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2022-06-03 20:04:19

The story of a very small and dangerous Sealand

The story of a very small and dangerous Sealand

Among all the self-proclaimed sovereign countries, Sealand is perhaps the most unusual and at the same time strange in the history of mankind. For its 56 years, this amazing country has gained such an eventful and interesting history that some European states can envy.

The main feature of Sealand is that it has no territorial possessions on land. The only "lands" of Sealand are a huge metal platform, towering 20 meters above the North Sea. But on the territory of this tiny state there were many interesting events that thundered to the whole world.

History of Sealand

The platform state appeared on Christmas Eve 1966, when a retired British major decided to give his wife a birthday present. He got out of the house, got on a small boat and went out to sea seven miles from the shore. There, with the help of an anchor and a cable, he climbed onto the abandoned platform and declared it captured. The platform was called Sealand, and the founder of the new "state" was Paddy Roy Bates.

The platform represents one of five anti-aircraft fortifications built at the beginning of World War II to protect the River Thames. The area of the state, standing on two concrete pillars, is just over 500 square meters. Previously, the platform was called Rafs Tower, during the war years it served as a garrison for 100 British sailors and an anti-aircraft point that defended the coast from German aircraft. After the victory in the Second World War, the platforms became useless to anyone, and spending money on dismantling did not seem to be a profitable occupation, so for 21 years the Rafs Tower was a deserted place.

The British authorities were not happy with the fact that a military man, albeit a former one, was walking around a military facility, albeit a former one, with his wife. They repeatedly demanded that Roy leave Sealand, but he refused.

From radio station to country

At first, Roy and his wife had no idea to create their own microstate on the platform. Initially, Paddy Roy Bates built a radio station at an abandoned military base, where he illegally listened to music that the BBC played only in the dead of night. He and other savvy Britons could listen to the compositions of their favorite bands without waiting for the dark time of day.

After Joan – Roy's wife – received her gift, she headed to a bar in the company of her husband and friends, where they discussed an unusual surprise. During the dialogue, someone from the company jokingly said that on the platform you can found your own country and live in it. Everyone around him laughed at it, but not Roy! He took the proposal seriously and a couple of weeks later announced that now the smallest state appeared on the world map - the Principality of Sealand.

Despite the fact that the existence of the principality is not recognized by anyone, the citizens of Sealand have their own passports, currency with a portrait of Joan, social media accounts and even their own flag.

Six "wars" for Sealand

Although Sealand has existed for less than 60 years, this time the country has won 6 wars, so to speak.

The British government tried 6 times by force to get to the platform, arrest residents and regain control of the former military parking lot. However, each of the attempts failed: the inhabitants of Sealand defended their country, scaring off the attackers with shots from a shotgun and their side and throwing Molotov cocktails. Sometimes the invaders managed to throw a rope ladder on the platform, but the Sealanders threw them into the sea along with the climbing representatives of the British authorities.

The impotence of the British authorities is explained by the fact that Sealand is located outside the waters controlled by England, their law does not apply there, which means that residents of the platform country could not be held accountable under British law.

Roy and his relatives have been repeatedly sued for posing a direct threat to British citizens. In 1968, Roy's son, Michael, fired a pistol at workers repairing a buoy located near Sealand. At the trial, Michael was charged with the illegal use and possession of firearms, but the judge did not bring Sealand's heir to justice, because the platform is outside the jurisdiction of British justice.

According to various sources, the population of Sealand numbered from 5 to 35 people, but the islanders can be much larger. Sealanders received food, essential goods and newspapers by boat once a month. On the former helipad, residents of Sealand installed a wind power generator that provides electricity to citizens' heaters.

"New Cuba"

Despite the fact that Sealand is a tiny piece of metal on which one to two dozen people lived, the UK took the country as seriously as possible. Local officials worried that a platform state could become something like Cuba for the United States – a small country on its side that poses a serious threat. Even plans to bomb Sealand were brought up for discussion, but were rejected as unnecessary.

Although there were practically no permanent residents in Sealand, the freedom-loving platform became a base for criminals, a place for hostage-taking, their own revolutions and counter-revolutions.

Sealand Palace Coups

In 1977, Roy Bates was contacted by Dutch and German diamond dealers and offered to create a real casino on the territory of Sealand. The head of Sealand went to Salzburg, leaving the guard of the country on michael's guard. In Austria, Roy was supposed to have a meeting with businessmen on the topic of creating a game house, but a few days later Bates felt that the matter was unclean. He called the captain of one of the fishing boats sailing near Sealand, and in a hurry began to prepare for home, because he learned that Sealand had been captured.

At the time of Roy's absence from Sealand, a helicopter flew there, but could not land because of the mast sticking out of the platform. Then two people came down from the plane, introducing themselves to Michael as Roy's partners. The guests took Michael's security guard to a room and locked him outside. He was held hostage for several days before being boarded on a ship bound for the Netherlands.

Roy did not accept the loss of Sealand and immediately began to organize an operation to free him. In England, he hired a helicopter pilot with an armed crew, which included Roy and Michael themselves, and went on it to reconquer his land. Seeing the helicopter and roy and Michael's armed men coming out of it, The Invaders of Sealand surrendered.

 

Now Sealand is something of an attraction that you can even get to. On the official website of the country, you can buy the status of count or Duke of Sealand, as well as merch in the form of mugs, T-shirts and other items. The country has grown into a successful business, existing in the legal hole of England, which is still ruled by the Bates family.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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