On 1 April 1977 the Guardian produced a 7 page travel supplement on the tiny tropical republic of San Serriffe, “a small archipelago, its main islands grouped roughly in the shape of a semicolon, in the Indian Ocean”, which was apparently celebrating ten years of independence. The article included a map of the island republic.
The country was in fact completely made up as an April Fool’s joke. The name San Serriffe and the shape of the islands were just the first clues; everything connected with San Serriffe was named after printing and typesetting terms. For example, Bodoni, the capital, is a variety of typeface; the two main islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse; the indigenous islanders are known as flongs, a mould for making type, and the whole Republic is ruled over by the dictator General M J Pica, named after a unit of measurement in type.
Even better, ads were included in the 7 page spread to encourage you to visit the island. Check it out on the Museum of Hoaxes site … or is this just an April Fool’s Joke of an April Fool’s Joke? Ha!