Famous micronationalists


Did you know that Voltaire (1694–1778) was probably the world's first modern micronationalist? Towards the end of his life, Voltaire purchased an estate, and moved back over the French border in order to build his château in Ferney (today Ferney-Voltaire). Here Voltaire became the local patriarch and patron, setting up potteries, a watchmaking industry, and theatres. During Voltaire's residence (1759-1778), the population of Ferney increased to more than 1,000, and today Ferney-Voltaire is a peaceful French town with a Saturday market, and 7,822 residents. [1]

However, John Lennon (1940–1980) and Yoko Ono (1933– ) as a couple also dabbled in micronationalism. On April Fools' Day in 1973, John Lennon and Yoko Ono announced the birth of Nutopia, the world's first country where all people are ambassadors! Nutopia was described as "a conceptual country" with no boundaries and "no laws other than cosmic." At the time, Mr. Lennon was being threatened with deportation because of a 1968 marijuana conviction in Britain. As Nutopian ambassadors, Mr. and Ms. Lennon asked for diplomatic immunity and United Nations recognition, and they gave "One White Street" as the embassy address. Neither of them ever lived at that address, so it appears that Nutopia had a serious geography problem.

Kenyan environmental and political activist, and Nobel Laureate Wangari Maathai (1940–2011) was also a micronationalist. On 20 April 2009, at the UCLA Fowler Museum, she stated that Kenya's problems run deeper than its current government. When the British handed power to Kenyans, they lacked the legal and administrative knowledge required to run a state, "had not even known the concept of a nation, except [as] the concept of their tribe", and she referred to tribes as micronations. It seems today that Dr. Maathai was intelligent in more ways than one, as tribes and Fifth World nations are the same thing! At that gathering she added, "Look at a country like France, which is generally very united and very proud of itself", she said to a laugh from the crowd. "You'll find that micronations have the same parameters that make them proud... a sense of belonging and a sense of history, a sense of the past, a sense of heritage."

In 'Zones of Transition': Micronationalism in the work of J.G. Ballard, Simon Sellars has recently re-read the Ballardian spaces of James Graham Ballard (1930–2009) in light of the idiosyncratic, real-world phenomenon of micronations, tracing parallels between Ballard's physical and psychological spaces and Marc Augé's idea of 'non-place'. So it appears that English novelist and short story writer J.G. Ballard was also a micronationalist, at least in his fiction.

HMRD Cesidio Tallini [2, 3]