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Sealand: The True Story of the World's Most Stubborn Micronation and Its Eccentric Royal Family

Sealand: The True Story of the World's Most Stubborn Micronation and Its Eccentric Royal Family

by Dylan Taylor-Lehman


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A swashbuckling tale of international intrigue, armed battles, and Swingin' Sixties radio pirates over a fifty-year history of the world's smallest rebel nation.

In 1967, a retired army major and self-made millionaire named Paddy Roy Bates cemented his family’s place in history when he inaugurated himself ruler of the Principality of Sealand, a tiny dominion of the high seas. And so began the peculiar story of the world’s most stubborn micronation on a World War II anti-aircraft gun platform off the British coast.

Sealand is the raucous tale of how a rogue adventurer seized the disused Maunsell Sea Fort from pirate radio broadcasters, settled his eccentric family on it, and defended their tiny kingdom from UK government officials and armed mercenaries for half a century. Incorporating original interviews with surviving Sealand royals, Dylan Taylor-Lehman recounts the battles and schemes as Roy and his crew engaged with diplomats, entertained purveyors of pirate radio and TV, and even thwarted an attempted coup that saw the Prince Regent taken hostage. Incredibly, more than fifty years later, the self-proclaimed independent nation still stands—replete with its own constitution, national flag and anthem, currency, and passports.

Featuring rare, vintage photographs of the Bates clan and their unusual enterprises, this stranger-than-fiction account of a dissident family and their outrageous attempt to build a sovereign kingdom on an isolated platform in shark-infested waters is the stuff of legend.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635767261
Publisher: Diversion Books
Publication date: 06/09/2020
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 918,518
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Dylan Taylor-Lehman is a nonfiction writer from the foothills of Appalachia who has lived and reported in numerous biomes. Previously a reporter for the award-winning Yellow Springs News, his work has also been published in Atlas Obscura, The Millions, and Narratively, where he is a staff writer. Dylan’s first book, Dance of the Trustees, covers the ins-and-outs of life in a quirky rural town. Articles about explosions, crimes, landfill ecosystems, and the history of the Spanish tortilla can be found at his blog, The Yawning Chasm.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Old Man and the Sea (Fort) 1

Part I The Making of a North Sea Kingdom (1921-1967) 7

1 The War Hero and the Beauty Queen 9

2 Fort Madness 19

3 Rock 'n' Roll Rebellion 33

4 The Battle for Roughs Tower 45

5 A Most Eventful Fall 55

6 E Mare Libertas 65

Part II Guns, Germans, and the Defense of a Dynasty (1967-2000) 81

7 Belasco, Buoys, and the Chelmsford Court of Assizes 83

8 Behold the Trappings of Statehood 93

9 Arrival of the Deutschen 101

10 The Coup: World War Sealand 109

11 The Dynasty Expands 127

12 Shots Fired, Forged Passports, and Outrageous Criminality 145

Part III Surviving the Cyber Age (2000-present) 159

13 Cypherpunks and Offshore Data Storage 161

14 Sealand in the New Millennium 181

15 Athleta Principalitas 197

16 Two Moments of Profound Silence 209

17 A Dark Mirror 219

18 Crew Change 231

19 Prince of the Cockles 243

20 King of the Micronations 253

Epilogue: All Hail the Stubborn Kingdom 265

Appendix: Precedent, Justification, and Scholarly Opinion on Sealand as a Sovereign Nation 273

Notes 287

Bibliography & Sources 305

Acknowledgments 327

Index 331

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