Greenwich Hospital, London
Greenwich Hospital was a permanent home for retired sailors of the Royal Navy, which operated from 1692 to 1869. Its buildings were used by the Royal Naval College and the University of Greenwich, are now known as the Old Royal Naval College; the word "hospital" was used in its original sense of a place providing hospitality for those in need of it, did not refer to medical care, although the buildings included an infirmary which, after Greenwich Hospital closed, operated as Dreadnought Seaman's Hospital until 1986. The foundation which operated the hospital still exists, for the benefit of former Royal Navy personnel and their dependants, it now provides sheltered housing on other sites. The hospital was created as the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich on the instructions of Queen Mary II, inspired by the sight of wounded sailors returning from the Battle of La Hogue in 1692, she ordered the King Charles wing of the palace—originally designed by architect John Webb for King Charles II in 1664—to be remodelled as a naval hospital to provide a counterpart for the Chelsea Hospital for soldiers.
Sir Christopher Wren and his assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor gave their services free of charge as architects of the new Royal Hospital. Sir John Vanbrugh succeeded Wren as architect. An early controversy arose when it emerged that the original plans for the hospital would have blocked the riverside view from the Queen's House. Queen Mary II therefore ordered that the buildings be split, providing an avenue leading from the river through the hospital grounds up to the Queen's House and Greenwich Hill beyond; this gave the hospital its distinctive look, with its buildings arranged in a number of quadrants. Its four main buildings are bisected north-south by a Grand Square and processional route, east-west by an internal road from the East Gate to the West Gate by Greenwich Market in Greenwich town centre; the Grand Square and processional route running north-south maintained access to, a river view from, the Queen's House and Greenwich Park beyond. Construction was financed through an endowment, financed through the transfer of ₤19,500 in fines paid by merchants convicted of smuggling in 1695, a public fundraising appeal which brought in ₤9,000, a ₤2,000 annual contribution from Treasury.
Parliament passed etc.. Act 1695, long titled An Act for the Increase and Encouragement of Seamen, which established the basic rules of use and benefits for seamen, amended it the following year by the Greenwich Hospital, etc. Act 1696. In 1705 an additional ₤6,472 was paid into the fund, comprising the liquidated value of estates belonging to the hanged pirate Captain William Kidd; the first of the principal buildings constructed was the King Charles Court, completed in 1705. The first governor, Sir William Gifford, took up office in 1708; the other principal buildings constructed included Queen Mary Court, completed in 1742, Queen Anne Court, King William Court. Queen Mary Court houses the hospital's chapel, its present appearance dates from 1779–89, when it was rebuilt to a design by James "Athenian" Stuart after a devastating fire. King William Court is famous for its baroque Painted Hall, painted by Sir James Thornhill in honour of King William III and Queen Mary II, of Queen Anne and her husband, Prince George of Denmark and George I.
The Painted Hall was deemed too magnificent for the pensioned seamen's refectory and was never used as such. It became a tourist destination, opened for viewing. On 5 January 1806, Lord Nelson's body lay in state in the Painted Hall of the Greenwich Hospital before being taken up the river Thames to St Paul's Cathedral for a state funeral. In 1824 a National Gallery of Naval Art was created in the Painted Hall, where it remained until 1936, when the collection was transferred to the National Maritime Museum, newly established in the Queen's House and adjacent buildings. On the riverside front of the north-east corner of King Charles Court is an obelisk, designed by Philip Hardwick and unveiled in 1855, erected in memory of the Arctic explorer Joseph René Bellot, who died in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue the members of John Franklin's ill-fated expedition to open a Northwest Passage in northern Canada. A Royal Hospital School opened on the site in 1712 to provide assistance and education to the orphans of seafarers in the Royal and Merchant Navies.
