Manx - History and Cultural Relations

The area that is now the Isle of Man was inhabited by hunters and gatherers after the last glaciation, around 9,000 B.C. The rise of agriculture occurred around 4,000 B.C. , and later the people developed the use of bronze (c. 2,000 B.C. to 600 B.C. ). The Celtic culture developed shortly before the Roman occupation of Britain (55 B.C. ). Although the Romans were aware of the Isle of Man, no archaeological evidence exists to show they ever visited the island. The historical period dates to the late fifth to early sixth century A.D. and roughly marks the Beginning of the Early Christian period ( A.D. 450-800). In the eighth century, Vikings used the island as a staging area for raids against Ireland, and later they conquered the Manx, incorporating the island into various rulers' kingdoms. Many existing institutions, place-names, and linguistic features date from this period. In 1266, the period of Viking dynastic kings ended, and the Scots and the Irish vied for the island, until Edward III defeated the Scots and established the isle as a separate kingdom. The island continued to change hands until 1405, when John Stanley acquired it and began a 300-year dynasty. In 1651, the Manx, led by Illiam Dhone (William Christian) rebelled against the island's rulers, an event that facilitated the island's surrender to Cromwellian forces. The Stanley family was reinstated after the restoration of the monarchy, but the island came under Crown dominion in 1765, when John Murray, then Lord of Man, sold his sovereignty rights.

The Isle of Man remains an ethnically diverse and complicated society. The island has long attracted Irish, English, and Scottish immigrants. Economic hardships following World War II resulted in Tynwald (the Manx government) legislating tax reforms and offering economic incentives to attract the wealthy (known locally as "New Residents") to settle. This legislation has brought economic prosperity, but economic opportunism among New Residents, land speculation, and rising living costs have heightened ethnic tensions. Since the late 1960s, nationalism among the Manx has grown, sometimes resulting in vandalism of New Residents' property.

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