Sealand, a self-declared principality located in the North Sea on a small World War II–era anti-aircraft installation, is arguably the world’s foremost micro-nation. That is a little like being the world’s foremost heir to the Russian throne—a purely notional sort of sovereignty. In the realm of micro-nations—alleged countries, unrecognized by world governments, and even lacking the gravity of being called “secessionist”—Sealand occupies a niche somewhere between the Republic of Molossia, which began as a high-school lark and today consists of a guy’s house in Dayton, Nevada (plus “colonies” in some scattered property he inherited), and the dream of a floating city for libertarian billionaires that Peter Thiel actually invested in a decade ago.
Sealand has a leg up on rivals in terms of longevity, having been founded in 1967. It also has governmental accoutrements such as stamps, coins, passports, and a Latin motto (E mare libertas). You can even go to the principality’s Web site and purchase a Sealandic title, ranging from lord or lady, for $44.99, up to duke or duchess, for a cool $656.53. Note: they don’t actually accept Sealand dollars.