Isle of Man
|THE ISLE OF MAN COAT OF ARMS|
Location of Isle of Man within the continent of Europe
Map of Isle of Man
Flag Description of Isle of Man: red with the Three Legs of Man emblem (triskelion), in the center; the three legs are joined at the thigh and bent at the knee; in order to have the toes pointing clockwise on both sides of the flag, a two-sided emblem is used; the flag is based on the coat-of-arms of the last recognized Norse King of Mann, Magnus III (r. 1252-65); the triskelion has its roots in an early Celtic sun symbol
Official name Isle of Man1
Political status crown dependency (United Kingdom) with two legislative bodies2 (Legislative Council ; House of Keys )
Head of state British Monarch: Queen Elizabeth II, represented by Lieutenant Governor: Adam Wood
Head of government Chief Minister: Allan Bell, assisted by the Council of Ministers
Official language English4
Official religion none
Monetary unit Manx pound (£M)5
Population (2013 est.) 86,600
Total area (sq mi) 221
Total area (sq km) 572
- Urban: (2006) 71.6%
- Rural: (2006) 28.4%
Life expectancy at birth
- Male: (2006) 75.3 years
- Female: (2006) 81.2 years
Literacy: percentage of population age 15 and over literate
- Male: not available
- Female: not available
GNI per capita (U.S.$) (2010–2011) 66,923
1Ellan Vannin in Manx Gaelic.
2Collective name is Tynwald.
3Includes 3 ex officio seats.
4Manx Gaelic has limited official recognition.
5Equivalent in value to pound sterling (£); the Isle of Man government issues both paper money and coins.
Background of Isle of Man
Isle of Man, also spelled Mann, Manx-Gaelic Ellan Vannin, or Mannin, Latin Mona, or Monapia, one of the British Isles, located in the Irish Sea off the northwest coast of England. The island lies roughly equidistant between England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom but rather is a crown possession (since 1828) that is self-governing in its internal affairs under the supervision of the British Home Office.
The Isle of Man is about 30 miles (48 km) long by 10 miles (16 km) wide, its main axis being southwest to northeast. It has an area of 221 square miles (572 square km). The island consists of a central mountain mass culminating in Snaefell (2,036 feet [621 m]) and extending north and south in low-lying agricultural land. Man’s coastline is rocky and has fine cliff scenery. The grass-covered slate peaks of the central massif are smooth and rounded as a result of action during various glacial periods. The island’s landscape is treeless except in sheltered places. To the southwest lies an islet, the Calf of Man, with precipitous cliffs, which is administered by the Manx National Heritage as a bird sanctuary.
The climate is maritime temperate, with cool summers and mild winters. The average mean temperature in February is 41° F (4.9° C) and is 58° F (14.3° C) in August. The average annual rainfall is 45 inches (1,140 mm). The native flora and fauna are of little interest, but the domestic Manx cat, a distinctive tailless breed (see photograph), is traditionally believed to have originated on the island.
The Isle of Man has been inhabited by humans since the Mesolithic Period. It became the home of many Irish missionaries in the centuries following the teaching of St. Patrick (5th century ad). Among its earliest inhabitants were Celts, and their language, Manx, which is closely related to Gaelic, remained the everyday speech of the people until the first half of the 19th century. The number of Manx speakers is now negligible, however. Norse (Viking) invasions began about ad 800, and the isle was a dependency of Norway until 1266. During this period Man came under a Scandinavian system of government that has remained practically unchanged ever since.
In 1266 the king of Norway sold his suzerainty over Man to Scotland, and the island came under the control of England in 1341. From this time on, the island’s successive feudal lords, who styled themselves “kings of Mann,” were all English. In 1406 the English crown granted the island to Sir John Stanley, and his family ruled it almost uninterruptedly until 1736. (The Stanleys refused to be called “kings” and instead adopted the title “lord of Mann,” which still holds.) The lordship of Man passed to the dukes of Atholl in 1736, but in the decades that followed, the island became a major centre for the contraband trade, thus depriving the British government of valuable customs revenues. In response, the British Parliament purchased sovereignty over the island in 1765 and acquired the Atholl family’s remaining prerogatives on the island in 1828.
The government consists of an elected president; a Legislative Council, or upper house; and a popularly elected House of Keys, or lower house. The two houses function as separate legislative bodies but come together to form what is known as the Tynwald Court to transact legislative business. The House of Keys constitutes one of the most ancient legislative assemblies in the world. The Isle of Man levies its own taxes.
Though fishing, agriculture, and smuggling were formerly important, offshore financial services, high-technology manufacturing, and tourism from Britain are now the mainstays of the island’s economy. The island’s annual Tourist Trophy motorcycle races (in June) attract many visitors. The island’s farms produce oats, wheat, barley, turnips, and potatoes, and cattle and sheep graze on the pastures of the central massif. The principal towns are Douglas, the capital; Peel; Castletown; and Ramsey. There is an airport near Castletown, and packet boats connect Man with the British mainland. Pop. (2006) 80,058.
