The Manx (/mæŋks/; Manx: ny Manninee) are a Celtic ethnic group[4][5] originating in the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea in northern Europe. Their native culture has significant Norse and English influences.

Ny Manninee
Total population
95,788 (In the Isle of Man 39.508,Canada,[1] the United States,[2] and Australia[citation needed])
Regions with significant populations

 Isle of Man
 England (especially Liverpool, Manchester, and London)
 United States (especially Cleveland)
 New Zealand
 Canada 6,125 (including those of mixed ancestry)[3]

 Pitcairn Islands
English (see Anglo-Manx) · Manx
Predominantly Christianity
mostly Protestant (Anglican and Methodist, Baptist),
also Roman Catholic, Mormon, Christian Scientist
Related ethnic groups
Scots, Irish, Gaels, Welsh, Cornish, Bretons, Faroese, Orcadians, Norwegians, English

Isle of Man demographicsEdit

According to the 2011 interim census,[6] the Isle of Man is home to 84,655 people, of whom 26,218 reside in the island's capital Douglas. The largest proportion of the population was born on the island, but major settlement by English people and others has significantly altered the demographics. According to the 2011 census, 47.6% were born in the Isle of Man, and 37.2% were born in England, with smaller numbers born elsewhere: 3.4% in Scotland, 2.1% in Northern Ireland, 2.1% in the Republic of Ireland, 1.2% in Wales and 0.3% born in the Channel Islands, with 6.1% of the population having been born elsewhere in the world.

Manx people living in the UK were commonly grouped by the 2001 census under "White British". The extremely high ratio of "come-overs" to "natives" has brought with it changes in terms of culture, identity and speech. Manx people have also made a significant contribution elsewhere through migration. The Manx have a long tradition of moving to Liverpool for work, hence a lot of Liverpool people have Manx ancestry, among them Paul McCartney of The Beatles.[7] A lot of Manx people emigrated to the United States, notably to Cuyahoga County and Lake County, Ohio.[8]


Bilingual street sign, Ramsey town centre

Manx people have traditionally had three vernaculars:

  • Manx, a Gaelic language.
  • English language
    • Anglo-Manx, the distinctive indigenous English dialect of the Manx, now much diluted.
    • British English, the usual form of English used in the Isle of Man, especially for formal purposes.

The English language is used in Tynwald; the use of Manx there is restricted to a few formulaic phrases. However some Manx is used to a very limited extent in official publications, street signs etc., and education in the Manx language is offered in schools. The Manx language knowledge of most people on the island is limited to a few words.

Historically, Old Norse was a North Germanic language spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and their overseas settlements, including the Kingdom of the Isles, from about the 9th to the 13th centuries. Many place names on the Isle of Man have Old Norse derivations.

History and politicsEdit

The Isle of Man is one of the six Celtic nations, and has been under Norse, Scottish and English control for much of the past thousand years.

The earliest traces of people in the Isle of Man date to around 8000 BC, during the Mesolithic Period, also known as the Middle Stone Age. Small, nomadic family groups lived in camp sites, hunting wild game, fishing the rivers and coastal waters and gathering plant foods.[9]

The Neolithic period was marked by important economic and social changes. By 4000 BC, people once reliant upon the uncultivated natural resources of the land and sea had adopted cereal growing and stock rearing, using imported species of grain and animals. Large scale clearance of natural woodland provided fields for crops and animal fodder.[10]

During the Iron Age, Celtic influence began to arrive on the island. Based on inscriptions, the inhabitants appear to have used a Brythonic language; however, at some point, possibly c. 700 AD, it is assumed that Irish invasion or immigration formed the basis of a new culture, and the Manx came to speak Gaelic. This language has developed in isolation since, though it remains closely related to Irish, and Scottish Gaelic.[11]

At the end of the 8th century, Viking settlers began to arrive and establish settlements, eventually coming to dominate the island.[12]

The Norse Kingdom of Mann and the Isles was created by Godred Crovan in 1079. The Norse had a major impact on the island, leaving behind Norse placenames, and influencing its distinctive political system, Tynwald (from Old Norse, Þingvóllr), which is one of the oldest parliamentary democracies in the world.

