I quit the UK to found my own off-grid nation – I was the world’s youngest president at 14 & I’ve got 15,000 supporters

I quit the UK to found my own off-grid nation – I was the world’s youngest president at 14 & I’ve got 15,000 supporters

MEET the man who at just 14-years-old started to create his own country in the tiny micronation of Verdis.

Daniel Jackson, just 19, quit his regular life in the UK in search of a new home he could completely design from scratch – so he claimed a tiny strip of land between Serbia and Croatia.

Instagram/danieljacksonvsDaniel Jackson, 19, is the president of Verdis – his own country[/caption]

Instagram/danieljacksonvsThe first ever settlement on Verdis as Daniel and five others planted their flag on the island[/caption]

Instagram/danieljacksonvsDaniel with the official flag of Verdis[/caption]

daniel jacksonThe official passports of The Free Republic of Verdis[/caption]

Originally born in Australia, Daniel moved to the UK when he was younger.

But not completely satisfied with how his life was going in Britain he decided to simply create a completely new one.

Alongside six of his pals, Daniel discovered the short stretch of land sitting between Serbia and Croatia on the Danube River.

After extensive research, the ingenious group then decided to claim the land as their own as it was technically un-owned and unwanted by any other state due a quirk in historic borders.

Daniel took the bold leap and declared himself the micronation’s president before calling his newly found home The Free Republic of Verdis.

Verdis covers just 0.2 square miles – making it the second smallest country in the world behind Vatican City.

With a pale blue and white flag, Daniel – now President Jackson – jumped straight into setting up the Verdisian Government.

They even made an official donation from Verdis to help the war effort in Ukraine.

He had dreamed of welcoming permanent residents to his new tiny nation by the end of 2024 – with plans to build cabins on the land and have a dozen people living there.

But as expected, setting up your own country isn’t easy – and Daniel has run into some quite major problems.

Daniel told The Sun: “It initially started between a group of friends just to see if we could do something environmental.

“And then it progressed into being a more and more developed country.

“It’s slowly formed into what it is today and we have more and more goals and functions with over 15,000 people trying to sign up to be a citizen.

“We wanted to see if we could create an example of a small state functioning well that was environmentally conscious, and then it just progressed to being a larger humanitarian state.

We have more and more goals and functions with over 15,000 people trying to sign up to be a citizen

Daniel JacksonVerdis President

“We’ve provided a lot of aid to Ukraine, and you know we are trying to provide humanitarian aid to other countries as well, but we are limited in some of our resources at the moment.”

But on his mission to create a new state Daniel has faced major setbacks and a set of chilling disputes with those who don’t love the idea of the world’s youngest president ruling next door.

He has been banned from stepping foot inside Croatia‘s borders, and alongside his fellow Verdis people was detained by aggressive cops and booted off his own country.

Ultra-nationalist groups have also tried to scare him away from achieving his wildest dreams.

Daniel said: “On October, 12, Croatian authorities went onto our permanent settlement and detained all of us in what we consider a violation of international law, because Croatia doesn’t claim the land.

“It’s never been part of the Republic of Croatia. Croatia has never claimed it ever. They took us out of Verdis and into Croatia before deporting and banning us from the country.

“We believe, as I said before, that it was a violation of international law. And we are currently working on taking things to legal.

“We had quite a lot of people prepared to go and live in Verdis and protect the land. I think when it started there were about six of us and it was expected to progress but that’s all been halted.”

Verdis is a tiny island surrounded by water meaning the only way to get there is to take a 9km boat ride from the nearest port of Aljmas.

But this hasn’t stopped thousands of people wanting to be part of the project.

Daniel and his fellow Verdis natives are looking for people with a passion for community building and those who enjoy an off-grid lifestyle.

Over 400 people are technically residents of Verdis already despite them having thousands trying to sign up.

In order to “shape a sustainable and thriving society” Verdis is only hand picking people with the right skills and attitude to live there and build up the community.

But they had to cancel all of their citizens “early settle visas” after Croatia decided to claim the land back.

Daniel has been working hard both behind the scenes by growing his nations profile with other states but also growing its online presence.

He regularly posts on YouTube, TikTok and Instagram about Verdis and has gained thousands of followers who are invested in the passion project and thrilling journey.

Welcome to Liberland

ANOTHER micronation working alongside Verdis is Liberland and they both find themselves in very similar positions as they battle against bigger nations for recognition.

Sandwiched between Croatia and Serbia sits one of the world’s smallest countries that was first built virtually in the metaverse.

Before construction started on Liberland, people could only buy land and set up businesses in a virtual world with cryptocurrency.

The metaverse was designed to look similar to the real-life Liberland – with a lake surrounding the island and trees and greenery mixed in with the futuristic buildings.   

The nation – set up as a networking hub for all things crypto – built up a virtual population of 500,000 locals.

The island was uninhabited until 2015 when Vit Jedlička proclaimed it as a country and became the president.

He built a community and unveiled a flag, a coat of arms, a national anthem and a cryptocurrency called Liberland merit.

Jedlička plans to turn the island into the “freest country in the world” – with no plans for taxes, gun control and Bitcoin as the legal tender.

