It seems a man on Shetland Island has declared independence from the U.K.. The article can be found here. This is a good thing to keep an eye on. If there are any court cases involved they might be of use as study material for future seasteaders.
He says he wants to abolish all taxes. Too bad he also intends to print money and stamps. Pretty soon he´ll be collecting taxes to fund these unneccessary (for a government) services. Better to let the market sort out these things. Even creating an acceptable flag would probably be done by volunteers pretty soon if government just stayed the hell out of the business.
Ah, interesting, I missed that one! The story behind the independence claim does have a great deal of legal grounding though. The full version…
In 1468 King Christian the 1st of Denmark promised to pay a dowry to James the 3rd of Scotland on the latter’s marriage to Christian’s daughter Margaret the following year. The dowry in full was 60,000 gold florins, one of the few coins around at the time which contained a standard amount of gold, but all he actually managed to raise and pay over was just 2,000 of the coins, leaving 58,000 outstanding – the original coins were minted in what were then the mints of Trier, Mainz, Koln and the Rhenish Palatinate in what’s now Germany (then all part of the Holy Roman Empire of Charles the 4th). In lieu of the unpaid dowry, King Christian mortgaged his kingdoms of Orkney and Shetland (which belonged to Denmark at the time) to James the 3rd until such time as he could find the owed 58,000 florins.
For the next few hundred years the Scottish, then the British Crown refused to redeem the mortgage even though the gold was offered by the Danish Crown on many occasions. In 1667 the Danish Ambassador at the Breda Peace treaty (to end the Anglo-Dutch war) gave the then King of Denmark’s support to the British for the seizure of New Amsterdam (now known as New York) from the Dutch in return for the restoration of the Orkney and Shetland Isles to the Danish Crown. As history shows, the British did sieze New Amsterdam from the Dutch and said “thanks” to the Danes for their support, but fabricated yet another excuse not to return Orkney and Shetland, giving historical support for the original mortgage contract.
To this day the original mortgage over the islands has never been redeemed nor rescinded, so technically it still stands, but I’d hate to think of the 500 plus years of history that would need to be unravelled in order to prove current title. Until this does happen, many of the islanders look upon their homes as not legally belonging to the British Crown, nor after all this time to the Danish either, hence this claim by Stuart Hill. This incidentally hasn’t been the first such declaration, but as might be expected, the British Crown and government just ignore the issue; possession seems to be 10/10ths of the law in this case. It would be most interesting if this did ever get to court, but I’m not holding my breath.