The Shetland islands, off the coast of Scotland.

Shetland Island Resident Declares Independence from U.K.

June 24, 2008 12:51 PM
by Denis Cummings
The lone inhabitant of tiny island Forewick Holm claims it is a crown dependency, hoping to spur Shetland to declare its independence from the U.K.

30-Second Summary

Stuart Hill, a 65-year old yachtsman nicknamed “Captain Calamity,” has taken residence on a tiny, uninhabited Shetland island of Forewick Holm, located northeast of mainland Scotland, and proclaimed it a dependent state. He has renamed the island “Forvik” in honor of its Norwegian past and declared it a crown dependency similar to the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

Hill is attempting to challenge the claim to Shetland by Scotland and the UK governments. He contends that the islands—which were pawned to Scotland by Norwegian King Christian as part of a dowry—were never officially claimed by Scotland and remain directly answerable to the crown.

“By declaring Forvik a Crown Dependency I am simply re-establishing the correct legal relationship between this part of Shetland and the Crown,” wrote Hill on his Web site. “By doing so I will prove that Shetland as a whole can get the same benefits and more—simply by asserting rights that already exist.”

Hill, who has lived on the island for the past five years, is selling one-square-meter plots and accepting applications for citizenship. He plans for Forvik to have its own flag, stamps, tax and currency—the solid gold “gulde.”

It remains doubtful that Hill’s actions have any effect on Shetland, as the region’s residents don’t take him seriously. It appears that Forvik is destined to become a local joke similar to the principality of Sealand.

I would, essentially, ignore him,” Shetland convener Sandy Cluness said. “I have to admire his spirit, but in the real world, we have to go another route, I think.”

Headline Link: Forvik declared a crown dependency

Historical Context: The history of Shetland

Key Player: ‘Captain Calamity’

Reference: Forvik and Shetland

Related Topic: The principality of Sealand


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