Top 5 Most Famous Micronations

5. Frestonia
Size: .0028 of a square mile

In the late 70s, a small, derelict section of the Notting Hill region of London gained worldwide attention after it declared its independence from the rest of Britain. The community, which called itself Frestonia thanks to its location on Freston road, was made up of squatters and other counterculture types who had been threatened with eviction by the local city council. Unwilling to abandon their lifestyle, the residents banded together, and after voting overwhelmingly to secede, declared themselves a sovereign nation on Halloween night 1977. They quickly applied for induction into the United Nations, and warned that peacekeeping troops would be needed if the council tried to evict them by force. Because of constant media coverage, the city found it difficult to throw the Frestonians out of their neighborhood, and following a public inquiry the micronation was given the right to exist.
The residents jumped at the opportunity to build their own nation, and soon created their own newspaper, postage stamps, national anthem (three of them, actually), and even a film institute that regularly showed concert footage of the Sex Pistols. The area became a counterculture haven, to the point that in 1982 The Clash even came to the community to record their album Combat Rock. Eventually, though, members of the region negotiated an agreement with the city to help in rebuilding the crumbling district. This meant that Frestonia lost its cherished freedom from the British government, and many of the original citizens moved away. The organization of the little country-within-a-country soon collapsed, but even today the neighborhood remains an unusually close-knit community.
4. Talossa
Size: Indeterminate, but includes a good part of Milwaukee, Antarctica, and some French islands

The internet has become a veritable playground for amateur nation builders, as new countries—many of which exist only on paper—can use websites and blogs as a way to build up their populations and drum up support for their cause. There is perhaps no better example of this than Talossa, an upstart country formed in 1979 by then-14-year-old Robert Ben Madison of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It officially seceded from the United States in the same year (though, as its website states, the U.S. didn’t seem to notice) and established itself as a constitutional monarchy with “King Ben” as its head. In the beginning, Talossa was just a joke hobby (the original “Kingdom” consisted of Madison’s bedroom), but in 1995 Talossa became the first micronation to get a website, and from there its legend and its membership grew rapidly. Soon, it had developed a cult following, and conventions called Talossafests were regularly held in and around Milwaukee.
As micronations go, Talossa features one of the most fully realized cultures. Fans have traced its “history” back to the Berbers, written a national anthem (“Stand Tall, Talossans”) and, most impressively, composed a 25,000-word dictionary of their own invented language, the so-called Talossan Tongue. As one of the world’s oldest micronations (Madison claims to have coined the term), Talossa has become famous the world over, but it has not been without controversy: in 2004, a group of citizens rebelled against the crown and formed the Republic of Talossa, and it seems that a rival Kingdom has also recently sprung up—all only online, of course. Photo: King Robert I (successor to King Ben).
3. Hutt River Province
Size: 28.9 square miles

Few micronations ever have any real success at being recognized by the larger countries that they “secede” from, with the notable exception of Australia’s Hutt River Province. Its history dates back to 1970, when Leonard Casley, a farmer from outside of Perth, got into a dispute with government officials over wheat quotas. When no reasonable compromise could be reached, Casley resorted to a loophole in British law and declared that he and his 75 square kilometer property had seceded from the state of Western Australia. A comedy of errors and inaction in the Australian government led to Casley’s claim receiving an uncommon amount of legitimacy, and when he was threatened with prosecution he simply declared himself “His Royal Highness, Prince Leonard of Hutt,” in order to take advantage of ancient law that made monarchs immune to arrest. Since then, the Hutt River Province, or the Principality of Hutt River, as it is now known, has existed in a legal grey area. Residents are not subject to Australian taxes, but the government has still never officially recognized the micronation as a sovereign entity.
Once Hutt River gained its de facto independence, Price Leonard immediately went about the business of drafting a bill of rights, a flag, and a form of money called the Hutt River Dollar. The Principality is still going strong today, and Hutt River has even become something of a tourist destination where visitors can buy Hutt River coins and get their picture taken with the Prince, who is now well into his 80s.
2. Seborga
Size: 4 square miles

The history of Seborga dates back to the 10th century, when the small territory in northern Italy was granted independence and given to some monks so that they could build a monastery. Nearly seven hundred years later it was annexed by the Kingdom of Sardinia, which once owned large parts of Spain and Italy. But even after the end of the Sardinian Kingdom, Seborga was never officially claimed by the Italian state. Things stayed this way for another 200 years until the 1960s, when a local florist named Giorgio Carbone began arguing that the region had never lost its autonomy, and as such was technically an independent principality. Carbone managed to win over the local townspeople, and he was soon elected as the unofficial head of the “country” of Seborga.
Despite its newfound independence, things stayed mostly the same in Seborga until the mid-nineties, when the town’s 300 residents voted to once and for all declare independence from Italy. Carbone, who was already jokingly known as “your tremendousness,” became the official prince of the region, a title he held until his death in 2009.  He was the most enthusiastic promoter of the Principality, and is responsible for instituting its flag, money, postage stamps, and motto “sub umbra sede” (which apparently means “Sit in the Shade”). The Italian government has never officially recognized Seborga—residents still pay Italian taxes and attend Italian schools—but they have not discouraged it from symbolically operating as a sovereign state, and today it even has its own standing army, which supposedly consists of a single soldier named Lt. Antonello Lacalo.
1. The Principality of Sealand
Size: .0002 of a square mile

Of all the tiny upstart nations in the world, perhaps none has managed to garner as much fame as the Principality of Sealand, a micronation built on an abandoned WWII sea fort off the coast of Britain. It was started in 1967, when famed pirate radio broadcaster Paddy Roy Bates occupied the platform and began using it as hub for his station “Radio Essex.” Bates began calling the fort “Sealand,” and by 1975 he had come up with a flag, a national anthem, a currency, and even passports. Unlike most micronations, Sealand has gained a remarkably high profile in the international community, if only for its readiness to use force. This was most apparent in 1968, when Bates’s son Michael used a rifle to fire on a British vessel that had entered Sealand’s territorial waters. He was handed a weapons charge, but managed to dodge it in court because Sealand was far enough off the coast that it was outside of British jurisdiction.  This decision has been used time and again as proof of Sealand’s sovereignty, but it has yet to be recognized by any major country. Germany did send a representative to the fort during the so-called “Second Sealand Incident” in 1975, when a German citizen briefly claimed the platform before being ousted and imprisoned by the Bates, but it has since denied that this action means it recognizes Sealand as a legitimate nation.
In recent years, Sealand has become less of a country and more of a business venture. During the dot com era, it was briefly used as an offshore data hosting facility because of its lack of laws and regulations. It has also operated as a tourist destination, and in recent years the Bates family even unsuccessfully attempted to sell the Principality for some 750 million euros.


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