Isle of Man

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Ellan Vannin
Isle of Man
Flag of the Isle of Man Coat of arms of the Isle of Man
MottoQuocunque Jeceris Stabit (Latin)
Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand.
Anthem: "O Land of Our Birth"
"Arrane Ashoonagh dy Vannin" (Manx)
Royal anthem: "God Save the Queen"
Location of the Isle of Man
Capital
(and largest city)
Douglas (Doolish)
54°09′N 4°29′W
Official languages English, Manx[1]
Demonym Manx
Government British Crown Dependency Parliamentary democracy (Constitutional monarchy) 
 -  Lord of Mann Elizabeth II
 -  Lieutenant Governor Adam Wood
 -  Chief Minister Allan Bell
Legislature Tynwald
 -  Upper House Legislative Council
 -  Lower House House of Keys
Status Crown dependency 
 -  Lordship of Mann revested in British crown 1765 
Area
 -  Total 572 km² (191st)
221 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 0
Population
 -   estimate 84,655 (July 2011 est.) (200th)
 -  Density 140/km² (109th)
362.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2003 estimate
 -  Total $2.113 billion (162nd)
 -  Per capita $35,000 (11/12th)
Currency Pound sterling1 (GBP)
Time zone GMT (UTC+0)
 -  Summer (DST)  (UTC+1)
Internet TLD .im
Calling code [[++44 spec.
+44-1624
 (landline) area code
+44-7524, +44-7624, +44-7924
 (mobile)]]
1 The Isle of Man Treasury issues its own sterling notes and coins (see Manx pound).


The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown dependency, located in the Irish Sea at the geographical center of the British Isles.

The head of state is Queen Queen Elizabeth II, who holds the title of Lord of Mann. The Crown is represented by a Lieutenant Governor. The island is not part of the United Kingdom, but external relations, defense, and ultimate good-governance of the Isle of Man are the responsibility of the government of the UK.

The Isle of Man was controlled by Norse, Scottish, and English lords until widespread smuggling in the mid-eighteenth century prompted the British Government to buy the lord’s feudal rights to control the flow of contraband into England. During the Norse governance, a Scandinavian system of government was established which has seen little change in the last 1,000 years. Today the Isle can boast an extremely low unemployment rate (0.6 percent in 2004), and zero instance of poverty.


Contents

Geography

Map of the Isle of Man

The Isle of Man is part of the British Isles, an archipelago off the north-western coast of mainland Europe, and is located in the Irish Sea, approximately equidistant between England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It includes the small, partly-inhabited islands of the Calf of Man, Chicken Rock, and St Patrick's Isle.

The island is approximately 32 miles (48 kilometers) long and between 8 and 15 miles (13 and 24 kilometers) wide, and has an area of about 221 square miles (572 square kilometers).

Hills in the north and south are bisected by a central valley. The extreme north is flat, consisting mainly of glacial deposits. There are more recently deposited shingle beaches at the Point of Ayre. It has only one mountain higher than 2000 feet, Snaefell, with a height of 2036 feet (621 meters). According to an old saying, from the summit one can see six kingdoms: those of Mann, Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, and Heaven.

A view up a glen with Snaefell at the head.
A Manx cat—stumpy version.

The Isle of Man has a temperate climate, with cool summers and mild winters. Average rainfall is high compared to the majority of the British Isles, due to its location to the western side of Great Britain and sufficient distance from Ireland for moisture to be accumulated by the prevailing south-westerly winds. Average rainfall is highest at Snaefell, where it is around 75 inches (1900mm) a year. At lower levels it can fall to around 32 inches (800mm) a year. Temperatures remain fairly cool, with the recorded maximum being 84°F (28.9°C) at Ronaldsway. The Isle of Man is known for its overcast skies and limited sunshine.

