The Principality of Sealand (Sealand) is a micro-state located on an abandoned fort from the Second World War. It is located in the North Sea, 10 km off the coast of Suffolk in England. In Zealand, there are family members and relatives of the retired British Army major, Paddy Roy Bates, who called himself "His Royal Highness Prince Roy of Sealandia". The population of Sealandia rarely exceeds five people in an area of 550 square meters. Although Selandia’s claim of sovereignty and legitimacy is not recognized by any country in the world, it is probably the most famous micronation, it is sometimes given in the debates as an interesting example of how different principles of international law can be applied to a territorial dispute.
In 1943, during World War II, Great Britain built several naval forts to monitor and track German aircraft. Construction of the forts was carried out in international waters. The forts themselves consisted of a pontoon base with a superstructure in the form of two hollow towers connected by a deck on which some room or house was built.During World War II, about 150-300 British Navy personnel were based on forts.
After the war, the forts were abandoned and around 1956, one of these artificial islands was captured by the retired British Army major Paddy Roy Bates, who declared himself the master of the fort.
Initially, Paddy Roy Bates wanted to create his own pirate radio station here, but when English maritime piracy laws changed, he abandoned the idea. However, Roy Bates kept control of the tower and, on the advice of his lawyer, stated that the old fort was a sovereign, independent state. Roy Bates called his princedom Sealand. He drafted a Constitution for Sealand, the national flag, the national anthem, passports and raised a new flag over the island.
Shortly after Sealand was declared a sovereign state, Roy Bates began to issue postage stamps that were used to transport mail between the tower and Brussels (Belgium). It is curious that a large number of postal items with stamps and Silenda stamps were accepted without payment by the Belgian postal service for further international postal items.
Postage stamps issued by the government of Sealand.
Three years later, Sealand struck the first of its own coin called the “Sealand Dollar”, whose value was at the level of the US dollar.
In the early 2000s, Sealand tried to build an economy by creating an offshore Internet hosting center, offering "unprecedented security and independence for users." When this project collapsed, Sealand began the process of building an online casino, which was supposed to open by the end of 2012.
Currently, Sealand also sells noble titles, including lords, barons, earls and knights through the Internet, with a cost of $ 29.99.
During its existence, Sealand also issued a large number of counterfeit Sealand passports and widely sold them in Eastern European countries. About 150,000 passports were issued. However, after several high-profile crimes committed by people with Sealand passports, in 1997 the Bates family canceled all passports. Instead, Sealand began taking orders for tourist visits.
There are several stories of serious conflicts between the “government” of Sealand and the British. Once, Roy's son, Michael Bates, fired a rifle into a British Navy ship that dared to get too close to the Sealand territory.A lawsuit was launched against Michael, but since the incident occurred outside of British territorial waters, no charges were made.
In 1978, while Bates was away, the self-proclaimed Prime Minister of Silenda, Alexander Achenbach hired several German and Dutch mercenaries and forcibly took control of the tower, taking Bates's son hostage. Roy Bates's fury was limitless. He asked Britain for armed assistance and seized a fortress with a helicopter landing.
The deterioration of health forced Roy Bates to move to the mainland, he died in October 2012 at the age of 91 years. Between 2007 and 2010, the “Principality of Sealand” was put up for sale at a price of $ 906 million, but there were no buyers.