We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.
Engineering

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is Seasteading?

Michael Anissimov
By
Updated: May 21, 2024

Seasteading is a concept that has frequently been proposed, and on a few occasions attempted, but not pursued seriously until very recently (2008). Seasteading is the concept of homesteading on the high seas, where the only laws that apply are those by home nations which continue to apply to citizens out of the country (not many). Seasteading is favored by libertarians, who seek a country with minimal government, and others seeking to pioneer new territory and create new nations. Since oceans cover 70% of the Earth's surface, some have suggested it prudent to attempt to colonize some of that area before attempting colonies on the Moon or Mars.

There are at least two examples of seasteading which have been attempted. The most famous is Sealand, a small ocean platform located off the coast of Suffolk in England. Sealand was constructed by the United Kingdom's government in WWII and abandoned in 1956. In the 1960s the island was occupied by pirate broadcasters, and progressively changed hands in a series of small "wars" held by individuals competing for the tiny platform. A 1968 court decision found that the UK did not have jurisdiction over the platform because it was further than 3 miles from the coast, and this continued to be used as the legal basis that Sealand was an independent state. Despite claims to the contrary, numerous incidents have shown that the UK treats Sealand as an independent state, and a few dozen people live there today, with over 300 official passports issued.

The second attempt at seasteading was the Republic of Minerva, created by Las Vegas libertarian millionaire Michael Oliver in 1972 when he imported sand from Australia to lift a submarine sand bar to above sea level in the South Pacific, near the island of Tonga. Shortly after establishment, Tonga laid claim to the island, and sent troops to reinforce the claim. The Minervan flag was lowered, and the island was occupied by Tonga. Various groups have attempted to re-occupy the tiny sand bar over the years, none successful.

The newest and most promising attempt at seasteading is currently being pursued by the Seasteading Institute in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Seasteading Institute is headed by Patri Friedman, grandson of influential economist Milton Friedman, and was launched with a pledge of $500,000 US Dollars in funding from Paypal co-founder and venture capitalist Peter Thiel. The Seasteading Institute is seeking to create its first seastead in the San Francisco Bay, and hopes to develop the engineering know-how to create independent artificial islands on the high seas. Only time will tell if they are successful.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.
Discussion Comments
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
Learn more
Share
All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All The Science, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.