The island lacks trees except in sheltered places. Best-known among the island's unusual fauna is the Manx cat, which in the "rumpy" version has no tail at all, while a "stumpy" has a vestige of a tail. Loaghtan sheep—with four horns—are unique to the Isle of Man. During the summer, giant basking sharks are often seen in Manx waters. Foxes are forbidden, but some were illegally introduced in the 1980s and a handful survived. There are small numbers of feral goats and descendants of red-necked wallabies that escaped captivity many years ago. Other natives are the Manx Robber Fly, Isle of Man cabbage and Manx Marvel tomato.

Manx cattle went extinct around 1815, and Manx horses went extinct between 1820-1830. Juniper went extinct in the twentieth century, after heavy use for firewood and gin making.

Natural hazards include high winds, high rains, flooding, rough seas, dense fog, and summer droughts. The small island has several environmental concerns as well, such as Air pollution, marine pollution, and waste disposal.

The island's towns are at threat from rising sea levels. A large concern is that the country is in danger of losing the Northern Plain, which is a large, flat and low-lying plain composed of soft marine sediments and glacial material. It makes up a quarter of the island's landmass and in the next two centuries, the Northern Plain could be lost to the sea due to water rises. The same holds true for the considerably smaller southern plain surrounding the settlements of Castletown, Ballasalla and the Ronaldsway Airport.

Douglas (Doolish in Manx) is the capital and largest town, and is the island's hub for business, finance, shipping, transport, shopping and entertainment. It is also home of the Isle of Man Government. Douglas had a population of 26,218 in 2006 census, which was almost one-third of the Isle of Man's entire population. Peel, the home of the island's cathedral, is the fourth largest town on the island after Douglas, Onchan and Ramsey. Its population was 3,785 in 2001.

View of the bay in Douglas.

History

The Isle of Man became an island around 8,500 years ago when rising sea levels caused by melting glaciers cut Mesolithic Britain off from continental Europe. A land bridge had existed between the Isle of Man and Cumbria before this date, and island has been inhabited by humans since. The island became the home to Irish colonists. The island's conversion to Christianity has been attributed to St Maughold (Maccul), an Irish missionary. The island's name derives from Manannan, the Brythonic and Gaelic equivalent of Neptune.

Viking settlement

Between about 800 and 815 C.E., Vikings came to Man chiefly for plunder. Between about 850 and 990, when they settled in it, the island fell under the rule of the Scandinavian kings of Dublin, and between 990 and 1079, it became subject to the powerful earls of Orkney. There was mint coin production on Man between 1025 and 1065, minted from an imported type two Hiberno-Norse penny die from Dublin. Hiberno-Norse coins were first minted under Sihtric, king of Dublin, which could mean that Man may have been under Dublin's domination at this time.

The Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles was created by Godred Crovan in 1079. The isle was a dependency of Norway until 1266. During this period, Man came under a Scandinavian system of government. During Viking times, the islands of the Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles were called the Súðreyjar or Sudreys ("southern isles") in contrast to the Norðreyjar ("northern isles") of Orkney and Shetland. This became "Sodor."

Olaf, Godred's son, maintained a close alliance with the kings of Ireland and Scotland during his time (1113 - 1152). His son, Godred (who reigned 1153 - 1158), for a short period ruled over Dublin. As a result of a quarrel with the ruler of Argyll, in 1156, Godred lost the smaller islands off the coast of Argyll.

Ceded to Scotland

Alexander III.

In response to Scottish interest, by Alexander III of Scotland in 1261, and after theBattle of Largs against of the Norwegian fleet in 1263, King Magnus VI of Norway ceded the islands, including Man, to Scotland in the Treaty of Perth in 1266. The Norse royal family of Man stayed on the island for some years after the death of Magnus III and the beginning of Scottish rule. The family's emigration only came after a final attempt by the Manx to restore the old Sudreyar dynasty in an uprising against the Scots in 1275. This revolt failed disastrously, ending in the deaths of hundreds of rebels, including the last Norse King of Man, Godred IV Magnuson when the Manx suffered defeat in the decisive Battle of Ronaldsway, near Castletown.

