Top 10 Places to Start Your Own Country

English: Afro-Eurasia, "The Old World&quo...
English: Afro-Eurasia, “The Old World”, (orthographic projection) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So, you’ve decided to start your own country. The question becomes, where is your new micronation going to exist? Here are some suggestions.

  1. Outer Space– Turns out there’s a lot of space in outer space. You could claim some or all of one of our system planets, an asteroid, one of the many extra-solar planets, or the inky void itself. There are some international treaties that might interfere with this, but those won’t really be put to the test until someone gets up there and tries it. So, buy some Tesla stock and go for broke.
  2. Islands– There are a bunch of islands out there with no permament human population. These have often been targets of opportunity for aspiring nation builders. So much so, that the established nations keep a pretty close eye on them nowadays. Still, the remoteness of isalnds give their inhabitants a certain amount of de facto sovereignty, and just because other bids for island independence haven’t failed, doesn’t mean that your won’t succeed.
  3. The Oceans– This is not choosing a some desert isle out there. This is living on the ocean waves themselves. The (still largely theoretical) practice of living permanently on the oceans is called seasteading. While living on what would essentially be a super-sized houseboat would not satisfy some of the criteria of the Montevideo Convention, it does give you some of the greatest chances for de facto sovereignty. After all, if the locals are hassling you, you can just move.
  4. Sunken Continents– A sunken continent or land is territory that has either been submerged under the sea, or while close to the surface never really crested the waves. While the theorized continent of Lemuria was thought to be this, it turns out that Lemuria didn’t actually exist, which makes it more a mythical land (see below.) These have a lot of potential for aspiring nation founders- at least those with access to marine earth-moving equipment.
  5. Former Nations– For those micronationalists with a historical bent, you might consider taking up the banner of a former country. There are a lot of them, many with a rich history. Why should it all go to waste simply because some people have a difference of opinion over whether the Byzantine Empire is still ‘viable’?
  6. Mythical Lands– For that matter, why confine yourself to the historic? Many facsinating lands and people exist in the realms of myth, legend, and fiction. People often get into micronationalism for utopian reasons, so why not just go ahead and create your own Utopia?
  7. Disputed Territories– While established nations are usually quite good about maintaining and policing their borders, this can break down when those border are disputed with another established nation. Sometimes both countries claim a spot of land, but neither side occupies it for strategic reasons. Sometime, when new treaties are drawn up, some sliver of land gets left out. Many insanely ambitious micronationalists take advantage of this opportunity and proclaim the independence of the territory in dispute. Their success, and survival rate, is….mixed.
  8. Current Nations– In 1859, a fellow by the name of Norton proclaimed himself to be Emperor of the United States. He didn’t invent a new country. He didn’t go off and find some uninhabited spot of land. He simply saw and existing nation, and thought to himself, “I can to do better.” You can do that to. You might not get anyone else to recognize your claim, but that can’t and shouldn’t stop you from making it. How others handle it is their problem.
  9. Inner Space– But why do you even need land to begin with? At least at the start? A nation, after all, is more than simple territory. It is culture, national ideals, anthems and flags. It is a set of commemorative stamps. So why not start with that? Some of the most notable micronations out there started with a declared territory of someone’s bedroom.
  10. Internet– In a sense, all current countries, whether established or micro-, at least partially inhabit this space. An internet presence is considered by many an essential part of a micronation’s identity. It is the main way they interact with the world, and with other micronations. This is so true that you might say that the true iconoclast, the true rebel, alternative micronation, would have no internet presence whatsoever. Maybe this micronation, or many of them, already exist. But since they’re not on the internet, I don’t know about them.

Top 10 Micronations

Many micronations may found at the website for the Organization of Active Micronations

I’m going to be honest with you. I have no idea how to write a ‘Top 10 Micornations’ article. How do you even measure that? The ones with the most territory claimed? The one with the least. The most famous, the most notorious? The ones currently active today, or throughout history?

