Ever taken part in a quiz where the quiz master asks a question, you know the right answer and you give it, but you are told you are wrong?  It’s so annoying, isn’t it?  Well, the classic question that will come up is what is the smallest state in the world? Some smart people may say Monaco, San Marino or Liechtenstein. Really smart people will state the Vatican. However, they would all be wrong because, in fact, it is Sealand which has the distinction of being the smallest state in the world.

What then is Sealand and where is it situated?  Sealand is a micro-nation located in the North Sea, about 6.5 miles off the coast of Suffolk, England. It is a former offshore platform built in 1942 to protect the coast from German bombers during World War II.

 

(image used with kind permission of https://sealandgov.org/)

 

It is considered the smallest country in the world, which once had a population of 50 people. Sealand was created in 1967 by Paddy Roy Bates, a retired British army major, who declared it an independent nation after he and his family occupied a disused Navy fort near the HM Fort Roughs. He declared himself ruler of the country and his family has been running it ever since.

Paddy actually gifted the platform to his wife as a birthday present in the sixties.

In its heyday, the platform manned over a hundred British military men armed to the teeth with anti-aircraft guns. These guns stood between the Nazi bombers and London during the Blitz. 

After Paddy declared Sealand an independent state the British government took him to court but they lost the case. The platform had in fact been built illegally by the government outside of British waters along with several other forts they built to combat the Nazi warplanes during World War II.

At one stage in the sixties, Paddy ran a pirate radio station on Sealand when only the BBC was allowed to play radio music. Eventually, the British authorities made it impossible for Seland and other pirate radio stations to operate so the radio station was closed down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(image used with kind permission of https://sealandgov.org/)

 

The principality even has its own website and sells souvenirs, like coins, patches, and T-shirts, to help with costs. Incredibly, such a small structure in the middle of the sea has maintained its sovereignty for over 50 years. 

Sealand has had a mercenary invasion and constant threats from the UK government, but they stood firm. 

Though any other country does not officially recognise it, Sealand is the smallest country in the world and has an exciting history. 

What started as a World War II fort became a family project and an independent nation. Despite its rocky past, Sealand continues and is recognised, even if it’s unofficially, as the smallest country worldwide.

For a bit of fun I bought the title of Lord Byrne of Sealand a few years ago and subsequently bought my wife Cholpon the title of Lady Byrne of Sealand. Each title cost me the sum of £29.99. I even bought a square metre of Sealand for a further £29.99. You can buy other titles too. I pay a very small annual subscription as well. I like the idea of a small independent state so I like to support it financially.

 

(image used with kind permission of https://sealandgov.org/)

 

I bought the titles thinking we might have a little fun with them when pre-booking tables at restaurants or hotel rooms thinking we might get superior treatment but unfortunately we haven’t ever used the titles for this purpose nor indeed for anything else yet.

Alas, there is no financial advice in this blog. Sealand isn’t even a tax haven. I do think it is a fascinating story though and one worth telling. You may wish to buy a title and/or financially support Sealand. I’ll leave it up to you to decide. At the very least you will have a smart Alec answer the next time you are taking part in a quiz and the quiz master asks you what is the smallest state in the world! You know it makes sense.*

 

 

*RISK WARNING

We want to highlight that we have no commission arrangements or formal agreements in place with the Sealand. The value of investments can fall as well as rise. You may not get back what you invest. The information contained within this article is for guidance only and does not constitute advice which should be sought before taking any action or inaction. All information is based on our current understanding of taxation, legislation, regulations and case law in the current tax year. Any levels and bases of relief from taxation are subject to change. Tax treatment is based on individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future. This blog is based on my own observations and opinions.

 

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