The Point: A Brief on Micropatrology

Today I came across this recent article at Guardian.com about Prince Renato II the prince of Pontinha. Pontinha is a micronation, or by some definitions a Fifth World country, merely 70 meters off the coast of a Portuguese island and has a well documented claim for being sovereign as a contract relinquishing rights from the King of Portugal and governors exists. It is always nice to see micronations getting good press.

What is a Micronation you ask? Let me go back for a moment. I first found interest in so called micronations in the late 70s when the evening news featured Sealand. I was very young so I don’t remember if it as just a color story, about a dispute over boundaries, hostile invasion or just what, but it was cool to think somebody had founded their own country and was the king of it! I didn’t know what a micronation was or any history regarding such entities but this was the seed of autonomy planted in my fertile mind.

Any reader might recall city-states of ancient Greece, possibly those could be considered early micronations complete with a fair population, government and an army. Other early examples may be found around the globe and even a few places that really made it a go in what is now called the United States while others didn’t last long at all. A few more came to being during the contentious battles for autonomy in North America, namely the Republic of Winston County and the State of Scott. It could be argued that those were really exclaves of the distant US of A and maybe that is correct however I have never seen that the greater union gave material support to these efforts and they were surrounded by miles of secessionists of the first level.

Back to the modern times.

There are various reasons for modern micronations, they may be a sort of protest stunt, or like Pontinha, Sealand and the Hutt River, have long standing claims with paperwork or having existed prior to other nations’ post hoc efforts and simply be where a few people wanted to exercise self rule to the greatest extent possible.

 

You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.  ~Frank Zappa

 

I’ve tended to prefer “states” that existed with some land mass for having a territorial claim. However the digital age brings a spin to that. We are no longer comparing the Holy See, Nauru, Monaco or Liechtenstein to Freetown Christiania or Pontinha.

One crafty quasi land claim was The Republic of Minerva, a barely exposed reef near Tonga which was briefly claimed by some libertarians but they failed to protect it when armed force from the closest country came to evict them. Didn’t they understand that the NAP allows for defense?

Minerva

Liberty; soon to be ejected

With the advent of the internet revolution it seems things started taking off and groups of people began to identify as citizens of something other than a physical place. Surely the physical but not tied to land concept of seasteading should also be mentioned as it has the most promise today.

Whether digital or physical claimants a good number of the more serious nations have issued stamps and/or passports, flags, songs, held court and established official legal dealings with widely accepted nations.

multi

Some micronations have even issued coins. Apparently other folks have heard about Pontinha and pondered if Prince Renato might make bitcoin its official currency. While that might be good and help establish BTC in some minds as being more real I think Dell.com, Overstock.com and the likes are doing very well at making bitcoin legitimate.

According to some definitions Liberty.me is a Sixth World nation. Look at the about page:

Announcements

Welcome to Liberty.me!

Welcome to our digital city for liberty!

Well I hope you all have enjoyed Micronations 101. I’m always interested in learning more so if you have something interesting to add or a question please share a comment. Now it is time for me to retire to my own personal autocracy, a 7 by 7 foot haven where even though I have absolute authority I always seem to be in hot water! Below is the skinny but official flag of Hottublandia.

flag1

this country depends on bromine imports but maintains a decent pH


Pictures of Pontinha

Pontinha facts and statistics

Simon Pomery, the Poet [Pirate] Laureate of Pontinha

Declaration of sovereignty from 2007.

Sovereign of Pontinha

Sovereign of Pontinha Prince D. Renato Barros at Fort of Saint José