Our friend Bill last night forwarded an article on a micronation previously unknown to us that we totally could have visited during our Tiniest 5 for the Big 5-0 trip in 2017. During that trip, we drove to all five European continental micronations – Vatican City, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Monaco, and Andorra.
We totally missed the Principality of Seborga!
The micronation (merely self-proclaimed, to be sure) is enclaved within Italy, just like San Marino:
Seborga’s claim that their principality is an independent nation and not a part of Italy is based on a sale document that was never fully executed in 1729:
“Allegedly on 20 January 1729, this independent principality was sold to the Savoy dynasty and became a protectorate of theirs. In 1815 the Congress of Vienna overlooked Seborga in its redistribution of European territories after the Napoleonic Wars, and there is no mention of Seborga in the Act of Unification for the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. . . The argument for Seborga’s present-day status as an independent state is based on the claim that the 1729 sale was never registered by its new owners, resulting in the principality falling into what has been described as a legal twilight zone.”
The principality is not recognized diplomatically, and so does not meet one of the actual micronation definition. However, Seborga does indulge in micronation practices, such as producing their own currency, that we’ve seen in other self-proclaimed tiny countries, like the Republic of Vevčani in North Macedonia, where we began our third day of riding during our Biking the Balkans trip earlier this year.
The micronation also is located in the extreme west of Italy, just ~12 miles from Monaco, so we totally could have visited Seborga in 2017 . . .
A fuller history and an absolutely entertaining read on the Principality of Seborga (and the reigning prince) can be found here, on Vice.
Thanks, Bill, for the great story – we’ll try to drop by the principality the next time we’re in the area!