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10 Crazy & Hilarious Micronations That Want to Be Real Countries

by Selme Angulo
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

Micronations are not really countries as we know them—but they want to be! Technically, micronations are small and self-proclaimed entities that claim sovereignty over themselves even if nobody else really recognizes it. Historically, many micronations have popped up around the world. They have come about for a variety of reasons, too. Still, the most common ones include political protest of a larger government, artistic expression in a unique way, theoretical experimentations over how to re-order society, and even motivations to conduct criminal activity without any oversight from law enforcement in more established nations.

So, to put it mildly, these breakaway states are strange and memorable—and kind of cool. In this list, we’ll take a look at ten bizarre and crazy micronations and the motivations of the people who created them. They haven’t succeeded in making it to sovereignty yet, and they probably never will. But who knows! Maybe one day, you’ll be watching the Olympics, and you’ll see an athlete competing under the flag of one of these crazy little places. Wouldn’t that be an underdog story?!

Related: 10 Facts About Life in the World’s Tiniest Island Nation

10 Redonda

Landfall Redonda 2021

Redonda is an island that is part of the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. Just over one mile (1.6 km) long and a third of a mile (0.5 km) wide, it is uninhabitable because there is no source of freshwater on the island aside from rain. Plus, most of the island is made up of very steep, rocky cliffs with only a very small plateau of sloping flat grassland at its summit. In addition, actually reaching the island is a nearly impossible process.

A ship can only dock there on the leeward coast—and only on days when the seas are calm. From there, it’s almost impossible to climb up to the grassland plateau, as the steep rocks that make up the island don’t allow for easy passage. In the end, no one but a bunch of birds live there. But none of that has stopped people from claiming the island as its own supposedly sovereign nation, historically called the Kingdom of Redonda!

From 1865 to about 1912, the island was the center of a very lucrative guano mining trade. As such, people have had an eye on Redonda as a possible sovereign nation since that time. Most notably, fantasy writer M.P. Shiel claimed that his father set up the island as a legitimate sovereign nation and kingdom during the 19th century.

However, there is a dispute among historians over whether that sovereignty was real or not. And considering the fact that Shiel was a notorious spinner of tales and yarns relative to his profession as a writer, people are skeptical. But what isn’t in doubt is Redonda’s status today as a supposed “kingdom” with a ruler—even though nobody actually lives in the place or ever has.

Today, the Kingdom of Redonda has its own flag, its own coat of arms, its own motto (Floreat Redonda!), and even its own anthem. It even has its own king, a man named José Juan, who was appointed by abdication in 2019. Simultaneously, other people have fought to be named “king” of the place, too, and there are multiple contentious arguments over who actually has the right to “rule” the land.

There are a number of supposedly aristocratic members of its “society” who have been granted titles by the king, too. Of course, none of them actually live on the island. And if you were to go there, you would be under the territory and laws of the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. But that hasn’t stopped people from claiming Redonda as a sovereign space![1]

9 Atlantium

Welcome to Atlantium, the Nation Formed in a Backyard | Short Film Showcase

In 1981, three teenagers outside Sydney, Australia, founded the Empire of Atlantium. George Francis Cruickshank, Geoffrey John Duggan, and Claire Marie Coulter (née Duggan) were the three teens who decided that they wanted to start their own country. So they claimed a 10-square meter spot of land and called it their “provisional territory.” And from there, Atlantium was born!

The so-called nation’s territory was in the Sydney suburb of Narwee, and Cruickshank became its first head of state, known as “Emperor George II.” Then, Duggan was elected Prime Minister in 1982 and served for four years. The trio’s pals were then elected over the next four years, through 1990, until all the group members graduated from local universities and moved away to get on with their lives.

But then, a resurgence! In 1999, Cruickshank purchased an apartment in an inner Sydney neighborhood and decided to revive Atlantium. He launched a website, attracted new members, and promoted Atlantium as an empire… again. He called his apartment the “Imperium Proper” and named it the second capital of Atlantium.

Then, in 2008, when he moved to a rural suburb of Sydney, he decreed a third capital on a quarter-mile lot known as Concordia within the Province of Aurora. Today, according to Atlantium’s own website, Aurora is the “global administrative capital, ceremonial focal point, and spiritual homeland” of the so-called nation… which, again, was created out of thin air by a bunch of teenagers in 1981!

As far as political causes, Atlantium supports several things, including the unrestricted international freedom of movement. They also support the right to abortion, the right to assisted suicide, and interestingly, they support decimal calendar reform. Even more interesting, perhaps, is the fact that more than 3,000 “citizens” from over a hundred different countries have signed up online to claim their lot as part of Atlantium.

