Kingdom of Überstadt

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Kingdom of Überstadt

 

18 November 2011–present

Uberflag.jpgUberarms.png

Motto
Pacem et spem
Anthem
Our Day of Glory
Mountlake Terrace, Washington, United States
Capital city Rosewood
Official language(s) English
Official religion(s) Secular
Short name Überstadt
Demonym Überstadti
Government Parliamentary constitutional monarchy with direct democracy
- King HM Adam I
Legislature Parliament of Überstadt
- Type - Unicameral
Established - Foundation 6 March 2010
- Kingdom 18 November 2011
Area claimed .013km²
Population 4
Currency None domestic (money abolished)
United States dollar de facto
Time zone (UTC-8)
National animal Seagull
This nation is a member of the Union Against Micronational War

Official website

"Überstadt" redirects here. For the original incarnation of Überstadt known only by that name, see Kritarchial Überstadt.

The Kingdom of Überstadt, commonly known as Überstadt and sometimes written as Uberstadt, is an entity which purports to be a sovereign nation-state but is typically classified by external observers as a micronation. It is located in the Pacific Northwest of the United States on a residential property in Mountlake Terrace, Washington and on Edmount Island in Lake Ballinger. It is entirely enclaved by the United States. It has six citizens, four of which live in the country.

The Kingdom of Überstadt is governed as a unitary constitutional monarchy with Adam I as king, organized in a direct parliamentary democracy. Überstadt was originally founded on 6 March 2010 with a unique government model of kritarchy, in which elected judges dominated the state. The monarchy was formally established on 18 November 2011 with the ratification of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Überstadt, which was replaced on 2 July 2013, and later by the present constitution, inspired by principles of Theodorism, on 25 October 2013. The unicameral parliament, which consists of most citizens, meets at Rosewood, which is also the seat of the other branches of government.

Überstadt was founded as a project in micronational development, described in its founding documents as a way to "show the world what a utopia truly is." Its early history was marked by a community identity of supporters of the project, facilitated prior to the state's foundation by way of the internet, and by dedicated, albeit somewhat juvenile, in-person activity. Überstadt entered the MicroWiki community in December 2010, joining the Organisation of Active Micronations shortly thereafter. Following a period during which dictatorial rule was implemented in an attempt to revive the inactive citizenry, the November Revolution renewed the nation by instituting today's monarchical government. Since then, the size of the kingdom has decreased and the level of its development has increased. Theodorism became influential in the summer of 2013, and the Third Constitution of the Kingdom of Überstadt, which established a socialist economy and direct democracy, was voted into effect unanimously.

The Überstadti economy is socialist, with the means of production legally belonging to all citizens. Production is accomplished through a system of public cooperatives of which all citizens are members. Agriculture is a leading industry, providing fresh produce and basic pharmaceutical products made from native plants. Dyeing and other handicrafts form a quickly developing field of economic endeavor.

Überstadti foreign policy is known intermicronationally for measured impartiality and the discouragement of conflict in general. Überstadt is a member of the Union Against Micronational War, to which it is a major contributor of publicity as well as official literature. The Royal Armed Forces are composed of half of all citizens, and serve a primarily ceremonial role.

History

Main article: History of Überstadt

The region within which Überstadt now exists was occupied for at least four thousand years by Native American peoples descended from eastern Eurasian settlers who crossed the Bering Land Bridge during the last ice age. These coast Salish tribes formed sedentary, but non-agrarian, societies, subsiding on local game, plants, and fish. The region was disputed by the Russian and Spanish Empires in the 18th Century, with further competition soon coming from the British and the Americans in the wake of Lewis and Clark's successful expedition to the Pacific Northwest. The Oregon Country was formed by the United States for the settlement of pioneers, and following the end of British claims south of the 49th Parallel with the signature of the Oregon Treaty, it was split into the Oregon and Washington Territories. Washington became a state in 1889.

