other virtual state projects
This page highlights some past and contemporary 'virtual
state' projects outside Australia.
It covers -
illustrate the range of motivations in establishment of
virtual states, from amiable eccentricity to protest to
Isola delle Rose
The Republic of Rose Island (aka Insulo de la Rozoj or
Isola delle Rose), under self-proclaimed President Giorgio
Rosa and supposedly using Esperanto as its official language,
comprised a 400 square metre platform. That platform,
constructed in 1968, was located 5 kilometres off Rimini
in the Adriatic Sea, ie in Italian national waters.
Assertion of independence in June 1968, amid publicity
over the casino, nightclub and other commercial facilities
on the platform, was rejected by an Italian government
eager to be seen as dealing with industrial unrest and
The government indicated that Rose was seeking to evade
taxes. It accordingly dispatched four officials to the
platform and took control. The Italian Navy thereafter
used explosives to demolish the platform.
The state lives on through genuine and fake
Insulo de la Rozoj postage stamps.
The Republic of Minerva,
between Tonga and Fiji, was established in 1972 by US
businessman Michael Oliver and the Ocean Life Research
Foundation as a "libertarian new country" that
would supposedly offer a tax shelter, feature its own
banks (with strong secrecy provisions) and operate its
Oliver's group conducted dredging operations at the Minerva
Reefs to construct a small artificial island. Unsurprisingly
it gained no international recognition; claims of diplomatic
relations with the Sultanate of Ocussi-Ambeno were ridiculed
by critics who noted that the Sultanate was not a sovereign
The supposed nation evaporated when Tonga sent a tiny
military force - reportedly three to five servicemen under
the supervision of King Tenfa'ahav - and formally annexed
the land. The monarch had reportedly been offered cash,
shipyard, an airline and even a television station for
a renunciation of claims to the Reefs.
The island was subsequently reported to have disappeared
in successive storms, albeit without the romance of Lyonesse
and Atlantis (no cathédrale engloutie).
The supposed state subsequently morphed into a principality,
headed by the Sovereign Prince and Supreme Regent Prince
Calvin. His Royal Highness (both "a fully engaged
leader of the Minervan liberation movement" and "an
accomplished concert performer, with abilities on most
brass instruments") is apparently resident in the
The Minerva site, which provides opportunities to buy
Minervan gold coins, indicates that
years of failed attempts at liberation and control,
on October 1, 2003, a reformed Minervan government was
founded. The newly created constitutional monarchy –
established as the Principality of Minerva – was
established with the vision to establish Minerva as
a functional and active member of international community
... the Principality was established as the new and
official government of the Minervan state, with no official
ties to any representatives of the old Republic regime;
it is noteworthy to mention that while the Principality
was not directly endorsed by the founders of the Republic
and that the individuals who were associated with the
Republic and it's subsequent collapse no longer wish
to be associated with the Minervan State in any way,
they did communicate to the Principality that that they
had no continuing interest in maintaining the Republic
and that the Principality had full right to establish
itself as the legitimate government of the isles, becoming
the obvious and logical successor.
Oliver reportedly later became involved in a separate
attempt at establishing a new country on the island of
Abaco in the Bahamas and gaining influence for a libertarian
paradise in Vanuatu.
A precursor of Minerva was the attempt by contractor Louis
M Ray to create an island (and supposed state of the Grand
Capri Republic) in the Grand & Triumph Reefs in US
waters near the Florida Keys. The US government denied
permission for the necessary dredging but Ray began work
and was only stopped through a preliminary injunction.
A US court endorsed argument that federal jurisdiction
under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (consistent
with the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Continental Shelf)
extended to the seabed and subsoil of the outer continental
shelf adjacent to the Florida coast. It also accepted
that Washington's authority to prevent obstruction in
navigable waters included control over "artificial
islands and fixed structures" in that area.
An attempt to claim the same reefs was made by William
T Anderson and the Atlantis Development Corporation through
US and UK newspaper advertisements in the early 1960s.
Atlantis received varying advice from different government
agencies about the 'Atlantis, Isle of Gold' state before
the US federal government took legal action.
The court commented that
dreams of the separate groups for a new nation must
perish, like the lost continent 'Atlantis,' beneath
the waves and waters of the sea which constantly submerge
government concurrently warned off developers who purported
to be constructing the state of Abalonia in the Cortes
Bank (west of San Diego, California) and a 20 acre state
of Taluga - with Aurora as its capital - in the same location.