Also, this is certainly not a unique concept to me. There are many other top lists of micronations. Like these:

So, here’s another list of ten micronations. Are they the top ones? Sure. Why not?

Ten Micronations (That are probably tops)

  • Westartica

    Westartica, formerly the Grand Duchy of Estartica, formerly the Protectorate of Westartica, formerly the Achaean Territory of Antartica, claims land in Antartica, specifically Marie Byrd Land (defined as defined as all land south of 60° S and between 90° W and 150° W), and a few nearby islands. They basis this claim on a supposed loophole in international law that left this bit unclaimed by the major countries. While no major country has acknowledged this claim, it is a popular loophole, and has been used by a number of other micronational projects, including the infamous Dominon of Melchizedek. Westartica, and its ruler Grand Duke Travis McHenry, currently bill themselves as ‘advocacy through occupation’, stating their goal with the micronation is to draw attention to the environmental issues of Antartica. Their website may be found here.

  • Conch Republic

    A self-described ‘tongue in cheek’ secession movement, The Conch Republic was a response to frustation with local government. The territory declared its independence in 1982, and claimed the city of Key West, Florida. The territory currently claimed is variable. There is a yearly Independence Day celebration, and has become a party of the local tourism industry. The national mindset can best be described as ‘laid back.’

  • Kingdom of Ladonia

Ladonia was borne of Man’s two great motivators: the need to create art, and the need to sue people. The country was founded by the artist Lars Vilks, who built a monumental wooden sculpture ‘Nimis’ (‘Too Much’ in Latin) in the Kullaberg nature reserve in north-west Skåne, Sweden, in 1980. Because it was built in such a remote and innaccessible location, the Swedish authorities didn’t actually find out about the sculpture until about two years later. After they did find out about it, they declared the sculpture to be a building (to be fair, it was big and made of wood), and took Mr Vilks to court.

Over a decade of legal battles ensued, during the course of which Lars Vilks declared the independence of the Kingdom of Ladonia. The Swedish government was unable to really enforce their claims over their own territry, giving his claim some de facto, if not de jure, legitimacy.

Ladonia is a popular micronation, with over 17,000 citizens (none of whom live in the territory claimed). It has a some rather whimsical national characteristics (the national language only has two words), as befits a nation founded by an artist, and that I personally find quite appealing.

The Kingdom of Ladonia is still going strong today, despite some trouble with arsonists (as can be expected with a country based upon the erection of large wooden sculptures.)

If the Kingdom of Ladonia can be considered an ‘artistic’ micronation, then the Kingdom of Redonda may be considered a ‘literary’ micronation. It’s founder was the author MP Sheil, and many of its peers were early to mid 20th Century writers and poets. The details of its formation may have been a literary invention of Mr Sheil themselves. And, like any good story, there are multiple versions of it, with many current conflicting claims to kingship over the small, uninhabited, Caribbean isle.

From the artistic, to the literary, to the flat-out fraudulent. The Dominion of Melchizedek was started in 1990 by Mark Pedley, and has lent its name to banking fraud, passport fraud, and a whole host of other malfeasance. They are listed in the anti-scam website Quatloos! They are, quite frankly, a disgrace to micronations, and the less said about them the better.

I have some sympathy with these guys. Back in the early 70’s, they wanted to form a libertarian nation, a ‘libertopia’. I get that. I understand that. But they went at with a fatal combination of arrogance, naivete, and an unwillingness to fight for what they claimed. Their desires wrote checks their stomachs (and stomachs for fighting) could not cash. The whole sordid history may be found here.

Ah, Sealand. It may not be the oldest micronation, but it is one of the longest continuing micronations, and certainly one of the most well know. Started by Rory Bates on an abandoned WWII era offshore platform in 1965. It has survived fire, fame, the internet, and German businessmen. It’s political and commercial practices are still the model for a number of more recent micronations.

