Seasteading?

seasteading

Seasteading, a term derived from combining “sea” and “homesteading”, is a general term given to the notion of either converting existing structures, such as old boats or disused oil rigs, or custom-building new ones to allow people to live in the middle of the ocean. Generally, this also includes the interrelated goal of establishing a sovereign state on the open seas, away from any existing governmental structures on dry land. Patri Friedman and Wayne Gramlich – whose 1998 article “Seasteading – Homesteading on the High Seas” is generally given credit for popularizing the term – founded the Seasteading Institute in 2008 in order to better organize the seasteading effort.

Perhaps the most famous – and, to some extent, the only – example of successful seasteading is the microstate of Sealand, which started life as the World War II sea fort HM Fort Roughs. Located six miles off the coast of Suffolk, Sealand was occupied by Roy Bates and his family in 1967. Crowning himself Prince Roy, Bates declared the disused fort to be the independent Principality of Sealand. Although the “country” is only the size of about two tennis courts, the Bates family has lived on the desolate fort for much of the last four decades. As one might well imagine, Sealand’s history is about as eccentric as it origins, including an attempted invasion by a group of German and Dutch entrepreneurs in 1978, which forced the exiled Prince Roy to take up arms to reclaim his country. (How that hasn’t become a movie yet is completely beyond me.)

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About marypmadigan

Writer/photographer (profession), foreign policy wonk (hobby).
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