Principality of Sealand
The Principality of Sealand, more commonly known as Sealand, is a micronation that claims Roughs Tower, an offshore platform located in the North Sea approximately 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) off the coast of Suffolk, England, as its territory. Roughs Tower is a disused Maunsell Sea Fort, originally called HM Fort Roughs, built as an anti-aircraft defensive gun platform by the British during World War II.
|Principality of Sealand
Motto: E Mare Libertas
From the sea, Freedom
Anthem: E Mare Libertas by Basil Simonenko
Sealand from above
|2 September 1967|
|0.004 km2 (0.0015 sq mi) (All liveable space)|
|Purported currency||Sealand dollar
(pegged to the USD)
Since 1967, the decommissioned HM Fort Roughs has been occupied by family and associates of Paddy Roy Bates, who claim that it is an independent sovereign state. Bates seized it from a group of pirate radio broadcasters in 1967 with the intention of setting up his own station at the site. He attempted to establish Sealand as a nation-state in 1975 with the writing of a national constitution and establishment of other national symbols.
While it has been described as the world's smallest country or nation, Sealand is not officially recognised by any established sovereign state in spite of Sealand's government's claim that it has been de facto recognised by the United Kingdom and Germany. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in force since 1994 states "Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf". Since 1987, Sealand lies within the territorial waters of the United Kingdom.
HM Fort RoughsEdit
In 1943, during World War II, HM Fort Roughs (sometimes called Roughs Tower) was constructed by the United Kingdom as one of the Maunsell Forts, primarily to defend the vital shipping lanes in nearby estuaries against German Navy mine-laying aircraft. It consisted of a floating pontoon base with a superstructure of two hollow towers joined by a deck upon which other structures could be added. The fort was towed to a position above the Rough Sands sandbar, where its base was deliberately flooded to sink it on its final resting place. This is approximately 7 nautical miles (13 km) from the coast of Suffolk, outside the then 3 nmi (6 km) claim of the United Kingdom and, therefore, in international waters. The facility was occupied by 150–300 Royal Navy personnel throughout World War II; the last full-time personnel left in 1956.
Occupation and establishmentEdit
Roughs Tower was occupied in February and August 1965 by Jack Moore and his daughter Jane, squatting on behalf of the pirate station Wonderful Radio London.
On 2 September 1967, the fort was occupied by Major Paddy Roy Bates, a British subject and pirate radio broadcaster, who ejected a competing group of pirate broadcasters. Bates intended to broadcast his pirate radio station – called Radio Essex – from the platform. Despite having the necessary equipment, he never began broadcasting. Bates declared the independence of Roughs Tower and deemed it the Principality of Sealand.
In 1968, British workmen entered what Bates claimed to be his territorial waters to service a navigational buoy near the platform. Michael Bates (son of Paddy Roy Bates) tried to scare the workmen off by firing warning shots from the former fort. As Bates was a British subject at the time, he was summoned to court in England on firearms charges following the incident. But as the court ruled that the platform (which Bates was now calling "Sealand") was outside British territorial limits, being beyond the then 3-nautical-mile (6 km) limit of the country's waters, the case could not proceed.
Attack in 1978 and the Sealand Rebel GovernmentEdit
In August 1978, Alexander Achenbach, who describes himself as the Prime Minister of Sealand, hired several German and Dutch mercenaries to spearhead an attack on Sealand while Bates and his wife were in England. They stormed the platform with speedboats, Jet Skis and helicopters, and took Bates' son Michael hostage. Michael was able to retake Sealand and capture Achenbach and the mercenaries using weapons stashed on the platform. Achenbach, a German lawyer who held a Sealand passport, was charged with treason against Sealand and was held unless he paid DM 75,000 (more than US$35,000 or £23,000). The governments of the Netherlands, Austria and Germany petitioned the British government for his release, but the United Kingdom disavowed his imprisonment, citing the 1968 court decision. Germany then sent a diplomat from its London embassy to Sealand to negotiate for Achenbach's release. Roy Bates relented after several weeks of negotiations and subsequently claimed that the diplomat's visit constituted de facto recognition of Sealand by Germany.
