The Isle of Man is an island situated in the Irish Sea with over 80,000 inhabitants. The island is a self-governing Crown dependency and has Queen Elizabeth II as head of state.
Technically, the island is not part of the United Kingdom but because of the defence and external relations of the island, it is regarded as the responsibility of the United Kingdom government. A similar situation applies with the European Union, and the island has some free movement of goods.
The Isle of Man also includes several smaller islands (some of which are partially inhabited) including St Patrick's Isle, the Calf of Man and Chicken Rock.
In total, the island is approximately 30 miles long and 15 miles wide. Geographically, the island has hills to the north and south with a central valley in between the two.
Unsurprisingly, considering the island location, seafood makes up a large proportion of the islander's diets. Anything from lobster, crab, scallops, trout and salmon are local favourites and are commercially fished.
Cheese and milk are also produced on the island. Several flavours and varieties are made and the cheeses regularly win awards in British cheese competitions.
Islanders, known as Manx, are British citizens. The islands politicians usually stand for election independently rather than via a political party. Although political parties operate on the island they do not yield the same influence as in the United Kingdom.
Transport around the islands is catered for by over 500 miles of public roads, several of which have no speed limits. The island is usually reached by a regular ferry service from either the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland.
The island does have a small airport (Isle of Man Airport) and operates regular flights to the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland. There are also flights to the Channel Islands and over 750,000 people use the airport every year.
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