Principality of Sealand
The Principality of Sealand is an unrecognized micronation that claims HM Fort Roughs (also known as Roughs Tower), an offshore platform in the North Sea approximately 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) off the coast of Suffolk, as its territory. Roughs Tower is a Maunsell Sea Fort that was built by the British in international waters during World War II. Since 1967, the decommissioned Roughs Tower has been occupied and claimed as a sovereign state by the family and associates of Paddy Roy Bates. Bates seized Roughs Tower from a group of pirate radio broadcasters in 1967 with the intention of setting up his own station there. Sealand was invaded by mercenaries in 1978, but was able to repel the attack.
Since 1987, when the United Kingdom extended its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles, the platform has been in British territory. While Sealand has been described as the world's smallest country, it is not recognized by any sovereign state.
Quotes from the Bates family
- E Mare Libertas
- From the sea, freedom (Latin motto)
- The history of Sealand is a story of a struggle for liberty.
- Official website description
Prince Michael Bates
- We have never asked for recognition, and we’ve never felt the need to ask for recognition. You don’t have to have recognition to be a state, you just have to fulfill the criteria of the Montevideo Convention which is population, territory, government and the capacity to enter into negotiation with other states. We can and we have done all these things. We’ve had the German ambassador visit at one point to discuss something: that was de-facto recognition. We’ve had communication with the president of France many years ago, but we have never asked for recognition and we don’t feel we need it.
- With my new grandson Prince Freddy being fourth generation Sealander its future will be assured.
- My sons enjoy being involved in it, it gives them an interesting life and they meet interesting people.
- When I was first there I was 14 years old, there was no mobile telephones, no communication at all. You would go there and be there until the boat came back in two weeks to get you. And it might not come back for six weeks. You would stare at the horizon waiting for it to come back.
Quotes about Sealand
- Ships have allowed groups ranging from cheerfully illicit pirate radio stations to socially committed abortion providers, like Women On Waves, to avoid local laws. [...] It is the less instrumentalist iterations that inspire the imagination. Occasionally, in a spirit of can-do contrarianism, some offshore spit or rig has been designated an independent country, such as Sealand, a sea-tower-based nation with no permanent inhabitants on Britain’s Suffolk coast.