English Channel

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English Channel,

Fr. La Manche [the sleeve], arm of the Atlantic Ocean, c.350 (560 km) long, between France and Great Britain. It is 112 mi (180 km) wide at its west entrance, between Land's End, England, and Ushant, France. Its greatest width, c.150 mi (240 km) is between Lyme Bay and the Gulf of St.-Malo; at the east, between Dover and Cape Gris-Nez, it is 21 mi (34 km) wide. The Strait of Dover connects the Channel with the North Sea. Principal islands are the Isle of WightWight, Isle of
, island and county (1991 pop. 126,600), 147 sq mi (381 sq km), S England, across the Solent and Spithead channels from Hampshire. The administrative center is Newport.
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 and the Channel IslandsChannel Islands,
archipelago (2005 est. pop. 156,000), 75 sq mi (194 sq km), 10 mi (16 km) off the coast of Normandy, France, in the English Channel. The main islands are Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, and Sark, and there are several smaller islands, including Herm, Jethou, and
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. The principal Channel ports are Plymouth, Southampton, Portsmouth, and Dover (in England) and Cherbourg, Le Havre, Dieppe, and Calais (in France). Noted resorts include Deauville, France, and Brighton, England. A train-ferry service to carry passengers and freight between Paris and London was opened between Dover and Dunkirk in 1936. There are other ferry and hovercraft links, as well as the link under the Channel via the Channel TunnelChannel Tunnel,
popularly called the "Chunnel," a three-tunnel railroad connection running under the English Channel, connecting Folkestone, England, and Calais, France. The tunnels are 31 mi (50 km) long. There are two rail tunnels, each 25 ft (7.
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, opened in 1994. In 1785, J. P. Blanchard and Dr. John Jeffries crossed the Channel by balloon; the first person to swim across was Matthew Webb (1875); and the first airplane crossing was made by BlériotBlériot, Louis
, 1872–1936, French aviator and inventor. He devoted the fortune acquired by his invention of an automobile searchlight to the invention and construction of monoplanes.
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 in 1909.

English Channel


a strait between the northern coast of Western Europe and Britain. Together with Pas de Calais (Strait of Dover), it links the North Sea with the Atlantic Ocean. It is about 520 km long, and its width gradually narrows from about 180 km in the west to 32 km in the east. Its depth in the fairway is 35 m, and its maximum depth is 172 m. There are many shoals, especially in the eastern part. Western winds result in a steady eastward current with a velocity of up to 3 km per hour (in narrow sections). Tides are semidiurnal, reaching 12.2 m in some places (Golfe de Saint-Malo). Fogs are frequent.

The channel is important for transportation. One of the major routes (in cargo turnover) from the countries of the North and Baltic seas to North and South America, Africa, Asia, and Australia passes through the channel. The main British ports are Portsmouth, Southampton, and Plymouth, and the chief French ports are Le Havre and Cherbourg. Fishing is well developed (plaice, mackerel, cod, halibut). Plans are under consideration for building a tunnel under the Pas de Calais.

English Channel

an arm of the Atlantic Ocean between S England and N France, linked with the North Sea by the Strait of Dover. Length: about 560 km (350 miles). Width: between 32 km (20 miles) and 161 km (100 miles)
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