Talossa

Flag of the Kingdoms of Talossa.
Flag of the Republic of Talossa.

Talossa is the name of at least two micronations, the Kingdom of Talossa and the Republic of Talossa.

The Kingdom was founded in 1979 by 14-year-old Robert Ben Madison of Milwaukee, and as such is one of the oldest micronations still in existence. It was one of the first to get a website (in November 1995), and remains one of the most famous.[1][2][3][4][5] Its exposure in the internet and media since the late 1990s contributed to the appearance of many later internet micronations.

In 2004, a group of dissident members of the Kingdom of Talossa seceded, and these former citizens created the Republic of Talossa. A second schism occurred between 2005 and 2007, and there appear to be now two groups disputing the name "Kingdom of Talossa" and the original flag and seal: one led by John W. Woolley (King John) and the other led by King Louis, with R. Ben Madison as prime minister.

Both Kingdoms and the Republic are ostensibly organized like ordinary nations, with laws, government institutions, and so on. Members are considered "citizens" and have historically been admitted through a formal "immigration" process. According to the groups' websites, total membership reached between 100 and 200 people at its peak, now unevenly split between the three groups. Each group claims several places on Earth as its territory. All three groups claim sovereignty over a portion of Milwaukee; but neither Talossa nor its claims are officially recognized by the US or any other ordinary nation.

Contents

History

Talossa has a very detailed "official history".[6] However, due to the nature of the institution, most of its details can only be corroborated by testimonials of members and former members, and appear to be disputed. As of 2009, the accounts given in the various "Talossa" internet sites do not agree, especially with respect to the events preceding and following the schisms.

Foundation

Talossa was founded as a kingdom on December 26, 1979[6] by Robert Ben Madison, a 14 year-old resident of Milwaukee, shortly after the death of his mother. At that time the kingdom occupied Madison's bedroom, and he adopted the name "Talossa" for it after discovering that the word means "inside the house" in Finnish.

Growth of Talossa

Madison maintained Talossa throughout his adolescence, which included publishing a handwritten newspaper and designing the nation's flag and emblem (which displays the Finnish motto Miehen Huone on Hänen Valtakuntansa, "A Man's Room Is His Kingdom"). During this time its only other members were about a dozen relatives and acquaintances. This changed in the mid 1990s, when 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[4] and Wired,[1] which were subsequently republished by newspapers in many other countries. Several dozen new "citizens" joined Talossa as a result. Around this time, Madison began to claim that he was the inventor of the term "micronation".

Location of Pengöpäts (Talossa's Antarctic claim)

In the ensuing years the Kingdom of Talossa continued to function as an enduring politico-cultural role-playing game, complete with parties, elections, laws and government institutions, and several online newspapers. For some time, yearly get-togethers ("Talossafests") were held in Milwaukee. During that period Ben Madison and other Talossa members wrote a detailed history of the kingdom,[6] including a mythological pre-history that purportedly traces its origins to the Berbers of North Africa; invented a Talossan language for which a grammar and a 28,000-word dictionary have been written;[7] and composed a musical anthem Chirluscha àl Glheþ ("Stand Tall, Talossans"). According to the official history, 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, Talossan for "Penguin-land").

Splits

Apparently as a result of political dispute, some members of the Kingdom created a separate Republic of Talossa on 1 June 2004.[8][9][10] As of 2010 the group claimed 16 members.[8]

Ben Madison remained on the throne of the Kingdom of Talossa until 2005, when, after a dispute about immigration procedures,[11] he abdicated in favour of his wife's eight-year-old grandson, who assumed the throne as King Louis I.[9][10] The events between 2005 and 2007 are unclear, as there are no external sources, and members give discordant accounts. These accounts only agree that by 2007 the Kingdom had split into two bitterly adversary groups, both claiming historical continuity with the original Kingdom of Talossa under various rationales.[9][10]

One of these groups claims that King Louis I abdicated his position in November 2006, and was succeeded by John W. Woolley, elected (per the procedures of Talossan "Organic Law") as King John on 14 March 2007 and still in power (as of 2011).[9] It still claims to be based in Milwaukee, but states that "today most of our active citizens live in other parts of the United States and Canada, Europe, South America, Asia, and Africa".[12]

The other group was reorganized in 2007 by Ben Madison and several long-time Talossans, with a new Constitution. According to its website, It is ruled by king John, with Ben Madison acting as Prime Minister (as of 2011).[10][13] Ben Madison has registered the trademark "Talossa" [14] and created Talossa, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation registered in the State of Wisconsin.[15] According to this group's website, "Talossa is not an 'online community,' although some of its members are online and use the internet to keep in touch; many Talossans participate only by mail, telephone, and through face-to-face contact."[10]

References

  1. ^ a b Alex Blumberg, "It's Good to Be King". Wired, March 2000, 8.03.
  2. ^ "Castles in the air." The Economist, 20 December 2005.
  3. ^ "Shortcuts: Starting your own country" CNN.com, 27 September 2006.
  4. ^ a b Stephen Mimh (2000) Utopian Rulers, and Spoofs, Stake Out Territory Online. New York Times, May 25, 2000
  5. ^ Roberta Smith, "Art in Review: We Could Have Invited Everybody". New York Times July 15, 2005.
  6. ^ a b c R. Ben Madison (2008), Ár Päts: The Classic History of the Kingdom of Talossa Partial online edition accessed on 2010-01-01.
  7. ^ La Mha, M.; A Complete Guide to the Talossan Language, Second English Edition (2008). ISBN 978-1453777299.
  8. ^ a b Republic of Talossa website. Accessed on 2011-01-20.
  9. ^ a b c d King John page from the Kingdom of Talossa (King John Woolley) website. Accessed on 2011-01-20.
  10. ^ a b c d e The Kingdom of Talossa home page (King Louis I). Accessed on 2011-01-20.[dead link]
  11. ^ Courtroom: Erni v. Talossa
  12. ^ The Kingdom of Talossa home page (King John Woolley). Accessed on 2011-01-20.
  13. ^ Kingdom of Talossa (King Louis I) Facebook page.
  14. ^ Talossa entry in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office register. Accessed on 2010-01-01.
  15. ^ Talossa entry in the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions register. Accessed on 2010-01-01.

External links


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