Remember that time last year that a man founded his own "country" in order to make his daughter a princess? Well, Jeremiah Heaton, his princess daughter, and their African "kingdom" are back with Heaton now crowdfunding to develop new agriculture methods for their new "country." And I do put "country" and "kingdom" in quotes because there is no telling whether or not this bizarre situation will be able to last.
This whole thing started last year when Jeremiah Heaton, a father from Virginia, decided to make his daughter's dream of becoming a princess come true. He found an area of unclaimed land between Sudan and Egypt, made up a new flag, and then planted it in this region, declaring it to be the Kingdom of North Sudan. Because apparently the phenomenon of white dudes going to other parts of the world, plunking down a flag, and saying they own everything now did not go out of style with wooden ships and scurvy.
So far, the international community has not formally recognized this new "country" or Heaton's claim that he is its king (making his daughter therefore a princess); however, no one has kicked him out yet, either. And so he is moving ahead with new plans for the "kingdom": Specifically, turning 800 square miles of arid desert land into something that can support agriculture. To that end, Heaton is crowdfunding for the North Sudan Scientific Fund to raise money to research new agricultural practices thus turning the Kingdom of North Sudan into "a nation fully dedicated to researching and developing solutions for our current global food shortages and impending food crisis."
Here is a video explaining the project from their Indiegogo page:
Funding agricultural research is admittedly a worthy goal, and if the global population continues to increase as expected, we are definitely going to need new ways of growing crops. Most people don't feel the need to declare themselves king of 800 square miles of desert before they take up a cause, but it's good that Heaton is trying to do something worthwhile with his small amount of fame.
As to whether or not his "kingdom" will actually last...well, that's a lot more questionable. The region Heaton has claimed as his own, Bir Tawil, was technically unclaimed due to a discrepancies between different British maps during the colonial period; however, that doesn't necessarily mean that either Egypt or Sudan is going to let a random dad from Virginia just waltz in and claim it for himself. As multiple experts told Al Jazeera, once Heaton starts trying to do anything significant with the land, both countries are likely to step in. And trying to turn the area into a research center probably qualifies.
But based on the Indiegogo page, it seems like Heaton has big plans regardless. The rewards for donating range from original artwork by his daughter, to receiving a knighthood or being a court jester, to even bolder rewards like having your face on the official currency or having the international airport named after your. For the low, low price of $2.5 million, you can even be responsible for a state-of-the art hospital.
In order to really get a cutting-edge research facility off the ground, Heaton will obviously need millions of dollars. His current goal on Indiegogo is $250,000, and since the project went live this week, people have given a little over $2,000.
So how will all of this turn out? Only time will tell. But in the mean time, if you feel like paying $300 to become a knight, now's your chance.