On the Christmas eve of 1966, Roy Bates, a major in the British army, decided to take over an abandoned offshore platform off the coast of England and declare its independence. He declared it the “Principality of Sealand”. The UK government eventually took him to court but the court ruled that the platform was not a part of the UK’s jurisdiction. Thus making them an independent nation. This event called for a ripple of inspiration across the world causing people to form their own independent countries. This gave rise to the concept called micro-nations which is, by definition, an entity that claims to be an independent state but whose sovereignty is not recognized by the international community.
This gets us to the country of Molossia. As he calls himself, his excellency, President Kevin Baugh, the founder, and president of the micronation, Molossia. He is also a retired sergeant first class of the US Army, working in the human resources department of the Nevada National Guard. Molossia is a tiny self-declared nation currently located in Nevada with its Headquarters in Dayton and is bordered by the United States. It was founded on May 26, 1977. Back then, it was called the Republic of Vuldstein of which Baugh was the Prime Minister and his friend James Speilman was the king and this happened when they were 15. Yes, they were 15.
Molossia’s currency is called the Valora and is anchored to the relative value of Pillsbury cookie dough which is stored in an outbuilding called the Bank of Molossia from which Valora coins made out of gambling chips and printed banknotes are sold. In Alaska, you can convert the Valora coins into cookie dough at a fixed amount. One of the coins, a Ten Valora, is illustrated with Emperor Norton I. The eccentric 19th-century San Francisco citizen who declared himself “Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico”. There can’t be a better choice, right?
This inspiration of Baugh and his friend, James, came from the movie, The Mouse that Roared. The story is about a tiny country attacking the US, which expected to lose but ended by winning. “We were struck by the imagination of it”, said Baugh and thought that it’d be a cool idea to along with. His excellency, President Baugh, is a fun, jolly person and jokes around most of the time which has actually helped to keep them off the radar of the US government.
The Republic of Molossia has claimed to be in conflict with East Germany since 1983 when Baugh was serving in the army. Alleging that they are responsible for military drills performed by Kevin Baugh while stationed with the United States Military in West Germany which apparently woke him in the night. After East Germany fell, according to Baugh, there remained a piece of land —Ernst Thälmann Island, located off the coast of Cuba. The island was given as a gift to East Germany in 1972 by Fidel Castro and was never mentioned in any of the settlement treaties at the end of the Cold War. Eventually, Molossia was restored to her rightful rulers.
“It’s an expression of personal sovereignty, creativity, imagination, and political satire,” he says, finally. “It’s a nice way to look around the world. You can see what countries are doing and say, ‘I can do that.’”, says Baugh in a whole-hearted interview with VICE.