Kingdom of Überstadt

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Kingdom of Überstadt

 

18 November 2011 — present

Flag of Überstadt.svgUberarms.png

Motto
Pacem et spem
Mountlake Terrace, Washington, United States
Capital cityRosewood
Official language(s)English
Official religion(s)Secular
Short nameÜberstadt
DemonymÜberstadti
GovernmentParliamentary constitutional monarchy with direct democracy
- KingAdam I
LegislatureParliament
- Type - Unicameral
Established- Foundation 6 March 2010
- Kingdom 18 November 2011
Area claimed.013km²
Time zone(UTC-7 to UTC-8)
National animalSeagull


"Überstadt" redirects here. For the original incarnation of Überstadt known only by that name, see Kritarchical 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 13 citizens.

Überstadt is governed as a unitary constitutional monarchy with Adam I as king, organized in a direct parliamentary democracy. It 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. The unicameral parliament, which citizens have the right to attend as members, meets at Rosewood, the national capital since 2013.

Überstadt was founded with utopian secessionist aspirations, described in its founding documents as a way to "show the world what a utopia truly is." Its early history was marked by an informal community of young students centered on a Facebook group and a high school. In November 2011, a movement called the November Revolution established the monarchy. Überstadt has since evolved into a more politically and culturally mature project, shrinking its land claims, establishing direct democracy, focusing on shared cultural events, and developing the Social System with Sandus.

Überstadt is in economic union with the Sandus through the Common Economy, a project of the Social System. Its citizens participate in cooperatives dedicated to horticulture, handicrafts, and cultural production.

History

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 peoples 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 United States government promoted this Oregon Country to settlers, 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 U.S. 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 residents incorporated the city of Mountlake Terrace in 1954 to improve roads and utility service during the postwar population boom. Mountlake Terrace expanded in size and population in the following decades, not to decrease until Überstadt's secession.

Edmount Island burning in August 2009.

Mountlake Terrace resident Adam von Friedeck learned about micronationalism in December 2007, and for the next two years, he 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 near his home. 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 for the project. During this time, Edmount Island experienced a disastrous fire, which strengthened the community's solidarity. The community began to develop a collective identity and some basic political structures on the Facebook group that became the project's hub. Von Friedeck decided that Überstadt would be founded as a kritarchy. On 6 March 2010, twelve supporters of Überstadt signed the first constitution and founded the state.

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 containing all Überstadti territories was planed by a massive glacier several thousand years ago. The bulk of local soil consists of glacial till filled with stones and contains little clay. Edmount Island, however, is formed primarily of peat from the lake's prehistoric origins as a bog. Rosewood, lying within a residential neighborhood, is relatively flat due to human modification. Überstadt also claims a portion of Lake Ballinger extending two hundred feet from each shore of Edmount Island.

The primary natural vegetation is that characteristic of the Pacific Northwest's temperate coniferous and temperate mixed forests, with the primary trees being Douglas fir, western redcedar, and western hemlock. 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.

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 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

Since the mid-20th century, Edmount Island has fallen victim to two fires started by human activity. Fires in peat bogs such as the island tend to burn underground and unexpectedly flare up as hot spots, 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 has faced environmental difficulties for decades, beginning in the 1950s when powerboat races disturbed the sediment of the shallow lake, resulting in excessive turbidity. Along with chemical pollution from suburban runoff and poor conditions downstream, this killed the annual salmon run from the Pacific Ocean to the lake. An aeration system in the water and spillways to stop sediment upstream in Hall Creek have helped mitigate these issues. Algal blooms caused by excess nitrates in storm runoff have also proved problematic.

Most of Rosewood's land sees active human use. 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 2015. The head of state and government is the Monarch, currently King Adam I. The Monarch creates policy, appoints government ministers, oversees foreign relations, and grants noble titles and honors. The Monarch is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Armed Forces and Moderator of Parliament. Parliament may replace the Monarch as Moderator at any time, but this has never occurred. As a citizen subject to the law, the Monarch debates and votes in Parliament.

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. Parliament must approve cabinet nominations by the Monarch. There are no political parties.

The judicial body of the Kingdom at the trial level is the Duchy Court. Judges were originally appointed by the monarch, but today, they are chosen by a vote of the whole judiciary. The Duchy Court possesses national jurisdiction, with one judge holding court in every duchy, giving the court its name. The constitutional and appellate court is the High Chancery, presided over by the High Chancellor.

Administrative divisions

The first-level administrative subdivision in Überstadt is the duchy, which is divided into baronies. 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 Kritarchical Überstadt, receiving its name from Edmount Island. The duchy is divided into the Barony of Ballinger, which encompasses the island and all waters within 200 feet of it, and the Barony of Rosewood, which consists of the Royal Residency and the plot upon which it lies. Creekbed Colony, located in a wooded area approximately a third of a mile south of Rosewood, is the only colony.

Foreign relations

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

Culture

External links