Sealand and Other Micronations

Yesterday was a Kenyan holiday, so that Kenyans could vote on a new constitution. The internet surprised us by being somewhat functional, and at some point, I ended up browsing through Wikipedia. Now, we all know that one of the chief virtues of Wikipedia is the way you can jump from topic to topic and end up learning about something completely unexpected. Well, this is exactly what happened, and I was so fascinated that I wanted to share it.

What I learned is that there is a place called the Principality of Sealand, 6 miles off the coast of Suffolk, England. It is ruled by Prince Roy and his family. The story of its history goes something like this:

In World War II, a sea fort was built off the British coast in the North Sea. After the war, it was used by various groups to broadcast pirated radio stations from international waters. In 1967, then British subject Paddy Roy Bates took over the fort to broadcast his own radio station, and later when some workers came out to repair a buoy, he fired on them. He was brought to court, and the Brits declared that they had no jurisdiction there, since it was in international waters.

So, Roy declares himself a prince and "Sealand" a sovereign state, which has since minted currency and has a flag and an anthem. Here's the beautiful thing. Sealand is 550 meters squared. Here's a picture. Home Sweet Home. For the record, no other sovereign state has recognized Sealand's claim.

As is the way with Wikipedia, I then learned that apparently such "micronations" abound, with some 50 throughout the world. Apparently, Europeans are the most likely to vie for such things, but lest the Americans be snug in their political sanity, there are a few representatives from across the pond as well, such as the Global Country of World Peace, whose capital is in Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa. Special props also to the Kingdom of Lovely, which is in some British guy's flat, and the BjornSocialist Republic, occupying 6 sq meters on a stone in the middle of a Swedish lake that "looks like a tractor", currently only recognized by Ladonia, another Swedish micronation.

Man, the world is full of awesome stuff.


Banks Off Shore said...

I thought the movie Pirate Radio was based on this, but I don't think so. Sounds like a similar story though!