The contentious rock in the middle of the ocean

I've picked up the habit of traveling abroad while I'm at home. Google Maps offers a pretty comprehensive outline of the world, so on the occasions when I'm home and feeling a bit of wanderlust, I'll look at maps. Previously, this has landed me at a church in the swamp, accessible only by boat and built on the advice of divine intervention. Usually, though, my home travels will lead me to an exclave of India, which I'll confusedly Google and not quite figure out why it's there. Fruitless forays can still be fun, though.

Recent traipsing has led me to the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, in the dead center of back and water, literally. Typically, I'd make a point of traveling to a place this odd or interesting, but since it's looks very cold and wet, and as I'd have to commission a whaling boat or something to make the journey, you'll have to tolerate my second-hand information.

England's final attempt to prevent the sun from setting on its empire was made in the 1950s, a bit north of the mainland but not near enough to call it home. The UK's slogan is easily made when the sun literally doesn't set, as it doesn't during the midnight sun part of the year in Iceland and on this one particular rock. But England's plans for conquest of a single, tiny, craggy, uninhabitable rock were thwarted when three other countries laid claim to it. Ireland, Denmark and Iceland have vied for this 31 meter-length rock and international diplomats have had to weigh in over who can claim this seagull's landing strip.

British imperial ambitions were set back, however, by international ratification of the UN convention on the law of the sea (Unclos) in 1982, which states: "Rocks which cannot sustain human habitation or economic life of their own shall have no exclusive economic zone or continental shelf."

Owen Bowcott, The Guardian

An English adventurer even tried to aid in the UK's claim to the territory by surviving on it for 40 days. See, it is habitable! Now give the glory of this rock to England! And a later surveyor who broke the record had to lash himself and his survival pod to the rock during a brutal storm. There was a fella last year who had to be rescued from his attempt to last on the boulder.

If this sounds like the plot of something from a magical realist novel, you'd be right. But, sadly, the motivation behind all this whimsy is practical and probably Evil™. Yeah, it's for oil rights. Nothing to see here, folks.

It's even got a theme song in a fightin' spirit, courtesy of Irish act the Wolfe Tones! Rock on, Rockall! And please let me know if you make it there yourself.

Previously: Extremely mundane places in Minecraft