In 1933 it moved to Suffolk. The Greenwich Hospital buildings included an infirmary, constructed in the 1760s to a design by James Stuart, where pensioners were attended by trained medical staff. After some adaptation and rebuilding this became the Dreadnought Seamen's Hospital in 1870; the treatment for tropical diseases moved in 1919 to the Seamen's Hospital Society hospital near Euston Square, in central London, to form the Hospital for Tropical Diseases. The Dreadnought Seaman's Hospital closed in 1986, with special services for seamen and their families provided by the Dreadnought Unit at St Thomas's Hospital in Lambeth. Greenwich Hospital closed in 1869; the remains of tho
Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements; the knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order", he did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred. The Order consists of the Sovereign, the Great Master, three Classes of members: Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross Knight Commander or Dame Commander Companion Members belong to either the Civil or the Military Division. Prior to 1815, the order had Knight Companion, which no longer exists. Recipients of the Order are now senior military officers or senior civil servants. Commonwealth citizens who are not subjects of the Queen and foreign nationals may be made Honorary Members.
The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick. In the Middle Ages, knighthood was conferred with elaborate ceremonies; these involved the knight-to-be taking a bath during which he was instructed in the duties of knighthood by more senior knights. He was put to bed to dry. Clothed in a special robe, he was led with music to the chapel. At dawn he made confession and attended Mass retired to his bed to sleep until it was daylight, he was brought before the King, who after instructing two senior knights to buckle the spurs to the knight-elect's heels, fastened a belt around his waist struck him on the neck, thus making him a knight. It was this accolade, the essential act in creating a knight, a simpler ceremony developed, conferring knighthood by striking or touching the knight-to-be on the shoulder with a sword, or "dubbing" him, as is still done today.
In the early medieval period the difference seems to have been that the full ceremonies were used for men from more prominent families. From the coronation of Henry IV in 1399 the full ceremonies were restricted to major royal occasions such as coronations, investitures of the Prince of Wales or Royal dukes, royal weddings, the knights so created became known as Knights of the Bath. Knights Bachelor continued to be created with the simpler form of ceremony; the last occasion on which Knights of the Bath were created was the coronation of Charles II in 1661. From at least 1625, from the reign of James I, Knights of the Bath were using the motto Tria juncta in uno, wearing as a badge three crowns within a plain gold oval; these were both subsequently adopted by the Order of the Bath. Their symbolism however is not clear. The'three joined in one' may be a reference to the kingdoms of England and either France or Ireland, which were held by English and British monarchs; this would correspond to the three crowns in the badge.
Another explanation of the motto is. Nicolas quotes a source who claims that prior to James I the motto was Tria numina juncta in uno, but from the reign of James I the word numina was dropped and the motto understood to mean Tria juncta in uno; the prime mover in the establishment of the Order of the Bath was John Anstis, Garter King of Arms, England's highest heraldic officer. Sir Anthony Wagner, a recent holder of the office of Garter, wrote of Anstis's motivations: It was Martin Leake's opinion that the trouble and opposition Anstis met with in establishing himself as Garter so embittered him against the heralds that when at last in 1718 he succeeded, he made it his prime object to aggrandise himself and his office at their expense, it is clear at least that he set out to make himself indispensable to the Earl Marshal, not hard, their political principles being congruous and their friendship established, but to Sir Robert Walpole and the Whig ministry, which can by no means have been easy, considering his known attachment to the Pretender and the circumstances under which he came into office...
The main object of Anstis's next move, the revival or institution of the Order of the Bath was that which it in fact secured, of ingratiating him with the all-powerful Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole. The use of honours in the early eighteenth century differed from the modern honours system in which hundreds, if not thousands, of people each year receive honours on the basis of deserving accomplishments; the only honours available at that time were hereditary peerages and baronetcies and the Order of the Garter, none of which were awarded in large numbers The political environment was significantly different from today: The Sovereign still exercised a power to be reckoned with in the eighteenth century. The Court remained the centre of the political w
The London Gazette
The London Gazette is one of the official journals of record of the British government, the most important among such official journals in the United Kingdom, in which certain statutory notices are required to be published. The London Gazette claims to be the oldest surviving English newspaper and the oldest continuously published newspaper in the UK, having been first published on 7 November 1665 as The Oxford Gazette; this claim is made by the Stamford Mercury and Berrow's Worcester Journal, because The Gazette is not a conventional newspaper offering general news coverage. It does not have a large circulation. Other official newspapers of the UK government are The Edinburgh Gazette and The Belfast Gazette, apart from reproducing certain materials of nationwide interest published in The London Gazette contain publications specific to Scotland and Northern Ireland, respectively. In turn, The London Gazette carries not only notices of UK-wide interest, but those relating to entities or people in England and Wales.
