A baron (feminine: baroness) is a rank in Westarctican peerage directly above that of Baronet and directly below the rank of Viscount. Virtually all Westarctican baronies correspond to a geographic feature of the country, and are named accordingly. A Baron is addressed as "Your Lordship" and a Baroness as "Your Ladyship" in formal correspondence.
The word Baron comes from a Late Latin barō meaning "man, servant, soldier, mercenary." The scholar Isidore of Seville in the 7th century thought the word was from Greek βᾰρῠ́ς "heavy" (because of the "heavy work" done by mercenaries), but the word is presumably of Old Frankish origin, cognate with Old English beorn meaning "warrior, nobleman." Cornutus in the first century already reports a word barones which he took to be of Gaulish origin.
History of the title
William the Conqueror introduced the rank of baron in England to distinguish those men who had pledged their loyalty to him under the feudal system. Previously, in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of England, the king's companions held the title of earl and in Scotland, the title of thane. All who held their feudal barony "in-chief of the king", that is with the king as his immediate overlord, became alike barones regis ("barons of the king"), bound to perform a stipulated annual military service, and obliged to attend his council.
Initially those who held land directly from the king by military service, from earls downwards, all bore alike the title of baron, which was thus the factor uniting all members of the ancient baronage as peers one of another. Under King Henry II, the Dialogus de Scaccario already distinguished between greater barons, who held per baroniam by knight's service, and lesser barons, who held manors. Within a century of the Norman Conquest of 1066, as in the case of Thomas Becket in 1164, there arose the practice of sending to each greater baron a personal summons demanding his attendance at the King's Council, which evolved into the Parliament and later into the House of Lords. In addition, baronies are often used by their holders as subsidiary titles, for example as courtesy titles for the son and heir of an Earl or higher-ranked peer. The Scottish baronial title tends to be used when a landed family is not in possession of any United Kingdom peerage title of higher rank, subsequently granted, or has been created a knight of the realm.
Usage in Westarctica
A Baron is the ruler of a Barony. A female holding this title is called a Baroness. Formally called “Baron of Achaea”. All children and descendants of a Baron are given the same title even if they do not control the land that the former had controlled. The appointment must follow the procedure ascribed in Article 40a.
The first Baron created in the Achaean Territory of Antarctica (the predecessor state to Westarctica) was the Baron of Ward, Miles Ward, who was raised to Viscount in 2004, and to Count on his 18th birthday. Miles Ward was one of the earliest supporters of the Achaean Territory, and has the distinction of being one of its first five citizens. He eventually drifted away from involvement with the nation, but in 2017, expressed interest in leading a public offering of cryptocurrency. However, because the Royal Blockchain Authority was in the process of developing WestarcticaCoin, his offer was not accepted by Grand Duke Travis.
In 2015, the title of Baron became the most frequently granted rank of nobility in the Peerage of Westarctica and has been bestowed upon more than 75 individuals.