A History of Waveland in Five Chapters

chapter one: Greenpeace,  the occupation of Rockall and the pre-history of Waveland 
chapter two: The flag is raised on Waveland!
chapter three: Waveland thrives - citizenship swells to over 15,000
chapter four: Waveland in exile..
chapter five : Welcome back Waveland!


At 21:40 hours BST on the night of 10 June 1997, Greenpeace activists staged a dramatic occupation of the barren and tiny island of Rockall (25 meters across and 20 meters high) in the Atlantic Ocean - 450 kilometers from the Scottish mainland. Rockall lies at the heart of the Atlantic Frontier, an area earmarked for oil exploration. The strategic occupation was part of Greenpeace's Atlantic Frontier campaign which aimed to bring about a halt to oil exploration in the region.

Al, one of the three Greenpeace activists, had this to say on the first morning of the crew's occupation of the rock, "The seas around Rockall, potentially rich in oil, are fought over by four nations - Britain, Denmark, Iceland and Ireland. By seizing Rockall, Greenpeace claims these seas for the planet and all its peoples. No-one has the right to unleash this oil onto our threatened climate."



At dawn on the morning of 16 June, six days after the initial occupation, the world was taken by surprise as the sun rose on a new kind of country with Rockall as its capital. Greenpeace had rejected complete British sovereignty over Rockall and declared a new global state called Waveland.

The flag of the Global State of Waveland was raised on the rock by the three Greenpeace activists Peter, Meike and Al.

Following the flag raising ceremony Waveland, the new Global country was summoned to life on the World Wide Web.

With its one flat ledge less than 20 meters above sea level and only around 4 by 2.5 meters wide, Rockall became the world's smallest and most vulnerable capital city.

Speaking from new capital, Greenpeace activist Peter said, 

"There is another way to manage the earth's resources: it is for the common good; Waveland gives people who share that conviction a means of demonstrating it and of joining the campaign to achieve it. For these purposes, we no longer recognise the jurisdiction of the British Government, or any other Government over this territory and we call on our citizens to support our commitment to its protection."

Surfers across the planet were invited to apply for Certificates of Citizenship. Citizenship of Waveland was immediately offered to anyone prepared to take the pledge,

 Without violence and by bearing witness, to defend nature, to protect the global commons, to reform industrialism, and to secure peace, believing in action, rather than words.

Once these had been granted they were then free to take part in Waveland activities such as on-line chat, notice boards, elections. Other features were to unfold as the campaign progressed.

The declaration announced the following guiding principles for Waveland, "present power and past use of nature confers a proportionate responsibility to act in its [the environment's] defence and restitution; and that whenever any form of economy becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government."

The three first citizens of Waveland called on everyone who shared the ideals of protection rather than exploitation, to become citizens.

Peter said, "We reject the governance of a country which permits new oil exploration despite professed concern for the climate. Waveland is a new kind of country designed to protect the global commons rather than to exploit it. We hope this is the start of a peaceful revolution. Waveland expresses every person's right to oust destructive governance and replace it with a new one, to put the climate before profits from oil."

Stressing that Greenpeace did not want to own Rockall, Deputy Executive Director of the organisation Chris Rose said, "Four nations want the oil around Rockall, we do not recognise their right to develop it. We have told Tony Blair that we don't want Rockall itself but that the oil should be set aside for the common good. We are borrowing it until it is freed from the threat of development."


Over the next few months in excess of 15,000 people from across the planet took the pledge and applied for their certificates of citizenship.

Newcomers to Waveland were invited to visit the Waveland Embassy and apply for their own Waveland passport. At the Waveland Post Office Wavelanders were offered a free personalised email address and the opportunity to participate in the first Waveland elections.

Wavelanders posted nominations for the posts of president, prime minister and a number of key ministerial positions in the government of Waveland and, following the nominations a free vote was held - the results of the elections can be found in the Government section.

Six months following the founding of Waveland, the community had taken on a life of its own. Wavelanders from around the world met to participate in on-going discussions in the bulletin board areas and arranged to meet fellow Wavelanders for in depth, live debates. These sesssions often lasted for several hours at a time and were joined by Wavelanders from all over the world.

As news of the new global country spread across the web, membership mushroomed to 15,000.

As new members came on stream the Waveland community turned it's attention to new issues. One issue in particular emerged and fuelled a heated debate - that issue was MAI.

The Wavelanders had begun to address issues which could no longer be contained under the catch-all banner of "environmental issues".

However, attention to green issues had not been abandoned.

Rather, the focus of attention had broadened and deepened to take in other forms of rights abuse including, for instance, human rights, labour rights and civil rights.

The debates over MAI brought together a broad range of interest groups which found themselves making common cause in opposition to a common enemy - the abuses of power by multi-national corporations.

Globalisation is the term which is now used to describe the complex of issues which created this furore in Waveland in the late summer of 1998. 

However, the globalisation debate was to be foreshortened by an "off-shore" crisis.


Knowhaus, the new media company sponsoring the Waveland experiment, was foundering, locked in the grip of an irreconcilable management dispute.

Another factor made a significant contribution to the impending crisis on Waveland..

Although Greenpeace's action at sea had inspired the founding of Waveland, with the pressure group subsequently proving broadly supportive of developments in Waveland, they were not prepared to offer financial support to ensure Waveland's survival.

The management crisis at Knowhaus precipitated a financial crisis which proved impossible to resolve. The company was subsequently liquidated in February 1999.

The consequences for Waveland were catastrophic. The company server, containing all Wavelanders data, contributions and email addresses, was impounded pending the resolution of a bitter dispute with it's service provider.

Like the legendary city of Atlantis, Waveland submerged, sinking without a trace.

Or rather, almost without a trace..

Reports were filtering through a group of Wavelanders had surfaced on the discussion boards at Yahoo, reminiscing about the good old days on Waveland, where they often observed that although the Yahoo board were "adequate" they lacked not only many of Wavelands wondrous functions, but it's unique spirit of place.


In the aftermath of Seattle and the debacle surrounding the WTO talks, former Knowhaus staff began to discuss the viability of salvaging Waveland. Perhaps this was the time to pick up the debate where it had been left off... why not re-float Waveland, this time with an exclusive and explicit globalisation theme?

Only one obstacle might stand in their way. They were well aware of the odds against their securing the 'waveland' domain name. Nearly a year had now elapsed since the Knowhaus crisis and the fate of the domain name was unknown.

Astonishingly it appeared to be available!

That was all that was needed to spur them to action, to call Waveland back into being, and this is the end of the story, dear reader, of how Waveland came to be salvaged from it's watery grave.

Read about future plans in "Future of Waveland".

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  • The website of the Atlantic Frontier Campaign contains all information about the occupation of Rockall.
  • MAI is the Multilateral Agreement on Investment. Read more about it on the sites listed in the Links Section