Small Stories of
What is a micronation?
The dictionary defines Micronations as: "a small area or political entity that claims national sovereignty but is not recognised as a sovereign state".
That definition can be applied to several different kinds of states such as un-recognised nations that are much larger than a small micronation (click here for Un-recognised & Defunct nations - coming soon) however at its basic core a micronation is in reality "micro" which means in most cases they are tiny.
Below are a few such places (more places added regularly as I make different deep dives).
If you can't wait for more places to be added I recommend checking out the Lonely Planet book called "Micronations".
Can you just declare yourself an independent nation?
The answer is, well yes you can, but that doesn’t mean that others will recognise your sovereignty. For this reason, over the years many individuals have declared their homes or properties as independent countries. While most capitulate almost straight away others manage to issue postage stamps and currency or establish themselves as a tourist curiosity. These places generally fall under the term “micronation”.
One such place is Akhzivland located in El Avivi, Israel on the Mediterranean Coast. In 1971 the micronation was declared by local resident Eli Avivi after authorities attempted to bulldoze the house, he was living in and assume the site into the neighbouring National Park. In response he was arrested and charged with creating a country without permission. Funnily enough there isn’t actually a rule about doing that, so he had to be released. He then returned to his country where he set up a hostel and home.
The site of the “country” is itself interesting with several village ruins nearby and archaeologists dating use of the site as a major hub back to the Iron Age. Over the years it has been in the hands of Egyptians, Macedonians and Assyrians to name a few. A fishing village called Achziv (Az-Zeeb) was located on the site but during the 1948 Arab Israeli War the local residents fled leaving it abandoned.
Akhzivland founder Avivi was born in Iran and was a sailor. He worked as a fisherman in a nearby village before moving into one of the houses (today the Museum).
Over the years of his Presidency of Akhizivland he established a national flag, issued passports and created a national anthem. He sued the Israeli Government for invading his country and in response they issued a 99-year lease to him of the site but did not acknowledge that he had created his own nation.
In 2018 Avivi died aged 88 but Akhizvland continues today as a tourist site with a beach house for accommodation alongside the Museum. Israel actively promotes the site as a tourist destination.
Image: National Flag of Akhizvland
50 years ago, 19 June 1972, Tonga “forces” arrive on the tiny artificial island reef of Minerva, raising the Tongan flag and claiming it in the name of Tonga.
Three months later this claim was recognised by the South Pacific Forum.
Minerva was a micronation whose founder, millionaire Michael Oliver envisaged as a libertarian society.
Though the reef had been known since the earliest days of exploration in the region it was in the early 70s that land was transported to the reef to create an artificial island for settlement.
Almost as soon as the independent nation was declared Tonga claimed it fell within its jurisdiction.
When Tongans arrived the micronation crumbled as those there didn’t really know what to do.
Image: The artificial "land"