What Is The Difference Between A Microstate And A Micronation?

By Benjamin Elisha Sawe on September 17 2019 in Politics

Liechtenstein is an example of a microstate.
Liechtenstein is an example of a microstate.

Microstate and micronation are two terms which are almost the same, and people might confuse one for the other. The two words have different meanings referring to two separate entities. The underlying difference between microstate and micronation is recognition and legitimacy. A microstate is also known as a ministate and it refers to a sovereign nation, which is recognized by other countries and international bodies. Micronation is not recognized as a state. Therefore, a microstate is a small country with a small population and a small land area. A micronation on the other hand is an entity that resembles a country and could only be existing on the Internet or paper.


Microstate in modern times is a sovereign state which has unilaterally given specific characteristics of sovereignty to a bigger state in exchange of protection of its economic and political interests against demographic and geographic challenges. In this regard, microstates are recognized as sovereign states by other states and international organizations. Special territories that do not have full sovereignty such as the overseas territories of the Netherlands, France, Denmark, Australia, the US, Norway, and the UK are not microstates. Similarly, other special territories such as the Chinese special administrative areas and the British crown dependencies are not microstates as well. Some of the microstates in the modern world include Monaco, Liechtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, the Federated States of Micronesia, Niue, and the Cook Islands.


A micronation is an entity that claims to be a sovereign state or an independent nation, but they are not recognized by other countries or major international organizations. In this respect, they are different from microstates. Micronations are also different from imaginary countries as well as other types of social groupings such as tribes, campuses, ecovillages, residential community associations, clans, and sects among others. Micronations are also different from secessionist groups because their activities are typically trivial to be ignored as opposed to being challenged by the countries whose territory they claim. Different micronations in the past have issued passports, coins, postage stamps, flags, and medals among other items. These items are hardly accepted outside their community, and they could be sold as collectible items or novelties to help raise money by some enthusiasts.

Origins Of Micronations

The word micronation translates to a small nation and has its origins in the 1970s. It is used to describe several small unrecognized entities, which have emerged since that time. The term is now used in retrospect to describe some earlier unrecognized entities which could date back to the 19th century. Micronations have certain common features and some may vary so widely. They could have a structure that looks like a sovereign state which includes a territorial claim, official symbols, government institutions, and citizens although this could be on a much smaller scale. With the advent of the Internet in modern times, several micronations have come up whose membership are found around the world, where they interact only on the Internet and often identify as nomadic countries.

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