English dominance

Edward I depicted in Cassell's History of England (1902)

In 1290, King Edward I of England took control of Man until 1313, when Robert Bruce took it after besieging Castle Rushen for five weeks. Man alternated between English and Scottish rule until 1346, when the Battle of Neville's Cross decided the struggle in England's favor.

About 1333, King Edward III of England granted Man to William de Montacute, 3rd Baron Montacute, (later the 1st Earl of Salisbury). In 1392, Montacute's son sold the island, including sovereignty, to Sir William le Scrope. In 1399, King Henry IV had Le Scrope beheaded for taking the side of Richard II. The Crown took possession of the island, and granted it to Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland. Henry IV, in 1405, made a lifetime grant of the island to Sir John Stanley, which was extended–on a feudatory basis–to Sir John's heirs and assigns.

The Stanleys adopted the title "Lord of Mann." Although they rarely visited, they placed the island under responsible governors. The first Stanley curbed the power of the spiritual barons, introduced trial by jury instead of trial by battle, and ordered the laws to be written.

English civil war

Charles I.

In 1643, Charles I ordered James Stanley, the 7th Earl to go to Mann to avert a revolt. Despite some improvements, Stanley’s rule granted the Manx people less liberty, heavily increased their taxes, and forced them to accept leases for three lives instead of holding their land by the equivalent of a customary inheritance. Six months after the death of King Charles (January 30, 1649), Stanley was summonsed to surrender the island, which he haughtily declined. In August 1651, he went to England with some of his troops to join King Charles II, and shared in the decisive defeat of the Royalists at the Battle of Worcester. He was captured and confined in Chester Castle, tried by court martial, and executed at Bolton in October of 1651.

Rebellion

Illiam Dhone

Soon after Stanley's death, the Manx Militia, under the command of Illiam Dhone (also known as William Christian) rebelled and captured most forts. Illiam Dhone (1608 - 1663) a famous Manx nationalist and politician, had been appointed by Stanley, in 1648, as receiver general. When Charlotte de la Tremouille, who was residing in the island, sought to obtain her husband's release by negotiating with the parliamentarians for the surrender of the island, the revolt broke out.

The revolt was partly a result of the countess's negotiations, and partly due to discontent caused by the earl's agrarian arrangements. Dhone entered into negotiations with the parliamentarians. The island was soon in the power of Colonel Robert Duckenfield, who had brought the parliamentary fleet to Mann in October 1651. The Countess of Derby was compelled to surrender her two fortresses, Castle Rushen and Peel Castle and Christian remained receiver general. He became Governor of the Isle of Man in 1656.

In 1658, Dhone was accused of misappropriating money. He fled to England, and in 1660 was arrested in London. Having undergone a year of imprisonment he returned to Mann, hoping that his offense against the Earl of Derby would be condoned under the Act of Indemnity of 1661 but, anxious to punish his conduct, Charles, the new earl (who was restored in 1660), ordered his seizure. At his trial, he refused to plead, and a packed House of Keys declared that his life and property were at the mercy of the Lord of Mann. The Deemsters then passed sentence, and Christian was executed by shooting on January 2, 1663.

Act of Settlement

Stanley disputed the permanency of the tenants' holdings, a proceeding which led to rebellion and to the neglect of agriculture. Tenants involved themselves in fishing and smuggling. The agrarian question subsided only in 1704, when James, Charles's brother and successor, entered into a compact with his tenants, which became embodied in the Act of Settlement. Their compact secured the tenants in the possession of their estates in perpetuity on condition of a fixed rent, and a small fine on succession or alienation. The Manx people called this act their Magna Carta. As time went on, and the value of the estates increased, the rent payable to the Lord became virtually insignificant,and became extinguished by purchase in 1916.

James Stanley died in 1736, and the suzerainty of the isle passed to James Murray, second Duke of Atholl. In 1764 he was succeeded by his only surviving child Charlotte, Baroness Strange, and her husband, John Murray, who, in right of his wife, became Lord of Mann.

Feudal rights sold to British government

A satellite picture of the Isle of Man.

