Many like Cruickshank credit Ernest Hemingway's younger brother Leicester with popularizing the concept in the mid-1960s when he towed an 8x30-foot bamboo raft to a spot 12 nautical miles off the southwest coast of Jamaica and declared it New Atlantis under the obscure Guano Islands Act of 1856.

This spawned the Principality of Sealand, built on an abandoned World War II sea fort off the coast of Britain in 1967, and could be seen as a precursor to PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel's new Seasteading Institute.

Dr. Lattas says that while she takes the micronationalist movement seriously, she doesn't think they'll actually set up bona fide countries that will one day get recognized and thrive.

"I don't really believe all that. But I do find them interesting as a social phenomenon that has enough spread that it really deserves a serious focus.

"Anthropologists write on cargo cults, which are very quirky, small, not very effective movements, but they're interesting politically because of the kind of rhetoric they produce and the way they galvanize people to express ideas about freedom, sovereignty and protest against inequality. That's the way I approach micronations."

For anyone who's ever wanted to tap in to the man who would be king within, here's a look at eight micronations you can visit.

The Republic of Molossia

The Republic of Molossia is the befuddling outcome of one man's childhood project that got entirely out of hand.

His Excellency, President Kevin Baugh, first dreamed up his own kingdom in 1977 and it evolved in the late 1990s into a territorial claim within the U.S. state of Nevada.

Baugh's edicts (no products from Texas, no walruses) are as bizarre as his further territorial declarations (a large chunk of the planet Venus, a spot named Neptune Deep in the Pacific Ocean) and while passports aren't required to enter Molossia from the United States, they're recommended and will be stamped upon entry.

Location: Within the U.S. state of Nevada on the outskirts of Dayton.

Fee: Free, though an appointment is required.

What to see and do: Take a one-hour tour of the property with President Baugh between April 15 and October 15, weather permitting.

Highlights include a garden, post office, trading company, peace pole and tiki bar.


The Republic of Kugelmugel

What do you do when the government isn't pleased with your ball-shaped house?

If you're Austrian artist Edwin Lipburger, you declare independence, refuse to pay taxes and begin printing your own stamps.

And when you receive a prison sentence in court for your actions, you persuade the Austrian president to issue a pardon on your behalf.

The 78-year-old artist now lives in exile in Austria and while the Republic of Kugelmugel is closed off behind a foreboding barbed wire fence, its spherical centerpiece remains a popular tourist attraction in Vienna's Prater Park.

Location: Within Prater Park in Vienna, Austria's 2nd district.

Fee: Free

What to see and do: Take pictures, gaze in awe at the architecture and read about one man's struggle to "beat the system."

Website: (in German)

The Free Republic of Alcatraz