Empire of Agber
The Empire of Agber is a micronational project that was founded on 20 September 1995 as the Kingdom of Kolios The project was reimagined in early 1998 as the Empire of Agber, with Kolios becoming a nation within the Empire. The primary focus of the Empire is activity at Renaissance Festivals and other such events where period dress is deemed acceptable.
Prior to Founding of the Empire
- Main article: Principality of Kolios
In 1995, three friends began discussing a book one of them had been gifted for his birthday on the Order of Malta. This led to a fair amount of research and discussion on what it would be like to establish a country of their own. These early discussions primarily took place in local playgrounds and libraries. After a number of weeks and the addition of three other youths, a decision was made to found their own country as the Kingdom of Kolios on 20 September 1995. It was founded under the rule of King Stephen, who ruled until 24 May 1997, when he abdicated in favor of Queen Arlene.
In 1998, after her family moving from Augsburg, Germany, to Fort Drum, New York, Queen Arlene of Kolios decided to revamp the project as the Empire of Agber, using the capital of Kolios as the eat of a self-declared Empire.
First and Second Eras
The first era of the Empire, sometimes called the Founding Era, lasted from its founding on 7 January 1998 until 30 October 2004. During this time, the second and third nations, the Grand Duchy of Carthage and the Enclave de Cordova, saw their founding and subsequent addition to the Empire. During this phase, Empress Arlene also claimed the areas of Bir Tawil and Marie Byrd Land as protectorates. During this time, the entirety of Agber operated as a single entity or court, with the heads of individual nations serving as more of a retinue for Empress Arlene. This era ended when Empress Arlene joined the United States Air Force.
The second era, sometimes called the Transient Era, ran from 1 November 2004 until 28 February 2013 (the length of Empress Arlene's tenure in the US Air Force). This era functioned as a scaled down version of the first, with a number of appointees coming and going, Empress Arlene being the only real constant. This is owed primarily to the Empire's lack of an internet presence essentially keeping the functional government limited to the area of whichever military base the Empress was assigned to, at the time. While still active, the Empire saw no real growth or additions in terms of policy, initiatives, or additions of orders of chivalry, the last of these having become a cornerstone of the pageantry within Agber's culture.
The Empire's third era, also known as the Renaissance, is regarded as having run from 1 March 2013 until 8 April 2020. This era saw an increase in the types of activities and stability seen in the first era. It also saw the addition of the Empire's most recent addition, Sawatch. One of the most notable changes during this era was Empress Arlene's insistence that each of the nations of the Empire were charged with developing their own cultures. Those that emerged included:
- Kolios (and Agber, as a whole) developing more of a focus on inspirations from the Holy Roman Empire.
- Carthage leaning into France's era of the House of Valois, with a few elements from early Bourbon rule.
- Cordova emerging as a society influenced by early Spanish Colonialism.
- Sawatch taking on influences from the early and mid-Ottoman Empire.
This era solidified Agber's primary existence as a vehicle for Renaissance Fair culture. A large part of court life revolved around this fact; court was often held within the confines of a Fair, and various retinues were charged with roaming the events and interacting with visitors. This often included the bestowing of knighthoods and taking oaths of fealty from those who wished to pledge service to the Empire or its subsidiary nations.
The Empire's fourth era began on 9 April 2020. The transition in eras was marked by two distinct events. The first of these was the global Covid-19 pandemic that began causing lockdowns and event closures across the world in March of that same year. This is considered to have primed the Empire for the changes that began almost immediately after the reintroduction of one of Kolios' founders to the fold, the Margrave of Sulli.
In early April, Margrave Jordan rediscovered a notebook containing details of the Kingdom by way of his mother sorting through old items in her charge. As he was then involved in the online micronational community as Westarctica's Prime Minister, this forgotten project was of great personal interest to him. Since the Margrave's record of events ceased in mid 1997, he assumed the Kingdom to be defunct and began trying to track down other members of the project, in the hopes of filling out his records for inclusion in his eventual "micronational memoirs."