The year 1890 brought a large influx of settlers into the area around what is now called Lake Ballinger, part of the Lake Washington watershed. Today's Überstadti territories were owned by two separate homesteaders, who logged and developed their land. Richard Ballinger, who would go on to serve as Secretary of the Interior under President Taft, later bought the lake and surrounding land, building a house on Edmount Island and giving the lake his name. All these properties exchanged hands several times over the next century. This area remained under county administration until the incorporation of Mountlake Terrace in 1954 in response to insufficient utilities and roads during the postwar population boom. Mountlake Terrace expanded in size and population in the following decades, not to decrease until the foundation of Überstadt.

Edmount Island burning in August 2009.

Adam von Friedeck learned about micronationalism in December 2007, and for the next two years considered founding a state of his own. He investigated several possible sites for a territorial claim before deciding to claim the island in Lake Ballinger, which was nearby his residence. Von Friedeck began to share his idea for a new nation with a number of his friends in 2009, and organized a community of supporters of the project. It was during this time that the disastrous fire on Edmount Island occurred, contributing to the community's solidarity. The community began to develop a collective identity and some basic governmental structures on the Facebook group that became the project's hub. The decision was made for Überstadt to be founded as a kritarchy, and two draft constitutions were developed to this effect. The second was chosen to be adapted into the Constitution of Überstadt, which was signed by twelve supporters on 6 March 2010.

The first year of Überstadt's existence saw limited activity, with citizens rarely attending legislative meetings and the courts lying dormant between major matters. This period saw three attempted rebellions by disgruntled former supporters of the nation. In response to the activity crisis, von Friedeck, then the Chief Judge, declared himself a dictator over Überstadt in August 2011. His civil code and plan for an advanced bureaucracy failed to revive the failing nation, and he resigned his position in October. An election for a new Chief Judge was held, and the few voters chose British actor Daniel Radcliffe. However, a group of citizens believed the election to have been unfair, and determined to entirely reform Überstadt. By November 2011, citizens openly revolted against Radcliffe and instituted a new constitutional monarchy over Überstadt, naming their nation's founder as king.

After the finalization of the Kingdom's constitution and the election of the First Parliament, Überstadt's culture entered a period of revival, and the government was more active than it had previously ever been. Under the new monarchy, Überstadt's international influence increased, accompanied by a formal written diplomatic strategy to balance internal and international affairs. It was during the first year of the Kingdom that international trade was first attempted. Despite predictions of great success, it was apparent by September that the national economy was, although decent-sized in terms of numbers, still lacking in development and efficacy.

King Adam after being crowned, 1 September 2012

What is often considered the most significant election in Überstadt's history was that of the Third Parliament in October 2012. Prince Aaron became the second Prime Minister, and quickly instituted an ambitious agenda encompassing cultural, economic, and environmental policy. His administration's main focus early on was cultural development, with key laws in the promotion of national identity passed in December. The new government failed to enact important policies, however, resulting in an increased trend of political and social sway among the royals. The Royal Residency was incorporated into the Kingdom as the Barony of Rosewood as political and cultural influence began to become more centralized at that locale. A few days later, a portion of the high school was ceded to an individual known as Supreme God-King Franklin, who had for several months held a claim of sovereignty over the land which he was ultimately given. On 1 April, the entire high school campus was returned to the United States in anticipation of the vacation of the locale by most nationals. Having in mind the preservation of the state for another year, at which point King Adam is expected to leave Überstadti lands permanently, the recent changes in political structures and practices were codified with the ratification of the second monarchist constitution on 2 July 2013.

As the summer of 2013 progressed, socialist ideas became increasingly popular, as a domestic market economy had failed to bring about much growth. Support for direct democracy also increased, influenced by Theodorist literature. All companies were nationalized in September, and a constitution collectivizing the means of production and disbanding the national currency was ratified on 26 October. Parliament became an assembly of all citizens, and the hereditary nature of the monarchy was abolished. After nearly a year of this governmental model, the office of Prime Minister was abolished in late September 2014, making the King head of both state and government while giving Parliament the authority to force regencies or abdications. The bulk of 2015 saw few dramatic changes, but steady economic and diplomatic progress continued. Experiments with textile dyeing occurred early in the year. In April, King Adam attended MicroCon 2015 in Anaheim, California, meeting with a large number of foreign leaders and giving a presentation on Überstadt. Spring and summer brought increased agricultural production as a shift was made toward berry growing.

With King Adam's acceptance to Western Washington University in October 2015, the government saw cause for reforms to adapt to his imminent moving away from Rosewood. To accomplish this, as well as eliminate any future need for constitutional overhaul, an uncodified constitution was adopted with the unanimous passage of the Constitution Act on 19 December. At the start of 2016, the king moved to Bellingham, Washington and has since governed from that city.

Geography

Überstadt lies within the eastern portion of the Puget Sound Basin, whose landscape is influenced primarily by tectonic forces and glacial action. The valley within which all Überstadti territories lie was planed by a massive glacier several thousand years ago, and Lake Ballinger itself was carved out by the ice. The bulk of local soil consists of glacial till, resulting in its being filled with stones with little clay content. Edmount Island, however, is formed primarily of peat, and little is known regarding its formation. Rosewood, lying within a residential neighborhood, is relatively flat due to human modification. Creekbed Colony, half a mile south of Rosewood, sits on an intermittent stream that flows during periods of moderate to heavy precipitation. Creekbed is far steeper than Rosewood, and is more reflective of the state of local landforms prior to human development. These three territories- the two baronies of the Duchy of Edmount and the sole colony- each form one of the three varieties of Überstadti topography. A portion of Lake Ballinger extending two hundred feet from each shore of Edmount Island is also claimed, contributing all aquatic holdings. Überstadt's lowest point is , with an elevation of , and its highest is , with an elevation of .

The primary natural vegetation is that characteristic of the Pacific Northwest's temperate coniferous and temperate mixed forests, with the primary trees being Douglas firs, followed by western redcedars and western hemlocks. The vegetation of Edmount Island consists mainly of young broadleaf trees with dense undergrowth of assorted species and a bed of sphagnum moss. Rosewood contains several nonnative species of tree and shrub, but the portion east of the Royal Residency tends more toward native growth, supplemented by red huckleberry and madrona. Creekbed's border is formed by its trees, with the interior being filled with sword ferns, as is typical in riparian areas of the western United States.

Climate

Überstadt possesses a temperate marine climate, with mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers. Cold air from the Arctic and oceanic storms from the Pacific are usually blocked by the nearest major mountain ranges. Rain falls frequently in the fall, winter, and spring, with January being the wettest month, averaging 142 mm of precipitation. July is the driest month, receiving on average just 26 mm of precipitation. Snow is rare, but has increased in recent years. Rainfall is more common in Überstadt than the prominent local American cities of Seattle to the south and Everett to the north due to the effects of the Puget Sound Convergence Zone.

The average temperature during August, usually the hottest month of the year, is 17.3°C. January's average temperature is 3.8°C. Because of the presence of the lake, Ballinger's temperature is usually lower than that in Rosewood, regardless of the time of year. Over the past decade, summer temperatures have begun to commence earlier and cease later in the year than has been the historical norm.

Environment

Twice in the last fifty years, Edmount Island has fallen victim to fires started as a result of human activity. Fires in peat bogs such as the island tend to burn underground and flare up as hot spots unexpectedly, making them difficult to extinguish. The most recent fire, sometimes called the Great Fire, burned in 2009, destroying many of the island's trees and killing a nest of eaglets. This fire resulted in standing deadwood and sinkholes, factors that led American authorities to prohibit any private expedition onto the island. Lake Ballinger itself has faced environmental difficulties for decades, beginning in the 1950s when powerboat races disturbed the sediment of the shallow lake, resulting in excessive turbidity. This along with chemical pollution from suburban runoff killed the annual salmon run from the Pacific Ocean to the lake, and it has been only recently that any hatchery salmon have been seen returning to Ballinger to spawn. An aeration system in the water and spillways to stop sediment upstream in Hall Creek have helped mitigate these issues. Algal blooms have also proved problematic, being caused by an excess of nitrates introduced by lawn fertilizer in storm runoff.

