via Cabinet Magazine, Issue 18 Summer 2005:
George Pendle, New Foundlands [excerpt]:
On 21 June 1972, the world’s heaviest monarch, King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV of Tonga, accompanied by members of the Tonga Defense Force, a convict work detail and a four-piece brass band, set sail from his archipelago kingdom aboard the royal yacht Olovaba. On the king's stately mind was one thought—the invasion of the Republic of Minerva, located 270 miles to the west of his country’s capital, Nuku'alofa.
The Republic of Minerva had done little to warrant the 400-pound sovereign’s considerable wrath. It lay outside of Tongan territorial waters, it had been in existence for less than six months and, other than crustaceans and limpets, it had no inhabitants. Indeed seeing as the Republic was situated upon the hazardous Minerva reefs, whose surface was completely submerged at high tide, it hardly seemed conducive to sustaining any human population whatsoever.
Yet the Republic was not entirely lacking the impress of humanity. Some of the reefs had been piled high with sand, and a small stone platform jutted through the waves. From this edifice flew the flag of the Republic of Minerva—a white torch on a blue background—clearly signaling dominion over the amphibious territory. But while this lone construction had survived the attentions of the tides, it could not hold out against the attentions of its new visitors. As the brass band played the Tongan national anthem (rough translation: "Hear our prayer, for though unseen / We know that Thou hast blessed our land. / Grant our earnest supplication, / and save Tupou our King"), King Tupou himself tore the scurrilous flag down and read a proclamation of sovereignty over the reefs. Within a few hours the platform had been dismantled, and the Republic of Minerva had been annexed without so much as a whimper.
Well, almost without a whimper. [read on...]