Margrave Jordan discovered the continued existence of Kolios, and its evolution into the Empire through Empress Arlene. The beginning of their correspondence is regarded by the Empress as the start of a fourth era, when the Empire was introduced to the wider community of micronations. Though this era was incredibly short-lived, it included a considerable amount of noteworthy developments. Initially, the period was marked primarily with a revitalization of record-keeping and development in both vexillology and heraldry. Where the nations within the Empire were originally using different colored flags of an identical Naval Jack design, a new unique flag was created for each nation except for Kolios, which kept its flag.
June of 2020 has been dubbed by Empress Arlene as "the most eventful month in our Empire's short history." On 9 June, it was announced that the Tenshukyō Shogunate, a project based on Feudal Japanese culture in Atlanta, had entered a transitional period. This period had a stated goal of joining the Empire within a month, as a dependency with more autonomy than existing nations within the Empire held. 17 June brought the founding of a new nation within the Empire, the Kingdom of Maevis, which was formed by Queen Barbara, a former Comtesse in the Grand Duchy of Carthage. This project based in Shetland, processed a structure of more autonomy than earlier nations of the Empire, much like the Shogunate.
Perhaps the biggest change of this period came in an announcement on 18 June, when Empress Arlene declared a restructuring of the Empire as an elective monarchy. This meant she would still serve as Empress, but her successor was to be elected from the heads of the nations within the Empire when the Rose Throne becomes vacant. Due to the new structure, her role as Princess of Kolios would become official as part of qualifying her to be Empress, instead of a ceremonial title held because of her role as Empress. As part of this move, full autonomy of internal national affairs were handed over to the heads of Carthage, Cordova, Kolios, and Sawatch, to include the control of the National Orders that had previously been held by Empress Arlene as the font of honor. Naturally this announcement created a number of smaller changes. This proclamation was dubbed by several members of the Empire as the "Indiana Proclamation," since Empress Arlene cited her move to that state to focus on getting her medical degree as a significant factor.
In August of 2020, Empress Arlene introduced an initiative she dubbed the "Call to Sovereignty." Inspired by the recent addition of the Kingdom of Maevis, this program was aimed at giving current and former members of the Empire and its subsidiary nations an opportunity to "strike out and form their own nation within the Empire." While a proposal can be brought to her at any time, those chosen as a part of this initiative will receive extra assistance and guidance in the formation of their nation than might be normally provided. The only stipulation the Empress made on proposals is that the project be based around a cultural identity not currently represented in the Empire. Two nations would come to existence as a part of this initiative.
The Fourth Era saw a move that was regarded by some as a departure from the Empire's long-standing existence as a vehicle for creative anachronism, or "Ren Fair culture" in favor of moving towards online micronationalism. Opponents of this view hold that the changes and additions to Agberian society were aimed at supporting and deepening the existing culture, and that the lull in in-person activity was a result of the ongoing global pandemic. These views, and the camps they created sowed the initial divisions that would be fueled by macronational politics, primarily those in the US and the UK.
The framing of this era seems to be primarily called "Growth Era," while a minority are referring to it simply as "the Plague." The latter camp seems to be made up mostly of those who hold the changes sparked by Margrave Jordan in a negative light.
Abdication of Empress Arlene
During the late fall of 2020, Empress Arlene came out as a very vocal supporter of the US President Donald Trump and his claims of election fraud. These views caused strong reactions in the Agberian Discord forums, with most of the more conservative camp who resisted the changes Margrave Jordan sparked coming out in support of her. The most vocal opposition to her views came from Shogun Devon of Tenshukyō, who was known to be heavily involved in the runoff election campaigns in Georgia, as a supporter of the two Democratic candidates.
In-fighting on the server was intense, but managed to not reach a head until Empress Arlene came out against Scottish sovereignty on the evening of 26 February 2021, which led to a vicious escalation that played out over the next two days.
- A number of Carthagean citizens broke away from the Grand Duchy and its parent Empire on 27 February. More than half of the active roster left, along with the provinces of Black River and Turning to form the Royal Republic of Rivière Noire. The next day, the province of Rulison would join the separatists and would elect its first ruler: King Quentin.
- A public call for Empress Arlene to abdicate as Empress by Queen Barbara of Maevis on 27 February. Her call cited the divisive influence of the Empress being to the detriment of the greater collective.
- On the morning of 28 February, Grand Duke Gilbert of Liguria publicly dissolved his new nation, but would amend the decision within hours, making Liguria a colonial holding of the Archduchy of Verdura.