In 1266, under the Treaty of Perth, Norway's King Magnus VI ceded the isles to Scotland. For more than a century the Isle of Man, during the Anglo-Scottish wars, passed between Scotland and England. During this troubled period the Island was captured by the Scottish army of Robert the Bruce in 1313. Later in the 14th century, when England once more seized the Island, the Lordship – indeed kingship – was given to the Montacute family, Earls of Salisbury.

In 1405, the Lordship was granted to Sir John Stanley, whose descendants (later the Earls of Derby) ruled the Isle of Man for over 300 years. The lordship passed through a female line to the Dukes of Atholl in 1736, and was eventually purchased by the British Crown in 1765.

Since 1866, when the Isle of Man obtained a measure of home rule, the Manx people have developed into a modern nation with an economy based decreasingly on agriculture and fishing and increasingly first on tourism and then on financial and other services.

The 20th century saw a revival of interest in Manx music and dance, and in the Manx language, though the last native (first language) speaker of Manx died in the 1970s. In the middle of the 20th century, the Taoiseach Éamon de Valera visited, and was so distressed at the lack of support for Manx that he immediately had two recording vans sent over to record the language before it disappeared completely.

As the century progressed, the Manx tourist economy declined, first because of the effects of the two world wars and later as tourists began to take advantage of cheaper air travel to take European package holidays. The Manx government responded in the 1960s by promoting the island as an offshore financial centre. While this has had beneficial effects on the Manx economy, it has had its detractors, who have pointed to negative aspects such as the effects on local house prices, and perhaps also money laundering.[citation needed] The economic changes gave a short-lived impetus to Manx nationalism in the 1970s and 1980s, spawning Mec Vannin, a nationalist group, as well as the now-defunct Manx National Party and Fo Halloo ("Underground"), which mounted a direct-action campaign of spray-painting and house-burning. Nationalist politics has since declined and a number of its former proponents are now in mainstream politics.

The 1990s and early 21st century have seen a greater recognition of indigenous Manx culture, such as the first Manx-medium primary school, though Manx culture still remains on the margins of popular culture for the majority of Manx residents.

Manx political partiesEdit

Most Manx politicians are independents rather than party members. Political parties such as Liberal Vannin (currently the only party with MHKs) and the Manx Labour Party (which had several MHKs in the mid 20th century) have been active in recent years.

Work permits and immigrationEdit

The Isle of Man has had a complicated relationship with the United Kingdom over the years – it is neither part of the UK, nor of the European Union, but is a Crown Dependency.

Manx people, as British citizens, may travel and work freely in the United Kingdom. Passports issued on the Island are marked 'British Islands – Isle of Man', instead of 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland', and these passports are issued to all British citizens resident on the island.

Manx people without a family link or past residency in the UK are restricted from exercising the right to live and work in other EU countries.

The Isle of Man is part of the Common Travel Area, which means there are no immigration controls on travel to and from the UK and Republic of Ireland; however a work permit is generally required in order to work on the island.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Statistics Canada. "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Table 1. First, Second, and Total Responses to the Ancestry Question by Detailed Ancestry Code: 2000". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Minahan, James (2000). One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 179. ISBN 0313309841. The Cornish are related to the other Celtic peoples of Europe, the Bretons,* Irish,* Scots,* Manx,* Welsh,* and the Galicians* of northwestern Spain
  5. ^ Minahan, James (2000). One Europe, Many Nations: A Historical Dictionary of European National Groups. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 766. ISBN 0313309841. Celts, 257, 278, 523, 533, 555, 643; Bretons, 129-33; Cornish, 178-81; Gali- cians, 277-80; Irish, 330-37; Manx, 452-55; Scots, 607-12; Welsh
  6. ^ Summary results of the Isle of Man Census 2011
  7. ^ Manx Beatle
  8. ^ Ohio Manx
  9. ^ "Hunter Gatherers – Isle of Man Government Manx National Heritage:". Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  10. ^ "First Farmers – Isle of Man Government Manx National Heritage:". Archived from the original on 8 November 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  11. ^ "Celtic Farmers – Isle of Man Government Manx National Heritage:". Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.
  12. ^ "The Vikings – Isle of Man Government Manx National Heritage:". Archived from the original on 12 November 2012. Retrieved 17 August 2012.