Micro Nations

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By Mary McConville

 

If we want to travel Lonely Planet Publications can help us visit all the nations of the world. That includes the small, unofficial ones – the micro nations. Lonely Planet put out a guide in September 2005 subtitled  “The Lonely Planet Guide to Home Made Nations”. It is a very good guide to the world’s self defined, supposedly independent states. It contains information on place and population, leaders and land limits. We also get the history and the reasoning behind the secessions. Some are just jokes, others were instituted as a serious protest. Big nations usually ignore them.

Most of these micro nations point to the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States to back up their legitimacy. It says that a nation must have at least four things in order to exist

  1. A permanent population
  2. A defined territory
  3. Some form of government
  4. The ability to form a relationship with other states

The big countries don’t think much of the Montevideo Convention. They prefer the Constitutive Theory of Statehood. One problem is that the Montevideo Convention says that statehood is defined by the state itself. The Constitutive Theory says that a state is only legitimate if recognised by other states. It feels like the small states are like a poodle  yapping “I am, I am” and the big states are a Great Dane placidly ignoring them.

In Australia the most well known micro nation is the Hutt River Province in Western Australia. This Principality is headed by His Royal Highness Leonard and Her Royal Highness Princess Shirley, Dame of the Rose of Sharon.

The Hutt River Province was established in 1970 after Prince Leonard (then a plain Mister) got so frustrated with the Tax Department that he seceded by declaring war on Australia and 24 hours later declaring peace. I think the reasoning was that if you come out of a state of war uninvaded and still in control then you’re considered a sovereign nation. The Australian Government doesn’t make a big fuss about it and the Province does bring in the tourist dollars. Another micro nation is in South Australia and is led by British immigrant and monarchist Alex Brackstone who has declared allegiance to the Queen of England. Tasmania has the Duchy of Avram and Victoria has the independent state of Rainbow.

One declared kingdom is limited to one flat. That is the land of Lovely, in London, which is limited to the flat of its King, Danny 1. It does have a lot of citizens but they live elsewhere. Only the King lives in Lovely. There is also a Kingdom with no inhabitants at all. This is Ladonia, in Sweden.

Can we rely on the information between these pages?  Probably. It does have a stamp on the cover that says “Real People, Real Places, 100 % True” (irony?). The Lonely Planet people have been in the business for years and have a good reputation. If you want to be sure, go and visit the Coperman Empire where you will be welcomed and served tea and cucumber sandwiches with the King, for a price.

 

        Life’s F.A.Q.                                              Answers

  1. Are we there yet?                                    Patient sigh
  2. Where’s the loo?                                    That direction
  3. May I?                                                       Certainly
  4. Could you?                                                Yes
  5. Milk and sugar?                                      No sugar, I’m sweet enough,
  6. Whodunnit?                                             The Butler
  7. You want fries with that?                      Yes, super size me
  8. Who farted?                                               The dog
  9. Can I help you?                                         Just browsing
  10. Why not?                                                    Because I said so
  11. How much?                                                Heaps
  12. How much?!!                                              Just as I said
  13. Do you wanna …?                                      Not tonight, I’ve got a headache
  14. Isn’t it?                                                          It is
  15. Got any ID?                                                  I left it in my other jacket
  16. Aren’t you finished yet?                            Be patient
  17. You’re what ?!!                                            Pregnant
  18. Where did I leave the car keys?              In the ignition
  19. Quo Vadis?                                                  All roads lead to Rome
  20. Where is the money going  to come from?       On credit
  21. Why me?                                                      Why not you
  22. Surely not?                                                   Don’t call me Shirley
  23. Who left the lights on?                             Not me
  24. What’s cooking?                                        Leftovers
  25. Is it over?                                                      Not till the fat lady sings
  26. Does my bum look big in this?               Of course not
  27. And then what happened?                      They all lived happily ever after
  28. Is that all there is?                                     Yes, roll credits
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