End of Europe's last fiefdom as Sark votes for democracy

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Some 450 years after it was given to an Elizabethan nobleman on the condition he keep it free of pirates, the Channel island of Sark has ceased to be the last feudal fiefdom in Europe.

The population of the tiny Crown dependency, 20 miles off the French coast, voted yesterday for a new system of government which will mean it is ruled entirely by elected representatives for the first time in its history.

The referendum ends the rule of the Seigneur of Sark - an inherited office which can be traced back to Hellier de Carteret, an aristocrat from Jersey who was granted the island by Elizabeth I in 1565 to keep it free of marauding privateers.

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