History of Sark
Few pre-historic remains have been found in Sark and one theory is that the 90 metre high cliffs inaccessible
cliffs made colonisation almost impossible.
It is thought that St Magloire went to Sark in 550AD and from there friars were despatched to the other islands.
In 933 AD, the island became part of the Duchy of Normandy and over the ensuing centuries the tiny island switched
many times between English and French Crown rule.
In 1549, French troops seized the uninhabited island and built several forts before seemingly losing interest
and eventually departing.
Last Feudal State in Europe
Sark until 2008 was the last truly feudal state in Europe as the laws, particularly relating to inheritance have
changed little since 1565. The first Seigneur colonised the island in
1565 with Queen Elizabeth's blessing and granted 40 islanders tenements. The Seigneur holds the island on lease
from the Crown in perpetuity. Even to this day, the island is split up into 40 leaseholds but the population stands
at around 550.
In the 17th century, Sark accumulated wealth through privateering (legalised piracy) and in 1834,
silver was discovered on the island. By 1841, the population had grown to 790. However the mine, turned into a
financial disaster after becoming flooded and the Seigneur was forced to sell his fief t0 Mrs T G Collings, a
direct ancestor of the present Seigneur.
Tourism became popular in the 19th century and is now the island's main industry.
The island's government the "Chief Pleas was until 2008 made up of the forty tenants and 12 elected politicians.
Following pressure from the EU, on 10th December 2008, the electorate voted in 28 Conseillers, thereby
bringing to an end the last feudal state in Europe.
Maseline harbour was opened in 1949. Prior to that the older Le Creux was used but it dries at low tide. Havre
Gosselin a small harbour on the west side was built in 1912. Prior to that, anyone disembarking had to scale the
cliffs on a ladder.