Following the former's repatriation, Achenbach and Gernot Pütz established a government in exile, sometimes known as the Sealand Rebel Government or Sealandic Rebel Government, in Germany. Achenbach's appointed successor, Johannes Seiger, continues to claim via his website that he is Sealand's legitimate ruling authority.
- 1997: Because of the massive number of passports that had been issued by Sealand in circulation (estimated at 150,000), the Bates family revoked all Sealand passports, including those that they themselves had issued over the previous 22 years.
- 2006: On the afternoon of 23 June 2006, the top platform of the Roughs Tower caught fire due to an electrical fault. A Royal Air Force rescue helicopter transferred one person to Ipswich hospital, directly from the tower. The Harwich lifeboat stood by the Roughs Tower until a local fire tug extinguished the fire. All damage was repaired by November 2006.
- In January 2007, The Pirate Bay attempted to purchase Sealand after harsher copyright measures in Sweden forced them to look for a base of operations elsewhere.
- 2007–2010: Sealand was offered for sale through the Spanish estate company InmoNaranja. The asking price is €750 million (£600 million, US$906 million).
- 2009: A German man who styles himself as King Marduk I declared that he had claimed Sealand as part of his own nation, the Kingdom of Marduk.
- 9 October 2012: Roy Bates, self-declared Prince of Sealand, died at the age of 91 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for several years. He was succeeded by his son Michael.
- 15 March 2016: It was announced that Joan Bates, wife of Roy, died on 10 March, at the age of 86 in a nursing home in Essex.
The claim that Sealand is an independent sovereign state is based on an interpretation of a 1968 decision of an English court, in which it was held that Roughs Tower was in international waters and thus outside the jurisdiction of the domestic courts.
In international law, the most common schools of thought for the creation of statehood are the constitutive and declaratory theories of state creation. The constitutive theory is the standard nineteenth-century model of statehood, and the declaratory theory was developed in the twentieth century to address shortcomings of the constitutive theory. In the constitutive theory, a state exists exclusively via recognition by other states. The theory splits on whether this recognition requires 'diplomatic recognition' or merely 'recognition of existence'. No other state grants Sealand official recognition, but it has been argued by Bates that negotiations carried out by Germany following a brief hostage incident constituted 'recognition of existence' (and, since the German government reportedly sent an ambassador to the tower, diplomatic recognition). In the declaratory theory of statehood, an entity becomes a state as soon as it meets the minimal criteria for statehood. Therefore, recognition by other states is purely 'declaratory'.
In 1987, the UK extended its territorial waters from 3 to 12 nautical miles (6 to 22 km). Sealand now sits inside British waters. The United Kingdom is one of 165 parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (in force since 1994), which states in Part V, Article 60, that: 'Artificial islands, installations and structures do not possess the status of islands. They have no territorial sea of their own, and their presence does not affect the delimitation of the territorial sea, the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf'. In the opinion of law academic John Gibson, there is little chance that Sealand would be recognised as a nation because it is a man-made structure.
|Prince of Sealand|
since 9 October 2012
|Formation||2 September 1967|
Irrespective of its legal status, Sealand is managed by the Bates family as if it were a recognised sovereign entity and they are its hereditary royal rulers. Roy Bates styled himself as 'Prince Roy' and his widow 'Princess Joan'. Their son is known as 'His Royal Highness Prince Michael' and has been referred to as the 'Prince regent' by the Bates family since 1999. In this role, he apparently serves as Sealand's acting 'Head of State' and also its 'Head of Government'. At a micronations conference hosted by the University of Sunderland in 2004, Sealand was represented by Michael Bates' son James. The facility is now occupied by one or more caretakers representing Michael Bates, who himself resides in Essex, England.
