10 Intriguing Micronations and Their Quirky Backstories

Published on February 22, 2024

Credit: Suhash Villuri

Micronations, pint-sized realms existing within established borders or in remote corners of the globe, are intriguing political entities that highlight the nuances of the concept of sovereignty on which modern nations are founded.

And behind each micronation, there are fascinating tales of independence, eccentric leaders, and all sorts of political pursuits. In this article, we will uncover the stories of 10 micronations that - in one way or another - tried to have an effect on the real world.


Principality of Sealand

Credit: Ashley Dace, CC BY-SA 2.0

Location: North Sea, near Suffolk, England

One of the best-known and most successful micronations, the Principality of Sealand is located in a decommissioned WWII sea fort in the North Sea waters, a few miles off the coast of England. It was established by Paddy Roy Bates in 1967, a British citizen who originally intended to use it to broadcast a pirate radio.

Instead, he declared the independence of his tiny platform and proceeded to aggressively fend off anyone who tried to approach it without his permission. The controversial journey of the self-declared Principality is almost beyond belief, as it includes mercenary attacks, hostage crises, and a de facto recognition by the United Kingdom.


Republic of Molossia

Credit: Kenan Sulayman

Location: Near Dayton, Nevada

In the heart of Nevada, President Kevin Baugh presides over Molossia, a micronation complete with its own constitution, currency, and an ongoing war with the former state of East Germany. According to Baugh, a technicality allows the war to keep going despite the dissolution of the GDR - you can even buy war bonds on the official website!

A teenage dream fulfilled, Baugh and his country have been featured in various media, and his eccentric enclave is a popular attraction in the area.


The Conch Republic

Credit: Jametlene Reskp

Location: Key West, Florida

This seaside micronation was born in 1982 as a humorous means of protest over various inconveniences that the Key West inhabitants faced from the federal government, particularly regarding a number of U.S. Border Patrol roadblocks that were hurting their vital tourism industry.

Amazingly, the hilarious stunt worked, as the roadblock was removed afterward. However, the Conch Republic still proudly boasts its own passports and navy, while waging a cold war against the United States - all in good humor and as a way of incentivizing tourism in the area.


Free Republic of Liberland

Credit: Joachim Pressl

Location: Between Croatia and Serbia

Founded on an allegedly unclaimed stretch of the Danube River in 2015, Liberland champions the libertarian ideals of its founder, Vít Jedlička - a member of the Czech Party of Free Citizens. Jedlička dreams of creating a state that rejects traditional bureaucracy and emphasizes personal freedoms.

However, the government of Croatia is not very happy with the attempts of the purported Liberland citizens to visit their claimed territory and has frequently arrested and charged Jedlička and his collaborators for illegal border crossing.


Hutt River Principality

Credit: Chris Fithall from Ballarat, CC BY 2.0

Location: Near Northampton, Western Australia

In 1970, Australian farmer Leonard Casley declared his farm's independence due to a wheat quota dispute with the government. Originally called the Hutt River Province, Casley began styling himself as "Prince Leonard," also granting royal titles to his family members.

This micronation issued its own currency, stamps, and passports, and with an area of 29 sq mi, the claimed territory was indeed larger than many recognized countries. The site was a popular tourist attraction, but in 2020 the Principality was dissolved due to unresolved tax disputes with the Australian government.


Aerican Empire

Credit: Ahmed Zayan

Location: The Internet and Montreal, Canada

Existing primarily in the digital realm, the Aerican Empire boasts territory on Earth, Mars, and various imaginary planets. Its creative and lighthearted approach to micronationalism—its national motto is "The world is ridiculous; let’s keep it that way" and its flag is adorned by a smiley face—has attracted attention from journalists and aspiring citizens from all over the world.

Its emperor and founder, a Canadian man called Eris Lis, has a day job as a psychiatrist, but this, does not stop him from organizing all sorts of activities related to the micronation. The group even developed a joke religion called Silinism that "encourages people to be more silly."


Empire of Atlantium

Credit: Frances Gunn

Location: Sidney, Australia

Described as a "secular humanist utopia," Atlantium was founded in Sydney in 1981 by a group of teenage friends. It has its own constitution and currency, and unlike other micronations actively involves itself in the political issues of its resident country, even awarding "Imperial Honors" to non-members in recognition of their service to local communities.

With a territory divided among the various properties of the micronation’s founders, almost 3,000 "citizens" as of 2015, and many "unaccredited diplomatic representatives" in several countries, Atlantium presents itself as a serious venture in the world of micronations.


Grand Duchy of Westarctica

Credit: Cassie Matias

Location: Antarctica

In 2001, actor and former seaman of the U.S. Navy Travis McHenry declared himself Grand Duke over a portion of West Antarctica, a large stretch of territory that remains unclaimed by any recognized country.

A few years later, McHenry founded another micronation called Calsahara in Southern California, but he eventually linked both projects when Calsahara was "annexed" by Westartica. From 2014 onwards, Westartica exists as a non-profit organization that advocates for Antarctic wildlife protection and conservation, as well as for research into climate change.



Credit: John Schnobrich

Location: The Internet

Founded in 2008, Wirtland operates as a completely virtual nation with thousands of citizens across the globe. Its founders sought to create a state unbound by geography, where its citizens would be able to connect through cyberspace.

In 2019, Wirtland's ruler tried selling the micronation on eBay and was contacted by Travis McHenry from Westarctica, who was interested in annexing the virtual nation as a colony of sorts. However, the sale was never realized, as Wirtland’s citizens revolted immediately against the idea of a third party getting hold of their personal data.



