In a quasi-libertarian experiment, he created the world’s tiniest country where he lived until old age forced him back to the mainland. The Guardian writes:
Paddy Roy Bates, who occupied an abandoned fort in the North Sea and declared it the sovereign Principality of Sealand with himself as its prince, has died aged 91.
In the 1960s, inspired by the “pirate radio” movement, Bates set up Radio Essex on an offshore fort. When that was closed down, he moved in 1966 to Fort Roughs, a disused second world war platform in international waters about seven miles off the coast.
Michael Bates said his father initially intended to set up another radio station, but then “had the bizarre idea of declaring independence”. Despite the lack of legal status, Bates gave Sealand its own constitution, red, white and black flag, passports, stamps, coins, national anthem and a motto, E Mare Libertas: “From the sea, freedom”.
Today, Sealand makes money by selling aristocratic titles and hosting Internet servers. In his old age, Bates moved to the mainland, making his son, Michael, regent and head of state of Sealand.