Welcome to the Holy Empire of Reunion! You must be
thinking: "but what is this craziness about "? Ill try to explain, with
(not so) few words, what it is and how this political simulation, this
micronation works, involving over one thousand people worldwide, and that it
has already been subject for articles in some of the most sold and important newspapers in
countries such as Brazil, Italy, Greece, United States, England, Taiwan, and France,
besides several literary works portraying the phenomenon called "micronationry".
A micronation is a political simulation, a hobby involving people who are fond of
politics, history, and international relations; this is "countrymodelism". It
works like this: some people gather themselves and found a country, and such country has
all the characteristics of a National State, except for one: jurisdiction on its
territory. Other requirements are present, such as population, government and citizenship.
Like never seen before.
Reunion, for instance, has a constitutionthe Holy Oneand
also a very complex government system, based on the division of duties, as well as on the
existence of a higher power, superior to the other ones, which intervenes only when
necessary, so that the peace and order required for the good performance of the
micronation is maintained.
While in your "macronation" your opinion is stated through
your representatives only (unless you are an "Excellency", of course ;-), you
can fight for your interests in a micronation such as Reunion. Due to the tiny number of
citizens, your opinion makes a difference; even if you do not hold a position of great
importance during your initial months as a citizen, every one will listen to your voice.
It is not unusual to see "newcomers" becoming members of the "Ruling
Class" within few weeks.
There are over 400 micronations around the world, being several of them
"represented" on the Internet. Some micronations use the most curious government
systems (however, monarchies are the most used government system, both constitutional and
absolutist), countries who operate as if they were really sovereign. In order to serve as
mediator among so many countries, the League of Secessionist States, L.O.S.S., known as
"micronations UNO", has been created. The most influential nations of the
so-called Micronational World (idiotically nicknamed microworld, since such
world is not small at all) are League members. Microcountries or microstates, as they are
also calledsomething that the good doctrine sees suspiciously, as we will see
aheadare subject of study for sociologists and other scholars; micropatriology is a
human science in its core, having been main subject of books and theses discussing the
possibility ofsayartificially creating a society. Among the greatest
researchers of this matter, we can find the French professor Fabrice O 'Driscoll, chairman
of the French Institute of Micropatriology, who published his book "Ils ne siègent
pas a l´ONU" in late 1999, by Les Presses du Midi publishing house (it can be bought
via Internet, for about 20 euros at FNAC, for instance). I have enthusiastically
cooperated with Fabrice to publish his book, which is already regarded as the
Classically, the Micronational Movement is divided into three types of
micronations: derivatists (who use actual elements only; their members use real names, the
nation is usually located where its leader or founder lives, and its history begins from
its foundation, with no fictional element; e.g., Talossa), modelists (those which mix
fiction and reality; their members may use pseudonyms, but they never take different
characters. Their location may be anywhere on Earth, even if no citizen whatsoever is an
inhabitant of such place. They may adopt fictional tales until the day of their
foundation, and then their actual history starts being written from such point onwards.
Reunion is the greatest example of this category, very popular in Latin America. Modelists
are fully aware that this is a hobby, a simulation.), and peculiarists (they are almost
fully fictional; their members may play several characters, including nonhumans, they may
be located on another planet or dimension, and their history is always fantastic. No
micronation is a better example of this subdivision than Llome). There are degrees of
peculiarism: a nation so classified may be located, for example, on Saturn, with nonhuman
inhabitants, but its events are real, and it is extremely active. On the other hand, a
peculiarist micronation may be located in Bolivia and its events may be a result of the
imagination of its members, even on a daily basis.
According to some, there would also be virtualist micronations, those
which despite having features of any of such three categories mentioned above, consider
themselves as "unreal countries" or even "virtual cities"; but we
believe that this classification is wrong, for the very fact that they are not
micronations, they are online RPG activities, which are just a flash in the pan (the late
Web Island and Santa Clara are examples). We believe that the word "virtual" is
antithesis to "micronation", since a micronation consists of real people, who
undergo real events. Additionally, we consider that a "virtualist" organization
has no citizens, but members.
Many micropatriologists believe in the existence of the so-called
"one-man nations", micronations formed by only one inhabitant or even several
ones, which for vanity or any other reason, have their founder as the only person who
really decides what has to be done, as the only active citizen. We prefer to ignore this
classification, because it may be part of the other three ones, depending on their system.
There are also organizations that charge money for nobility titles or even citizenship; we
do not consider them as real micronations, since they should be of a nonprofit nature.
Zugesbucht and Chocônia are blatant examples.
