Republic of Minerva
The Republic of Minerva was an attempt to establish a micronation on an atoll in the Pacific. The initiator of this project was Michael Oliver, a real estate entrepreneur and millionaire from Las Vegas. Oliver formed a company, the Ocean Life Research Foundation, which allegedly had for the project several hundred million U.S. dollars available and maintained offices in New York and in London.
The unpopulated Minerva Reefs 500 km southwest of Tongatapu ( Tonga ) and 300 km south of Ono- i- Lau (Fiji) were selected as the territory of the new state. In 1971 started the construction of an artificial island. With barges sand was transported from Australia to Minerva, to raise the level of the reef and to create the conditions for the construction of a small tower. The plan was to build a city called Sea City for 30,000 inhabitants. On January 19, 1972, the independence of the Republic of Minerva was proclaimed and hoisted the flag of the new state on the Minerva Reef. The declaration of independence of the new state was sent to the neighboring countries, its own currency was issued. In February 1972, Morris C. Davis was chosen as the provisional President of the Republic of Minerva.
On February 24, 1972, a conference of neighboring countries Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Nauru, Western Samoa and the Cook Islands took place. Tonga laid claim to the Minerva Reef.
On 15 June 1972, the following notice in the Official Journal of the Government of Tonga has been published:
Because the reefs, which are known as Northern Minerva Reef and Southern Minerva Reef, have served as fishing grounds for fishermen from Tonga long and have long been considered within the Kingdom of Tonga regarded the islands of Teleki Tokelau and Teleki Tonga are called; and because it is fitting that we should secure the rights of the Kingdom of Tonga on these islands now; we affirm and hereby confirm that the islands, rocks, reefs, coastal and water areas that are within a radius of twelve miles, are a part of our kingdom of Tonga.
The armed forces of Tonga completed the construction work, brought in the presence of the king, the flag of the Republic of Minerva and occupied the atoll. Tonga's claim to the land was recognized in September 1972 by the South Pacific Forum. The provisional President Davis was fired by Michael Oliver and the project collapsed.
1982, a group of Americans who were again led by Morris C. " Bud " Davis, to occupy the reef again. After three weeks, however, they were forced by Tongan troops to leave the island.
In recent years, several groups have tried to recover Minerva. In October 2003, Prince Calvin proclaimed from Charleston (USA ) on the Internet, the Principality of Minerva. Other groups claiming to represent the former Republic. To date, no one has made an attempt to take the Minerva Reef again in possession.
In November 2005 Fiji made an application in respect of a territorial claim to Minerva with the International Seabed Authority. Tonga has filed a counter- claim. The group " Principality of Minerva " claims to have also brought a counter- claim.