Despite being geographically part of the British Isles the Isle of Man has always retained an identity distinct from those of its neighbours England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, although throughout the first half of the second millennium sovereignty passed repeatedly between England and Scotland. The method of government of the island is somewhat unique, being derived from a mixture of Celtic and Viking Law, and is called the Tynwald and is the world's oldest parliamentary body with over 1,000 years of unbroken rule.

The capital is Douglas and the Isle of Man is not part of the United Kingdom and has its own laws, although as a Crown Dependency it relies on the UK Government for defence and diplomatic matters.

Things that the Isle of Man is particularly well-known for include:

  • It is a tax haven and many wealthy British individuals and companies have offshore accounts located there.
  • The TT Races -- the world's most famous (and most dangerous) motorcycle races, held annually.
  • A peculiar species of cat, the Manx cat, which is notable for the fact that it has no tail.
  • The symbol of the island is "The Three Legs of Mann", which is made up of three legs of armour, bent at the knee and joined at the hip, arranged in a circular pattern. It's easier to see it (http://www.isle-of-man.com/interests/three-legs/index.htm) than to explain it!

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