Principality of Pontinha
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The Principality of Pontinha is a tongue-in-cheek micronation on an islet connected to Madeira Island, Portugal by a port. The fortified islet was proclaimed an independent principality in 2007 by Renato Barros, self-entitled as Prince Renato, the owner of the piece of land.
Principality of Pontinha
Principado da Pontinha (Portuguese)
Motto: Verba volant, scripta manent (Latin)
Words fly, writing remains
Map of Pontinha
|Fort of Saint José|
|Official languages||Fortense (Portuguese)|
|Organizational structure||Constitutional monarchy|
|D. Renato Barros|
|0.000178 km2 (6.9×10−5 sq mi)|
|Purported currency||Bitcoin (Ƀ)b (BTC)|
|Time zone||UTC+0 (WET)|
• Summer (DST)
The islet and its fort were property of the Portuguese state until king Carlos I of Portugal sold the islet on 9 October 1903 to the Blandy family of Madeira, traditionally involved in winemaking. The money was needed by the king to develop the port of Funchal.
In 2000, the Madeiran art teacher Renato de Barros bought the islet and fort from the Blandys for 9,000 contos (the equivalent to ~€45,000), with the aim of studying wave power. In November 2007, Renato Barros presented a "request for the detachment of the Principality of the Island of Pontinha" to Monteiro Diniz, the sovereign's representative in the Autonomous Region of Madeira. Subsequently, Renato Barros declared the independence of the islet, calling it the Principality of Pontinha and entitling himself its Prince. According to Barros, at the time of the sale of the islet by the king, a royal charter was issued to the buyer, granting them not only the possession of the islet but also the "dominion" over it (meaning, according to Barros, the charter conceded sovereignty over the landmass to its owner since 1903).
The Royal Charter of 26 October 1903 reads as follows:
|“||Dom Carlos I (...) does well to transmit to him by irrevocable and pure sale all the possession and dominion that in that building had the National Treasury for (...) the bidder, his heirs and successors (...)||”|
In February 2017, José Manuel Coelho, a Madeiran politician known for his bizarre deeds, asked for political asylum in the self-declared principality, which was granted by the self-proclaimed Prince Renato Barros.
- Middleton 2015, p. 98.
- "Site do Principado (Forte de São José) - Principality of the Pontinha National Anthem". Archived from the original on 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2017-01-14.
- Middleton 2015, p. 99.
- Barros, Renato (14 November 2014). "Experience: I founded my own country". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 November 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- Heilpern, Will (9 June 2016). "A man who turned a tiny island into his own country says the Portuguese government is threatening him with 'military power'". Business Insider. Archived from the original on 21 November 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "Reportagem - O 'Príncipe' do Forte". Diário de Notícias da Madeira - Revista Mais. 20 January 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
- Dotson, Kyt (15 December 2015). "A tiny island off the coast of Portugal just became the first country with Bitcoin as its official currency". Silicon Angle. Archived from the original on 11 August 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
- "Um Sonho Soberano (2016) - IMDb". IMDb. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- "Filme de Gonçalo Guerra sobre o "príncipe do ilhéu da Pontinha" estreia hoje na Madeira" [A film by Gonçalo Guerra about the "Prince of the Pontinha Islet" premieres today in Madeira]. Diário de Notícias da Madeira (in Portuguese). 30 April 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
- "Vídeo mostra como Coelho pediu asilo político ao principado da Pontinha para escapar à prisão" [Video shows how Coelho asked for political asylum to the Principality of Pontinha to avoid prison]. Diário de Notícias da Maderia (in Portuguese). 6 February 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2018.