The Boston Phoenix October 12 - 19, 2000


States of mind

More than 100 make-believe 'micronations' exist on the Net. Now some are looking for actual homelands. Have they seceded from reality?

by Andrew Weiner

Micronations Summer is over, and John Alexander Kyle is headed back to college to begin his senior year. For the most part, his concerns aren't that different from those of his classmates at Babson: moving in, getting into classes, finding a job after graduation. But as the constitutional monarch of the Principality of Freedonia, Kyle, who prefers to be called Prince John I, also must tend to the affairs of a "micronation" of nearly 300 citizens.

Call it a minor in statecraft. In his spare time, Prince John consults his cabinet and works out amendments to the Freedonian constitution. He also drafts treatises on topics like gun control and taxation. His biggest task, though, is to put Freedonia on the map. Literally.

That's because Freedonia doesn't exist, at least not in the way that countries like Turkey and Mexico exist. It doesn't even exist in the way that Monaco or Vatican City exist. If a nation without territory is a strange concept to grasp, that's because Freedonia is precisely, and only, that: a strange concept.

Most nations start with land and worry about principles later. But having laid claim to a corner of cyberspace, Freedonia -- like a handful of other micronations -- has begun to assert its sovereignty in other, less virtual realities. To hear Prince John tell it, nothing less than the destiny of humankind is at stake in the attempt.

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Andrew Weiner last wrote for the Phoenix on Killer Kowalski's Institute for Professional Wrestling. His e-mail address is