Smuggling increased during the last years of the Atholl regime (1756 - 1765), cutting into British government revenue. To stop the smuggling, parliament passed the Isle of Man Purchase Act in 1765, also known as the Act of Revestment, which bought the feudal rights of the Dukes of Atholl as Lords of Man over the Isle of Man, including the customs revenues of the island, and re-invested them into the British Crown. For the sum of £70,000 and an annuity to the duke and duchess, the Atholls retained their manorial rights, the patronage of the bishopric, and certain other perquisites, until they sold them for the sum of £417,144 in 1828.

Before the Purchase Act, the island's parliament, or Tynwald, governed and had control over the finances of the island, subject to the approval of the lord. After the Purchase Act, or rather after the passage of the Mischief Act in the same year, the Parliament at Westminster legislated on the island's customs, harbors and merchant shipping, and assumed the control of the island's customs duties.

Rather than transferring full suzerainty to the King of Great Britain and Ireland, revestment meant the Isle of Man's ancient laws and tenures remained untouched. While hereditary lords had taken some interest in the well-being of the inhabitants, after revestment, governance became the work of officials who regarded the island as a nest of smugglers, from which to extract as much revenue as possible.

The British Government acquired the Atholl family's remaining prerogatives on the island in 1828.

World war internment camps

The Isle of Man was used as a base for internment camps in both the First World War (1914-1918) and the Second World War (1939-1945). During the First World War there were two camps, one a requisitioned holiday camp in Douglas and the other a purpose built camp at Knockaloe in the parish of Patrick. During the Second World War there were a number of smaller camps in Douglas, Peel, Port Erin, and Ramsey.

Tax haven

As the twentieth century progressed, the Manx tourist economy declined as the English and Irish started flying to Spain for holidays. The Manx government responded by making the island a tax haven. While this helped the Manx economy, detractors have pointed to corruption in the finance industry and money laundering.

Government and politics

Isle of Man politics take place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic British Crown dependency, whereby the Chief Minister is the head of government, and of a pluriform multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in the bicameral Tynwald. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom or the European Union. However, the Isle of Man is a Crown dependency, and the United Kingdom has responsibility for all external, citizenship, good governance, and defense affairs.

The island has no representation at either the UK or EU parliaments. The island is governed by Tynwald, said to be the world's oldest continuously existing parliament.

Executive

The Head of State is the Lord of Mann, which is a hereditary position held by the British monarch (Queen Elizabeth II in 2007). The Lieutenant Governor is appointed by the Queen, on the advice of the UK's Secretary of State for Justice, for a five-year term and nominally exercises executive power on behalf of the Queen. The Chief Minister is elected by the Tynwald following every House of Keys general election, and serves for five years.

Legislature

The Manx legislature is the Tynwald, which consists of two chambers. Nominally founded in 979 C.E., the Tynwald is arguably the oldest continuous parliament in the world. The House of Keys has 24 members, elected for a five year term in multi- and single-seat constituencies. The Legislative Council has 11 members, the President of Tynwald, Bishop of Sodor and Man, the Attorney General and eight other members who are elected from the general population (often they are already Members of the House of Keys) by the House of Keys for a five-year term. Suffrage is universal to all 16 years of age and over.

Most Manx politicians stand for election as independents rather than as representatives of political parties. Though political parties do exist, their influence is not nearly as strong as is the case in the United Kingdom. The largest political party is the Liberal Vannin Party, which promotes greater Manx independence and more accountability in Government. The Liberal Vannin party has two members of Tynwald including Leader Peter Karran MHK. A nationalist pressure group Mec Vannin advocates the establishment of a sovereign republic.

The annual ceremonial meeting in July on Tynwald Day, the Island's national day, continues to be held at Tynwald Hill, where titles are announced and a brief description of the new laws enacted by the Tynwald Court during the previous year is given.

The UK Parliament has paramount power to legislate for the Isle of Man on all matters but it is a long-standing convention that it does not do so on domestic ("insular") matters without Tynwald's consent. The UK's secondary legislation (regulations and Statutory Instruments) cannot be extended to apply to the Isle of Man.

