10 Nations You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

10. Kingdom of Elleore

elleore_map

The Kingdom of Elleore is a micronation of 263 resients located on the island of Elleore in the Roskilde Fjord, north of Roskilde on the Danish island of Zealand.[1][2][3]

The island was purchased by a group of Copenhagen schoolteachers in 1944 for use as a summer camp.[2][3][4] They proclaimed the island’s tongue-in-cheek “independence” as a Kingdom as a gentle parody of the government structure and royal traditions of Denmark. It’s been stated that the kingdom’s ancestry has been traced to a “monastic society of Irish monks who arrived in the middle of the 10th century.”[1]

Prior to 1944, the island was known mainly as the location at which the controversial film Løvejagten was shot in 1907.

Numerous traditions peculiar to the kingdom have evolved over the subsequent decades, including a ban on the novel Robinson Crusoe, and the use of “Elleore Standard Time”, which is 12 minutes behind Danish time. Many of the place names on the island, the kingdom’s “government” and the titles assumed by its “nobility” are parodies of Danish equivalents.

The kingdom has issued several stamps and coins.[2]

The island has been estimated to be approximately 15,000 square metres (3.7 acres) in size.[2] Elleore is unoccupied save for a week-long annual gathering attended by dozens of its “citizens” and known as the “Elleuge” (meaning “Elle week”).[3] The ceremonial enthronement of the reigning monarch takes place at this time. The purported capital is the tented town of Maglelille, erected only during the week of habitation.

9. Freetown Christiania

Christiania_(Locator_map_in_Copenhagen)

Christiania, also known as Freetown Christiania (Danish: Fristaden Christiania or Staden), is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares (84 acres) in the borough ofChristianshavn in the Danish capital Copenhagen. Civic authorities in Copenhagen regard Christiania as a large commune, but the area has a unique status in that it is regulated by a special law, the Christiania Law of 1989, which transfers parts of the supervision of the area from the municipality of Copenhagen to the state. It was temporarily abandoned by residents in April 2011 while discussions continued with the Danish government about its future, but is now open again.[1]

Christiania has been a source of controversy since its creation in a squatted military area in 1971. Its cannabis trade was tolerated by authorities until 2004. In the years following 2004, measures for normalizing the legal status of the community led to conflicts, police raids and negotiations.

After the military moved out, the area was only guarded by a few watchmen and there was sporadic trespassing of homeless people using the empty buildings. On 4 September 1971, inhabitants of the surrounding neighborhood broke down the fence to take over parts of the unused area as a playground for their children.

Although the takeover was not necessarily organized in the beginning, some claim this happened as a protest against the Danish government. At the time there was a lack of affordable housing in Copenhagen.

On 26 September 1971, Christiania was declared open by Jacob Ludvigsen, a well-known provo and journalist who published a magazine called Hovedbladet (‘The main paper’), which was intended for and successfully distributed to mostly young people. In the paper, Ludvigsen wrote an article in which he and five others went on exploration into what he termed ‘The Forbidden City of the Military’. The article widely announced the proclamation of the free town, and among other things he wrote the following under the headline Civilians conquered the ‘forbidden city’ of the military:[6]

Christiania is the land of the settlers. It is the so far biggest opportunity to build up a society from scratch – while nevertheless still incorporating the remaining constructions. Own electricity plant, a bath-house, a giant athletics building, where all the seekers of peace could have their grand meditation – and yoga center. Halls where theater groups can feel at home. Buildings for the stoners who are too paranoid and weak to participate in the race…Yes for those who feel the beating of the pioneer heart there can be no doubt as to the purpose of Christiania. It is the part of the city which has been kept secret to us – but no more.[citation needed]

Ludvigsen was co-author of Christiania’s mission statement, dating from 1971, which offers the following:

The objective of Christiania is to create a self-governing society whereby each and every individual holds themselves responsible over the wellbeing of the entire community. Our society is to be economically self-sustaining and, as such, our aspiration is to be steadfast in our conviction that psychological and physical destitution can be averted.

The spirit of Christiania quickly developed into one of the hippie movement, the squatter movement, collectivism and anarchism, in contrast to the site’s previous military use.

The 1976 protest song I kan ikke slå os ihjel (translated: “You cannot kill us”), written by Tom Lunden of flower power rock group Bifrost, became the unofficial anthem of Christiania.[7]

8. Republic of Jamtland

jkarta

Jämtland (Swedish pronunciation: [ˈjɛmtˌland]) (Latin: Iemptia) or Jamtland (Jamtish[ˈjamtˌlanː]) is a historical province (landskap) in the center of Sweden in northern Europe. It borders to Härjedalen andMedelpad in the south, Ångermanland in the east, Lapland in the north and Trøndelag and Norway in the west. Jämtland covers an area of 34,009 square kilometres, 8.3% of Sweden’s total area and is the second largest province in Sweden. It has a population of 112,717,[1] the majority of whom live in Storsjöbygden, the area surrounding lake Storsjön. Östersund is Jämtland’s only city and is the 24th most populous city in Sweden.

