State of Mind A short history of micronations.

State of Mind A short history of micronations.

  • Words Okechukwu Nzelu
  • Photograph Josh Hight for Begg & Co

NOTES

In the 1960s, when Roy Bates set up a radio station on an abandoned ex-naval fort in the middle of the North Sea, he was not looking to build a nation. Bates, once a major in the British Army, was only trying to circumvent broadcasting laws. The British government did not take kindly to his pirate station, and Bates was forced to retreat.1 So it was that, in 1967, he took to another abandoned fortress, this time outside UK jurisdiction, and established Sealand. With his wife and children, Bates declared the tower a principality. It became a micronation—an entity that claims to be a sovereign state but is not internationally recognized. Describing itself as the world’s smallest country, Sealand covers all of 0.004 square miles. In lieu of taxes, it sells memorabilia, from personalize...

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