And after more than eight gruelling years of disputes, Liberland finally opened up in August to let islanders start building a physical city.

Liberland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Thomas Walls, was one of the first few people to enter the nation.

He told The Sun: “It’s quite exciting and I’m proud to say I was part of the first wave of Liberlanders to go in when the crossing was opened.

“It had been my dream to set foot in Liberland, and I did so on that day.”

There’s now a yacht house for meetings and parties, a pub, a radio station, working internet and wooden homes being put up daily.

With a primary school and hotel also being built, Liberland is finally becoming a real place to live after years of struggles.

They recently had the first wedding in Liberland and had a string of successful Christmas and New Year celebrations on the island.

But it wasn’t always plain sailing as tons of residents were arrested and fined for trying to get onto the microisland.

Croatia and Serbia had police on boats and foot, patrolling the land, keeping off any visitors.

One of those arrested was their President Vit Jedlicka.

He continued: “Our goal at the moment is, once we are back on the land because Croatian police did kick us off, is that we want to be a fully developed nation state.

“We do have a small land size. We’re only slightly larger than the Vatican, so we are limited in how many people that we can fit in for a comfortable standard of living.

“But the long term goal is to have a newly elected government and a fully recognised state and continue on from there to bring in permanent infrastructure.

“We were hoping to get a lot of this done within five years but infrastructure can always take longer, but it has taken longer because of the situation with Croatia’s authorities.

“The situation is a bit unpredictable right now as to when we’ll be able to get these goals back in sight.”

When asked what the hardest parts of starting up your own country were Daniel talked about the abuse he’s received since creating the nation as a teenager.

He said: “I think the hardest part has been accessing the land and actually getting on there.

“We have been doing our best to build positive relations with locals and it does take a lot of time and effort and good time and effort as well. It’s something that we want to do.

“And my friends and family are quite supportive of it and the reception is mostly positive from friends but the only problem that we’ve ever really had is with ultra-nationalist groups that have targeted us in the past and threatened us.

“But it’s part of the job. And we knew this sort of thing could potentially happen, considering how sensitive this part of Europe is.

“I wouldn’t say any of it has been very easy if I’m honest.”

Their values are simple – be dedicated to humanitarian work and be a neutral, unproblematic zone in the Croatian and Serbian areas.

When asked why someone should think about joining the Verdis movement Daniel said: “I’d say we would like you to join us, because we want to make a positive difference in the world.

“And we are making good progress. We’re transparent as well in everything that we do. So you know the direction that the country is going.”

World’s most famous micronations

VERDIS and Liberland aren’t the only micronations on Earth as there are plenty of places dotted across Europe alone you’ve probably never heard of.

The Republic of Slowjamastan

This tiny micronation is located inside California and has thousands of citizens, as well as other features like its own passport, national anthem, and currency called the Duble.

Invented by Randy “R Dub!” Williams – a DJ from San Diego who ran out of countries to visit so decided to create his own.

They have 500 citizens on the land with more than 4,500 people said to be on its waiting list.

Located a two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Diego, the micronation has built its own border control posts and state flags even fly above the Sultan’s ministerial office.


While the micronation of Sealand is only half the size of a football pitch, it has its own government, passports, and international sports teams.

Lying 12km east of Suffolk in the North Sea it became a self-declared Principality in the 1960s.

Originally an anti-aircraft platform built to house members of the Navy during the Second World War but now Sealand even has its own passports – but these were revoked after thousands were used illegally.

And their royal family are also the island’s ‘government’ and original founders.


Seborga is a tiny micronation set on the Italian Riviera, it has its own flag, stamps, borders, passports, and royal family.

The tiny micronation claims to have been independent for nearly 1,000 years.

Back when Italy was a patchwork of independent states, Seborga was granted independence when the Pope made its owner a prince.

After his death a second self-crowned prince started to develop features like a constitution, money, stamps, and a national holiday.


Coming in as one of the smallest micronations is Molossia which was set up by a dictator in 1977.

The tiny tyrannical territory sits inside Nevada is just 11.3 acres and has a population of just 33 – plus a couple of dogs.

But they do boast a navy, space programme, railroad, postal service, bank, currency, tourist attractions, measurement system, holidays, online movie theatre, online radio station, and even its own time zone.

In the past there have been a whole load of other places that consider themselves a micronation including these fascinating few:

Global State of Waveland
Kingdom of Lovely
Islands of Refreshment
New Atlantis
Global Country of World Peace
Republic of Whangamōmona
Kingdom of Redonda

Instagram/danieljacksonvsThe dramatic moment a Croatian cop stormed onto Verdis and detained the residents[/caption]

Instagram/danieljacksonvsA mock-up example of a Verdis ID card that is given to citizens[/caption]

Instagram/danieljacksonvsDaniel and Verdis focus on humanitarian projects through the Verdis Red Cross – they recently gave people in Ukraine aid[/caption]

VerdisThe official flag of Verdis[/caption]

Instagram/danieljacksonvsDaniel first had the idea of creating his own country when he was just 14-years-old[/caption]

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