Ladonia was proclaimed independent on the 2nd of June, 1996, by Lars Vilks. Starting in 1980, Vilks had been creating sculptures in wood (Nimis) and concrete (Arx) in the Kullaberg Nature Reserve in the south of Sweden. The Swedish authorities spent more than a decade trying to force the sculptures to be taken down or destroyed.
In 1996, most of the legal battles had been resolved one way or another, and the sculptures still stood. So, Vilks concluded that he had achieved a permanent occupation of the land and de facto control thereof. To further protect the sculptures from threat of demolition, he proclaimed the land on which they stand as “Ladonia”, a sovereign country with a surface of 1 square km. At the time he named himself Chancellor of Ladonia and announced a government comprised of several ministers.
In 1997, when the number of citizens had grown to more than 1,000, elections were held. Ladonia became a Republican Monarchy with a president, Fernando Rodrigues (1997–2004) living in Brazil and a queen, Ywonne I (1997–2011) living in Sweden. In 2011, Queen Ywonne abdicated in abstentia, and a new Queen was elected from the Cabinet of Ministers. Queen Carolyn was proclaimed Queen of Ladonia on 2 June 2011 and reigns to this day. In 2019, the office of the President was converted into a Prime Minister changing the position from purely popularly elected, to a role nominated from within the ranks of the existing Ministers.
At the last census in January 2020, Ladonia had 22,858 registered citizens and more than 125 ministries.
Vilks died in a car crash on 3 October 2021, in Markaryd, Sweden. He was on his way home travelling in an unmarked police car with two police officers at the time their car crashed into a large truck and caught fire, killing all three occupants.