Henry David Thoreau once said: “I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavour.”
If there’s one tenet that applies to the majority of my time in Micronationalism, that would be it. I originally came to this hobby by way of a colleague; she was planning to use micronations as a part of her course in Political Science. She asked me to review several of the sites and tell her what I thought. The nations that I recall looking at were: Cyberia, Gotzborg, Conch Republic (not really a micronation in the sense that I’ve come to define it), Sealand, and Freedonia. Of those sites I visited (and there were more, I simply cannot recall them), one stood out – Gotzborg.
I noticed right away that although Gotzborg seemed to have a long-standing history as a micronation “on paper”, it had only very recently been moved to the internet, and was therefore practically uninhabited. I suppose that’s what appealed to me the most; the idea that I could join up, and make a real difference – be part of the foundation of a country. Of course, HRM the King of Gotzborg had done so much work already over the previous fifteen years offline – but there was much still to be done, and I felt an odd urge to be part of it.
The whole idea of a micronation did seem a bit eccentric to me – at first. When my colleague was first describing the idea to me, I was picturing in my head megalomaniacal egoists who saw themselves as rulers of a real nation somewhere; people who had declared their backyard as sovereign territory and were now annexing the next door neighbour’s hibachi.
Of course, I learned quickly that most micronations and those participating were not as I had assumed. I joined Gotzborg, and after several emails back and forth with HRM, I was appointed in my first official capacity.
My history, experience, and education in macronational law led me to a series of jobs which focused on that experience and education. It pleased me greatly to have the chance to work in the field, even though on a tiny scale, and to see my various projects and creations find almost immediate sanction. My desire to cement myself as a “Founding Father” of sorts led to the most difficult – and rewarding several nights of my life; as I took it upon myself to write a comprehensive Code of Law for Gotzborg.
I did my best to balance the needs of a micronation with my personal need to be accurate and complete. The Code I wrote contains over 150 Articles; and although it has never been used (to my knowledge), it officially remains in force.
Probably the most interesting job I ever had in Gotzborg was that of Minister of the Foreign Office. When I first took over, the job had been somewhat neglected by my predecessor, and Gotzborg – although on friendly terms with just about everyone they came into contact with – had few official Treaties on file. I went on a Treaty-Signing binge and concluded Treaties with somewhere around 20 nations in 8 weeks. I’d like to think that part of Gotzborg’s ensuing popularity had something to do with my work in Foreign Relations.
It was also this job which allowed me a peek into the micro-worlds of other nations. I got to see the best and the worst of it…from selfless leaders who only wanted to have a happy populace – to the self-same megalomaniacs and egoists I had, at first, imagined micronations to be populated entirely with.
I did join a few other nations, at first just for fun and to spread myself around a little. I was a small part of nations like Natopia, Attera, and the USSR. Hanging around those nations was almost like taking a small vacation each time; an opportunity for me to completely relax and not really have to work too hard – unlike my attitude towards Gotzborg – where I imposed upon myself a rigid and intense regimen of hard work and doing everything that was asked of me…and more.
A True Founding Father…
Eventually the chance came to not only be a real “Founding Father” – but to actually assist in the formation of a new nation. The Soviet Socialist Republic of Novaya Zemlya was originally an SSR within the USSR. But once the USSR crumbled (ironic – isn’t it?), Novaya Zemlya became its own nation. I was there from the beginning – as Vladimir Alexei. Along with a few others, I helped create in Novaya Zemlya a real model of Socialism in Micronations. The nation performed very well and flourished during my time there. Unfortunately, my poor health forced me to step away from Novaya Zemlya at a time when they sincerely needed me, as one of the other four Founders had to take an extended Leave of Absence. That left the remaining two leaders alone – a truth that eventually led to the nation’s complete implosion. Although Novaya Zemlya no longer exists as the nation I helped form, I will forever be proud of my work there, and the friends I made in the process.
Loss of Innocence…
Through my contact with other nations as Foreign Minister, I came upon a nation that interested me a bit. The decision to open a dialogue with that nation’s leader is one that I will forever regret. I will not make note of names here, since this Essay is not about micronational assholes, but about my time as a micronationalist.
The nation in question had a somewhat strained relationship with Gotzborg – only because the leader of the nation insisted that HRM of Gotzborg actually sign a REAL document and send it back. You can see some of the megalomaniacal tendencies beginning to come clear at this point. I thought it might be fun to work with someone who took himself so entirely seriously that he had created business cards with his Royal Titles, and handed them out at the local grocery store; someone who had Knighted people he worked with just for the value of having subjects around him at all times. To put this all into a nutshell, my willingness to be of service was abused somewhat and my innocence in regards to micronationalism was lost. I spent about 10 hours looking over constitutional baggage for this nation, and at the conclusion of my recommendations (ALL of which were implemented), I was not so much as thanked, and never properly rewarded in the least, despite promises to the contrary. I also made myself available for consultations and discussions when needed, and was never really thanked for my time and efforts. I later learned that similar events had happened to several others at the hands of the same person; a pattern of use and abuse which, even now, leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
Working My Way to the Top…
During what I like to call my “first era” as a micronationalist (from August 2004 until June 2005), I had earned many different accolades and honours. I became the first person in Gotzborg to be ennobled since it was introduced to the internet, and was Knighted several times and in several nations. In the end, these are the little things that make all the time and effort worthwhile. Just knowing that you are appreciated and valued…THAT is the key to micronational success – if the citizens feel needed, valued, and appreciated, they will never leave you; if you hand out awards and honours like so much penny-candy…well, then it’s a toss of the dice.
I was appointed as the Royal Chancellor for Gotzborg at the end of September 2004. I was deeply honoured and proud to have been asked by HRM to accept such a position. I served in a dual role; both as Chancellor and Foreign Minister, until my resignation from the Foreign Office in March of 2005 (to make room for someone else to participate). The trust and friendship gained through my contact with HRM will never be lessened, or forgotten.
In The End…
Since my introduction to this hobby, I have made several life-long friends; people who are as much family to me as my own brother or sister. I was forced away for a while due to a severe personal illness, but I have not been simply tossed aside. These people truly love me, and care about myself and my family – people such as I’ve found in micronationalism are not quite so commonplace in the macro-world as one might suspect. I must therefore conclude that, for the majority, the type of person who becomes a micronationalist is also the type of person who would do anything in the name of friendship. Despite some of the small setbacks and contact with those few who are quite insane and in need of professional help; I know that my time as a micronationalist has been very well spent indeed, and I would do it all again without hesitation.
Essay by: Robert Davis
RIMA Archive Extra
RIMA Obituary: Revered Micronationalist Robert Davis Passes Away
20 March 2006
“I have made several life-long friends; people who are as much family to me as my own brother or sister.”
– Robert Davis to the Royal Institute of Micronational Antiquities, 2005
A micronationalist who can truly be considered one of the greats, for his commitment and dedication to his duties, and his wisdom and friendship to so many in our community, Robert Davis, has passed away from his long-winded medical problems.
Completing high school at the age of thirteen, Robert earned his bachelor of arts at Texas A&M University three years later. In 1996, he would receive his Juris Doctorate from the University of Houston Law School. By 2000, Robert had finished his Masters of Legal Letters and, in 2004, received an honorary degree from the University of Pittsburgh law school. Hating legislative law with a passion, he specialized in admiralty law, international law, alternate dispute relations, and human rights. Professionally, Robert served as an Assistant District Attorney, a Law Professor, and undertook legal work for Amnesty International.
While studying in Houston, Robert met his future wife, Angel, while attending a football match. The two would fall in love and marry in March 2000, bringing their beautiful daughter, Chloe, into the world in October 2002.
Entering micronationalism through the Royal Kingdom of Gotzborg in 2004, Robert quickly made his mark on that micronation through his judicial expertise, rising quickly to become its Royal Chancellor (head of government). Having learned the basics from that experience, Robert grew his micronational portfolio to include the developing micronation of Novaya Zemlya. This micronation, where he found completion of his goal to become a “true founding-father”, would become his micronational home until his final hiatus due to illness in February 2006.
Robert also played a critical role in the founding of the Royal Institute of Micronational Antiquities, acting as a close friend, advisor and supporter of Liam Sinclair. The Institute’s library was named in his honour last year.
It was with shock and sadness that the micronational community learned of his death, following a long and brave struggle against health problems these past two years, on 20 March 2006.
Forever a friend and never forgotten: Robert Davis, dead at 30.