Vít Jedlička is the president of the world’s youngest country. His new micronation, the Free Republic of Liberland, is only three square miles in size. It was established in April 2016 in an area between Croatia and Serbia which had been unclaimed by either country for many years. Unlike other emerging territories on Earth, there are no other claims to ownership on the land Liberland has been established on.
Founded primarily on libertarian values, the nation of Liberland is designed to cater to people who do not identify with the values of the place they were arbitrarily born into. Vít believes that people everywhere should be free to set up lives for themselves where they are free to live how they want, in line with their preferences and values. For most people in the world, their nationality and cultural values define their behavior and opportunities more than any other single factor in their lives. Without extraordinary effort to take these matters into their own hands by moving outside their culture and acquiring new nationalities, they remain slave to the social conditions of their birth.
What defines a nation today is nothing more than an arbitrary agreement among world powers of which boundaries matter and which do not. Throughout the world, there are over 100 areas which are considered disputed territories or demi-nations. Each is fighting for recognition among the leading world powers that are always in flux and generally taken for granted. The world does not have to look the way that it does, ruled by the groups that currently claim the power to make rules and raise armies to enforce their views. With changes in technology and philosophy, the layout of the world will evolve rapidly.
In its short lifespan, Liberland has acquired nearly half a million applicants for citizenship through its merit system, which will eventually award passports and citizenship to those who provide significant value for the development of the country. The team behind Liberland currently has the task of determining which of the many applicants adhere properly to the values they have declared for the nation, and which have earned the right to call themselves citizens by the time they are ready to start operating as an official part of the world political landscape.
Liberland is slowly being developed with physical structures and community activities, though it is still difficult to access the land. Currently, Croatia prevents entry into Liberland. In doing so, they are acknowledging that Liberland is a separate nation from itself. If Vít and his team go through the proper channels to establish their nationhood, Liberland will someday be respected by existing world powers as a real nation. Whether or not that ever happens, right now it still stands for an important principle of freedom and individual choice in how cultures evolve. Someday, nations will be far smaller and more personalized than the 196 monoliths we have now. Someday, they nations may be obsolete entirely.
Montevideo Convention, rules for starting a country:
List of disputed territories in the world:
Artsakh, between Armenia and Azerbaijan:
Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization: