Sealand, a self proclaimed country, is located six miles off the English coast.
It was a sea fort constructed by the British military in 1943, and originally given the name HM Fort Roughs. It was built to protect major shipping lanes for the British from Germans during WWII.
HM Fort Roughs
After the war, the fort was abandoned until 1966, when former British Army Major Paddy Roy Bates took over and started a pirate radio station. When the British government learned of this in 1967, it ordered him to cease and desist. This led to Bates declaring his tiny fort an independent nation, and crowning himself the first Prince of Sealand.
Sealand seen from a distance.
The government, in a bid to remove Bates, sent in marines and arrested him and his family. But the case was thrown out by the judge in his criminal trial, since the fort was technically located outside British waters!
Paddy Roy Bates and his wife Joan raise Sealand's flag for the first time in 1967.
To Bates, this was de facto recognition of his country. Since then Bates has introduced a constitution, flag, national anthem, currency, and even independent passports.
Currency of Sealand.
Roy Bates, the Pirate Prince of Sealand, died in 2012 and his wife, Joan, also died in 2016. The current prince of Sealand is Bate’s son, Michael Bates. To this day, no country has officially recognized Sealand as an independent nation.
Prince Michael Bates
Sealand has “national” athletes based all over the world. Among others, Sealand can boast of a marathon runner based in Canada, a U-20 soccer team in Kentucky, a competition airsoft team out of Yorkshire, and a Kung Fu specialist who won two silver medals at the World Cup of Kung Fu. However, not a single athlete competing for Sealand has ever set foot on Sealand.
Sealand's national flag.
As of 2011, the population of the country was estimated to be only 4. According to some reports, the platform had been put on the market in 2007 for around $977 million.