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Foreigner for a Day

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"We always were English and we always will be English; and it's just because we are English that we're sticking out for our right to be Burgundians!"
Connie Pemberton, Passport to Pimlico

Sick and tired of all the rules the government makes you follow? And all those pesky taxes you have to pay? Well, good news! It turns out there was a tiny, some would say ridiculous, mistake made in the zoning laws or the surveyors somehow missed drawing your plot on the official maps. In any event, your house is actually not part of your country after all! You are your own sovereign nation now, my friend!

Of course, for the more pro-active protagonist, there's always good old-fashioned secession.

The new country is often an Egopolis with appropriately self-promoting flags, currencies, government titles and so on.

Expect a Snap Back or a Reset Button at the end of the episode, whatever the case.

Compare Property Line.

The New Confederacy of Example Nations:


  • Greater Llewellynlland from Ozy and Millie (notable in that it never had the snapback)
  • In a Dilbert comic, Dogbert turned Dilbert's house into the Republic of Dogbertland:
    Dilbert: I don't remember voting on that.
    Dogbert: Here's your green card.
  • In one of Don Rosa's stories, "His Majesty, McDuck", Scrooge McDuck finds an old copper plaque that makes the Money Bin hill its own kingdom - specifically, the British signed over control of "Fort Duckburg" to Cornelius Coote while the Spanish were besieging it. Coote tricked the Spanish soldiers into fleeing, but the Fort was not the property of either the British or the Spanish when both signed over their respective possessions in "Calisota"note  to the United States. Scrooge declares independence to evade taxes, but it backfires when the scheming Ankers MacCovet teams up with the Beagle Boys to invade and conquer "McDuckland". As MacCovet smugly points out, his action is not even illegal, as it occurred before Scrooge or any of his "ministers" (Donald and the nephews) had bothered to write any laws.
  • In Birth of a Nation: A Comic Novel, a small, exclusively African-American city in Illinois secedes from the Union after a dim-witted Texas governor fraudulently wins the presidency by claiming its citizens are all former felons (and therefore ineligible to vote under US law). Being an Author Tract co-written by Reginald Hudlin and The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder, they manage to thrive somehow.


  • In Passport to Pimlico, a long-lost charter reveals that the London borough is actually part of the Duchy of Burgundy. Since the Duchy no longer exists, this makes them independent ... once they can find a Duke to appoint a council.


  • The Napoleon of Notting Hill: Not only does Notting Hill secede, it then proceeds to conquer the rest of the British Empire.
  • A running joke in Lake Wobegon Days involves how Lake Wobegon regards itself as part of Minnesota (and the United States) despite not officially being part of the state because of a cartographer's error when Minnesota was officially surveyed.
  • In Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum novel Lean Mean Thirteen, one of Stephanie's despised ex-husband Dickie Orr's clients was a man who declared his apartment complex to be a sovereign nation. Orr quickly dropped him as a client after the man tried to pay him in currency issued by the "nation."
  • The Glorious People's Republic of Treacle Mine Road in Night Watch.

The Live Action Republic of Television

  • There's an episode of Mr. Show that centers around a man who demands that his cabin in the woods in Wyoming be recognized as a sovereign nation. The US government yields to his demand, setting a precedent that leads to the formation of countless other nations within Wyoming. Later, the man decides to emigrate to America, where he serves as a host for the Independent Nations Games featuring the leaders of all the other newly-formed countries.
  • In the TV movie Princess Debby, an American family from Illinois finds that they have inherited "Big Pine Island", a fictional island located in the middle of Lake Superior, from a long-forgotten eccentric millionaire uncle who just passed away after living like a hermit on the island for decades. After the family moves onto the island, the dad returns to the mainland (US side) in order to get mail service to the island going again, only to be told that the island is actually across the Canadian border. So he visits the Canadian side of the lake, only to be told that the island is US territory. Seems that both countries had been assuming all along that it belonged to the other, and thus it belonged to neither. This technically made the family rulers of their own sovereign territory (hence the title).
  • The West Wing: in Season 3's "Dead Irish Writers," Donna, who was born in Minnesota near the Canadian border, has her US citizenship status revoked when said border was redrawn south. The whole thing is hilariously capped off by Bartlet coming into the White House Ballroom to find the Canadian national anthem being played and bellowing "What the hell is going on!? I was gone for forty-five minutes, they were all Americans when I left!" Status quo is restored thanks to a Grandfather Clause that would restore Donna's US citizenship with a bit of paperwork.
  • In the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Dominion of New South Mimico", Rupert Newsome declares himself king of the eponymous dominion (pronounced "Newsomimico"), and appoints his friends and relatives to government. It turns out this actually has a superficial degree of legitimacy, since his lawyer managed to slip a passage recognising it into a Canada-US treaty, and it was signed without anyone noticing. Steps are taken to revoke this, by which time Rupert has got bored of the whole thing anyway.
  • In the obscure Brit Com A Perfect State, it is found that the coastal town Flatby-On-The-Bog is actually not formally ratifified as part of the British mainland. The deputy mayor, Laura Fitzgerald, proceeds to pursue the idea of having the town declare independence, which drives the plot of the series.

