The English Channel, also called simply the Channel (French: la Manche), is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates Southern England from northern France and links to the southern part of the North Sea by the Strait of Dover at its northeastern end. It is the busiest shipping area in the world.
|Location||Western Europe; between the Celtic and North Seas|
|Part of||Atlantic Ocean|
|Max. length||560 km (350 mi)|
|Max. width||240 km (150 mi)|
|Surface area||75,000 km2 (29,000 sq mi)|
|Average depth||63 m (207 ft)|
|Max. depth||174 m (571 ft) |
at Hurd's Deep
|Max. temperature||20 °C (68 °F)|
|Min. temperature||5 °C (41 °F)|
|Islands||Île de Bréhat, Île de Batz, Chausey, Tatihou, Îles Saint-Marcouf, Isle of Wight, Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm|
|Settlements||Bournemouth, Brighton, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Calais, Le Havre|
It is about 350 miles (560 kilometres) long and varies in width from 150 miles (240 kilometres) at its widest to 21 miles (34 kilometres) in the Strait of Dover. It is the smallest of the shallow seas around the continental shelf of Europe, covering an area of some 29,000 square miles (75,000 square kilometres).
The Channel was a key factor in Britain becoming a naval superpower and has been utilised by Britain as a natural defence mechanism through which they halted many would-be invasions, such as the Napoleonic Wars and those of Adolf Hitler in World War II.