Monday, January 08, 2007

For Sale: One Country, Rather Small

A stake in one of the smallest nations in the world is up for grabs – just 10km off the Essex coast. Complete with its own passports, currency, stamps and national football team, the Principality of Sealand, near Harwich, is going for a nine-figure sum. It is not technically up for sale - because you can't sell a principality - but its rulers are looking to transfer the nation to new tenants... for the right price.The former World War II fort became an independent state in 1967 when a former English major, now known as Prince Roy of Sealand, 85, occupied it with his family. Although the Royal Navy tried to evict him, he saw them off with warning shots. A judge later ruled that Sealand lay outside the 5km (three-mile) limit of British territorial waters and was outside Government jurisdiction. Prince Roy's son Michael said 'new blood and investments' were required, adding its benefits were that it was outside 'government controls' and good for business.