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|Commanders and leaders|
Crown Minister Summers||
Total: 10 People and 3 Ships
Total: 2-30 People
The Shenistan-Essexian War, also known as the Shenistani War of Secession, or the Shenistani Rebellion, was a conflict in the area of Shenfield, UK. It began on the 13th March 2020, and was declared by the Democratic People's Republic of Shenistan on the Commonwealth of Essexia.
The rebellion culminated in the Shenfield Autonomy Act 2020, which granted provincehood and a Provincial Council with devolved powers to the Essexian claim of Shenfield. Earl Finn's proposed devolution of powers from the central Parliament of Essexia was highly unprecedented, and received both considerable commendation and criticism.
The war is considered an Essexian Victory due to the actions of the rebels in conceding to the Commonwealth. However, as neither belligerents' armed forces were able to counter each other, the conflict is also seen as a military stalemate.
Essexia had no previous knowledge of the area claimed by Shenistan, or the elusive Ongar, and therefore could not prepare for the secession. When it did occur, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Lord Matthew was quick to concede to the Commonwealth's reluctance to recognise the secession. The Foreign Ministry and Interior Ministry had initially been resolute in their belief that the suppression of the rebellion could only be achieved through the total isolation and lack of recognition of the rebellion, and this was the line used for several days.
Declaration of War
At 23:02 on Thursday 13th March 2020, an Instagram user by the name of 'Alex K' issued to the Essexian Ministry of Media a 'Universal Declaration of Independence', stating that Shenistan and Ongar had declared independence, and had therefore declared war upon Essexia, who held a sphere of influence and loose claims over the area of Shenfield and Hutton, where the two belligerents were located. In the same message, Alex claimed that his nation "come in peace and would like to maintain close ties with the nation and people of [Essexia]."
Waking the Giant
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Lord Matthew was quick to adopt a doctrine of non-cooperation. The Foreign Ministry and Interior Ministry had initially been resolute in their belief that the suppression of the rebellion could only be achieved through the total isolation and lack of recognition of the rebellion, and this was the line used for several days. Ultimately, this policy of non-cooperation collapsed and communication broke down between non-partisan actors in the Essexian government and the rebels, when the rebels threatened to murder Emperor Terry with the COVID-19 virus, and repeatedly called him a brute. They also included propaganda that depicted his as a ‘gay tyrant with a bad haircut.’ This is seen as a turning point in the conflict, as for many Essexians it destroyed the prospect of peaceful negotiations and reintegration. Pressure began to mount on the government to respond to the threats, however, the Emperor was not personally concerned about the direct threat, and even found the whole situation amusing, as did Earl Jack, the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
A final communication was made on the 20th of March, ordering the Shenistani rebels to stand down. The rebels refused these demands, and maintained their cause of 'nothing but the total independence of Shenistan.' Subsequently on the same day, Parliament voted to enter a state of conflict with the rebels by a narrow margin, and the military was asked to begin to draw up the best course of action for an armed response. It was realised early on in the planning of the operation that there would be significant logistical and structural problems faced if there was to be a military response; the army, navy and air force had all been depleted due to a lack of use in operation for over six months, meaning it would take considerable time to reorganise the armed forces to ensure a military campaign against the Shenistanis would be successful, when it was almost certain Essexia would be making an outnumbered push against an army that had the numerical advantage, both in manpower, equipment and morale- and an enemy that the defensive advantage. Similarly, problems were faced in the organisation of the transportation of troops from Greater Baddow in Central Essexia, to Shenistan in the west of the country. Initially, it was agreed that the movement of troops would occur through a railway line from Chelmsford to Shenfield, however this was soon ruled out due to COVID-19 and the risk of exposing the entire Essexian army to a virus that would leave Essexia itself vulnerable to invasion. Earl Jack suggested a motorised combat patrol via the use of multiple Toyota Yaris', however the idea was later dropped due to a lack of viability and personnel. This was later seen as a key reason behind the eventual Essexian concessions, and the relative success of the rebellion.
