We love living in denial, don’t we? We find comfort in sticking to the basics, going by the things we know and turning a blind eye to the things we don’t. Take a country, for instance. We know what it is, but in reality, the concept of a country is a little more complex than just that. The globe, or the atlas for that matter, is full of little regions that should ideally be recognised as a country, yet for various reasons they are not recognised by the United Nations and are ignored on most world maps.
It is really like entering a parallel universe, actually. These nations have a history not known to many, a rich culture, a clear set of beliefs apart from having a fixed population, a flag, their own set of rules and regulations, and a currency. Some of them can even issue a legit passport. Yet, they aren’t recognised as a separate nation by the United Nations, often considered the final seal of recognition.
Here are some nations that should be recognised as a country, but aren’t.
1. Empire of Atlantium
The empire of Atlantium recognises itself as a ‘unique parallel sovereign state’ based in New South Wales, Australia. They believe that in a world where people are more unified based on their common interests and purpose in life, they provide an alternative to the “discriminatory” practice of assigning nationality to an individual on the basis of their birth or other circumstances. They follow the decimal calendar and are quite a liberal bunch, actually. They support the unrestricted right to freedom of movement across the borders, the right to an abortion, and the right to assisted suicide, among other things.
First established by three teenagers on the 27th of November 1981, the country does not have any diplomatic relations with any country. However, it does have “unaccredited diplomatic representatives” called “Imperial Legates” in a number of countries including the USA, Brazil, Singapore, Switzerland, Pakistan and India.
The Empire of Atlantium has approximately 3000 “citizens” from over 100 countries, most of whom have signed up online. In fact, a large percentage of the 3000 have never actually been to Atlantium.
Also known as Freetown Christiania, this country hosts about 850 residents across 34 hectares of land in a small part of Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen. Christiania was temporarily closed by its residents back in April 2011, while they were having a dialogue with the Danish government regarding their future, but is open to everyone now. There have been differences leading to conflicts between its people and the Danish government since its creation back in 1971, but off late, things have become more relaxed. The Danish government has also been more tolerant with Christiana’s cannabis trade which has led to riots, damage to property and even murder in the past. If you ever end up travelling here, make sure you’re not seen clicking pictures. Determined to keep their city away from Danish intervention, they will make sure you don’t see your camera again.
Other than that, the country is pretty liberal. One of the famous places to visit there is the Gay House – a centre for gay activism, parties and theatre. Such is the fame of the gay house that homosexuals from all across Denmark come to Christiania to attend the high-acclaimed shows.
Covering a comparatively large area of 27,000 square km, Crimea is located on the northern coast of the Black Sea. The only land border it shares is with Ukraine from the North. Crimea has always been a land we hear about in fables. In the past, they have been colonised by the ancient Greeks, the ancient Persians, the Romans, the Byzantine empire, the Goths, the Genoese, even the Ottoman empire. In the recent past, Crimea was annexed by the Russians in 1783 and became a republic as a part of USSR. It was downgraded to Crimean Oblast during the second World War. It got transferred to Ukranian Soviet Socialist Republic and became a part of Ukraine in 1991. If you think you’re having it difficult in life, know this, Crimea got annexed by the Russians again in 2014.
In spite of all the political unrest, Crimea has been a hotspot for tourists since the 90s with Nat Geo naming it in the top 20 destinations to travel to in the world in 2014.
4. The Republic of Lakotah
The Republic of Lakotah is a sizeable area of land within the United States and boasts of a population of more than 100,000 people. Located bang in the middle of America, Lakotah’s story of struggle began in the 18th century when they signed a deal with the American government that promised them the right to live in the Black Hills. The Black Hills, however, turned out to be sacred to many others, thanks to the land’s ability to produce gold.
For more than a century, the American government forgot about the plight of the locals before issuing an apology in 1998. The court decided to compensate the Lakotah Sioux for nearly $600 million, but they refused their money. They believed if they had taken the money, it would’ve come across as if the atrocities committed on them were alright. In 2007, they declared a formal withdrawal from the US. The Republic of Lakotah continues to fight for their independence.
With a population of around 3.5 million and located in a region between Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Angola and Zambia, Barotseland is humungous if we were to compare it with the other countries on this list. Forming a unified group of over 20 individual tribes from around the region, the Barotse speak Silozi, a complex language derived from several tribal languages.
It is said that the Barotse nation was founded by Queen Mbuywamwambwa, the Lozi matriarch, over 500 years ago, with people migrating from all over Africa, mainly Congo. Around 1889, King Lewanika signed a treaty to provide the kingdom recognition as a state. This was also around the time when the King had just begun trading the diamonds found in the state with Europe. He signed a trade concession and in return, his kingdom was to be protected. Later, seeking better military protection, King Lewanika signed another treaty with the British South African Company in 1890. This put Barotseland as another unit of Northern Rhodesia. Lewanika protested to the Queen but that didn’t make any difference. In 1900, United Kingdom proclaimed and governed the land as part of Barotziland-North-Western Rhodesia.
6. Murrawarri Republic
The Murrawarri Republic is a micronation that declared its independence from Australia very recently in 2013. They are located in a small area on the borders of New South Wales and Queensland. Interestingly, the Murrawarri Republic released an independence declaration to the Queen of England and the Prime Minister of Australia. In the letter sent, they asked Queen Elizabeth II to prove her legitimacy over their land. They gave 30 days to Australia and the Queen to respond. Not getting a response, they formally became a nation. Their declaration of independence, however, is still unrecognised by the Australian government.
7. Principality of Hutt River
Australia has a number of rebels, it seems. Previously known as the Hutt River Province, it is known to be the oldest micronation of Australia. Hutt River is a principality set up by farmers to escape the stringent grain quotas set up by the Australian government. After decades of struggle, the people of the province no longer have to pay Australian taxes. They even have their own currency now. So cute.
Then there are many more that haven’t been featured here but are equally important on the world map. They deserve our recognition.