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Imperial Republic of Shireroth
|Sirithia sumus, tempus in parte nostrum est|
|Land of the Nifty|
|Official language(s)||Præta Sxiróþes|
|Date founded||24 April 2000|
|Number of citizens||25|
|Number of active citizens||25|
|Government||Absolute parliamentary monarchy|
|Current leader||Kaiser Ometeotl I|
|National animal||Blue Moose|
The Imperial Republic of Shireroth is an absolute monarchy that takes great pride in its age, traditions, and dominant position in the simulated world of Micras. Although Shireroth has started such well-known international projects as the Micronational Cartography Society and the Small Commonwealth, it tends to be inwardly focused, ignoring most other countries and devoting the majority of its energy to its hideously complex feudal politics.
Shireroth was founded April 24, 2000 by Erik Mortis. It spent the majority of its early history as a client state to the great powers of the day, including Audentior, Jasonia, and Tymaria. After the fall of Tymaria, Shireroth emerged as the most powerful of its successor states. It was both able to collect most of the remnants of the old Apollo Sector micronationalists and gather a native community of its own consisting mostly of students at Sonoma State University in California.
By 2003, Shireroth's post-Tymaria glory days were gone, and many observers thought it was being outcompeted by flashier micronations like Menelmacar. In response, Steward Nikkolo declared "Oustfest", a tradition of kicking out anyone with more than three citizenships as insufficiently loyal. The tactic worked, with a smaller, sleeker core of patriotic citizens more willing to place Shirerithian interests first, and became a yearly occurrence. Around the same time, the unpopular Kaiser Mog was overthrown by Kaiser Letifer, creating a Shirerithian tradition of revolting at the drop of a hat.
The next few years saw many highlights, including the War of the Wylthean Succession, an ultimately failed pro-democracy movement by rebel Philip Locke, and the reduction of and combination of the country's many Duchies into six "classic" ones: Brookshire, Goldshire, Elwynn, Kildare, Yardistan, and Straylight. This era ended when Kaiser Yarad I attempted the brave but ultimately doomed "New Feudalism" experiment, in which the country's traditional feudal structure was turned on its head to allow more independence and bargaining between counties. Around the same time, many of Shireroth's traditional enemies allied into a "Grand Commonwealth" designed to check Shirerithian power; due to poor communication between the government's many ministries and branches, Shireroth's response was lackluster at best. For a combination of reasons including the new feudalism, a series of weak Kaisers, foreign stagnation, and bad luck, many Shirerithians departed and by 2007 the country was in a state of complete disrepair.
In October 2007, Erik Mortis returned, took the royal name Kaiser Mors V, and along with tech guru Ari Rahikkala led the "Great Reconsolidation", a reconstruction of Shireroth's institutions that shook off the inactivity of the past year. After Mortis' abdication, a long civil struggle began between a faction based in Shireroth's ally Babkha and a second faction that wanted to see ex-Cyberian Jacobus Loki on the throne. The early dominance of the Babkhan faction collapsed when it was revealed to be a front for a Babkhan plot to take over the country, and Jacobus took the throne as Kaiser Loki the Long-Awaited in 2008.
Through 2009, Shireroth gradually collected new citizens, repaired its relationship with Babkha, gained international prestige as the home of the Small Commonwealth, and otherwise enjoyed growing prestige and power abroad completely unmarred by a series of constant low-grade feudal struggles at home. Most recently, a debate between traditionalists and liberals flared up in a battle over Shireroth's beloved but graphically questionable flag that led to founder Erik Mortis taking an indefinite leave of absence. Some worry that the country has grown too big and complex to stay together as an effective community, while others celebrate its continued growth and prosperity.
Shireroth is ruled by a Kaiser, an absolute monarch technically bound only by a weak charter that ze zirself can change with only slight inconvenience. The Kaiser rules by decree, and zir word supersedes all other law and institutions. However, the Kaiser is effectively bound by a number of traditions, most important of which is that ze can rule only for a maximum of three months before appointing an heir and abdicating gracefully. Any Kaiser who disobeys these traditions or the will of the people is likely to be dethroned in a rebellion.
The Kaiser appoints or dismisses at will three Imperial Advisors and approximately six Ministers, each of whom controls one of the country's Ministries. The current ministries of Shireroth are Exterior, Interior, Information, Military Affairs, Immigration and Naturalization, and Trade. A Minister has full power over zir Ministry, limited only by the generally uninterested Kaiser.
Shireroth's five (occasionally four or six) Duchies are each ruled by a Duke, technically ruling at the pleasure of the Kaiser but effectively chosen by the previous Duke. Each Duchy has several Baronies ruled by Barons who rule at the pleasure of the Duke. The Counties, just below the Baronies are the smallest feudal units, and their Counts are not officially nobles. Each County contains only one person, the Count, who develops it culturally in whatever direction takes zir fancy.