Utopia and the Kingdom of Humanity
New Utopia was marketed by US cryogenics promoter Lazarus
Long (aka Howard Turney). In 2000 the US Securities &
Exchange Commission gained
a permanent injunction against Long under the the federal
Securities Act of 1933 and Securities Exchange Act of
During 1998 and 1999 Long had sought to raise US$350 million
through securities to "purportedly fund a new country
he claimed was being developed in the middle of the Caribbean".
Those securities were offered online but apparently did
not meet with much success, despite promises that New
Utopia "the most perfect city/state ever conceived,
blending the philosophies of both Ayn Rand and Robert
the finest hospital in the world, dedicated to the anti-aging
and longevity modalities where you may have any treatment
you wish, so long as you and your doctor agree [and]
The International University of Advanced Studies ...dedicated
to teaching the disciplines and imparting the knowledge
that will be needed in the next century for survival
on Earth, the colonization of the oceans, and the exploration
and colonization of space.
SEC claimed that Long made
misrepresentations and omissions concerning, among other
things, the status of construction of the project, the
companies associated with the project, the safety of
the investment, and the status of the Commission's investigation
into his activities.
Kingdom of Humanity, supposedly located in the Spratley
Islands, variously claimed to have been established by
ancestors of promoter Morton Meads or "discovered"
by Meads in 1946.
Successive assertions of sovereignty in dealing with China,
the Phillippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and other
countries were unsuccessful but Meads appears to have
profited from a philatelic scam, albeit being arrested
in Manila during 1955.
German baker Otto Berbig (1940-2007) was adopted in the
1970s by Ekaterina Caradja - a descendant of Vlad the
Impaler (1431-1476) - and henceforth referred to himself
as Ottomar Rodolphe Vlad Dracula, Prince Kretzulesco of
Transylvania and Wallachia.
The 38 acres of land surrounding the suburban villa he
dubbed 'Schloss Dracula', at Schenkendorf on the outskirts
of Berlin, was declared as the independent Principality
of Dracula, complete with blood-coloured passports, car
registration plates, postage stamps and of course low
German governments failed to take the supposed principality
seriously, with Brandenburg for example threatening a
"garlic offensive" and the national tax office
merely ensuring that Berbig paid his taxes.
The faux Kingdom of Wallachia was established in the Czech
Republic by photographer Tomas Harabis during 1997 as
an elaborate practical joke, subsequently becoming a tourist
attraction similar to Australia's Hutt Principality.
Wallachia was spruiked as a domain where locals drink
110-proof plum brandy for breakfast and use a wheat-backed
currency (the jurovalsar) pegged to the dollar, a consulate
in Togo, a Royal Wallachian Navy comprising 40 wooden
canoes and a passport decorated with the image of the
pagan god Radegast (retailing for US$7.69 and supposedly
held by 90,000 citizens).
The pseudo-nation's history has featured disagreement
between Harabis and Bolek Polivka, a clown who had variously
been crowned as king Boleslav I the Gracious Forever and
Boleslav the Kind Hearted Forever. Harabis reportedly
claimed that Polivka had begun to open Wallachian consulates
without permission and eventually installed Vladimir Zhanel
as replacement monarch Vladimir II.
Polivka responded with litigation in a Czech court over
the Wallachian trademark, substantiated by the claim that
"We have not only conquered space but planted our
sacred blue plum trees on the moon". Harabis claimed
that "A lot of people think we are a new country
like Kosovo, and that we have seceded from the Czech Republic".
The court merely ruled that Polivka had no right to profit
from association with the kingdom.
A precursor of Australia's 'Hutt
River Province Principality' is provided by the Kingdom
of Lundy, established by businessman Martin Coles Harman
(1885-1954) in 1924 after he paid £16,000 for the
island of Lundy off the English coast.
Harman's pretensions were ignored until he issued his
own coinage (the Puffin and Half Puffin, ostensibly equivalent
to the Penny and Halfpenny), resulting in the House of
Lords' 1931 decision that he had breached the Coinage
Act 1870. He was declared bankrupt in 1932 and imprisoned
in 1933–34 for corporate fraud.
Lundy currency is now a collectors' item, complicated
by a 1965 'fantasy' restrike and reported forgeries. The
Island was acquired by the National Trust in 1969.
