So you want to start your own country?

So you want to start your own country?
Micronations of the world, unite — Liberland is the latest micronation to declare its independence. Huck looks at how other self-declared countries have fared after deciding to go it alone.

A Czech politician has declared an independent sovereign state on a strip of unclaimed territory between Serbia and Croatia. He is not the first.

Vit Jedlicka, a member of the conservative Party of Free Citizens in the Czech Republic, declared the Free Republic of Liberland on 13 April, after realising he couldn’t achieve meaningful political reform in the Czech Republic. Today, Jedlicka is president of his own micronation.

Located between Croatia and Serbia on the west bank of the Danube river, Liberland is approximately 7 km². It is a Constitutional republic with elements of direct democracy, no military, and optional taxes, because “private ownership is untouchable.”

Liberland’s motto “To live and let live” prides itself on the personal and economic freedom of its people, and the limited power of politicians.

While at first the whole thing was believed to be a media stunt, Liberland has received over 260,000 citizen applications, Jedlicka told Business Insider. Due to geographical constraints, the population is expected to be capped around 35,000, though not all citizens will live in Liberland.

The country currently needs citizens who “have respect for other people and respect the opinions of others, regardless of their race, ethnicity, orientation, or religion,” though anyone with a communist, nazi or extremist past need not apply.

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Liberland is located at 45° 46′ N, 18° 52′ E

So far, Serbia and Croatia have not recognised the micronation or replied to any correspondence. Jedlicka has conceded that if it came to an invasion Liberland’s position would be solely defensive, not least because its lack of army. The nation would have to be run from abroad.

So, what is a micronation?

Though micronations have long been known for facilitating tax havens and financial fraud, there are a myriad of ‘seceded’ yet unrecognised territories around the world that exist for other reasons, indeed some exist for no reason at all.

Micronations, defined as “an entity that claims to be an independent nation or state but is not officially recognised by world governments or major international organisations,” have existed for centuries.

Throughout history, people have declared their own nations, often in protest to the existing political structure, to escape the confines of bureaucracy or to trial a utopian vision.

Huck rounds up the best and strangest of the world’s micronations, though some territorial claims have gone beyond our planetary borders.

The Principality of Hutt River

Photo- John Mokrzycki

‘Prince’ Leonard Casley and his wife, ‘Princess’ Shirley, of the Principality of Hutt River. Photo: John Mokrzycki

The Principality of Hutt River is the oldest micronation in Australia, and declared its secession after what was deemed to be overly draconian wheat production quotas. The principality claims to have achieved legal status on 21 April 1970, although it remains unrecognised by Australia and other nations. There’s an old Commonwealth law allowing for seccession, and the Queen’s representative in Australia couldn’t be bothered fighting the five families who started the new country, so they just let them be.

The Principality of Sealand

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Sealand is based on a WWII sea fort in international waters off the coast of the UK. It was occupied by British pirate radio broadcaster Paddy Roy Bates (Prince Roy) and his family from 1967, and Roy ruled until his death in 2012. The Royal Family of Sealand has a strong internet presence, and appears to make money by hosting internet gambling sites on their servers, as it’s perfectly legal in Sealand. They also sell citizenship and minor titles. While not recognised by any other nation, they’re on an island no one has jurisdiction of, so they’re generally left alone.

The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands

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Declared in 2004, The Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands was established as a symbolic political protest by a group of gay rights activists, in response to the Australian government’s refusal to recognise same-sex marriages. It was founded on Australia’s external overseas Territory of the Coral Sea Islands, a group of uninhabited islets east of the Great Barrier Reef. The national anthem is Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Am What I Am’.

The Conch Republic

Conch Republic

The Conch Republic seceded from the U.S.A. on April 23, 1982, after the US Border Patrol set up a checkpoint between Florida’s Key West and the mainland, which frustrated the residents. Admittedly a tongue-in-cheek endeavour, the Mayor of Key West named himself prime minister of the Republic and declared war on the United States by breaking a stale loaf of Cuban bread over a nearby naval officer. He then quickly surrendered and applied for one billion dollars in foreign aid from the United States. The Conch Republic continues to celebrate Independence Day every April 23.

Republic of Molossia

J. Stephen Conn

His Excellency President Kevin Baugh, courtesy J. Stephen Conn

Molossia was originally established in 1977 as a childhood project, and its territory spans the property of President Kevin Baugh, dictator. It consists of Baugh’s house (known as the Government House), about 40 m2 in size, as well as 5,000 m2 of surrounding property, enclaved by Nevada. Molossia recognises other micronations, has its own money, alphabet, flag, and has been at war with East Germany since 1983, despite only being founded in 1999. The national anthem is that of Albania, with changed wording.

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