One of the six Celtic Nations, (the others are Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Brittany),the Isle of Man cherishes its Gaelic heritage and independence. It is, for example, not part of the United Kingdom, but a Crown Protectorate with the Queen as Lord of Mann represented on the island by the Lieutenant Governor. Its Parliament, the Tynwald, dates back more than 1000 years toAD979 and is the oldest continuous parliament in the world. It does not exact capital gains or inheritance tax, and personal tax allowances and reliefs are much more generous than in the UK itself. The island issues its own stamps, coins and notes with the currency having an equivalent value to that of the UK. Recently issued coins include ones to commemorate the 2007/8 Tutankhamun exhibition at the O2 Arena, a crown coin marking the Chinese Year of the Horse, 2002,and, each year, a limited number of 50p coins featuring the Tourist Trophy (TT) races. The island is perhaps best known for these annual TT motorcycle races, along with its tailless cat, Manx kippers, and as a tax haven for the wealthy.
Although only 33 miles long and 13 miles wide, the island contains a rich diversity of scenery and heritage and, perhaps best of all, exudes a sense of peacefulness epitomised by the Manx Gaelic saying: traa-dy-liooar – “Time enough”.
This magical place became an island around 10,000 years ago when the melt water of the Ice Age raised the sea level. Soon afterwards, the first settlers arrived, working and developing the island into the landscape seen today. The distinctive influences of the various cultures who have lived here still remain, leaving a land with a unique and colourful heritage.
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