Jämtland was originally an autonomous peasant republic,[2] its own nation[2] with its own law, currency[3] and parliament. However, Jämtland lacked a public administration and was thus best regarded as an anarchy,[4]in its true meaning.[clarification needed] Jämtland was conquered by Norway in 1178 and stayed Norwegian for over 450 years until it was ceded to Sweden in 1645. The province has since been Swedish for roughly 370 years, though the population did not gain Swedish citizenship until 1699. The province’s identity is manifested with the concept of a republic within the kingdom of Sweden, although this is only done semi-seriously.[5]

The current Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf became the Duke of Jämtland after his christening, he held that title until his ascension to the Swedish throne in 1973.

Historically, socially and politically Jämtland has been a special territory between Norway and Sweden. This in itself is symbolized in the province’s coat of arms where Jämtland, the silver moose, is threatened from the east and from the west. During the unrest period in Jämtland’s history (1563–1677) it shifted alignment between the two states no less than 13 times.[6]

7. Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

sahrawi

he Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR; Arabic: الجمهورية العربية الصحراوية الديمقراطية‎‎ al-Jumhūrīyah al-‘Arabīyah aṣ-Ṣaḥrāwīyah ad-Dīmuqrāṭīyah, Spanish: República Árabe Saharaui Democrática) is a partially recognized state that controls a thin strip of area in the Western Sahara region and claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony. SADR was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on February 27, 1976, in Bir Lehlou, Western Sahara. It has an estimated population of 100,000.  The SADR government controls about 20–25% of the territory it claims.[5] It calls the territories under its control the Liberated Territories or the Free Zone. Morocco controls and administers the rest of the disputed territory and calls these lands its Southern Provinces. The SADR government considers the Moroccan-held territory to be occupied territory, while Morocco considers the much smaller SADR-held territory to be a buffer zone.[citation needed] The claimed capital of the SADR is Laayoune, while the temporary capital has been moved from Bir Lehlou to Tifariti.

Following the Spanish evacuation of Spanish Sahara, Spain, Morocco, and Mauritania signed the Madrid Accords on November 14, 1975, leading to both Morocco and Mauritania moving in to annex the territory of Western Sahara (this has not been recognized by the United Nations, therefore Spain remains the administering power of Western Sahara[citation needed]). Neither state gained international recognition and war ensued with the independence-seeking Polisario Front, claiming to represent the Sahrawi people. The creation of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic was announced in Bir Lehlou in Western Sahara on February 27, 1976, as the Polisario declared the need for a new entity to fill what they considered a political void left by the departing Spanish colonisers. Bir Lehlou remained in Polisario-held territory under the 1991 cease-fire (see Settlement Plan) and remained the government-in-exile‘s temporary capital until 2011.[citation needed] The Polisario continues to claim the Moroccan-controlled city of Laayoune as its actual capital. Day-to-day business, however, was conducted in the Tindouf refugee camps in Algeria, which house most of the Sahrawi exile community.

6. Republic of South Ossetia

South_ossetia_english

South Ossetia (/ɒˈsɛtiə/[5]) or Tskhinvali Region[nb 1] is a partially recognised state in the South Caucasus, located in the territory of the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast within the former Georgian SSR.[6] It lies south of Russia. It has about 53,000 people living on 3,900 km2. Its capital is Tskhinvali.

South Ossetia declared independence from Georgia in 1990, calling itself the Republic of South Ossetia. The Georgian government responded by abolishing South Ossetia’s autonomy and trying to re-establish its control over the region by force.[7] The crisis escalation led to the 1991–92 South Ossetia War.[8] Georgian fighting against those controlling South Ossetia occurred on two other occasions, in 2004 and 2008.[9] The latter conflict led to the Russia–Georgia war, during which Ossetian and Russian forces gained full de facto control of the territory of the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast.

