I’m going to be honest with you. I have no idea how to write a ‘Top 10 Micornations’ article. How do you even measure that? The ones with the most territory claimed? The one with the least. The most famous, the most notorious? The ones currently active today, or throughout history?
Also, this is certainly not a unique concept to me. There are many other top lists of micronations. Like these:
- History’s Strangest Micronations
- 25 Most Uniquely Interesting Micronations On The Planet
- The Top 10 Most Powerful Micronations (Relatively Speaking)
- Top 10 Bizarre Micronations
- Top 10 Most Famous Micronations
- And here’s just a list of micronations from Wikipedia. Revel in the completeness.
So, here’s another list of ten micronations. Are they the top ones? Sure. Why not?
Ten Micronations (That are probably tops)
Westartica, formerly the Grand Duchy of Estartica, formerly the Protectorate of Westartica, formerly the Achaean Territory of Antartica, claims land in Antartica, specifically Marie Byrd Land (defined as defined as all land south of 60° S and between 90° W and 150° W), and a few nearby islands. They basis this claim on a supposed loophole in international law that left this bit unclaimed by the major countries. While no major country has acknowledged this claim, it is a popular loophole, and has been used by a number of other micronational projects, including the infamous Dominon of Melchizedek. Westartica, and its ruler Grand Duke Travis McHenry, currently bill themselves as ‘advocacy through occupation’, stating their goal with the micronation is to draw attention to the environmental issues of Antartica. Their website may be found here.
A self-described ‘tongue in cheek’ secession movement, The Conch Republic was a response to frustation with local government. The territory declared its independence in 1982, and claimed the city of Key West, Florida. The territory currently claimed is variable. There is a yearly Independence Day celebration, and has become a party of the local tourism industry. The national mindset can best be described as ‘laid back.’
Kingdom of Ladonia
Ladonia was borne of Man’s two great motivators: the need to create art, and the need to sue people. The country was founded by the artist Lars Vilks, who built a monumental wooden sculpture ‘Nimis’ (‘Too Much’ in Latin) in the Kullaberg nature reserve in north-west Skåne, Sweden, in 1980. Because it was built in such a remote and innaccessible location, the Swedish authorities didn’t actually find out about the sculpture until about two years later. After they did find out about it, they declared the sculpture to be a building (to be fair, it was big and made of wood), and took Mr Vilks to court.
Over a decade of legal battles ensued, during the course of which Lars Vilks declared the independence of the Kingdom of Ladonia. The Swedish government was unable to really enforce their claims over their own territry, giving his claim some de facto, if not de jure, legitimacy.
Ladonia is a popular micronation, with over 17,000 citizens (none of whom live in the territory claimed). It has a some rather whimsical national characteristics (the national language only has two words), as befits a nation founded by an artist, and that I personally find quite appealing.
The Kingdom of Ladonia is still going strong today, despite some trouble with arsonists (as can be expected with a country based upon the erection of large wooden sculptures.)
If the Kingdom of Ladonia can be considered an ‘artistic’ micronation, then the Kingdom of Redonda may be considered a ‘literary’ micronation. It’s founder was the author MP Sheil, and many of its peers were early to mid 20th Century writers and poets. The details of its formation may have been a literary invention of Mr Sheil themselves. And, like any good story, there are multiple versions of it, with many current conflicting claims to kingship over the small, uninhabited, Caribbean isle.
From the artistic, to the literary, to the flat-out fraudulent. The Dominion of Melchizedek was started in 1990 by Mark Pedley, and has lent its name to banking fraud, passport fraud, and a whole host of other malfeasance. They are listed in the anti-scam website Quatloos! They are, quite frankly, a disgrace to micronations, and the less said about them the better.
I have some sympathy with these guys. Back in the early 70’s, they wanted to form a libertarian nation, a ‘libertopia’. I get that. I understand that. But they went at with a fatal combination of arrogance, naivete, and an unwillingness to fight for what they claimed. Their desires wrote checks their stomachs (and stomachs for fighting) could not cash. The whole sordid history may be found here.
Ah, Sealand. It may not be the oldest micronation, but it is one of the longest continuing micronations, and certainly one of the most well know. Started by Rory Bates on an abandoned WWII era offshore platform in 1965. It has survived fire, fame, the internet, and German businessmen. It’s political and commercial practices are still the model for a number of more recent micronations.
While other micronations may make more of a splash in the news, and others may have a more dramatic history, the Republic of Molossia is a great example of what most micronations can achieve. It’s a small operation, nothing grandiose, and while it is definitely done with a great deal of flair, there’s nothing extravagantly expensive about it. It’s a fun well-done hobby, that more micronations could learn lessons from.
Free Republic of Liberland
The Free Republic of Liberland does not lack ambition. founded by ‘ Czech right-libertarian politician and activist Vít Jedlička‘, Liberland claims territory currently disputed by both Serbia and Croatia. They are explicitly billing themselves as a libertarian nation, and while their politics may drift a bit too much in vulgar libertarianism for my taste, I do admire the general thrust of their ideals, and their moxie. Still, They are messing with the borders of two countries not known for having a tolerant sense of humor, in a region of the world with very little chill. So good luck and don’t get shot?
The Principality of Hutt River is an Australian micronation, claiming a small part of Western Australia. Founded in 1970 over a dispute involving wheat quotas, Hutt River has evolved into a family affair, issuing a number of attractive coins, stamps, and other State paraphernalia. Another nice success story for the micronation community.
Did I miss your favorite micronation? Let me know in the comments.