The Isle of Man is subject to certain European Union laws, by virtue of a being a territory for which the UK has responsibility in international law. These laws are in areas excluded in the Isle of Man in its accession treaty–free movement of persons, services and capital and taxation and social policy harmonization. The Isle of Man has had disputes with the European Court of Human Rights because it was late to change its laws concerning birching (corporal punishment) and sodomy.

Judiciary

Isle of Man sheadings

Bailiffs and lay Justices of the Peace preside over the lowest courts. The High Court consists of three civil divisions and is presided over by a Deemster. The Court of General Gaol Delivery is the criminal court for serious offenses. Appeals are dealt with by the Staff of Government Division with final appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom. The head of the judiciary is the First Deemster and Clerk of the Rolls. Justices are appointed by the Lord Chancellor of England on the nomination of the lieutenant governor. Capital punishment in the Isle of Man was formally abolished by Tynwald in 1993 (although the last execution on the island took place in 1872).

The legal system is Manx customary law, a form of common law. Manx law originally derived from Gaelic Brehon law and Norse Udal law. Since those early beginnings, Manx law has developed under the heavy influence of English Common Law, and the uniqueness of the Brehon and Udal foundation is now most apparent only in property and constitutional areas of law.

Citizenship

Citizenship is covered by United Kingdom law and Manx people are classed as British citizens, although those without a grandparent born in the UK (or who have not lived continuously for a period of five or more years in the UK) do not have the same rights as other British Citizens with regard to employment and establishment in the EC. Similarly, citizens of the United Kingdom are subject to the Manx permit laws regarding employment in the Isle of Man.

Sheadings

Local government on the Isle of Man is based around the concept of ancient parishes. The Isle of Man is divided into six sheadings—Ayre, Glenfaba, Garff, Michael, Rushen and Middle. The sheadings form the basis of some constituencies and each has a Coroner. This office must not be confused with the Coroner for Inquests, a role usually fulfilled by the High Bailiff. A person may fulfill the role of coroner for more than one sheading at the same time.

The term "sheading" is thought to be a Norse word for "ship division"; each district was believed to be responsible for producing a certain number of warships. It could also be a Celtic word meaning "sixth part." Under the sheadings there are three types of local authorities: a borough corporation, town commissions, and parish commissions.

Economy

Though fishing, agriculture, and smuggling were formerly important, offshore financial services, high-technology manufacturing, and tourism from Britain are key sectors of the economy. The government offers incentives to high-technology companies and financial institutions to locate on the island; this has paid off in expanding employment opportunities in high-income industries. The Manx government promotes island locations for making films by contributing to the production costs. The Isle of Man also attracts online gambling sites and the film industry. Trade is mostly with the UK. The Isle of Man enjoys free access to EU markets.

The Isle of Man is a low tax economy with no capital gains tax, wealth tax, stamp duty, death duty or inheritance tax and income tax rates of 10 percent and 18 percent; corporation tax is at 0 percent. Trade takes place mostly with the United Kingdom. Exports include tweeds, herring, processed shellfish, beef, and lamb, while imports include timber, fertilizers, and fish.

Per capita GDP was $35,000 in 2005, a rank of 11th worldwide. Unemployment was 0.6 percent in 2004, and there was no report of people living at or below the poverty line.

Demographics

Population

The modern Anglican Peel Cathedral.

According to the 2006 interim census, the Isle of Man is home to 80,058 people, of whom 26,218 live in the island's capital Douglas. Those born in the Isle of Man make up 47.6 percent of the population, in England 37.2 percent, Scotland 3.4 percent, Northern Ireland 2.1 percent, Republic of Ireland 2.1 percent, Wales 1.2 percent, Channel Islands 0.3 percent, while 6.1 percent come from the rest of the world. Inhabitants are a mixture of Manx people, who are of Norse-Celtic descent, and Britons. Life expectancy for the total population was 78.64 years in 2007.

