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Republic of Minerva
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    (January 19, 1972-September 1972)
    Short-lived sovereign state created by American libertarian Michael Oliver on an unclaimed coral reef in the South Pacific
    Projected population of 30 000 was to support itself mainly by tourism and fishing
    Taken over and annexed by Tonga just months after its Declaration of Independence
    President: Morris C. Davis
    Motto: ‘Land of the Rising Atoll’
    Currency: Minerva dollar
    It was the pet project of an eccentric Las Vegas millionaire.
    Several barges loaded with imported sand were required to make it habitable.
    Neighboring nations such as Fiji, Tonga and Australia were immediately suspicious of its founders’ intentions.
    The Tongan king (accompanied by conscripted convicts and a brass band) essentially took it over by landing and removing its flag.
    An attempt to reclaim it in 1982 was easily quashed by Tonga.
    It was far less successful than another manmade city state, Sealand.
    Years later, Fiji also made a sovereign claim over its territory (2005).
    It was one of only a few modern attempts to found a nation that got anywhere.
    Its idealistic developers planned a tax-free, open community.
    The reef was originally unclaimed, but the Tongans decided it was theirs because they fished there.
    It has a government-in-exile headed by a ‘Prince Calvin.’
    Its inhabitants’ unwillingness to fight for its sovereignty doomed it.
    The sea is slowly reclaiming it.

Credit: Georgina

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