Grand Duchy of Silver Lake
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| Grand Duchy of Silver Lake |
"custodes argentum lacus"
Justice for All
|Capital city||Silver Lake|
|Largest city||Silver Lake|
|- Grand Duke||Orion|
|Established||25 August 2012|
|National sport||Ice Skating|
|National animal||Eastern Bluebird|
Silver Lake, formally the Grand Duchy of Silver Lake, and sometimes referred to as Silveria, is a landlocked micronation surrounded by the United States.
The name of Silver Lake is fairly self-explanatory. Originally an offshoot of the Housatonic River, it was later isolated as a lake during the development of the city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. To early settlers it was known as Ensign's Pond, and later it was expanded in 1843 as a reservoir for a nearby hat factory, resulting in it being called Hatter's Pond. Maps identify the water body as Silver Lake as early as 1876, and all later records retained this designation. The description is apt, as the lake often reflects the silvery light of the cloudy New England sky.
Silver Lake was once an oxbow of the Housatonic River, located in the Central Berkshires of Massachusetts. Little is known of the area's history prior to settlement by Europeans except that it was used by the local Native Americans for fishing. During the settlement of the city of Pittsfield, which Silver Lake is surrounded by, the oxbow was isolated and turned into a lake. It was not quickly developed and remained within a mostly agrarian area, with many farms utilizing the spring-fed waters of the lake.
The Industrial Revolution
In 1890 inventor William Stanley moved his operations to Pittsfield and built the new factory for Stanley Electric adjacent to Silver Lake. In 1903 General Electric purchased Stanley's company outright and began expanding operations, eventually building a manufacturing plant that spanned some three miles in length. One of the company's biggest products was in the manufacture of electrical transformers, insulated by an artificially-created chemical known as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). Huge amounts of waste PCBs were created as a result of the process, and by the 1910s GE had begun dumping them into the nearby lakes, rivers, and landfills, including Silver Lake. The once bucolic countryside of Silver Lake was quickly transformed into an industrial wasteland.
By 1923 the lake had become so polluted that its surface actually caught fire. Nonetheless, dumping continued until the 1970s when the detrimental health effects of PCBs began to be noticed and environmental regulations started to hold the company accountable. General Electric vehemently denied any wrongdoing, and fought the rulings in numerous court cases, delaying clean-up efforts for years. The company had already begun to lose money and was slowly closing down its operations in the city, eventually selling the land to the town, which was then placed under an economic development authority. Restoration still proceeded at a glacial pace, with both landowners and wildlife suffering from the continued effects of pollution.
Response and Revolution
Fed up with the slow response of redevelopment and the continued environmental degradation, HRH Orion declared Silver Lake an independent Grand Duchy, with intent to act as guardians of the lake.
Silver Lake is divided into four quarters, each governed by a Baron.
The current baronies are:
- The Barony of Silver Isle
- The Barony of Fenn
- The Barony of Fourthe
- The Barony of Outfall
Foreign Relations of Silver Lake
States that are Recognized by Silver Lake
Silver Lake recognizes all UN member states, and all of its allies, as well as
† (Although the Vatican City is a fully recognized country, it is not part of the UN, and so is put on this list for that reason and that reason only).
Silver Lake has a humid continental climate. Summers are warm, while winters are relatively cold, with average January temperatures below freezing throughout most of the grand duchy. January average temperatures are around 21.6 °F (-5.8 °C). The average temperature in July is 68.9 °F (20.5 °C). Silver Lake experiences substantial snowfall in a typical winter, with an average of 43.2 in (109.7 cm). The ground is often covered with snow for weeks at a time during January and February. Although Silver Lake has a humid climate, it is sunny compared to other humid climates at the same latitude.