November – Malta

My house, my rules. And the house always wins.

There’s no place like home ~
Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

The Plan: Well I was planning to do the below but what I ended up doing was working on a Norwegian Reality TV show filmed in Malta instead. After all, when else was I going to get paid to kick back in the Mediterranean visiting castles, sitting onboard luxury yachts and living five-star hotels?

To live in the Maritime Republic of Eastport, a micronation which formed on Super Bowl Sunday 1998 following a dispute over a bridge between downtown Annapolis, Maryland, and Eastport on Chesapeake Bay.

A man’s home is his castle. But even so, most of us are happy enough to have some higher power take care of the serious stuff. Not so in a micronation. Hundreds of these tiny entities have popped up over the years, some deadly serious in their pursuit for autonomy as an independent state, others based on a fantasy of superiority (which generally exists only in the mind of the creator), and some for a lark. Many exist simply on paper or the internet and very few are recognised by major governments and world organisations. Some, like the Maritime Republic of Eastport, have managed to extend its operations to the physical world however with the annual Slaughter Across the Water – the world’s longest Tug-of-War – across Spa Creek Bridge. The MRE is also vying to host the 2020 Olympics after a few locals had a little too much to drink at the pub one night and saw it as a sign that the last remaining onion rings on the plate in front of them seemed to interlock in the tell-tale pattern of the five Olympic rings. If they send a delegation to pitch the IOC, I’m going to be in on it.

Fast Facts:

-Like any great movement, the Maritime Republic of Eastport began in a local pub over a couple of pints.

-The tongue in cheek succession was a creative way to promote and encourage the patronage of Eastport businesses after the Maryland State Highway Administration shut down Spa Creek Bridge connecting mainland Annapolis with the Eastport peninsula for repairs.

-Spa Creek Bridge has since re-opened, but the once persecuted citizens of Eastport (Eastport-O-Ricans) each year declared a symbolic War of Independence against The City of Annapolis lest anyone forget this dark period of Annapolis-Eastport relations.

-This year will be the 14th annual tug of war. It occurs in November every year between teams of 20 to 30 people on either end of a specially made 1700-foot-long rope.

-Eastport is a jut of land bristling with docks and piers, barely tethered to the mainland by a pinch of earth between the headwaters of Spa and Back creeks.

Some other famous micronations:

Aramoana – A small New Zealand community that declared itself independent to protest the building of an aluminium smelter on nearby land.

Akhzivland – A non-territorial micronation founded by Eli Avivi in response to the Israeli government sending in two bulldozers to demolish his illegally inhabited house.

Conch Republic – A group claiming tongue-in-cheek independence from the United States of America in protest at a blockade established by the US Border Patrol at the upper end of the Florida Keys.

Copeman Empire – The Copeman Empire is run from a caravan park in Norfolk, England, by its founder Nick Copeman, who changed his name by deed poll to HM King Nicholas I.

Elleore – A micronation founded by a group of school teachers as a summer camp on the island of Elleore, Denmark.

Hutt River – A large farming area in Western Australia that unilaterally seceded from the Commonwealth and declared itself to be a sovereign nation. It was known as the Hutt River Province until 2007.

Kingdom of Lovely – An Internet-based micronation founded by Danny Wallace as part of the BBC TV series How to Start Your Own Country, claiming the flat of its creator as sovereign territory.

Westarctica – A micronation claiming a large chunk of unclaimed land in Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica.