The Amerada Series – Part 1: A Beginning

The Amerada Series is a collection of articles concerning the history of the Republic of Amerada, which was an active Anglophone Simulationist Community micronation in the early twenty-first century. Most of these articles were originally published in Liam Sinclair’s Amerada: the Story of a Nation book in 2002/2003. The articles as published by RIMA were subsequently updated and expanded for what was intended to be a more detailed edition of that book in 2007. Additional updates since the original manuscripts were re-written in 2007 have been made in an effort to complete articles that were left incomplete in 2007 upon cessation of the Amerada: the Story of a Nation fourth-edition effort.

The creation of a micronation is perhaps one of the easiest things to do; making it viable completely opposite. Most micronations do not begin as such. Generally as the creators have no prior knowledge of the micronational world. Instead, many micronations are created as ‘clubs’ between friends with a common goal, either to have fun and simulate national politics (especially for the younger crowd who find such things intriguing), or they are created as protests against macronational government policy (these types of micronational creations are generally evident of the older, more macronationally experienced, population).

Amerada began as a high school club between friends in Ottawa, Canada, at a school known as Hillcrest High. The four founding fathers of the Republic of Amerada were Earl Washburn, Jonathan Weatherhead, Kiril Litvinov, and Mark Hickman. Their goal was to create a ‘free paradise country’ designed to link the cultures of the macronations of Canada and the United States of America. Little was it known that within a year of its founding, Amerada’s intriguing methods of linking those two cultures, most of which were devised by Washburn, would have appeal to micronationalists and people who never heard of the concept throughout the world. Amerada would eventually link a population extending from Greece, to New Zealand, to the United Kingdom, not just Canadians and Americans.

Having founded the nation, the four founding fathers now needed to decide which of their group would lead Amerada as its first president. Through a consensus decision, it was decided that Weatherhead would serve as the Republic’s first president. All that remained of the Amerada executive yet to be decided upon was the cabinet, but most importantly, the prime minister. This decision resulted in the birth of the controversial Ameradian electoral system. In an unprecedented two month long election, lasting from 12 Feb to 12 Apr 2001, both Litvinov and Washburn went face to face in a political party driven campaign. Washburn, running for the Democratic Liberal Party of Amerada (DLPA), the political party which would be the most powerful in Amerada’s history, won the election gaining 72.6% of the popular vote, as Litvinov, running under the Democratic Party of Amerada (DPA) banner, was handed a stunning defeat.

Washburn was an apt choice to serve as Prime Minister given his strong devotion to Amerada. While he was one of the four co-founders, Washburn is regarded as the original creator of the Republic given his vast influence in virtually every corner of the nation’s early structure and development. Given his strong knowledge of how Amerada worked, President Weatherhead made Washburn the Minister of the Interior in the Republic’s first government – a position Washburn would hold in many governments that followed.

With the formation of the first government, Amerada’s citizens, all of which were from Ottawa at this point, now had the immense duty of bringing to life various aspects of the national simulation. Given that Amerada was designed to simulate a real country, ministerial portfolios were created in a wide range of issues ranging from national transportation systems, to health care, to the treasury.

One of the defining characteristics of Amerada was created in its infancy – the national population simulation. In order to simulate a real nation, it was decided by the founding fathers, on the advice of Washburn that each website ‘hit’ would represent one simulated citizen of Amerada. Using this method, Amerada could build its national simulation, in terms of population statistics, on the basis of a large and ever growing population, mirroring macronations (nations operating in the offline world and with the recognition of the United Nations). While this system was a great idea for creating dynamic national statistics, it would soon be witnessed that Washburn placed too much importance on this system, getting so infatuated with the simulation that he would quickly come to neglect the real people who made Amerada live and work. In one personal conversation with Washburn, I recall him giving the impression that he felt that the simulated citizens were ‘real’ and deserved full rights as they were the ‘primary population’ of Amerada.

The development of a national currency was one of the first major initiatives in the Republic, with the Minister of Finance, Daniel Trudel, introducing the first denominations of the national currency in April 2001. The currency, known as the Amerada Buck, or AmBuck or AMD for short, was minted in denominations of $10, $100, and $1000 bills; however, the Government rejected the proposed design of the 100 denomination bill.

Trudel himself would become one of the most interesting participants in early Amerada. On 03 May 2001, national media reported that Trudel had survived an “assassination” attempt with national media reporting ‘gun shots’ during a cabinet meeting1. The lack of detail of the attempt in national history lends credence to the fact that the incident may never have occurred, as the conspirator was never named, though he was charged with ‘possessing a gun’ (attempted murder was not illegal in Amerada at this point in time).

Trudel would appear in the national spotlight once again when on 11 June 2001 President Weatherhead resigned in that capacity. Replacing Weatherhead as President was Washburn, who immediately appointed close confidant Derek McCullough as the new prime minister without pursuing an election. Apparently upset at these events, Trudel would leave the DLPA for the DPA, now under the leadership of William Steeves, reportedly to allow for Weatherhead to retain a position in the cabinet as Washburn’s new finance minister.

Within hours of Washburn’s ascension to the presidency, the Republic’s website would be hacked and replaced by a message from a terrorist known only as “Shadow”. The hacking of the Amerada website was the equivalent of the nation having just been through a nuclear attack, and immediately accusations were being thrown against citizens who may have been working with, or actually were, “Shadow”. The Washiawa Post-Citizen produced a long list of suspects involved in the attack, including Kiril Litvinov, William Steeves, Jonathan Weatherhead, Mark Hickman, and Daniel Trudel. It was also reported in the same paper that on the basis that “Trudel knows something, but won’t tell [the government] what it is,” the former finance minister was fired from his current positions, charged with conspiracy, and jailed.

Trudel, by virtue of his imprisonment on a charge with no evidence to support it, became Amerada’s first political prisoner and he would not be the last. This style of justice, in which the Washburn government charged and prosecuted those who did not fully cooperate with its program, would plague the Republic well into 2002 and cause intense political backlash against the DLPA and Washburn (eventually leading to his defeat in the Republic’s first ever presidential election in Dec 2002).

And so with the appointment of Washburn to president, the most vibrant and politically unstable era in Amerada history had come to begin. With Amerada set to expand beyond the confines of Hillcrest High, Washburn would soon find it increasingly difficult to impose his will on members of the nation. Shadow would rear his head in the nation again on several occasions and governments in the Republic would become inactive and moral problems in the national structure, created by Washburn, would be exposed. At the same time, Amerada would lead the Anglophone sector in internal cartography development, vexillological activity, and be one of the few nations to succeed in the development of sub-governments (in this case, colonies and territories).

  1. The Washiawa Post-Citizen reported on 03 May 2001 that at a cabinet meeting during the “lunch” period of that day, ‘gun shots were heard’ and a ‘small skinny man’ (the alleged conspirator) was seen fleeing with a gun. The “gun shots” were used for dramatic effect for the national story of Amerada and did not actually occur in the events at Hillcrest High in Ottawa. []
%d bloggers like this: