The Principality of Sealand is a micronation located on a seafort off the coast of the United Kingdom.
The Principality of Sealand is a micronation located on a seafort off the coast of the United Kingdom.

A micronation is an entity whose members claim that they belong to an independent nation or sovereign state, but which lacks legal recognition by world governments or major international organizations.[1] Most are geographically very small, but range in size from less than square meter to more than a million square km (Westarctica). They are usually the outgrowth of a single individual.

A micronation expresses a formal and persistent if unrecognized claim of sovereignty over some physical territory. Micronations are distinct from true secessionist movements; micronations' activities are almost always trivial enough to be ignored rather than challenged by the established nations whose territory they claim. Several micronations have issued coins, flags, postage stamps, passports, medals and other state-related items, often as a source of revenue.

The term "micronation" to describe those entities dates at least to the 1970s.[2] The term micropatrology is sometimes used to describe the study of both micronations and microstates by micronationalists, some of whom refer to sovereign nation-states as "macronations"[3]

Micronations contrast with microstates, which are small but recognized sovereign states such as Andorra, Bahrain, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino, Singapore, and Vatican City.[4] They are also distinct from imaginary countries and from other kinds of social groups (such as eco-villages, campuses, tribes, clans, sects, and residential community associations).

Definition

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"Welcome to the Conch Republic", a sign at Key West International Airport.
"Welcome to the Conch Republic", a sign at Key West International Airport.

Micronations generally have a number of common features, although these may vary widely. They may have a structure similar to established sovereign states, including territorial claims, government institutions, official symbols and citizens, albeit on a much smaller scale. Micronations are often quite small, in both their claimed territory and claimed populations—although there are some exceptions to this rule, with different micronations having different methods of citizenship. Micronations may also issue formal instruments such as postage stamps, coins, banknotes and passports, and bestow honours and titles of nobility.

The Montevideo Convention was one attempt to create a legal definition distinguishing between states and non-states, with states having "(a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states". Some micronations meet this definition, while some do not, and others reject the convention. Some micronations like Sealand and Austenasia reject the term micronation and consider themselves as sovereign states; other micronations like Flandrensis or Molossia, while also officially considering themselves as such, have no intention to be actually recognized as real states.[5]

Academics Harry Hobbs and George Williams define them as "self-declared nations that perform and mimic acts of sovereignty, and adopt many of the protocols of nations, but lack a foundation in domestic and international law for their existence and are not recognised as nations in domestic or international forums."[6]

List of micronations

Main article: List of micronations

There are many different types of micronations that have been claimed over the years. A list of the notable micronations is located at List of micronations.

Notable micronations

Republic of Rose Island
Landing on Minerva
Landing on Minerva

Micronations based on historical claims

The putative border crossing from Italy into the Principality of Seborga
The putative border crossing from Italy into the Principality of Seborga

A small number of micronations are founded based on historical anomalies or on legal anomalies (deriving from disputed interpretations of law). These types of micronations are usually located on small (usually disputed) territorial enclaves, generate limited economic activity founded on tourism and philatelic and numismatic sales, and are tolerated or ignored by the nations from which they claim to have seceded. This category includes:

History

Early history and evolution

Martin Coles Harman purchased the British island of Lundy in 1925,[19] declared himself King and issued private coinage and postage stamps for local use. Although the island was ruled as a virtual fiefdom, its owner never claimed to be independent of the United Kingdom, so Lundy can at best be described as a precursor to later territorial micronations. Another example is the Kingdom of Elleore declared August 27, 1944 when a group of schoolteachers purchased the Danish island and still exists today. A third example is the Principality of Outer Baldonia, a 16-acre (65,000 m2) rocky island off the coast of Nova Scotia, founded by Russell Arundel, chairman of the Pepsi Cola Company (later: PepsiCo), in 1945 and comprising a population of 69 fishermen.

History during 1960 to 1980

The 550 m2 (5,900 sq ft) Principality of Sealand
The 550 m2 (5,900 sq ft) Principality of Sealand

The 1960s and 1970s witnessed the foundation of a number of territorial micronations. The first of these, Sealand, was established in 1967 on an abandoned World War II gun platform in the North Sea just off the East Anglian coast of England, and still survives. Others were founded on libertarian principles and involved schemes to construct artificial islands, but only three are known to have had even limited success in realizing that goal.