A whole paragraph must be dedicated for what Aguiar classified as concretists, those
(supposed) micronations recognized as sovereign and independent by one or more
macronations, not being U.N.O. members, though (Internationalist Celso Duvivier de
Albuquerque Mello believes that, with rare exceptions, a nation must be part of UNO in
order to be considered as a STATE). Like Jean Tisserand and Thomas Leys, we also disagree
with this conception, because we believe they are microstates, not micronations. Seborga
and Sedang are examples. The difference between microstates and micronations lies in the
fact that the latter does not struggleor are unable to do soto be
diplomatically recognized by 'macronations', since they do not have legitimate arguments
to request full jurisdiction over a territory, pursuant to the International Law.
Micronational studies also mention the so-called projectist
micronations, which would be projects of an ideal nation, where a government system and a
social structure are developed, but what has been created is not intended to become into
an active microcountry. Many of them are born as a school assignment or even to illustrate
the ideas of a given political party. Alphistia and URSP are good examples.
Notwithstanding, we believe that projectists are a subspecies of modelists, since they fit
perfectly in their description.
It is not possible to define where or when micronations first appeared.
But there is evidence, for instance of nations created twenty (e.g. Kingdom of Talossa) or
thirty years ago (Kingdom of Landreth). For such a reason, the terms "virtual
country" or "net citizen", wrongly used by some, must be repudiated. This
is not about "virtual", since there are micronations which does not have
representation on the Internet to date, in addition to those that, not until months or
years of existence, have decided to put a website on the World Wide Web. Among the most
influential micronations, few of them operate only on the Internet; and even those who
were created on the web have surpassed the barrier of e-mails, MSNs or ICQs through
meetings among citizens and lots of paper consumed by their administrations every day.
It is very usual to see some of these nations trying to be different,
upon using other denominations rather than the currently widespread
"micronation" one; therefore, one can find "virtual communities",
"online communities ", "nationettes", "minisocieties", etc.
This is what we call self-affirmationism. Nevertheless, they are usually deemed as
micronations, because they fully and completely fit micronation profile; besides, such
fragmentation is extremely harmful to study micronations.
A micronation becomes influential not for its "military
power"something thoroughly nonexisting in the Micronational World (most nations
repudiate the idea of an actual micronational war; the maximum one could see would be a
verbal conflict, a "Cold War"), but only after the evaluation of the following
interdependent criteria: activity, credibility, micronational history of their leaders.
Activity is easily evaluated; how often does such micronation issue laws? How many
newspapers does it have? Does it hold elections? Is there much political debate? How many
citizens does it have? In case of being on line, does it have a discussion list?
Credibility is more deeply assessed: does such micronation comply with the provisions of
the Intermicronational Law (which coincide with the International Law, that governs the
relations among States)? When so required, does it have polite and formal relations with
the others? Is it recognized as active? The micronational history of their leaders is
quite important as well: is it run by people who change micronations like one changes
clothes? Are their leaders renowned micropatriologists, those always referred to when
discussing the "micronation" subject? Certain scholars take the macronational
fame aspect into account, which would consist in the publicity received by such country in
the media: how many times has it been on the papers? In how many countries? Has it already
been on TV? However, we consider that this is not an important aspect to ascertain the
degree of development of a microcountry.
Micronational isolationism, is increasingly usual, a policy according
to which a micronation halts formal and even informal relations with other micronations.
This is common among self-affirmationism followers, and some of them are so xenophobic to
the extent of attacking anyone who makes statements in public places of their countries.
There is isolationism which arises simply from a sense of superiority (this is the case of
Talossa, which considers itself as unique, unbeatable, and that ended up ignoring the
existence of 99% of micronations, after years "heading" the list of participants
of the micronational movement.), the one which results from Evan Gallaghers new
micronational theories (who believes that micronations, in order to survive, must become
less formal and bureaucratic, by losing even the connotation of "country"
towards a concept which would be broader, the one of "society". This is the case
of Pingüínia), and those resulting from a diplomatic policy (when the government of a
micronation decides to cut diplomatic relations with every person and "live
internally", as once said micropatriologist Rick Harwood). A consequence thereof is
the full relativization of the idea of credibility.
Yet, of course, we understand that the most important in micronations
is not their leaders and their foreign influence, rather than their domestic traits, to be
defined by the willingness to work and progress shown by their people. We are closer to
isolationists at such aspect: how is it possible to be an internationally strong nation if
it is domestically weak and inactive? We will start dealing with this now, obviously
taking as example the Holy Empire of Reunion.
Interaction between citizens and the State
For such, the Empire has two message lists, one in English and the other one in
Portuguese, on which new citizens are enrolled after their Citizenship Form is received by
the Ministry of Tourism and Immigration. Upon sending an e-mail to any of them, each one
of the "subjects" is going to receive a message, so that their opinion is to be
considered by all, from the Premier until those citizens whooften for their own
choicedo not hold any public position.
