Raphistan

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Desert Realm of Raphistan
Kangdom of Raphistan
Flag of Raphistan
Flag
File:Altarms.png
Coat of Arms
Motto: "Tis' better to own than to be owned"
Anthem: March of the Shah

National Song: Happy Together
Raph map labled.png
Map of Raphistan showing the main property (blue) and associated territories (red).
StatusActive
LocationArizona
CapitalAl-Aarondad
35.00131554039168, -109.83532099032016
Official languagesEnglish (Raphistani dialect)
DemonymRaphistani, Raphanian
Government
• Shah
Alexander I
• Marshal
Tony the Great
Unrecognized Micronation
• Rosston foundation
10 February 2007
• Phokland reforms
13 December 2017
• Phoklandian incident
15 April 2020
• Raphistan reforms
15 September 2021
• Independence from Graustark-Dawsbergen
1 October 2021
• Acres sq.
1.16
Drives on theright
Not to be confused with Rackistan or Roscamistan.

Raphistan, also known as Raphania, officially the Desert Realm of Raphistan or Kangdom of Raphistan in raphistani english is a self-declared "Independent and Sovereign Property" and microstate, better known as a micronation, situated on a 1.16 square acre property in the desert of north-eastern Arizona. The realm operates as a semi-absolute monarchy and is under the rulership of the property's owner, the nation's sovereign and founder; Charles von Graustark, who goes under the reigning name of "Shah Alexander I" which acts as a pseudo-caricature of von Graustark. Due to the Desert Realm's special status as a separate property legally owned by the monarch both inside and outside of micronatioalism and its remote location (thus not being within any local Town or City jurisdiction), the land is able to operate with a high degree of autonomy, bordering on near complete independence, at the whim of the Shah. However, Raphistan still recognizes the superiority of the United States and while declaring itself as a de jure independent and seperate entity, still de facto recognizes the County, State and national authorities of the US.

Raphistan's creation was heavily inspired by the experiences of its creator who has been a micronationalist since 2007. As such, the creator's former micronation Phokland as well as the micronation of Dracul, which he had heavy involvement in, played large parts in inspiring the nature and makeup of Raphistan as well as its institutions. Additionally, great inspiration was taken from the Republic of Molossia and the Kingdom of Calsahara, both of which are desert based micronations operating under a similar mindset to Raphistan, that being to portray themselves as a unique project of creativity all the while embracing the eccentric nature of their very existance.

The nation attributes its name to the Catholic Archangel and Saint Raphael. This was chosen as the angel is Charles von Graustark's Patron Saint and thus his saint's name in accordance with Catholic tradition.

History

The history of Raphistan is one that far predates the current realm itself. Through one iteration or another, the idea for an all-encompassing state owned personally by the founder existed in the head of Raphistan's Shah since the earliest days of his micronational involvement. The concept of a land owned and controlled by Charles von Graustark dates back to his first "micronational" project in 2007.

Pre-Raphistan

The earliest traces of what would one day be Raphistan date back to February 10th 2007, when Charles founded a small micronation in the playground of his elementary school. The Kingdom, known as Rosston would be made up of Charles, who acted as King, and his close friends who would together form the nation's government. This micronation would continue through most of its founders’ time in primary school until 2013 when after growing out of the fake state, Rosston would be abandoned by its creators and left inactive.

The inactivity would continue until December of 2017 when after watching the 2010 comedy film Kickassia by Doug Walker, Charles was reminded of micronationalism and of Rosston. Researching the topic further and with memories of the "good old days" flooding back to him, Charles (now in high school) and his schoolmate Brock Lang agreed to re-enter micronationalism, renaming Rosston to the People's Republic of Phokland.

Under the new leadership, Phokland would quickly evolve within the community; firstly into a Principality, then a Viceroyalty, a Tsardom and finally into its final form, the Phoklandian Free State.

Phokland, like its predecessor, would in the end fall to inactivity and in April of 2020 it too would come to an ubrupt end following a scism within the government which tore the nation apart. with the majority of its government and citizens (excluding Charles) leaving to form the Commonwealth of Naveria. Because of this, Phokland's government was disbanded and without the means to maintain sovereignty, Phokland relenquished its land claims becoming akin to a nomadic government in exile under Charles who would still hold the title of "Margrave of Phokland.

