a French fishing boat anchored near the island of Minquiers. The skipper, Lucian Marie, was approached by a uniformed and armed German soldier and asked for help. He said, "We've been forgotten by the British. Perhaps o one on Jersey told them we were here. I want you to take us over to England. We want to surrender."

After World War II, in the absence of residents, the plants and birds took over the island. The renovation of the buildings began in the 1970s In the 1980s, Jersey families were able to move into some of the buildings. In 2016, only two homes were left to renovate.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, an international treaty for sustainable use of wetlands, protects the Minkies.

 

 

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