Interzone, Freedonia and Frestonia
Digital secessions include the Interzone Republic site,
a home for
individuals who have renounced or intend to renounce
their citizenship in any and all geographically-based
States, and who work towards replacing the valid functions
of those States from collectively-held resources.
huh. It is unclear whether that commitment extends beyond
The Principality of Freedonia
is another 'virtual state' - "a web nation whose
goal is to become a physical nation".
It is a curious amalgamation of libertarianism and hereditary
monarchy, in need we think of a visit from Captain Spalding,
the African Explorer, hurray hurray hurray! An apparent
attempt to lease territory in Africa during 2001 ended
Wealthy UK anarchist Nicholas Albery established the Free
and Independent Republic of Frestonia in Notting Hill,
London, in 1977. The republic had no president, as the
squatters who comprised the Republic's population believed
that no one person should be in charge. Anyone could become
a minister. (Albery was minister of state for industry
and minister for the environment.)
The republic formally applied to the International Postal
Union to issue postage stamps and sought membership of
the United Nations for membership; both organisations
were unimpressed and Frestonia evaporated in a marijuana-scented
haze during 1983.
Laissez Faire, Lomar and Kamberra
Faire City - "a sovereign international city
domiciled in Cyberspace" but apparently expiring
It has been joined by the Republic of Lomar,
domiciled in the US and exploited by 419
scammers who purported to sell passports for an idyllic
land located between Canada and the US.
The Kingdom of Kamberra,
supposedly somewhere in the South Pacific, was concocted
by Luxembourg teenager Franck Medina as the Principality
of Camberra in 1988, becoming the Kingdom of Camberra
later in that year and the Kingdom of Kamberra in 1990.
It offers a range of coins and banknotes, to be paid for
of course in the currency of real nations.
The Principality of New Pacific was another manmade island,
offshore from Mindanao and led by Prince John Prisco III.
The Principality of Sealand
- discussed in more detail in the following page of this
note - was "founded as a sovereign Principality in
1967 in international waters, six miles off the eastern
shores of Britain". Like Insulo de la Rozoj it comprised
a small manmade platform.
history of Sealand is a story of a struggle for liberty.
Sealand was founded on the principle that any group
of people dissatisfied with the oppressive laws and
restrictions of existing nation states may declare independence
in any place not claimed to be under the jurisdiction
of another sovereign entity.
more breathlessly as
down on a North Sea fortress, a crew of armed cypherpunks,
amped-up networking geeks, and libertarian swashbucklers
is seceding from the world to pursue a revolutionary
idea: an offshore, fat-pipe data haven that answers
from the dull reality of obligations and tax official
is of course is not a particularly original idea and the
pseudo-principality will not be able to answer (or call)
anybody if its supplies are cut.
The UK government deflated Sealand's pretensions in 2000
by deporting IT engineer Andrew Marsh, who had informed
British immigration officers at Heathrow that he was going
to work on the platform for HavenCo and thus did not need
London's authorisation. Not so, indicated a spokesman
for the Home Office, who said "We consider Sealand
to be part of the UK and therefore anyone working there
who is not a citizen of a European Union country would
require a work permit".
TTF-Bucksfan boats that it is ruled by "the Hon Most
Rev Dr Cesidio Tallini,
King of TTF-Bucksfan, Governor of Independent Long Island,
and Ambassador-at-Large of UMMOA/AMOMU".
Tallini claims to be an Ordained Minister of Rose Ministries,
to have earned "a Bachelor of Science in Contemplative
Psychology from William Cullen Bryant University",
have a diploma in Astrology
"earned from Stratford Career Institute" and
"an honorary PhD in Cyberanthropology from Cosmopolitan
University & Research Institute" along with his
status as a bishop, Chancellor of Saint René Descartes
University, "a Baron of Sealand, a Knight of Redonda,
the Grand Preceptor for the Overseas Priorate of the Ordo
Equestris Militiae Templi Deus Vult of Redonda [and] Honorary
Member in the Sovereign Military-religious Order of Teutonic
Knights Templars". If you are a king, it seems, you
just can't have too much bling.
TTF-Bucksfan claims to be
center of flowering new culture with enormous positive
potential. Tallinians haven't just invented a new and
original Calendar, as well as an original Time System.
