Saturday, May 4, 2013

Starting Your Own Country

Herewith a bit of historical trivia that is too hilarious to overlook: 50 years ago, the tiny village of Seborga on the Italian Riviera declared its independence as a sovereign nation when a local merchant, Giorgio Carpone, claiming some obscure link to the old Holy Roman Empire, declared himself Prince Giorgio I. Beginning in 1963, he was called His Tremendousness--or His Terrificness (Sua Tremendita in Italian).

Dying without heirs in 2009, the title to his realm passed to Prince Marcello I, who is no doubt also interested in imitating nearby Monaco and boosting tourism.  Even though Seborga has its own coinage (a bit like Arizona), it is legally still part of Italy and is not recognized by anyone outside the "principality."

Screenwriters looking for comic material for a movie might consider the 50-year reign of Prince Giorgio. I can picture someone like Silvio Berlusconi in the lead role. (Not a good idea.)

It occurs to me, at a time when extremists in America (as in Texas) often speak of seceding from the union, when Arizona proposes using gold and silver instead of dollars and when anti-federal fury drives many people to arm themselves with enough fire power to wipe out a regiment, that such radical separatists might heed the lessons of Seborga.

First, if you are going to start your own country, have a decent population (not a mere 362 souls), have some land (not a mere 5.8 square miles), and have some money so that, unlike the Prince of Seborga, you can hire more than one man to serve in the military.

Second, if you are serious about starting your own country, have a good sense of humor: know that the idea is essentially ridiculous.

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