Roughly 600km (372 miles) from the Pacific Ocean and covering 81,796 square kilometers (or 50,825 square miles, approximately the size of Austria) in the dry grasslands of eastern Australia is the ancestral homelands of the Muruwari people. Their traditional lands were invaded after their first encounters with white settlers in 1846, resulting in the profound disruptions to Muruwari lives and culture so commonly found in colonized peoples of the “new world.” Foreign disease, environmental damage due to imported livestock, massacres, missionization, alcohol abuse and more all took their tolls on this Aboriginal people. Yet, the Muruwari survived, language and culture reasonably intact, the most recent people to declare their sovereignty on the world stage.
On April 3, 2013 the Republic of Muruwari announced its independence from Australia in a unilateral declaration. The declaration of sovereignty as an independent state, they claim, stems from British common law in which authority over a sovereign people can only be achieved in one of three ways: through military conquest, treaty agreement, or the doctrine of terra nulius (unoccupied land). A letter to the Queen of England demanded proof of any of these conditions, complete with a 28 day deadline for response. The letter went unresponded to, which the Republic asserts is tantamount to a de facto recognition of sovereignty. The letter also clarified that if the demands went unmet the Republic would formally petition the United Nations for official recognition of independence.