Isle of Man

From Academic Kids

For the native Isle of Man Cat, see Manx Cat.

The Isle of Man or Mann (Ellan Vannin or Mannin in Manx), is a self-governing democracy located in the Irish Sea at the centre of the British Isles. It is not part of the United Kingdom but is a crown dependency and a member of the British Commonwealth.

Ellan Vannin (Manx)
Isle of Man (English)
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Image:Isle of Man_Arms_ Small.png
(In detail) (Full size)
National motto: Quocunque Jeceris Stabit
(Latin: Whithersoever you throw it, it will
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Official languages None though English is the working language of the Government. Manx enjoys some recognition in law.
Capital Douglas
Lord of Mann Elizabeth II
Lieutenant Governor Air Marshal Ian Macfadyen is being replaced.
Chief Minister Donald Gelling (formerly Richard Corkill)
Currency Pound Sterling - The IoM Treasury issues its own notes and coins
Time zone UTC (DST +1)
National anthem Isle of Man National Anthem
Internet TLD .im
Calling Code 44 (UK area code 1624)



Main article: Geography of the Isle of Man

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Map of the Isle of Man; click to enlarge.

The Isle of Man forms part of the British Isles, an archipelago off the north-western coast of mainland Europe. The Island lies in the Irish Sea, approximately equidistant between England, Scotland and Ireland.

Approximately 30 miles (48 km) long and between 8 and 15 miles (13 and 24 km) in breadth, the Island has an area of around 572 km² (221 square miles).

Hills in the north and south of the Island are bisected by a central valley. The extreme north of the Island is exceptionally flat, consisting mainly of deposits built up by gradual deposition of material by the sea. The Island has one mountain, Snaefell, with a height of 621 metres (2,036 feet). According to an old saying, from the summit, one can see seven kingdoms: those of Mann, Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, Heaven and the Sea.


Main article: Demographics of the Isle of Man

According to the 2001 census, the Isle of Man is home to around 76,315 people, of which around 25,347 reside in the Island's capital, Douglas.


The Isle of Man has a rich cultural heritage with strong influences from its Celtic and Norse origins. It is currently enjoying a revival of the Gaelic Manx language, the last native speaker of which died in 1974. Manx is closely related to the Scottish Gaelic and Irish languages.

See: Music of the Isle of Man

Despite its position, as it is not a constituent part of the United Kingdom, the BBC does not provide it with any local BBC services on TV, radio or online, despite residents paying the BBC TV Licence. The Isle of Man is covered by the BBC NorthWest region, which occasionally features news items from the island.


Main article: Politics of the Isle of Man


The Isle of Man is a self-governing crown dependency. The head of state is currently HM The Queen by virtue of her title Lord of Mann. She is represented on the Island by the Lieutenant Governor. The United Kingdom is responsible for the Island's defence and for representing the Island in international fora, while the Island's own parliament has competency over almost all domestic matters.

The Island's parliament is the Tynwald, which dates from around 979 AD. Tynwald is a bicameral legislature, comprised of the House of Keys (directly elected by universal suffrage) and the Legislative Council (consisting of indirectly elected and ex officio members). There is a Council of Ministers which is headed by the Chief Minister, currently Mr Donald Gelling.

The Island's system of government is currently under review — there are plans to transform the Legislative Council into a directly-elected chamber, echoing the push for reform in the UK's House of Lords.

External relations

A common misconception exists that Mann forms part of the United Kingdom; under British law it does not, although the United Kingdom takes care of its external and defence affairs. The Isle of Man had a run-in with the European Court of Human Rights in the 1970s because it was reluctant to change its laws concerning birching (corporal punishment for male offenders). The law on sodomy (consensual sexual relations between adult men) may have also led down this road had it not been changed in the early 1990s.

The Isle of Man holds neither membership nor associate membership of the European Union, and lies outside the European Customs Territory. Nonetheless, Protocol Three of the treaty of accession of the United Kingdom ( permits trade without non-EU tariffs. In conjunction with the Customs and Excise agreement with the UK, this facilitates free trade with the UK. There is no Manx Citizenship. Manx people are classed as British Citizens but those defined as Manxmen under Protocol Three have a special endorsement placed in their passports preventing them from freely living or working in EU states. This is anomalous in that the treaty establishing the EU (formerly EEC) clearly states that all citizens of member states will also be citizens of the EU. Travel to the Isle of Man is regulated by the local government laws. Visitors from countries who require a UK visa may also require a special Manx visa, obtainable from a British Embassy. All non-Manx, including UK citizens, are required to obtain a work permit to take up employment on the Island.


