Home > Commentary, Fact of the Day, History > You’re Welcome – Sealand edition

You’re Welcome – Sealand edition

This is a little tidbit of info that I KNOW you’ll all be thanking me for bringing to your attention.

This morning I was listening to a podcast in which one contributor (a Brit) mentioned that he had been recruited to play on the international football team for the micro-nation of  Sealand.  Never having heard of this tiny (I mean, really tiny) Shangri-la, I started to look into it.

As it turns out, Sealand (ironically) isn’t land at all.  It was built as a gun platform 7 miles off the coast of England during WWII as a defense against German air strikes.  In 1967, being outside internationally acknowledged British territorial waters, a guy named Roy moved there, crowned himself prince and instituted a semi-constitutional, hereditary monarchy which still exists today.  This little platform has had international incidents (firing on encroaching British navel vessels), fought a war (invasion and capture of sovereign territory by Dutch citizens – resulting in prisoner of war negotiations) and fields of variety athletes who compete for the flag.  Sealand’s national airsoft team – based out of Sheffield – is quite accomplished.

Here are some facts about Sealand:

Head of State: Roy of Sealand or Prince Roy (Acting Head of State: Prince Michael)

Population: 5 (estimated)

GDP: $600,000 USD

Area: 550 Sq. Meters

Based on a newly-aquired understanding of Sealand and facts above, here are my favorite lines from the Sealand website:

Units of the navy [UK] entered the territorial waters claimed by Roy of Sealand. As he was aware of his sovereignty, Roy of Sealand threatened the navy by undertaking defensive activity. Shots were fired from Sealand in warning.

In August of 1978, a number of Dutch men came to Sealand in the employ of a German businessman. They were there to discuss business dealings with Sealand. While Roy was away in Britain, these men kidnapped Prince Roy’s son Michael, and took Sealand by force. Soon after, Roy recaptured the island with a group of his own men and held the attackers as prisoners of war.

The presence of an active and rapidly growing high-tech internet industry in Sealand has changed the character of the Principality; once more, Sealand rings with the sound of voices, boasts regular support ferry services, and is host to a growing and dynamic population.

And for your viewing enjoyment – and because I know you’re all wildly curious – here is a picture of this beautiful nation.

From sea to shining sea

To answer your inevitable question: no, we won’t be immigrating to Sealand.  I already asked and Sarah said no.

  1. The Coach
    January 19, 2010 at 10:57 am

    I think I’m going to get myself a Barony of SeaLand. Then, I’ll demand all of my students call me “Baron P_____”; it’ll be only slightly more pretentious than the guidance counselor who asks students to call him Dr. _____.

  2. January 19, 2010 at 11:04 am

    And would this Barony be a rowboat of the ‘coast’ of Sealand? It seems unlikely that they would be able to accommodate further segmentation of their less than expansive territory. Sorry to crush your dreams.

    I do agree that people who are anal about the Dr. title are tiresome in the extreme.

  3. The Coach
    January 19, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Clearly, you didn’t read enough on the website. You can purchase a title of Baron, Baroness, Lord, or Lady for a mere £29.99 (plus postage). I’d essentially be an ambassador, with no need to move there.

    • January 19, 2010 at 11:23 am

      Oh wow. Consider me rebuffed. That is a fantastic deal. Did the sit indicate how many titles have been bestowed to date?

  4. The Coach
    January 19, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Not that I saw. I’m interested; it’s slightly less heretical and offensive than getting an internet chaplaincy (I could be the Right Reverend P_____).

    • January 19, 2010 at 11:28 am

      As this conversation takes a tangent into abject irrelevance, do you know if a Most Right Reverend is of some higher rank than just a regular Right Reverend?

  5. The Coach
    January 19, 2010 at 11:33 am

    No idea. Or even “The Very Reverend.” Ordination is not something necessarily on my mind. I kind of prefer being a lay minister.

  6. January 19, 2010 at 11:36 am

    How about the Catholic church addressing the Pope as “Your Holiness”? I don’t see anything wrong with that, do you?

    Regarding Sealand, I saw a Fox News story a couple of years ago about it being for sale at the price of about $1 billion. You guys want in? We could take it over and then “fart in the general direction” of all who pass by.

    • January 19, 2010 at 11:47 am

      Apparently you technically can’t sell a sovereign nation (no matter how contrived)… which sort of contradicts the concept of sovereignty, right?

      If we could, we would have the rights to territorial waters 12 miles in all directions from our nation (with the exception of the British side which would extend almost Ipswich). Think of what we could do with all that cold, barren North Sea territory…. yeah, I couldn’t think of anything either.

  7. January 19, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    LOL. Partially sovereign. We could build, um, another platform!

  8. January 20, 2010 at 9:33 am

    Well, when I get my doctorate I certainly won’t count on y’all to call me Dr. Does the Coach perhaps remember an English teacher at our alma mater who was a heriditary Count?

  9. mark
    January 21, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Ah, Sealand – good times. It seems sealand got itself in a spot of trouble a while back (mid-to late 80’s) selling passports to international terrorist/mobsters and various others. But what really sealed the deal, was when the british high court acknolwedged Sealand’s sovereignty by forcing the british postal system to honor “sealand” stamps on international mail. They have a currency (trading as the same as USD), stamps, the aforementioned titles, passports, citizenship, and crazy people – Got to love it.

    PS: Sealand is not acknowledge by the CIA Factbook – So I don’t give it too many props – other than the airsoft and fencing (who fence in conjuction with UCAL at Irvine?). MP

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