Once I heard about an abandoned World War II-era anti-aircraft platform that sits in the North Sea and hosts a self-proclaimed micronation called Principality of Sealand. One can hardly spot it on Google Maps, this is how micro it really is.
Here is an aerial shot of Sealand by Ryan Lackey:
Back then I was fascinated by the history of the platform and thought it was quite funny to establish a nation in the middle of nowhere. Years went by and I did not think about the story anymore.
One day, however, I found myself setting up a number of off-site backup systems and wanted to collect them under their own domain name for disaster recovery purposes. Thinking about an appropriate domain name the Sealand story came to my mind. So I ended up registering the sealand.io domain name. Skip ahead another couple of years and the off-site systems were eaten up by the cloud and the domain served no purpose anymore. Forgotten and abandoned it was sitting at a registrar’s account, just like the anti-aircraft platform was sitting abandoned in the North Sea.
And then I received an abuse notification via my registrar from an unrecognized sender, claiming to be representing the Government of Sealand.
Please find below a message we received regarding your domain name sealand.io:
From: [redacted address, appearing to be sent from a personal account]
Message: I would like gandi.net to help me contact the owner of Sealand.io I represent the government of Sealand (https://www.sealandgov.org). We would like to discuss the release of sealand.io from its current owner.
What to think about that? Usually, I do not follow up on emails like these. However, given my previous fascination with the platform’s history, I decided to contact the official address of the Government of Sealand.
I received the attached message and wanted to check out if this is a legitimate request. If it is, I think we will find a way. I am open to talk.
Now that I think about it, this was the most sloppy mail I ever wrote to a government. I probably assumed that folks who enter platforms in the sometimes unforgiving North Sea must be cool enough to deal with my sloppiness.
During the following conversation, I learned that the Principality of Sealand understands itself as a non-profit organization. A property I believe most governments share in one way or another. Furthermore, I learned about future plans regarding the platform management that would benefit from having a fancy domain like sealand.io. I do not want to go into details here to not endanger the success of the project. And also, to better not get into trouble with the Government of Sealand. Who knows what these bad ass guys are capable of? After all, they threw a bunch of pirate radio broadcasters from the platform in 1967.
Not having any idea what I could use the domain for I agreed to trade it in with the Government of Sealand for a title. A couple of days later my noble title arrived. There even was postage from Sealand on the parcel (which was delivered by UPS).
The title certificate was inside a very fancy looking leather wrapper with the seal of the Principality of Sealand on it. If you look closely, you can see the slogan E Mare Libertas which means From The Sea, Freedom.
Inside the leather wrapper was a 29-page fact sheet about the history of the micronation and, of course, the certificate to prove my surprisingly gained nobleness.
I am now officially a Duke of Sealand. 👑 Maybe I should read my abuse mail more often. 🤔
Protip: Do not ask your partner to address you as your highness in future conversations. Not a good idea. Funny, but not a good idea. 😬