In Rosewood, most of the land is subjected to active human use, with two cultivated lawns, the Royal Residency, and outbuildings. In an effort to conserve water and not introduce invasive species, the lawns are planted with local species of grass. Located in the northeastern corner of the barony is an area that is maintained by longstanding agreement between Rosewood's residents as a space dedicated to natural growth. However, this area is plagued by invasive species, such as European ivies and nonnative blackberry vines, that threaten to kill native species of plant. These are kept in check by government trimming and digging programs, intended to maximize natural ground cover.

Politics

The Kingdom of Überstadt is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, organized by an uncodified constitution centered around the Constitution Act of 2016. The head of state and government is the Monarch, currently King Adam I. The Monarch has the power to enact policy, appoint government ministers, oversee international affairs, and grant noble titles and honors, subject to Parliamentary supervision. The Monarch is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Armed Forces and Moderator of Parliament (unless replaced by an act of Parliament). Because the Moderator may be replaced at any time, the Monarch may simultaneously hold that position and debate and vote in the legislature.

The Parliament of Überstadt is the legislature, originally based on parliaments of the Westminster system, but later evolving into a unique institution. The unicameral assembly is composed of all citizens except the High Chancellor. Executive power is exercised by the Monarch and the cabinet they appoint, subject to parliamentary confirmation. Three ministries currently exist in the cabinet. The Ministry for the Economy is led by the Baron Ballinger. The Baroness Rosewood is the Minister for Culture, and the King is the Minister for the Environment. The Department of the Treasury is independent from the Cabinet, and is responsible for collecting revenues and allocating funds as ordered by legislation, as well as safeguarding public monies and maintaining the database of citizens. The Secretary of the Treasury is Prince Aaron, who is also the Chief Counsellor of State, occasionally exercising royal power under the king's direction.

Political parties were once very active, especially during the period when Members of Parliament were elected, but all have eventually been allowed to become dormant. The Theodorist Party of Überstadt was the largest before is gradual collapse upon the rise of direct democracy, with a third of citizens being members. It was disestablished by a vote of its members sometime during the summer of 2014. The conservative Cat Party was considered to remain in existence until the death of its figurehead leader, the cat owned by the Royal Family. The Cat Party was the largest for the first two sessions of Parliament, but quickly lost momentum.

The judicial body of the Kingdom at the trial level is the Duchy Court. Judges were formerly appointed by the monarch, but are today chosen by the existing judiciary from among those authorized to practice Überstadti law. The Duchy Court possesses national jurisdiction, with one judge holding court in every duchy (hence the court's name). The constitutional and appellate court is the High Chancery, presided over by the High Chancellor. Because there is no separate military legal jurisdiction in Überstadt, the Crown Court hears all cases arising in the Royal Armed Forces.

Administrative divisions

The main form of first-level administrative subdivision in Überstadt is the duchy. Duchies are intended to encompass any Überstadti territories, whether contiguous or not, resting within the same square mile of land and water. In duchies where not all territory is contiguous, each portion of land with an area greater than 500ft² is a barony, with smaller territories being grouped together to form baronies. No rules exist to govern the division of duchies within which all territory is contiguous. Every permanently populated barony is considered a municipality, and may enact its own local laws through a direct vote of its residents. Territories that become part of Überstadt that are not intended for habitation may be organized outside the jurisdiction of a duchy, in which case they are considered colonies.

The only duchy that exists today is the Duchy of Edmount, the administrative successor of the Edmount District in Kritarchial Überstadt, receiving its name from Edmount Island. The duchy is divided into the Barony of Ballinger, which encompasses the island and all waters within two-hundred feet of it, and the Barony of Rosewood, which consists of the Royal Residency and the plot upon which it lies. Rosewood is the sole municipality. Creekbed Colony, located in a wooded area approximately a third of a mile south of Rosewood, is the only colony.

Foreign relations

Main article: Foreign relations of Überstadt

Überstadti foreign policy has long been created by its leaders with the intention of finding ways to resolve domestic issues, sharing national values with others, and fostering peace and cooperation. It joined the Union Against Micronational War on 16 December 2010, within weeks of joining the MicroWiki community, and remains a member, advocating its cause when less-experienced micronationalists consider declaring war. King Adam previously assisted in the creation of an official UAMW website.