However, certain notices that are only of specific interest to Scotland or Northern Ireland are required to be published in The London Gazette. The London and Belfast Gazettes are published by TSO on behalf of Her Majesty's Stationery Office, they are subject to Crown copyright. The London Gazette is published each weekday, except for bank holidays. Notices for the following, among others, are published: Granting of royal assent to bills of the Parliament of the United Kingdom or of the Scottish Parliament The issuance of writs of election when a vacancy occurs in the House of Commons Appointments to certain public offices Commissions in the Armed Forces and subsequent promotion of officers Corporate and personal insolvency Granting of awards of honours and military medals Changes of names or of coats of arms Royal Proclamations and other DeclarationsHer Majesty's Stationery Office has digitised all issues of the Gazette, these are available online; the official Gazettes are published by The Stationery Office.
The content, apart from insolvency notices, is available in a number of machine-readable formats, including XML and XML/RDFa via Atom feed. The London Gazette was first published as The Oxford Gazette on 7 November 1665. Charles II and the Royal Court had moved to Oxford to escape the Great Plague of London, courtiers were unwilling to touch London newspapers for fear of contagion; the Gazette was "Published by Authority" by Henry Muddiman, its first publication is noted by Samuel Pepys in his diary. The King returned to London as the plague dissipated, the Gazette moved too, with the first issue of The London Gazette being published on 5 February 1666; the Gazette was not a newspaper in the modern sense: it was sent by post to subscribers, not printed for sale to the general public. Her Majesty's Stationery Office took over the publication of the Gazette in 1889. Publication of the Gazette was transferred to the private sector, under government supervision, in the 1990s, when HMSO was sold and renamed The Stationery Office.
In time of war, despatches from the various conflicts are published in The London Gazette. People referred to are said to have been mentioned in despatches; when members of the armed forces are promoted, these promotions are published here, the person is said to have been "gazetted". Being "gazetted" sometimes meant having official notice of one's bankruptcy published, as in the classic ten-line poem comparing the stolid tenant farmer of 1722 to the lavishly spending faux-genteel farmers of 1822: Notices of engagement and marriage were formerly published in the Gazette. Gazettes, modelled on The London Gazette, were issued for most British colonial possessions. History of British newspapers Iris Oifigiúil The Dublin Gazette – in Ireland London Gazette index Official Journal of the European Union List of government gazettes London and Belfast Gazettes official site Great Fire of London 1666 – Facsimile and transcript of London Gazette report
Ocean (1794 ship)
Ocean was an English merchant ship and whaler built in 1794 at South Shields, England. She performed two voyages as an "extra" ship for the British East India Company and in 1803, she accompanied HMS Calcutta to Port Phillip; the vessels supported the establishment of a settlement under the leadership of Lt Col David Collins. Calcutta transported convicts, with Ocean serving to transport supplies; when the settlers abandoned Port Phillip, Ocean, in two journeys, relocated the settlers and marines to the River Derwent in 1804. Ocean continued to sail as a London-based transport until 1823. Ocean was a three-masted, copper-sheathed brig, she was built in 1794 at South Shields. Ocean was to be a whaler owned by the newly-operating South Sea fishers and Edward Hurrys, who were bankrupt by 1806; however Ocean spent 1794-95 in the Baltic timber trade. Ocean made two trips to Bengal as an "extra" ship for the EIC; that is, the EIC chartered her on a per-voyage basis, rather than having her on long-term contract.
