Man, Isle of, an island dependency of the United Kingdom. The Isle of Man lies near the middle of the Irish Sea, about equally distant from England, Scotland, and Ireland. It is 33 miles (53 km) long and up to 12 miles (19 km) wide. The total area is 227 square miles (588 km2). The island is hilly, rising to about 2,000 feet (610 m), and has a rocky, indented coastline. More than half of the land is under cultivation, the main crops being oats, fruits, and vegetables. The island is both a tourist center and a retirement center. Woolen tweeds and cured fish known as kippers are produced on a small scale.
In 2001 the population of the Isle of Man was 76,315. Douglas is the capital and largest town. The island's inhabitants are people of Celtic origin, and are called Manx or Manxmen. English has almost completely replaced the Manx language. The Manx cat, a domestic cat with long hind legs and no tail, has been bred on the island for many years.
The Isle of Man is governed by the Tynwald, which is composed of the Legislative Council (upper house) and the House of Keys (lower house). The House of Keys is one of the world's oldest continuing legislative bodies, dating back perhaps 1,000 years. The British crown is represented by a lieutenant governor. Acts of the United Kingdom Parliament apply to the Isle of Man only when the island is specifically mentioned.
After 800 A.D. the Celtic settlers of the Isle of Man were conquered by Viking raiders. The island was under Norwegian sovereignty from 885 to 1266, when it was ceded to Scotland. It gradually came under English control with the earls of Derby ruling as lords. In 1765 the island became directly subject to the British crown.