Achaean Territory of Antarctica
| The Achaean Territory of Antarctica |
Fortune favors the bold
"Battle Hymn of the Achaean Civil Defense Force"
|Capital city||Achilles (Byrd Station)|
|Official religion(s)||Protestant, Greek Polytheism|
|- Head of State||Consul-General Travis McHenry|
|Established||02 November 2001|
|Area claimed||3 million km2|
|Population||< 15 Census never conducted|
The Achaean Territory of Antarctica was the original name of Westarctica when it was founded on 2 November 2001 by Travis McHenry, who proclaimed himself Consul-General of the Achaean Territory prior to filing his legal claim to the territory.
The Achaean Territory was a new country project that evolved into a micronation named Westarctica in June 2004.
"The New Land Claim"
In August 2001, while serving in the U.S. Navy as an Intelligence Specialist onboard the USS Kearsarge (LHD-3), McHenry spent a significant amount of time researching the countries of the world in the classified version of the C.I.A. World Factbook. In the course of his research, he discovered that the region of Antarctica between 90°W and 150°W was unclaimed by any nation. This area, commonly known as Marie Byrd Land, was explored by the United States starting in the 1920s, but was never formally claimed.
McHenry obtained a National Geographic atlas of the world and flipped to the large map of Antarctica on the back page. He carefully studied the map and determined that it had no political affiliation at all. He also noted the existence of the Whitmore Mountains, as his childhood best friend had the last name "Whitmoyer." McHenry spent the rest of the month of August researching the complicated political situation surrounding Antarctica and read the entire text of the Antarctic Treaty multiple times, looking for loopholes that could potentially be exploited.
Finally, McHenry determined that although Article 4 of the Antarctic Treaty prohibits any nation from making new claims on the Antarctic continent, it would not prevent an individual from doing so. He called his prospective claim "The New Land Claim," and slowly began to further develop the concepts and ideals of the territory.
First concepts of government
At the time he discovered the unique political situation of Marie Byrd Land, McHenry had been reading The Iliad and decided to give his claimed territory a culture that honored the ancient Greeks.
It was from the pages of The Iliad that he chose the name "Achaea." He also decided to declare the seasonally-used Byrd Station the capital of his new country and re-christened the station Achilles, after the legendary Greek warrior and hero of the Trojan War.
Rather than proclaim himself King or Emperor of the territory, McHenry selected a title that reflected his status as a representative of Achaea to the world at large. He declared himself Consul-General. This title also served as a homage to Napoleon Bonaparte, who held the office of First Consul of France prior to becoming an Emperor.
Coronation of the Consul-General
- Main article: Coronation of the Consul-General
From the initial creation of the territory and its government, McHenry knew he wanted to follow Napoleon's example by breaking his claimed land into pieces and giving those pieces to friends and family members who would rule over the region as hereditary nobles. However, in order for him to serve as undisputed leader of the government, he would also have to serve as head of the nobility.
Therefore, he solved the problem by crowning himself as a noble, yet foregoing an actual title of nobility until a later date.
His coronation as Consul-General took place on 9 September 2001 at Marmaris Castle in Marmaris, Turkey. Following the coronation ceremony, McHenry began to refer to himself as "His Eminence, the Consul-General of Achaea."
Staking the claim
- Main article: Claimant Letter
It wasn't until 30 October 2001 that McHenry wrote what would effectively be a declaration of independence for the Achaean Territory of Antarctica. After purchasing special watermarked stationary paper, McHenry composed the Claimant Letter on 29 - 30 October while he was home on leave at his mother's residence after completing his first naval deployment to the Mediterranean Sea.
Although he completed writing the letter on the 30th, he didn't print and sign it until the following Thursday, on the evening of November 1st. As before signing the first of the nine letters, he uttered the words: "With this pen, the die is cast." He then signed all nine letters, placed them into envelopes, addressed each envelope to one of the original signatory nations of the Antarctic Treaty, then mailed them at the Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania post office the following morning.
Despite the Claimant Letter being dated 30 October and signed on 1 November, the 2nd of November is the day celebrated as Independence Day in Westarctica due to it being the day Travis McHenry gained the courage to undertake the action of actually mailing the letters.
The Achaean Territory as a sovereign nation
Nobility of the Achaean Territory
The first step taken by the Consul-General was the creation of an informational website to share the existence of the Achaean Territory with the rest of the world. He purchased the domain name www.achaea.org and created a website using Geocities with a Yahoo account registered under the username achaeanterritory.
From 15 November 2001 - June 2002, the Consul-General spent the majority of his time reaching out to polar scientists and trying to gather friends to serve as members of the nobility. He gave titles to numerous friends, including Neil Whitmoyer, George Morin, Jeanne Morin, and Joseph Day. Although they were expected to take their rightful places as Achaea's legislature, most of these new nobles did little to participate in the growth of the Achaean Territory, aside from Neil Whitmoyer, who actively encouraged the Consul-General and even posed for a picture wearing the Achaean Greatcoat, a semi-official uniform item for Achaean nobles.
The structure of the nobility and the ranks of the nobles were adjusted several times from 2002 - 2004. In early 2004, the nobility included two Grand Dukes and an assorted number of lower-ranking nobles. As of 2018, the only title of nobility that still exists and is still held by the original noble is the title Countess Radlinski.
Laws of the Achaean Territory
Throughout the summer of 2002, the Consul-General was writing and revising the legal codes of the Achaean Territory. On 2 August, on behalf of the nation, the Consul-General decreed the Achaean Civil Code. The Civil Code was based heavily on the Napoleonic Code, but modified to better suit a modern nation. Several months later, on 5 December, the Achaean Royal Charter was decreed. The Royal Charter outlined the duties and responsibilities of the Consul-General and the members of the nobility as well as procedures for appointing new nobles and the process for succession to the Crown.
Government of the Achaean Territory
- Main article: Chancellery of the Achaean Territory
The Achaean Territory was ostensibly governed through the cooperation of the Consul-General, the nobility, and the cabinet, which was called the Chancellery. However, in practice, Achaea was ruled as a dictatorship under the express will and wishes of the Consul-General. The various ministries of the Chancellery were never formally occupied and existed in name only.
Transition to Westarctica
Throughout March and April 2004, the Consul-General was eager to sweep away many of the unproductive institutions and ideas that had been created for the Achaean Territory. The nobility, for the most part, played no active role in the governance and development of the Territory, and he was eager to start over with fresh titles and a more cohesive government structure.
Another element which spurred the transition from territory to statehood was the Consul-General's discovery of the wider world of micronations after finding the original MicroFreedom website. Rather than continue to appear as a diplomatic representative merely protecting the interests of his claimed territory, McHenry sought legitimacy as the head of a sovereign state and desired a recognizable title to fulfill that role.
The beginning of the transition occurred in June 2004 when McHenry underwent a religious conversion to Christianity and was divinely inspired to transform the Achaean Territory into a Christian nation. Once the new culture and "feel" of the country was established, the Chancellery was dissolved and an interim government was proclaimed on 10 June 2004, which marked the official end of the Achaean Territory.
On that date, McHenry began writing the new law of the land, which would be called the Grand Ducal Mandate. Twenty days later, on 30 June 2004, the Grand Ducal Mandate was passed into law and became the constitution of the newly-christened Grand Duchy of Westarctica. Grand Duke Travis assumed the position of Head of State and Head of Government and abolished all prevkious titles of nobility while simultaneously appointing new members of the Baronage.