Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sealand


Ah, Sealand.  The smallest nation in the world.  Kind of.  It actually only occupies 550 square meters.  It was constructed in WWII by Great Britain in the international waters between England and France, but it was called Fort Roughs then.  They built it to defend England against German U-Boots.

This principality is actually not actually recognized that it is a sovereign state by any other sovereign state. However, Prince Roy of Sealand (formerly known as Paddy Roy Bates), claims otherwise.  He claims that both Germany and England said it was a sovereign state by default because Germany sent a diplomat and England said they have no jurisdiction over it.

The story of Sealand is quite amazing.  Paddy Roy Bates served in the British army, then became a fisherman, and then moved on to be a part of pirate radio in the 60's. Bates went out to the old platform call Fort Roughs, planning on broadcasting his pirate radio station from it. But Bates wasn't the first one to the platform. Another guy named Jack Moore, who had a pirate radio station, had already claimed the platform as his own.  When Moore sent some people to see what was happening, Bates' son, Michael, shot at them with petrol bombs and gunfire.  Bates was summoned by the English courts, which then ruled that they had no jurisdiction over the incident because it happened in international waters. This was in 1968 and Bates was calling the platform Sealand by now.

Eight or so years later, while Bates was away, a guy names Alexander Achenbach, a German, along with some Dutchmen, tried to take over Sealand. He took Michael Bates, the son, hostage and kept him for 3 days without food or water.  Bates returned with his men and took over the island with helicopter.  No joke, they used helicopters!  He then held them captive as prisoners of war. He soon released the Dutchmen, but because Achenbach had accepted a passport for Sealand, he was guilty of treason and could be executed.  However, Bates did not want to "bloody the reputation of Sealand, [and] eventually released him as well."

Alexander Achenbach considers himself to be the rightful heir of Sealand and distributes illegal passports.  People then use these passports to open false bank accounts any other dubious deeds.




2 comments:

Katie said...

I think that's only slightly bigger than our apartment.


...I would be so bored there.

Kathy Haynie said...

Pirate radio...pirate continent...who knew?