While other micronations may make more of a splash in the news, and others may have a more dramatic history, the Republic of Molossia is a great example of what most micronations can achieve. It’s a small operation, nothing grandiose, and while it is definitely done with a great deal of flair, there’s nothing extravagantly expensive about it. It’s a fun well-done hobby, that more micronations could learn lessons from.

The Free Republic of Liberland does not lack ambition. founded by ‘ Czech right-libertarian politician and activist Vít Jedlička‘, Liberland claims territory currently disputed by both Serbia and Croatia. They are explicitly billing themselves as a libertarian nation, and while their politics may drift a bit too much in vulgar libertarianism for my taste, I do admire the general thrust of their ideals, and their moxie. Still, They are messing with the borders of two countries not known for having a tolerant sense of humor, in a region of the world with very little chill. So good luck and don’t get shot?

The Principality of Hutt River is an Australian micronation, claiming a small part of Western Australia. Founded in 1970 over a dispute involving wheat quotas, Hutt River has evolved into a family affair, issuing a number of attractive coins, stamps, and other State paraphernalia.  Another nice success story for the micronation community.


Did I miss your favorite micronation? Let me know in the comments.

How to Start Your Own Country

I was going to write a really long, involved post about how to start your own country. Honest. But it turns out that a lot of people have already written a lot of great stuff on how to start your own country. So for the purposes of brevity and intellectual honesty, I’ll just link to them and provide some commentary.

Instructions and Resources for Starting Your Own Country

And, as a bonus….

So, those are the resources I have for starting your own country. Did I miss anything? Any that you’d care to suggest? Please let me know in the comments.

What is Lemuria?

The Wizard of Lemuria
The Wizard of Lemuria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So what the heck is a Lemuria, anyway? The history of Lemuria begins, as a remarkable number of things do, with Ancient Rome. Specifically, with the concept of the Lemure.

The lemures, also known as larvae, were the restless and malignant dead of Roman mythology. They are similar to the modern idea of the ghost. The Romans had an annual holy day for the lemures, known as Lemuria, or Lemuralia. The holiday was designed to appease the spirits of the restless dead (usually with beans), and filing that scaring them away (usually by banging pots together.) It was sort of their Halloween, if Halloween as incredible sedate and boring.

Next up in the story of Lemuria is the 18th naturalist Carl Linnaeus, known as the ‘Father of Modern Taxonomy.’ He developed a modern system for naming organisms, called binomial nomenclature (homo sapien, felix domesticus, etc.) He coined the name lemur for the small primates native to Madagascar, due to his observations that they were mainly nocturnal and slow moving, like the Roman conception of the lemure. It has sometimes been said that the primates were named after lemures because they were as creepy as ghosts when you shined a light on them at night, but this is evidently not the case (lemurs, with their shining eyes, are still spooky however.)

This leads us to the 19th century, in which scientists had a problem. They knew that animals weren’t just plunked down on the Earth willy nilly. They knew that animals species tended to be found in regions, and that if you went from one region to another, especially to another continent, you would tend to find a different species. But here was the problem- there were a number of species in the South Pacific that seemed to be bucking this trend. They were too closely related, yet too widely separated by being on different continents and islands. So, either someone was plunking down animals will nilly, or there was some hidden way for those widely separated to be connected.

Nowadays, we know the answer to this problem is plate tectonics- those widely separated places weren’t widely separated in the past. But plate tectonics is a 20th century idea, and they didn’t know about it in the 19th, and thus needed another explanation. They one they came up with was a hypothesized sunken continent connecting all these places when it was above water, then disappeared as it sank. Because Madagascar was supposed to be a former peak of this continent, this hypothetical land was called Lemuria, after the lemurs of Madagascar.

This is where the story gets differently interesting. I won’t say more interesting, because I find Roman mythology, word etymology, and the history of science to be pretty damned interesting in their own rights. But it does get interesting in other ways now.

