How to Set Up Your Own Country
How did I miss this story?
In a declaration on his Web site, Stuart Hill, who owns the 2.5 acre island of Forvik in the Shetland Islands in the North Sea, said he no longer recognised the authority of the government or the European Union, and cited a centuries-old royal marriage dowry deal as the basis for his claim.
“Forvik owes no allegiance to any United Kingdom government, central or local, and is not bound by any of its statutes,” Hill wrote.
The website with Hill’s declaration is, of course, a blog site. There are, of course, all sorts of legal questions raised by Hill’s declaration, many of which relate to the complexities, but some might also pertain to the definition of a state under international law. The basic argument, as I understand it, is that the island was transferred to the King of Scotland temporarily until the King of Norway (its original owner) could come up with cash for a wedding dowry. No payment was ever made and the King of Scotland retained the island in trust, but without the authority to incorporate it into his realm. It thus remains a crown dependency, owing allegience to the King of Scotland’s successor, the Queen, but otherwise independent.
I obviously do not opine on any question of UK or Scottish law, but under international law, there are a variety of requirements to achieve status as a state, if that is what a crown dependency is. Forvik doesn’t seem qualify, but whether that matters remains to be seen. In any event, Hill seems to have a semi-serious claim here. And he has invited immigrants to his new nation, which has drawn inquiries from round the world, apparently.