Following our recent pieces on what constitutes visiting a country, and what defines a “country” I received a fair bit of flack over my inclusion of the “Micronations” of Sealand, and The Hutt River Province. Because if I include them, why would I not include people that declare their own bedroom a self-declared nation? So, I have decided to once again draw my line in the sand, and explain the YPT take on the politics of Micronations.
So, what is a Micronation and how do you define one?
Well, as it turns out, this is not as simple a question as you would expect.
By the broadest definition, a Micronation could be a model country that is largely a work of fiction; a group of people genuinely trying to set up a new country, a geographic anomaly that no one takes any notice of, or a flat-out fraud.
So, without further delay, let us start to explore the world of Micronations.
Actual Small Countries
Micronations are not to be confused with microstates, which are “actual small countries”. Some examples of these are Monaco, San Marino, or Andorra. They might be small and insignificant, but they have their own passports!
We like these guys. These guys are the backbone of the whole Micronational movement. Essentially, these are fun projects by quirky individuals. Think D&D, train spotting, or historical re-enactment folks. Whilst some of these might seek to claim territory in the future, or currently claim part of Antarctica, they could not be called countries in any way. Many differ in how seriously they take their countries, but all share a big degree of quirkiness. One of our favourites has to be the Kingdom of Kaupelan.
“Kaupelan is a tropical country, located cose to Indonesia and Australia. It has a well developed language, history, geography and culture and intends to be as ‘realistic’ as possible.” – from an e-mail by Paulo Eduardo França Padilha
Model countries represent the lowest “division” of Micronations, but punching one weight above are the self-declared nations. These guys are not hobbyists, these guys not only believe their own propaganda, but they take their “nations” very seriously. It would be impossible to list all of them, but here are a few of our faves:
Republic of Rose Island – So this one was more a historical anomaly, and perhaps should not be on the list, but its bad ass, so I’m putting it in. In 1968, an Italian by the name of Georgio Rosa built an offshore platform 500 metres outside of Italian waters, and thus in “international” waters and declared it an independent nation. All good so far. Two months later the Italian military took it over, and a year later blew it up with dynamite, thus making it only the third “nation” on earth after Carthage and Danzig to be wiped out in one military strike.
Sovereign Barony of CAUX – Rather unsurprisingly, you don’t see too many Republics in the Micronational world, with your average head of state preferring regal titles. The Sovereign Barony of Caux claims to be an ancient state with links to kings of England, and France that was “restored” in 2001.
“The ancient and sovereign feudal Barony of Caux was granted to Hugo le Corbeau in the Pays de Caux by William son of Rollo, Duke of Normandie in 1040 CE.
“The Barony was confirmed on his son Roger FitzCorbet in Shropshire by William son of Rollo, Duke of Normandie and King of England in 1069 CE.
“The sovereign status of the Barony, free of royal oversight of Baronial affairs, was reconfirmed on his grandson William Corbet in Shropshire by Henry II, Count of Anjou and Pretender to the Throne of England in 1165 CE.
“The Sovereign Barony of Caux (SBC) was restituted on August 27, 2001 CE, by His Lordship, John I, first and thirty-seventh Baron of Caux, of the Corbet family.”
It is unclear if the “claim” has anything to do with fact, or if they are in fact just taking the piss.
United Micronations Multi-Oceanic Archipelago (UMMOA)
Not content with a simple country name like “Guam” the United Micronations Multi-Oceanic Archipelago (UMMOA) state the following on their website:
“The United Micronations Multi-Oceanic Archipelago (UMMOA) is a multi-oceanic archipelago governed by a federation of Fourth, Fifth and Sixth World nations, and the world’s first supermicronation. UMMOA’s 11 insular possessions have no indigenous population, and an inhabitable area of 34.3 square kilometres (13.3 square miles). UMMOA holds these truths to be self-evident: That all nations are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and sovereignty!”
Translated, this means it is a lot of geeks who have declared their houses independent nations. And why not?
New Country Projects
Time to step it up a gear. Whilst model countries are quirky, and self-declared states have a spectrum of weirdness, New Country Projects are full on batshit crazy, although they also have a “spectrum”, with those at the “top” of the league kind of almost being countries. There are far too many to list all of our favourites, so the following have been very very hard to choose.
Regency of LOMAR – Formerly the Republic of Lomar, these guys were one of the first internet Micronations, at one point claiming 30,000 citizens. I once paid 30 quid to be a citizen. I have followed these guys since forever, and whilst the project seems to go up and down, there’s always someone maintaining the website.
This is their latest release:
“Regency of Lomar (ROL), first founded in 1997 as ‘Republic of Lomar’ as a New Country Project, has emerged into an worldwide recognised NGO. ROL is a sovereign international humanitarian Council of People fighting for the Dignity of all humankind. It is also a non-governmental organization (NGO) providing medical, humanitarian and educational assistance, and documentation aid to refugees and other unrooted, deprived and unrepresented people. This also includes local and rural development, sustainable economy and ecology (energy), healthcare, etc. ROL has a membership of volunteers representing 85 nations and established missions and registered offices in more than a dozen countries worldwide.”
– from an e-mail by Dom Klaus Schlapps OPR, President ROLF/FHRL
Back in the day you could even buy one of their passports, which allegedly ended up in the hands of the odd criminal. I still cannot work out what they are, or what they want to be, but I would still like to be a citizen.
Republic of MOLOSSIA (Pronounced “mo-LAH-see-uh”)
I will start with their official statement.