War of Attrition
With full knowledge of the Essexian paralysis, the Shenistani rebels extended their claim to Brentwood and Ongar, both of which Essexia also had claim to and several existing territories in. The public opinion in Essexia was beginning to turn sour to the government, especially from those Essexians who lived in both Brentwood and Shenfield who felt the government was doing nothing to help them. Inside the cabinet, constant debate lead to disagreements between ministers; Crown Minister Summers (Defence Ministry of Essexia), Lord Jacob (Justice Ministry of Essexia) and Earl Jack (Chancellor of Essexia) all believed that military action should've taken priority, whereas Lord Matthew believed that proving Essexia's greater legitimacy would weaken the hearts and minds of the citizens of the enemy state. Regardless, the divisions were obvious, and there was no clear answer to the war.
However, the situation changed when on the 21st of March the foreign office was approached by their so called ‘Emperor’ of Shenistan, who announced that the Shenistani rebellion had itself fractured into two factions, with one faction eventually conceding to the pro-peace faction. This situation was fully exploited by the Essexian government, who hugely propagated the ordeal to the benefit of Essexian stability and detriment of Shenistani morale. It was now apparent that the rebellion, while fractured, could not take on Essexia on its own. Thus, the leaders of the pro-peace faction, who enjoyed the most legitimacy of the two rebellions, came to the Foreign Ministry to negotiate peace.
Despite the doctrine of non-cooperation, the Foreign Ministry was under clear instruction to at the very least listen to the terms of the Shenistani's, who were in a now weakened negotiating position. Initially, the rebels maintained their right to total independence, however this line was swiftly dropped when the Foreign Ministry refused to respond to their communications unless they stood down the rebellion. In a desperate situation, the rebels conceded to this on the basis that non-partisan Essexian negotiators had offered them a place on an equitable negotiating table with the Essexian government, with the idea of renegotiating Shenfield's position in Essexia. Thus, at 11:22am on the 22nd of March, the rebel leader made a declaration ending the rebellion and recognising Essexian sovereignty on the basis that negotiations regarding devolution in Shenfield would occur.
Foreign Minister Lord Matthew and Premier Alex organised a negotiation session on the 22nd March. The following individuals were present for the online conference:
|Crown Minister Summers||Premier Alex|
|Earl Jack of Molrams||'Ocean'|
|Earl Finn of Hawarden|
These negotiations aimed to establish the terms of ending the conflict, in areas such as borders and the possible integration of the state of Shenfield back into the Commonwealth.
Many of he Essexians, led by Lord Matthew as lead negotiator, were far less open to compromise than the Shenistani's- at the very most they were willing to offer provincehood to Shenfield on the basis it would hold the same power and status as other Provinces such as Greater Baddow and Greater Danbury. Conversely, the surrendered rebels preferred for Shenfield to become a Dominion of Essexia with the ability to raise its own army, adopt its own national flag and appoint its own leaders. The negotiations were held on an online conference due to the threat COVID-19 and lasted many hours. A compromise was eventually reached, as a result of both sides realising neither was in a position to stick to their own red lines. The compromise consisted of Shenfield being granted provincehood, with its own Provincial Council that had secondary legislative powers devolved from the Parliament of Essexia. The Interior Ministry of Essexia was tasked with drawing up a bill that would grant Shenfield this autonomy, which would take several days, in which time, negotiations would again break down.
The decision to grant the Shenistanis a uniquely autonomous provincial status was controversial, as it was seen by the more firm negotiators as conceding more than was needed. The idea of a Provincial Council was first raised by Earl Finn, as he favoured a more democratic route. However, Earl Jack was quick to point out that taking such a decision would provide no benefit to the Commonwealth, only to the Shenistanis, and furthermore would create unnecessary bureaucratic strain. Regardless, First Minister Lord Jamie agreed to Earl Finn's proposal.
Breakdown in Communications
During the period in which the negotiations ended, and the Interior Ministry was writing what would become the Shenfield Autonomy Act, hostilities reemerged between both negotiating teams. Lord Matthew was infuriated by the rebels insistence of calling themselves 'Shenistani's' and maintaining that the rebel leader was their 'Emperor.' He saw this as a violation of the terms of negotiation, in which the rebels had agreed to dissolve the entire structure of their rebel state. Hostilities reached a climax when one of the Shenfield negotiators, Alex K, appeared to issue a legitimate declaration of independence signed by 'Emperor Tika,' seemingly reigniting the conflict. Lord Matthew instantly declared that the rebels were to be thrown from the server, and thus negotiations would end. He later maintained that he never trusted the rebels, and that negotiating with them was against his will and doctrine of non-cooperation. However, several observers contested that Lord Matthew was to blame for his relentless defences against Alex's attacks. Regardless, it is accepted that the hours long debates between the two parties led to a supposed break down in relations, culminating in Lord Alex declaring independence once again.
First Minister Lord Jamie blamed Matthew for the breakdown in communications, as did several others (including Earl Jack) despite the fact he held the support and sympathy of the Emperor. Nevertheless, on the 23rd of March 2020 Lord Jamie removed Matthew from the negotiations, a move which Matthew said limited his ability to exercise the powers of his office in terms of negotiation in the future. This again infuriated Lord Matthew, who claimed he had now effectively been denied of the powers of his office and believed he was left with no choice but to resign- an outcome that Lord Matthew said Lord Jamie was trying to provoke. Once out of the negotiations and Foreign Ministry, Matthew declared the negotiations a 'sham, and a waste of time'. Lord Matthew has since claimed that it should not have been within his Office's responsibilities to negotiate with the rebels, however this was claimed only after Lord Jamie claimed so in defence of removing Matthew (He believed that Earl Finn and the Interior Ministry should have been in charge of the effort). Additionally, Earl Jack has also pointed out that, if Lord Matthew believed he shouldn't have been given the responsibility of negotiations, he shouldn't have been concerned when he was removed. Regardless, Lord Matthew remained firm that putting him in charge of the negotiations was the wrong move on Lord Jamie's part.
During a second series of negotiations, in which Lord Matthew was not present, the returning Shenistani negotiators vouched that Alex had not been acting on behalf of the movement, and had thus been removed from his position. Talks resumed, and Earl Finn began drafting legislation to resolve the conflict once and for all.
Both camps removed their senior negotiators in an attempt to calm down hostilities, and on Tuesday 24th of March the Shenfield Autonomy Act was brought into law, formally ending hostilities and making Shenfield the first province of Essexia to hold devolved power.
Notably, Lord Matthew made the following speech in Parliament after the bill became law;
I cannot, in clear conscience, support a capitulation in the policy which I was entrusted to begin. Essexia, in my opinion, must remain a totally and fully integrated nation, and we should never bow down to terrorist rebellions. This bill will become law, but I think that Essexians will look back on this event with regret, when in the inevitable future, the Shenfield traitors disrupt Essexian unity once more, and I hope that Essexians will frown upon the self-purposed motivation of the First Minister to achieve a temporary political victory at the expense of the unity of the Commonwealth. I hope can only hope that this Parliament has not just passed a bill that is tantamount to the end of Essexia's sole reign over the area of Essex.
Following the event, due to Lord Matthew's position as Vice-Chair of the Grand Unified Micronational, many in the GUM questioned Lord Jamie's decision to remove Lord Matthew from the negotiations, as Lord Matthew consequently resigned his position as Foreign Minister. Most notably, Bradley, Duke of Dullahan criticised Lord Jamie directly, and agreed with Lord Matthew that Lord Jamie should not be a delegate. Consequently, Lord Jamie removed himself as delegate, and allowed Earl Finn, Matthew's replacement as Foreign Minister, to take his place in GUM. Additionally, Thomas I of Hrafnarfjall is known to have spoken to Emperor Terry and Lord Jamie discreetly regarding the situation, however the contents of these conversations have remained confidential.
The brief conflict was a wake-up call to the Essexian armed forces, who began to comprehend simply how large a reform was needed to make the branches truly combat capable. The Imperial Essexian Navy is still undergoing it's Carrier Improvement Scheme, and the Imperial Army of Essexia was ultimately paralysed due to diplomatic and political disagreements in the cabinet, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.