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When I asked my friends for challenge ideas, Henry suggested I’d become a citizen of a micronation or two. Brilliant idea I thought, - and promptly went online to figure out what was needed.
What in the world is a micronation?
“A micronation is any entity—physical or virtual—that purports to be or have the appearance of being a sovereign state, but actually isn’t” says Bloomberg. A quick Wikipedia search informed me that the difference between Micronations and ‘imaginary countries’ is a “formal and persistent, even if unrecognised, claim of sovereignty over some physical territory”. The earliest known micronations date from the beginning of the 19th century.
The advent of the Internet provided the means for people to create many new micronations, there are currently 75 listed on Wikipedia. They range from a TV stunt (‘Lovely’ created in 2004 by comedian Danny Wallace as part of his BBC series, How to Start Your Own Country) to Sealand (an offshore platform located 7.5 mi off the coast of Suffolk riddled by take-over coups) to a Brazilian law students’ political simulation and research project (The Holy Empire of Reunion).
Next step: ‘citizenship’.
Almost every self-respecting micronation has some sort of website. Even if it is just a landing page with the noble founder in a regal, red velvet cloak, sceptre in hand.
As it turns out, citizenship is easily gained. In most cases by either filling in an online form or sending an email, the more complex procedures requiring wire transfers of up to 10 USD. That seemed disappointingly easy and not really worth a challenge.
With all the uncertainty of our current political landscape and BREXIT on the loom, - why not start my own nation?
This project is about stepping outside my comfort zone and taking on challenges. Founding a (micro-)nation in a week, seemed like a sizeable challenge. A few clicks and voilà, a ‘Wiki-How’ page with a 10-step process, richly illustrated. What could possibly go wrong?
ased on the Montevideo Convention on the Right and Duties of States, a state should possess the following qualifications:
- a permanent population
- a defined territory
- a government
- the capacity to enter into relations with the other states.
You will be delighted to hear, that the first three bullet points were a piece of cake. Our rapidly growing population indicates their desire to join by pressing the ‘like’ button on our Facebook Site. Come on, - join us . You know you want to . . .
Defining territory was also much easier then expected, as Wiki-How explains “one doesn’t have to acquire any specific land, one can just claim it. A backyard, a whole property or something public, such as a park or an empty lot”. Going with the spirit of ‘Defying Gravity’ we claimed a couple of first and second floor flats of devoted citizens in Kensington and Chelsea.
And as far as the government goes, well what are friends for if not to moonlight as the ‘Minister of War and Peace’ for your latest project?!
In our inaugural (and currently only) meeting, we efficiently ploughed through the remaining essentials of a nation:
- Name: NATANTIS (Latin for ‘floating’)
- National Motto (official): ‘Contra Gravitatem’
- National Motto (informal): ‘She made me do it, but I like it’
- National Flag and Crest: A clear reference to Newton
- Form of Government: Single Candidate Democracy
- Single Candidate (unanimously elected): You guessed it, - me
- Government: please watch our governmental promo reel at the top of the page for details
- National Currency: Hugs
- National Holidays: 18th of February – Founding Day and every first Monday of the moth (because the citizens deserve it)
- National Sport: Reeling (only spinning and turning)
- National Animal: Pegasus
- National Dress: White Tie
- Main Communication Channel for Ministers and Citizens alike: Our Natantis Facebook Page
Not too bad for a Thursday evening. The one sore point is that we are currently not recognised by any other (micro-)nation. But I’m sure our Minister of Foreign Affairs will see to this imminently.
Thank you Henry, for a great first building block of an idea.
Please stay tuned for next week, when I’m attempting to ski backwards.