Religion

Anglican, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, Society of Friends are the Christian denominations represented there. Sodor and Man is a diocese of the Church of England. Originally larger, today it covers the Isle of Man and its adjacent islets. Since Man is outside of the United Kingdom, the Bishop does not count as a Lord Spiritual and does not sit in the UK House of Lords, although he is a member of the Legislative Council of the Isle of Man.

Language

Many places, such as Douglas, sport bilingual welcome signs. Note here the consonant mutation of Doolish (Douglas) to Ghoolish.

The official languages of the Isle of Man are the Manx Gaelic and the English language. A dialect of English known as Manx English is spoken.

The Manx Gaelic language is a Goidelic Celtic language closely related to the Scottish Gaelic and Irish languages. Manx remained the everyday speech of the people until the first half of the nineteenth century. By the middle of the twentieth century only a few elderly native speakers remained: the last of them, Ned Maddrell, died on December 27, 1974. By then a scholarly revival had begun to spread to the populace and many had learned Manx as a second language. The first native speakers of Manx (bilingual with English) in many years have now appeared: children brought up by Manx-speaking parents.

In the 2001 census, 1,689 out of 76,315, or 2.2 percent of the population, claimed to have knowledge of Manx, although the degree of knowledge in these cases was presumably varied. A well known Manx expression is Traa Dy Liooar, meaning "time enough" and represents a stereotypical view of the Manx attitude to life.


Culture

Food and drink

Kippered "split" herring.

The national dish of the island is "spuds and herrin," boiled potatoes and herring. This plain dish is chosen because of its role supporting the subsistence farmers of the island, who crafted the land and fished the sea for centuries.

Seafood has accounted for a large proportion of the diet. Although commercial fishing has declined, local delicacies include Manx kippers (smoked herring) which are produced by the smokeries on the west coast of the island. The smokeries also produce other specialties including smoked salmon and bacon. Crab, lobster and scallops are commercially fished, and the Queen Scallop ('Queenies') is regarded as a particular delicacy, with a light, sweet flavor. Cod, ling and mackerel are often angled for the table, and freshwater trout and salmon can be taken from the local rivers and lakes, supported by the Government fish hatchery at Cornaa.

Cattle, sheep, pigs and poultry are all commercially farmed, Manx lamb from the hill-farms being a popular dish. The loughtan, the indigenous breed of Manx sheep, has a rich, dark meat that has found favor with chefs. Manx cheese has been a particular success, featuring smoked and herb-flavored varieties, and is stocked by many of the UK's supermarket chains.

Music

Songs from before the fifteenth century bear similarities to Irish and Scottish music. The Manx sword dance is similar to a lullaby from the Hebrides and is also said to have been a ritual dance during the Scandinavian era. The earliest written evidence describes fiddle music and a variety of folk dances. There was no harp tradition as was otherwise prevalent in Celtic music. English folk songs were popular, later including broadside ballads, jigs and reels. Also extant were traditional Gaelic psalm-singing and other church music.

Church music is the most documented Manx music of the nineteenth century. Organs were a later import that became standard in most of the island's churches. The first collection of Manx church songs was printed in 1799.

A roots revival of Manx folk music began in the 1970s, alongside a general revival of the Manx language and culture. The revival was kick-started, after the 1974 death of the last native speaker of Manx, by a music festival called Yn Çhruinnaght in Ramsey.

Prominent musicians of the Manx musical revival include Emma Christian (Beneath the Twilight), whose music includes the harp and tin whistle, and harpist and producer Charles Guard (Avenging and Bright), an administrator at the Manx Heritage Foundation, MacTullagh Vannin (MacTullagh Vannin) and the duo Kiaull Manninagh (Kiaull Manninagh). Modern bands include The Mollag Band, King Chiaullee and Paitchyn Vannin.

Myth, legend and folklore

In Manx mythology, the island was ruled by Manannán mac Lir, a Celtic sea god, who would draw his misty cloak around the island to protect it from invaders. One of the principal theories about the origin of the name Mann is that it is named after Manannan.

