Tuvalu's Sinking:
The islands are, at best, 15 feet above sea level. Unusually high tides have started flooding the islands -- not by creeping up the beaches, but by bubbling up through the ground, as if the islands were leaky boats. Prime Minister Saufatu Sopoaga has been jetting around the world in a panic, telling anyone who will listen that Tuvalu will be the first victim of global warming. As sea levels rise, tourists might soon be able to see Tuvalu only by snorkel.

Now, that brings up a question: What happens to a domain if a nation disappears? VeriSign spokesman Tom Galvin tells me that a defunct country's Internet domain lives on. For instance, you can still find addresses on .su -- the domain for the Soviet Union.

Anyway, as Galvin points out, Tuvalu would not necessarily cease to exist. Apparently, the laws of the sea say that a country is a country, even if underwater. Sopoaga has said in speeches, "Our sovereignty would not be threatened. Our claim would be maintained on this spot."

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18 Responses:

  1. kendo_motoko says:

    that someone was going to pay them to get the rights to .tv

    • c9 says:

      A Canadian company licensed it from them several years ago and was selling .tv addresses. Not sure if there's been more recent developments.

  2. macguyver says:

    Well, if the island sinks and everything is destroyed, it's still okay as long as the domain lives on!

    • kfringe says:

      The Sealand package has a number of options that are now deprecated or obsolete, as they have been overtaken by extensions and changes to the climate. The deprecated and obsolete options are as follows:


  3. 5tephe says:

    I have been following the story of this little nation for some years now.
    It's around a thousand kms north of Figi (Western Pacific rim) and made up of 8 small sand islands, with no fresh water. I think that it was too tiny & resurce poor to be bothered colonising during the 17-1800s, unlike almost everywhere else on earth.
    As a result they have a fairly strong indiginous culture. Main languages, English & Tuvaluan. Main religions, Catholic & Church of Tuvalu. Form of govt.: Council of Chiefs.

    Some years ago, they sold the rights to the .tv suffix for several hundred million dollars: so for that year they had the highest GDP of any nation on earth (having a population of around 10,000)

    Around 4 years ago they came to the Australian Govt. asking for help (in the form of an island) with re-locating their people and entire culture. My prime minister, John Howard [spitting sound effect] told them Australia could not help.

    A year later, we had the Tampa 'crisis' conveniently in the middle of an election campaign. Little Johnny had the hide to ask Tuvalu to take a share of refugees, amongst several other Pacific islands.

    Fortunately they were rich enough that they could tell us to get stuffed, as we richly deserved.
    An entire culture, mostly uncontaminated in the modern era, is literally about to go underwater, but we -one of the most underpopulated nations on earth- can't help.

    • down8 says:

      Make that $20 milion, plus shared revunue, which goes to build roads (orig. article). Some reports say as high as $50 milion, but those are mosly numbers form the Canadian company that backed out (read: didn't have cash). And they have a Prime Minister, though he may be the Tony Blair to the tribal counil's Parlaiment.


    • Underpopulated in terms of land area, or land area that can actually support fertile agriculture? If you granted the Tuvaluans a good thousand square kilometres of the Gibson Desert to live in - many times the area of their own country - they might look at the mineral rights for a while, but they'd still likely tell you to get stuffed.

      Unless there are plans to tow a few icebergs up from the Antarctic or something, Australia has a pretty limited water supply, if nothing else.

      I'll agree that what passes for a Prime Minister over there makes a lot of utterly broken decisions, but there are real, practical reasons for limiting immigration over there all the same.

    • wfaulk says:

      Reminds me of the story of Nauru as told on NPR a few months back. They're apparently not in danger of sinking into the ocean, but they have basically run out of any way to support their economy and are going to go bankrupt. Their leader has also been running around the world looking for support, and the interviews with him are very fatalistic.

      • wsxyz says:

        And the big question is, why should we care?

        I don't mean that the people should be allowed to starve, but many of the countries best described as "tiny isolated patches of sand in the middle of the biggest ocean on earth" never were viable as independent states in the first place. They became independent states only to satisfy the decolonization activists at the UN.

        The solution is for these countries to return to their previous status as dependencies of viable countries.

        • wfaulk says:

          It's been a while since I actually listened to the ... essay? ... but, as I remember, no one was willing to help out these people at all, from gifts to annexation. But I could be wrong.

  4. lovingboth says:

    See Terry Prachett's Pyramids for some of the advantages of being a recognised state with no physical land.

  5. taffer says:

    Atlantis II: Electric Tuvalu

  6. knowbuddy says:

    It's that damn Russian program to find the Atlantis Stargate. I told them that tunneling was a bad idea!

  7. am0 says:

    I never considered a .tv domain but perhaps I should take the plunge.