The Isle of Man, also known simply as Mann, is a self-governing Crown dependency in the Irish Sea between the islands of Great Britain and Ireland. The head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann and is represented by a Lieutenant Governor. Foreign relations and defence are the responsibility of the British Government.
The island has been inhabited since before 6500 BC. Gaelic cultural influence began in the 5th century and the Manx language, a branch of the Gaelic languages, emerged. In 627, Northumbria conquered the Isle of Man along with most of Mercia. In the 9th century, Norsemen established the Kingdom of the Isles. Magnus III, King of Norway, was also known as King of Mann and the Isles between 1099 and 1103. In 1266, the island became part of Scotland under the Treaty of Perth, after being ruled by Norway. After a period of alternating rule by the kings of Scotland and England, the island came under the feudal lordship of the English Crown in 1399. The lordship revested into the British Crown in 1765, but the island never became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain or its successor the United Kingdom: it retained its status as an internally self-governing Crown dependency.
The Isle of Man is located in the middle of the northern Irish Sea, almost equidistant from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland (closest), and Wales (farthest). It is 52 kilometres (32 mi) long and, at its widest point, 22 kilometers (14 mi) wide. It has an area of around 572 square kilometres (221 sq mi).[ Besides the island of Mann itself, the political unit of the Isle of Man includes some nearby small islands: the seasonally inhabited Calf of Man, Chicken Rock on which stands an unmanned lighthouse, St Patrick’s Isle and St Michael’s Isle. The last two of these are connected to the main island by permanent roads/causeways.
At the 2011 census, the Isle of Man was home to 84,497 people, of whom 27,938 resided in the island’s capital, Douglas and 9,273 in the adjoining village of Onchan. The population rose 5.5% between the 2006 and 2011 censuses. By country of birth, those born in the Isle of Man were the largest group (48.1%), while those born in the United Kingdom were the next largest group at 42.2% (35.9% in England, 3.2% in Scotland, 2% in Northern Ireland and 1.1% in Wales), 1.9% in the Republic of Ireland and 0.2% in the Channel Islands. The remaining 7.5% were born elsewhere in the world, with 2.4% coming from EU countries (other than the UK and Ireland). The census also reported 1,823 people who claim a knowledge of the Manx language.
The United Kingdom is responsible for the island’s defence and ultimately for good governance, and for representing the island in international forums, while the island’s own parliament and government have competence over all domestic matters.
The island’s parliament, Tynwald, is claimed to have been in continuous existence since 979 or earlier, purportedly making it the oldest continuously governing body in the world, though evidence supports a much later date. Tynwald is a bicameral or tricameral legislature, comprising the House of Keys (directly elected by universal suffrage with a voting age of 16 years) and the Legislative Council (consisting of indirectly elected and ex-officio members). These two bodies meet in joint session as Tynwald Court.
The executive branch of government is the Council of Ministers, which is composed of members of Tynwald. It is headed by the Chief Minister, currently (2016) Howard Quayle MHK. Vice-regal functions of the Head of State are performed by a Lieutenant Governor.
Health and social care on the Isle of Man is the responsibility of the Department of Health and Social Care (Isle of Man). Healthcare is free for residents and visitors from the UK.
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, now make declining contributions to the Island’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP). Banking and other services now contribute the great bulk of GDP. The stability of the Government and openness for business make the Isle of Man an attractive alternative jurisdiction (DAW Index ranked 3).
The culture of the Isle of Man is influenced by its Celtic and, to a lesser extent, its Norse origins, though its close proximity to the United Kingdom, popularity as a UK tourist destination, and recent mass immigration by British migrant workers has meant that British influence has been dominant since the Revestment period. Recent revival campaigns have attempted to preserve the surviving vestiges of Manx culture after a long period of Anglicisation, and significant interest in the Manx language, history and musical tradition has been the result.