Group of about 50 small islands and many more islets, southwestern England. Located off Land's End, with an area of about 6 sq mi (16 sq km), the islands are a continuation of the granite masses of the Cornish mainland. During the English Civil Wars, Prince Charles sheltered there until his escape to Jersey in 1646. The islands were a haunt of pirates and notorious for smuggling activities. Administratively, they are a distinct unit within England, though they form part of the county of Cornwall.