Imagine escaping the confines of bureaucracy and founding your own state, where you make all the rules.
Sounds like the stuff of fantasy novels. But some people actually make it a reality by creating their own “micronations.”
A micronation is a piece of land that claims to be an independent or sovereign nation, but is not recognised by world governments. They are founded for many reasons, some as protests, some to boost tourism, and some just for fun.
While all micronations are interesting, some are more strange and storied than others. We picked nine of our favourites to share with you.
1.) Republic of Molossia
Founded by His Excellency President Kevin Baugh in 1999, Molossia is comprised of two pieces of land in Dayton, Nevada which take up about 6.3 square acres. But its small size doesn’t stop it from having its own postal service, space program, and currency, the value of which is tied to the price of cookie dough. Molassia also has unofficial claims on a patch of sea 470 miles off the coast of Mexico, as well as almost an 50,000 square-mile parcel on Neptune.
2.) Conch Republic
The Conch Republic is a tongue-in-cheek micronation located in Key West, Florida. Originally founded as a way to protest highway blockage limiting visitors to the area, it has been kept alive as a tourist attraction. In 1995, the US Army Reserves held a training exercise in Key West which simulated an armed invasion on foreign soil. The Conch Republic retaliated by declaring war, blasting water from fire-boats, and throwing stale loaves of bread at offenders.
3.) North Dumpling Island
Summer home of Dean Kamen, the man who invented the Segway, North Dumpling Island is a small piece of land off the coast of Connecticut. Kamen, or “Lord Dumpling” as he likes to refer to himself, even got then-president George H. W. Bush to sign a “non-aggression” pact with the nation of North Dumpling. The island is powered by a wind turbine, solar panels, a helipad, and a replica of Stonehenge.
4.) Republic of Saugeais
Saugeais, a collection of towns in a northeast region of France, started as a joke and has lasted almost 70 years. The Republic, which has it’s own banknote and French government-issued stamp, has seen four presidents, all from the same family. The area is now a popular tourist attraction, with many of the locals selling novelty entrance passes and official stamps.
5.) Principality of Seborga
In 1963, citizens of the Italian town of Seborga argued that because their land was not mentioned in any documents issued during the unification efforts of Italy in the 1800s, their town was an independent zone. In 1995, Seborga’s citizens voted 304 in favour, 4 against, to support independence from Italy. While Italy does not recognise its sovereignty, Seborgia continues on as one of the oldest surviving micronations.
The newest micronation on our list, Liberland was founded in April 2015 on an unclaimed parcel of land near the Croatian-Serbian border. Founded by a Libertarian activist, it is roughly three square miles and is currently uninhabited, mostly because its very hard to get to. Nevertheless, Liberland has a government of 10 to 20 members, an economy based around cryptocurrency and bitcoins, and has already received hundreds of thousands of applications for citizenship.
7.) Freetown Christiania
Founded in 1971 on an abandoned military base in Copenhagen, Denmark, this micronation is a haven for liberal-leaning squatters, anarchists, and hippies. While officials cracked down on open cannabis selling in 2004, the area still has little rules and runs much like a commune, priding itself on its collectivist and self-sustaining ethos. The neighbourhood nation features many brightly coloured walls and buildings but no cars, which are outlawed within its limits.
8.) Principality of Sealand
About seven miles off the coast of Suffolk, England sits a small abandoned World War II sea-fort, rising out of the metal legs. Since 1967, one family, the Bates, has resided their, claiming it as their own sovereign nation with its own flag, currency, and passports.
After an electrical fire damaged the facility in 2006, Prince Michael attempted to sell the platform for $US906 million, sources say. Finding no buyer, Sealand’s government and the Bates family have decided to renovate the base and keep it for themselves, making sure the Principality lives on. It currently has a population of four and holds the Guinness World Record for “the smallest area to lay claim to nation status.”
9.) Principality of Hutt River
Founded in 1970 by “Prince” Leonard George Casley as a protest over government quotas on wheat farmers, Hutt River is the oldest micronation in Australia. Sitting on a 18,500 acre parcel of land north of Perth, the Principality is known for its wildflowers and its various array of official coins. In 2004, the government began accepting company registrations, turning the Principality into a tax haven for international businesses, though it remains unrecognised by the Australian government.
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