History of Small Countries and Micronations Part 1

About some micronations founded by various would be rulers, history and information of lands such as Minerva and Oceanus.



Established in 1972 by a declaration of sovereignty by a group of Californians, this micronation has more claim to authenticity than most because it actually has some land, although it disappears at high tide. The republic consists of two coral reefs 17 mi. apart in the South Pacific Ocean some 3,400 mi. southwest of Honolulu and 915 mi. northeast of Auckland, New Zealand. Pres. Morris C. "Bud" Davis, a former project engineer with North American Rockwell, runs his domain from the living room of his suburban house in Tustin, Calif. Originally the plan was to attract a population of 60,000 to a fancy sea resort, called Sea City, which was to be constructed on the reefs, where residents would have "no taxation, welfare, subsidies, or any other form of economic interventionism." Since the main income was to be from the registration of international cargo ships, the Sea City project was dropped as impractical for lack of funds. A ship was, however, purchased to carry sand out to the homeland for "a major landfill project." Minerva also had a political skirmish with the Kingdom of Tonga over ownership of the reefs that nearly led to war. When Davis made his original claim by building a small stone tower on one reef, with a flasher on it and the Minervan flag (a torch on a blue field), King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV set sail from Tonga 200 mi. to the northeast aboard the ship Olovaba with the 100-man Tonga Defense Force (they are recruited from among prisoners). They tore down the flag and read a Tongan proclamation of sovereignty. Said Davis, "We can't for the life of us understand why the king should suddenly decide he wants the reefs." While Minerva remains uninhabited, the conflict is dormant.


This is the world's largest micronation, taking up all the seas of the world beyond national 3-mi. limits. It includes, for example, the Mediterranean, but not the Suez and Panama canals. Chief executive and self-styled admiral of Oceanus, Ed Welles, of Manset, Me., plans to patrol his empire with PT boats and submarines abetted by a small air force. Income, as with Minerva, would come from international ship registration. This cannot begin, however, until all the nations of the world agree to give Ed Welles sovereignty over the seas. As for his nation's legal status, Welles asks, "Look, how does any government start out? Somebody says, 'Pay me taxes,' and he's in business. The U.S.A. said, 'We exist,' and the country was born. In 1970 eight people said, 'We are,' and there was Oceanus." Welles issues passports intended to end the problems of stateless persons, because anyone can get one, but there has been no official recognition. Oceanus also issues amateur radio broadcasting licenses and hopes the Federal Communications Commission will object, because "if they give us any flak, they are recognizing us." Welles runs his empire from a 93-ft. sailing schooner, which also serves as Oceanus's supreme court in which he has charged oil companies of polluting water with spills. All nations are welcome, Welles says, to participate in the laws of the Oceanus constitution for the rule of the seas.


One of the tiniest micronations, Sealand, lying 6 mi. off the coast of England in the English Channel, is the size of a baseball diamond and consists of a steel platform like those used for oil drilling. Its reigning prince, an English tax evader named Roy Bates, once warded off British customs craft by firing a rifle over their bows.

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