Credit: דוד שי, CC BY-SA 4.0

Location: Between Israel and Lebanon

After the Israeli government threatened to demolish Eli Avivi’s home in the ancient port city of Achziv, he protested by founding the micronation of Akhzivland inside the ruins of the city, setting up a museum and a hostel. The micronation became a hip tourist spot, attracting various artists and countercultural figures including Sophia Loren and Paul Newman.

After founding Akhzivland, Avivi was initially arrested but released 10 days later as the charge of "Creating a Country Without Permission" was deemed nonexistent. Following a lawsuit against the Israeli government, the court granted Avivi a 99-year lease on the area.


Learn How to Say "Merry Christmas" in 10 Different Languages!

Published on February 22, 2024

Credit: Jonathan Borba

Christmas is just around the corner and we are all getting ready! Besides decorating the tree, baking cookies, and exchanging gifts, you can add an international touch to your celebrations this year.

Spending quality time with your closest family and friends during the holidays is a cherished tradition. Fortunately, today's technology also allows you to send messages to people all over the world, so you don't have to be in the same neighborhood to share the holiday season.

Here, we've compiled 10 ways to say "Merry Christmas" in different languages , so if you have family members living abroad or would like to find new friends on other continents, this article is for you.


English: Merry Christmas

Credit: Jamie Street

Let's start with the one that readers of this article are already familiar with. Although the specialists claim that " Merry Christmas " originated in Europe around the 16th century , many people in England discontinued its use and replaced it with "Happy Christmas" due to the influence of Queen Elizabeth.

But American English tends to use "Merry Christmas" instead. Although there is no certain theory as to why the term "Merry" has gained popularity on this side of the ocean, some linguists believe that the reason behind it is the meaning represented by each word. "Happy" refers to an emotional state, while "Merry" is linked to a behavior related to enjoyment . Luckily, the famous carol, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," agrees.


Spanish: Feliz Navidad

Credit: Pierre Bamin

Spanish is one of the most popular languages in the world and the second most spoken in the United States , so the phrase Feliz Navidad is probably not new to you.

You may have heard it in the famous 1970 song by Puerto Rican composer José Feliciano , who sings, "Feliz Navidad, prospero año y felicidad" (Merry Christmas, prosperous year, and happiness). Now you won't be able to get this song out of your head, but at least you can brag about being a polyglot this Christmas.


French: Joyeux Noël

Credit: Jamie Street

If you are planning to travel for the holiday season, Paris, the City of Love, is a great destination. Besides tasting some mouth-watering delicacies and enjoying the best of fashion, you can communicate with the French using this popular Christmas greeting. You can also use the more general phrase Meilleurs Voeux , which means "Best wishes."


German: Frohe Weihnachten

Credit: Toa Heftiba

German belongs to the same language family as English , but that doesn't make it easy to learn. Frohe Weihnachten is the classic way to wish a Merry Christmas in German. If you want to take your first steps in this language, this simple phrase will help you to make German-speaking friends during this time of the year.


Italian: Buon Natale

Credit: blackieshoot

Rome , the capital of Italy , is 6 hours ahead of Washington, DC, so if you're feeling very excited and can't wait for Santa to arrive, you don't have to wait until midnight in North America. You can just send a message saying Buon Natale 6 hours earlier !

If someone living in Italy greets you first, you can reply Grazie, Buon Natale a te! (Thank you, Merry Christmas to you too!).


Hawaiian: Mele Kalikimaka

Credit: Darren Lawrence

How about going to the beach to celebrate Christmas? Hawaiian , a Polynesian language, is spoken on all inhabited Hawaiian islands. Along with English, it is the official language of the US state of Hawaii.

Since there is no literal Hawaiian translation for the words "Merry Christmas," Mele Kalikimaka, the phonetic translation, is the best way to express your best wishes when visiting the Aloha State.


Portuguese: Feliz Natal

Credit: Martha Dominguez de Gouveia

If you have already learned how to wish a Merry Christmas in Spanish, it won't be difficult for you to say it in Portuguese since both phrases are similar.

As with other languages, Portuguese is spoken in more than one country . So, whether you're planning a trip to Portugal or prefer to have a summer Christmas in Brazil , Feliz Natal will come in handy!


Japanese: Merii Kurisumasu

Credit: Jorge Bermudez

Do you notice any similarities with English ? If so, you are right. Christmas is not a traditional holiday in Japan, so they don't have a native phrase for "Merry Christmas." That's why people in Japan pronounce Merii Kurisumasu, the English phrase with a Japanese inflection.

Although the holiday has expanded significantly since the second half of the 20th century, Christmas in Japan is not the same as in America. Did you know that Christmas is celebrated as a romantic holiday in the Land of the Rising Sun? Just like we do on Valentine's Day, Japanese couples will go out on dates or give each other gifts for Christmas!


Swedish: God Jul

Credit: freestocks

If you want to stand out at the family party, this is a great phrase to learn, as it is short and easy to pronounce . God means "Good," "Merry," or "Happy," and Jul is, of course, the Swedish word for "Christmas."

But if you are up for more, you can use the general holiday greetings: Trevlig helg for the classic "Happy holidays," or Varma lyckönskningar, which surprisingly means "Warm wishes."


Tagalog (Filipino): Maligayang Pasko

Credit: Cris Tagupa

This is the phrase you'll hear the most during this time of the year in the Philippines , where Tagalog is the most widely spoken language.

Unlike other Asian countries, the Philippines celebrates Christmas in a big way. In fact, in this archipelagic country, the holiday season is so important that they start celebrating in September! That's right, Filipinos hold the record for the longest Christmas celebration in the world.

They really give a whole new meaning to the term "holiday season."If you want to join their party, just be sure to pack your best beachwear.

Looking for an extra scoop of literary fun?

Learn more with our Word of the day