Tiny Shetland island declares independence By Kate Kelland
Sat Jun 21, 12:19 PM ET
The owner of a tiny island in off Scotland declared its independence from the United Kingdom on Saturday, saying he wanted the territory, population one, to be a crown dependency like the Channel Islands.
In a declaration on his Web site, Stuart Hill, who owns the 2.5 acre island of Forvik in the Shetland Islands in the North Sea, said he no longer recognised the authority of the government or the European Union, and cited a centuries-old royal marriage dowry deal as the basis for his claim.
"Forvik owes no allegiance to any United Kingdom government, central or local, and is not bound by any of its statutes," Hill wrote.
Hill, 65, has lived in the Shetland Islands on the edge of the Atlantic since 2001, when his boat capsized there during an unsuccessful attempted to circumnavigate Britain.
He is Forvik's only resident, and his home is a tent on the storm-battered island. He says on his website that he plans to create Forvik's own currency -- the "gulde" -- print his own stamps and raise his own flag.
"There will be no income tax, VAT (value added tax), council tax, corporation tax, or any of the other taxes instituted by the British government," Hill wrote.
Hill's claim dates back to a 15th century arrangement between the Norwegian King Christian and King James III of Scotland when the Shetland Islands were effectively pawned to King James in lieu of a marriage dowry.
According to Hill's studies of the history of the island, in 1669 King Charles II re-confirmed Shetland's status at the time of the pawning, meaning the islands remained directly answerable to the crown -- represented today by the Queen.
"The monarchs and governments of Scotland, and Great Britain and the United Kingdom have for many years assumed powers over these islands of Shetland to which they were not entitled," he wrote.
"By declaring Forvik a crown dependency I am simply re-establishing the correct legal relationship between this part of Shetland and the crown.
Hill said he had written to the Queen offering his services as "steward" and recognising her as head of state.
"I also invite anyone from any country in the world, who supports these aims, namely to become free of liars, thieves and tyrants in government, to become a citizen of Forvik," he added.