All Dukes and some Barons have access and votes to Shireroth's legislature, the Landsraad. Exactly who has how much power there is a hotly debated issue; right now, Barons can speak and vote, but conservatives occasionally succeed in barring the chamber to all but Dukes. In between the Kaiser, the Ministries, and the traditions, the Landsraad rarely has much to do, but issues of national importance sometimes come before it. The Landsraad is controlled by a Praetor, elected by the nobility, who acts as its speaker and enforces the rules of order.
Constitutional crises, as well as the occasional criminal trial, get referred to Shireroth's sole court, the Judex. The Arbiter of the Judex is charged with interpreting the Charter, the Lawbooks, and the Imperial Decrees. However, the Kaiser outranks the Arbiter and can fire zir or use imperial decrees to avoid the effects of zir decision. The only case in which the Arbiter has power beyond the Kaiser's is that both Kaiser and Arbiter must mutually agree on any changes to Shireroth's Charter.
Shirerithians can go on for hours about their subdivisions, each of which is fiercely patriotic and occasionally locked in deadly war or alliance with various other subdivisions. Although the subdivision list is subject to frequent change, the most current list includes:
Goldenbrook, a union of some of the country's oldest territories, known as a traditional seat of power for national founder Erik Mortis and as a center for the nation's traditions and most conservative elements.
Elwynn, the country's largest and most diverse Duchy, linked to the icy north and Scandinavia. Contains factions of oppressed natives, spiritual Hyperboreans, bureaucratic Babkhans, giant insects, rampaging Vikings, and who knows what else. Most non-natives stay away.
Kildare is a collection of historic lands built up from the territories of some of Shireroth's progenitor states. It wears its history with great pomp and ceremony, is the country's economic center, and sometimes flirts with an Irish theme. It calls itself a Dutchy instead of a Duchy, an old joke that refuses to die.
Yardistan is the only Duchy that has a constitutionally protected right to rebel against the national government. In times past it was a center for revolution, craziness, and a party atmosphere, but it's calmed down a bit recently. Its language, Iardix, is one of Shireroth's most developed.
Straylight, the newest Duchy, has a disproportionate number of computer science types among its citizens. It bills itself as a sci-fi setting of oceanic platforms, and has recently been in negotiations with Yardistan about its possible annexation.
In terms of real-world territory, Shireroth claims Sonoma County, California as its capital. However, this claim was placed when a much higher proportion of Shirerithians resided in the county, and is now generally ignored.
Shireroth deliberately avoids basing itself wholesale on any particular real world country or even around a coherent idea or political system. Instead, its culture evolved chaotically over its existence. Some dispute the very existence of a national culture, instead saying that culture is mostly limited to the various subdivisions with the imperial government tying them together politically. Those who believe in culture cite elements taken from Germany, Hinduism, the Roman Empire, Warcraft and Dune, plus a large chunk that is uniquely Shirerithian and mostly incomprehensible to other micronationalists.
Much of Shireroth's culture is an accretion of the dozens of other micronations that have risen and fallen over Shireroth's lifetime. Shirerithian conversations are peppered with references to Menelmacar, PRH, Diga, YAMOs, magigarp, and the apocollapse. Although most citizens understand these, they present a formidable barrier to foreigners trying to make sense of Shirerithian life.
Shireroth's national religion is Cedrism, a native pagan mythology based around Mors, the God of Death, and his ex-wife Viviantiana, the Goddess of Life. Worship tends to involve sacrificing citrus fruits (hence the name) and lighting explosions (which has given it its alternate and more popular name BOOOOMism). Cedrism also shares some Hindu beliefs like reincarnation and enlightenment.
Major Cedrist gods include Anandja, Goddess of Bliss, Lumina, Goddess of Light, Ifni, Goddess of Luck, and Sakat, God of Time. More popular are the minor "joke" gods, including Google, Bringer of Knowledge, Mog, God of Political Blunders, and B'caw, God of Spicy Chicken. However, by far the most popular god is Malarbor, the Evil Tree God of Online Forums. Malarbor has had a prominent place in the announcement box of Shireroth's forums for many years, and has become the country's unofficial mascot and badwill ambassador. Malarbor's catch phrase, insofar as gods can have catchphrases, is "MALARBOR DEMANDS IT!"
Other features of Cedrism include the Demon (occasionally Deamon) Fish of Balgurd, the archdemon Rrakanychan, and the legendary Sword of Vengeance, symbol of the Kaiser's might (but arguably pilfered by the Babkhans a while back).