Sealand's constitution was instituted in 1974. It consists of a preamble and seven articles. The preamble asserts Sealand's independence, while the articles variously deal with Sealand's status as a constitutional monarchy, the empowerment of government bureaux, the role of an appointed, advisory senate, the functions of an appointed, advisory legal tribunal, a proscription against the bearing of arms except by members of a designated 'Sealand Guard', the exclusive right of the sovereign to formulate foreign policy and alter the constitution, and the hereditary patrilinear succession of the monarchy. Sealand's legal system is claimed to follow British common law, and statutes take the form of decrees enacted by the sovereign. Sealand has issued "fantasy passports" (as termed by the Council of the European Union), which are not valid for international travel, and holds the Guinness World Record for 'the smallest area to lay claim to nation status'. Sealand's motto is E Mare Libertas (From the Sea, Freedom). It appears on Sealandic items – such as stamps, passports and coins – and is the title of the Sealandic anthem. The anthem was composed by Londoner Basil Simonenko; being an instrumental anthem, it does not have lyrics. In 2005, the anthem was recorded by the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra and released on their CD National Anthems of the World, Vol. 7: Qatar – Syria.
Sealand has been involved in several commercial operations, including the issuing of coins and postage stamps and the establishment of an offshore Internet hosting facility, or 'data haven'. Sealand also has an official website and publishes an online newspaper, Sealand News. In addition, a number of amateur athletes 'represent' Sealand in sporting events, including unconventional events like the World Egg Throwing Championship, which the Sealand team won in 2008.
Coins and stampsEdit
Several dozen different Sealand coins have been minted since 1972. In the early 1990s, Achenbach's German group also produced a coin, featuring a likeness of 'Prime Minister Seiger'. Sealand's coins and postage stamps are denominated in 'Sealand dollars', which it deems to be at parity with the US dollar. Sealand first issued postage stamps in 1969, and issues through 1977. No further stamps were produced until 2010. Sealand is not a member of the Universal Postal Union, therefore its inward address is a PO Box in the United Kingdom. Once an item is mailed to Sealand's tourist and government office, it will then be taken to Sealand. Sealand only has one street address, The Row.
A Sealand mailing address looks like this:
Bureau of Internal Affairs
5, The Row
(c/o Sealand Post Bag, IP11 9SZ, UK)
Titles of nobilityEdit
This section relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (January 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Sealand also sells titles of individual nobility including Lord, Baron, Count and those titles' distaff equivalents. Following Roy Bates' 2012 death, Sealand also began publicly offering knighthoods & Coats of Arms.
In 1978, following the invasion, the Knights of the Sovereign Military Order of Sealand were formed by Prince Roy and Prince Michael to provide for the Principality's defence should it come under threat or attack. In 2012, following the death of Prince Roy, membership in the Order was opened to sale to the general public.
In 2000, worldwide publicity was created about Sealand following the establishment of a new entity called HavenCo, a data haven, which effectively took control of Roughs Tower itself; however, Ryan Lackey, HavenCo's founder, later quit and claimed that Bates had lied to him by keeping the 1990–1991 court case[clarification needed] from him and that, as a result, he had lost the money he had invested in the venture. In November 2008, operations of HavenCo ceased without explanation.
Sealand is not recognised by any major international sporting body, and its population is insufficient to maintain a team composed entirely of Sealanders in any team sport. However, Sealand claims to have official national athletes, including non-Sealanders. These athletes take part in various sports, such as curling, mini-golf, football, fencing, ultimate, table football and athletics, although all its teams compete out of the country. The Sealand National Football Association is an associate member of the Nouvelle Fédération-Board, a football sanctioning body for non-recognised states and states not members of FIFA. It administers the Sealand national football team. In 2004 the national team played its first international game against Åland Islands national football team, drawing 2–2.