Geography of Isle of Man
Legend has it that the Isle of Man was created when the Irish giant Finn MacCooill threw a chunk of earth from Ireland’s coastline towards Scotland, when in battle, which promptly landed in the Irish Sea and became the Isle of Man.
Of course we can’t be sure of the truth in this tale but for an Island of such modest size, measuring just 33 miles in length and 13 miles in width, you’ll find the Isle of Man really is larger than life!
The Isle of Man occupies a central position in the Irish Sea and the British Isles - right between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
Due to the influence of the sea the Island’s climate is temperate making it an ideal year round visitor destination.
Despite its size the Isle of Man has a varying landscape. The coastline stretches for 100 miles and across the northern plain you’ll find long sandy beaches which contrast markedly with the rocky cliffs and sheltered bays around the rest of the Island.
Snaefell – which is 2,036 feet above sea level – is the Island’s only mountain. You’ll also spot a number of smaller Islands located off the Island’s coast including the Calf of Man at the southern tip, which is home to a nature reserve and bird observatory, and St Patrick’s Isle on which Peel Castle proudly stands.
Demography of Isle of Man
Population 86,866 (July 2014 est.)
0-14 years: 16.3% (male 7,457/female 6,721) 15-24 years: 11.9% (male 5,371/female 4,990) 25-54 years: 39.5% (male 17,110/female 17,209) 55-64 years: 12.8% (male 5,605/female 5,519) 65 years and over: 19.4% (male 7,839/female 9,045) (2014 est.)
total: 43.4 years male: 42.7 years female: 44.1 years (2014 est.)
Population growth rate 0.8% (2014 est.)
'Birth rate 11.17 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Death rate 10.03 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Net migration rate 6.84 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)
Urbanization urban population: 50.5% of total population (2011)
Major cities - population DOUGLAS (capital) 27,000 (2011)
at birth: 1.08 male(s)/female 0-14 years: 1.11 male(s)/female 15-24 years: 1.08 male(s)/female 25-54 years: 0.99 male(s)/female 55-64 years: 1 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.85 male(s)/female total population: 0.99 male(s)/female (2014 est.)
Infant mortality rate
total: 4.17 deaths/1,000 live births male: 4.12 deaths/1,000 live births female: 4.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)
Life expectancy at birth
total population: 80.98 years male: 79.33 years female: 82.75 years (2014 est.)
Total fertility rate
1.94 children born/woman (2014 est.) HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate NA HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS NA HIV/AIDS - deaths NA
Nationality noun: Manxman (men), Manxwoman (women)
Ethnic groups white 96.5%, Asian/Asian British 1.9%, other 1.5% (2011 est.)
Religions Protestant (Anglican, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Society of Friends), Roman Catholic
Languages English, Manx Gaelic (about 2% of the population has some knowledge)
rate of urbanization: 0.38% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)
Economy of Isle of Man
Government and Society of Isle of Man
Culture Heritage of Isle of Man
Fiercely proud of its diverse culture and fascinating heritage this sea-bound kingdom has a captivating story to tell – one which stretches back for thousands of years.
Legend has it that the Island’s name comes from the Celtic sea god Manannan Mac Lir who protected the land from invaders by shrouding it in a cloak of mist.
It is these folklore stories, and the history that follows, which are carefully safeguarded by the Manx people to ensure the Island doesn’t lose any of its unique charm of character.
A visit to the Isle of Man will be a voyage of discovery and will present the chance to explore Celtic crosses and ancient Viking burial grounds as well as a number of heritage landmarks which tell the Story of Mann.
You’ll also hear tales of giants, fairies and brownies - which were said to intervene in the lives of ordinary people – and although times have changed many of the original customs and superstitions live on. Don’t forget to say “Hello” to the fairies as you pass over Fairy Bridge!
Modern day culture is well showcased throughout the year with a packed programme of entertainment including the annual inter-Celtic festival – Yn Chruinnaght – where the native Manx Gaelic language, song and dance is celebrated.
The Isle of Man’s strong identity is due in part to its independence and the fact that the Island is self-governing. It has the oldest continuous parliament in the world, Tynwald, which dates back over 1,000 years. You can tour the Tynwald building and visit Tynwald Hill – where parliament meets in the open air once a year.
Your visit to the Isle of Man really will be a fascinating and unique experience!
Towns & Villages of Isle of Man
Take time to explore the Isle of Man’s charming towns and villages and discover a wide range of things to see and do.
Whatever you’re looking for – whether it’s a journey back in time to discover the history of the Island, a traditional bucket and spade beach or just somewhere to stop and sit for a while - you’ll find it here on the Isle of Man.
The Island’s capital, Douglas, is a great place to begin. As well as the main shopping area and entertainment complexes you’ll find the starting point of the Steam Railway and Manx Electric Railway, which lead south and north respectively. The Story of Mann trail also starts in Douglas and will act as your guide to the heritage attractions located around the Island.