The French Revolutionary Wars having started, she sailed under letters of marque for both voyages. The first letter gave her captain's name as John Bowen. Under Bowen, she was at Portsmouth on 12 March, she was at Cowes on 30 March. She joined a convoy for the Cape of Good Hope on 11 April; the convoy included another Ocean, this one an East Indiaman, much larger. On 10 September the brig Ocean was at Simon's Bay. On 28 November she was at Diamond Harbour and by 30 December she was at Calcutta, she left Diamond Harbour on 10 January 1797. Ocean was at Kedgeree on 19 March, she left Bengal on 27 March 1797 with a cargo of sugar and in a convoy escorted by the frigate HMS Fox. She reached Trincomalee on 24 April, Simon's Bay on 7 July, the Cape on 11 July, a storm having dispersed the convoy and despite having sprung leaks that had kept the crew at the pumps from 26 May on, she sailed from the Cape on 26 August as part of a convoy of 16 East Indiamen and six British warships, reaching Saint Helena on 11 September.
Ocean reached the Downs on 14 December, Kent on 18 December, finished unloading at Deptford on 19 January 1798. In 1798 she was repaired by Fletcher, she received her second letter of marque on 30 July 1798. That letter gave her captain's name as Robert Abbon Mash. On 4 October 1798 she sailed for Bengal, she reached the Cape of Good Hope on 14 January 1799, Madras on 9 May, Coringa on 16 June and Calcutta on 17 July. On the return leg she was at Diamond Harbour on 25 September, Kedgeree by 23 October. By 26 January 1800 Ocean was at Saint Helena, reached the Downs on 30 May, she returned to her moorings in Britain on 1 June. The British Government chartered Ocean from Messrs Hurry & Co as a supply ship for the journey from Portsmouth to Port Phillip. On the voyage to Port Phillip, she carried 100 people along with supplies needed for the settlement at Port Phillip; the people on Ocean included Captain John Mertho, nine officers, 26 seamen, eight civil officers including George Harris, Adolarius Humphrey, a mineralogist, a group of free settlers.
Many of the free settlers had skills that would be of value to the new settlement - five were carpenters, two seamen, two millers, a whitesmith, a stonemason, painter, pocketbook maker and two servants. Ocean and Calcutta left Portsmouth on 27 April 1803 and reached Santa Cruz on the Island of Tenerife, part of the Canary Islands on 17 May 1803. Both ships arrived at Rio de Janeiro in Brazil on 29 June. While in Rio, Captain Woodriff of Calcutta sent five marines under Lieutenant Sladden to help maintain order on Ocean for the rest of the voyage. According to Reverend Robert Knopwood's journals, ‘Mr. Hartley, a settler had behaved badly’ – and it seemed there was little love lost between some of the free settlers and Captain Mertho, they regarded him as a tyrant, while he thought they were intractable. At Rio de Janeiro, seven sailors deserted Calcutta. Portuguese soldiers captured three of them and returned them to her, receiving a reward of £6 per sailor. While the ships were at berth, maintenance work was carried out on both ships and fresh provisions were taken on board for the next leg of the journey.
Cloths were washed. The fresh provisions included 36 turkeys, 13 dozen capons and fowls, 68 large ducks 4 geese, 13 pigs, a large quantity of fruit and vegetables. Both Ocean and Calcutta left Rio on 19 July 1803. Ocean, the slower of the two ships, was directed to sail direct to Port Phillip if she lost contact with Calcutta; the ships did lose contact so Ocean did not put in at Cape Town, arriving at Port Phillip on 7 October. At Cape Town two more sailors deserted Calcutta. One was returned. After leaving Rio, Ocean sailed into the Indian Ocean, she experienced frightening weather conditions for 77 days. Twenty days out of Rio, George Harris recorded that ‘for many days we could not sit at table but were obliges to hold fast by boxes and on the floor and all our crockery were broken to pieces, besides many seas into the cabin and living in the state of darkness from the cabin windows being stopped up by the deadlights … I was never so melancholy in my life before’. In such conditions work on deck was dangerous.