Even though they have never been to the wannabe state, they feel compelled to support it and throw their backing behind Emperor George II. Because Atlantium isn’t doing anything untoward, and because Cruickshank evidently still pays his taxes and all that, the government of Australia seems to have mostly ignored his “nation” and let him be.[2]

8 Snake Hill

Ruling Themselves: The Leaders Of Australia’s Micronations

In 2003, a family in Australia couldn’t pay their taxes after they went to battle in a longstanding litigation with a bank over their mortgage. So, frustrated with the banking system and the Australian government alike, they opted to secede. Thus, on September 2, 2003, the so-called Principality of Snake Hill was formed as a self-referred sovereign nation.

At the time, Princess Paula—one of Snake Hill’s founding mothers—claimed the region in which they seceded near Mudgee in New South Wales, Australia, had hundreds of citizens on board. She also asserted that they had a right to secede, specifically citing the United States’ secession from England way back in 1776. Well, she’s got a point there. Can’t argue with patriotism, right?

Sadly, the Australian government very much did argue with Princess Paula’s patriotism. Even though she ran the “country” for the next seven years and later ceded control of the nation to Princess Helena after the death of Paula’s husband, Prince Paul, the Aussies didn’t care for this separatist movement. In February 2011, a judge in New South Wales dismissed the Snake Hill residents’ legal case about the bank’s mortgage actions being illegal.

Regarding Snake Hill’s supposed secession, they referred the case to the High Court of Australia—or, should it make it that far, the International Court of Justice. While Snake Hill is not recognized as a sovereign nation by Australia or anyone else, people have certainly sympathized with Princess Paula and her fellow Snake Hillers over their fights against the banking and tax systems.[3]

7 Kugelmugel

Kugelmugel Micronation in Prater Park, Vienna

There is a micronation in Vienna, Austria, that is officially known as the People’s Republic of Kugelmugel—or more commonly, just Kugelmugel. It was first “founded” back in 1975 by a man named Edwin Lipburger. He was an artist, and at the time, he wanted to create a spherical house in his home city of Katzelsdorf.

Well, local authorities would never agree to grant him construction permits over what they thought was an ill-advised and unsafe house. So, without the needed building permits in hand, Lipburger simply decided to go it alone. He declared his residence to be a sovereign state, he “seceded” from the authority of Austria around him, and he started building on his land anyway. By the end of the build, he had created the entire micronation of Kugelmugel out of thin air.

It didn’t last long in Katzelsdorf. The Austrians didn’t like that he’d built on his land without the necessary permits, and legal battles loomed. But thankfully, the parties found a happier ending than an endless legal slog. In 1982, the spherical house in question was moved to Prater Park in the Leopoldstadt area of Vienna. Ever since, it has been maintained as a tourist attraction by the city of Vienna. In fact, it is a very popular site for visitors to Vienna to go see and explore.

Even though Kugelmugel was never recognized as a nation (micro or otherwise), more than 650 people have signed up to be “citizens” of the so-called sovereign state. None of them live in the house, of course. Lipburger doesn’t, either. He moved out when it was moved to Vienna in 1982, and then he died in 2015.[4]

6 Islandia

‘Let’s Buy an Island’

In December 2019, a group of nearly 100 investors from the United States and a few from the United Kingdom crowdfunded the purchase of Coffee Caye. That is a tiny, 1.2-acre island just off the coast of the Central American nation of Belize and not far from its capital, Belize City. For $180,000 at the time, the group bought the island and thus had control over what to do with it. And they chose to make it their own micronation!

They called it the Principality of Islandia, and led by two men named Gareth Johnson and Marshall Mayer, they deemed themselves to be an independent republic. Of note, it became the first micronation to be crowdfunded online, so we suppose that’s something worth celebrating. But the actual nation of Belize was not at all happy with the goofy goings-on at Coffee Caye, and Belizean officials were quick to let the media know that it was all a farce.

In 2022, after fielding a question about Islandia’s status as a micronation, Belize’s Prime Minister John Briceño called the group of investors “stupid.” Even though the island’s owners have given themselves diplomatic titles, fashioned a flag, created passports, and even composed a national anthem, Briceño was unimpressed.

“That is the island a bunch of white people bought and want to make their own country,” he told reporters. “They are some stupid people. Next question.” So it’s safe to say that Belize doesn’t care for Islandia’s activities. And since no other legit nation recognizes this crowdfunded “state,” it seems like the world has backed Belize on this one.[5]

5 Naminara

Shocking Experience Korea (Nami Island, and Gangchon Bike Rail)🇰🇷

There is a river island in the northern part of South Korea called Namiseom. This river island was first created in 1944 following the construction of the Cheongpyeong Dam that held back some of the rush of the powerful North Han River. And for years afterward, Namiseom became a tourist destination and a veritable oasis in South Korea.

