We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

We are capitalists, after all…

The sharp eyed and attentive amongst you may have spotted the funky monkey that has appeared in the ‘free market’ section of our sidebar… we have acquired a sponsor!

But not just any sponsor.

The Gold Casino is an off-shore internet casino (obviously) in the most literal sense of the term. It is located on a server in the Principality of Sealand, a fully independent micro-state off the shore of Great Britain. Don’t like the state? Go set up your own.

No I am not joking!

A haven in a sea of statism

Well I did say micro-state, didn’t I?

So take a peak at what our sponsor is offering by poking the funky monkey and check out their message via the link underneath the sidebar graphic. I assure you it is far more interesting that the usual marketing blather one is usually confronted with… you will see why we find them so ideologically agreeable!

Sealand map

It adds a whole new nuance to the term ‘off-shore business’

19 comments to We are capitalists, after all…

  • What the heck used to be out there before it got converted?

    Splendid idea for recycling, anyway!

  • James Dudek

    Didn’t the guy who invented the Segway start his own state on an island off the East Coast of the US? If I remember correctly he even wrote his own constitution……

  • Julian Morrison

    The platform used to be a ww2 mini fort, I believe.

  • James Dudek

    What do you know I answered my own question.

    He has also signed a non-agression pact with President Bush.

  • BigFire

    Ah, the Principality of Sealand, fought off German invaders in 1978. They’ve been in the business of safe data haven. I’m pretty sure that they’re not going to sign on with this European Union nonsense.

  • its jake

    those people are so incredibly badass. i want one!

  • Congrats on a very cool sponsor. I bet a lot of people are going to wish they could be hosted there.

  • World Zionist Conspiracy

    Ah yes, good old Sealand. Recognized by how many nations of the world? More than Bophuthatswana or Transkei, but less than Somaliland?

    That’s funny.

  • mark holland

    Erm, I’d never heard of this Sealand before. It’s cheeky and rather clever but I’m not sure I like it for personal reason.. Here’s why.

    I only met my father’s father, one Harold Holland, once when I was very little. He passed away in 1984 and my dad kept his medals and war photos. Quite a lot of these photos look like this one. He served in the Royal Artillery and up until D-Day had been based on one of these MAUNSELL SEA FORTS in the Thames Estuary.

    This site says:

    During the Second World War, seven seaforts were built to protect the Thames Estuary. The designer of all the forts was Mr. G. A. Maunsell, hence the name. Four were controlled by the Navy and were situated at Knock John, Tongue Sands, Sunk Sand and the Roughs and consisted of two hollow concrete legs, in which one hundred men lived, with a gun platform on top.

    The Army towers were different in design as they were closer to shore and intended as anti-aircraft platforms. The three forts were at Shivering Sands, Red Sands and Great Nore and each had seven towers linked together by walkways. A similar number were also built in the Mersey to protect Liverpool.

    After the war, the forts were abandoned and Great Nore was demolished in 1958. Red Sand Fort which is off the coast at Whitstable was used in the 1960’s as a pirate radio station.

    Roughs Tower is 6 miles off the Essex coast. It was occupied in 1967 and as it is outside the 3 mile territorial limit it was declared an independant state, the Principality of Sealand.

    So my grandad was based on one of the inshore forts and I don’t think one ego tripping major occupying one of them as a his personal fiefdom really does justice to those that served on these sitting duck platforms for Britian.

  • I heard about this through Wired Magazine’s story in July 2000. The whole deal sounds excellent. Congrats! I can even forgive them for the whole royalty bit. 🙂

    My only question is what happens if the UK/EU decides to cut their landline connectionn to the mainland through some backroom law that gives them the authority to do so (assuming they don’t already have it?)

  • anonymous

    For Mark Holland.

    Mark your grandpa sounds like a great guy.


    >Roughs Tower is 6 miles off the Essex coast. It was occupied in 1967 and as it is outside the 3 mile territorial limit it was declared an independant state, the Principality of Sealand.

    The chunk of concrete that is Roughs tower was fairly and honestly and openly abandoned by HM Gov (in the early 50s, right), and it is totally and completely outside of the UK, all territorial waters, etc.

    (Aside — it never really “properly” “belonged” to Britain anyway (during WW2 I mean) any more than if say France or New Zealand built a concrete platform there in international waters and claimed it as their own territory.)

    The sealand concept is great, it is a nice “rational jurisdiction.” Good on them. They are promoting BRITISH values – capitalism, freedom, individuality – a lot more than Britain of today in many ways.

    I very much doubt that anyone from Sealand meant any disrespect to the miltary heritage of the chunk of concrete that is Sealand.

    About 3 years ago, a company called Havenco started offering an ISP service with servers sitting on sealand.

    Perhaps more importantly than all this the casino thing with the ad has an incredible multiplayer poker room! It is just Flash, it works very simply. See you in there, I’ll play as “samiz” !

  • I sure could use one of those micro states. Just as a base of operations you understand. I’d then hop over the channel and invade……no, let’s not go there.

    More to the point. If samizdata.net had such a platform, what would you call it?

  • mark holland

    mr anonymous,

    okay I’ve slept on it and this morning read your comments. I believe you are right to say they are promoting British* values, the values our grandparents’ generation were fighting to defend*. In that way I can see that Sealand is almost a tribute to their bravery. That said, I still don’t like the fact that Major Roy is strutting about as a self-proclaimed prince. Even though I like our constititional monarchy, for pretty much the reasons Sean Gabb gives above as well as the fact they are cheaper than the presidents of Italy and Germany, if I were to found a libertarian city-state I don’t think I base it on the Grand Duchy of Fenwick

    *1945 election result not withstanding.

  • Actually Mark, I think it is the Duchy of Grand Fenwick. (Amazon have it wrong).

    And I think there actually is something to be said for giving officeholders silly names. “King” and “Prince” are too obvious though. We need to be creative. To steal something from Bruce Sterling, Pope-Emperor is good. Also I kind of like the title “Lord Chancellor” which is apparently no longer being used.

  • mark holland


    A google on Duchy+Fenwick returns about 50:50 for the Grand Duchy of Fenwick and Duchy of Grand Fenwick. Even the Amazon page contradicts itself. Everybody seems to agree that the head of state is Grand Duchess Gloriana XII, thus I believe that would mean, like Luxembourg, Fenwick is a Grand Duchy. Still that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

    For real life pompousity the The Prince Bishops of Durham take some beating.

  • Just a few comments.

    First, Roy Bates calling himself a prince is really not as pompous as it sounds. Strictly speaking the title prince means something along the lines of first citizen. Also it is the traditional title of the monarch of a small state (i.e Monaco).

    Second, John Adams probably the smartest constitutional thinker among the of the U.S. founders (He wrote the Massachusetts constitution the oldest written constitution still in use and advised Jefferson on the writing of the Virginia constitution) advocated fancy titles for government officials. He even had the U.S. Senate discuss the matter when he presided over it as Vice President.

    Third, I have some of my thoughts on starting a new country at http://principalityofamagi.blogspot.com

  • Charles Hueter,

    Yes, that would pretty much be the end of little Sealand. The problem with these tiny data or tax havens is that they are very vulnerable. If leviathan states decide to shut them down there is not much they can do to prevent it.

  • Julian Morrison

    Sealand/havenco has guns and satellite data links. They’re perfectly apable of fighting off and routing around an attack on the small scale. But their best defense I believe is that the UK government wishes fervently to forget their existence. So far as they’re concerned the question of “is Sealand a state” is one better left unfought, lest they lose in an unpleasantly legally bindng way.