Left witout a state of his own, Charles would wonder the community for the next several weeks until eventually being brought into the Commonwealth of Dracul where he would serve a miriad of positions until September of 2021 when after a disagreement with certain members of the nation, he would leave Dracul and return to the micronational community and go it alone with a mew project, this being Graustark-Dawsbergen, which he had founded as a side venture in 2019. This later evolved into a revived Phokland after the acquisition of an acre parcel in northeastern Arizona, and finally into Raphistan after it was decided that though the state would be considered a continuation of Phokland, like Rosston before, it would go under a new name to differentiate itself and serve as a new chapter micronationally.

Land pre-Raphistan

Navajo petroglyphs discovered in Al-Aarondad, Raphistan.

The territory that would one day become Raphistan was formed hundreds of thousands of years ago when the Arizonan deserts laid under the water of great oceans which once blanketed that region. It was this water which carved out the great peaks and lowlands that would one day fall under Raphistani administration.

The oceans would eventually subside and in its place, vast desert plains would form. On these plains, the region's first people would find a home. The first humans to settle modern day Raphistan were the Navajo peoples who, according to archeological evidence, lived among the rock capped peaks of today's Al-Aarondad. Additionally, these peoples would leave their mark on the environment through the petroglyphs which they created. These same petroglyphs would later be found during the first expedition into the territory.

For unknown reasons and at an unknown date, the Navajo would vacate the lands of Raphistan, leaving only their primitive artwork behind. While unknown, a speculated reason for their departure may stem from the lack of ground water, and high salt levels in the ground making farming and large-scale pre-Colombian settlement near impossible. This lack of water would also doom another would-be settlement, this time in the modern age.

Sometime in the 1980's there was an attempt to construct a large residential neighborhood in the area. This proposed settlement included all of Raphistan's territory. In preparation for construction, dirt roads were carved into the desert floor and acre sized lots were etched out for use in house construction. However, like the Navajo before them, lack of water acquisition would spell the end for the proposed community and from then on, the lands would sit empty and untouched, slowly becoming reclaimed by the desert around them. Overtime, some sparse people would come to inhabit the area, with individual parcels being purchased over the years. These people would mostly use the area as either a place to camp, or a place to move to in order to disconnect from the rest of society.

Founding

The events which would unfold to create Raphistan date back to late August of 2021 when after departing the Commonwealth of Dracul, founder Charles von Graustark found himself looking to re-enter the micronational world at the healm of a nation of his own. Following a lengthy phone call with fellow micronationalist Travis McHenry, Charles decided that he would take what he had learned from his past projects and from his time in Dracul and along with other former citizens of Phokland, re-activate the Unified Kingdom of Graustark and Dawsbergen, which had laid dormant since the end of 2019.

Shortly after its return, Graustark engaged in several micronational events in quick succession. These events included a joint "military operation" with Dracul and a speech to the micronational community on YouTube regarding Charles' wishes to return Graustark-Dawsbergen back into the community spotlight.

It is during this quick surge of activity that Charles, alongside other government members, decided to attempt and aquire a property in the name of the nation. While undergoing the search for usable land, Charles came accross an acre of territory in the north-eastern deserts of Arizona (the same state he resided in) which was up for sale. Seeing the affordable nature of the land and seeing an opertunity to start a new project with a "clean slate", Charles' purchased the land and shorthy thereafter he declared the formation of the Protectorate of Raphistan with himself as Supreme Leader.

Annexation

Before Raphistan had even been formerly established, it was decided by the nation's founder, that the state would operate as a de facto protectorate of Graustark-Dawsbergen through a personal union of the crowns. This allowed him to differentiate the two states culturally and geographically while maintaining political and sovereign unity, similar to the relationship between Westarctica and post-invasion Calsahara.

Independence

The area was initially set up as a part of Graustark-Dawsbergen however, seeing the divulging culture between the two entities and due to the fact that Graustark-Dawsbergen was beginning so slowly return to a semi-inactive state, on 1 Octobe 2021, Charles declared the seperation and independence of Raphistan under the name "Desert Realm of Raphistan". Furthermore, he declared himself Shah of the new nation and chose the new reigning name Alexander I both as a way to mark the transition to monarchy and to seperate the state from his real identity in order to allow him to play almost a caricature of himself.

