AMERICANA: Birth of a Nation

Monaco on the Rio Grande? That's what Colonel Herbert Williams, 68, a fifth-generation Texan of Cherokee blood, envisions for himself. Says he: "Hell, I'm going to start my own country, make my own laws, run a country like God intended a country to be run."

Williams' plot is a 400-acre island that was created when Hurricane Beulah changed the course of the Rio Grande in 1967. Because the island is south of the main river channel, the U.S. decided that the land was Mexican territory. Mexico, however, refused to accept ownership. So Williams bought the island from Mexican citizens for $400,000....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!