On 9 August John Bowers fell ove
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions and led by the United Kingdom. The wars stemmed from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and its resultant conflict; the wars are categorised into five conflicts, each termed after the coalition that fought Napoleon: the Third Coalition, the Fourth, the Fifth, the Sixth, the Seventh. Napoleon, upon ascending to First Consul of France in 1799, had inherited a chaotic republic. In 1805, Austria and Russia waged war against France. In response, Napoleon defeated the allied Russo-Austrian army at Austerlitz in December 1805, considered his greatest victory. At sea, the British defeated the joint Franco-Spanish navy in the Battle of Trafalgar on October 1805; this victory prevented the invasion of Britain itself. Concerned about the increasing French power, Prussia led the creation of the Fourth Coalition with Russia and Sweden, the resumption of war in October 1806.
Napoleon defeated the Prussians in Jena and the Russians in Friedland, bringing an uneasy peace to the continent. The peace failed, though, as war broke out in 1809, when the badly prepared Fifth Coalition, led by Austria, was defeated in Wagram. Hoping to isolate Britain economically, Napoleon launched an invasion of Portugal, the only remaining British ally in continental Europe. After occupying Lisbon in November 1807, with the bulk of French troops present in Spain, Napoleon seized the opportunity to turn against his former ally, depose the reigning Spanish Bourbon family and declare his brother King of Spain in 1808 as Joseph I; the Spanish and Portuguese revolted with British support, after six years of fighting, expelled the French from Iberia in 1814. Concurrently, unwilling to bear economic consequences of reduced trade violated the Continental System, enticing Napoleon to launch a massive invasion of Russia in 1812; the resulting campaign ended with the dissolution and disastrous withdrawal of the French Grande Armée.
Encouraged by the defeat, Prussia and Russia formed the Sixth Coalition and began a new campaign against France, decisively defeating Napoleon at Leipzig in October 1813 after several inconclusive engagements. The Allies invaded France from the East, while the Peninsular War spilled over southwestern French territory. Coalition troops captured Paris at the end of March 1814 and forced Napoleon to abdicate in early April, he was exiled to the island of Elba, the Bourbons were restored to power. However, Napoleon escaped in February 1815, reassumed control of France; the Allies responded with the Seventh Coalition, defeating Napoleon permanently at Waterloo in June 1815 and exiling him to St Helena where he died six years later. The Congress of Vienna redrew the borders of Europe, brought a lasting peace to the continent; the wars had profound consequences on global history, including the spread of nationalism and liberalism, the rise of the British Empire as the world's foremost power, the appearance of independence movements in Latin America and subsequent collapse of the Spanish Empire, the fundamental reorganisation of German and Italian territories into larger states, the establishment of radically new methods of conducting warfare.
Napoleon seized power in 1799. There are a number of opinions on the date to use as the formal beginning of the Napoleonic Wars; the Napoleonic Wars began with the War of the Third Coalition, the first of the Coalition Wars against the First French Republic after Napoleon's accession as leader of France. Britain ended the Treaty of Amiens and declared war on France in May 1803. Among the reasons were Napoleon's changes to the international system in Western Europe in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. Kagan argues that Britain was irritated in particular by Napoleon's assertion of control over Switzerland. Furthermore, Britons felt insulted when Napoleon stated that their country deserved no voice in European affairs though King George III was an elector of the Holy Roman Empire. For its part, Russia decided that the intervention in Switzerland indicated that Napoleon was not looking toward a peaceful resolution of his differences with the other European powers; the British enforced a naval blockade of France to starve it of resources.