Shortly prior to independence, in late September, some of Charles' real life co-workers and friends became intrested in the project and joined as citizens and government members, furthering Charle's opinion that the new nation would operate primarily within the real world with its foundational core made up of individuals living in a close proximity of eachother.

Modern Raphistan

Since founding and later independence, Raphistan has quickly pushed to make a name for itself, participating in microsphere activities such as; approaching several states in the areas of diplomacy, joining a micronational MicroLoan group dedicated to ofering small short-term loans to individuals in impoverished nations, partially opening Raphistan up for select camping and visits as well as establishing the founding governmental institutions of the state such as the military and executive arms.

Government

Government propaganda poster

Officially, the government of Raphistan operates under an absolute monarchy. However in practice, the state is ran more like a military dictatorship with the Shah serving as the head of civil affairs and symbolic head of the military and a Marshal operating the day-to-day goings on of the military and helping to push forward legislation which concerns state security.

Shah

Due to the nation's land belonging legally to the monarch and his descendants, the Shah plays an integral role in the functioning of the state. In a practical sense, the Shah acts as the head of government and prime representative of the state to the international community. Because of this, most civil affairs are managed by his office. Additionally, the Shah serves as ceremonial head of the nation's armed forces. The Shah is the final signatory on all legislation and can propose/accept/reject any bills he wishes. With this, the Shah can therefore also appoint and dismiss any member of the government and/or nobility at his discression (though some moves for democratization are in the works).

Like most monarchies, the office of the Shah is hereditary, passing from parent to eldest child. If a direct heir is not able to be found or appointed, the powers of the crown would be invested temporarily in a regency under the Marshal of the military who would act under the title "Supreme Leader" until a legal owner of the land of Raphistan is found. If a female takes the crown, the title of Shah is either changed to Shahbanu (the feminized form of the title) or Queen.

Defense

Seal of the Raphistan Security Force

While existing as a relatively small independent state, only an acre in size, Raphistan still possesses a militia style defense force. The earliest traces of what would become the Raphistan Security Force predate the realm by about two years. Dating back to Phokland, individuals involved with the nation in Arizona, some of whom possessed military/law enforcement training/experience, banded together to create a "militia" to protect Phokland's sovereignty. Originally lighthearted in nature, the militia would consist of individuals (most of whom were firearm owners) going to shooting ranges to practice marksmanship and going on hikes and hunting expeditions in the desert. Overall, the militia operated like, and eventually became, a social club for firearm enthusiasts among Phoklandlian citizens and their friends. Following the dissolution of Phokland and the parting of ways amongst many members, the militia ceased to functionally exist by the beginning of 2020.

Following the restoration of Charles' micronational career and the foundation of Raphistan as a spiritual successor to Phokland, some members of the former militia became reinterested in the project, primarily due to seeing the existence of physical land owned by the state in a remote location as a new opportunity to shoot guns and camp out in an outdoor environment. Also a factor in their interest was that former member Tony "the Great" had joined with Raphistan during its formation and became the first "Viceroy" of the nation.

Therefore, seeing a new way to foster a community environment, and being a gun-owner himself, on 17 September 2021 Shah Alexander announced the formation of the Raphistan Security Force (shortened simply to RSF) as a reservist militia to be trained as a way to ceremonially "protect" the lands of the realm. Furthermore, as an offshoot of the RSF, on 30 September, the Shah also sanctioned the creation of a "Secret Police" to act as Raphistan’s primary active-duty law enforcement and intelligence agency to provide security to government officials and to enforce the rules of the property during community events. Membership in the Secret Police would be made up of volunteers pulled from among the ranks of the RSF.

On 1 October, Shah Alexander declared the abolition of the office of Viceroy due to the seeming redundancy of the post. Still wanting to keep a "head of government", the Shah merged the former powers of the Viceroy with the powers of the head of defense into a new office he dubbed the office of the "Marshal". Wanting to keep his good friend and de facto founding father Tony the Great in power, Tony was subsequently appointed to become Raphistan's first Marshal.