In order to hold a public position, wishing is not enough. The
Government evaluates the participation and fluency of persons at the message list
discussions. When someone is included, he/she already canand muststart taking
part in whatever is debated: only by participating is that his/her name "catch the
eye" of the "powerful", by opening for himself/herself the horizons of the
Reunian politics, which is as complex as the one of a macronation, or even more.
I dare to say that the Micronational State is almost a large
"sinecure office". In spite of the existence of numerous privately-owned
companies (mostly 'huge' holdings or newspapers), most active citizens consists of civil
servants; all want a position with some degree of power. And this is one of the main
appeals of a micronation: how easy to have power and active voice is. There is no point at
all in "shrinking" administration: after all, people are not paid!
"Addiction" and conflict with reality
A micronation is a world in its own. It is something almost schizophrenical, and even
addictive. 'Micropatriologists' (those who either take part in or study micronations)
usually refer to their lives outside this hobby as "real life". However, this is
quite mitigated in Reunion. Through software such as ICQ and MSN, citizens meet each
other, become friends, and sometimes hold meetings in restaurants and other public places,
where there are concentration of citizens.
You will have two kinds of friends when joining a microcountry: those
you have met in the micronation and the one you brought to the micronation. It is not
unusual that people start "spreading" how cool our hobby is, what entails the
entrance of several people from their friend relationships into the country. Another thing
that frequently occurs is friendship relations with citizens from other micronations,
since intermicronational relations are very intense, such as in the case of Reunion, for
Like any societyand a micronation is indeed a small society,
quarrels and conflicts between citizens happen. But for such, just like in macronations,
the Judiciary Branch exists, and it mediates and often settles these divergences.
Similarly to a macronation, the Judiciary Branch holds the ius imperii, the "Empire
power", to make those under its aegis to comply with the laws which govern this
This huge resemblance to "reality"although some
micropatriologists consider that there is no difference between a micronation and reality
("the former is part of the latter")has been causing very funny episodes
in the case of the Holy Empire, after microcountries joined the WWW. It became usual for
the Government to receive messagesand even lettersfrom people believing that
the Empire is a macronation. We received once a proposal from a New Zealand-based law firm
who wanted to represent us in that country for the absurd amount of three hundred thousand
dollars. In another instance, we received the Résumé from a French student who would
like to take a test for the University of Reunion. The board of directors of Comet
Organizations, one of the privately-owned companies headquartered in Reunion, received a
letter from a lady stating to be one of its shareholders, and claiming dividends. Several
other cases occurred, something that makes this hobby even funnier.
During over nine years of existence, we saw that micronationalism is a
tool for personal growth, and intellectual and personal enrichment: we have witnessed many
citizens graduating in professions with which they had the first contact through
micronationalism, and even everlasting marriages between citizens. Thus, we conclude that
practicing micronationalism is dealing with diverging people, egos and ideas; a real
school for the so-called "real world".
The Holy Empire of Reunion
Founded on August 28, 1997 by some friends and meamong them I point out the
important participation of my friend Bernardo Bauer, the "Erik Fitzgerald", HTML
wizard, the Empire of Reunion was born after the failure of the Empire of O País! (The
Country!), of which I was the minister of foreign affairs. We usually refer to O País! as
a time of learning, when we had the first contact with micronations and the micronational
world. Being umexperienced, we attempt to create a nation which was peculiarist and
modelist at the same time, what ended up not working out. Thus, we decided to start from
scratch, and, with the help from Pedro Aguiarthen Chancellor of Porto Claro, who had
been involved with micropatriology on the Internet since 1996, we founded Reunion.
Reunion began with six people four of them have already
emigrated, and, within one year, reached the amazing number of three hundred citizens,
nationals from twenty different countries; we have today more than 900 citizens, and among
them, according to the latest census, about 200 are fully active and registered on the
discussion lists. From an absolutist government, it evolved until the current limited
democracy, working based on the system of checks and balances, with the possibility of
intervention from the Moderating Branch, as represented by the Emperor and the Lord
Protector, his direct advisor. This operation if governed by the Holy Constitution, which
regulates both the relations among the four branches and the relations among Reunian
subjects. The "Holy One" has already undergone some amendments, on the part of
the Premier (Head of the Executive Branch) and the Distinguished Imperial Council of
Statethe "distinguished one" (the upper, aristocratic Chamber of the
Unlike one wonders, just like every hobby, Reunion is what we call a
"serious play". This is a real ministate, where there are laws and hierarchy, an
order to be maintained. Whoever thinks that the citizens do not care about what they do
here is wrong. This is evidenced by the so-called "Duardista Attempt", when one
of the founders of the Empire and a former Imperial Associate Justice (Head of the
Judiciary Branch) obtained the nations representation password on the WWW and
changed the password, and demanded, through blackmail, that the results of a given
election were manipulated in favor of his party. However, the established authorities
managed to recover the password, and the 'traitor' was punished with expulsion. Other
revolution attempts occurred; one the most famous cases is the "Hypocrite
Insurrection", when two hereditary captains tried to secede their Captaincies, but it
has also failed.
