The castle at Castletown, framed by a blue sky

Isle of Man - in a Nutshell

Author: Sue Rogers
Date: 8th April 2018

Is the Isle of Man a Country?

  • The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown dependency, sometimes known simply as Mann (with two Ns).
  • Mann has a strongly Viking heritage and became a separate kingdom, along with many of the Scottish islands, was tussled over by Scotland and England over time and was eventually ruled by the English Stanley family for many years until it passed to the Scottish Duke of Atholl
  • The Isle of Man today is not part of the United Kingdom (or part of the EU for that matter). It’s a Crown Dependency, which means that it is technically a possession of the crown directly, it is not a territory of the UK. The UK never conquered the island; the crown bought the title, The Lord of Mann, in 1765 from the Duke of Atholl (to prevent lost revenue from smuggling). So the Queen is Lord of Mann (not Lady).
  • Mann has the oldest continuous parliament in the world, standing since 979 with no break. Since 1990 it has been led by a president. Before this it was presided over by a lieutenant governor sent from the UK. The parliament is called The Tynwald which means meeting place. The districts of the island are called sheadings and the original Tynwald Hill is built of soil taken from each of the sheadings.

Snippets of Information

  • The population is 83,000.
  • The original language, Manx, was a Gaelic language. The last native speaker died in 1974, although there are attempts to revive the language
  • The British Pound is used as currency; the island is often utilised as a tax haven –‘offshore investments’.
  • The Bee Gees were all born on the Isle of Man. The family owned a house there (used as a recording studio) until very recently

What to Do on the Isle of Man?

  • This is another island firmly rooted in the last century.
  • Enjoy going back in time- visit the museum and the living villages
  • Sample the many different types of transport-especially the horse drawn carriages
  • Take in the the castles and the harbours
  • Enjoy the stunning scenery
  • You can get round the island in a day if you whizz- like the bikes - the annual TT is one of the most dangerous races in the world

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