Nation profile

Isle of Man
Ellan Vannin o Mannin

General information
Population
84,497 h (2011 census)
Area
588 km²
Institutions
Government of Man, Parliament (Tynwald)
Major cities
Douglas (Doolish)
State administration
UK crown dependency
Territorial languages
Manx
Official languages
English
Major religion
Christianity (Anglican)
National day
5 july (Tynwald Day)

History

The Isle of Man was subject, throughout the Middle Ages, to the successive domination of Scotland, Norway and England. This fact had its cultural correlation in the double Celtic and Nordic influence that shaped the island’s identity: its own language, Manx, belongs to the Celtic group, while its oldest government institution —the Assembly, or Tynwald— has Viking roots.

Permanently associated to the English crown since 1346, the island enjoyed semi-autonomous government via Tynwald. Over the centuries, the Assembly became the country’s legislature. In 1866 a system of internal self-government was consolidated, as the island remained a British crown dependence. One year later, for the first time in history, Tynwald’s lower house was elected in a semi-democratic vote (only landowner males were allowed to vote). Universal suffrage was implemented in 1919.

At the beginning of the 20th century, after centuries of Anglicization, a movement for cultural and linguistic revival emerged, with the Manx Language Society at its core. In mid-20th century the island became an offshore tax haven, which attracted companies and new high-income residents and triggered a rise in prices. Shortly after, nationalist party Mec Vannin was founded, aimed at turning the country into a fully independent republic which could implement a left-wing agenda against privileges of corporations.

Politics and self-government

The Isle of Man has its own government and Parliament (Tynwald), consisting of two chambers: the House of Keys and the Legislative Council. The government of Man collects the taxes that are paid in the country and, together with the Parliament, exercises full internal self-government. The lieutenant governor, representative of the British crown, is the chief executive, and has the functions of giving royal assent to Man legislation and exercising powers in foreign affairs.

Despite being a dependency of the British crown, Man is not a part of the United Kingdom (nor of the European Union). The UK government, being the government of Her Majesty, is responsible for the defense and international relations of Man. Man citizenship does not exist; the island’s natives are British citizens. The UK Parliament has the capacity to approve laws that the Isle of Man must fulfill; by convention, and when it comes to the island’s internal rule, Westminster does not usually pass laws without the consent of the institutions of Man.

Three active political parties exist: the Labour Party, the Liberal Party and Mec Vannin. In the 2016 election, only Liberal Party candidates were returned. Man has a longstanding tradition of mostly electing independent candidates.

Chief minister: Howard Quayle, independent (since 2016)
Distribution of seats in Parliament (House of Keys, 24 members). 2016 election:
Independent MHKs - 21
Liberal Party - 3
Government: alliance of independent members and Liberal Party

(Last update November 2017.)