of the Atlantic Ocean
that separates southern England
from northern France
, and joins the North Sea
to the Atlantic. It is about 560 km (348 mi) long and varies in width from 240 km (149.1 mi) at its widest to 34 km (21.1 mi) in the Strait of Dover
. It is the smallest of the shallow seas around the continental shelf of Europe
, covering an area of some 75000 km² (28,957.7 sq mi).
The International Hydrographic Organization
defines the limits of the English Channel as follows:
On the West. A line joining Isle Vierge (48°38′23"N 4°34′13"W) to Lands EndLand's EndLand's End is a headland and small settlement in west Cornwall, England, within the United Kingdom. It is located on the Penwith peninsula approximately eight miles west-southwest of Penzance....
On the East. The Southwestern limit of the North SeaNorth SeaIn the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...
The IHO defines the southwestern limit of the North Sea as "a line joining the Walde Lighthouse (France, 1°55'E) and Leathercoat Point (England, 51°10'N)".
1120 The ''White Ship'' sinks in the English Channel, drowning William Adelin, son of Henry I of England.
1588 The Spanish Armada, with 130 ships and 30,000 men, sets sail from Lisbon heading for the English Channel. (It will take until May 30 for all ships to leave port).
1588 The last ship of the Spanish Armada sets sail from Lisbon heading for the English Channel.
1785 Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, co-pilot of the first-ever manned flight (1783), and his companion, Pierre Romain, become the first-ever casualties of an air crash when their hot air balloon explodes during their attempt to cross the English Channel.
1875 Captain Matthew Webb became first person to swim the English Channel
1909 Louis Blériot makes the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine from (Calais to Dover) in 37 minutes.
1912 Harriet Quimby becomes the first woman to fly an airplane across the English Channel.
1926 Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel.
1928 Juan de la Cierva makes the first autogyro crossing of the English Channel.
1959 SR-N1 hovercraft crosses the English Channel from Calais to Dover in just over 2 hours.