Ernest Hemingway, the celebrated author and adventurer, is a name known to many. However, few are aware of the eccentric exploits of his younger brother, Leicester Hemingway. In a tale that is as fascinating as it is unusual, Leicester leveraged an obscure U.S. law to establish his own micronation on a raft in international waters near Jamaica. This article delves into the intriguing story of New Atlantis, the unconventional kingdom founded by Leicester Hemingway.
While Ernest Hemingway’s life was filled with noteworthy adventures, his brother’s escapades were no less extraordinary. Leicester Hemingway, like his older brother, was an avid outdoorsman with a flair for writing. However, his most notable achievement was arguably his establishment of New Atlantis, a micronation founded on a bamboo raft off the coast of Jamaica.
I. Leicester Hemingway: The Lesser-Known Hemingway
Leicester Hemingway was born in 1915, sixteen years after his famous brother, Ernest. He looked up to Ernest as a father figure and developed many of the same interests. Like Ernest, Leicester was an avid outdoorsman with a gift for writing. He published numerous articles on fishing and several books, including the semi-autobiographical “The Sound Of The Trumpet” in 1953 and the 1962 biography of his famous sibling, “My Brother, Ernest Hemingway.”
II. The Birth of New Atlantis
Leveraging the Guano Islands Act of 1856, which granted any U.S. citizen the right to claim and mine any island with a deposit of valuable guano (bird droppings used as soil fertilizer), so long as it was not already claimed by another recognized government, Leicester established his own micronation on July 4, 1964. His “island” was actually an eight-by-thirty-foot bamboo raft off the coast of Jamaica. Eight miles from the shore, Leicester secured his raft to an old car engine, dropped anchor in the shallow water, and declared half the raft as belonging to the U.S. and the other half to the new micronation of New Atlantis.
III. Life in New Atlantis
Details about life in New Atlantis are scarce, but the micronation’s existence was a testament to Leicester Hemingway’s eccentricity and ingenuity. Despite the dubious legality of his claim, Leicester’s New Atlantis represented a unique experiment in sovereignty and self-governance.
IV. The Legacy of New Atlantis
While New Atlantis did not last, its story remains a fascinating chapter in the annals of micronations. It serves as a testament to the spirit of independence and the human desire for self-determination, embodied in the most unlikely of places—a bamboo raft in the Caribbean Sea.
The story of New Atlantis, the micronation founded by Ernest Hemingway’s younger brother, Leicester, is a fascinating tale of eccentricity, ingenuity, and the human spirit. While it may not have been a kingdom in the traditional sense, New Atlantis represented a unique experiment in sovereignty and self-governance. It serves as a reminder that the desire for independence and self-determination can manifest in the most unexpected ways and places.
In the grand tapestry of human history, New Atlantis is but a small thread. Yet, it is a thread that adds color and intrigue to the overall picture, reminding us that history is not just made by the famous and powerful, but also by those who dare to dream and think outside the box.