Kingdom of Radio

  • The satirical Swedish radio series (and later TV, and books...) Mosebacke Monarki (inspired by Passport to Pimlico), in which a few blocks of Stockholm form their own kingdom. Generally used to poke fun at current Swedish affairs by having the "Mosebaskes" copy the bigger country but to absurd degrees.
  • In (sadly lost in original English) The Men from the Ministry episode "Rebel in Regents Park" an old gardener of the titular park refuses to retire on Ministry's orders, instead creating his own country on small island in the middle of park's Duck Pond. Turns out that back in 1818 Prince Edward gave away the island to his family for all time.


  • Episode 2 of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People starts with Strong Bad revolting against the King of Town's rule and making Strong Badia into an independent nation. The other main characters then proceed to form their own nations, which Strong Bad has to convince (or force) to join his side. Highlights include Bubs' neutral city-state of Concessionstantinople, the Homsar Reservation, and Strong Mad's country of... Country.

Western Animationia

  • In one Family Guy episode, "E. Peterbus Unum", the town zoning map revealed that the Griffins' property was not even a part of the US. Thus was born the tiny, four-bedroom republic of Petoria (It would have been Peterland, but that was already the name of a gay club by the airport). Hilarity Ensues when Peter then "annexes" Joe's backyard pool, leading the US government to declare war on Petoria.
  • In the Sealab 2021 episode "Let 'Em Eat Corn", Capt. Shanks has Sealab declared a sovereign nation (to get out of paying income taxes), which sets off a wave of increasingly goofy sub-secessions amongst the crew. By the end of the cartoon, even Stormy's furniture and bathroom fixtures (which he claims are robots known as "Change-A-Trons" and "Plumb-bots") have declared their independence.
  • In an episode of Grojband titled "For Hat and Country", Corey declares his house as "The People's Rockpublic of Grojland" as part of a plan to acquire a cowboy hat that will only be given to the most "country" of country musicians. Then Hilarity Ensues when Mayor Mellow declares war on Grojland for seceding from Peaceville.

Peoples' Republic of Real Life

  • According to Pliny the Elder, in Ancient Rome, during the days of the kings, it was traditional for the city's priests to declare war on a rival Italian city or state by traveling to the border and hurling a spear onto the soil of the enemy's territory. During the Republic, as Rome expanded beyond Italy and became an imperial power, this became impractical, so the custom was adapted: instead of having the priests travel abroad, a patch of earth on the Campus Martius was declared, temporarily, to be "foreign soil," belonging to whichever nation Rome was declaring war on, and the spear was hurled into it.
  • The Principality of Sealand. It started out as a bit of Loophole Abuse, being just far enough outside UK territorial waters that it was possible to set up a pirate radio station, but then it all went to the owner's head and Hilarity (and occasional gunfire) Ensued.
  • There's a house in Nevada that does this as a tourist gimmick and joke, known as Molossia. At one point it got taken over by internet critics.
  • Under French law, all males born in France can be conscripted into the French army regardless of actual citizenship. The English parents of future author Somerset Maugham were living in France at the time of his birth; they made arrangements for Maugham's mother to give birth inside the British embassy in Paris so that Somerset Maugham was officially born in Britain and he was exempt from this law.
    • In a similar fashion Princess Margriet of the Netherlands was born while the royal family was in exile in Canada during World War II. Since Canada grants citizenship to anyone born on Canadian soil and dual citizenship is a bit of an issue for members of the royal family, the maternity ward of the hospital was declared extraterritorial and thus international territory.
      • Ditto for the birth of Yugoslavian prince Alexander in exile in London, though the story is now regarded apocryphal.
  • At least one person born on an airplane has been declared a "Citizen of the Sky" by an airline; while they're not officially "foreigners" because they can receive their parents' citizenship and/or citizenship in the destination country (depending on why they were traveling), they receive traveling privileges. A baby being born on an airplane is a fairly rare circumstance, so of course there are urban legends that exaggerate the status into something like a micronation.
  • Italy has the island of Tavolara (inside the territory of the city of Olbia in Sardinia), with the family Bertoleoni (who, as the first ones to settle there when there was no owner, at one point owned the entire place, and still own a few houses there) claiming to be the reigning dynasty. It apparently started out as a joke (the "founder" Giuseppe saying that Carlo Alberto, King of Sardinia, had once visited the island and presented himself with his regnal title, Giuseppe, not realizing who he was talking to, had claimed being the king of Tavolara, and Carlo Alberto actually took him seriously or was amused enough to grant him the place), but then they and the following settlers noticed the attention it brought them and started using it as a tourist gimmick.
  • The Republic of Cospaia accidently gained independence in 1440 from the Papal States and Florence due to a misunderstanding leading to a small strip of land being unclaimed by either party.note