Isle of Man: Country and Foreign Investment
Population, Language and Culture
Population density is only 148 people per square km. The major settlements are Douglas (population 27,935 according to the 2011 census) in the east and neighbouring Onchan (9,283) and Ramsey (7,809) in the north. The 2013 estimate for resident population is 86,159. The increase in population since 2001 occurred mainly within the working age range through the immigration of economically active people, which reflected the expansion in the Manx economy over the previous years.
English is the official language and a Manx dialect is also spoken. The Manx Iron Age lasted from around 500 BC to 500 AD and the Celtic traditions established during this period are fundamental to the culture today. Manx Gaelic was the everyday language of the people until the nineteenth century and is currently enjoying a revival. Sea trade developed and flourished due to the Island's strategic location in the heart of the Irish sea. Cultural influences from Scandinavia in the north, Europe in the south, Britain and Ireland have all touched the Island. Christianity was introduced as early as the sixth century and became integrally linked to the lives of the Manx people.
In 1265 at the end of the Norsk Kingdom the Island became a pawn in a game of war between Scotland and England. Sovereignty finally passed to the English Crown at the beginning of the fifteenth century. In the eighteenth century the Island's offshore independence made it a major centre for the smuggling trade, causing a considerable loss of revenue to the English Treasury. The British Government intervened and in 1765 the entire Island was purchased for GBP70,000. A period of direct rule from Westminster followed and it was not until the mid-1800s that the Island regained a measure of control over its internal finances. Since that time political power has gradually diverted from London to the Island and a colonial-style administration has given way to a modern democratic government.
The people of the Isle of Man have a great respect for their rich cultural heritage which is a testimony to their ability to adapt and exploit the changing circumstances of history.