amazing
Sunday Jan 22 2023
By
Web Desk

World's smallest country is much smaller than you can imagine

By
Web Desk
Sealand, which is just 0.004km square, even has a football team, a national anthem, a currency, and its own passports and stamps.— Goddard Archives
Sealand, which is just 0.004km square, even has a football team, a national anthem, a currency, and its own passports and stamps.— Goddard Archives

If you think Vatican City is the smallest country on the planet, residents of Sealand would love to debate with you.

This unusual sea fort, which is a man-made platform and is located about 12 kilometres east of Suffolk in the North Sea, asserts its independence despite being so near to the United Kingdom. And the British family who resides there unquestionably supports this assertion.

Sealand, which covers just 0.004km square, even has a football team, a national anthem, a currency, and its own passports and stamps, just in case you needed more proof of its independence.

The principality was created by the UK government in 1942 as an army and navy fort during World War II, according to BBC Travel.

The platform, also known as Rough Tower, served a variety of functions up until 1956 when it was abandoned. But everything changed in 1966 when a man named Paddy Roy Bates assumed control of the tower. You see, Paddy needed a location to run Radio Essex, his illegal radio station, as per a LadBible report.

He initially made camp on Knock John, a different abandoned naval fort, but was forced to leave after the UK passed the Marine Broadcasting Offences Act of 1967 with the goal of closing down offshore stations.

Paddy declared the fort to be the Principality of Sealand after having a run-in with the law, and his family soon moved in.

He was succeeded by his son, Michael Bates, who is now the Head of State and Government of the micronation and also runs a cockle fishing operation that exports seafood to Spain. He passed away in 2012 at the age of 91.

Even more unconventionally, Michael was wed on Sealand in 1978 during a ceremony that took place inside a helicopter.

But like many nations, Sealand has its share of difficulties, from hostage crises to border conflicts.

This includes the incident in 1968 when Sealand fired defensive warning shots towards the British Navy as the military was sent to destroy any additional forts still standing that were situated in international waters.

And in 1978, when Roy and his wife were in Austria, Alexander Achenbach, the self-declared former prime minister of Sealand, engaged a number of German and Dutch mercenaries to launch an attack on Sealand.

Despite being held as a captive, Michael used weaponry stashed on the platform to reclaim Sealand and catch Alexander and the mercenaries. Unsurprisingly, visiting Sealand is difficult, and at the time, trips are typically not allowed.

Even if you do make the journey, hardly much really happens there. There aren't precisely a tonne of lodging options or dining options available.

Unfortunately, the chances of having a visa accepted are slim even if you wished to travel to Sealand.

The government website states: "Visits to the Principality of Sealand are often not permitted due to the current international situation and other issues. Accordingly, the application list for visas is for the time being closed."