The smallest country in the world
Principality of Sealand
This 500 square meter platform in the middle of the sea is the smallest country in the world
The Principality of Sealand, founded by Roy and Joan Bates, drew up its own Constitution in 1975 and created its currency, its flag, its anthem; even your passport and coat of arms
On September 2, 1967, His Majesty’s former Navy Commander, Patrick Roy Bates, boarded the anti-aircraft fort HM Roughs, some eight miles off the Suffolk coast in the North Sea and which was illegally occupied by pirates , and expelled them.
His idea was to establish a pirate radio station “Radio Essex“, and broadcast to the world, although he never did.
Relying on an interpretation of international law, Bates and his wife Joan declared independence and proclaimed themselves rulers of the new nation, which they called the Principality of Sealand.
In 1942 the British Army installed a series of armed towers in the middle of the Thames and Mersey estuaries to help defend the island, and London, from Luftwaffe attacks. They were called Maunsell forts, and they were in operation as the first anti-aircraft defensive line until the end of World War II.
It looked more like a warship resting on two huge cylindrical concrete legs that stuck into the seabed, a few meters under water.
In the late 1950s, the forts were abandoned and some dismantled. A few can still be visited from boats and boats and hopped there.
What seems like a marine platform, whose extension and geographical position in international waters, supposed a too succulent claim.
For years, the fort underwent a series of boardings, counter-approaches and occupations by pirates, until September 1967 Paddy Roy Bates ended the pirates once and for all, declaring the foundation of the Principality of Sealand.
Its waters near the turret became jurisdictional waters of the country and any attempt to enter them was an act of hostility.
The Bates wrote a Constitution and introduced their own currency, the Sealand dollar, the official exchange of which is always the US dollar.
They designed a flag, composed an anthem, and began to edit their own passport.
His coat of arms reads: “E Mare Libertas” (Freedom from the sea).
Behind this, there was the idea that Sealand was recognized as a sovereign state by some nation of the world, which was about to happen three years later.
In August 1978, a German lawyer Alexander Achenbach hired a few mercenaries to try to take over the platform. He called himself Prime Minister of Sealand, even though all he possessed was one of the folkloric passports the Bates issued as a souvenir.
They stormed the fort with speedboats and took Michael, the son of the Bates, and a group of his friends, the only ones there, hostage. Michael got rid of his captors thanks to a few machine guns. And after several struggles, the Bates’ son retaken Sealand, captured Achenbach, formally accusing him of high treason.
Since there was no Department of Justice in Sealand, the attorney was held there on bail of about $ 35,000.
Germany was not prepared to tolerate that a citizen of its country remained kidnapped. So they sent a diplomat from the Embassy in London to negotiate release. After several weeks, Paddy Roy Bates agreed to release the inmate. And thus he declared that the visit of a German diplomat to sovereign soil of the Principality of Sealand constituted the recognition of his country by the Federal Republic of Germany.
The recognition of Sealand would never occur because, in 1987, the United Kingdom extended its marine strip to 12 nautical miles from the coast by absorbing Sealand into English territory.
Bates continued to sell his passports, his coins, and his flags, more as souvenirs than anything else.
To this day, Sealand is still the smallest country in the world, just 500 square meters in size.
After the death of Paddy and Joan, the current prince is Michael, and he claims that every day hundreds of requests for passports, flags and coins arrive on his website, but that the most requested item is the title of Lord or Lady.