Welcome to Sealand: The Smallest Nation in the World

In the world of Sealand, it’s not the size that counts but the story. How much do you know about the world’s smallest nation?!

Have you ever dreamed of ruling your own country? What if I told you that there’s a place where this dream is a pint-sized reality? Welcome to the Principality of Sealand, officially the world’s smallest nation with a history that reads like a script from a swashbuckling adventure movie.

The nation began as a World War II defensive structure in the North Sea. Known as Roughs Tower, the structure was built by the United Kingdom to deter German air raids. However, in 1967, Paddy Roy Bates, a former British Army major, took over the fort in an effort to broadcast his pirate radio. Eventually, on his birthday (September 28, 1967), he declared his home the Principality of Sealand.

The early days were marked by a conflict with the British government and a coup in 1978 by a German businessman. Roy Bates retook Sealand with a dramatic helicopter-led counterattack. And though its legitimacy is debated, Sealand now has its own flag, stamps, and passports. The structure has its own cult following, selling nobility titles and even once attempting to become a data haven for somewhat sketchy enterprises.

Roy Bates passed away in 2012, but Sealand, now run by his son, Prince Michael, remains a unique nation. Learn more in the 60 Minutes segment below:

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