Sealand claims that its first official athlete was Darren Blackburn of Oakville, Ontario, Canada, who was appointed in 2003. Blackburn has represented Sealand at a number of local sporting events, including marathons and off-trail races. In 2004, mountaineer Slader Oviatt carried the Sealandic flag to the top of Muztagh Ata. Also in 2007, Michael Martelle represented the Principality of Sealand in the World Cup of Kung Fu, held in Quebec City, Canada; bearing the designation of Athleta Principalitas Bellatorius (Principal Martial Arts Athlete and Champion), Martelle won two silver medals, becoming the first-ever Sealand athlete to appear on a world championship podium.
In 2009, Sealand announced the revival of the Football Association and their intention to compete in a future Viva World Cup. Scottish author Neil Forsyth was appointed as President of the Sealand Football Association. Sealand played the second game in their history against Chagos Islands on 5 May 2012, losing 3–1. The team included actor Ralf Little and former Bolton Wanderers defender Simon Charlton.
- "Information on the Principality of Sealand including Bates Family, GDP, Constitution" (PDF). Artists' Association MUU. Amorph Summit of Micronations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-15. Retrieved 13 November 2007.
- "Information on the Principality of Sealand including Bates Family, GDP, Constitution" (PDF). Artists' Association MUU. Amorph Summit of Micronations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2014. Retrieved 22 June 2010.
- "History of Sealand". The Principality of Sealand. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015.
- Jacobs, Frank (20 March 2012). "All Hail Sealand". The New York Times.
- Ryan, John; Dunford, George; Sellars, Simon (2006). Micronations. Lonely Planet. p. 9. ISBN 1-74104-730-7.
- "Skateboarding the World's Smallest Country: Red Bull All Access". Retrieved 17 November 2013.
- "JOURNEYS – THE SPIRIT OF DISCOVERY: Simon Sellars braves wind and waves to visit the unlikely North Sea nation of Sealand". The Australian. 10 November 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2007.
- Ryan, John; Dunford, George; Sellars, Simon (2006). Micronations. Lonely Planet. p. 11. ISBN 1-74104-730-7.
- "Article 60: Artificial islands, installations and structures in the exclusive economic zone" (PDF). United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. New York: United Nations. p. 45. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 November 2015.
- Ward, Mark (5 June 2000). "Offshore and offline?". BBC News. Retrieved 9 April 2009.
- "Self-declared prince of sovereign principality of Sealand dies aged 91". The Guardian.
- Ryan, John; Dunford, George; Sellars, Simon (2006). Micronations. Lonely Planet. pp. 9–12. ISBN 1-74104-730-7.
- Zumerchik, John (2008). Seas and Waterways of the World: An Encyclopedia of History, Uses, and Issues. ABC-CLIO Ltd. p. 563. ISBN 978-1-85109-711-1.
- Gould, Jack (25 March 1966). "Radio: British Commercial Broadcasters Are at Sea; Illegal Programs Are Beamed From Ships". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 December 2015. (Subscription required (. ))
- Edwards, Chris; Parkes, James (19 October 2000). "Radio Essex" and "Britains Better Music Station". Off Shore Echoes. Retrieved 11 May 2011
- "Welcome to Sealand. Now Bugger Off". Wired News. July 2000. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
- Regina v. Paddy Roy Bates and Michael Roy Bates, The Shire Hall, Chelmsford, 25 October 1968. "Regina v. Paddy Roy Bates and Michael Roy Bates". The Shire Hall, Chelmsford. Archived from the original on 2 March 2007. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "Attempt to free captive from private 'island' fails". The Times. 5 September 1978. p. 3.
- "Homepage of Sealandic Government in Exile". Sealandic Government in Exile. Retrieved 13 November 2007.
- "Blaze at offshore military fort". BBC. 23 June 2006. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
- "Church and East renovation completion". Church and East. Archived from the original on 4 March 2014.
- Graham, Flora (16 February 2009). "Technology: How The Pirate Bay sailed into infamy". BBC News. Retrieved 9 April 2009.
