Manx people

Manx people
Harry Manx at Bluesfest 2008.jpgHall Caine.jpgLiverpool article01 body02.jpg
Illiam-dhone.jpgMark Cavendish - seconde étape du Tour de Romandie 2010C.jpgEdward Forbes.jpg

Row 1: Harry Manx  • Hall Caine  • William Abdullah Quilliam
Row 2: Illiam Dhone  • Mark Cavendish  • Edward Forbes

Total population
The Isle of Man currently has a population of 80,058 in 2006, of which 47.6% native-born
Regions with significant populations
English (see Anglo-Manx) · Manx
mainly Christianity
mostly Protestant (Anglican and Methodist, Baptist),
also Roman Catholic, Mormon, Christian Scientist
Related ethnic groups

British, Celts (Bretons, Cornish, Gaels, Irish, Scots, Welsh) · English · Scandinavians (Norwegians, Danes, Icelanders, Faroese)

The Manx (Manx: Manninee) are an ethnic group coming from the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea in northern Europe. They are often described as a Celtic people, though they have had a mixed background including Norse and English influences.


Make-up of Isle of Man population

According to the 2006 interim census,[1] the Isle of Man is home to 80,058 people, of whom 26,218 reside in the island's capital Douglas. Most of the population is born in the British Isles, with 47.6% born in the Isle of Man, 37.2% born in England, 3.4% in Scotland, 2.1% in Northern Ireland, 2.1% in the Republic of Ireland, 1.2% in Wales and 0.3% born in the Channel Islands, with 6.1% of people being born elsewhere in the world.

Manx people living in the UK were commonly grouped by the 2001 census under "White British". As well as major immigration from England, the Isle of Man has had many Irish residents, and to a lesser degree, Scottish and Welsh people. The extremely high proportion of foreigners to natives has removed or corrupted some local culture and vernacular speech.


Manx people have traditionally had three vernaculars:

  • Manx, a Gaelic language.
  • English language
    • Anglo-Manx, the distinctive indigenous English dialect of the Manx, now little-used.
    • British English, the usual form of English used in the Isle of Man, especially for formal purposes.

Both English and Manx are official languages in the Tynwald.

History and politics

The Isle of Man is often labelled as one of the six Celtic nations, though it has had a mixed cultural background and has been under Norse, Scottish and English control for much of the past thousand years.

The earliest traces of people in the Isle of Man date to around 8000 BC, during the Mesolithic Period, also known as the Middle Stone Age. Small, nomadic family groups lived in campsites, hunting wild game, fishing the rivers and coastal waters and gathering plant foods.[2]

The Neolithic period was marked by important economic and social changes. By 4000 BC, people once reliant upon the uncultivated natural resources of the land and sea had adopted cereal growing and stock rearing, using imported species of grain and animals. Large scale clearance of natural woodland provided fields for crops and animal fodder.[3]

During the Iron Age, Celtic influences began to arrive on the island. Based on inscriptions, inhabitants appear to have been using a Brythonic language; however, at some point, possibly c. 700 AD, it is assumed that Irish invasion or immigration formed the basis of a new culture, after which the Manx came to speak Gaelic. This language has developed in isolation since, though remains closely related to Irish, and Scottish Gaelic.[4]

At the end of the 8th century, Viking settlers began to arrive and establish settlements, eventually coming to dominate the island.[5]

The Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles was created by Godred Crovan in 1079. The Norse had a major impact on the island, leaving behind Norse placenames, and influencing its distinctive political system, Tynwald (from Old Norse, Þingvóllr), which is one of the oldest parliamentary democracies in the world.

In 1266, as dictated in the Treaty of Perth, Norway's King Magnus VI ceded the isles to Scotland. For more than a century the Isle of Man, during the Anglo-Scottish wars, passed between Scotland and England. During this troubled period the Island was captured by the Scottish army of Robert the Bruce in 1313. Later in the 14th century, when England once more seized the Island, the Lordship - indeed kingship - was given to the Montacute family, Earls of Salisbury.

In 1405 the Lordship was granted to Sir John Stanley, whose descendants (later the Earls of Derby) ruled the Isle of Man for over 300 years. The lordship passed through a female line to the Dukes of Athol in 1736, and was eventually purchased by the British Crown in 1765.

After 1866, when the Isle of Man obtained a measure of at least nominal Home Rule, the Manx people have developed a modern nation with an economy based on the finance industry, farming and tourism.

The 20th century saw a revival of interest in Manx music, dance, and the Manx language, though the last native (first language) speaker of Manx died in the 1970s. In the middle part of the twentieth century, the Taoiseach Éamon de Valera visited, and became so distressed at the lack of support for Manx that he immediately had two recording vans sent over to record the language before it disappeared completely.

As the century progressed, the Manx tourist economy declined, both because of the effects of the two world wars and later as tourists began to take advantage of cheaper air travel to take European package holidays. The Manx government responded to this situation in the 1960s by changing the island's economy to make it a finance centre. While this has had beneficial effects on the Manx economy, it has had its detractors, who have pointed to negative aspects such as money laundering. The economic changes gave a short-lived impetus to Manx nationalism in the 1970 & 1980's, spawning Mec Vannin, a nationalist party, as well as the now defunct Manx National Party and Fo Halloo (literally 'Underground'), which mounted a direct-action campaign of spray-painting and house-burning. Nationalist politics has since declined and many former candidates are now in mainstream politics.

The 1990s and early 21st century have seen a greater recognition of indigenous Manx culture, such as the first Manx language primary school, though Manx culture still remains on the margins of popular culture for the majority of Manx residents.

Manx political parties

Manx politicians are usually independent candidates rather than party members. Political parties such as Liberal Vannin and the Manx Labour Party have been active in recent years. Mec Vannin and the now-defunct Manx National Party are examples of two nationalist parties which were active at one time in the island.

Work permits and immigration

The Isle of Man has had a complicated relationship with the United Kingdom over the years - it is technically neither part of the UK, nor the European Union, but is a Crown Dependency.

Manx people, as British citizens, may travel and work freely in the United Kingdom. Passports issued on the Island are marked 'British Islands - Isle of Man', instead of 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland', and these passports are issued to all British citizens resident on the island.

Manx people without a family link or past residency in the UK are restricted from exercising the right to live and work in other EU countries.

The Isle of Man is part of the Common Travel Area, which means there are no immigration controls on travel to and from the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Notable Manx and people of Manx descent

See also


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