They have also also invented: a Political, Economic,
and Religious Philosophy; a radically new and ingenious
Legal System; a useful Linguistic Classification System;
a new Astronomy and Astrology; and finally, a new field
TTF-Bucksfan asserts dominion over a piece of Long Island,
near New York, and claims that is "formally recognised
by the Kingdom of Pictland-in-Exile", currently ruled
by HM King Derile Pentland II (a resident of Ketchikan,
Alaska). Its population is reported to comprise ten people.
The Independent Virtual Kingdom of New
Atlantis in describing plans to build an entire continent
will find it is not a mad dream, but a practical project,
well thought out, with technology available, and perhaps
your only criticism may be that we make it all sound
just too easy.
was another expiry in 2002 after apparent failure "to
provide the infrastructure necessary to facilitate the
formation of a Laissez Faire capitalist system within
Tierra del Mar, a floating 'country' near the Bahamas,
was founded by Leicester Hemingway after his Republic
of New Atlantis ("a bamboo platform anchored by a
railroad axle and an old Ford engine block") went
underwater in 1964. When we last looked it had not disappeared
in the Bermuda Triangle.
Nexus, designed by Eugene Tsui in 1986, was to be a self-propelled
floating island, complete with a mountain range and a
collection of self-governing New Age communities.
Talossa and Astrumia
The Kingdom of Talossa, founded by schoolboy Robert Madison
in 1979, subsequently migrated online as a competing kingdom
of Talossa and a republic
is another kingdom for the Dungeons & Dragons demographic.
The Holy Empire of Reunion,
founded in 1997 by Emperor Claudio (more generally known
as Claudio de Castro) boasted 156 citizens as of 2006.
Reunion claims that it
have a real government, real institutions, even government
dignitaries... It has everything, according to International
law Principles, which is necessary to be considered
a Nation, with the possible exception of a sovereign
Melchizedek and Poyais
And there is of course the supposed Dominion of Melchizedek
(DOM), which claims to be a non-virtual state with territory
in Antarctica and the Pacific, having unsuccessfully asserted
ownership of a Colombian island.
It was reportedly established by Mark Logan Pedley (aka
Branch Vinedresser and other names) while he was on parole
In discussing Dominion-related offences US official John
Shockey told the 4th International Financial Fraud Convention
operations disclosed included taking deposits, issuing
worthless guaranties and loan commitments, verifying
and authenticating values of other DOM entities which,
among other activities, was the issuance of hundreds
of millions of dollars of worthless debt instruments.
Some of these instruments reportedly were used as collateral
to obtain real money loans and were exchanged in several
brokerage houses for real value securities.
Promoting a phony sovereign country provides diversified
opportunities to engage in fraudulent activities. One's
imagination of the various types of fraud possible has
become a reality with DOM. A phony government consisting
of fraudsters creates phony citizenships, ambassadorships,
embassy and legation offices, issues diplomatic passports,
registers financial aid, grants business licenses, creates
a stock exchange, etc., etc., etc. - all phony. However,
each facet of this operation is a source which generates
substantial illegal income.
Earlier scams were exemplified by the Territory of Poyais,
concocted by Scottish adventurer Gregor MacGregor
As supposed Cazique of a sovereign region - located in
Honduras' Mosquito Coast - MacGregor extracted over £200,000
from gullible investors and buyers of Poyais titles and
commissions. The hoax fell apart when immigrants discovered
that the main city at Poyais was, alas, merely an uninhabited
swamp and that the orchards, splendid boulevardes, theatres
and other items on MacGregor's maps were nowhere to be
The supposed state of Elgaland demonstrates that Dada
is alive, well and still as smelly as a Port-Salut cheese.
It offers a perspective on the pretensions of the various
Minervas and Atlantises.
On the 27th of May 1992, the state of Elgaland-Vargaland
was proclaimed at the KREV embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
The proclamation was shouted out by the founders, in
four directions; east, south, west and north. They annexed
and occupied all border territories between all countries
on earth, mental and perceptive territories such as
the the border area between waking and sleeping, the
borderline zones of mental diseases, near death experiences,
hypnosis and mesmerism, telekinetics, telepathy, suggestions,
strokes, delirium, various influences of drugs (such
as peyote, LSD, ecstasy, cannabis, thinner, ether, alcohol
etc), speaking in tongues, religious ecstasy, artistic
inspiration and expiration, possession by spirit, good
or evil, dusk and dawn, terror, love, orgasm, interference,
the state of contradiction or hesitation.