Shireroth's religion ties in neatly to its fictional history, which prominently features figures called tecnomaezji who fought long ago for the promotion of science over magic and superstition. Shireroth claims descent from the tecnomaezji ethos via a long and complicated series of wars, fictional Kaisers, and great empires.
In practice, only three or four Shirerithians have much interest in the religion, and even fewer in the fictional history. Both are kept around only to provide a national narrative that ties together everything that gets done in the subdivisions.
Shireroth uses the ASC calendar for most of its historical business, both real and fictional. The calendar records the number of days since 6 August 1999, when Shireroth's distant ancestor, the micronation of Audentior, was founded. For example, February 7, 2010 is 3838 ASC. This system allows Shirerithians to make events seem a bit more grand scale: for example, saying that Kaiser Ari i ruled from 2064-2098 ASC.
The Shirerithian calendar is a replacement for the standard Gregorian calendar. It has thirteen months of twenty-eight days each; each month is further organized into two fourteen-day weeks.
The months of the Shirerithian calendar are all named after gods in the Cedrist religion. In order, they are Viviantiana, Mo'lluk, Semisuary, Ifnin, Agnifiero, Krondonkin, Ikolstyme, Biternionsmoon, Qarbinionsmoon, Breizan, Anandjan, Vanchauslurk, and H'graasreign. After the last day of H'graasreign is the Shirerithian Day of the Dead, corresponding to December 21. The Day of the Dead is not only the winter solstice but the day on which modern Shireroth was founded in 2000 and the first real Kaiser took the throne. In Shirerithian myth, the spirits of the dead walk the earth on this day, and many of the laws of the Universe are weakened or suspended. After the Day of the Dead, the year cycles back to Vivantiana 1st. Although the existence of an official leap year policy is open to doubt, it would make sense to simply tack on an extra Day of the Dead every four years.
The days of the week are also named after Shirerithian gods, featuring a strange combination of very important and very minor deities. They are, in order, Vivantiaday, Rasday, Thorsday, Ifniday, Losday, Ughday, Semisaday, Fishday, Arisday, Homersday, Gahgday, Somnisday, Hasanday, and Morsday.
The most important Shirerithian holidays are Oustfest (Vivantiana 25), V-A Day (Semisuary 3), Jasonia Day (Semisuary 5), Independence Day (Agnifiero 15), La Fiesta de la BO0O0O/\/\ (Biternionsmoon 22), Glorious Founder Day (Qarbinionsmoon 4) Foundation Day (Qarbinionsmoon 5), Blackrock Day (Anandjan 18), and the Day of the Dead. Shireroth also observes the birthdays of most of its citizens and of some of the larger subdivisions as holidays, as well as most of the major macronational holidays.
The structure of the Shireroth Calendar was implimented during the reign of Kaiser Raynor XI by a number of people but most significantly James Raine, who made the days, and Eoin Dornan, who made the months. However the system itself was created by Erik Mortis, ironically enough while he was attending a Catholic Mass with his, at the time, girlfriend. The Shireroth calendar website was created by Scott Alexander.
Shireroth's currency is the erb, which comes in denominations of 1, 5, 18, 29, and 100.
Shireroth is a founding member of the Small Commonwealth Economy, and hosts the Small Commonwealth Bank and SCEX, the Small Commonwealth Stock Exchange. Its economy is based on a system of bounties, in which people work without assured compensation but the Ministry of Trade rewards anyone who helps the country especially greatly with a cash gift. There are then gradual taxes that replenish the government treasury. Although the economy hasn't entirely caught on, there are several cases of people selling land and titles for money.
In the past, the country experimented with a system in which votes in the Landsraad were linked to the amount of money people in a Duchy had. But because Shireroth's Duchy-based voting system made it impossible to link it to personal wealth, this became awkward and was later abandoned; the economy has not really recovered.
Andreas Mayer, Minister of Trade, is widely considered to be the only person who fully understands Shireroth's economy.
Shireroth is unusually isolationist for a micronation, but nevertheless has several productive foreign relationships.
Shireroth is the founder and host of the Small Commonwealth, an organization that allows nations to sign specific treaties of operation. Though some denounce the Commonwealth as a YAMO, it had some real successes - for example, unifying the economy of most members and creating an international criminal court. Current Small Commonwealth members are Shireroth, Batavia, Ashkenatza, Natopia, Nelaga, Gralus, Nederlanden, and Stormark. Some enemies of the Commonwealth, especially Antica, accuse members of being Shirerithian puppet states or the Commonwealth of being committed to Shirerithian domination. The Commonwealth itself loudly denies these allegations.
Shireroth is the founding member of the Micronational Cartography Society (MCS), which links thirty six nations, mostly English-speaking but also Dutch and Polish, together on a single map. Shireroth is a strong partisan of the Society and fiercely defended it during its conflicts with other cartography societies like the Geographical Standards Organization. Some accused Shireroth of dominating the society, which was once plausible when most of its top positions were held by Shirerithians. However, today only one of five MCS Council Members is Shirerithian, and most nations have stopped complaining about Shirerithian influence even though it holds much more Micras territory than any other country.
In the past, Shireroth frequently entered into agreements to annex other countries. For many struggling nations, Shirerithian annexation was attractive both because Shireroth had a good track record of surviving and because its feudal system made it easy for countries that joined it to keep their own land. During its history, Shireroth has directly annexed Apollonia, Cimmeria, Hyperborea, Jaris, Akerbjorn, South Mondesia, Cognito, Lac Glacei, Arminy, Antica (dinarchy), Comstokia, and Hurmu (among others).
Shireroth had a very long history of interaction with Babkha, culminating in the Mango-Camel Pact of 2003 which allied the two countries. After a falling-out, Babkha and subsequently the Grand Commonwealth it created became Shireroth's chief rival. This enmity lessened when popular Babkhan Hesam Jahandar won the throne of Shireroth, but flared up again with the revelation that he was under the control of Babkhan interests. Though the line "May we slay all treacherous Babkhans" was added to an unofficial version of the Shireroth anthem, after Babkha closed shop as a micronation Shireroth mostly agreed to let bygones be bygones. Recently, Babkhan-Shirerithian relations received a boost when former Babkhan Ardashir Osmani attained the throne of Shireroth.
The living micronation with which Shireroth most often interacts is Antica. Shireroth had a very warm relationship with the Dinarchy of Antica, but when it was overthrown by revolutionaries, Shireroth's relationship with its successor state, the Republic of Antica, started off on the wrong foot and has stayed there ever since. Shireroth, which allied with the defeated Dinarchy, fought the Republic for control of Antican territory. Although it won control of the territory, political factors later forced it to give most of it up to the Republic; this incident caused enmity which has persisted ever since. However, with the departures of prominent anti-Shirerithian Anticans Olorix and Steven, the Antica-Shireroth rivalry has recently turned into more of a friendly competition than bitter hatred, with only a few holdouts like Ben Kern still causing trouble. Many Anticans, especially Chris Mules, are respected by Shirerithians and welcome in Shirerithian territory, while a few Shirerithians, such as Scott Alexander, head to Antica for their macronational political arguments.
Shireroth is frequently accused of believing their country is better than everyone else, to which the most traditionally Shirerithian response is "But we ARE better than everyone else, aren't we?" The nation's attitude to foreign relations has been compared, not unfairly, to that of Imperial China.
Notable projects and accomplishments
Shireroth is the subject of several works of art and literature. Most notably, it gets a mention in Harvey Steffke's Control of Destiny series of computer role-playing games, in which several Shirerithians are prominent characters. A few other Shirerithians are involved in programming projects in one way or another, including Jonas Windsor (who is working on a game about Shireroth's Duchy of Kildare), Erik Mortis (who wrote the Small Commonwealth Bank), and James Raine, who created the ShireFox modification for Firefox to allow easier access to Shireroth's internet presence.
The novel Unaimed Arrow takes place in Shireroth, as do several shorter works of fiction. Notable among these are the Elwynnese story threads pioneered by Andrew Allot and his friends, the poetry of Philip Locke, and the Lac Glacei and Mirioth story arcs in Yardistan.
Shireroth has several constructed languages in various states of completion and complexity. The most notable of these is Audente, developed by Bill Trihus as the language of the County of Greater Audentior. Nicholas du Grifos, a linguistics grad student and former Duke of Yardistan, is currently working on Praeta Sxirothes, which when completed will take its place as Shireroth's national conlang.
In 2006, Shireroth ran a successful advertisement campaign on the webcomic Real Life Adventures, whose creator, Greg Dean, was at the time a Shirerithian citizen. Shireroth's other brush with the spotlight was a brief mention on BBC during the program How To Start Your Own Country, in which Danny Wallace signed treaties with several leading micronations including Shireroth.
Shireroth co-hosted (with limited success) the 2004 Micronational Olympics. Although logistical problems prevented it from continuing in the field of micronational sports, it now hosts a relatively popular online version of the board game Diplomacy that attracts participants from all over the world. There's even a micronational variant.
Shireroth is also responsible for starting major organizations such as the Small Commonwealth, the MCS, and SNARL (the Shireroth-Natopia-Antica Recwar League). A Shirerithian (Scott Alexander) runs the FNORD Awards, and another (Josh Coales) runs the Forum List.