Republic of Minerva
From Kook Science
The Republic of Minerva was a self-declared state, officially proclaimed on 19 January 1972 by a group including Michael Oliver, a real estate investor, and other members of the Ocean Life Research Foundation, that claimed sovereignty over the Minerva Reefs (also known as Teleki Tokelau and Teleki Tonga), a pair of submerged atolls in the south Pacific Ocean, situated some 300 mi. (480 km.) south-west of the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa. Six months after declaring itself independent, Minerva's physical territory was occupied by Tongan expeditionary forces: the North Minerva Reef on 19 June 1972, and the South Minerva Reef on 21 June 1972; the Kingdom of Tonga's claims to the atolls were upheld by the South Pacific Forum three months later.
After the failure of Minerva, Oliver, under the auspices of the Phoenix Foundation, threw his support behind the Abaco Independence Movement, a political group that sought the secession of the Abaco islands (as the Abaco Commonwealth) from the independent Bahamas in the 1970s. The provisional president-in-exile, Morris C. Davis, meanwhile continued in his efforts to promote Minerva as a legitimate state, though these came to little. In October 2003, a self-declared successor state, the Principality of Minerva, launched a website and published their own claims to the atolls, but this most recent effort drew only limited attention, the site ceasing to exist just a few years later.
- Reuters, "GROUP BUILDS OWN NATION IN S. PACIFIC", Los Angeles Times (27 Jan. 1972): 33, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/385493988/, "Mark Oliver, a U.S. citizen who said he is one of three directors of the foundation, said in Suva Wednesday their intention was initially to build a port and later a 'sea city' as a haven for people who wanted to escape crippling taxes, riots, crime and drug addicts. 'We decided on Minerva after a worldwide search because research showed conclusively that the reefs did not belong to anyone,' he said. 'By international law one can claim by annexation only land above the sea that can be built upon. We have met this requirement by constructing two small islands of coral and sand on the reefs.'"
- McCrary, Lacy (13 Feb. 1972), "Emerging In Pacific: A Tiny New Nation", Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, OH): E-1, E-5, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/153231664
- Windsor, John (3 Apr. 1972), "Small Summit", The Guardian (London, UK): 9, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/259761034, "Now, the leaders of independent Fiji, Nauru, Tonga, Western Samo and the self-governing Cook Islands, a New Zealand dependency — all members of the newly formed South Pacific Forum — are refusing to recognize Minerva. And Fiji and Tonga have become positively hostile[...] One tiny nation did recognise Minerva. The sultanate of Ocussi Ambino on the island of Timor in the Malay Archipelago invited diplomatic relations in January. The Portuguese Embassy, whose territory it is, says that Portugal hasn't recognised Minerva and that Ocussi Ambino has no business to without asking Portugal's permission."
- Barker, Shirley (18 June 1972), "King of Tonga v Republic of Minerva", The Observer (London, UK): 5, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/258870665/
- Reuters (28 June 1972), "Tonga Claims Minerva Reefs", Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, CA): 6, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/380093467/, "King Taufa-Ahau Tupou IV has raised the Tongan flag on the desolate sea-washed Minerva reefs where an international group plans to set up an 'away-from-it-all' republican state."
- Star-Bulletin (14 Sep. 1972), "Reef Plans Defense, Tonga Says", Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, HI): 27, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/271361751/, "The Tonga Chronicle, the government-owned newspaper, said it had received information that Morris Davis of Australia, self-proclaimed president of the 'Reef Republic' established in the remote South Pacific last January, had stated he would send his soldiers to Minerva to protect it from attack by Tonga. Davis claimed Tonga's annexation of the Minerva Reefs last June constituted an invasion."
- Hillinger, Charles (10 Dec. 1972), "The Republic of Minerva where nothing will be illegal", Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, HI): G-5, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/271499521/
- AP (3 Apr. 1973), "REEF REPUBLIC ANNEXED; Tonga Takes Minerva", Vancouver Sun (Vancouver, BC): 17, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/493198066
- Rochette, Ed (10 Aug. 1980), "'New nation' issued coins before king, tide came in", Morning Call (Allentown, PA): F12, https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/282483298/
- Menefee, Samuel Pyeatt (1994), "'Republics of the Reefs:' Nation-Building on the Continental Shelf and in the World's Oceans", California Western International Law Journal 25 (1): 81-111, https://scholarlycommons.law.cwsl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1341&context=cwilj