Manx Gaelic was the everyday language of the people until the 19th Century, and although the last native speaker died in the 1970s, the language is currently enjoying a revival. A new religion, Christianity, was introduced as early as the 6th Century, and has since played an important part in the lives of the Manx people.
Population: 80,058 (2006 Census)
Land Area: 572 sq. km/ 221 square miles
Location: The centre of the Irish Sea - 50 km (31 miles) from Ireland and 50 km (31 miles) from the U.K.
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.
The history of the Isle of Man falls naturally into three periods. In the first of these the island was inhabited by a Celtic people. The next is marked by the Viking invasions and the establishment of Scandinavian rule. The third period is that of the English dominion.
One of the things that people find most surprising about the Isle of Man is that is not part of the United Kingdom but is a Crown Possession with a large degree of independence. The Isle of Man has its own Government and unlike Scotland and Wales, it has no representatives in Westminster.
The Isle of Man flag is red with the Trinacria emblem in the centre, the 'Trie Cassyn', or the 'Three Legs of Man'. The symbol is thought to have been brought in by Alexander 3rd of Scotland around 1266, as he expelled the Vikings from Man. The armoured legs are joined at the thigh, bent at the knee, and the toes point clockwise.
An important element of the Island’s fiscal strength is the long established and self imposed legislative requirement that Government must budget for a surplus in respect of its annual revenue spending. While meeting this requirement, Government has continued to invest in developing and updating the Island’s infrastructure for economic as well as social benefit.
The Isle of Man economy has enjoyed 26 years of uninterrupted growth. Between 1997 and 2002 growth rates were on average 10 per cent.
Although financial services remain an important part of the success of the economy, the Manx government has been keen to develop the technology and engineering sector, such as aerospace, precision engineering, and electronics.
The Isle of Man has lost its triple-A credit rating and been downgraded one notch by Standard and Poor's Rating Services. The downgrade followed Standard and Poor's (S&P) assessment that the Isle of Man was "constrained by its undiversified small economy, which makes it more vulnerable to external shocks. The island's long-term sovereign rating now stands one notch lower at double-A plus, which denotes high credit quality and a stable outlook.
It has taken place every year since 1907, and it has claimed more than 220 lives. It is called the International Isle of Man TT, which is short for Tourist Trophy, and without doubt it is the most dangerous competitive motorcycle race in the world. Riders top speeds of over 190 miles per hour as they race against the clock over 37 miles of the British island's public roads.
Through cultural reconstruction the wide range of interests which make up contemporary Manx culture in Mann can be brought together to build and strengthen [the Manx's] sense of place, community and national identity, which have been considerably weakened over recent decades.
In recent years, the Isle of Man’s unique political status in relation to the United Kingdom and the European Union has allowed it to develop a flourishing off-shore banking and services industry. Not only has this industry has been the saviour of the island’s economy, following the decline of traditional industries such as farming, fishing and tourism in the 20th century, but the economic resurgence generated by it has had a significant impact on the government’s ability to engage in the process of cultural revitalization.
This community [used to depend] for its livelihood on five main geographical forms of industry: tourism, farming, sea-fishing, mineral extraction and manufacturing.
In relation to the Isle of Man, the united Kingdom is responsible for three areas: defense (for which the Isle of Man pays a fee), international relations, and ultimate good governance (that is, the United Kingdom government reserves the power to intervene directly in the Island's affairs in certain limited circumstances namely a grave breakdown or failure in the administration of justice or civil order).
"Within people's living memory the fishing was the Isle of Man, that's what everybody did, everybody's grandad," [Brenda Jones of the Manx Wildlife Trust ] says. "Even into the 1970s the herring industry was very important. It's part of our heritage and we can't get rid of it. The sea is so much part of our sense of place here."
The Isle of Man (or Mann) is a large island in the Irish Sea very roughly equidistant from southwestern Scotland, northwestern England, and northeastern Ireland. The island is a self-governing territory recognizing the British monarch as Lord of Mann; it is not part of the United Kingdom and does not belong to the European Union. Man is accessible by air or by ferry from Heysham and Liverpool in England, Belfast in Northern Ireland, and Dublin in the Irish Republic.