Thursday, May 1, 2008
In March, Wikinews reporter Joseph Ford held an exclusive interview with Kevin Baugh, president of the Republic of Molossia, a micronation located near Dayton, Nevada. Due to the interest the article gained, both online and off, a follow-up interview was held this week.
Molossia's capital city, Espera, is situated on little over an acre of land in Western Nevada, within driving distance of Reno. Another territory, Desert Homestead Province, is located in Southern California. Unlike most of today's micronations, Molossia allows visitors and has its own economy. It also has its own time zone and holidays as well as a few tourist attractions.
When asked about the culture of his country Baugh replied, "Molossian culture is a mix of several sources. Above all, we value the lifestyle of the western U.S., especially as it pertains to living in a wide-open place such as we do. Life here is fairly relaxed and easygoing."
He also said that Molossia and the United States "generally ignore each other" and that there haven't been "any altercations" between the two, despite claiming each other's land. He went on to tell us much more about his tiny nation, which can be read in the interview below.
- President Baugh: Molossia is located in Western Nevada, about 35 miles southeast of Reno, Nevada.
- President Baugh: The portion of Molossia in Western Nevada is about 1.3 acres in size, with another five acres in our other province, Desert Homestead, in Southern California. In both cases, the terrain is desert, high desert with sagebrush and pinion trees in Nevada, and low desert with creosote and yucca in California.
- President Baugh: Molossia was founded in 1977, when my best friend James and I saw the movie, The Mouse that Roared. We were quite taken by the idea of a tiny country accomplishing such amazing and amusing things, and decided to start our own nation. James was the King, and I was the Prime Minister. Time passed and James moved on, but I stayed with the idea, and carried it along with me everywhere I went until we settled here in Nevada. Having actual land really made the dream come alive, and ten years ago I raised the Molossian flag for the first time over our sovereign territory. Since then we have worked to build a great, albeit tiny, nation here in the desert. We founded the Intermicronational Olympic Games in 2000, a tradition that has carried on since. We started the first Intermicronational Exposition, and also created the Norton Awards for Excellence in Micronationalism. That's just a snap shot of what has been a very interesting decade.
- President Baugh: Absolutely, what would a country be without those things? Our flag has three horizontal stripes, blue, white and green (from the top). The blue stands for the Molossian sky, almost always blue, the white stands for the nearby mountains, white with snow much of the year, and the green stands for the green of the desert foliage in the spring. It flies every day in front of Government House.
- Our currency is the Valora, and comes in both paper and coin formats, the latter being poker chips, instead of traditional coins. Our national anthem is "Molossia, Nation in the Desert", with lyrics written by me and set to the Albanian national anthem. I'm sure they don't mind.
- President Baugh: Our official language is English, but we borrow from Esperanto sometimes, such as for the name of our capital, "Espera" and our money the Valora. We have no problem borrowing from other languages, as well, and we also use the Deseret Alphabet as an alternate writing script.
- President Baugh: Well, officially, Molossia is a republic, complete with a constitution. Sadly, things are in such disarray over the border from us, that I had no choice but to suspend the constitution and declare martial law. It's unfortunate, but the security of my nation is paramount, and the best way to ensure that is to rule by decree. So far, no one has complained, and anyway, I'm a rather benevolent dictator.
- President Baugh: Yes, we do, the mighty Molossian Navy. Yes, we have a Navy in the desert. Our Navy has been involved in several exploration expeditions during its three years of existence. We are quite proud of our Navy.
- President Baugh: Indeed, I opened the Naval Academy several years ago as the Molossian Military Academy, taking advantage of my strong military background. When I founded the Molossian Navy, it was natural to turn the Military Academy into and Naval Academy. In the years before and since, the Academy has produced dozens of graduates. The Academy is free to all applicants, and includes lessons and tests on military leadership, tactics, seamanship and naval battles. Once an individual has taken all four tests successfully, he or she can purchase a certificate of completion, and can then purchase on honorary commission in the Molossian Navy. We offer honorary commissions in the rank of captain, commodore and admiral.
- President Baugh: Well, Molossian culture is a mix of several sources. Above all, we value the lifestyle of the western U.S., especially as it pertains to living in a wide-open place such as we do. Life here is fairly relaxed and easygoing, and we do most things together as a nation and as a family. In addition, we have absorbed elements of other cultures. The town of Steinsdorf on the Molossia Railroad is, of course, German. Our National Hero, Emperor Norton, comes from San Francisco. Cookie Dough, our National Treat, is adopted from the United Provinces of Utopia, a micronation with whom we once associated.
