Boy, this is some depressing news. Everyone’s favorite micronation, Sealand, is up for sale. Sealand has existed as an independent “country” since 1967 under one rule. Now, it appears that may all be over (at least if they get the astronomical sum they are asking for). Sealand was known in recent times for hosting web servers and anonymizers that were outside of the reach of any world governments. Unfortunately, Sealand caught fire on June 23, 2006, destroying the hosting center, and probably leading up to this proposed sale.
Sealand is so fascinating to me because it represents a sort of Heinleinian ideal that most people can only dream of: making your own bona fide country, with your own laws, and truly being free to do whatever you want, outside of the reach of intrusive governments. Many critics will argue that Sealand technically never was an independent country, but over the past few decades, it has been a de facto country because it has been run independently outside of the United Kingdom’s control (and taxation, I might add).
Sealand also has some interesting history. From the second linked article:
Britain’s Royal Navy attempted to evict [Paddy Roy Bates] the following year but were unsuccessful: as they entered territorial waters, Roy of Sealand fired warning shots from the former fort.
In 1978 Dutch and German businessmen visiting Sealand to discuss a business deal kidnapped Roy’s son, but they were overpowered and held as prisoners of war before eventually being released.
The first quote reminds me a lot of Michael Cresap (b. 1742), a local historical Maryland resident who shot at the police from Pennsylvania when they tried to come in and assert dominion. The brouhaha Michael Cresap raised ultimately resulted in the drawing of the Mason-Dixon Line, because his defense had been that he was on the Maryland side of the border and that the Pennsylvanian police had no jurisdiction there.