Think you could lead a country? Here’s a guide to creating your own micronation
All you need is a bit of territory, some citizens, supplies and maybe a flag. How hard could it be? AG Riddle has made the calculations
by: AG Riddle
14 Sep 2022
Thanks to seasteading, living above the waves in a floating home could be the way to develop your own micronation. Image: Grant Romundt from Ocean Builders
Imagine this: your own island conveniently located at the perfect latitude with plentiful free energy, posh accommodations, and all you can eat (or drink, if you desire). Best of all, you make all the laws. If that sounds like your cup of tea, a micronation might be for you.
During the Covid lockdowns, many of us felt like we were on islands of our own. Working from home. Staying on our own land. Cut off from the world. We realised that where you are on Earth simply doesn’t affect your work as much as it once did. For a great many jobs, you can be remote. Really, really remote, if you so desire. Which makes a micronation more viable than ever before.
First, what is a micronation?
Definitions vary, but generally, a nation exists if other nations recognise it. To do that, you’ll typically need some territory, laws, citizens and, frankly, a reason for other nations to recognise your start-up sovereignty. Shared values with other nations also helps – if they respect your reason to exist, they will be far more inclined to get on board.
Your DIY micronation essential ingredients
For your nascent nation, you’re going to need territory, power, food, water, a constitution and most importantly, citizens. Of course, that’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. So get out your virtual shovel, and let’s break ground on the principality of you.
Ascertain your domain
Your micronation needs a physical place in the world, not just on the internet (though you’ll want to get a domain there too).
The bad news is, pretty much all of Earth’s land has been claimed by existing nations. They also have territorial waters around that land that they claim. But beyond those territorial waters, roughly half of the planet is unclaimed, open sea.
Thanks to the concept of Seasteading you could build your micronation anywhere on the open sea – essentially a floating island. It might be a repurposed oil rig, cruise ship, or cargo vessel adapted for long-term habitation. Or, thanks to work by The Seasteading Institute, a California-based non-profit founded by Patri Friedman and billionaire investor Peter Thiel, it could be as small as a single-family home perched above the sea, linked to other residences and a communal area.
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The options are endless. Just watch out for characters like Deacon from the movie Waterworld (portrayed by Dennis Hopper) because the nicer your seastead, the more attention you might attract from pirates.
However, if you really want that terra firma under your feet, there are plenty of nations – especially island republics – that could use some cash these days. So, strike a deal. You don’t even need to be a billionaire. Post a crowdfunding project on a site like Kickstarter or GoFundMe and ask supporters (and possibly your future citizens) to chip in.
Power to the people
All right, you’ve got territory under your feet (floating or otherwise). Now you need water and power. Thanks to new technologies, your new micronation can now harness power options galore. You can harness the power of the sun (via solar panels), the wind (thanks to turbines), and the water (via a river or waves). Battery technology has also come a long way, so you can store all that excess energy.
You’ll also need food. Your land will dictate your options here, but generally, farming, hunting, and fishing are your options. With power, you open up the possibility of vertical farms featuring robotics and drones. If you’re at sea and cramped for space, floating farms could also be part of the solution.
Drone and robotic advancements could also be part of your mix for healthcare, defence, and public safety – all essential for any sustainable nation.
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A nation’s destiny hangs on one thing: its citizens. Specifically, success is about attracting the best people. And making the people it has better, year after year.
There needs to be a reason people want to become citizens (and remain citizens). Your nation needs a set of shared goals and values. Ideally, objectives that make the world a better place. These could be personal freedom, or a public health haven? In the event of the next pandemic, your nation could be a sought-after refuge. Maybe you want to create the safest place on Earth to live. Maybe it’s all about the money. Low taxes. Possibly government funding (or co-investment) for internet entrepreneurs settling and starting a new venture on your lovely isle.
Education could be a draw. Perhaps your new nation strikes agreements with the world’s leading educational institutions for free access to its classes. Citizens can tune in virtually and get an education in anything, free as part of citizenship. What might the world’s best-educated society create? What could a sort of Renaissance Island do for the world?
The reason we don’t talk about
There’s one additional, very good reason to create your own micronation: secrecy. In the event you wish to keep your activities private, a micronation is the best place in the world to do it. In my new novel, Lost in Time, the heroes create a micronation in the Pacific for just that reason – to hide what they’re doing. Because their project would shock the world. And it might be the only hope of saving it.
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