Colonize a Nation, the mental_floss Way

Maggie Koerth-Baker is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. A freelance science and health journalist, Maggie lives in Minneapolis, brain dumps on Twitter, and writes quite often for mental_floss magazine.

I'm going to launch right into my guest blogging stint with one of my favorite chunks from Be Amazing, the book I recently wrote with mental_floss magazine. The basic idea: Anybody can increase their awesomeness quotient, all it takes is a little advice and inspiration.

To anybody who ever wanted to grow up to be an absolute monarch…this one's for you. (Also, there's a nice tie-in to tax day. Hooray for news hooks!)

How To Colonize a Nation

Step 1: Pick a Target

Let's face it, this was easier back in the day when it was open season on any landmass–no matter how large–provided you had guns, and the other guy didn't. Nowadays, you're probably going to have to stick to colonizing tiny nations that can't fight back. Luckily, the Pacific Ocean is home to plenty of these. Case in point: The Republic of Minerva, a would-be libertarian paradise established in 1972 by Nevada businessman Michael Oliver. According to a New York Times article form that year, Minerva was to have no income taxes–opting instead for a system that gave business and individuals special incentives for contributing to the government (sort of like a high-stakes version of the PBS pledge drive). However, the wise colonizer will note that this also meant they had no standing army.

Step 2: Make a Good First Impression

If you really clinch this step, you might not even have to fire a shot. Just ask Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, the King of Tonga, a nation located about 260 miles east of the Republic of Minerva. About five months after Oliver founded Minerva, King Tupou arrived to greet–and invade–the new neighbors. Reports on the invasion force vary, but it apparently involved one or more of the following: A military gunboat, a convict work detail, and a rowboat manned by the king and his ceremonial brass band. At any rate, the invasion was successful and on June 21, 1972, the Minervan flag was hauled down and the atoll became part of the Kingdom of Tonga.

Step 3: If At First You Don't Succeed…

Unfortunately for Tonga, that brass band wasn't enough to intimidate away all the other would-be conqueror-come-latelies. A gang of Americans showed up in 1982 and held the island for three weeks before Tonga had to send troops to chase them off. And a more legit claim was made by Fiji in 2005; one that made it all the way to the International Seabed Authority. The atoll's ownership probably won't be settled until later this year. Of slightly less concern is the claim made on the land by "Prince Calvin," a Charleston, South Carolina man who declared the atoll his principality in 2003.