On April 1, 1977 (yeah yeah, another April Fool’s hoax, so sue me!), The Guardian featured an 8-page special report on a country called San Serriffe:
The San Seriffe was reported as a two-island nation in the Indian Ocean, with a population of over 1.7 million people. It was probably surprising for many people to learn about this place that they had never heard of before, but itbecomes clear that this is a ruse the more you learn about the place…especially after you see a map of it.
According to Henry Morris: “Many readers will be justifiably unacquainted with the tiny and little-known Republic of San Serriffe. I never heard of it myself until I saw the “Special Report” in the April 1, 1977, issue of The Guardian, one of the major English newspapers. A copy of this issue was send to me by an English friend with no explanation other than “I think you’ll find this interesting.” I was at first puzzled as it looked like any ordinary newspaper and I couldn’t imagine why he’d gone to the expense of air-mailing a copy of a now week-old newspaper. After some perusal, I finally begun to think there was something odd about the eight-page Special Report which was in a center section. The report dealt at length with the Republic of San Serriffe, a country whose existence I was previously unaware of. The power of print is such, that a report like this in a big-city newspaper establishes instant credibility. I couldn’t understand why I’d never heard of this country before. My suspicions were soon aroused by the names of various cities shown on map of this country which was included (see above map). these names were all terms connected with printing – places like Garamondo, Bodoni and Erbar – all names of printer’s type faces; Caissa Superiore (Upper-case), and Caissa Inferiore (lower-case), referring to the printer’s type-case arrangement. I finally realized it was colossal printer’s April Fool’s Day joke – the greatest I’d ever seen, and done as only the English can do such thing. Even the advertisers had gone along; Kodak, for example, had an ad that read: “If you have color photos of San Serriffe we’d like to see them.” In fact there is no such country and even the name is a play on words, “san serif” being a style of type without serifs.”
See a list of hoaxes counted down so far after the jump.