In the island's folklore, there are stories of mythical creatures and characters, including Buggane, a malevolent spirit who according to legend blew the roof off St. Trinian's church in a fit of pique, the Fenodyree, the Glashtyn, and the Moddey Dhoo, a ghostly black dog who wandered the walls and corridors of Peel Castle.

The Isle of Man is also said to be home to fairies, known locally as "the little folk" or "themselves." There is a famous Fairy Bridge and it is said to be bad luck if one fails to wish the fairies good morning or afternoon when passing over it.

An old Irish story tells how Lough Neagh was formed when Ireland's legendary giant Fionn mac Cumhaill (sometimes known as Finn McCool) scooped up a portion of the land and tossed it at a Scottish rival. He missed, and the chunk of earth landed in the Irish Sea, thus creating the Isle of Man.

Sport

Nick Jefferies on his Honda RC30

For a small country, sport in the Isle of Man plays an important part in making the island known to the wider world. The main international motorcycle event associated with the island is the Isle of Man TT, which began in 1907 and takes place in late May and early June. It is now an international road racing event for motor bikes and used to be part of the World Championship. The Manx Grand Prix is a motorcycle event for amateurs and private entrants that use the same 37.73 mile Snaefell mountain course in late August and early September.

The sport of cammag originated on the Isle of Man. It is similar to the Scottish game of shinty, and Irish hurling. Once the most popular sport on the Island, it ceased to be played by the start of the twentieth century]]. It has more recently been revived with an annual match at St. John's.

The Isle of Man is represented internationally in a number of other sports at the Commonwealth Games and the Island Games, as well as cricket, football, gymnastics, hockey and rugby union.

Symbols

For centuries, the Island's symbol has been its ancient triskelion, a device similar to Sicily's Trinacria: three bent legs, each with a spur, joined at the thigh. The Manx triskelion does not appear to have an official definition; Government publications, currency, flags, the tourist authority and others all use different variants. Most, but not all, preserve rotational symmetry, some running clockwise, others counter-clockwise. Some have the uppermost thigh at 12:00, others at 11:30 or 10:00, etc. Some have the knee bent at 90°, some at 60°, some at closer to 120°. Also the degree of ornamentation of the leg wear and spur vary considerably.

Car registration plate featuring the Manx triskelion.

The three legs relate directly to the island's motto: Quocunque Jeceris Stabit, translated as 'Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand'. Interpretations of the motto often stress stability and robustness in the Manx character. Many schools on the island have adapted the motto to promote perseverance and hard work.

The origin of the 'Three Legs of Man' (as they are usually called) is explained in the Manx legend that Manannan repelled an invasion by transforming into the three legs and rolling down the hill and defeating the invaders.

Variations on the Manx triskelion are still in use on the coats of arms belonging to the different branches of the ancient Norwegian noble family that ruled Mann until the thirteenth century. This particular version belongs to the Skancke branch of the Skanke family. The name stems from skank, the Norwegian version of the word 'shank', or 'leg'.

Notes

  1. Central Intelligence Agency, Isle of Man The World Factbook. Retrieved January 24, 2012.

References

  • Kinvig, R. H. The Isle of Man: a social, cultural, and political history. Rutland, VT: C.E. Tuttle Co., 1975. ISBN 9780804811651
  • Chiverrell, Richard, Geoff Thomas, and John Belchem.A new history of the Isle of Man. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2000. ISBN 9780853237266
  • Mathieson, Kenny. Celtic music. Third ear. San Francisco, CA: Backbeat Books, 2001. ISBN 9780879306236
  • Kneale, Trevor, and Derek Croucher. The Isle of Man. Newton Abbot, Devon: Pevensey, 2001. ISBN 9781898630258
  • Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. The Isle of Man: an independent-minded democracy. London: General Council of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, 2006. OCLC 73692555
  • Randles, Jenny. Supernatural Isle of Man. London: Robert Hale, 2006. ISBN 9780709079682

External links

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