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Welcome to the Holy Empire of Reunion! You must be thinking: "but what is this craziness about "? I’ll 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 constitution–the Holy One–and 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 called–something that the good doctrine sees suspiciously, as we will see ahead–are 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 of–say–artificially 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 micronations’ bible.

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 struggle–or are unable to do so–to 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 Gallagher’s 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 who–often for their own choice–do 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 can–and must–start 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 instance.

Like any society–and 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 society.

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 messages–and even letters–from 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 me–among 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 Aguiar–then 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 State–the "distinguished one" (the upper, aristocratic Chamber of the Legislative Branch).

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 nation’s 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 Chancellery’s 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 countries.

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 Paulo’s 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 people’s 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, I’d 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, you’ll have a voice. Be one of us, I guarantee you’ll 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 CITIZEN’S HANDBOOK.

Please receive a brotherly hug from.

H.H.I.M. Emperor Claudio the First
[ Cláudio André P. R. de Castro ]
Saint-Denis, October 10th, 2005)