HM Fort Roughs: The Principality of Sealand

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Among the flat, mournful coastal seas around Felixstowe and the mouldering remains of the Maunsell sea forts is one of Britain's most cherishable oddities - the self-proclaimed 'Principality of Sealad.' Decommissioned by the authorities in the 1950s, the fort became host to one of several of the famous pirate radio stations that boomed during the early 1960s as an alternative to the established radio stations.

Paddy Roy Bates seized and occupied the fort in 1967, initially to establish his own pirate radio station, but by 1975 he had developed a grander vision - to make the fort a legal 'nation.' A constitution was drawn up, as well as the other accoutrements of a legal state - a flag, coat of arms and passports were issued. Bates himself became the 'king' of Sealand.

Despite having no official legal recognition, Sealand has issued many thousands of passports and been involved in a couple of minor 'international' spats with the U.K., Germany and Holland.

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 25th April 2013 | © Weird Island 2010-2021
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