I never read Terry Brooks' Shannara series, but I quite enjoyed his 1987 novel "Magic Kingdom for Sale--Sold!" in which a disgruntled lawyer purchased a magic kingdom after reading a listing in the classifieds. The offered sale of the Principality of Sealand (a.k.a. Roughs Tower) won't be quite so adventurous, but it still evokes a little marvel.

A FORMER World War II fort in the North Sea, which was settled 40 years ago and declared a state with its own self-proclaimed royal family, is up for sale.

The tiny Principality of Sealand, which began life as Roughs Tower in 1941, is a 550 sq m steel platform perched on two concrete towers 11km off the coast of Harwich, eastern England.

It is accessible only by helicopter and boat but according to its owners, who want offers of eight digits or over, boasts uninterrupted sea views, guarantees complete privacy and is a tax haven.

Strange, for sure, and there probably aren't any wizards or dragons. Still, Sealand has an eventful history.

Roughs Tower, also known as HM Fort Roughs, is one of several World War II installations that were designed by Guy Maunsell and known collectively as His Majesty's Forts or the Maunsell Sea Forts. It is not an island, but a man-made structure, similar to an oil rig. The purpose of HM Fort Roughs was to guard the port of Harwich, Essex. It was constructed in the United Kingdom, towed into position and deliberately sunk at 51°53′40″N, 1°28′57″E on Rough Sands - a sandbar located approximately six miles from the coast of Suffolk and eight miles from the coast of Essex, England.

In October 1965 Roy Bates gained control of HM Fort John Knox after winning a physical fight over squatters representing the offshore station called Radio City. He wished to use it for radio broadcasting to the UK mainland.

Roy Bates decided to move his radio equipment from HM Fort John Knox to HM Fort Roughs after he was found guilty in the UK of illegal broadcasting from HM Fort John Knox. However, HM Fort Roughs was occupied by staff representing Ronan O'Rahilly who represented the two Radio Caroline ships which formed a British network. Physical fighting to gain control of HM Fort Roughs lasted until September 1967. Roy Bates and his associates finally physically expelled the existing squatters representing Radio Caroline, and on September 2 1967, he claimed it as his own.

The top story also claims that Bates defended Sealand from the British Navy in 1968!

(HT: Digg.)



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