I’ve always loved the idea of micronations. They’re basically little countries that people declare on their own, which most of the world never really takes all too seriously. One of my favourites is Molossia, which is a few acres of land in Nevada. They tried to have an army, but weren’t allowed. They tried to have an air force, but the plane crashed, so now they have a navy. In the swimming pool.
Then there’s the Principality of Sealand, which was actually invaded by Dutch and German citizens, and seems to have quite a turbulent history. Right now there’s a great piece on the Smithsonian Magazine’s website about micronations. From the article:
More than 200 miles north of Seborga is the Republic of Saugeais, a 386-square-mile country surrounded by France. Shortly after World War II, so the story goes, a French official was having lunch at Georges Pourchet’s restaurant in the Saugeais capital of Montbenoit. When Pourchet playfully asked the bureaucrat if he had a pass to visit the republic, the official replied that if it was a republic, a president was necessary. And he then dubbed the restaurant owner president.
Pourchet stayed in that office until he died in 1968; his wife, Gabrielle, succeeded him. In 1972 Mme. Pourchet was elected president for life during a fundraiser to restore Montbenoit’s medieval abbey. Her election was as much about marketing as it was about politics; the 12th-century structure is arguably Saugeais’s main tourist attraction.
Micronations of the World [Smithsonian Magazine]