The Republic of Rose Island was a 400 m2 (4,300 sq ft) platform built in 1968 in Italian national waters in the Adriatic Sea, 7 miles (11 km) off the Italian town of Rimini. It is known to have issued stamps, and to have declared Esperanto to be its official language. Shortly after completion, however, it was seized and destroyed by the Italian Navy for failing to pay state taxes.[8]

In the late 1960s, Leicester Hemingway, brother of author Ernest, was involved in another such project; a small timber platform in international waters off the west coast of Jamaica. This territory, consisting of an 8-foot (2.4 m) by 30-foot (9.1 m) barge, he called "New Atlantis". Hemingway was an honorary citizen and President; however, the structure was damaged by storms and finally pillaged by Mexican fishermen. In 1973, Hemingway was reported to have moved on from New Atlantis to promoting a 1,000 sq yd (840 m2) platform near the Bahamas. The new country was called "Tierra del Mar" (Land of the Sea). (Ernest Hemingway's adopted hometown of Key West was later itself part of another micronation; see Conch Republic.)

The Republic of Minerva was set up in 1972 as a libertarian new-country project by Nevada businessman Michael Oliver.[20] Oliver's group conducted dredging operations at the Minerva Reefs, a shoal located in the Pacific Ocean south of Fiji. They succeeded in creating a small artificial island, but their efforts at securing international recognition met with little success, and near-neighbour Tonga sent a military force to the area and annexed it.

On 1 April 1977, bibliophile Richard Booth declared the Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye an independent kingdom with himself as its monarch. The publicity may have assisted the town's tourism industry based on literary interests, and "King Richard" (whose sceptre was a recycled toilet plunger) awarded Hay-on-Wye peerages and honours to anyone prepared to pay for them.[21]

Japanese micronations in the 1980s

In 1981, drawing on a news report about Leicester Hemingway's "New Atlantis", novelist Hisashi Inoue wrote a 700-page work of magic realism, Kirikirijin, about a village that secedes from Japan and proclaims its bumpkinish, marginalized dialect its national language, and its subsequent war of independence. This single-handedly inspired a large number of Japanese villages, mostly in the northern regions, to "declare independence", generally as a move to raise awareness of their unique culture and crafts for urban Japanese who saw village life as backwards and uncultured. These micronations even held "international summits" from 1983 to 1985, and some of them formed confederations. Throughout the 1980s there was a "micronation boom" in Japan that brought many urban tourists to these wayward villages. But the harsh economic impact of the Japanese asset price bubble in 1991 ended the boom. Many of the villages were forced to merge with larger cities, and the micronations and confederations were generally dissolved.[22]

Australian and New Zealand developments

Micronational developments that occurred in New Zealand and Australia in the final three decades of the 20th century included:

The micronations established in Australia have no legal standing.[28]

Effects of the Internet

Micronationalism shed much of its traditionally eccentric anti-establishment mantle and took on a distinct hobbyist perspective in the mid-1990s when the emerging popularity of the Internet made it possible to create and promote statelike entities in an entirely electronic medium with relative ease. An early example is the Kingdom of Talossa, a micronation created in 1979 by then-14-year-old Robert Ben Madison, which went online in November 1995, and was reported in The New York Times and other print media in 2000.[29] As a result, the number of exclusively online, fantasy or simulation-based micronations expanded dramatically using MicroWiki or platforms on Reddit and Facebook.[30] The micronation Ladonia coexists as both a physical territory and as a large and active online community that resembles a third place, distinguishing itself from other micronations, which are either active online communities or claim small physical territories.[31]

A number of traditional territorial micronations, including the Hutt River Province, Seborga, and Sealand, maintain websites that serve largely to promote their claims and sell merchandise.

Academic, literary and media attention

Citizens and Officials of the Commonwealth of Dracul at their annual Tsar Nicholas II parade in Houston, Texas, US.
Citizens and Officials of the Commonwealth of Dracul at their annual Tsar Nicholas II parade in Houston, Texas, US.

