The Isle of Man is a self-governing British Crown Dependency in the Irish Sea, with a population of 85,000, its own tricameral parliament, the Tynwald (the world’s oldest continuously operating democratic assembly), its own language and legislation.
The state only fairly recently legalized same-sex relationships, made seat-belts compulsory for motorists, and outlawed birching as punishment, but still has not introduced speed limits on the roads outside its capital, Douglas.
Once a major maritime power, the island governs its own domestic affairs and raises its own revenue, but makes a financial contribution to the UK for its defense and international representation.
Apart from having a well-functioning financial system and being, like most offshore British dependencies, a tax haven, the Isle of Man has a rapidly expanding manufacturing sector, with a number of precision-engineering, aerospace, IT, and other companies, largely responsible for the microstate’s 25 years of uninterrupted economic growth and the fact that it’s per capita income is almost twice as high as in the UK.
The island’s motto, represented by the three-legged Manx symbol, or Triskeles, is Quocunque Jeceris Stabit, which, translated from Latin, means ‘whichever way you throw me I stand’, or – in a somewhat looser version – ‘Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down’.
There is no consensus as to the origins of the island’s name, but all connections with the human male are irrelevant. ‘Man’ in this case originates either from Mannanin Beg Mchir, the legendary wizard-king of the Vikings or from Mona, the name given to the island by Julius Caesar.