How to start your own country
It’s actually rather easy to start on your own country – and in such a way that the Government won’t raid your house just because you used your arts and crafts skills to make your friends a few passports. Here’s zigackly how to start your own country – just for funsies!
The former World War II sea fort off the coast of Suffolk in England – lovingly known as Sealand – recently celebrated its forty-second birthday. While Sealand is not (yet) officially recognized by the United Nations, or even Microsoft Word, it’s arguably one of the most successful micro-nations in the world.
Micro-nations are defined as ‘entities that resemble independent nations or states but which are unrecognized by world governments or major international organizations’. They’re different from self-determined countries or areas that have succeeded because, while those countries usually have a political or religious agenda, micro-nations are usually just for funsies.
So, here’s the Mookychick guide to starting your own country in three easy steps. Just for funsies!
1. First, you’ll need to find some land that no one’s using. To avoid the sort of legal battles that Sealand had to deal with from the British government, it’s advised that you make certain you officially own the land yourself. Because, by customary international law, all countries must have a permanent population, using some place you frequent quite a bit is also a good idea.
2. Done putting ‘Welcome to [country-name-of-choice]’ signs on the door to your flat? Good job! Next, set up a government. As any history student will tell you, working out a government system is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to fledgling nations. Work out the laws, punitive system and tax system – but be reasonable, lest your flatmates/subjects rebel and you end up like Ms. Antoinette. (Not to say you shouldn’t encourage the eating of cake; just make sure that all the peasants do get bread as well.)
3. Declare independence! America is probably the best model to follow here. So write up a long letter letting whomever is currently your ruler know that you have decided to form your own country. If you don’t want to distract your former politicians from doing their job, perhaps send copies of your declaration off to friends, family, co-workers and any one else who might acknowledge you.
Congratulations. You have now set up your own country! But there is more…
4. Once you’ve got your entire block acknowledging you, go for the gold star of UN recognition! The application process is surprisingly simple – all you have to do is write a letter to the secretary-general. If the General Assembly determines by a two-thirds vote that you are a ‘peace-loving’ nation, you’re in! Congratulations! If not, at least you’re in good company – in addition to Sealand, the Aerican Empire (with territories in Canada, Australia, Mars, the Pluto and a cow pasture somewhere in the American Midwest), the Kingdom of Lovely (created by Danny Wallace and covered in the 2004 – 2005 BBC program ‘How to Start Your Own Country’) and the Republic of Kudgelmudgel (founded by artist Edwin Lipburger after disputes with Austrian authorities over building permits for the spherical house he built at his address) all remain unrecognized.
So, you’ve got your own country. Now what? There’s quite a bit you can do, actually – making guests present passports before entering is always good fun, as is building up the tourist economy. Or you can be like Dale Anderson and turn your nation into a political protest. The Coral Sea Island territory, of the coast of Australia, was uninhabited until 14 June of 2004. A group of gay rights activists sailed to the largest island, where they raised the rainbow flag in protest against the federal ban of same gender marriage. Mr. Anderson was elected the ruler of their constitutional monarchy and, according to their Myspace page, they’re doing just fine.
And, sure, you might get into some trouble if you begin to print your own stamps or try to collect taxes, but if you put your own mooky spirit into starting your own country, you’ll do just fine, too!
Sealand. Doesn’t it look all lonely and pretty?
Danny Wallace did quite well in starting his own country and making money out of telling everyone how he did it. Even if it’s not officially recognised, a very fine effort!
Finally, jolly well done to the Gay and Lesbian Kingdom of the Coral Sea Islands!