Although the UAMW is the only international organization to which Überstadt presently belongs, it has been in the past a member of the Organisation of Active Micronations, the Intermicronational Blue Cross and Blue Crescent Movement, and the Grand Unified Micronational. The Blue Cross was joined at the same time as the UAMW, but was abandoned in June 2013 due to a perceived lack of utility. OAM membership was held from January 2011 until the organization's collapse, with the Chief Judge serving as the Chief Justice of the Intermicronational Court of Law at dissolution. Despite advocating the preservation and reform of the OAM, the dissolution led to Überstadt's policy of skepticism toward generalist intermicronational organizations.

In 2012, the Kingdom of Überstadt became an observer in the GUM, part of its new policy to become more involved in the community's most important diplomatic dialogue. Dedication to the organization's aims increased, and the Kingdom eventually became a provisional member. The 2012-13 GUM leadership scandal brought about disillusionment with generalist organizations once more, and a departure was made on 18 January in protest of the expulsion of Sandus and Juclandia. Today's policy is to maintain membership only in the UAMW and to avoid generalist organizations and organizations with no clear utility. Prior to the collapse of Saint Luke and Amager, the Kingdom was in negotiation with the Confederation, with which it was sometimes said to share a "special relationship," to start a small trade and cultural organization for like-minded states called Unicus, although this effort was abandoned shortly after the secession of Hobartstown and Victoria from the confederation. Today, the Kingdom is an observer in the Amagerian Union, a cultural organization of Amager's successors.

Überstadt maintains bilateral diplomatic relations individually with numerous other states. Skype is the most commonly-used means of diplomatic communication, followed by the King's official email. Flandrensis and the members of SJEP have usually been considered Überstadt's closest allies. Since its foundation by a friend of the King and the signature of a treaty of alliance, Doria has joined the ranks of these other states, and is additionally the only one with which Überstadt shares a military alliance. Another nearby entity, the Band Room Realms, has a long history of interaction with the Kingdom, which considers it a sovereign entity other than a state, akin to the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Überstadt recognizes the polity of the Band Room's extraterritorial control over the physical band room within the former Überstadti capital of Hawk City. Despite the cordiality between the peoples of Überstadt and the Band Room, this level of recognition has sometimes contributed to friction between leaders.

Military

The military of Überstadt is the Royal Armed Forces. During times of conflict or disaster, this consists of His Majesty's Navy and the Royal Army. In peacetime, however, the Army maintains reserve status, leaving the Navy the only standing military force of the Kingdom. The Royal Armed Forces are under the control of the Commander-in-Chief, who is the Monarch unless otherwise selected by Parliament.

His Majesty's Navy is divided into the Marine Squadron, which conducts land and seaborne defense, and the Naval Police, the national law enforcement force which also protects the courts and important government officials. The Navy is commanded by the Admiral, presently Prince Aaron. It operates two watercraft and has installations in Rosewood and Creekbed.

Überstadt is a peaceful country, constitutionally bound to neutrality in foreign conflicts and highly critical of micronational war. The military's role is accordingly primarily ceremonial. Nonetheless, the Royal Armed Forces are authorized to take offensive action if approved by Parliament or in direct response to an imminent threat to national safety.

Economy

Überstadt has a socialist economy in which there is no currency or other medium of exchange and the means of production are legally the property of all citizens. The economy is lightly planned, most decisions being made organically by the workers on an ad hoc basis rather than by the government in the form of legislation. The central planning that does occur tends to be concerned primarily with establishing legal frameworks for the worker-run economy to function within.

The primary economic actors are cooperatives, which are divided into two types. Public cooperatives, of which all citizens are automatically members, are created by legislation and governed by Parliament. Public cooperatives granted a special status to conduct foreign trade are the only institutions in Überstadt permitted to seek profit, all of which goes to the Treasury. All former major companies, including Rosewood Fruits and Apotheker, are public cooperatives. Goods and services produced by these organizations are not distributed according to any formal mechanism, but by a mutual understanding that any Überstadti who may require the product would receive it. Private cooperatives, in contrast, are created by private citizens and governed democratically by their members. They distribute their goods and services as they see fit, but are not permitted to sell any of their products.