- "'Smallest state' seeks new owners". BBC. 8 January 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2007.
- "Tiny North Sea tax haven for sale". Sydney, Australia: ABC News. Agence France-Presse. 8 January 2007. Archived from the original on 24 March 2011.
- "£65m price tag for Sealand tenancy". Evening Star. Ipswich. 6 January 2007. Archived from the original on 11 January 2007. Retrieved 6 January 2007.
- "For sale, World's smallest country". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 January 2007. Retrieved 8 January 2007.
- "Row as 'King Marduk' claims Sealand". Echo. 23 January 2009.
- "Prince Roy of Sealand aka Roy Bates (passed away 9th October 2012) Obituary". sealandgov.org.
- Yardley, William (13 October 2012). "Roy Bates, Bigger-Than-Life Founder of a Micronation, Dies at 91". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
- "'Prince Roy of Sealand' dies, aged 91". The Australian. Sydney. 11 October 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- Van Gilder Cooke, Sonia (12 October 2012). "RIP Paddy Roy Bates, the Prince of Sealand". Time. New York. Retrieved 12 October 2012.
- Woo, Elaine (14 October 2012). "Prince Roy Bates dies at 91; adventuring monarch of Sealand". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 14 October 2012.
- "Self-proclaimed ruler of world's smallest independent state dies".
- Ryan, John; George Dunford; Simon Sellars (2006). Micronations, The Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations. Lonely Planet. pp. 5–6. ISBN 1-74104-730-7.
- "Information on Sealand's royal family". Sealand News. Retrieved 13 November 2007.
- Ryan, John; Dunford, George; Sellars, Simon (2006). Micronations. Lonely Planet. p. 8. ISBN 1-74104-730-7.
- "The Principality of Sealand – Become a Lord, Lady, Baron or Baroness". sealandgov.org. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
- "Information on the Principality of Sealand including Bates Family, GDP, Constitution" (PDF). Artists' Association MUU. Amorph Summit of Micronations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 May 2005. Retrieved 9 November 2007.
- "The Principality of Sealand statutory notices". Government of the Principality of Sealand. Retrieved 27 July 2006.
- Council of the European Union – Schengen Visa Working Party – Table of travel documents, p. 36
- Guinness World Records 2008. Guinness World Records. 2007. p. 131. ISBN 978-1-904994-18-3.
- "Sealandic National Anthem". Nationalanthems.info. Retrieved 15 November 2007.
- "Stop signs on the web; The battle between freedom and regulation on the Internet". The Economist. 13 January 2001. p. 1. Archived from the original on 6 November 2015.
- Grimmelmann, James (27 March 2012). "Death of a data haven: cypherpunks, WikiLeaks, and the world's smallest nation". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015.
- "Sealand News". Sealand News. Archived from the original on 10 November 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
- "Sealand wins sporting accolade". Sealand News. 30 October 2008. Archived from the original on 27 July 2011. Retrieved 30 October 2008.
- "The Imperial Collection – Principality of Sealand". Empire of Atlantium. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
- "Principality of Sealand". Government of the Principality of Sealand. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
- "Royal Mail address for Sealand". Royal Mail. Retrieved 10 November 2007.
- "Principality Notice PN 037/10: Update of visit and immigration regulations". Sealandgov.org. 28 September 2010. Retrieved 15 June 2012.
- "Become a Lord, Lady, Baron or Baroness". Government of Principality of Sealand. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
- "Become a Count or Countess". Government of Principality of Sealand. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
- "Join the Knights of the Sovereign Military Order of Sealand". Sealand. Government of the Principality of Sealand. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
- Grimmelmann, James (2012). Sealand, Havenco, and the Rule of Law. University of Illinois Law Review. Retrieved 14 June 2012.
- HavenCo "data center" offline?, Security and the Net, 18 November 2008
- "Homepage of the Sealand National Football Team" (in Danish). Sealand National Football Team. Retrieved 9 November 2007.