There has been a small but growing amount of attention paid to the micronation phenomenon in recent years. Most interest in academic circles has been concerned with studying the apparently anomalous legal situations affecting such entities as Sealand and the Hutt River Province, in exploring how some micronations represent grassroots political ideas, and in the creation of role-playing entities for instructional purposes.

Grand Duchy of Flandrensis and the Republic of St. Charlie on 15 July 2012 at the PoliNation Micronational Conference in London
Grand Duchy of Flandrensis and the Republic of St. Charlie on 15 July 2012 at the PoliNation Micronational Conference in London

Currency

Banknotes

Coins

Notable micronationalists

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (September 2020)

Some noteworthy individuals involved with micronationalism include:

See also

References

  1. ^ Sawe, Benjamin (25 April 2017). "What Is a Micronation?". World Atlas: World Facts. World Atlas. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  2. ^ The People's Almanac #2, page 330.
  3. ^ Sellars, Simon (13 April 2018) Applied Ballardianism: Memoir from a Parallel Universe, p. 242. "The only alternative for micronations, then, as the existence of Sealand proves, is to hope for survival as a harmless tourist oddity, tolerated by the surrounding macronations and defanged of oppositional intent." Urbanomic Media Ltd. Published by MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-9954550-7-8. Retrieved 29 December 2021.
  4. ^ Sack, John; Silverstein, Shel (1959). Report from practically nowhere. Harper.
  5. ^ a b The Brussels Times, Springtime of micronations spearheaded by Belgian "Grand-Duke" Niels Archived 2016-01-13 at the Wayback Machine, 8 December 2015
  6. ^ Hobbs, Harry (2022). Micronations and the search for sovereignty. George Williams. Cambridge, United Kingdom. p. 76. ISBN 978-1-009-15013-2. OCLC 1287744825.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Sellars, John Ryan, George Dunford, Simon (2006). Micronations : [the Lonely Planet guide to home-made nations]. London: Lonely Planet Publications. pp. 28–33. ISBN 978-1-74104-730-1.
  8. ^ a b "Riemerge l'isola dell'Utopia - Corriere della Sera". www.corriere.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  9. ^ McGirk, Jan (2001-06-08). "Yogi's disciples want to create new utopia". The Independent. London (UK). p. 17. Archived from the original on 2013-05-17.
  10. ^ MIZROCH, AMIR (2006-07-23). "Forget the F-16s, Israel needs more Yogic Flyers to beat Hizbullah. 30-strong TM group, sole guests at Nof Ginnosar Hotel, say they need another 235 colleagues to make the country safe". Jerusalem Post. p. 4. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Asgardia. 19 January 2018. Archived from the original on 16 November 2016. Retrieved 24 November 2016.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Asgardia". Asgardia. 25 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Balkans: Czech man claims to establish 'new state'". BBC News. 16 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Somaliland says it wants closer cooperation with unrecognised Liberland". BBC News. 26 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Former 'sovereign' nation is for sale". 6 September 2020.
  16. ^ "JOURNEYS—THE SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY: Simon Sellars braves wind and waves to visit the unlikely North Sea nation of Sealand". The Australian. Archived from the original on 2007-11-16. Retrieved 2007-11-10.
  17. ^ Hill, Stuart (2008-06-21). "Forvik Declaration of Direct Dependence". The Crown Dependency of Forvik. Archived from the original on 2009-04-19. Retrieved 2009-05-04.
  18. ^ Barros, Renato (14 November 2014). "Experience: I founded my own country | Life and style". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2022-03-16.
  19. ^ "History 1925-1969 – the Harman era". The Lundy Field Society. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
  20. ^ "Book Review: Peak Oil: Apocalyptic Environmentalism and Libertarian Political Culture". Cultural Geographies. 24 (4): 650–651. 2017-03-06. doi:10.1177/1474474017695501. ISSN 1474-4740. S2CID 220300474.