Helena Blavatsky was a 19th century occultist, and might reasonably considered to be the ‘Mother of the New Age Movement‘. Anything dealing with Atlantis, Lemuria, crystals or other such woo in today’s popular culture can usually trace an inspiration back to her writings. She wrote that Lemuria was a lost continent, and home to one of Humanity’s ‘root races’. Writers such as Robert E Howard, HP Lovecraft, Lin Carter, and Richard E Shaver took her ideas and ran with them. A full list of uses of Lemuria in popular culture may be found here.

So there it is. Lemuria, land of ghosts and high weirdness. My kind of place.

 

The Lemurian National Anthem (version 1.0)

"Lemuria" in Tamil nationalist mysti...
“Lemuria” in Tamil nationalist mysticist literature, connecting Madagascar, South India and Australia (covering most of the Indian Ocean). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Our home, the island of Lemuria
The home of that most fortunate nation
Blessed of the Goddess Discordia
The crowning jewel in all of creation

The home of that most fortunate nation
This haven of magic and mystery
The crowning jewel in all of creation
Forever shall we proclaim victory

This haven of magic and mystery
Little isle that rests upon the ocean
Forever shall we proclaim victory
Lemuria will never be undone

Little isle that rests upon the ocean
And here on this rock we will make our stand
Lemuria will never be undone
We stand in defense of our Motherland

And here on this rock we will make our stand
Blessed of the Goddess Discordia
We stand in defense of our Motherland
Our home, the island of Lemuria!

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The Cult of the Lie: Five Truths

 

 

Lies
Lies (Photo credit: renaissancechambara)

As part of the the art-nation I call New Lemuria, I am developing a religion for the nation. Like a nation, I see religion as a vehicle for art creation. I have done some work in creating religions before. I shall take my time with this one, and resist the urge to saddle myself with a comprehensive framework. So, I give you five truths from the religion of New Lemuria, The Cult of the Lie.

 

Five Truths

 

  1. The Cult of the Lie declares that Nothing is True, Everything is Permitted.
  2. The Cult of the Lie declares all histories and peoples to be lies, and thus fictions. The Ascended Masters and Spiritual Homelands of the Cult are all imaginary. As is everything else.
  3. The Cult of the Lie declares that all science is Pataphysics, all facts are Damned, and all magic is Chaos.
  4. The nature and origin of all there is unknown, and unknowable. All theories upon those things are fictions, and must be judged by that standard.
  5. Every cultist of the Lie is the storyteller of their own lie.
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Introducing Lemurian Barbaric

I Am Fluent In Three Languages ...item 1.. For...
I Am Fluent In Three Languages …item 1.. For-Profit Colleges Pay Executives Based On Profit (07/27/2012 ) …item 2.. RACE TO THE BOTTOM (Thursday, July 5, 2012) …item 3.. Senator Harkin’s Report: (JULY 29, 2012) … (Photo credit: marsmet523)

Three interests of mine have come together (or crashed together, depending on how I feel): Micronations, Chaos Magick, and Conlangs. I’ve talked about the Nation of Lemuria before. I will be talking about chaos magick in later posts. But for right now, I want to talk about colangs, and my own conlang, Lemurian Barbaric.

The term ‘barbaric‘ means, in this context, a language that is barbarous on your tongue. It is not a langue that you think in reflexively, and it’s not supposed to be. This is a language designed to be exotic.

 

A conlang is, essentially, a CONstructed LANGuage. Tolkein’s Elvish and Star Trek‘s Klingon are both examples of conlangs. There are websites, podcasts, and online communities all devoted to conlangs (it is primarily an online phenomenon.)

One of the fun things about developing your own conlang is developing rules and grammar different from the ones you grew up with (the other one is coming up with dirty jokes in your conlang.) For example, here are some of the rules I’ve come up with for Lemurian Barbaric.


 

Verb-Framing

Lemurian Barbaric is generally a verb-framing language. This means the the path (or lack thereof) of an action is indicated by the verb itself, while the manner of movement is indicated by a modifier. In English, this would look like, “I moved away runningly”, as opposed to “I ran away.”

