The Isle of Man is situated in the Irish Sea. It is 30 miles long and 12 miles wide, located 30 miles west of Cumberland, 32 miles east of Down, 15 miles south of Scotland and 48 miles north of Wales. It is under the political sovereignty of the British crown. High rugged cliffs border the coast, pierced in several places by caves and indented by numerous bays. The capital is Douglas.
During the Celtic period of the early Middle Ages, the Isle of Man was associated with Ireland, from which Christianity was introduced. Vikings began raids around 800 and heavily settled the island later in the century. Norse influence dominated until 1266 when the king of Norway ceded Man and other territories to the Scottish monarch. It passed under English control by 1346. In 1406, it was granted to Sir John Stanley with the title of earl. The British government purchased the sovereign and manorial rights in 1765.