Technocracy of Universalis
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Universalis is a micronation that was founded on August 10, 2000 by Ryan Caruso as the Universe of Allied Nations (UAN). It was originally attached in union to the Audentior Independent Nation, but functioned in a nominally independent manner. When the AIN collapsed in late 2000, Caruso disbanded UAN in order to better help centralize the Audente government and try and regain primary focus on keeping the nation intact. The effort only delayed the inevitable, and as Audentior collapsed, Caruso was appointed "Emperor of Audentior" and the UAN was left to history. It made two brief re-appearances over the course of the next several years, but all with a lackluster reception that ultimately ended in the project again being shelved. In November 2008, the UAN was again re-debuted with a totally new look and name. It was now called Universalis - based on a shortform name suggestion by Bill Dusch - and had a unique technocratic hybrid form of government, and an ambitious website, and forum. While not the activity star of micronationalism, it nonetheless managed to gain some citizens and has trudged through its first year as a new nation successfully. Its most notable achievements thus far have been an expansive space program, and a strong diplomatic effort that has led to the restoration of fifty-percent of its original territory on Tapfer.
Universalis is governed by a unique hybrid combination of technocratic principles and direct democracy. Into this mix it infuses elements borrowed from classic science fiction writers such as H.G. Wells and Isaac Asimov. The head of state and government is the Chairman (or woman) of the Science Governing Board. The SGB is a group of scientists who specialize in a particular field; and that field in turn represents a particular need of the nation. For example, one seat is held by a Doctor of Biology. This seat is charged with speaking on the behalf of environmental affairs, health, welfare, and other such aspects as would be affected by biological sciences. Obviously there is some overlap between positions; but this is to ensure the needs of the population are adequately met. Seats are filled based on credentials rather than elections. If a person has proven themselves sufficiently skilled in a particular area, their peers may allow them to fill a seat on the board. Likewise, if someone is not fulfilling their duties, then the board may dismiss them for a better candidate. Actual politics play little role in the government. From amongst the board, the scientists choose the best qualified to hold the position of Chair of the SGB. Ministerial positions are appointed by the board.
The universe of allied nations
Universalis began as an extremely simple one-page website micronation hosted on AOL Hometown (AOL Hometown has since been closed), and was originally called the Universe of Allied Nations. The founder, Ryan Caruso, wanted a nation that could apply to anyone, anywhere in the world - effectively a universal nation. The original state was modeled strongly after the United Nations and was supposed to be comprised of several smaller countries; hence allied nations. New citizens were supposed to take up the mantle of these internal countries and fill a seat on the Universal Council. Although this never truly materialized as the UAN only gained one other citizen during its brief lifetime. At the time, the Micronational Cartography Society had not yet been established, so the UAN held claims on the asteroid Vesta, in similar fashion to the micronation of Zarahemla. Maps were later constructed by Bill Dusch showing the UAN's territory on Tapfer close to Demesos, where it continues to hold its present territory.
At the time, the UAN was attached to the Audentior Independent Nation as a province; even though a province composed of multiple micro-micronations didn't make much sense. As the AIN began to break apart with multiple secessions, Caruso tried to keep the country together. In an effort to boost morale and focus efforts directly on Audentior, he disbanded the UAN and shelved the idea until a much later date. Audentior, however, continued to collapse and Caruso was crowned Emperor by Evan von Christoph in a brief restoration of the monarchy. It was not Caruso's intent to disband the Direct Democracy though, and he rescinded the Imperial Title to again try and save the country. With the chaos that ensued any attention that was remaining on the UAN was entirely directed away and the project all but forgotten.
In terms of the UAN's land on Micras, the territory remained tied to the Nation of Tapfer and became a part of Shireroth. It became a part of independent Demesos after this, which later joined Menelmacar. Throughout this time Universalis was denoted on the map but had no actual political or cultural functioning.
After the civil war in Menelmacar tore that nation in two, all of Tapfer became independent under Bill Dusch's nation of Elpidos. This was a short-lived republic based on a combination of old Audente ideals and Tolkien mythology. It, however, ended up rejoining Menelmacar again in a last ditch effort to save that nation. Like the collapse of Audentior, the effort only stalled the inevitable and Menelmacar collapsed shortly thereafter. It was around this time, circa 2004, that Universalis was finally removed from the map.