Napoleon responded with economic embargoes against Britain, sought to eliminate Britain's Continental allies to break the coalitions arrayed against him. The so-called Continental System formed a league of armed neutrality to disrupt the blockade and enforce free trade with France; the British responded by capturing the Danish fleet, breaking up the league, secured dominance over the seas, allowing it to continue its strategy. Napoleon won the War of the Third Coalition at Austerlitz, forcing the Austrian Empire out of the war and formally dissolving the Holy Roman Empire. Within months, Prussia declared war; this war ended disastrously for Prussia and occupied within 19 days of the beginning of the campaign. Napoleon subsequently defeated the Russian Empire at Friedland, creating powerful client states in Eastern Europe and ending the fourth coalition. Concurrently, the refusal of Portugal to commit to the Con
Australia the Commonwealth of Australia, is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area; the neighbouring countries are Papua New Guinea and East Timor to the north. The population of 25 million is urbanised and concentrated on the eastern seaboard. Australia's capital is Canberra, its largest city is Sydney; the country's other major metropolitan areas are Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians for about 60,000 years before the first British settlement in the late 18th century, it is documented. After the European exploration of the continent by Dutch explorers in 1606, who named it New Holland, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Great Britain in 1770 and settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales from 26 January 1788, a date which became Australia's national day; the population grew in subsequent decades, by the 1850s most of the continent had been explored and an additional five self-governing crown colonies established.
On 1 January 1901, the six colonies federated. Australia has since maintained a stable liberal democratic political system that functions as a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, comprising six states and ten territories. Being the oldest and driest inhabited continent, with the least fertile soils, Australia has a landmass of 7,617,930 square kilometres. A megadiverse country, its size gives it a wide variety of landscapes, with deserts in the centre, tropical rainforests in the north-east and mountain ranges in the south-east. A gold rush began in Australia in the early 1850s, its population density, 2.8 inhabitants per square kilometre, remains among the lowest in the world. Australia generates its income from various sources including mining-related exports, telecommunications and manufacturing. Indigenous Australian rock art is the oldest and richest in the world, dating as far back as 60,000 years and spread across hundreds of thousands of sites. Australia is a developed country, with the world's 14th-largest economy.
It has a high-income economy, with the world's tenth-highest per capita income. It is a regional power, has the world's 13th-highest military expenditure. Australia has the world's ninth-largest immigrant population, with immigrants accounting for 26% of the population. Having the third-highest human development index and the eighth-highest ranked democracy globally, the country ranks in quality of life, education, economic freedom, civil liberties and political rights, with all its major cities faring well in global comparative livability surveys. Australia is a member of the United Nations, G20, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Trade Organization, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Pacific Islands Forum and the ASEAN Plus Six mechanism; the name Australia is derived from the Latin Terra Australis, a name used for a hypothetical continent in the Southern Hemisphere since ancient times. When Europeans first began visiting and mapping Australia in the 17th century, the name Terra Australis was applied to the new territories.
Until the early 19th century, Australia was best known as "New Holland", a name first applied by the Dutch explorer Abel Tasman in 1644 and subsequently anglicised. Terra Australis still saw occasional usage, such as in scientific texts; the name Australia was popularised by the explorer Matthew Flinders, who said it was "more agreeable to the ear, an assimilation to the names of the other great portions of the earth". The first time that Australia appears to have been used was in April 1817, when Governor Lachlan Macquarie acknowledged the receipt of Flinders' charts of Australia from Lord Bathurst. In December 1817, Macquarie recommended to the Colonial Office. In 1824, the Admiralty agreed that the continent should be known by that name; the first official published use of the new name came with the publication in 1830 of The Australia Directory by the Hydrographic Office. Colloquial names for Australia include "Oz" and "the Land Down Under". Other epithets include "the Great Southern Land", "the Lucky Country", "the Sunburnt Country", "the Wide Brown Land".
The latter two both derive from Dorothea Mackellar's 1908 poem "My Country". Human habitation of the Australian continent is estimated to have begun around 65,000 to 70,000 years ago, with the migration of people by land bridges and short sea-crossings from what is now Southeast Asia; these first inhabitants were the ancestors of modern Indigenous Australians. Aboriginal Australian culture is one of the oldest continual civilisations on earth. At the time of first European contact, most Indigenous Australians were hunter-gatherers with complex economies and societies. Recent archaeological finds suggest. Indigenous Australians have an oral culture with spiritual values based on reverence for the land and a belief in the Dreamtime; the Torres Strait Islanders, ethnically Melanesian, obtained their livelihood from seasonal horticulture and the resources of their reefs and seas. The northern coasts and waters of Australia were visited s
The English Channel called the Channel, is the body of water that separates Southern England from northern France and links the southern part of the North Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. It is the busiest shipping area in the world, it is about 560 km long and varies in width from 240 km at its widest to 33.3 km in the Strait of Dover. It is the smallest of the shallow seas around the continental shelf of Europe, covering an area of some 75,000 km2; until the 18th century, the English Channel had no fixed name either in French. It was never defined as a political border, the names were more or less descriptive, it was not considered as the property of a nation. Before the development of the modern nations, British scholars often referred to it as "Gaulish" and French scholars as "British" or "English"; the name "English Channel" has been used since the early 18th century originating from the designation Engelse Kanaal in Dutch sea maps from the 16th century onwards. In modern Dutch, however, it is known as Het Kanaal.