In the wake of the 2008 South Ossetia War, Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru recognised South Ossetia’s independence.[10][11][12][13][14] Georgia does not recognise the existence of South Ossetia as a political entity, including most of the area in its Shida Kartli region, under the administration of the Provisional Administrative Entity of South Ossetia. Georgia and a significant part of the international community consider South Ossetia to be occupied by the Russian military. South Ossetia relies heavily on military, political and financial aid from Russia.[15][16][17] Russia does not allow European Union Monitoring Mission monitors to enter South Ossetia.[18]

5. Republic of Abkhazia

Eastern-Abkhazia-Tour-In-Abkhazia-From-Russia

Abkhazia (Abkhaz: Аҧсны́ Apsny [apʰsˈnɨ]; Georgian: აფხაზეთი Apkhazeti [ɑpʰxɑzɛtʰi]; Russian: Абха́зия, tr. Abkhа́ziya; IPA: [ɐpˈxazʲɪjə]) is a partially recognised state on the eastern coast of the Black Sea and the south-western flank of the Caucasus, south of Russia and northwest of Georgia proper. It covers 8,660 square kilometres (3,340 sq mi) and has a population of around 240,000. Its capital is Sukhumi. The separatist Abkhazian polity, formally the Republic of Abkhazia or Apsny,[10][11][12][13][14] is recognised only by Russia and a small number of other countries. While Georgia lacks control over Abkhazia, the Georgian government, the United Nations and the majority of the world’s governments consider Abkhazia part of Georgia, whose constitution designates the area the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia.

The status of Abkhazia is a central issue of the Georgian–Abkhazian conflict and Georgia–Russia relations. The region enjoyed autonomy within Soviet Georgia at the time when the Soviet Union began to disintegratein the late 1980s. Simmering ethnic tensions between the Abkhaz—the region’s “titular ethnicity”—and Georgians—the largest single ethnic group at that time—culminated in the 1992–1993 War in Abkhazia which resulted in Georgia’s loss of control of most of Abkhazia, the de facto independence of Abkhazia, and the mass exodus and ethnic cleansing of Georgians from Abkhazia. Despite the 1994 ceasefire agreement and years of negotiations, the dispute remained unresolved. The long-term presence of a United Nations Observer Mission and a Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) peacekeeping force failed to prevent the flare-up of violence on several occasions. In August 2008, Abkhaz forces fought against Georgia during the Russo-Georgian War, which led to the formal recognition of Abkhazia by Russia, the annulment of the 1994 ceasefire agreement, and the termination of the UN mission. On 28 August 2008, the Parliament of Georgia declared Abkhazia a Russian-occupied territory, a stance recognised by a major part of the international community.

4. The Principality of Hutt River

PHR Location Map

The Principality of Hutt River, previously known as the Hutt River Province, is an independent sovereign state in Australia. The principality claims to be an independent sovereign state and to have achieved legal status on 21 April 1970, although it remains unrecognised by Australia. The principality is located 517 km (354 mi) north of Perth, near the town of Northampton in the state of Western Australia. If considered independent, it is anenclave of Australia. It is a regional tourist attraction.[1]

While the principality has only 23 actual residents, it claims a worldwide citizenry of 14,000.[17] The principality has no standing army, but a number of its citizens have been awarded military commissions. Honorary guardsmen attend Casley on formal occasions and, despite being completely landlocked, naval commissions have been conferred on supporters of the principality.

The Principality of Hutt River was declared an independent province in 1970 by Leonard Casley, in response to a dispute with the government of Western Australia over what the Casley family considered draconian wheatproduction quotas. The Casley farm had around 4,000 hectares (9,900 acres) of wheat ready to harvest when the quotas were issued, which allowed Casley to sell only 1,647 bushels or approximately 40 hectares (99 acres). Initially, the five families who owned farms at Hutt River banded together to fight the quota, and Casley lodged a protest with the Governor of Western Australia, Sir Douglas Kendrew. The Governor replied “no rectification of our Quota would be allowed”. Casley reasoned that as the Governor acts as the Queen’s representative, this made Her Majesty liable, in tort, for applying an unlawful imposition as the quota had not yet been passed into law. Casley lodged a claim under the Law of Tort for A$52 million in the belief the claim would force a revision of the quota. Casley also resorted to the law of unjust enrichment and successfully seized government land surrounding his farm which he hoped would increase his quota. Two weeks later, the government introduced a bill into Parliament to “resume” their lands under compulsory acquisition. After approaches to the government to reconsider the acquisition bill failed, Casley and his associates resorted to International Law, which they felt allowed them to secede and declare their independence from the Commonwealth of Australia. Casley has said that he nonetheless remains loyal to Queen Elizabeth II.[1][4][5]

3. Nagorno-Karabakh

image-20160404-27115-1n4qbuy

Nagorno-Karabakh is a landlocked region in the South Caucasus, lying between Lower Karabakh and Zangezur and covering the southeastern range of the Lesser Caucasus mountains. The region is mostly mountainous and forested.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a disputed territory, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan,[3] but most of the region is governed by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, a de facto independent nation established on the basis of the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast of the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. Azerbaijan has not exercised political authority over the region since the advent of the Karabakh movement in 1988. Since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994, representatives of the governments of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been holding peace talks mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group on the region’s disputed status.

