Micronations, as the word might suggest are pretty small. But micronations are not real actual nations, not acknowledged as sovereign by any actual world governments, they’re just self-proclaimed, self-proclaimed as independent sovereign states, but in actuality they’re really just not. And they’re not to be confused with tribes, clans, sects, or villages, and they’re not to be confused with microstates as those are sovereign, and also not to be confused with unrecognized states as those at least may become sovereign.
But yeah, micronations have nothing to do with Mandy Moore or Diane Keaton. The movie’s title though does still work. Many micronations do form and exist all by really just that limited amount of justification. In many cases, governments micronations secede from don’t even respond after they declare their independence from them. But even so, micronations sometimes do render remarkably advanced and functional considering what real limitations are made on their means, and a good few of them do establish methods of citizenship, claim territories, institutionalize governments, issue postage stamps, passports, coins, bank notes, and although not as surprising many of them do have flags, and some of them even have national anthems.
Intent and reasoning behind creation of micronations can vary, and collectively speaking involves much more than just “because I said so,” and ranges individually from mere self-aggrandizement, political or social agendas, exploitation of geographical links in financial pursuit, social or economic or political simulations, and desire of utopia among other type things.
At current there are too many micronations to count. The advent of the Internet is almost entirely responsible for that being so; micronations boomed alongside with the Internet as it allows micronations to exist by a virtual realm. But in my eyes those micronations are cheaters and will not be mentioned at any point hereafter—unless of course I change my mind. And micronations existing in space, tongue-in-cheek micronations and micronations that exist only inside people’s minds are all types which may be mentioned but which I might not. So, time we dig in with some examples.
Principality of Sealand
The Principality of Sealand is what was once a World War II military facility; a man-made island structure in the North Sea off the coast of Suffolk, England, United Kingdom. Although it’s often been described as the world’s smallest nation, it’s really just a micronation. Self-proclaimed independent by Paddy Roy Bates in 1967, Sealand exists currently to this day and boasts a population of about fifty or more. Sealand’s purported currency is the Sealand Dollar and the micronation claims their GDP at six-hundred-thousand-dollars-U.S., and at twenty-two-thousand-dollars-U.S. per capita.
Since the time of it’s occupation, Bates and his family not only have created their own currency, but also passports, national anthem, and a national flag as well. The history of Sealand is an amusing history to study. Bates had purchased the structure with intentions of using it for broadcast of pirate radio, which in England has a very interesting history in and of itself. And over the course of decades, Sealand’s been subject to more than few odd occurrences, enduring a full-scale attack by Dutch and German mercenaries being probably the strangest.
Gay & Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands
Australia’s been site of a very notable amount of micronations over the years, the most notable of which is the Principality of Hutt River, formerly known as the Hutt River Province. But although there are several micronations attributable to Australia, many examples for me to choose from, the Gay & Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands wins because I found it the most unique.
Established in 2004 as response to Australia’s failure to recognize same-sex marriages, the micronation that is the Gay & Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands was founded on some unpopulated islets of the Coral Sea Islands Territory, northeast of Queensland, Australia. Spearheaded by Emperor Dale Anderson, he and his citizens chartered their own ship aptly named The Gayflower, submitted their own Declaration of Independence to the Australian Government, and set off to the Coral Sea Islands where there many of them are today.
Grand Duchy of Flandrensis
Grand Duchy of Flandrensis is a micronation with claims over some territories of Antarctica and keeps its embassy in the West-Flemish village of Langemark. Founded in 2008 by Niels Vermeersch, Flandrensis is regarded by its founder as a hobby-micronation, and correctly is categorized as a political simulation having political parties such as the APF (pirate party), DRP (royalists), NPF (nationalists), FDIP (unionists), FL-AL (solidarity), and Lijst Govaert (liberal).
As of 2012, Flandrensis’ population is of at least a hundred-fourteen and from twenty-one different nationalities. Being that Flandrensis’ claimed location is of Antarctica, most of Flandrensis’ actual activity is done online, online as on the Internet, however a good amount of it is done in-person as well, most usually near and around the city of Roeslare, Belgium.
