Required Reading: Micronations

Texas knows it: when the crushing force of the state really starts to get you down, secession is the only answer.

Whether in a Midwestern basement or on an aircraft carrier six miles offshore, declaring yourself ruler supreme can do wonders for all the little oppressions in life. Of course, finding international support for your imaginary nation can prove to be a bit more difficult than sticking a flag in something and minting a few coins. But in the wake of Texas’s half-joke of a petition I got to thinking about all the micronational projects the ornery state might have to draw inspiration from.

The term micronation refers, loosely, to a place that takes on the qualities of a country without, well, any sort of formal recognition. It’s kind of the diplomatic version of running upstairs, clapping your hands to your ears and whistling as loudly as you can.  Sometimes utopian, often in the throes of bizarre legal battles, and governed by everything from consensus to “His Tremendousness,” the micronation’s pantomiming statehood takes playful jabs at our territories real and imagined.

—Molly o.


From adventurers to libertarians: “New Foundlands,” in Cabinet‘s Fictional States issue:

“How many countries are there in the world? The question is not as simple as it seems. The United Nations claims 191 members, the United States Department of State supposes 192 independent countries, while the C.I.A. World Factbook spreads its net even further by suggesting 268 nations, dependent areas, and other entities.”

On the fragmentation of geopolitical space.

“Like many micronations, Talossa began with a lonely kid. But where most such realms collapse when their founders grow up, Talossa has flourished.” “It’s Good to Be King,” a profile of the Kingdom of Talossa, invented by a 14 year old boy. Talossa has a slick website, but we prefer this original history, brought to you by the Wayback machine.

Robert Smithson’s drawing: “Floating Island to Travel Around Manhattan Island”

The Last Stand of Freetown,” by Porter Fox, on the autonomous neighborhood founded by a group of squatters in the early ’70s.

More on Christiania and the deal it reached with the Danish authorities this year.

Geoff Manaugh’s invent-a-micronation contest.

“It goes like this: Friedman wants to establish new sovereign nations built on oil-rig-type platforms anchored in international waters—free from the regulation, laws, and moral suasion of any landlocked country. They’d be small city-states at first, although the aim is to have tens of millions of seasteading residents by 2050.”

From The State, a visit to Libertalia.

 The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of Coral Sea Islands!

A report from Sealand, a soverign micronation founded on an anti-aircraft platform in the north sea. Roy Bates, the Prince of Sealand, recently died. From the obituary:

“In 1978, a group of would-be German investors lured Bates and his wife to Vienna, then seized Sealand in their absence. The monarch and his supporters swooped back in on an old war buddy’s helicopter and captured the hijackers. They kept one as a prisoner, forcing him to make Sealanders’ coffee and clean the loos for nearly two months until Bates finally kicked him out.”

And by the way, you should really, really, listen to Sealand’s national anthem.