Written by Hassaan Shazuli
13 Dec, 2020 | 10:22 am
COLOMBO (News1st): Seven miles off England’s coast, a micronation spanning just 0.004 square kilometres is selling noble titles ranging from Lord to Dame to fund its existence – a strategy used by ancient Europe to fund wars.
The Principality of Sealand was established in 1967 by Roy Bates, a Major in the British Army, after occupying Roughs Tower – a sea fort built by the British during World War 2.
He called himself Prince and his wife Princess – as a birthday gesture, setting off an unprecedented line of succession to the throne till to date.
“We plan to raise a small island from the sea,” Michael Bates, the incumbent prince — Prince Michael of Sealand — tells News 1st, referring to the plans of the micronation.
Micheal, a 14-year-old spending his holidays from boarding school when Sealand was established in September 1967, recalls the historic moment as “surreal”.
Currently, Sealand sits on a 4000 square metre remainder of the ancient war fort, its outward appearance portraying a deck on two pillars.
Surprising as it sounds, the tiny principality has its flag, national anthem, stamp, sports teams (football, ice hockey, curling), coat of arms, and currency – the Sealand dollar!
Its history exceeding five decades has been mired in invasion attempts and legal battles, especially due to its disputed location on British territorial waters.
“When the UK extended its territorial waters we extended ours,” the Prince claimed.
Sovereign states are yet to recognize the micronation although it claims de facto recognition by Germany and the UK.
Nevertheless, Prince Micheal points out that Sealand receives around 20 requests for citizenship daily. The numbers are higher during a global crisis.
“You have to help or give aid to the Principality (to obtain citizenship),” he explains.
Sealand has around 350 citizens, but only a few reside at a time. Prince Michael is “sure” that Sri Lankans are also among those who have requested for citizenship.
It does not offer passports anymore after an international money laundering ring had emerged using the sale of fake Sealand passports to facilitate drug trafficking.
Sealand is selling titles – a Lord, Lady, Baron, or Baroness at USD 44.9, Count or Countess at USD 291.9, Duke or Duchess at USD 656.3, and knighthood at USD 129.9.
Buyers can also purchase a square foot territory of the micronation at nearly 30 US dollars.
Prince Michael dismisses room for suspicion that Sealand is operating similar to nothing less but a business venture by selling almost everything on the micronation.
“We don’t have any natural resources. We have a good following of people wishing to be part of our adventure,” he insists.
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