“This is a rather unique project. It is a quasi-model country with actual physical territorial claim in Nevada, USA, with real citizens. Unlike many other model country projects, this is all done quite seriously.”
Molossia has its own time zone (PST +39 minutes, MST -21 minutes), its own standard of measurement (Kokintz, with length & area in Nortons, weight in Fenwicks, volume in Simms and temperature in degrees Zenda), and uses the Deseret alphabet as an alternate English writing method.
“The physical territory of the Republic of Molossia is in fact owned by myself (private property, as it were). Inasmuch as the territory remains within the United States, it is otherwise undisputed nor is it claimed by any other nation, micro or macro. It is fully occupied by the citizens of our nation; we have no “virtual” citizens.” – from an e-mail by His Excellency President Kevin Baugh.
Kevin Baugh and Molossia are the subjects of the Franco Sacchi documentary “A Tiny Spark”.
Basically translated this means that yes, he is a guy in his house and yes, he is in America. BUT he takes it very seriously.
I know an awful lot about this one, because back in 2009 I tried to start my own Micronation. The idea was to crowd source money, buy an island and run it like a country.
“www.LetsBuyAnIsland.com is new project for single members to buy and jointly run an island, officially as a company, but practically as our own country. We are very, very real, and trying to do the unthinkable, even the unrealistic, but in a realistic world, with realistic goals.” – from an e-mail by co-founder Gareth Johnson. Shares are available for sale on the website.
The best bit about this project was some of the responses from various members of Micronational Royalty who said the project was silly. Harsh words from dukes of their own living rooms. The domain is currently dormant, but I still own it, and it shall return!
These are without doubt my favourites. These guys are not tongue in cheek, these guys are not quirky, these guys are full in crooks selling fake passports, and even banking licenses to countries that do not exist. What is not to love about that?
“Kingdom of ENENKIO ATOL” (“Eneen-Kio”, “EnenKio”, “Enen Kio”)
The US government probably explained it best with the following statements “…the Kingdom of Enenkio is not recognized in any international forum as a sovereign state nor is it a corporate or statutory entity.” – US SEC Litigation Release No. 16758 / October 6, 2000
“Allegedly off the Marshall Islands lies the Kingdom of Enen Kio. Run by one Robert Moore, the self-appointed ‘Minister Plenipotentiary’ of the Kingdom, this scam listed its address in court documents not in Enen Kio (which doesn’t exist), but at ‘P.O. Box 8441, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96830’.”
We’re talking fake bank charters, passports, and the government of the Marshall Islands (an actual country) denying the Kingdoms claims of sovereignty. These guys had it all! Although with the site now appearing to be down, the status of the kingdom is unclear.
“Dominion of MELCHIZEDEK”
(“Melchizedec”, “Melchizedech”, “Kingdom of Melchizedek”, “Sovereign Order of Melchizedek”, “Kingdom of Salem”)
Of all my obsessions, these guys are my second favourite Micronation of all. Are you ready to hear about these guys? A “new country project” started by a notorious fraudster and his son that claimed land in the Marshall Islands that allegedly had recognition from a number of nations including the Central African Republic. This led to the famous line “you get the impression that the Central African Republic would recognize the state of denial if it had a letterhead”.
According to the website (which still exists) “The Dominion of Melchizedek is an Ecclesiastical Sovereign State dedicated to upholding the Political, Social, and Economic Sovereignty of the Dominion of Melchizedek”. So, a fraudulent Vatican City if you will. I once contacted them and was quoted $20k for citizenship. Wonderful.
The Almost Countries
And at the very top of the pile we have the almost countries, almost to such a degree that I would count them as “visited” countries. What qualifies these guys is at least some limited recognition, and existing as an actual, or a kinda country. Of which in my mind there are only two.
Principality of HUTT RIVER
So, an Australian wheat farmer gets pissed off about tax, and then finds some obscure law that you can secede from Australia providing that you become a monarchy. Whilst said declaration has created some ambiguity, the Australian government have been somewhat less ambiguous with the following statements.
“The Australian Government does not legally or otherwise recognize the so-called ‘Hutt River Province’. The Tax Office has identified a situation where non-residents of Australia have been offered the chance to purchase international business companies and other entities purportedly incorporated or registered in the ‘Hutt River Province’. We are concerned that the companies and other entities may be sold as part of a tax avoidance or evasion arrangement.
People should avoid any arrangements involving ‘Hutt River Province’ international business companies and any other entities as well as any associated international dealings because they have no legal basis and could be illegal.”
That being said, you can still “visit” the country, and after trying to start my own Micronation had brief contact with Prince Leonard, who told me that not only was he a bona fide real country, but that I was to remove all links to his website. What ever happened to Micronational unity bro?
Principality of SEALAND
And now the king of all micronations, Sealand. Michael Bates (before he became a prince) was into pirate radio, which kept getting shut down. He then found a WW2 fort called Roughs Tower in international waters and declared it independent. At some later point, there was kidnapping by an Italian, and some firearms offences, which resulted in a day in court. Because the tower (at the time) was outside of UK waters, UK law did not apply. Also (allegedly) the German government officially gave recognition when trying to negotiate the release of one of its citizens.
Whether you think of them as a country or not, they have been going since the 60’s and governments seem to leave them alone. In our mind, this makes them the biggest baddest of all Micronations.
Don’t agree with our list? Or know of one you think we should have included? Let us know!