  21. ^ "Mid Wales Arts—Richard Booth". BBC. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  22. ^ Shigeru Inoue, Nippon Matchidukuri Jiten, pp. 407–409, 2010, ISBN 4-621-08194-2
  23. ^ Bicudo de Castro, Vicente; Kober, Ralph (2018-04-18). "The Principality Of Hutt River: A Territory Marooned in the Western Australian Outback". Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures. 12 (1). doi:10.21463/shima.12.1.13. ISSN 1834-6057.
  24. ^ Cook, Craig (30 June 2018). "Bumbunga Governor Alec Brackstone's relentless will to secede". Sunday Mail.
  25. ^ "'Isn't it every little boy's dream, to control everybody?'". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney. 14 April 2017.
  26. ^ "New New Zealand Island: The Kiwi pastime of micronations". NZ Herald. NZME Publishing. November 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  27. ^ Milliken, Robert (10 June 1993). "Outback 'duke' takes on the bank: A Queensland man has defied Australia by creating a principality to escape his debts". The Independent. Archived from the original on 20 June 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  28. ^ Meachim, Laura (6 March 2019). "Hutt River Province at $3m stalemate with ATO after death of Prince Leonard". ABC Mid West & Wheatbelt. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  29. ^ a b Mimh, Stephen (May 25, 2000). "Utopian Rulers, and Spoofs, Stake Out Territory Online". The New York Times.
  30. ^ Hobbs, Harry; Williams, George (2022). Micronations and the Search for Sovereignty. Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-009-15012-5.
  31. ^ Bicudo de Castro, Vicente; Kober, Ralph (2019-04-15). "The Royal Republic of Ladonia: A Micronation built of Driftwood, Concrete and Bytes" (PDF). Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures. doi:10.21463/shima.13.1.10.
  32. ^ Sword, Harry (2014-10-29). "A History of 'Frestonia,' a Micronation of Squatters Who Declared Independence from the UK". www.vice.com. Retrieved 16 February 2022.
  33. ^ ''Ils ne siègent pas à l'ONU''. Webcitation.org. Retrieved on 2012-07-15.
  34. ^ Summit of micronations Archived 2014-11-14 at the Wayback Machine. Muu.fi. Retrieved on 2012-07-15.
  35. ^ Nations come together in Sunderland. sunderland.ac.uk
  36. ^ "Pizza Hut spends RM2 mln on advertising and promotion costs". The Borneo Post. 2010-05-06. Retrieved 2010-09-24.
  37. ^ Jody Shapiro (2010). How to Start your Own Country. tiff.net.
  38. ^ Nick Squires (2010-05-04). The world's micronations unite to demand recognition . Telegraph UK.
  39. ^ Himaruya, Hidekaz (2010). "Chapter 2: A Treasure Chest Full of Countries!". Hetalia: Axis Powers, Volume 6. TokyoPop. pp. 31–48. ISBN 978-1-57032-152-8.
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  41. ^ (in Dutch)DAMIAANS, R., DILLEN, R., Dwergstaten Deel 1: Flandrensis, Gazet van Antwerpen, 23 July 2012, page 8–9
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  43. ^ (in French) Delafontaine, L., Les Micronations, Montreuil-sur-Brêche, Diaphane, 14 September 2013, pages 160, ISBN 978-2-919077-19-9
  44. ^ (in Dutch) GHEERAERT, T., Diplomatieke rel om een deel van Antarctica, Het Wekelijks Nieuws, 05 September 2013, page 10–11
  45. ^ (in German) MOPO 24, H. von Dirk, Schräg! BRN will Mini-Königreiche nach Dresden holen Archived October 17, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Dresden, 28 July 2015
  46. ^ (in German) TAZ, J. Hanka, Treffen der Mikronationen in Italien, Dresden, 23 July 2015
  47. ^ (in Italian) IL FATTO QUOTIDIANO, Micronazioni, conferenza ad Alcatraz (quella in Umbria) per costituire la "mini Onu, 04 July 2015
  48. ^ (in English) THE TELEGRAPH, T. Coote, Inside the weird world of the micronation, 14 July 2015
  49. ^ (in French) BONZOM, N., « Le sommet francophone des micronations, entre folkore et engagement citoyen », 20 minutes, 26 September 2016,
  50. ^ (in French) PLACER, A., Sommet de micronations sur le pavé: folklorique et citoyen, La Voix du Nord, 21 January 2018
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  58. ^ (in French) PRUDENT, R., Envie d’être chef ? Toi aussi, crée ta micronation en dix leçons , ‘Rue 89', 12 June 2014
  59. ^ MIDTSJO, L., Vi eren en nasjon vi med, Finansavisen, 13 October 2020, page 21-34

Further reading