Marshal

The office of Marshal within the Desert Realm of Raphistan is a post which serves many functions. Officially acting as head of the armed forces and commander of government affairs, the Marshal acts most often as almost a sort of Prime Minister for Raphistan and often carries out several of the functions most often associated with such a post.

Regardless, the Marshal is first and foremost, Supreme Commander of the Raphistan Security Force and second only to the Shah in prestige and internal power. Acting as primary advisor and aid to the monarch, the Marshal serves an important role in keeping in check the powers of the monarchy, and though required to act under the orders of the Shah and dismissible by him, for most of the time the Marshal is able to act under his own accord. In regards to internal politics, the Marshal has the ability to draft and propose bills of legislation directly to the Shah.

Another key role served by the Marshal is that of emergency regent. If a monarchical successor cannot be found and a legitimate owner of the Raphistani land cannot be obtained, and if no other regent was designated by the previous Shah or Queen, then the Marshal may assume emergency control over the government as regent, at which point they would become the "Supreme Leader of Raphistan" until either the situation was resolved or a new form of nationhood was established. The first and current officeholder is Raphistani co-founding father Tony the Great.

Police

Logo of the Secret Police

The Secret Police of Raphistan were created on 30 September 2021 per royal decree of the Shah. The police act as Raphistan’s primary active-duty law enforcement and intelligence agency and is officially tasked with providing security to government officials (especially the Shah and Marshal) and to enforce the laws and decrees of the Shah over the property territory of Raphistan during community events or other times when their presence may be required. Membership in the Secret Police is made up of volunteers pulled from the ranks of the Raphistan Security Force. Besides security, the Police act as the nation's primary information gathering service with agents dispatched to gather inelegance that would concern the national wellbeing of Raphistan.

Subdivisions

Raphistan is nationally divided into three separate areas of administration; one territory of land, one consulate and one leased concession. Furthermore, the territory of land is further divided into two sub-districts and there is one planned royal estate which does not yet exist.

The two sub-divisions that make up the territorial land consist of the capital, Al-Aarondad, which exists as its own district of jurisdiction, and the remainder of the territory, which is known as "The Frontier". The capital's name is derived from the biblical Aaron who, according to scripture, was the eldest brother of the prophet Moses.

Raphistan's leased concession consists of a noncontiguous territorial concession made up of two rooms and a garden all located on a residential property in Arizona. The concession was ceded to Raphistani administration due to it being the temporary residence of the nation's Shah. Plans for a for a long term "Royal Compound/Royal Estate" are in the works and the concession is expected to be surrendered sometime in early 2022.

The area of Garretsburg was ceded in October 2021 and consists of a citizen's personal dwelling. The area was granted for inclusion after Raphistan's independence from Graustark-Dawsbergen. The primary reason for Garretsburg's creation was to serve as a mid-point for locally based Raphistani citizens and act as a location to meet and handle government affairs without having to travel to the nation's remote homeland. While allowing itself to fall under the administration of Raphistan, it acts in a practical sense like a de facto consulate for the desert realm. Like the rest of Raphistan, Garretsburg is also located in Arizona an its administrative seat/capital is known as Frankville.

Flag Name Established Capital
Territorial Land
Frontier.png Raphistani Frontier 15 September 2021 Al-Aarondad
Leased Concession
Big Dog Flag.png Royal Compound 25 August 2019 (Graustark) N/A
"Consulate"
No step.jpg Garretsburg 8 October 2021 Frankville

Economy

The realm possesses a relatively active and stable economy when compared to other micronations. While still officially utilizing the US Dollar for most all international transactions, internal work is progressing towards the eventual development of a stable currency for use inside the realm's borders. The handling of economics and finance within the nation is the responsibility of the Ministry of the Crown Treasury (or just Crown Treasury for short).

MicroLoans

Outside of micronationalism, Raphistan participates in the issuance of MicroLoans, which are small scale financial loans issued by the Royal Crown Treasury as part of the Molossia based Intermicronational Team Kiva. The group, made up of twenty members, was founded by President Kevin Baugh of Molossia in 2009 for the purposes of helping people in the "real world" and to "help others help themselves and to make the world a better place for all".[1][2]

Raphistan has been a member of the team since September 2021.