Caruso again tried to resurrect Universalis in 2005. At the time, however, he was Administrator-General for the Micronational Cartography Society; a role which occupied most of his time, since the MCS then had no additional staff. At the time, Universalis was resurrected as a new-nation project more in line with its original roots wherein it held claims on the asteroid Vesta. The intention was to build Universalis as a think-tank group of like-minded people who would be able to devise a scientifically sound method for reaching and colonizing an asteroid. With about 1/1000000th the budget of NASA, this didn't get very far, even if it sounded good in principle.
The entire project was scrapped without much public interest as Caruso's role of Admin-General at the MCS grew more demanding of time and dedication. This would be the last time Universalis would be re-established before Caruso retired from the MCS and the hobby in 2006.
Universal soldier: the return
Spring 2008 brought a renewed interest in the hobby for Caruso after a two-year hiatus. This resulted in the creation of several small micronations that were never actually launched (save for Apollantis) and the creation of the present forums of Universalis. The nation was not initially launched despite the creation of the forum. Originally the plan had been to work with the successor to the GSO, CENTMO, and establish a presence on the planet Aura, in Atos' twin star system. This was done and Universalis laid claim to an area known as Monolithos.
Despite initial success and working closely with CENTMO, the nation only managed to attract a few token citizens that disappeared shortly after joining. In addition, CENTMO was likewise failing to gain any significant attention and slowly entered a period of decline until it was finally disbanded.
On November 28, 2008, Caruso relaunched Universalis in its present form as a hybrid technocracy. At the time, Caruso began investing more time and effort into Universalis. Diplomacy started to be ramped up, despite low activity in the actual nation. Likewise he initiated a period of cultural improvement and working on projects that would benefit the entire micronational community - which played into Universalis' basic principles as a humanitarian nation. The Gandhi Memorial Humanitarian Complex was established to study micronational populations and humanities, and the Asmiov Memorial Observatory was established to study micronational astronomy. With the closure of CENTMO, Universalis applied for land on Micras in its historical territory plus several new regions and was accepted, marking the start of a new chapter in its history.
In late 2009 Universalis was successful in negotiating treaties with Interland, Stormark, and Natopia in order to regain most of the peninsula that was its historic original territory back in 2000. The result was the return of fifty-percent of the peninsula and the near complete (90%) restoration of the original western borders. Universalis had been divided into two separate portions - West Universalis and Terra Universalis - whereupon the new territory allowed the two regions to finally be connected by a contiguous land corridor, which has since become the Celestial Isles and the Unorganized Territories.
The original UAN was founded along the lines of strict secessionist micronationalism, and claims were formally issued to the United States government over the asteroid Ceres, with the ostensible objective being to terraform and colonize the asteroid at some distant point in the future. These claims were renewed in 2013, thus cementing Universalis back in the realm of secessionist micronations. Additional claims have since been filed over several other asteroids. Collectively these asteroids are referred to as the Celestial Isles colony.
The Bovic Empire of Natopia, which has long held much of Tapfer and thus most of Universalis' historical territory, was approached with the concept of including Universalis as an autonomous state within the empire in exchange for a return of some of their core territory. As the two nations had always been close friends, this was quickly agreed, and Universalis was admitted as a state early in 2014. Within Natopia, Universalis enjoys virtually all the freedoms it once possessed as an independent state, although it no longer conducts its own foreign affairs. It has received the benefit of becoming a part of Natopia, which has done significant work to uphold Universalis' unique culture and identity.
Universal culture is based on science fiction and borrows from such elements as Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, or from literature such as Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series. The nation's culture also imbues the moral principles of many humanitarian and diplomatic organizations, such as the United Nations, Red Cross, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and so forth. The combination of these factors is intended to give both resident and visitor a sense of a futuristic society that has moved beyond racial and other segregation and established a better community that cares about its future, its people, and the environment they live in.
Within the context of micronational history, Universalis was the first nation to ever occupy its current lands on Tapfer. Following its initial demise the land was occupied by Lavalon, Paulovia, and Natopia respectfully. Koloniatsk, at the far southeast corner, was settled by Russian immigrants from Interland. Today, Universalis embodies a mix of all these cultures.
Universalis is rather small land-wise and does not boast a large population. But it does stress developing its culture and art as much as possible, in addition to the basis of advancing science. Aristarchus, the capital city located on Micras, is an impressive suburbia that displays modern arcology (architecture combined with ecology) techniques. The Gandhi Memorial Humanitarian Center (GMHC) is also located in Aristarchus, which houses the first organization devoted purely to micronational population studies and aid programs. Outside of Universalis is the Tiberion Spaceport, located on the tiny equatorial island of Tiberion. The spaceport is the launch point for vessels departing from Micras for the Auran colony. Space vessels utilize the Hurmu Jumpgate as a means of transit between the two star systems.