- President Baugh: We maintain friendly, informal relations with just about every micronation. Our hand is always outstretched in friendship. With some nations we are particularly close, such as with TorHavn and Vikesland, due to the long and positive relationship that we have had. We count ourselves lucky to have good friends among many other micronations and micronationalists, from all over the world.
WN (Joseph Ford) The land claimed by Molossia is also claimed by the United States. How are relations between your country and the U.S.? Have there been any altercations? Or do you generally leave each other alone?
- President Baugh: No, there haven't been any altercations between Molossia and the US. We generally ignore each other. We can't really live without the US, though, since they provide a significant amount of our consumer goods, Molossia being rather resource-poor. And as long as we don't do anything objectionable, they leave us alone.
WN (Joseph Ford) Besides the League of Small Nations, a nearly defunct association devoted to the prosperity of all land-claiming micronations, does Molossia belong to any international organizations?
- President Baugh: Actually, no we don't, although we certainly have over the years, especially league of Secessionist States (LoSS), although we withdrew from that organization years ago. Incidentally, the League of Small nations is in the process of being resurrected, with an eye toward increased intermicronational activities, to possibly include supporting a charity.
- Presdient Baugh: Well, Molossian citizenship is only extended to actual, physical residents of Molossia, and we are not accepting any immigrants at this time. There just isn't room. Honorary citizenship is indeed granted, generally to those individuals that have performed some special service to Molossia, and have thus earned our gratitude.
- Presdient Baugh: Yes, all Molossians are dual US citizens. Most Molossians actually work in the US and live in Molossia, largely due to our small size and lack of resources. And no, as a sovereign nation, we do not pay taxes to the US. However, we contribute an equivalent amount to the US in Foreign Aid, in the hopes that they will someday fix their roads!
- President Baugh: Our dates are based from the year that Molossia was founded, back in 1977, thus today is 29 April 2008 XXXI. Founder's Day, the day Molossia was founded, was 26 May 1977.
- Our measurement system is called the Kokintz System, named for Professor Kokintz of Grand Fenwick. All of the units of measurement are based of things unique to Molossia. The basic unit of length, the Norton, is based on the length of my hand. The basic unit of volume, the Simms, is equal to a can of Diet Pepsi, my favorite drink. The basic unit of weight, the Fenwick, is based on a tube of Cookie Dough, and the basic unit of temperature, the Zenda, is based on the height of the First Lady. We like to keep things interesting.
- President Baugh: Again, to keep things interesting, we devised our own time zone, Molossian Standard Time. It is 39 minutes ahead of Pacific Standard Time and 21 minutes behind Mountain Standard Time.
- President Baugh: Yes, absolutely! We love have tourists visit. We have thus far had 14 non-family visit Molossia in the past year, our first ever arriving in spring 2007 XXX. A visit to Molossia takes about an hour, during which I take all visitors on a tour of our country and tell them about Molossia and micronations in general. Cookie dough is served, too, of course, and I stamp passports. It is very important, though, that all visitors contact our government, to arrange a date and time for the visit. Please do not show up unannounced!
- Presdient Baugh: Yes, we do have a few sights to see. Visitors can see Republic Square, the Peace Pole, the micronation direction sign, Norton Park, the Molossia Railroad, and the Tower of the Winds. A visit to Molossia is always interesting, if for no other reason than it's "the country just up the street on the right".
- President Baugh: We would love to do so, but I think we are about as big as we can be right now. Of course, should our country ever had a large economic windfall, then we will certainly expand.
WN (Joseph Ford) Molossia is one of the world's most serious and well known micronations. In under ten years, it has gained the attention of the media and respect of thousands. Where do you see your country in another ten years?
- President Baugh: I think the future is bright for Molossia. Each day brings new challenges and new rewards. I am certain that, with all we have done over the past 31 years, the best is yet to come!
- President Baugh: Molossia is a fairly easygoing place to live and thus an easy place to run. As President, I am, of course the steward of my nation, and my principle duties involve taking care of my people and ensuring that they are fed, healthy and happy. Literally, actually. Beyond that, my responsibilities include making Molossia a positive and interesting place to live, a task I enjoy immensely. I love my country, and I love being the leader of Molossia.
- President Baugh: I would just like to thank you for this interview, and thank everyone reading this for taking the time to read and learn about Molossia. I am very proud of my little country and of what we have accomplished here. I look forward to only greater things ahead for Molossia and Molossians, and the world of small nations.