Two hundred and sixty-seven

Start Your Own Country Day!

Originally conceived at the World’s Fair in New York in 1939, Start Your Own Country Day honours “those free spirited souls who dared to hope and believe in a better world where they too could declare any land their own” (  It started as an escape from the reality of the Depression which had hit the United States and the growing international tension of World War II.  It was a hope for something better.

Although it started in jest, there are many people who have started their own countries.  I have visited the Principality of Hutt River, on the west side of Australia a few years ago – an Independent Sovereign State seceded from Australia on the April 21, 1970 and of comparable size to Hong Kong (not the New Territories).  I met Prince Leonard and had my passport stamped (it is Prince Leonard’s land that he declared a sovereign state, so the government consists of him and his family).

My friend Sarah and I, with our stamped passports at Hutt River Province, 2008.

How would I go about starting my own country?

It seems like it would be a lot of work to start my own country.  What about health care, police and fire services, maintenance – just to name a few?

There’s a great article on How Stuff Works about how to start a country and worth a read.  Here are a few of the points:

  • Ways to begin a country: colonize a smaller nation, rebel against your colonial masters, purchase an uninhabited island and secede from the nation that owns it.
  • Things you need to be a nationhood: population, government and land.
  • A declaration of independence needs to be written and submitted to your former government.
  • Find allies who either want the natural resources found in your nation, commiserate with your plight or both.  It will legitimize your status.
  • Apply for membership in the United Nations (write a short letter to the U.N.’s Secretary General – warning, can be vetoed by other members)
  • Print currency and back it by something like precious mineral
  • Then of course work on things like passports, immigration, customs, etc.

Alas, sounds like a lot of trouble.  Besides, I love my country.

A few people who did start their own country:

  • Government of Antarcticland – has its own legislative system, together with legal, economic and postal administrations. Any person may become citizen simply by applying and swearing alliegance to the Constitution.
  • Hutt River Province – see above
  • Independent Kingdom of Hay-on-Wye – “Situated on the border between England and Wales, the small medieval market town of Hay-on-Wye was proclaimed an Independent Kingdom on 1st April 1977, by Richard Booth, now acknowledged as the founder of the first Town of Books.”
  • Sealand – see video below
  • More small countries on the Microfreedom Index and on “New Countries with New Concepts – Creating a Country – MicroNations and Principalities”
An interview with the Prince of Sealand:

For more information