Micronations/Introduction

A micronation is a small entity that claims to be an independent nation or sovereign state but is not recognized as such by world governments or major international organisations. In the modern world there are more than 400 existing Micronation.[1]

Micronation Map made by Green Rosie Choi
The Principality of Sealand is a micronation located on a seafort off the coast of the United Kingdom.[2]

A micronation expresses a formal and persistent, even if unrecognized, claim of sovereignty over some physical territory. Micronations are distinct from true secessionist movements; micronations' activities are almost always trivial enough to be ignored rather than challenged by the established nations whose territory they claim. Several micronations have issued coins, flags, postage stamps, passports, medals, and other items. These items are rarely accepted outside their own community but may be sold as novelties to help raise money or collected by enthusiasts.

The earliest known micronations date from the beginning of the 19th century. The advent of the Internet provided the means for people to create many new micronations, whose members are scattered all over the world and interact mostly by electronic means, often calling their nations "nomadic countries". The differences between such "Internet micronations", other kinds of social networking groups, and role-playing games are often difficult to define.[3]

EtymologyEdit

The term 'micronation' literally means "small nation". It is a neologism originating in the mid-1970s to describe the many thousands of small unrecognised state-like entities that have mostly arisen since that time.

The term has since also come to be used retrospectively to refer to earlier unrecognized entities, some of which date to as far back as the 19th century. Amongst supporters of micronations ("micronationalists") the term "macronation" is in common use to refer to any internationally recognised sovereign nation-state.

DefinitionEdit

 
"Welcome to the Conch Republic"—a sign at Key West International Airport.

Micronations generally have a number of common features, although these may vary widely. They may have a structure similar to established sovereign states, including territorial claims, government institutions, official symbols and citizens, albeit on a much smaller scale. Micronations are often quite small, in both their claimed territory and claimed populations—although there are some exceptions to this rule, with different micronations having different methods of citizenship. Micronations may also issue formal instruments such as postage stamps, coins, banknotes and passports, and bestow honours and titles of nobility.

The Montevideo Convention was one attempt to create a legal definition distinguishing between states and non-states. Some micronations meet this definition, while some do not, and others reject the convention. Some micronations like Sealand or Hutt River reject the term micronation and consider themselves as sovereign states; other micronations like Flandrensis or Molossia have no intention to be recognized as real states.[4]

Micronations contrast with microstates, which are small but recognized sovereign states such as Andorra, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, San Marino, and Vatican City.[5] They are also distinct from imaginary countries and from other kinds of social groups (such as eco-villages, campuses, tribes, clans, sects, and residential community associations).

Notable ExamplesEdit

  1. Operation Atlantis, an early 1970s New York–based libertarian group, built a concrete-hulled ship called Freedom, which they sailed to the Caribbean, intending to permanently anchor it as their "territory". The ship sank in a hurricane and the project was then abandoned.
  2. Republic of Minerva, another libertarian project that succeeded in building a small man-made island on the Minerva Reefs south of Fiji in 1972 before being invaded by troops from Tonga, who annexed it before destroying the island.[6]
  3. Principality of Freedonia, a libertarian project that supported the Awdal Road Company's attempts to lease land from the Sultan of Awdal in Somaliland in 2001. If the Awdal Road Company is able to build a road, then the Sultan of Awdal will give land to allow the ARC to create an economic free zone, and some of that territory will then be handed over to the Principality of Freedonia. After the men from Awdal Roads Company were deported following false allegations about the lease, resulting public dissatisfaction led to rioting, and the reported death of a Somali.[6]
  4. Republic of Rose Island, an artificial island constructed in 1968 by Italian architect Giorgio Rosa in the Adriatic Sea. The structure was built as a tourist attraction, but soon after it was finished, Rosa declared sovereignty. The Italian navy dynamited the structure the following year.[7]
  5. Global Country of World Peace, "a country without borders for peace-loving people everywhere", was declared by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 2000. It made several attempts to buy or lease land for a sovereign territory.[8] It is now governed by Maharaja Tony Nader.[9] Its currency is the Raam and its capitals include Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa and Vlodrop.
  6. Asgardia, founded on October 12, 2016 by Igor Ashurbeyli, is a proposed nation based in outer space. Plans are for the country to be pacifist, have no official language, to hold a competition to design its flag, insignia and national anthem, and to become part of the United Nations. As of 25 March 2017 over 169,327 people have signed up and become officially recognised members of the country.
  7. The Free Republic of Liberland, founded in 2015, claims a small parcel of land between Croatia and Serbia called Siga. It shares a land border with Croatia and has its eastern border on the Danube. Because of the Croatia-Serbia border dispute some land is claimed by both countries and other parcels are claimed by neither.[10] It has established formal relations with Somaliland[11].
  8. Principality of Seborga, a town in the region of Liguria, Italy (near the southern end of the border with France and encompassing the town of Seborga), which traces its history back to the Middle Ages.[12]
  9. The Principality of Hutt River (formerly "Hutt River Province"), a farm in Western Australia, claims to have seceded from Australia to become an independent pri The Principality of Sealand, a World War II-era anti-aircraft platform built in the North Sea beyond Britain's then territorial limit, seized by a pirate radio group in 1967 as a base for their operations, and now used as the site of a secure web-hosting facility. Sealand has continued to promote its independence by issuing stamps and money, and appointing an official national athlete. It has been described as the "world's most notorious micronation" as well as the "world's smallest and weirdest country".[13][14]
  10. The Crown Dependency of Forvik is an island in Shetland, currently recognized as part of the UK. Stuart Hill claims that independence comes from an arrangement struck in 1468 between King Christian I of Denmark/Norway and Scotland's James III, whereby Christian pawned the Shetland Islands to James in order to raise money for his daughter's dowry. Hill claims that the dowry was never paid and therefore it is not part of the UK and should be a crown dependency like the Isle of Man. Hill has also encouraged the rest of Shetland to declare independence.[15]
  11. The Imperial Throne, formerly the Russian Empire, is a micronation created in 2011 by Russian businessman and politician Prince Anton Bakov, chairman of the Monarchist Party of the Russian Federation. In 2014, the Imperial Throne proclaimed that Prince Karl Emich of Leiningen, one of several claimants to the royal Romanov line, was now Nicholas III, Emperor of All Russia. The Imperial Throne claims to be in contact with the governments of Montenegro and North Macedonia about a grant of territory and state recognition.
  12. The Dominion of British West Florida is a separatist micronation founded in 2005 "on an eccentric interpretation of actual historic events"[16] and based in the Gulf Coast of the United States. It claims the territory of the 18th-century colony of West Florida, which has since been subsumed into the US states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.[17]
 
