SFDH Logo (tiny)

The Society of Folk Dance Historians (SFDH)

Isle of Man

[ Home | About | Encyclopedia |
| Publications | Members ]


Isle of Man map


Information: A dependency.

The Isle of Man (also Manx or Mann), is a self-governing British Crown dependency situated in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland. The British head of state holds the title of Lord of Mann and is represented by a lieutenant governor. The United Kingdom has responsibility for the island's defence.

Humans have lived on the island since before 6500 BCE. Gaelic cultural influence began in the 5th century CE, and the Manx language, a branch of the Gaelic languages, emerged. The Manx name of the Isle of Man is Ellan Vannin: ellan is a Manx word meaning "island."

In 1266 the island became part of Scotland under the Treaty of Perth, after being ruled by Norway. After a period of alternating rule by the kings of Scotland and England, the island came under the feudal lordship of the English Crown in 1399. It has, however, always retained its internal self-government.

In 1866, the Isle of Man obtained limited home rule, with partly democratic elections to the House of Keys, but an appointed Legislative Council. Since then, democratic government has been gradually extended.

The island has absorbed customs and influences from its neighbors, as well as ancient Celts and Norwegians, yet retained a culture of its own. Man has its own Parliament and, in fact, the Tynwald is the oldest continuous legislative body in Europe, going back to 969 CE when the elders first gathered on Tynwald Hill just outside the town of Peel.

There are many folk customs, some limited to Man, while others show a strong similarity to those of its neighbors.

"National" Dance: Hunting the Wren

Language: The official language is English. Manx has traditionally been spoken but, although it has been stated to be "critically endangered," it now has a growing number of young speakers.

Religion: Predominantly Christian


This page © 2018 by Ron Houston.
Please do not copy any part of this page without including this copyright notice.
Please do not copy small portions out of context.
Please do not copy large portions without permission from Ron Houston.