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Sark, United Kingdom

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Sark, United Kingdom

Coordinates: 49 25 N 2 22 W

Approximate area: 2 square miles (5 sq km)

Times change, and with them, people and places are carried along on the tide of modernization. But not always. On the tiny island of Sark in the English Channel, feudalism has clung, virtually unnoticed, to its rocky shores since the Middle Ages. In fact, this hereditary form of rule hung on long enough to make it the only feudal territory left on Europe, a continent known (among political geographers at least) for its microstates and puny principalities. Were you now to journey to Sark, the smallest of the main landmasses in the Channel Islands group, you would find plenty of examples of progress of course, but not cars. Residents and visitors alike must rely on bicycles, horse-drawn carts, or their own locomotion to get around.

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Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.

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Recent Comments

  1. MM

    Is it really in the United Kingdom?

  2. Ben

    Margaret: I’m continually impressed by just how sharp the OUP blog readers are and technically you’re right, I was being a bit loose with my political interpretations. Sark is a British crown dependency, but not part of the UK. However, the UK is constitutionally responsible for its defense and international representation. Although Sark has a parliament (called the Chief Pleas), it and the other Channel Islands abide by the laws of the UK.

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