Man Isle Of (Manx Mannin, Orelian Van-Nin; Lat. Monapia) , an island belonging to Great Britain, in the Irish sea, about midway between England, Scotland, and Ireland, its centre Iving in lat. 54° 16' K, Ion. 4° 30' W.; length N. N. E. and S. S. W. 31 m., greatest breadth 12 m.; area, 227 sq. m.; pop. in 1871, 54,042. The coasts are very irregular, and on the east and southwest are precipitous. There are numerous bays with good anchorage. A ridge of mountains traverses the length of the island, culminating in Mt. Snaefell at an elevation of 2,024 ft. above the sea. Its prevailing geological formation is clay slate, varied on the E. side with large masses of granite. The principal rivers are the Neb, Colby, and Black and Gray Waters, all of which are very small. The climate is mild and equable, the mean temperature of summer being about 60° F. and of winter 42°. The chief mineral resources of the island consist of lead, zinc, copper, and iron; lead is extensively mined. The soil is fruitful, but agriculture is not in a very forward state. Oats, barley, wheat, potatoes, turnips, and hay arc the principal crops. A native breed of small sturdy horses, an inferior kind of sheep, horned cattle, and pigs in great number, are among the domestic animals.
The island possesses a breed of cats having either no tail, or at most a merely rudimental substitute for it. Sea birds and some rare kinds of fish are also found. The fisheries of herring were formerly the principal reliance of the islanders, but of late have become inconsiderable. There are some bleaching works, but few manufacturing establishments. The government is vested in the queen in council, the governor, and the "house of keys," a self-perpetuating body, consisting of 24 landed proprietors, who are considered the representatives of the people, and whose concurrence is necessary to give validity to every law; the acts of the British parliament do not affect the isle of Man unless expressly extended to it. The governor is appointed by the crown and assisted by a council of officers. Besides the ordinary civil and ecclesiastical courts, there are ancient tribunals called "deemsters' courts," the judges of which, called deemsters, are chosen by the people, one for the N. and another for the S. division of the island, and possess very extensive authority. Questions relating to the herring fishery are tried before an officer called the water bailiff, who also appoints two fishermen called admirals to preserve order among their fellows.
The established religion is that of the church of England, under the bishop of Sodor and Man, who has a seat but no vote in the British house of lords. - The island was originally peopled by the Manx, a Celtic tribe, whose language, a sub-dialect of the Gaelic or Celtic, forming one branch with the Erse and Irish, is still spoken in the northwest and west, though English is generally understood. The island was held for some time as a feudal sovereignty by the earls of Derby, and afterward by the dukes of Athol, from whom the sovereignty and revenues were purchased by the crown in 1765 for the sum of £70,000, to which an annuity of £2,000 was subsequently added. In 1829 the ducal family's remaining interests in the island, including the manorial rights and patronage of the see, were sold to the crown for £4-16,114. The chief towns are Castletown (the capital), Peel, Douglas, and Ramsay.