Flandrensis’ territorial claims consist of five islands near West Antarctica, and the founder’s claims on them are based on his own interpretation of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959. Vermeersch has made efforts of contacting both the United Nations and the European Union, sending both of them letters requesting their investigation of his claims, but as of yet neither one has responded.
Grand Duchy of Westarctica
As you probably could have guessed, Grand Duchy of Westarctica is another micronation attributable to Antarctica. Created in 2001 by Travis McHenry of the United States, Westarctica was founded by way of an alleged loophole that McHenry had found in Antarctic Treaty, with which he’d used for basing his claim on Marie Byrd Land—the geographic location of Grand Duchy of Westarctica. Apparently, The Antarctic Treaty was in part made to prevent nations from making any new claims on its territories. McHenry had apparently determined himself able of getting around that provision by claiming Marie Byrd Land as an individual, and then afterwards, founding it as nation. He’d sent out letters to nine of the governments of the world’s leading nations informing them of his claim, but of the nine he’d informed zero of them responded.
Neither McHenry nor anybody inhabits Westarctica even to this day, but Westarctica remains an active micronation all the same. Westarctica’s value to McHenry and his partners—or partners so to speak, is to mint and sell Westarctic coins to coin collectors of the world.
Principality of Marlborough
Just one more Australian example, the Principality of Marlborough was a short-lived micronation founded in 1993 near Rockhampton, Queensland that had folded just eleven days after having declared independence.
Facing possible eviction after filing his own bankruptcy, farmer George Muirhead and his wife, as well as approximately thirty other supporters of his cause went on to declare Muirhead’s property as independent and devoid of any Queensland Government authority. Eleven days thereafter at five A.M. that morning, one-hundred-and-twenty officers of the Queensland Police seized Muirhead’s property and the micronation of Marlborough was no longer more.
Although the micronation collapsed quickly, Muirhead and wife did find widespread support out from media coverage of what’d happened, painting their public perception as helpless victims of a coldhearted society.
Dominion of British West Florida
Founded in 2005 “on an eccentric interpretation of actual historic events,” the Dominion of British West Florida claims territory over what was once known in the 18th century as the colony of West Florida, of which has of since portions of the states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana now occupying cartographically.
I know that I’d said I wouldn’t include any cheaters, but apparently I’ve changed my mind. The Dominion of West Florida is a micronation existing essentially only completely on the Internet. According to one individual, identified as on their website as “Robert VII, Duke of Florida,” the Dominion of British West Florida was created in the purpose of “reassert[ing] Britain’s rights [over the region].” The website claims of Duke Robert that he’s “inherited the Peerage of the Dominion” in 1969 and “accepted the position of Governor General in 1994.” So yeah, Robert’s a pretty deal to the Dominion I’d guess. Apparently the Dominion’s long-term goals consist of by some part “striving for Dominion Status as a Commonwealth Realm, on par with Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, and The Bahamas.” Personally I feel they’ve got what it takes to pull that off and much more.
Founded in 1979 by then-14-years-old Robert Ben Madison of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Talossa is one of the oldest micronations still existing. It’s also one of the more famous micronations, and was one of the very first micronations to utilize the Internet to their advantage, doing so in November of 1995.
Talossa claims places all over the world as its territory, but most of its territory is limited to parts of Milwaukee, referred to by Talossa as the Greater Talossa area. But as with any micronation of course, all of Talossa’s claims are illegitimate.
Talossa’s definitely not the wealthiest micronation, reporting their GDP as a measly eight-hundred-and-forty-two-dollars-and-fifteen-cents, but they do have their own purported currency, which is the Talossan Louis. And although they’re not the wealthiest economically, their culture is rich and complex. Among its two-hundred-and-twenty-one citizens they have two or more political parties, and Talossans even create their own bills, of which all must first pass their own legislature if they’re to be made effective. But digging even deeper in Talossan culture, Talossans are big, big fans of both science fiction and wargaming. Wargaming most especially—they’ve made a national holiday of wargaming. Perhaps what’s most impressive of Talossans though is their language. Talossans speak using their own language that they invented. Talossans keep it real.