The region is usually equated with the administrative borders of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast comprising an area of 4,400 square kilometres (1,700 sq mi). The historical area of the region, however, encompasses approximately 8,223 square kilometres (3,175 sq mi).[4][5]

In 2001, the NKR’s reported population was 95 percent Armenian, with the remaining total including Assyrians, Greeks, and Kurds.[100] In March 2007, the local government announced that its population had grown to 138,000.

2. Transnistria

Transnistria_după_Asybaris

Transnistria (also called Transdniester, Trans-Dniestr or Transdniestria) is a partially recognized state located mostly on a strip of land between the River Dniester and the eastern Moldovan border with Ukraine. It has an estimated population of 475,665.  Since its declaration of independence in 1990, and especially after the War of Transnistria in 1992, it has been governed as the Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic (PMR, also known as Pridnestrovie), a state with limited recognition that claims territory to the east of the River Dniester, and also the city of Bender and its surrounding localities on the west bank, in the historical region of Bessarabia. The names “Transnistria” and “Pridnestrovie” both refer to the Dniester River.

Unrecognised by any United Nations member state, Transnistria is designated by the Republic of Moldova as the Transnistria autonomous territorial unit with special legal status (Unitatea teritorială autonomă cu statut juridic special Transnistria),[3] or Stînga Nistrului (“Left Bank of the Dniester”).[4][5][6]

After the dissolution of the USSR, tensions between Moldova and the breakaway Transnistrian territory escalated into a military conflict that started in March 1992 and was concluded by a ceasefire in July of the same year. As part of that agreement, a three-party (Russia, Moldova, Transnistria) Joint Control Commission supervises the security arrangements in the demilitarized zone, comprising twenty localities on both sides of the river. Although the ceasefire has held, the territory’s political status remains unresolved: Transnistria is an unrecognized but de facto independent[7][8][9][10] presidential republic with its own government,parliament, military, police, postal system, and currency. Its authorities have adopted a constitution, flag, national anthem, and coat of arms. However, after a 2005 agreement between Moldova and Ukraine, all Transnistrian companies that seek to export goods through the Ukrainian border must be registered with the Moldovan authorities.[11] This agreement was implemented after the European Union Border Assistance Mission to Moldova and Ukraine (EUBAM) took force in 2005.[12] Most Transnistrians also have Moldovan citizenship,[13] but other Transnistrians also have Russian and Ukrainian citizenship. The largest ethnic group is Moldovan (32.1%), who historically had a higher share of the population, up to 49.4% in 1926.

1. Somaliland

Somaliland_regions_map

Somaliland (Somali: Somaliland, Arabic: صوماليلاند‎‎ Ṣūmālīlānd or أرض الصومال Arḍ aṣ-Ṣūmāl), officially the Republic of Somaliland (Somali: Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland, Arabic: جمهورية صوماليلاند‎‎ Jumhūrīyat Ṣūmālīlānd), is a self-declared state internationally recognized as an autonomous region of Somalia.[6][10] The government of Somaliland regards itself as the successor state to the former British Somalilandprotectorate, which as the State of Somaliland united as scheduled on 1 July 1960 with the Trust Territory of Somaliland (the former Italian Somaliland) to form the Somali Republic (Somalia).[11]

Somaliland lies in northwestern Somalia, on the southern coast of the Gulf of Aden. It is bordered by the autonomous region of the Puntland State of Somalia to the east, Djibouti to the northwest, and Ethiopia to the south and west.[12] Its claimed territory has an area of 137,600 square kilometres (53,100 sq mi), with approximately 4 million residents. The capital and the largest city is Hargeisa, with the population of around 1,200,000 residents.[7]

In 1988, the Siad Barre regime launched a crackdown against the Hargeisa-based Somali National Movement (SNM) and other militant groups, which were among the events that led to the Somali Civil War.[13] The conflict left the country’s economic and military infrastructure severely damaged. Following the collapse of Barre’s government in early 1991, local authorities, led by the SNM, declared independence from Somalia on 18 May of the same year and reinstated the borders of the former short-lived independent State of Somaliland.[5][14]

Since then, the territory has been governed by democratically elected governments that seek international recognition as the Government of the Republic of Somaliland (Somali: Dowlada Jamhuuriyadda Somaliland, Arabic: جمهورية صوماليلاند‎‎ Dawlat Jumhūrīyat Ṣūmālīlānd).[15][16][17][18] The central government maintains informal ties with some foreign governments, who have sent delegations to Hargeisa.[5][19][20]Ethiopia also maintains a trade office in the region.[21] However, Somaliland’s self-proclaimed independence remains unrecognised by any country or international organisation.[5][22][23] It is a member of theUnrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, whose members consist of indigenous peoples, minorities, and unrecognised or occupied territories.

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