Isle of Man
Isle of Man, Man also spelled Mann, Manx-Gaelic Ellan Vannin or Mannin, Latin Mona or Monapia, one of the British Isles, located in the Irish Sea off the northwest coast of England. The island lies roughly equidistant between England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. The Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom but rather is a crown possession (since 1828) that is self-governing in its internal affairs under the supervision of the British Home Office.
The Isle of Man is about 30 miles (48 km) long by 10 miles (16 km) wide, its main axis being southwest to northeast. It has an area of 221 square miles (572 square km). The island consists of a central mountain mass culminating in Snaefell (2,036 feet [621 metres) and extending north and south in low-lying agricultural land. Man’s coastline is rocky and has fine cliff scenery. The grass-covered slate peaks of the central massif are smooth and rounded as a result of action during various glacial periods. The island’s landscape is treeless except in sheltered places. To the southwest lies an islet, the Calf of Man, with precipitous cliffs, which is administered by the Manx National Heritage as a bird sanctuary.
Though fishing, agriculture, and smuggling were formerly important, offshore financial services, high-technology manufacturing, and tourism from Britain are now the mainstays of the island’s economy. The island’s annual Tourist Trophy motorcycle races (in June) attract many visitors. The island’s farms produce oats, wheat, barley, turnips, and potatoes, and cattle and sheep graze on the pastures of the central massif. The principal towns are Douglas, the capital; Peel; Castletown; and Ramsey. There is an airport near Castletown, and packet boats connect Man with the British mainland.