It started as a Naval Fort
During World War 2 the British constructed several forts at sea to guard the port of Hardwich, Essex and the Thames estuary. One of these was Hm Fort Roughs, a 4500-ton naval installation 6 miles from the coast of Suffolk. The British government official entities used the fort until 1956 when all full-time personnel were finally removed.
In 1966 Paddy Roy Bates, and Ronan O’Rahilly, who both operated separate pirate radio stations, landed on Fort Roughs and occupied it in order to broadcast. Soon, the two began to argue and Roy Bates seized the tower for himself. In 1967, when O’Rahilly attempted to storm the fort, Roy Bates successfully defended the fort with guns and petrol bombs and continued to occupy it. Bates declared the platform to be its own country and named it Sealand
The Marines Intervene
In 1968, British workmen tried to service a navigational buoy near the platform.Bates claimed they were entering his territorial waters. His son Michael Bates tried to scare the workmen off by firing warning shots from the former fort. The British Royal Marines were called and the British authorities ordered Roy Bates to surrender. Roy and his son were arrested and charged, but the court threw out the case as it did not have jurisdiction over international affairs as Roughs Tower lay beyond the territorial waters of Britain
Birth of a Nation
In 1975, Bates introduced a constitution for Sealand, followed by a national flag, a national anthem, a currency, and passports. They have also sold royal titles and knighthoods.
The Rebels Attack!
In August 1978, Alexander Achenbach, a German lawyer, but a Sealand passport holder(they issued 150,000), declared himself as the Prime Minister of Sealand. He hired several German and Dutch mercenaries to spearhead an attack on Sealand while Roy and his wife were in England.
They stormed the platform with speedboats, jet skis, and helicopters, and took Michael hostage. Michael was able to retake Sealand and capture Achenbach and the mercenaries using weapons stashed on the platform. Achenbach was charged with treason against Sealand and was held unless he paid US$35,000.
The governments of the Netherlands, Austria, and Germany petitioned the British government for his release, but the United Kingdom citing the 1968 court decision, said it had nothing to do with Britain. Germany then sent a diplomat from its London embassy to Sealand to negotiate for a release. After several weeks of negotiations, Roy relented. He later claimed that the diplomat’s visit was official recognition of Sealand by Germany.
In 2006, the top platform caught fire and one person had to be transferred to hospital by Royal Air Force helicopter. From 2007-2010 Bates tried but failed, to sell Sealand for US$906 million. In October 2012, Roy Bates died, and his wife passed in 2016.
Michael has taken over from his father and still occupies Sealand to this day.
He titles himself “Prince Michael”
Sealand has only 1 mailing address, and it has to go through the Royal Mail. If you are feeling bored you can write to them:
Bureau of Internal Affairs
5, The Row
(c/o Sealand Post Bag, IP11 9SZ, UK)