2023 Reunion State Visit

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Emperor Claudio of Reunion and Grand Duke Travis of Westarctica in the belltower of the Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Lapa dos Mercadores.

The 2023 State visit between Westarctica and the Holy Empire of Reunion was a diplomatic event that occurred on 16 March 2023 in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It marked the formal beginning of diplomatic relations between Westarctica and the Holy Empire of Reunion.


In early March 2023, Grand Duke Travis informed Emperor Claudio I of Reunion that he would be visiting Brazil in the near future and they began discussing the logistics of a potential meeting between the two monarchs.

Westarctica's delegation consisted of Grand Duke Travis and Baroness Hanna, who provided Portuguese translation services.

Rather than attend a formal dinner, they opted to meet at the Church of Our Lady of Lapa of the Merchants (portuguese: Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Lapa dos Mercadores). This venue had been closed to the public since 2019 and was under an intensive restoration directed by Emperor Claudio, who graciously provided access to the visiting Westarcticans.


The miraculous statue of Igreja de Nossa Senhora da Lapa dos Mercadores

After arriving in the historic quarter of old Rio de Janeiro, Grand Duke Travis and Baroness Hanna conducted a short visit to the Old Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, where Emperors Dom Pedro I and Dom Pedro II were crowned in 1822 and 1841.

They then proceeded to meet with Emperor Claudio at the nearby Church of Our Lady of Lapa of the Merchants where the three delegation was taken on an extensive inspection tour of the historic building. Among the many points of interest was a miraculous statue, once mounted outside the church, which was shot by an artillery shell from the Battleship Aquidabã in 1893. Despite falling more that 70 feet onto the street below, the statue suffered little damage and was mounted along with the remains of the shell inside the church as a testament to divine miracles. Grand Duke Travis touched the feet of the statue and asked for a blessing.

The highlight of the event was an ascent up three spiral staircases leading to the church's belltower. Two of the staircases were original wood and could only support the weight of one person at a time for fear they might collapse. Inside the tower, the three dignitaries took turns ringing the massive bells of the church which were originally cast in Lisbon, Portugal by the Baron of Lagoa Dourada.

Suitably deafened by the ringing of the bells, they descended from the tower and made their way outside to 15th of November Square (Praça Quinze de Novembro) where Emperor Claudio was honored as a Knight Commander in the Order of the Snowflake in front of the former Brazilian Imperial Palace.

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