The Isle Of Man

21 Jan The Isle Of Man

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The Isle of Man (also spelled Mann) is an island located in the Irish Sea, geographically between Northern Ireland and England. It has an interesting history, coat-of-arms, and flag. It appears to have been first inhabited in the 5th century by Irish people, and continues to be influenced by Gaelic culture and language today. However, the island was conquered later in that century by the King of Northumbria (mostly eastern portion of England), thereby it received Anglo-Saxon influence.

In the 9th century, when England, Scotland, and Ireland were subjected to merciless Viking (Norsemen) raids, the Isle of Man became a Norse base and eventually a possession of the King of Norway. Scotland got the place by treaty with Norway in 1266. Then, England got it in 1399 after it became clearer that England would conquer, subdue, and subsume most of its neighbors. It was about that time that the very diverse people of the Isle of Man exerted their independence and developed their coat of arms and a motto. The Latin motto means, “Whithersoever you throw it, it will stand,” which fits with the coat of arms that depicts a pair of running legs and feet of a man joined to a third leg and foot that replaces the man’s torso and head.

Today, the Isle of Man is a “Crown Dependency,” which is a governance that recognizes the sovereignty of Britain while reserving much independence. Web search crown dependency and see if you can figure it out. I find it to be very confusing by design. The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom, nor is it a British Overseas Territory. It is not a member of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Isle of Man, as well as two English Channel Islands (Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey) separately have their own legislatures, coinage, and they can pick and choose which British treaties that they wish to adopt.

I will leave you with an opinion. As England conquered its neighbors, the Isle of Man was of little significance. When Britain was formed, the inhabitants of the island could not represent much of a threat. Also, English people settled there to overwhelm the indigenous population. Yet, they also seem to have “drunk the Kool-Aid” and became part of the island’s tradition of being an independent people. As long as the inhabitants do not invite a world power that is a threat to Britain, (think about how Cuba invited the Soviet Union to set up nuclear-capable missiles in the 1960’s), Britain will have no justification to spill blood to have the place. Otherwise, I believe the people of the Isle of Man, and especially their ancestors, are fortunate to have tweaked the nose of the English Lion that might have crushed them with a single swipe of the paw.

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