Claiming a 2.7 square-mile spot of land between Croatia and Serbia, a Czech libertarian has declared the Republic of Liberland as a sovereign micronation. Croatia controls access to the disputed area but apparently does not formally claim it. Straight from Liberland’s snazzy web presence:
Liberland came into existence due to a border dispute between Croatia and Serbia. This area along the west bank of the Danube river is not claimed by Croatia, Serbia or any other country. It was therefore terra nullius, a no man’s land, until Vít Jedlička seized the opportunity and on 13 April 2015 formed a new state in this territory – Liberland. The boundary was defined so as not to interfere with the territory of Croatia or Serbia. Its total area of approximately 7 km² is now the third smallest sovereign state, after the Vatican and Monaco. The motto of Liberland is “To live and let live” because Liberland prides itself on personal and economic freedom of its people, which is guaranteed by the Constitution, which significantly limits the power of politicians so they could not interfere too much in the freedoms of the Liberland nation.
Chris Roth’s piece is a good overview but closes with a warning:
Of all these past attempts, President Jedlička might do well to note the fate of the Republic of Minerva. He chose the Minerva Reefs because they were pieces of “land” that had fallen between the cracks of two established states, Fiji and Tonga, which were not claiming them. But then as soon as the project got rolling, the neighbors changed their minds and wanted in on the project. That ended badly. Imagine how much uglier it could get if Jedlička not only lost his utopia invaded but found himself literally in the middle of a renewed territorial battle between Serbs and Croats. Liberland might be in a pretty spot, but it’s one of the most volatile borders in recent history.
Vice and Quartz also have decent articles out. The story is getting tons of play, with over 300,000 people applying for physical or digital residence. It is getting enough play that perhaps a whole lot of people who have never before really thought about initial land acquisition, homesteading rights, the determinants of a state, the legitimacy of state power, the concept of national exit, and micronations… just did so. No matter what, if anything, comes of Liberland, there is at least that positive. Overall, I was struck by how seriously many outlets took the premise in their articles.
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