What is Sealand?

Image from fbermingham.wordpress.com

Image from fbermingham.wordpress.com

During World War II, England set up a number of sea forts in the waters surrounding their island as an extra defense against German attackers. After the war, of course, the forts were abandoned as they were no longer needed. One fort in particular, however, lives on in a rather strange, and little-known manner.

In 1967, a man by the name of Paddy Roy Bates took over one of the abandoned sea forts as a pirate radio station. A pirate radio station simply means that a radio station broadcasts entertainment or political content illegally. Soon after, he declared the little fort a nation, named it Sealand and himself its prince.

Little Sealand, being only 1.5 square miles in size and with a population of less than thirty people, is considered a micronation by some, if it is even consider it a nation at all. “Officially,” Sealand is a Principality, and even has its own flag, passports, currency and constitution. Anyone can buy citizenship in Sealand online through the official Sealand website. You can even buy the status of lord or lady if you want to feel fancy.

Shortly after its creation, Sealand nearly faced destruction. Not long after Bates declared Sealand a nation, the British government set about destroying all of the old sea forts with explosives. Bates and his small contingent of fellow Sealanders defended their home and were brought to court for their actions. Sealand is located seven nautical miles off the shore of England. Although there has been contest over Sealand’s legitimacy, the English government declared that they had no jurisdiction over the little ex-fort-turned-micronation, as it was located in international waters. To this day, Sealand has not been officially recognized by any nation, however, they claim they have been unofficially recognized by both the U.K. and Germany

The prince of Sealand Paddy Roy Bates died in October of 2012, but the small micronation continues to outlive him. If you ask the average person on the street if they know what Sealand is, they will probably have no clue. In popular culture, Sealand makes several appearances in the popular Japanese Anime series Axis Powers: Hetalia.

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