Thursday, September 26, 2013

Thursday in History: Microfreedom

Everyone, at one time or another in their childhood (or after) has built a fort out of couch cushions or in a tree, or claimed an area of the yard or playroom as a sovereign nation, free from such restrictions as only a single graham cracker for snack or no cake in the evening after brushing one's teeth. Usually, these tyrannical tendencies end when it's lunchtime or afternoon nap. For some, however, the desire to be free survives its playful child-like origins and results in a micronation.
Micronations, according to wikipedia, are "entities that claim to be independent nations or states but which are not recognized by world governments or major international organizations."
Many micronations are jokes, tourist attractions, or moneymaking hoaxes.  The Aerican Empire's capitol is in Montreal, and includes territory all over the world as well as colonies on Mars and Pluto. The Conch Republic in the Florida Keys, with its motto, "we seceded where others failed," began as a protest in 1982 against a US Border Patrol block that was restricting tourism, and though the roadblock is long gone, the micronation continues today as a tourism booster. One of the most famous hoaxes was perpetrated by the famous explorer Gregor MacGregor in 1822, who convinced quite a few people that a native king had given him land for a new kingdom. Micronation hoaxes have continued ever since, offering loans, printing and selling bonds, and laundering money.
On this day in history in 1971,  a group of Danish squatters living in a former military base in Copenhagen declared their territory to be the sovereign nation of Freetown Christiania. This 84 acre area is tolerated but not acknowledged by the government, and has been a place of contention ever since its beginning, and continues to be one today.
If you get the urge to declare your own government, I would recommend the silly/couch style rather than a rioting/financial fraud type. Though I suppose that freedom is freedom, even if it's microfreedom.

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