V-Prime

Lemurian Barbaric is unlike many other languages in two respects. It lacks the ‘to be’ verb (this is sometimes known as E-prime), and it lacks the singular tense. Thus, nothing is ever something else, nor is anything itself. All things (the closest word for ‘thing’, translates into ‘rhizome’ in English) have the aspects, shape, for characters, of the thing it is being compared to. Also, there is no ‘I’, although they do recognize singular people. This is due to their belief that all organisms are colonies. Thus, the only difference between a person and a group of people is size and complexity.

Ergative

Lemurian Barbaric is an ergative language.

Nonconcatenative morphology

Lemurian Barbaric is typically noncontatenative. This means that root words are strings of three consonants. Derivations are through vowel placement and prefixes.For example, the words for ‘ten’, ‘tenth’, and ‘ten times’ are kugug, kugag, and kugig.

Gender

There are five grammatical genders in Lemurian Barbaric. Unlike in most other languages, which tend to denote sexuality and physical gender, gender in Lemurian Barbaric denotes agency and materiality. Thus, you have the genders material inanimate, material animate, ideological, immaterial inanimate, and immaterial animate.

Word Order

The word order in sentences is typical Object, Verb, Subject. Which does lead to everyone sounding a bit like Yoda.


 

Lemurian Barbaric is still very much a work in progress. I’m also working on a writing style for the conlang. I’ll be posting updates on this from time to time.

Feel like making your own language? Drop me a line in your new language in the comments!

 

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The Lemurian Space Program

lisplogoOn this, International Space Day, the Nation of Lemuria is pleased to announce the formation of the Lemurian Interstellar Space Program (LISP). This mighty venture is, for the most part, completely theoretically right now. As is everything else about the Nation of Lemuria. At the start of LISP, it behooves us to look back at some of the spiritual forefathers and institutions that give Lemurians inspiration and act as role-models. So, here is a non-exhaustive list of some groovy strange attractors in the history of space exploration.

wparsonsJack Parsons

It usually starts with Jack. Co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, disciple of Aleister Crowley, he was one the great synthesizers of the occult arts and (at the time) fringe sciences.   Jack was there to see the birth of rocketry. He was there when science fiction became science fact. Nowadays, we live through that every day, so we may not appreciate the significance. But Jack Parsons didn’t do it at one remove, like we do. He was there. He lived it. And, in many ways, gave his life to it. Lately, there has been a bit of a move to write dear Mr. Parsons out of the history books. But we won’t forget about him.

aaastarThe Association of Autonomous Astronauts

Why should governments and megacorps have all the fun? The stated purpose of the Association of Autonomous Astronauts, or AAA, was to:

 have a meticulous, well thought out approach to how we’re going to destroy the state, corporate and military monopoly of space exploration.

I say was to because, like all great science endeavors, the AAA had a five year plan, that started in 1995. The ‘worldwide network of community-based groups dedicated to building their ownspaceships‘ they sought to foster did not materialize. Maybe thinking of the AAA in such gross material terms of actual spaceships actually launching is the problem. Still, there are some AAA and AAA-influenced still kicking around, and no one said there could only be the original five year plan. So, I consider LISP as AAA: The Next Generation. Or Deep Space Nine. Yeah, DS9. They had better writing, overall.

wasa_no_bg200The Welsh Space Agency

The Democratic Republic of Congo has its own space program. They aren’t a great model, in that they are already launching rockets (of a sort)- they’re too far along. More our speed is the Welsh Space Agency. Wool knit spacesuits FTW.

 

 

So, we have our role models. Now, what are we going to do about it? I’m still working on that. There are lots of options, more becoming available every day (space cannon, anyone?) Rest assured, I will be releasing more information on the LISP in future posts.

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Where is the Territory of Lemuria?