Then, in 1965, the island itself was purchased by a man named Min Byungdo. In 1966, he and his company founded a tourism development business on the island. They wanted to develop Namiseom into a place with a holiday resort, an amusement park, and more offerings for families and visitors to relish in its oasis-like and peaceful qualities.

That worked for a while, and tourism from locals in Korea, as well as those coming in from Japan to visit, surged for decades. Then, in 2001, a man named Kang Woo Hyon took over as the tourism company’s CEO. He had been a children’s book author and illustrator in his past life, and he was very passionate about community activism and environmental causes.

As such, he worked hard as CEO to de-emphasize and eventually eliminate the more hedonistic aspects of the lifestyle resort that had long been a staple of Namiseom Island. In turn, he placed a far greater emphasis on environmental tourism and more intelligent cultural offerings for visitors who wanted something deeper than a week at a resort. And with that, the so-called Naminara Republic was born.

Under Kang’s leadership, the supposed micronation offers things like recycling campaigns, environmental monitoring, and eco-tourism activities. The island also hosts a very well-known children’s book festival and other major art events. In addition, the island’s leaders have partnered with UNESCO and UNICEF on literary and artistic endeavors.

When Kang Woo Hyon officially declared the island to be the independent Naminara Republic on March 1, 2006, it became its own “state.” Kang himself is the island’s benign and benevolent president. The island now has stamps, coins, a flag, and telephone cards. All visitors must purchase an official Naminara passport upon their arrival to the island.

As far as sovereignty goes, well, it’s obviously not its own nation. Nobody recognizes it as a country or anything like that. But South Korea has allowed it to do its thing because Kang and his fellow leaders have proven to be very good at bringing tourists to visit. As of 2011, an estimated 1.5 million tourists visit the Naminara Republic every year, and that number only seems to be going up.

So, with positive energy and good vibes emanating from the place, the Koreans have thus far appeared content to let ’em be. Honestly, that’s not a bad call. After all, if your wannabe sovereign nation holds a children’s book festival, you probably aren’t a threat to overthrow the government![6]

4 Ladonia

Nimis! An EMPTY Mirconation in the World by Lars Vilks in Southern Sweden

In 1996, artist Lars Vilks proclaimed a very remote area of Sweden to be the so-called micronation of Ladonia after getting into an argument and subsequent legal battle with the Swedish government over art installations he’d put together in a remote area of the country. The issue began in 1980 when Vilks started construction on two structures that he called “Nimis” and “Arx” in the nature reserve of Kullaberg in southern Sweden.

Nimis was made of 75 tons of driftwood, while Arx was made of stone. The location where Vilks worked was incredibly difficult to access, so nobody even found the sculptures for several years. However, once they were discovered by other people, the Swedish government clamped down. They ruled that the artistic pieces were actually buildings, which would make them illegal in the nature reserve, and thus, they had to be dismantled immediately.

That set off a years-long legal battle between Vilks and the Swedish government. He fought both local councils and the national government to try not to have his artistic pieces dismantled. He eventually sold Nimis to other artists. Then, in 1996, in protest of a local council decision to dismantle Nimis, Vilks declared the area around it to be a sovereign country named Ladonia. There were other sculptures created in the ensuing years, too, and other legal decisions that went against Vilks and required him to remove the art—or have the Swedish government remove it, and they would bill him for the trouble.

In the end, Ladonia has become something of a bizarre tourist attraction while still claiming sovereignty as a supposed micronation. As of 2020, nearly 23,000 people claim to be Ladonian citizens, and they hail from more than 50 (actual) countries. There are no resident citizens at all, as the area is extremely remote and rural.

However, at least one person has “lived” in Ladonia for a time in the past. Still, tourism has proven to make Ladonia attractive to outsiders. Some estimates hold that even with its remote location, tens of thousands of outdoor lovers and art appreciators travel to Ladonia and visit its remaining controversial sculptures every year.[7]

3 Sealand

Welcome to Sealand, the world’s smallest state | 60 Minutes

The Principality of Sealand is an ongoing unrecognized micronation that has some pretty interesting and (literally) rough history. It all started on an offshore platform in the North Sea that was built by the British during World War II in international waters.

British military forces had intended to use the platform, which they called HM Fort Roughs and also Roughs Tower, in the war effort. Then, when the war effort ended, it mostly sat there unused and unguarded—until some pirate radio operators took command of it and started broadcasting from it.

By 1967, a man named Paddy Roy Bates and his family and friends seized the tower from some local pirate radio guys and claimed it for themselves. Bates and the boys (and girls) then fought off various incursions over the years from other pirate radio station operators. In the 1970s and 1980s, they even successfully fought off attempts from the Royal Navy to take back control of the tower.

Sadly for them, in 1987, the United Kingdom officially extended its territorial waters out to 12 nautical miles from land. That means the offshore platform is technically within British territory and legally controlled by the UK. Don’t tell the Sealanders that, though. To hear them tell it, the Principality of Sealand is its own sovereign nation.

