Kingdom of Talossa
The Kingdom of Talossa or Regipäts Talossan ([ˈred͡ʒipæt͡s tɐɫɔˈsan] ( )) is a small unrecognized nation led by John Woolley as King John. (The Kingdom referred to itself as a micronation for many years.)
The name Talossa comes from the Finnish word talossa, meaning "inside the house" (that is, the root talo meaning house or building, in the inessive case). It was selected by the country's founder, Robert Ben Madison, because it described the kingdom's territorial claim (then limited to his bedroom).
The Kingdom of Talossa was founded on December 26, 1979 by Robert Ben Madison, a 14 year-old resident of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA, shortly after the death of his mother. At that time the kingdom occupied Madison's bedroom, and Madison adopted the name "Talossa" for it after discovering that the word means "inside the house" in Finnish.
Over the years, Talossa's territorial claims expanded from Madison's childhood bedroom to encompass most of Milwaukee's East Side, as well as the French island of Cézembre and a large chunk of Antarctica (called Pengöpäts, which means Penguin-land in the Talossan language). Other claims were made but later abandoned.
Early Growth of Talossa
Madison maintained Talossa throughout his adolescence and college years. During this time, some 40 other people joined Talossa, mostly in the Milwaukee area but including several of Madison's friends and acquaintances in Europe. The first democratic elections were held in 1981, and Talossa became a constitutional monarchy in 1985.
Although Madison maintained primary control over the nation, sporadic changes in its form occasionally occurred. In an effort to save the monarchy, Madison abdicated for the first time in early 1987 in favour of Robert Dobberpuhl (King Robert II), but at the next election, anti-monarchists prevailed, leading to Dobberpuhl's "legislative beheading" and the brief redubbing of the nation as "The Peculiar Republic of Talossa". The monarchy was restored months later, however, although Madison initially declined to return to the throne and his high school English teacher Florence Yarney served as Queen of Talossa for nine months, overseeing a period of growth of parliamentary power in the nation, before abdicating in Madison's favor in early 1988.
In 1996, Talossa's web page came to the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers via a series of stories published in such newspapers as the New York Times and Wired, which were subsequently republished by newspapers in many other countries. Several dozen new citizens joined Talossa as a result, although Madison's requirement that a copy of his manuscript history of the nation be purchased by and mailed to each prospective citizen dissuaded most.
Formation of the Republic of Talossa
The admission of new citizens who had become aware of Talossa through the Internet brought both vitality and turbulence to the Kingdom, as Madison wanted active and involved citizens who, at the same time, would never oppose him. The result was a mass exodus in 1997 to found Penguinea, followed by a second mass exodus in 2001. A third incarnation of the same basic conflict caused a group led by Christopher Gruber (to whom Madison had previously awarded the Order of the Nation, Talossa's highest honor), to create the "secessionist" Republic of Talossa on 1 June, 2004. Several persons from the 1997 and 2001 exoduses subsequently joined the Republic.
Abdication of Madison and Ensuing Interregnum
An elected government, supported by Madison, continued to lead the Kingdom until 2005, until new immigration again threatened Madison's political control of the nation. He accused the Kingdom's immigration minister, Fritz Buchholtz, of violations of Talossa's Organic Law (constitution) and election laws. (These accusations were subsequently tried before Talossa's Uppermost Court, and Buchholtz's actions were upheld.) Faced with the refusal of the new immigrants to quit this time, Madison instead renounced his citizenship in Talossa and abdicated as King, and unilaterally declared that Talossa no longer existed. Under a Talossan law that Madison himself had written, Madison had adopted his wife's young grandson Louis under Talossan law and made him his heir. Thus, this youth became King of Talossa upon Madison's abdication on 16 August. As specified by Organic Law, Talossa's Uppermost Court served as a Council of Regency for the minor king. When Louis's mother indicated she did not want Louis to remain King, Talossa's Parliament (the Ziu, acting as his guardian under Talossan law) gave effect to this under Talossan law, declaring the abdication of Louis on 29 November 2006. With no other members of the Madison family being citizens of Talossa and eligible to the throne, the Madison royal line (known as the Rouergue house) was exhausted by Louis's abdication, and an "interregnum" was thus in effect until 14 March 2007, when John W. Woolley was elected King of Talossa under the Organic Law.
After Madison's abdication, the Kingdom began to implement a number of amendments to its Organic Law in order to constitutionally restrict the Talossan monarchy and thus avoid those abuses that had led to the past exoduses, including and especially that which created the Republic of Talossa.
The Madison Claimant Kingdom
In 2007, Madison and a number of other former Talossans who had renounced their citizenship in 2005 declared themselves the "real" Talossa. They adopted a new Constituziun (constitution) which enshrined what Madison himself called an "authoritarian gimmick" to ensure that the democratic vote of the citizens could never defy his vision. This group had difficulty maintaining its activity level, and abolished itself on 4 July 2011.
