Isle of Man

JPEG Map of the Isle of Man (253KB)

General information factsheet
+ Geography and climate
+ Population
+ Government and sovereignty
+ Economy
+ Historical background


Geography and climate

Location: Western Europe, small island nested between Ireland, Scotland and England.
Area: 572 sq km (nearly half the size of Paris or New York City).
Coastline: 113 km.
Terrain: gently rolling hills and low mountains.
Forest: info not available.
Highest elevation
: Snaefell (621 m).
Climate: temperate maritime, influenced by the North Atlantic current, the "Gulf Stream"; mild winters, cool summers and consistently humid.
Average temperature and rainfall index:

  Douglas
Temp. August 17 C / 11 C
Temp. January 7 C / 3 C
Rainfall 863 mm


Population

City of Douglas - Photo © Lily Publication Ltd / Isle of Man Tourism
City of Douglas - Photo © Lily Publication Ltd / Isle of Man Tourism

Population: 76,220 (2008).Main cities: Douglas.
Population growth rate: +0.5% (2008).
Ethnic composition: Base of Celtic and Germanic (Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon). New population contributions mainly from England.
Religious affiliation: Christian Protestant Anglican 40%, No religion 36%, Christian Protestant Methodist 10%, Christian Roman Catholic 8%, others 6% (census 2000).
Official languages: English, spoken and understood by 100% of the Manx population.
Unofficial languages Manx Gaelic language became extinct in the 20th century. It is currently being revived by Manx enthusiasts with help of the Isle of Man government. It is estimated that about a 2% of the population have attended Manx Gaelic language courses. Manx has been recognised by the UK government under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages.


Government

Douglas-Port Erin Steam Railway - Photo © Lily Publication Ltd / Isle of Man Tourism
Douglas-Port Erin Steam Railway - Photo © Lily Publication Ltd / Isle of Man Tourism

Sovereignty: British Crown Dependency, does not belong to the United Kingdom. Enjoys full political and economic autonomy.
Government type: Parliamentary democracy.
Capital: Douglas.
Administrative divisions: 24 local authorities.
Constitution: Unwritten.
Legal system: English common law and Manx statute.
Executive branch: Composed by a hereditary Head of State (Lord of Mann, Queen Elizabeth II), a Head of Government (Chief Minister) and a Cabinet (Council of Ministers).
Legislative branch: Bicameral Parliament (Tynwald), consists of the Legislative Council (11 seats named by the House of Keys) and the House of Keys (24 members elected by popular vote, serve five year term).
Judicial branch: High Court of Justice (appointed by the Lord Chancellor of England).
Current Government: Government formed by independent members elected to the Tynwald. Chief Minister: Mr. Alan Bell (since September 2011).
Political parties: Most members in the Tynwald are independents (non-affiliated to any political party). Political parties are the Liberal Vannin Party and the Manx Labour Party.
National holiday: Tynwald Day, 5 July.
Official flag: Red with the Three Legs of Man triskelion in the center, believed to be a Scandinavian banner from the the 13th century.


Economy

  Pleasure cruiser 'Karina', Ramsey - Photo © Lily Publication Ltd / Isle of Man Tourism
Pleasure cruiser "Karina", Ramsey - Photo © Lily Publication Ltd / Isle of Man Tourism

Overview:
- Offshore banking is the key sector in the Manx economy.
- The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom nor the European Union, although it has been granted access to the EU markets.
- The government's policy of offering incentives to financial institutions has converted the Isle of Man into a leading international banking centre.
- Agriculture and fishing, once the most important sector of the island's economy, are now dwarfed by the services sector.
GDP Purchasing Power Parity: approx. € 1.82 billion (2005).
GDP real growth rate: +5.2% (2005).
GDP per capita: purchasing power parity - approx. € 23,434 (2005).
Population below poverty line: info not available.
Labour force: 39,690 (2005).
Labour force - occupation by sectors: services 77% (of which banking and finance 18%), industry 20%, agriculture & fishing 3% (2001).
Unemployment rate: 1.5% (2006).
Budget: € 646 million in revenues and € 631 million in expenditures (2006).
Currency: Pound Sterling (Manx, English, Scottish and Northern Irish currencies).
Industries: Financial services, light manufacturing, tourism.
Main airports: Ronaldsway-Ballasalla.
Main ports: Douglas, Peel, Ramsey.


Historical background

 Calf of Man, Lighthouse - Photo © Lily Publication Ltd / Isle of Man Tourism
Calf of Man, Lighthouse - Photo © Lily Publication Ltd / Isle of Man Tourism

- Megalithic culture in the Isle of Man ca. 4500-1500 BC. Stone constructions characteristic of the Manx historical heritage.
- Bronze Age and trade in the European Atlantic, 1500-700 BC.
- Celtic culture flourishes in Britain circa 500 BC.
- Roman empire: the Romans name Mann as "Monapia" but they never settle in the island.
- Viking age Scandinavians settle in Mann, becoming a Norse territory between 853-1266 AD. Norse culture have greatly influenced Manx history and the population is proud of their Norse heritage. The Manx Tynwald and Iceland's Thingvellir (930 AD) are the oldest working parliaments in the world.
- Golden Age of Irish literature and scholarship between the 7th and 9th centuries.
- Fiefdom of Mann: Mann was ceded as a fiefdom of the Kingdom of Scotland from 1266 to 1333 and later became an English fiefdom from 1333.
- British crown dependency: the Isle of Man becomes a British Crown dependency in 1765. Besides foreign relations, currency and defence, Mann continues largely to enjoy domestic self-government.
- Manx language renaissance: Manx ancient Celtic language has been largely unused by the population since the 19th century. The last native Manx speaker died in 1974. Steps have been taken to revive it in the 20th century by some individuals and lately with the support of the Isle of Man government. Today it is widely considered as an important part of Manx historical heritage.
- Offshore banking industry: since the 1960's the Isle of Man is an international offshore banking centre, similar to Switzerland, the Bahamas or the Cayman Islands. Many personal bank accounts or internationally trading companies are domiciled in the Isle of Man for purposes of tax protection. The offshore banking industry is Mann's dependent source of economic wealth and employment.

Tagged under: Mann