Of course, life on an offshore platform is difficult. It’s all concrete! There is no arable land, no natural drinking water, and no source for either one. So, even though Sealand has sold fantasy passports in the past, only one or two people actually live on the tower at any one time. In addition to that, the passports themselves have become an issue.

Before he died in 2012, Bates and his son eventually revoked all Sealand passports after they found out that nefarious characters had been making counterfeit versions of them and selling them to launder the proceeds from drug trafficking operations in disparate places like Russia and Iraq. The Sealanders themselves weren’t involved with those drug smuggling rings, but it didn’t look good for their cause.

As we mentioned, Bates died in 2012, and his longtime wife died a few years after that. His son Michael continues to preside over the so-called principality, even though he makes his permanent home on the British mainland. And Sealand still gets hundreds of applications for passports each day, even if they aren’t doling them out anymore.

Sadly, it seems like the momentum has mostly run out for Sealanders. But the ones who are committed to the cause are still sticking it out.[8]

2 Molossia

Welcome to the Republic of Molossia – A Country in Western Nevada | LX News

The Republic of Molossia is a micronation that claims to be a sovereign state encompassing over 11 acres of rural land on the outskirts of the small town of Dayton, Nevada. Neither the United States nor any member of the United Nations has actually recognized Molossia as a country, but that hasn’t stopped founder Kevin Baugh from pursuing the project that he founded back in 1998.

That year, Baugh bought the rural land out in the Nevada desert. He initially founded it as the Kingdom of Molossia and claimed to have been inspired to do so based on his time in the military. At one point, it was known as the Grand Republic of Vuldstein, too. During that iteration of this micronation, Baugh was the Prime Minister, and his pal James Speilam was deemed to be King James I.

Later on, it went through other name changes, including the People’s Democratic Republic of Molossia (as a Communist state), the Kingdom of Zaira, and the United Provinces of Utopia. Hilariously, Baugh has a very good sense of humor about the project. For one, he continues to pay property taxes to the state of Nevada on the acreage he owns—but he calls it “foreign aid” to a foreign government.

Even more hilariously, Molossia is technically still “at war” with East Germany. Now, you may be saying that East Germany doesn’t exist anymore—and you’d be right. But Baugh claims that Cuba’s Ernst Thälmann Island is still technically active as modern-day East Germany. That’s because Cuba’s Fidel Castro gave that island as a gift to East Germany before it dissolved, and it was not mentioned in the final treaty that dissolved the state near the end of the 20th century.

Thus, Ernst Thälmann Island is still active as East Germany, and Baugh and his Republic of Molossia are still at war with them. Oh, and the reason for the war? Baugh claims that the East Germans are responsible for the military drills Baugh himself had to participate in while stationed in West Germany with the U.S. Army years ago. In turn, the East Germans are responsible for Baugh’s resulting medical diagnosis: sleep deprivation. Gotta hand it to this guy; he’s got a sense of humor![9]

1 Eastport

According to people who aren’t from there, Eastport is a seaside neighborhood in the city of Annapolis, Maryland. However, according to locals, it is actually known as the Maritime Republic of Eastport. It’s a (tongue-in-cheek) sovereign nation that seceded from Annapolis after some construction work was being done on the drawbridge that leads into and out of the area!

So, Annapolis natives know that Eastport has a very long history within the city. It was first settled way back in 1655 and became its own city known as Eastport in 1888. Then, in 1951, it was annexed to become part of the city of Annapolis. So far, so good, right? Well, in 1998, Annapolis announced that they had to temporarily close the drawbridge leading into Eastport so the Maryland State Highway Administration could perform much-needed repairs.

That set off the citizens of Eastport in mock anger! Jokingly mad at Annapolis for cutting them off from the world, they decided to cut themselves off from Annapolis. They declared themselves to be an independent nation and poked fun at Annapolis for supposedly trying to hold them back.

Of course, the thing was all in good fun. The MSHA quickly completed its repairs and returned the drawbridge to its regular use. But the Maritime Republic of Eastport, or the MRE as locals know it, stuck around! And now, it’s a thing!

Today, the micronation has a flag and a ton of other regalia. Appropriately, its motto is “We like it this way.” No doubt, they enjoy their set-off neighborhood (er, uh, nation) away from the rest of Annapolis. And it’s a very popular tourist destination, too! That may be because the MRE hosts a variety of hilarious events, including an annual tug-of-war contest with Annapolis and a 0.05 kilometer (yes, just 55-yard) run across the infamous drawbridge in question.

With tourists flocking to see Eastport and buy flags and other merchandise, the micronation gamble at least appears to have paid off financially, even if no one recognizes them as a sovereign state.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen