National news stories about secession efforts usually center on backcountry militias—men in military fatigues armed to the teeth with various types of weaponry—who want to become their own nation within a nation. So you might be surprised to find out that proper secession actually happened in New South Wales, Australia, without a single saber rattled or bullet fired. And by three teenagers, no less.
Let us introduce you to the sovereign empire of Atlantium, formed in November 1981 by George Francis Cruickshank and his two cousins. Their “territory”? A tiny portion of George’s mom’s backyard. They added citizens as they went along, expanded their territory (it’s now about 0.29 square miles with a 2.8-mile fenced-in perimeter), and George was named Sovereign Head of State.
Atlantium isn’t just some pre-pubescent kids’ backyard tree-fort pipe-dream. The empire throws its ideological weight behind hot-button issues such as abortion rights, assisted suicide, and marriage equality. At last count, the nation had 3,000 citizens spread over about 100 different countries (you can sign up for citizenship here; you might have to reach out to the Sovereign Head of State himself, though, as the “apply for citizenship” link is currently dead).
If you were wondering how Atlantium compares to the rest of the nations of the world, it’s quite normal: It has its own currency and coins, stamps and postal system, and of course, national anthem, the “Auroran Hymn.”
And if you’re calling b.s. on this entire operation, you’re probably not the first. But there is historical precedent: take Vatican City or Monaco, for example.
For more on the nation of Atlantium, watch the video below.