- Founded 19 January 1972
- Terminated 18 June 1972
The Minerva reefs are two atolls in the Pacific Ocean and are located south of Fiji and Tonga. They lie below sea level and were discovered when the Rosalia shipwrecked there in 1807. Another shipwreck, the whaleship Minerva, gave its name to the reefs. In the early 1970s libertarian millionaire Michael J. Oliver erected the Ocean Life Research Foundation and reclaimed the reefs from the sea with tons of sand shipped in from Australia, he planned to build a resort there, Sea City, based upon libertarian principles: ‘no taxation, welfare, subsidies, or any form of economic interventionism’. He declared the independence of the Republic of Minerva in 1972, but this was not accepted by Tonga, the rightful owner of the reefs according to the South Pacific Forum. Ten years later another group of Americans made another attempt to claim the reefs but they were forced off by Tongan forces. Now the reefs are ‘more or less reclaimed by the sea’.