Flag of The Dominion of British West Florida

ReferencesEdit

  1. What is a Micronation? World Atlas
  2. History of Sealand The principality of Sealand. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015.
  3. Mateusz Kudła,"Jak zostać premierem nie odchodząc od komputera" (in Polish). onet.pl. http://technowinki.onet.pl/komputery/jak-zostac-premierem-nie-odchodzac-od-komputera,1,4909220,artykul.html. Retrieved 2013-04-27. 
  4. Springtime of micronations spearheaded by Belgian “Grand-Duke” Niels Brussels Times
  5. Sack, John; Silverstein, Shel (1959). Report from practically nowhere. Harper. https://archive.org/details/reportfrompracti00sack. 
  6. a b Sellars, John Ryan, George Dunford, Simon (2006). Micronations :the Lonely Planet guide to home-made nations. London: Lonely Planet Publications. pp. 28–33. ISBN 978-1-74104-730-1.
  7. "Riemerge l'isola dell'Utopia - Corriere della Sera". www.corriere.it (in Italian). Retrieved 2018-05-19.
  8. McGirk, Jan (2001-06-08). "Yogi's disciples want to create new utopia". The Independent (London (UK)): p. 17. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-5165376.html. 
  9. MIZROCH, AMIR (2006-07-23). "Forget the F-16s, Israel needs more Yogic Flyers to beat Hizbullah. 30-strong TM group, sole guests at Nof Ginnosar Hotel, say they need another 235 colleagues to make the country safe". Jerusalem Post: p. 4. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. https://web.archive.org/web/20110713123549/http://fr.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1153291974316&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull. 
  10. "Balkans: Czech man claims to establish 'new state'". 16 April 2015. https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-32332473. 
  11. "Somaliland says it wants closer cooperation with unrecognised Liberland". 26 September 2017. https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-africa-40829012. 
  12. Sellars, John Ryan, George Dunford, Simon (2006). Micronations : [the Lonely Planet guide to home-made nations]. London: Lonely Planet Publications. pp. 28–33. ISBN 978-1-74104-730-1.
  13. Sellars, John Ryan, George Dunford, Simon (2006). Micronations : [the Lonely Planet guide to home-made nations]. London: Lonely Planet Publications. pp. 28–33. ISBN 978-1-74104-730-1.
  14. "JOURNEYS—THE SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY: Simon Sellars braves wind and waves to visit the unlikely North Sea nation of Sealand". The Australian. Archived from the original on 2007-11-16. Retrieved 2007-11-10.
  15. Hill, Stuart (2008-06-21). "Forvik Declaration of Direct Dependence". The Crown Dependency of Forvik. Archived from the original on 2009-04-19. https://web.archive.org/web/20090419160142/http://www.forvik.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=44&Itemid=53. Retrieved 2009-05-04. 
  16. "Unrecognised States Numismatic Society". Retrieved 2008-07-31.
  17. Ryan, John; Dunford, George; Sellars, Simon (2006). Micronations. Lonely Planet. pp. 139. ISBN 1-74104-730-7. https://books.google.com/books?id=5ZRrwrlIPSYC&pg=PA139&dq=%22Dominion+of+British+West+Florida%22&num=100&sig=YhBcJM7aMT3_lGOnBxpfyobMMOs.