- Early on 1 March, the planned Rosetta Sultanate announced its decision to establish itself as a separate entity from the Empire. It had previously been targeting a launch date in the Summer of that year, but decided it wanted no part of an Empire that its future Sultan said "seems destined to tear itself apart under the strain of real-world politics."
Largely as a result of these events, Empress Arlene announced on 15 March that she would be abdicating as Empress on 29 March 2021. She retained her crown as Princess of Kolios. After a number of succession votes among the individual heads of state for the Empire's individual nations, Shogun Devon was elected Emperor. While much of the voting had been alongside the lines of "camps" that had recently formed within Agber, Empress Arlene's cousin and Protector of Carthage, Ashleigh Sinodis, broke ranks and voted in favor of Shogun Devon to ascend as the Emperor of Agber on 29 March 2021.
The Empire's fifth and current era began with the ascendency of Emperor Devon to the throne on 29 March 2021.
On 3 April 2021, Carthagean Protector Ashleigh Sinodis announced her intent to dissolve the Grand Duchy of Carthage to the Emperor and national heads of state. She cited the reasoning being her inability to reach Emperor Eric or his legal guardian for a period of nearly four months coupled with the departure of most of the nation's active citizens to the Royal Republic of Rivière Noire. The decision was approved on 5 April, two days later. As a result of Carthage's dissolution, Emperor Devon was able to negotiate the Royal Republic of Rivière Noire joining the Empire on 18 May 2021.
On 26 May 2021, Emperor Devon brought up the possibility of the Empire evolving into more of an alliance. While he stated that it was not something he expressly wanted, he was curious to look into the possibility and how it might work. He held a vote of heads of state as to whether or not to form a committee to draft up a proposal. The motion was denied by a vote of 5 (Berwyn, Cordova, Kolios, Severny, and Verdura) to 3 (Maevis, Rivière Noire, and Tenshukyō).
The Empire is overseen by an Emperor or Empress. Each territory has their own head, who is known by their own title, and has autonomy over their nation. This autonomy can only be overridden by Imperial authority. The exception to this rule is the Principality of Kolios. Succession is determined by a majority vote of the national Heads of State within the Empire, with each of them being eligible for the role of Emperor. Two additional votes are cast by persons ineligible to be selected to the role: The Grandmaster of the Knights Veritas, and the former Emperor's Chancellor.
The Empire is currently broken up into seven separate national territories. The Empire formerly claimed a number of other nations as members.
|Territory||Flag||Capital||Title of Head||Existed From||Geographical Area||Notes|
|Principality of Kolios||Vindelkrieg||Prince/Princess||20 September 1995 - present||Bavaria, Germany|
|Grand Duchy of Carthage||Drumm Stronghold||Grand Duke/Grand Duchess||7 January 1998 - 5 April 2021||New York, USA|
|Reino de Cordova||Mariposa||Baron/Baronesa||27 August 2002 - present||California, USA|
|Sawatch Emirate||Tiene Vista||Emir/Emira||31 January 2014 - 28 September 2020||Colorado, USA|
|Tenshukyō Shogunate||Redan||Shogun||2 October 2018 - present||Georgia, USA||Capital is current seat of Empire|
|Kingdom of Maevis||Vikksborg||King/Queen||17 June 2020 - present||Shetland, Scotland|
|Archduchy of Verdura||Whitestone||Archduke/Archduchess||19 August 2020 - present||Indiana, USA|
|Grand Duchy of Liguria||Michaelangelo||Grand Duke/Grand Duchess||10 November 2020 - 28 February 2021||California, USA||Became provincial holding of Verdura|
|Tsardom of Severny||Nikolagrad||Tsar/Tsarina||1 February 2021 - 15 June 2021||British Columbia, Canada|
|Principality of Berwyn||Glaslyn||Prince/Princess||25 February 2021 - present||Denbighshire, Wales|
|Royal Republic of Rivière Noire||Black River||King/Queen||27 February 2021 - present||New York, USA||Formed by separatists from Carthage|
While all faiths are welcomed with open arms, the official religion of the Empire is Christian. During the Kingdom of Kolios era, a Church of Kolios existed with the Koliosian Sovereign at the head, much like the Church of England within the United Kingdom. Although this entity still exists officially, it has not been active for a number of years.