Currency

While not presently possessing an official currency and in return using the US Dollar for most all transactions, plans are in the works to create a new internal currency for the nation. The currency, which is likely to be named the Raphistani Shekel will be used by visitors inside the territory at places like markets or a gift shop, however, the most common planned use for the currency will be that of novelty money, likely sold as a souvenir from the nation's webstore.

Foreign relations

As a nation state Raphistan has adopted a foreign policy comparable to other micronational contemporaries, namely in terms of treaties and diplomacy. However, Raphistan does, as a gesture of good will, de facto recognize all declared nation-states of the world. Additionally, through the crown and office of the Shah, while no official embassies or consulates from Raphistan have been established, individual diplomatic envoys are able to routinely be dispatched to speak on the behalf of the monarch and subsequently for the realm.

Bilateral diplomacy

Mutual diplomacy is maintained with several countries around the world.

Unofficial diplomacy

Even without a formal treaty to establish relations, Raphistan still holds meaningful unofficial cultural and trade relationships with other states.

One-sided recognition

Raphistan recognizes certain individual governments in exile, though they do not typically recognize Raphistan in return.

Former relations

Raphistan has had past relations with states which for one reason or another no longer presently exist.

Geography

Raphistan and surrounding areas.

Raphistan's geography is relatively consistent with its surrounding territory comprised of flat rocky terrain interspliced with desert dirt and plant life. The nation is likewise surrounded by rocky desert and hilly terrain with a variety of rock type as well as unique desert fauna dotting the landscape.

Culture

Flag of Garretsburg, Raphistan on a citizen’s car.

Among the citizenry of Raphistan (namely among Raphanians), culture is very reminiscent of south-western American culture, mixed in with some traditions borrowed from the culture of Mexico. Within the nation, gun-culture is widespread with most citizens of the state being gunowners themselves. Additionally, a love of the outdoors and a shared intrest in the desert nature is a trait often expressed by the Raphistani people, notably within the government and ruling dynasty.

While in Raphistan, citizens often participate in activities such as target practice, campfires, storytelling, stargazing and hiking. Camping is also very common in Raphistan with the government activly encouraging members to spend time in Raphistan and connect with the land and its surroundings.

Online, citizens also share a common culture within Raphistan's digital services, such as the nation's Discord server. A meutual lighthearted attitude regarding the community exists among online members and citizens can often be found conversing about a wide variety of subjects, playing online video games and sharing memes as well as other digital media that they may come accross.

National symbols

Civil flag of Raphistan

Like most nations of the world, Raphistan holds dear several cultural and political symbols of national importance. These include items such as the flag, the coat of arms, the royal seal and more abstract symbols of statehood, such as the national anthem and national song. Other symbols of the state include plant life such as the Desert Goldenrod and indigenous wildlife like the Pronghorn Antelope and the Arizona Bobcat.

Trivia

  • Raphistan is slightly larger than the homeland of the Republic of Molossia in physical size; at 1.16 acres compared to Molossia's 1.3 acres.
  • Raphistan is one of only three active micronations who's monarch goes by the title of Shah.
  • Raphistan was heavily inspired by the Kingdom of Calsahara, formed by Travis McHenry back in 2009, located in the California desert.
  • In addition to Calsahara, Raphistan was greatly inspired by the middle-eastern nations of Imperial Iran, Afghanistan and by the historical Ottoman Empire.
  • The property that currently makes up Raphistan was not the first choice for the nation's location, with the founder attempting to first make an unsuccessful bid to purchase a half acre plot in the nearby city of Holbrook, Arizona.
  • The national drink in Raphistan is Mead which is brewed locally in Arizona by the nation's Marshal who also works for a brewery.
  • Besides the national anthem, the national song of Raphistan is "Happy Together" by The Turtles.

See also

External links

References

  1. About Kiva Lending Team: Intermicronational Team Kiva Kiva (www.kiva.org). Date 10 August 2009; access date 27 September 2021
  2. Members: Intermicronational Team Kiva Kiva (www.kiva.org). Date 10 August 2009; access date 27 September 2021