Monday, February 16, 2015

Micronations: Grand Duchy of Westarctica

Micronation - The Grand Duchy of Westarctica

The Grand Duchy of Westarctica is a micronation which has been created by American Travis McHenry that claims Marie Byrd Land. It was created on 2, November 2001 when McHenry had announced his intention in taking personal possession of the section of the Antarctic continent of Marie Byrd Land, by writing to the governments of various countries like Australia, Argentina, Chile, France, Norway, Russia, New Zealand, United State and the United Kingdom.

Westarctica is a section of desolate land in western Antarctica which lay unclaimed till an American declared the same as his own micronation, a declaration of status which was not recognized in 2001 by established countries. It was founded on supposed loopholes in the Antarctic Treaty and the claim of micronation status was used as a basis to mint as well as sell coins to collectors and inspite of several attempts, Westarctica is not recognized by the government of any country.

Initially, McHenry named his micronation, the Achaean Territory of Antarctica before adopting the Westarctican grand duchy configuration in June 10 2004. He also extended its territorial pretensions to cover the sub-Antarctic Baleny Island groups that same year together with Peter I Island.

Major Part of Westartican Territory – Marie Byrd Land 

The major part of Westarctican territory comprised of Marie Byrd Land which was the original territory claimed and was defined as all land south of 60 degree south and between 90 degree west and 150 degree west.

This is in the centre of the claim of Chile as well as the claim of New Zealand and the original capital was known as Achilles. Later, the Baleny Islands claimed by New Zealand and Peter I Island claimed by Norway were annexed whereby Peter I Island was declared the new capital of Westarctica.

The executives of Westarctica entered into negotiations with members of the Antarctic Micronational Union in June 2010 with regards to claims to Antarctica and as of June 7, these negotiations remained cordial with all parties being optimistic concerning peaceful and mutually beneficial result. Besides, instituting a constitution in establishing the Grand Duchy as a `Protestant Christian nation’ announced on Westarctica’s website that a `relocation project’, regarding the construction of new cities, started in 2003 with selling of several Westartican peerages on eBay, not much substance followed.

Coins – Wooden Nickel/Metal & Stamps

McHenry terminated his association with Westarctica on 10 June 2006 and named Philip Karns as his successor, though several months later; Karns too abandoned the micronation, disappearing without naming a successor, taking the Westarctica website with him.

It was on 30 June 2008, that a member of Westarctica, Jon Lawrence Langer, who resided in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, announced the micronation’s revival with the establishment of a new website together with his assumption of the position of Grand Duke Langer’s website updated in 2009. Travis McHenry once again proclaimed himself to be the paramount leader of Westarctica on June 3, 2010 which was reinvented as Protectorate of Westarctica, complete with new flag and Antarctic territorial pretensions with more limited extent.

Westerartica produced many coins in the form of wooden nickel as well as metal and have also made stamps. Westarctica has been featured in Micrnations: The Lonely Planet Guide to Home Made Nation in 2006.

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