ISLE OF MAN
The Isle of Man has its own government, is a recognised separate country amongst the British Isles, however is not actually part of the U.K., but a British crown dependency. Also known as 'Mann', the island sits in the Irish sea, and the country has the worlds oldest continuous parliament, the Tynwald, which is 1000 years old. It was part of the Norwegian Kingdom of the Hebrides until the 13th century, when it was ceded to Scotland, coming under the British crown in 1765.
The Isle of Man lies in the Irish Sea mid-way between Ireland and Britain, and is an island of hills and glens, cliffs and sandy beaches, and picturesque harbours. 'Mann' probably derives from the name of the old Celtic sea god, Manannan Mac Lir. Today's population of about 80,000 speak English, but the original language here is Manx Gaelic. Manx died as a commonly spoken community language, with the last native Manx speaker in 1974, but has recently been revived. Today the Isle of Man is famous for the annual 'T.T.' motor-cycle races, and the tail-less Manx cat.
Celtic people were in Mann 2500 years ago, and were largely ignored by the Roman occupiers of Britain. Around 500 A.D. Celtic monks brought Christianity to Mann, and built tiny chapels called 'keeills' and memorial stone crosses (204 around the island), ranging from relatively plain to intricately carved with interlaced knotwork, and some Ogham inscriptions (a system of marks that equated to letters).
In the late 8th century Viking raiders came to the island, and their influence subtly changed the artwork, with added Runic inscriptions. The last Viking King of Mann died in 1265. The next few hundred years were a struggle between Vikings, Scots and English for the Lordship of Mann. By the early 1400s the English controlled the island, and Henry 4th made the Stanleys kings of Mann, ruling until 1736.
Manx history is by no means as simple as described above, and more details can be found via our links page.
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.