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Joshua Abraham Norton (February 4, 1818 – January 8, 1880), known as Emperor Norton, was a citizen of San Francisco, California, who proclaimed himself "Norton I, Emperor of the United States" in 1859. In 1863 he took the secondary title of "Protector of Mexico" after Napoleon III invaded that country. Norton was born in England but spent most of his early life in South Africa. He sailed west after the death of his mother in 1846 and his father in 1848, arriving in San Francisco possibly in November 1849.
Norton initially made a living as a businessman, but he lost his fortune investing in Peruvian rice to sell in China due to a Chinese rice shortage. He bought rice at 12 cents per pound from Peruvian ships, but more Peruvian ships arrived in port which caused the price to drop sharply to 4 cents. He then lost a lawsuit in which he tried to void his rice contract, and his public prominence faded. He re-emerged in September 1859, laying claim to the position of Emperor of the United States. Though Norton received many favors from the city, merchants also capitalized on his notoriety by selling souvenirs bearing his name. "San Francisco lived off the Emperor Norton," Norton's biographer William Drury wrote, "not Norton off San Francisco."
Norton had no formal political power; nevertheless, he was treated deferentially in San Francisco, and currency issued in his name was honored in the establishments that he frequented. Some considered him insane or eccentric, but citizens of San Francisco celebrated his imperial presence and his proclamations, such as his order that the United States Congress be dissolved by force and his numerous decrees calling for the construction of a bridge and tunnel crossing San Francisco Bay to connect San Francisco with Oakland.
On January 8, 1880, Norton collapsed at the corner of California and Dupont (now Grant) streets and died before he could be given medical treatment. Upwards of 30,000 people lined the streets of San Francisco to pay him homage at his funeral. Norton has been immortalized as the basis of characters in the literature of Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, Christopher Moore, Morris and René Goscinny, Selma Lagerlöf, and Neil Gaiman.
- "Emperor Norton" | 2019-08-09 | 92 Upvotes 26 Comments
- "Norton I, Emperor of the United States" | 2018-01-30 | 32 Upvotes 1 Comments
- "Emperor Norton" | 2015-06-08 | 89 Upvotes 14 Comments
Principality of Hutt River
The Principality of Hutt River, often referred to by its former name, the Hutt River Province, is an unrecognized micronation in Australia. The principality claims to be an independent sovereign state founded on 21 April 1970. The territory is located 517 km (354 mi) north of Perth, near the town of Northampton in the state of Western Australia. It has an area of 75 square kilometres (29 sq mi), making it larger than several independent countries. It is not recognized as a country by the Australian Government or any other national government, and the High Court of Australia and Supreme Court of Western Australia have rejected submissions arguing that it is not subject to Australian laws.
The principality was a regional tourist attraction until it announced it was closed to tourists after 31 January 2020. It issues its own currency, stamps and passports (which are not recognised by the Australian government or any other government). The micronation was founded on 21 April 1970 when Leonard Casley declared his farm to be an independent country, the Hutt River Province. He attempted to secede from Australia over a dispute concerning wheat production quotas. A few years later, Casley began styling himself as "Prince Leonard" and granting family members royal titles, although he did not include the word "principality" in the official name until 2006.
In February 2017, at the age of 91 and after ruling for 45 years, Casley abdicated the throne in favour of his youngest son, Prince Graeme. Leonard Casley died on 13 February 2019.
- "Principality of Hutt River" | 2013-06-11 | 13 Upvotes 10 Comments
Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone
The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ or the Zone), also known as Free Capitol Hill, is a self-declared intentional community and commune of around 200 residents, covering about six city blocks in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The zone was established on June 8, 2020 after the East Precinct was abandoned by the Seattle Police Department.
Republic of Indian Stream
The Republic of Indian Stream or Indian Stream Republic was an unrecognized constitutional republic in North America, along the section of the border that divides the current Canadian province of Quebec from the U.S. state of New Hampshire. It existed from July 9, 1832, to August 5, 1835. Described as "Indian Stream Territory, so-called" by the United States census-taker in 1830, the area was named for Indian Stream, a small watercourse. It had an organized elected government and constitution and served about three hundred citizens.
- "Republic of Indian Stream" | 2021-01-17 | 22 Upvotes 5 Comments
Republic of Molossia – A Micronation in the US
The Republic of Molossia, also known as Molossia, is a micronation claiming sovereignty over 1.28 acres of land near Dayton, Nevada. The micronation has not received recognition from any of the member states of the United Nations. It was founded by Kevin Baugh. On April 16, 2016, Baugh hosted a tour of Molossia, sponsored by the website Atlas Obscura. He continues to pay property taxes on the land to Storey County (the recognized local government), although he calls it "foreign aid". He has stated "We all want to think we have our own country, but you know the U.S. is a lot bigger".
- "Republic of Molossia – A Micronation in the US" | 2022-08-31 | 16 Upvotes 7 Comments