Posted: Thursday, March 10, 2022. 4:24 pm CST.
Photo Credit: Richard Collet
By Benjamin Flowers: A group of investors has bought Coffee Caye, an island 15 minutes off the coast of Belize, to form the micronation, “The Principality of Islandia,” CNN reports.
Investors crowdfunded over US$250,000 to buy the 1.2 acres, uninhabited island through letsbuyanisland.com. Marshall Mayer, the co-founder of Let’s Buy and Island, recently led a 13-member group to Coffee Caye for the inaugural tour. He and his partner Gareth Johnson, who is co-founder and CEO of the project, came up with the idea to buy an island and start their own country about 15 years ago.
They bought the caye in December 2019, with the COVID-19 pandemic soon halting any further development. With the gradual resumption of global travel, things have begun progressing again, with Islandia developing its national anthem, national flag, and a government elected through a democratic process from among the investors.
Both investors and visitors to Coffee Caye automatically become citizens of the Principality of Islandia, and are issued novelty Islandia passports.
“We are as close to a nation as you can get, without getting an army and a navy,” Johnson said.
Those interested in supporting Islandia can do so by purchasing “citizenship,” or titles such as “Lord” or “Lady” of Islandia for a small fee, without investing, though investors get more benefits. Investors receive a percentage of any profits that might be made in the future, or if the island is sold. Let’s Buy an Island is currently taking on investors for the next stage of the project but will cap once they have reached 150 new investors. Those interested can buy multiple shares, but will only be allowed one vote in the country’s democratic processes. Shares on the island are still available for US$3,250 each.
Mayer noted that he sees the country as a “quirky marketing tool,” emphasizing that Coffee Caye still falls squarely within the laws and borders of Belize.
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