It has been known as the "British Channel" or the "British Sea". It was called Oceanus Britannicus by the 2nd-century geographer Ptolemy; the same name is used on an Italian map of about 1450, which gives the alternative name of canalites Anglie—possibly the first recorded use of the "Channel" designation. The Anglo-Saxon texts call it Sūð-sǣ as opposed to Norð-sǣ; the common word channel was first recorded in Middle English in the 13th century and was borrowed from Old French chanel, variant form of chenel "canal". The French name la Manche has been in use since at least the 17th century; the name is said to refer to the Channel's sleeve shape. Folk etymology has derived it from a Celtic word meaning channel, the source of the name for the Minch in Scotland, but this name was never mentioned before the 17th century, French and British sources of that time are clear about its etymology; the name in Breton means "Breton Sea", its Cornish name means "British Sea". The International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the English Channel as follows: The IHO defines the southwestern limit of the North Sea as "a line joining the Walde Lighthouse and Leathercoat Point".
The Walde Lighthouse is 6 km east of Calais, Leathercoat Point is at the north end of St Margaret's Bay, Kent. The Strait of Dover, at the Channel's eastern end, is its narrowest point, while its widest point lies between Lyme Bay and the Gulf of Saint Malo, near its midpoint, it is shallow, with an average depth of about 120 m at its widest part, reducing to a depth of about 45 m between Dover and Calais. Eastwards from there the adjoining North Sea reduces to about 26 m in the Broad Fourteens where it lies over the watershed of the former land bridge between East Anglia and the Low Countries, it reaches a maximum depth of 180 m in the submerged valley of Hurd's Deep, 48 km west-northwest of Guernsey. The eastern region along the French coast between Cherbourg and the mouth of the Seine river at Le Havre is referred to as the Bay of the Seine. There are several major islands in the Channel, the most notable being the Isle of Wight off the English coast, the Channel Islands, British Crown dependencies off the coast of France.
The coastline on the French shore, is indented. The Cotentin Peninsula in France juts out into the Channel, whilst on the English side there is a small parallel strait known as the Solent between the Isle of Wight and the mainland; the Celtic Sea is to the west of the Channel. The Channel acts as a funnel that amplifies the tidal range from less than a metre as observed at sea to more than 6 metres as observed in the Channel Islands, the west coast of the Cotentin Peninsula and the north coast of Brittany; the time difference of about six hours between high water at the eastern and western limits of the Channel is indicative of the tidal range being amplified further by resonance. In the UK Shipping Forecast the Channel is divided into the following areas, from the east: Dover Wight Portland Plymouth The Channel is of geologically recent origin, having been dry land for most of the Pleistocene period. Before the Devensian glaciation and Ireland were part of continental Europe, linked by an unbroken Weald-Artois Anticline, a ridge that acted as a natural dam holding back a large freshwater pro-glacial lake in the Doggerland region, now submerged under the North Sea.
During this period the North Sea and all of the British Isles were covered by ice. The lake was fed by meltwater from the Baltic and from the Caledonian and Scandinavian ice sheets that joined to the north, blocking its exit; the sea level was about 120 m lower. Between 450,000 and 180,000 years ago, at least two catastrophic glacial lake outburst floods breached the Weald–Artois anticline; the first flood would have lasted for several months, releasing as much as one million cubic metres of water per second. The flood started with large but localized waterfalls over the ridge, which excav