Principality of Seborga
|This article's factual accuracy is disputed. (July 2012)|
|Principality of Seborga
Principato di Seborga
|Motto: Sub Umbra Sedi
I sat in the Shade
|Anthem: La Speranza|
|Official languages||Italian, Ligurian|
|Government||Constitutional elective monarchy|
(April 25, 2010 - )
5 sq mi
|Prince of Seborga|
|Style||His Serene Highness|
|Nominator||The People of Seborga|
|Term length||7 years|
|Inaugural holder||Refounded (1963): Giorgio Carbone|
The Principality of Seborga is 14 km2 located in the northwestern Italian Province of Imperia in Liguria, near the French border, and about 35km (23mi) from Monaco. The principality is in coexistence with, and claims the territory of, the town of Seborga.
In arguing for the founding of Seborga in 1963, a Seborgan named Giorgio Carbone claimed,  that during the Middle Ages the town had become part of the feudal holdings of the Counts of Ventimiglia. He insisted that in the year 954 Seborga became the property of the Benedictine Monks of Santo Onorato of Lerins and in 1079 the Abbot of this monastery was made a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, with temporal authority over the Principality of Seborga.
On 20 January 1729, this independent principality was sold to the Savoy dynasty and became a protectorate of theirs. In 1815 the Congress of Vienna overlooked Seborga in its redistribution of European territories after the Napoleonic Wars, and there is no mention of Seborga in the Act of Unification for the Kingdom of Italy in 1861.
The argument for Seborga's present-day status as an independent state is based on the claim that the 1729 sale was never registered by its new owners, resulting in the principality falling into what has been described as a legal twilight zone.
In the early 1960s, Giorgio Carbone, began promoting the idea that Seborga restore its historic independence as a principality. By 1963 the people of Seborga were sufficiently convinced of these arguments to elect Carbone as their Head of State. He then assumed the style and title His Serene Highness Giorgio I, Prince of Seborga, which he held until his death in 2009.
Carbone's status as Prince was confirmed on 23 April 1995, when Seborgans voted 304 in favour, 4 against, for the Principality's constitution and in favour of independence from Italy. Prince Giorgio I reigned until his death on 25 November 2009.
His successor Marcello Menegatto was elected on April 25, 2010 and crowned on May 22, 2010.
|Title||Given name||Reign began||Reign ended|
|Prince Giorgio I||Giorgio Carbone||14 May 1963||25 November 2009|
|Prince Marcello I||Marcello Menegatto||25 April 2010||reigning monarch|
In June 2006 a minor controversy arose when a woman calling herself "Princess Yasmine von Hohenstaufen Anjou Plantagenet", who claimed to be the rightful heir to the throne of Seborga, wrote to Italy's president offering to return the principality to the state. Her claim was contested by the then-prince, Giorgio I (Giorgio Carbone), who asserted that there were no credible sources supporting her, and said:
“Pah! No one’s ever even seen her as far as I know. I call her the ‘internet princess’.”
The Principality of Seborga has a constitution, called Statuti Generali, which was ratified on April 23, 1995.
The head of state and government is the Prince, who is elected by the Seborgan people to a term of seven years and can be re-elected. He must be a minimum of 30 years old and can also be a non-Seborgan (in that case, he absumes the citizenship with the coronation and the oath of allegiance to the Principality).
The constitution provides an organism called the Council of the Priors, which consists of those Seborgans born, baptized and resident in Seborga who have at least one living parent and at least one child. The Council of the Priors holds legislative power, as it is called to approve the laws, the amendments to the "Statuti Generali", the Regulations and the financial statement of the Principality. Furthermore it may be consulted by the Prince in matters of international relations.
The Crown Council, which is the Cabinet of the Prince, holds executive power. It is headed by the prince himself and is composed of 9 ministers, 4 of them chosen by the prince and 4 elected by the Seborgans. One council seat is currently vacant. It proposes amendments and changes to the Constitution, the laws, the Regulations, and the International Conventions.
The actual (2010-2017) Crown Council consists of:
- Mauro Carassale - State Secretary and Minister of Internal Affairs
- Giuseppe Bernardi - Minister of Finances, Tourism and Sports
- Mirco Biancheri - Minister of Justice (Seals Attendant)
- Nina Menegatto - Minister of Foreign Affairs
- Mirko Ferrari - Minister of Motorization and Population Register
- Ermes Fogliarino - Minister of Environmental Goods and Territory
- Domenico Falbo - Minister of Agricultural, Food and Forests Policies
- Maria Carmela Serra - Minister of Instruction and Youth, Chancellor of the Crown Council
- Daniele Zanni - Minister of Health
The Principality has a large number of honorary consuls worldwide. They are recognized and nominated by the Seborgan government and are de facto sympathizers of the Principality.
The Principality has an armed force called Corpo della Guardia. It is responsible for the defense of Seborgan borders, protects the prince and his family, and maintains public order.
Economy, folklore and tourism
As Seborga became better-known, tourism expanded greatly. The principality's historic town centre was restored, and was legally protected from commercial overdevelopment.
A local currency, the luigino, was issued from 1994 to 1996. The luigino is accepted inside the city as a sort of voucher (along with the legal currency, the euro, and before that the Italian lira); it has no legal value. The total value of luigini issued is not known.
The luigino's value is pegged at 1 per 6 United States dollars, which would make it the world's highest-valued currency unit if it were considered an official currency.
The principality also issues stamps.
There are two orders of knights connected to the Principality of Seborga: the Order of Saint Bernard and the Order of the Holy Sepulchre (not to be confused with the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem), also known as V.E.O.S.P.S.S. (Venerabilis Equester Ordo Sacri Principatus Sancti Sepulchri).
Some disputes within the latter order led in 2010 to a dispute within the government. To this day, there are actually two VEOSPSS: one, which is legally an association and is not acknowledged by the state, is very critical of the government and Prince Marcello; and a second, recognized by the Principality. They are mutually estranged and hostile towards each other, and their differences leave them far apart.
Another order was established in 1994 by Prince Giorgio, called the Order of the Crown, but to this day it is moribund.
Other disputes have arisen over alleged membership of some members of the order in certain Masonic lodges.
In popular culture
- Squires, Nick (27 April 2010). "Tiny Italian principality announces new monarch called 'His Tremendousness'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
- "Self-Proclaimed Micronations", WorldStatesmen.org
- "His Tremendousness Giorgio Carbone" (Obituary) The Telegraph, November 27, 2009
- "Prince of Seborga fights on for 362 subjects", Italy Magazine, 15 June 2006
- Caitlin Moran,"Noel Gallagher is my choice for monarch", The Times, January 30, 2006
- Seborga Times, Article "Seborga will crown his new elected Prince: Menegatto I"
- "The King of Nylon: 'kingdom' of Seborga ruled by hosiery heir". The Metro (London). 28 April 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
- Malcolm Moore,"Battle rages for His Tremendousness's throne", Daily Telegraph, 13 June 2006
- "Prince of Seborga fights on for 362 subjects", Italy Magazine, 15 June 2006
- "Seborga (Principality of) - Coins of Seborga", The Imperial Collection
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Seborga.|
- Official website (in Italian)
- Historical and cultural website on Seborga (in English)
- Tourism Office
- Official English language blog