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at the water's edge
Micronations are not to be confused with genuine small countries which have real residents and international recognition as nations, such as Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Vanuatu, Singapore, the Vatican City, the Pitcairn Islands, Mauritius, etc. — these countries are properly referred to as "microstates." They are also not to be confused with publicity stunts such as the "Conch Republic," a tongue-in-cheek "secession" of Key West, Florida from the United States in 1982 declared by the Key West city council to drum up tourism and protest U.S. Border Patrol activity in the Florida Keys. ("If you're going to treat us like a banana republic, by golly we'll become one!")
 Typical formation and politics
Micronations exist for a bunch of reasons, quite a few of them overlapping:
- Cranks and/or geeks with a political motivation, hoping to create LibertyTariaTopiaLand!™ as a protest against tax or drug laws.
- People who aren't seriously trying to secede, but bring attention to a political or cultural issue.
- Con artists who mainly use the new "nation" to sell passports, stamps, and coins, often as a tax evasion scheme.
- Creating a tourist trap, selling passports, stamps, and coins to kitsch connoisseurs.
- Deluded megalomaniacs who want to declare themselves absolute monarch over something and dress in kingly or princely attire.
- Exploitation of legal loopholes in a larger country as a proof of concept.
- Bored twelve-year-old nerds trying to be funny.
Most micronations have no more actual residents than you can count on one hand. None of them has ever gained legitimate international recognition as a sovereign nation, although a British court ruled in 1968 that the Principality of Sealand was outside of British jurisdiction.
 Examples of micronations
- The Principality of Sealand: An abandoned British anti-aircraft platform located in international waters near the U.K., and occupied and claimed as an independent nation since 1967. Has the dubious distinction of having undergone a forcible attempted coup.
- Kingdom of Talossa: A long-running Internet community, created in 1979 by a 14-year-old, that is often credited as the origin of the micronation fad. Its motivation appears to be mostly for lighthearted and humorous purposes, but its residents take it seriously enough to synthesize an entire culture, complete with its own conlang.
- Republic of Landovia: A less successful micronation started by teenagers, it existed ephemerally from ca. 1985-88 with a quasi-military leadership structure. Its claimed territory was the city of Vista, CA; it issued small amounts of paper currency called "hotas" and had a written constitution.
- The Hutt River Principality: a farm in Australia whose owner declared it an independent nation in 1970 after a dispute over wheat quotas with the Australian government. Hutt River is unique among micronations in that it actually does function as a de facto independent state instead of merely claiming to be one; although it lacks a standing army and depends on Australia for military protection, it is otherwise self-sufficient. It lacks international recognition and has few residents, but the fact that none of the residents pay taxes to Australia and the insanely low 0.5% income tax rate in the principality itself have caused it to gain popularity as a tax haven.
- The Dominion of Melchizedek: a long-running virtual micronation considered by law enforcement to be a mail-order passport and banking fraud scheme.
- The Embassy of Heaven Church (also known as The Embassy of the Kingdom of Heaven): An exceptionally odd example in Oregon, which claims to be independent of the United States, but does not claim sovereignty, instead claiming to be an enclave of God's Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Because they do not recognize any "worldly governments" and proclaim themselves to be literal citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, they issue their own identity documents and license plates. They used to have a compound outside of Stayton, Oregon, but it was seized for non-payment of property taxes, despite their claims that it was exempt because it was a "foreign embassy."
- Freetown Christiania: Located in Copenhagen, this is a rare example of an urban micronation. This hippie commune was founded by squatters and anarchists in a disused army barracks in 1971, and declared itself an independent free town. This legal status is not formally recognised by the Danish government, but the commune's existence has largely been tolerated, and the government has turned a blind eye to the open cultivation and trade of marijuana within its boundaries, until a crackdown in recent years. The closest it has had to any recognition was from the local bus service that added a stop near the old barracks gates.
- The Other World Kingdom: Located in the Czech Republic, this was a resort for submissive male and dominant female BDSM practitioners. It was styled as an absolute matriarchal monarchy, with a currency, national anthem and a queen in the form of the resort's owner, Patricia, but of course neither the Czech Republic nor any other entity recognized its sovereignty. As of recent years, the resort has closed and the land sold. There seems to be a rumor circulating around that the owner was somehow entangled with the Russian mafia.
- The Republic of Molossia: A small patch of land in the Nevada desert owned by one Kevin Baugh, self-styled President. Baugh is fully in on the joke, and has set up his "country" as a tourist attraction. Notable for the facts that his entire chamber of ministers is made up of himself in various different costumes and that it is "in a state of war with East Germany". It was once taken over by internet reviewers and renamed Kickassia, until taken back a few days later. Molossia has been personified in the anime Hetalia: Axis Powers in the form of a white zoot suited mobster-like figure.
- Nation of Celestial Space (also known as Celestia): Founded in 1949 by James Thomas Mangan, claiming all of outer space to ensure no nation established political hegemony there, and banned all atmospheric nuclear tests. Largely ignored by the superpowers, the project's surviving legacy are a number of gold and silver coins that fetch high prices on the collector's market.
- Republic of Rose Island: Built by Italian engineer Georgio Rosa in 1967, it was an off-shore platform 7 miles (11 km) from Italy's Rimini province. Complete with several businesses (a bar, restaurant, night club, post office, and souvenir shop), it was raided by Italian authorities that same year and later dynamited into the Adriatic Sea.
- Liberland: Brainchild of libertarian Vít Jedlička, who has appointed several ministers of it, it's a small (around 3 square miles of surface) territory in dispute between Croatia and Serbia. The former country has blocked access to the area.
- Drivelandia: Formed on the same day as Liberland, mainly to point out Liberland's stupidity and begging for money. Located on small patch of land next to the 3 bed semi detached EU embassy. Extended Universal Suffrage to Felines with most government posts held by a single cat.