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Everything You Always Wanted To Know About The Isle Of Man (But Were Too Afraid To Ask)

Who would have thought a 15 mile wide island would have so much to offer.

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It has its own language

Manx Gaelic, though once spoken by the majority of the population, is now considered a critically endangered language with only a handful of fluent speakers remaining. The language's last native speaker, Ned Maddrell, died in 1974.

It has its own money

Like the rest of the UK the currency of the Isle of Man is pound sterling, however it does print it's own money. The main difference between Manx money and money found in the rest of UK is that pound notes are still used on the Isle of Man.

As was the fastest man on two wheels

Mark Cavendish - Tour de France green jersey and world championship winner - is without doubt the most famous Manxman in the world right now. In 2006 he won Commonwealth gold for the Isle of Man in the scratch race, leaving them 19th on the medal table. This put them above such countries as Northern Ireland and Bangladesh - the latter has a population of 161 million, compared to the Island's 80,000.

They won a gold medal at London 2012

And Cav isn't the Isle of Man's only cycling superstar. Last summer Manxman Peter Kennaugh was one quarter of the winning Team Pursuit team that coasted to victory in the velodrome - this was the Island's first Olympic gold in over a century.

And now there are even Manx people making themselves at home in Hollywood

When it's not producing world-beating sportsman or one of the best selling pop groups of all time, the Isle of Man also likes to spawn Hollywood starlets. Island born Sam Barks starred alongside Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables.

Is it NOT part of the UK

Like Jersey and Guernsey in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man is a Crown Dependency. This means that they are self-governing, and whilst they follow the UK in many respects, they are free to make laws of their own.

It has the oldest continuous parliament in the world

Tynwald - the originally Norse name given to the Island's parliament - is claimed to be the oldest continuous parliament in the world, dating by to 979AD. Pictured above is Tynwald Hill, where once a year (July 5th - Tynwald Day) the government read out a summary of the laws the have been passed over the previous year.

You can see the whole of the UK from the Island

Snaefell - the only true mountain on the Isle of Man - is thought to be the only place in the British Isles from where you can see England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales (and the Isle of Man, obviously). Though this is only possible on the clearest of days.

It didn't escape WWII

A few months into the war, the British government decided that the Isle of Man would be an ideal location for an internment camp. In July 1940 Hutchinson Internment Camp was opened - at it's peak the camp (which consisted of just 33 houses) was home to over 1,200 internees.

The Island was named the fifth most likely nation to reach the moon next

Strange, but true. A number of the competitors in the Google Lunar X Prize (a $30 million competition for the first privately funded team to send a robot to the moon) are based on the Island.

Their cats have no tails

Manx cats are a breed of cat (surprisingly enough) that originate on the Island - they have a naturally occurring mutation that leaves them without a tail. They can be splint into two categories - stumpies; those with a small hint of a tail an inch or so long, and rumpies; the completely tailless.

And their sheep have four horns

The Manx Loaghtan is a breed of sheep that is only found on the Isle of Man. It is characterized by having four (or sometimes six) horns, and is considered critically endangered, with just 1,500 breeding females remaining.

It is the centre of the motorcycling world

The Isle of Man TT (or Tourist Trophy) is a world famous race that has taken place annually since 1907. The course consists of almost 38 miles of public road, with the current lap record standing at 17:12.30. This lap was recorded by John McGuinness, at an average speed of 131.5mph.

And Obama doesn't like it very much

Barack Obama has been vocal in his criticisms of so-called 'Tax Havens' like the Isle of Man. There is a top rate of income tax of 20%, whilst corporation tax is 0% for almost all types of business. As a result there is one company registered on the Isle of Man for every two of its 80,000 residents.

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