6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
11. 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.
15. 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.
16. 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.
17. 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.
18. 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.
20. 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.
21. 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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