Visit the ancient cobbled streets of Castletown to see one of Europe’s most preserved Medieval castles or Laxey in the east for a glimpse of the world’s largest working waterwheel.
Peel and Port Erin on the west coast have glorious sandy beaches, sheltered bays, and the chance to spot basking sharks and seals. No trip to either is complete without a creamy Manx ice cream!
For those visitors who want to do something active take advantage of the fantastic walking trails in Port St Mary or try outdoor pursuits at an activity centre based near to Ramsey in the north.
Rest assured, wherever you choose to visit you’ll be guaranteed a warm Manx welcome.
History of Isle of Man
The original inhabitants of the Isle of Man were the Neolithic and Mesolithic tribes, followed by Bronze Age dwellers and the Celts (whose civilization is the basis of Manx culture). Christianity was introduced during the fifth and sixth centuries.
The Scandinavian Vikings arrived more than 1000 years ago and Norse rule prevailed in the establishment of the Kingdom of Man and the Isles from 979 to 1266 AD. The Vikings founded the Tynwald Parliament, (the oldest continuous parliament in the world), which has been in existence for 1,000 years. Annual outdoor sittings of the parliament, however, date back to the 8th century.
After a brief period of Scottish rule, the Kingdom of Man passed to the English Crown, eventually being given to Sir John Stanley in 1403. Stanley’s descendants were Lords of Mann for 362 years before the Lordship reverted to the crown by purchase. The island has a colourful history, with tales of smuggling and as a haven for debtors. In recent years, the Isle of Man has become famous for its distinct tax status.
Formerly reliant on mining, fishing, farming and tourism; the island has capitalised on its independent status to build up a thriving offshore banking and financial services sector. Another major success came from its use by the film industry, as the centre for many productions.
The Isle of Man is not part of the UK, but is a crown dependency, with the Queen holding the title the Lord of Mann. Its law is not English law, but is based on the same system, and the island's parliament will often consider recent English laws for introduction. Lawyers on the island are called advocates and combine the role of barrister and solicitor.
Isle of Man and Channel Islands
The Isle of Man first had its own coinage, in bronze, from 1709 to 1733 under the earls of Derby; this was continued, in 1758 only, for the earls of Athol. Regal coinage in bronze appeared intermittently from 1786 to 1839. The characteristic badge was the “three-legs,” or triskelis, forming the spokes of a wheel. Since 1840, English issues have been current.
Jersey and Guernsey have had their own bronze coinage for well over a century, showing the shield of three leopards proper to the Duchy of Normandy. Variation of types has occurred since World War II, the end of which prompted also the special issue of the Jersey “liberation penny” to mark the end of the German occupation. The coinage was decimalized in February 1971.
Colonies and Commonwealth
British colonial issues, begun under Elizabeth I with silver for the East India Company, were extended in the 17th century. New England colonists struck the silver “pine tree” and “oak tree” money from 1652; Charles II had silver rupees coined at Bombay for the East India Company with the company’s arms; silver and copper “hog money” (obverse, boar; reverse, ship) was issued for Bermuda; and James II struck tin coins for American plantations.
There were few official attempts to provide colonial coinages in the 18th century; thus, currency in the British West Indies was based on Spanish, Portuguese, and Brazilian gold and especially on Spanish silver dollars, normally cut and counterstamped. Spanish dollars were similarly used in the early 19th century at Sierra Leone. In the 19th century, however, colonial issues proper multiplied. That of the Ionian Islands, from 1819, was among the earliest. In Malta one-third farthings were issued by William IV and Victoria. Gibraltar had copper from 1842. Farther afield, token bronze had been coined for Nova Scotia and New Brunswick from 1823; a general coinage for Canada appeared in 1858. Ceylon’s coinage began with bronze half- and quarter-farthings and silver three-halfpence from 1838. The private raj of Sarawak had coinage from 1841. Australian coinage of sovereigns started as early as 1855; its unit was changed to that of the dollar on Feb. 14, 1966. In Cape Colony little coinage was produced until the Boer republic of South Africa had been incorporated in the Union. Silver and bronze for Hong Kong began in 1863, and in closely succeeding years colonial issues were started for Jamaica, Cyprus, Mauritius, Zanzibar, North Borneo, Honduras, and elsewhere.
In the 20th century, coins of the colonies continued in general to show a crowned bust of the monarch; those of the self-governing Commonwealth powers exchanged a crowned for an uncrowned bust. New Zealand issues, with Maori designs prominent, began only in 1933. Indian and Pakistani coinages, each bilingual with English, grew out of the imperial Indian coinage, the British sovereign’s head being replaced in India by pictorial designs and in Muslim Pakistan by calligraphic and symbolic devices.
Generally, Commonwealth and colonial coins alike have emphasized on their reverses either national symbols or national heraldic devices. Those U.K. dependencies that had not by February 1971 decimalized their currencies adopted the new decimal currency that the United Kingdom introduced at that time. The currencies of the many nations that achieved independence in the second half of the 20th century exhibited a variety of types, including portraits, traditional emblems, and renderings of indigenous flora and fauna.
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