- "IBWM Fantasy football micronation style". IBWM. Retrieved 29 February 2012.
- "Principality Notice PN 025/04: International Sporting Activities update". Government of the Principality of Sealand. Archived from the original on 11 September 2015. Retrieved 15 November 2007.
- Kowalski, Kenneth R., ed. (24 November 2009). "Bill 50: Electric Statutes Amendment Act, 2009" (PDF). Alberta Hansard. Edmonton, Canada: Province of Alberta. p. 2019. ISSN 0383-3623. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 September 2013.
- "Program Souvenir Legal" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 June 2008. Retrieved 17 July 2008.
- "Skate Sports". Red Bull. Redbullskateboarding.com. 15 October 2008. Retrieved 9 April 2009.
- "Skateboarder erobern Seefestung vor der englischen Küste". Retrieved 29 September 2008.
- "Welcome to Church and East". Archived from the original on 6 June 2014.
- "Principality of Sealand to have National Football Team". PR Log. 23 December 2009. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
- "Ralf Little gets an international cap for Sealand". Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2012.
- WebFox (10 February 2011). "Principality of Sealand 2010 Review". Glasgow Ultimate. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- "Sealand to form roller derby team Sealand official website". Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "Sealand will play Fulham F.C. in a friendly match on May 18th, 2013". Archived from the original on 5 September 2013. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
- "Fulham All Stars 7-5 Sealand All Stars". 18 May 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2013.
- Ben Fogle [@Benfogle] (31 May 2013). "Lord Fogle of Sealand thanks @kentoncool for taking the @sealandgov flag to Everest. @edsheeran gig next? Please Ed" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Cogliati-Bantz, Vincent. "My Platform, My State: the Principality of Sealand in International Law" (2012) 18 (3) Journal of International Maritime Law 227–250
- Connelly, Charlie. Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round The Shipping Forecast, Abacus, 2005. ISBN 0-349-11603-2.
- Conroy, Matthew. "Note: Sealand – The Next New Haven?" Suffolk Transnational Law Review, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 127–152. Winter 2003. ISSN 1072-8546. Issue table of contents page.
- Fogle, Ben. Offshore: In Search of an Island of My Own, Penguin Books, 2007. ISBN 978-0-14-102434-9.
- Garfinkel, Simson. "Welcome to Sealand. Now Bugger Off". Wired. July 2000. Vol. 8.07.
- Gilmour, Kim. "Sealand: Wish You Were Here?" Internet Magazine. August 2002.
- Goldsmith, Jack, & Wu, Tim. Who Controls the Internet?: Illusions of a Borderless World, 2006, ISBN 0-19-515266-2.
- Grimmelmann, James. "Sealand, HavenCo, and the Rule of Law", March 2012, University of Illinois Law Review, Volume 2012, Number 2
- "License Plates of Sealand (Great Britain)". License plates of the world. Web. 28 December 2009.
- McCullagh, Declan (5 August 2003). "Has 'haven' for questionable sites sunk?". CNET News.com. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
- Menefee, Samuel Pyeatt. "Republics of the Reefs: Nation-Building on the Continental Shelf and in the World's Oceans". California Western International Law Journal, vol. 25, no. 1. Fall 1994.
- Miller, Marjorie, & Boudreaux, Richard. "A Nation for Friend and Faux". Los Angeles Times. 7 June 2000. p. A-1.
- Slapper, Gary. "How a law-less 'data haven' is using law to protect itself". The Times. 8 August 2000. p. 3.
- Strauss, Erwin S. How to Start Your Own Country, 2nd ed. Port Townsend, WA: Breakout Productions, 1984. ISBN 1-893626-15-6.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Sealand.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Principality of Sealand.|
- Official website
- Sealand National Anthem – MIDI file on nationalanthems.info
- Blueprint of the platform
- First International Football Match
- In Living Memory Series 16 Episode 1 (Radio 4 programme)