The invention of permanent offshore platforms in the 20th century led to an unusual phenomenon. People realised that these platforms could lie outside territorial waters, and anyone living or independently working on them could isolate themselves from national laws. A few groups made attempts at establishing tiny, independent nations, either on abandoned platforms or purpose-built structures. Only one of these, Sealand, still exists, although the concept remains popular.
The most famous residential offshore platform is Sealand, off the east coast of England. The structure was built as a gun platform in World War II, and called Fort Roughs Tower. In 1967, Paddy Roy Bates claimed the abandoned site and established there the Principality of Sealand. Having won a few diplomatic tussles, Bates' Sealand has survived as an independent entity outside British territory and law. Sealand rented space to HavenCo Limited, a data hosting services company, prior to the business' demise in 2008.
Republic of Rose Island
Rose Island was a platform built to be a small independent nation. Constructed in 1967, it sat in the Adriatic Sea, seven miles off Rimini on the Italian coast. Its name comes from its designer, Giorgio Rosa, who declared Insulo de la Rozoj -- Esperanto for "Rose Island" -- independent on June 24, 1968. Within days, Italian police and tax agents besieged the platform; soon, Italian Navy frogmen planted explosives that demolished it.
Similar in origin to Rose Island, REM Island was built to occupy a specific site. Unlike Rose Island, REM Island also had a specific purpose. REM stood for Reclame Exploitatie Maatschappij -- or Advertising Exploitation Company -- and was built to host the Dutch pirate radio and TV stations Radio Noordzee and TV Noordzee. The platform, built in Ireland, arrived six miles off Noordwijk, Netherlands on May 3, 1964 and, after tests, began to broadcast Sept. 1. The TV station became wildly popular among the Dutch, 2 million of whom would watch. On Dec. 17, however, Dutch police occupied the island and dismantled the broadcasting operation. The platform later served as an oceanic research outpost, and was eventually torn down in 2006.
- 20 of the funniest online reviews ever
- 14 Biggest lies people tell in online dating sites
- Hilarious things Google thinks you're trying to search for