Republic of Minerva was the brainchild of Nevada businessman Michael
Oliver, who in the early 1970s announced plans to reclaim land from the
southern Pacific Ocean and build a libertarian-inspired city-state
capable of sustaining a population of 30,000.
site chosen was at Latitude 23.40 S, Longitude 179.00 W - about 400
miles south of Fiji and 260 miles west of Tonga - and was the location
of a group of hitherto-unclaimed underwater reefs. Construction
commenced in 1971, and Minerva was declared independent on January 19,
the only nation that responded to Minerva's calls for recognition was
Tonga. Various reports claim that the Tongan government reacted to a
neighbour it viewed as an unwelcome threat by sending (a) a naval
gunboat, (b) a convict work detail, or (c) a rowboat populated by King
Taufa'ahau Tupou IV and a brass band, to Minerva. The outcome, in any
case, was that on 21 June 1972, the Minervan flag was hauled down, and
the atoll was later formally annexed to the Kingdom of Tonga.
To date, Minerva is one of only a tiny handful of new country projects involving construction of a purpose-built artificial island that have come anywhere close to being realised.
As far as is known, the Republic of Minerva produced neither postage stamps nor banknotes during its short existence. Its sole currency issue consisted of the single bi-metallic coin listed hereunder: