Sunday, April 20, 2008

All Hail Prince Roy of Sealand

Last night I found myself at a 50th birthday for one of my friend's mothers. The whole point of my attendance was simply to make this evening somewhat more tolerable for my friend. Fortunately, we both made it through unscathed, although watching people in the late forties and early fifties who had had a little too much to drink was a little bit scary.

Last night was spent talking about our school days and the speculative science that is psychology. I also found out about Sealand, a micronation lying ten kilometres off the coast of England, near the English Channel. The principality, which covers an area of 4,000 square metres, is located on what used to be known as HM Fort Rough, a now disused World War II fort that lies in international waters beyond the maritime exclusion zone of the United Kingdom. Sealand apparently has its own national anthem, its own currency (fixed at one U.S. dollar) and a constitution. Independance was declared from the United Kingdom in 1967.

Two events have shaped Sealand's short but proud history. The first event was the war with the United Kingdom in 1990, when the United Kingdom aimed to take possession of waters around Sealand after the redefinition of territorial waters according to international law in 1989. It is reported that a citizen of Sealand shot at one of the approaching naval vessels. Rather than risk a diplomatic incident, the United Kingdom army turned around in defeat. A "state" of some two dozen people had defeated the British Empire. The second event occurred on 23 June 2006, being the Great Fire of Sealand. The top platform of the Roughs Tower caught fire due to an electrical failure. But this was not to deter the proud nation, who were able to complete the rebuilding process by the November of that year.

1 comment:

Ashlyn said...

Don't forget the War of August 1978 when HRH Prince Roy was "out of the country". A group of Dutch men led by a German professor seized the island and kidnapped Prince Michael. Luckily, Prince Roy was able to retake the island through a single helicopter aerial assault. He held the Dutch and German as POWs until the war had officially ended as per the Geneva Convention. He held the German longer because he had accepted a Sealand passport prior to the incident and was charged, by HRH Prince Roy with treason. Officials from the Netherlands and Germany met with Roy to negotiate the release of the POWs. How awesome. You just have to love Sealand. In an interview with Princess June... she revealed that they made the German clean the toilets and make coffee while a POW. Also - the fake Sealand govt websites based in Germany denouncing Roy as the monarch were created by those who overtook the island and lost the war. Sore losers. But - you have to love Sealand!