Private island at the Marriott

Article: Wired on Sealand

I’ve been trying to find this Wired magazine article for a while – I first read it years ago. Sealand is a World War II anti-aircraft platform (or “sea fort”) in the North Sea, 10 kilometres off the coast of Great Britain. It was established as an independent nation (with its own passports and coinage) nearly 50 years ago by the Bates family, but is not recognised as such by any other sovereign state.

The article describes the establishment of HavenCo in late 2000, an offshore data haven (basically a location equipped with massive computing power and internet connectivity that would host websites whose content is illegal in certain jurisdictions – such as online gambling sites and the website for the Tibetan nation, which for obvious reasons can’t be hosted in China). HavenCo ceased operation in 2008, but the state of Sealand still exists (albeit in a much diminished state).

There’s something incredibly romantic about a private island – granted this isn’t the kind of island Richard Branson spends the summers on, but the brisk sales of Sealand merchandise (including titles such as Baron and Baroness) indicates that I’m not alone in being slightly bewitched by this idea.

The website for Sealand can be found here. There’s a bit about whether Sealand really is a sovereign state in this article.

Click here to read the Wired article.

If this kind of thing interests you, I’d strongly recommend Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon (available here for Kindle and here if you’re not in South Africa). Most of the time it’s my favourite book in the whole world.

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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