The name English Channel has been widely used since the
early 18th century, possibly originating from the
designation Engelse Kanaal in Dutch sea maps from the 16th
In modern Dutch however, it is known as Het Kanaal .
Historically, it has also been known as the British Channel.
The French name la Manche has been in use since at least the
The name is usually said to refer to the Channel's sleeve shape.
Channel (French: la
Breton: Mor Breizh, Cornish: Mor Bretannek),
often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm
of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern
England from northern France, and joins the
North Sea to the Atlantic.
It is about 560 km (350 mi) long and varies in
width from 240 km (150 mi) at its widest to
33.1 km (20.6 mi) in the Strait of Dover.
Its width gradually narrows from 112 miles (180
kilometres) to a minimum of 21 miles.
Its average depth decreases from 400 to 150 feet
(120 to 45 metres) .
Between the English and French coasts lies an area of submerged lands, now
covered by the English Channel .
This area had a significant role to play during the prehistory of north-west
Before the end of Ice age North Sea and British Isles were covered with Ice.
The Channel has been both an easy for seafaring people and key natural
defence halting invading armies. Many failed in attempting to invade the
British Isles but the Romans were successful.
Channel also served as a link joining shared cultures and political structures.
The Channel is far more densely populated on the English shore
The Channel has traffic on both the UK-Europe and North Sea-Atlantic routes, and
is the world's busiest seaway, with over 500 ships per day.
Following an accident in January 1971 and a series of disastrous collisions with
wreckage in February, the Dover Traffic Separation System (TSS) the world's first
radar controlled TSS was set up by the International Maritime Organization .
The scheme mandates that vessels traveling north must use the French side,
traveling south the English side.
There is a separation zone between the two lanes .
There are 13 Ferry routes between the Channel.
Many travelers cross beneath the Channel using the Channel Tunnel .
The Channel Tunnel is a 50.5 km undersea rail tunnel linking Kent in U.K to
Coquelles in France.
The tunnel carries high-speed Eurostar passenger trains, Eurotunnel Shuttle rollon/roll-off vehicle transport—the largest in the world—and international rail freight
As one of the narrowest but most famous
international waterways lacking dangerous
currents, the Channel has been the first
objective of numerous innovative sea, air,
and human powered crossing technologies.
First Person known to cross English
Channel was Matthew Webb on 25 August
1875 in 21 hrs, 45 min.
By the end of 2005, 811 people had
completed 1,185 verified crossings.