So the countries of the British Isles in order of their population size…do you know them?
It’s England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man, Sealand.
Wait a minute – what??
Not heard of that last one? Contentious point there, for Sealand is an unrecognised country. It lies 12 km off the coast of Suffolk, and since 1987 has been in the UK’s territorial waters. Claiming independence within the territory of another country is the kind of situation that sparks a war, but I don’t think the British government is too worried.
Sealand is another re-purposed sea fort. It was built on the Rough Sands sandbar, during the Second World War, to guard the nearby port of Harwich. Anti-aircraft guns were positioned at each end of the main deck and up to 300 members of the Royal Navy were housed in the two concrete towers.
Since 1967 the fort has been claimed by the Bates family. They attempted to get it recognised as a country in 1975, when they produced a written constitution. It has a flag and a national anthem too and has produced coins and stamps over the years, which have been sold to collectors.