Suppose that I make my own island out there somewhere. I have a few thousand tons of sand and rock that I can just dump out there.
- If I built the island within the national waters of a country (say, the US), would I own the island in terms of real estate law? For example, if I built an island off the Jersey Shore, could I “sell” it to a real estate developer for a new resort and have the sale recognized under New Jersey law?
- If I built the island within the national waters of the US, how would it be decided what State or Territory the island is part of? For example, if I build an island in the Delaware Bay, would it automatically become part of NJ or DE, or would surveyors have to come out and see which coast it is closer too? Would the island not automatically join a jurisdiction, and become a separate US Territory until Congress and/or State Legislatures decide on its fate?
- I’m a US Citizen. If I built the island out in the middle of the high seas, would it automatically become a US Territory because I am a citizen? Would it become part of my State or Territory of residence unless the Legislature disclaims sovereignty? Would I have a rational claim to crown myself King of my island and rule it as a sovereign country with government-subsidized crack cocaine for the masses, legal marijuana sales, and the Island Library of Child Porn without US authorities raiding it?
Obviously, this is a hypothetical and I’m not actually planning on doing this and don’t really want the trouble it might involve.