Relations During the Era of Multiple Talossas
While Madison's claimant Kingdom had no communication with the original Kingdom or with the Republic of Talossa (although one or two members of the original Kingdom did leave to join Madison in his claimant Kingdom), the original Kingdom and the Republic were on uneasy terms, which eventually led to an Agreement of Friendship and Understanding, signed in early 2007. In this agreement, the Republic pledged to restore to the Kingdom those items that had been made unavailable to it by the 2004 exodus, and the Kingdom agreed to encourage pan-Talossan cultural efforts, especially as regards the Talossan language. Politically, however, the Kingdom felt that it could not treat with the Republic as a fellow nation of the world due to the rival territorial claims and the Republic's denial of the sovereignty of the Kingdom. This stubbornness was sometimes resented by the Republic, which eventually expanded its territorial claims to match those of the Kingdom. However, despite occasional friction, members of the two groups remained personally friendly.
- See our main article on this subject at Reunision.
- See our main article on this subject at Reunision.
In December of 2011, sparked by the dissolution of Madison's group, the Republic of Talossa quietly made overtures to King John's government, and a process that became dubbed "Reunision" (after a typo) was worked out by which the citizens of the Republic were brought into the Kingdom. On 19 April 2012, the Republic of Talossa declared its dissolution, and as of 20 April 2012, for the first time since 2004, there was only micronation claiming to be Talossa.
The Kingdom of Talossa is a basically unitary state (despite some federalist aspects) under a constitutional monarchy. King John is the head of state, a constitutional monarch of strictly limited powers. Seneschal Txec Nordselva is the head of government. The constitution is codified in an Organic Law adopted in 1997, which replaced the 1988 Constituziun. Governance of Talossan affairs is divided into four categories. These are the executive functions (performed by a politically-appointed government), legislative functions (performed by a politically-elected Parliament, known as the Ziu), judicial functions (with Talossa's court of final appeal being known as the Cort Pü Inalt), and state functions (performed by the strictly apolitical Officers of the Royal Household).
Local Government and Administration
|Provinces of the Kingdom of Talossa|
Talossa is divided into eight provinces and one territory. Each province has its own elected government and a certain degree of freedom to make its own policies, while the (uninhabited) Territory of Pengöpäts is under the authority of a governor appointed by the king. In each province, the Crown appoints a Cunstaval (Constable), customarily a citizen of a different province, who essentially acts as viceroy, performing royal duties on the provincial level, such as granting assent to legislation.
Elections to the 200-seat Cosa (the lower house of Parliament) are decided according to votes cast by eligible citizens (those age fourteen or above) for specific political parties. Each party receiving votes in the election is allotted the proportionate number of seats in the Cosa, which are then assigned to their actual holders by the leaders of each party. No single person may hold more than thirty seats in the Cosa. To register as a party eligible to sit in the Cosa, a nominal registration fee must be paid. This fee must be paid before a deadline determined by the Chancery in order for the party to appear on the ballot, and must be paid before the end of the first session of the elected Cosa before any seats won may be assigned by the party. Seats won by any party failing to register by this second deadline are assigned by the Crown.
Elections to the Senäts for a province are decided according to votes made by eligible citizens of each particular province for specific named candidates. Political parties may choose to officially endorse particular candidates, and voters may choose to vote for the Senate by listing a party name, in which case the candidate endorsed by that party is considered to be the voter's choice.
Voters may elect to cast ballots indicating only "Present", which fulfills the requirement to participate in elections (intentional failure to do so in three consecutive elections is a forfeiture of citizenship, unless such failure is pardoned by the Crown).
At the local level, provincial assembly seats are filled in different methods in the different provinces.
Law and order
The judicial power of Talossa is invested in one Cort Pü Inalt of three justices (one Senior Justice and two Puisne Justices), who receive their royal appointments at the recommendation of the Ziu, and who serve indefinite terms, recallable by a two-thirds vote of the Ziu.
An inferior Court of Magistracy, adjudicated by a single appointed Magistrate, was established in 2008. Decisions of the Magistracy may be appealed to the Uppermost Court.
Other inferior courts may be established by law, provided that the appellate path leads to the Uppermost Court.
The Royal Talossan College of Arms also convenes a Court of Chivalry as needed; its jurisdiction does not extend to questions of Organic or statutory law, and its decisions may be appealed only to the Crown.
Talossa considers itself to be a full nation of the world and does not refer to itself as a micronation. While Talossa's history as a micronation is long and distinguished, having been instrumental in the founding of the League of Secessionist States, Talossa abandoned the term for its own self-description some years ago, due to the seemingly fleeting nature of micronations and this contrast with the longevity of Talossa. At that time, Talossa broke off all micronational relations and established in law that its international relationships are limited to member-nations of the United Nations, of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization, and any other nation recognised specifically by the Ziu. The Republic of Taiwan was so recognised in subsequent legislation, and is currently the only nation in this third category.
