A few weeks ago I mentioned filibustering as a part of my fascination with bananas–private armies trying to seize land to form their own nations. In this same vein are micro-nations. Here people don’t raise an army, or take over anything, they just declare their backyard, or wherever, an independent nation. Some have been on barrier islands, some on oil or defense platforms. There are plans now to build floating islands to be governed by a Libertarian order.
Some of these are more famous than others; the Principality of Sealandia (established on an old gun platform) has been around for 40-ish years. It even has a rebel government in exile.
But, the most fascinating to me is the Principality of Outer Baldonia. It seems that a former Chairman of Pepsico and some of his buddies were fishing from an island off the coast of Nova Scotia, got drunk and wrote up a constitution that read in part:
That fishermen are a race alone. That fishermen are endowed with the
following inalienable rights: The right to lie and be believed. The right
of freedom from question, nagging, shaving, interruption, women, taxes,
politics, war, monologues, care and inhibitions. The right to applause,
vanity, flattery, praise and self-inflation. The right to swear, lie, drink,
gamble and silence. The right to be noisy, boisterous, quiet, pensive,
expensive and hilarious. The right to choose company and the right to
be alone. The right to sleep all day and stay up all night.
$50 bought you the title of prince, which all of the citizens seemed to be.
But, who among us hasn’t had too much to drink with friends and decided to form our on nationstate? What makes Outer Baldonia (named after the island of Outer Bald Tusket and not a friend’s follically challenged head) is that The Prince of Princes, Russell Arundel, listed the fishing huts/capital building’s phone number in a DC directory.
Consequently, Prince Russel began to be invited to diplomatic functions, which he attended in Badlonia’s ceremonial garb that was decorated in mostly tuna cans and bottle caps.
But, things got much more interesting when the tiny, and please note, unrecognized state was invited to join the United Nations. It seems the Soviet Union objected to this. You’d think it odd that the ol’ USSR was the only clear-headed body in the room that realized Baldonia was a group of drunk fishing buddies, but that wasn’t there beef. They had read Baldonia’s charter and didn’t like what the nation stood for.
Affronted, the Prince invited the USSR to visit and make apologies on Baldonian soil. When the Soviets refused, the only natural next step was taken—the Principality of Baldonia declared open war on the Soviet Union. Though there were only 69 citizens of the tiny nation, each one, in addition to being a prince apparently, was an admiral. The Baldonian fleet was 60 to 100 vessels strong – all fishing boats.
The Soviet Union made no military response – even after the Yacht Club of Halifax agreed to contribute their boats to the war effort. Instead they chose to pick on the country in state run media.
The journalistic investigations outed the tiny nation as drunken fishing buddies and the diplomatic party invitations dried up. But, still, I can’t think of another nation to have Declared War on the Soviets and walk away unscathed.
Oh, and in 1973 The Prince of Princes sold the island nation to the Nova Scotia Bird Society for a buck. Possibly a Canadian buck. I can’t be certain.