The Überstadti economy is highly agrarian, with the primary sector being the most productive. Western Rosewood is the leading agricultural center, producing berries, plums, squash, peas, and tomatoes. Crops in other parts of the Kingdom include wild huckleberries in eastern Rosewood and ferns, from which spores are harvested to treat nettle stings, in Creekbed. An expansion of berry crops and a partial transition from in-ground planting to container planting occurred during the 2014 growing season, which has been the most productive period in Überstadti economic history. The production and use of natural dyes has recently developed, with the activity expected to form a key aspect of domestic handicrafts.

Most of Überstadt's energy is imported from the United States. Electricity is generated primarily by hydroelectric dams, although some solar electricity is produced domestically. One road exists, connecting the Royal Residency to the United States. Vehicular traffic over land is limited to this stretch. Ballinger is accessible only by boat, and is usually visited by Überstadtis using a naval vessel. Creekbed is bisected by a seldom-used overgrown trail, and is usually accessed by a log bridge jointly maintained with the United States.

Demographics

There are presently six citizens of Überstadt. Four are resident in Rosewood, the only populated territory of the Kingdom. The other two both live elsewhere in the US state of Washington. The average age of all citizens is 28.8.

Two-thirds of all Überstadtis are practicing Christians, and the remainder are irreligious. All Christian Überstadtis are Latter-day Saints. All residents of Rosewood are adherents to Mormonism, giving Überstadt one of the highest densities of LDS belief of any nation.

Pacific Northwest English is the common language, being the native dialect of all but one citizen, the Baroness Rosewood, who was raised speaking Utah English. Japanese, Arabic, Spanish, and French are also spoken to varying degrees as second languages.

Culture

Main article: Culture of Überstadt

Überstadt's culture is heavily influenced by that of the United States, by which it is enclaved and of which all Überstadtis are citizens. This influence is reflected in the primarily American media consumed, the language, the prevailing nuclear family structure, and certain aspects of the political and legal systems. Nevertheless, a distinctly Überstadti culture has solidified since 2010.

Überstadti society is classless, with no substantial social or economic divide between citizens. Ranks of nobility, although once considered a distinct class, have evolved into honors given to accomplished people. This egalitarianism is manifested both in the form of direct democracy and in the socialist economy. Another result is that there is little distinction between the country's high and popular cultures. Aside from egalitarianism, other Überstadti values include pragmatism, environmentalism, and a respect for ceremony and tradition.

Überstadtis identify strongly with their ancestral groups, due in part to the extensive genealogical information collected on the population. Those who are sometimes called "ethnic Überstadtis" are descended from what are thought of today as the German, English, Scottish, and Germanic Swiss peoples. Elements of English culture are present in politics, law, and music; more ancient Anglo-Saxon practices are emulated in poetry and some seasonal holidays. Swiss cuisine is increasingly incorporated into that of Überstadt, and German composers are among the most popular of the classical and romantic eras.

Ceremony forms an important part of cultural and social events. Public ceremonies tend to be political in nature, and include such events as the coronation of the Monarch and the State Opening of Parliament. Less formal ceremonies occur whenever Parliament meets, a monument is dedicated, or a national holiday occurs. Private ceremonies are often religious or spiritual. Besides the Christian devotions of the populace, ceremonies intended to imitate those of Anglo-Saxon paganism during important times on the ancient Germanic calendar have become routine. These rites are thought of as a form of connecting with the distant ancestors of the ethnic Überstadtis.

One of the strongest areas of native creative expression is literature in the form of poetry. The first Überstadti poetry was written as lyrics for patriotic music. Over time, the practice of expressing national identity through the written word has increased and evolved. The primary poetic format today is alliterative verse in the typical Old English style. Subject matter tends to remain patriotic, but the most highly regarded passages tend to be those describing nature and narrating the distant past.

External links

Government website
Überstadt National News Network (including On the Sector)