Most Manx politicians stand for election as independents, rather than as representatives of political parties. Though political parties do exist, their influence is not nearly as strong as is the case in the United Kingdom. Consequently, much Manx legislation develops through consensus among the members of Tynwald, which contrasts with the much more adversarial nature of the UK parliament.

Mann is a British Crown dependency. Mec Vannin, a political party, advocates the establishment of Mann as a sovereign republic. A Manx Labour Party also exists, unaffiliated to the UK Labour Party. The Island formerly had a Manx National Party and a Manx Communist party. There are Manx members in the Celtic League, a political pressure group that advocates greater co-operation between and political autonomy for the Celtic nations. The main political issues include the island's relationship with the finance sector, housing prices and shortages, and the Manx language. The vast majority of the members of the House of Keys are non-partisan (19), with two representatives from the Manx Labour Party and three from the Alliance for Progressive Government. The next scheduled elections are in 2006.


The Isle of Man is divided into six administrative districts, called sheadings. The six sheadings are Ayre, Glenfaba, Garff, Michael, Rushen and Middle. The sheadings still form the basis of some electoral constituencies and each still has a Coroner. This office must not be confused with the Coronor for Inquests, a role usually fulfilled by the High Bailiff. A person may fulfill the role of coroner for more than one sheading at the same time.

The term 'sheading' is thought to be a Norse word for 'ship division'; each district was believed to be responsible for producing a certain number of warships. It could also be a Celtic word meaning 'sixth part'.


Main article: Economy of the Isle of Man

Offshore banking, manufacturing, and tourism form key sectors of the economy of the Isle of Man. The government's policy of offering incentives to high-technology companies and financial institutions to locate on the Island has expanded employment opportunities in high-income industries. As a result, agriculture and fishing, once the mainstays of the economy, have declined in their shares of Gross domestic product (GDP). Banking and other services now contribute the great bulk of GDP. Trade takes place mostly with the United Kingdom. The Isle of Man has access to European Union goods markets.

Since 1999, the Isle of Man has received electricity through by world's longest submarine alternating current cable, the Isle of Man to England Interconnector.


Main article: History of the Isle of Man

Ancient Times to Present

The Isle of Man became a Viking outpost/kingdom from circa AD 700 to AD 900, and was part of the Norse kingdom of Mann and the Isles until the 13th century when it came under the control of the Scottish crown. The Island came under English control in the 14th century and to the British crown in 1765. Current concerns include reviving the once almost-extinct Manx language, and the recent significant immigration of non-Manx people to serve the financial sector. These immigrants are mainly involved in setting up off-shore entities for tax avoidance purposes.

The Tynwald

The Island arguably has the oldest continuous parliament in the world, the Tynwald, nominally founded in 979 AD (Iceland's parliament is thought to be older, but was abolished between 1800 and 1845).

The Triskelion

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Car registration plate, with the triskelion

The Isle of Man has for centuries used the ancient symbol known as the Triskelion: three bent legs, each with a spur, joined at the thigh. The Triskelion does not appear to have an official definition — Government publications, currency, flags, the tourist authority and others all use different variants. Most, but not all, preserve rotational symmetry. Some run clockwise, others counter-clockwise. Some have the uppermost thigh at 12:00, others at 11:30 or 10:00, etc. Some have the knee bent at 90 degrees, some at 60 degrees, some at closer to 120 degrees. Also the degree of ornamentation of the leg wear and spur varies considerably.

The three legs relate directly to the Island's motto — Quocunque Jeceris Stabit, which translates to Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand. Interpretations of the motto often stress stability and robustness in the Manx character. Many schools on the Island have adapted the motto to promote perseverance and hard work.

Various versions of the Triskelion are still in use on the coats of arms belonging to the different branches of the ancient Norwegian noble family which ruled Mann up until the 13th century.

See also


External links


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1. Country partly in Asia. 2. Usually assigned to Asia geographically, but often considered European for cultural and historical reasons.
Template:British dependencies

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