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Not to be confused with virtual nations, which may claim fictional or extraterrestial territory or within 3D internet spaces

Virtualism is a movement within micronationalism characterized by the non-territoriality of the micronational state. It is close to secessionism in the sense that a virtualist micronation claims to be an independent nation or sovereign state; The difference lies in the fact that unlike a secessionist state, a virtualist state does not claim sovereignty over any specific territory. In a way, it is similar and analogous to some entities considered sovereign under international law such as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta or the Holy see.

The vast majority of external and academic observers of micronationalism use a formal and persistent - even if de facto jocular - claim to sovereignty as the deciding factor to distinguish a micronation from an imaginary country or a geofictional project. That said, it distinguishes virtualism, in proximity and possible equality to secessionism, from simulationism.

Virtualism x virtual nation

Despite the similarity in terminology, virtualism should not be confused with the simulationist concept of a virtual nation.

  • Virtualist nation is a concept in which the nation publicly present itself as a sovereign state or entity, but does not claim sovereignty or control over any territory, existing as an entity rather than a country. Examples include Mauritia and the Reddit Nation.
  • Virtual nation is a concept in which the "nation" supposedly governed by a government exists wholly or partially online or in the minds of its creators and citizens. The leaders of the nation may maintain physical embassies and attend summits with other micronational leaders, partaking in real-world activities, but the territory which they claim as their country is unable to actually be physically found or visited. Examples include Ruritania and Angyalistan.