23 January 2007

Principality of Sealand up for sale

Sealand, a celebrated micro-nation off the English coast consisting of a platform on two cement columns in the North Sea, is up for sale. Well, not for "sale" per se; since Sealand is a "principality" which cannot be technically sold, its present owner will "transfer custodianship."

Sealand has a fascinating history which is a testament to the stubborn insistence of its creators that it is indeed a sovereign nation. The UK learned that the hard way when, in 1975, Sealand founder Paddy Roy Bates "repelled a British Navy assault by firing warning shots from his principality."

The website PirateBay.org recently tried to purchase Sealand, but Bates declared he had "no intention of selling his micronation to any cause that violates international treaties," which is ironic since Sealand was "once home to [his] pirate radio broadcasting operation."

2007 marks the 40th year since the founding of Sealand, making it one of the (if not thee) oldest micronations in the world. It's certainly older than the minicountry Hamperia, which I've just now declared, consisting of my laundry basket and the square yard surrounding it.

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