As it can be seen, an organized micronation is not a bed of roses; some
people act wrongly, but Justice is served, no matter what it takes. The Imperial Associate
Justice judges crimes committed by citizens in accordance with the usage and the
Constitution. Among such crimes, slander and defamations is a very usual one, in addition
to attempts of insurrections, usually ignored by the citizens of the Empire. Anyway, the
Reunion Criminal Law is adapted to the Internet; many of the crimes described therein
could not be committed outside the World Wide Web. Our Judiciary Branch is active and
competent, being the General Counsel Office a part of it, in charge of preparing every
case for trials.
The Empire of Reunion is one of the most active micronations in the
micronation world. Its citizens are constantly involved in political debates, whether
among each other or with 'inhabitants' from other countries. The Imperial Chancellery, who
is in charge of foreign affairs, keeps contact with over one hundred microcountries, and
formal diplomatic relations with about thirty of them. Unlike other micronations
considered as influential (like Talossa and Pinguínia), the Empire believes in the
importance of interaction among micropatriologists, and never loses an opportunity to
begin friendly relations with a new country (of course, after the Chancellerys
Information Department thoroughly examines its project). A great deal of the Empire fame
comes from such belief, and the Empire is always open to dialogue with other nations.
Macronational Press and the Empire
Micronations may be wrongly regarded as "silly plays", or even an "insane
mix of real and virtual worlds", but one thing is unanimous: they are an extremely
interesting, complex and almost inexhaustible subject. Therefore, it not unusual to read
articles about micronations in computer or behavior sections in newspapers from different
Proudly, the Empire of Reunion is the most frequently portrayed
micronation in articles of both domestic and foreign newspapers, being even subject of a
story on São Paulos Cultura TV, which showed very clearly the
"micronations" subject in its morning news. Some of the numerous newspapers and
magazines who have already published stories on Reunion and other micronations are VEJA
(BRAZIL), INTERNET BR (BRAZIL), SUCESSO ON-LINE (BRAZIL), WEBGUIDE (BRAZIL), VISÃO
(PORTUGAL), JORNAL DO BRAZIL (Rio de Janeiro-BRAZIL), O DIA (Rio de Janeiro -BRAZIL), O
CORREIO POPULAR (São Paulo-BRAZIL), DIÁRIO DE PERNAMBUCO (Pernambuco-BRAZIL), FOLHA DE
S. PAULO (São Paulo -BRAZIL), O ESTADO DE SÃO PAULO (São Paulo -BRAZIL), A TARDE
(Bahia-BRAZIL), LA LIBERÁTION (FRANCE), LE MONDE (FRANCE), LE QUOTIDIEN (ISLAND OF
REUNION), THE NEW YORK TIMES (USA), ASIAN TIMES (TAIWAN), TA NEA (GREECE), LA REPUBBLICA
(ITALY), besides newspapers in Belgium, Turkey, Cyprus, Costa Rica and Germany. BBC LONDON
is one of the nonwritten means of communication which has already made stories about
Reunion; on the show about us, BBC called us a "world example of how the so-called
micronational movement grows more and more ". Notwithstanding, few journalists can
see that micronationalism is neither a "young peoples play" nor RPG;
rather, it is something much more serious and profound: a study for life, involving
hundreds of people from every idea and belief.
The most examined aspect by all of these newspapers was the fact that,
in Reunion, the opinion of each on the citizens is hugely important. Copies of all the
stories are available in the Imperial Archives.
Now, that I have already explained to you what a micronation is really about, Id
like to say goodbye by making you an invitation. Join us, take part in this so funny and
unpredictable hobby. Everything can happen in Reunion; here, youll have a voice. Be
one of us, I guarantee youll not regret; after all, all you have to do to move in
here is to fill out a form! If you are a citizen already and whishes to be active, visit
our CITIZENS HANDBOOK.
Please receive a brotherly hug from.
H.H.I.M. Emperor Claudio the First
André P. R. de Castro ]
Saint-Denis, October 10th, 2005)