Talossa supports three branches of military service. Nominally, the King is Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, but should war arise, advice of military leaders and the Minister of Defence (to whom conduct of the peacetime Armed Forces is entrusted) would likely be followed by the Crown.
- The Royal Talossan Navy, established 30 November 1987, is the oldest of the three military services. The Navy prefers enlisting persons with naval background or who own and operate boats (even if remote-controlled miniature vessels) that become part of the Talossan fleet as His Majesty's Ships (SMV) during service. The senior officer is Admiral Tímoþi Asmourescu.
- The Zouaves of the Royal Bodyguard was created as a land-based force charged primarily with the protection of the Royal Family, but also operating as Talossa's army. Members of the Zouaves outfit themselves, among other attire, in voluminous trousers; twelve-foot long woolen sashes; white canvas leggings; leather greaves; white gloves, and a tasseled fez. Further, they are charged, as far as is practical, with growing an enormous moustache. The official approved improvised weapon of the Zouaves is the bedpost, which members of the Zouaves use in ceremonial exhibition drill exercises and competitions. The senior officer is Capitan Sir Mick Preston.
- The Office of Private Adventurers was established to provide legal haven for Talossa's bands of pirates during the conduct of war. This Office issues letters of marque and reprisal to registered privateers, and sees to it that should any such persons be captured in the conduct of their revelry and looting in the name of the Kingdom, any ransom demands for their return will be given whatever audience the Office deems worthy.
Talossa has seen only one conflict in its history, a set of minor skirmishes known as the Cone Wars, which ended with Talossan victory, and which are remembered with Talossa's annual Victory Day (celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November). However, Talossa often participates in international conflicts through the expression of its "Invincible Moral Support" to one belligerent side.
Geography and climate
Talossa's location in the Great Lakes Region often has rapidly changing weather, producing a humid continental climate (Koppen Dfa), with cold, windy, snowy winters, and very warm, humid summers. The warmest month of the year is July, when the 24-hour average is 71.8°F, while January is the coldest month, with a 24-hour average of 22.3°F.
Talossa's shoreline on La Mar Talossan (Lake Michigan) causes a convection current to form around mid-afternoon in light wind regimes, resulting in the so-called "lake breeze" - a smaller scale version of the more common sea breeze. The lake breeze is most common between the months of March and July. This onshore flow causes cooler temperatures to extend across the nation, with much warmer conditions persisting across the U.S. border to the west. Residents of the area refer to this phenomenon through the phrase "cooler near the lake". Talossa's official climate site, Alfred W. Lawson International Airport (located south of the Kingdom proper), records temperatures with seasonal variations less extreme than in many other locations outside the Kingdom but in the Greater Talossan Area.
As the sun sets, the convection current reverses and an offshore flow ensues causing a land breeze. After a land breeze develops, warmer temperatures flow east toward the lakeshore, sometimes causing high temperatures to be reached during the late evening. The lake breeze is not a daily occurrence and will not usually form if a southwest, west, or northwest wind generally exceeds 15 miles per hour. The lake acts to moderate cold air outbreaks along the lakeshore during winter months.
Aside from the lake influence, overnight lows in downtown Talossa year-round are often much warmer than suburban locations because of the urban heat island effect. Onshore winds elevate daytime relative humidity levels in Talossa as compared to inland locations nearby.
Thunderstorms in the region can be dangerous and damaging, bringing hail and high winds. In rare instances, they can bring a tornado. However, almost all summer rainfall in the nation is brought by these storms. In spring and fall, longer events of prolonged, lighter rain bring most of the precipitation. A moderate snow cover can be seen on or linger for many winter days, but there are many days with less than one inch on the ground.
Talossa tends to experience highs that are 90°F on or above nine days per year, and subzero lows (< −18 °C) on 12 nights.Extremes range from 105°F set on July 24, 1934 (prior to establishment of the Kingdom) down to −26°F on both January 17, 1982 and February 4, 1996. The 1982 event, also known as Cold Sunday (Fred Súladi), featured temperatures as low as −40°F in some of the suburbs as little as ten miles north of Talossa.
- The Kingdom of Talossa Website
- New York Times Article
- "It's Good to Be King" by Alex Blumberg. Wired 8.03 (March 2000).
- "Castles in the air." The Economist, 20 December 2005.
- "Shortcuts: Starting your own country" CNN.com, 27 September 2006.
- "Art in Reviewikipedia: We Could Have Invited Everybody" by Roberta Smith. New York Times 7/15/2005.