Republik Kugelmugel (a micronation)
Republik Kugelmugel (a micronation) (Photo credit: jirmania)

Many nations have territories, including micronations, and the sub-category we’re talking about, art-nations. Territory isn’t strictly necessary for micronations, mind you- these nations are still creations of the mind, and primarily exist there. Some micronations make a point of claiming no territory, making a deliberate critique of the modern nation-state, and its territorial monopoly.

Claimed territory does have some advantages, however. It can act as sort of a template for your art-nation, a package of themes and artifacts that you can unpack play with. It can also allow the art-nation creator to comment on and critique issues dealing with that territory.

Unlike ‘real’ nations, art-nations are not limited to what land they can conquer or steal. As far as what you can claim, you are limited only by your imagination (as long as you don’t try to enforce your claim.) Here are some possible choices:

 

I haven’t decided what choice to make yet (I’m also starting to reconsider the name.) I will let you know when I do. Do you have a preference? Are you inspired to create your own art-nation, and does one of these possibilities jump out at you? Let me know in the comments.

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Nationalism Rehabilitation & Art of Micronation

I am an Anarchist. This means I’m against the concept of the Nation-State. This does not necessarily mean that I am against the concept of the Nation, nor am I necessarily against a legal structure that might conceivably be called a State.

Not necessarily.

The vagaries of Statism should be well known, and is something I’ll tackle elsewhere (also Religion. Definitely tackle religion in another post.) Right now, we’re talking about Nationalism.

There are a lot of problems with Nationalism, which is just Tribalism with a starched collar. You suspend your own judgement, your own morality, for the supposed good of the group. You tend to think of everyone and everything not of the Nation, of the Tribe, as Other, unclean and alien. It leads to sacrifice– either others sacrifice you, you sacrifice yourself, or you sacrifice what you hold precious. Now there may be times when this is a legitimate action, but for a Nation? For the honor of what amounts to a social club? I don’t think so. All of these problems can be laid at the feet of religion as well, of course, which is Nationalism’s main problem- it is a secular form of religion.

So if Nationalism is such a problem, why not condemn it outright?

The art.

Anthems. Flags. Capitols. Uniforms. Constitutions. Mascots. Maps. Grand murals depicting great historic and allegoric events. National costumes. National birds, flowers, meals, salutations. The type of erotica identified with a particular nation. The concept of the Nation has been a vast well-spring of inspiration for artistic works. Religion, again, is another such inspiration, and their combination only magnifies the effect. One should live or die for a nation, but living and dying for Art? That’s something else to consider.

So, what we need to do is lift up the art of the nation, the art of Nationalism, while leaving the rest. What I need to is start an art-nation.

This is hardly an original idea on my part. Many of my inspirations, my artistic heroes, have done similar things. Stanisław Szukalski had the Tribe of the Horned Heart. NSK created their own State. Hell, the Situationists participated in a rebellion against France, and help hold Paris as an autonomous political entity for a few days in 1968. As I have said elsewhere, I will not look at other artists doing things I want to do as reasons for frustration, or for giving up. Rather, I will look upon them with gratitude, for the help they are giving me.

Now, a nation without commonly recognized sovereign territory is called a micronation, which is what these artistic nations were (except maybe for Paris and the Situationists. Those guys were hardcore.) I have no problem with starting a micronation. I done a couple before- the Aristocratic Confederacy of Kiribati, and the Triple Caliphate of Zarmina. Those attempts were somewhat abortive, and unsatisfactory. I think it’s because I went too fast with them. This project will be done more slowly, thoughtfully. More open-ended. I have enough on my plate without committing to this right now.

So, the first step of creating a nation, it seems to me, is to give it a name.  And given my near-incestuous tendency to reuse certain names and concepts, I’m going to call it….the Nation of Lemuria. Or Lemurian Nation. Whichever. More updates to come.

What do you think of nationalism? Micronations? Want to start your own nation as well? Let me know in the comments.

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