Principality of Seborga

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Principality of Seborga
Principato di Seborga
Micronation
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Sub Umbra Sedi
I sat in the Shade
Anthem: La Speranza (National Hymn)
Status Current
Capital Seborga
Official languages Italian, Ligurian
Demonym Seborgan
Organizational structure Constitutional elective monarchy
 -  Prince Marcello I
(April 25, 2010 - )[1]
Establishment
 -  Declared 954 (pre-micronational)
1963 
Area claimed
 -  Total 15 km2
6 sq mi
Membership 320
Purported Currency Luigino
Prince of Seborga
Coat of Arms of the Principality of Seborga.png
Incumbent
Marcello I

since April 25th, 2010
Style His Serene Highness
Residence Seborga
Nominator The People of Seborga
Term length 7 years
Inaugural holder Refounded (1963): Giorgio Carbone
Formation 1079
1963
Website principatodiseborga.com

The Principality of Seborga is a self-proclaimed micronation of 14 km2 located in the northwestern Italian Province of Imperia in Liguria, near the French border, and in sight of Monaco.[2] The principality is in coexistence with, and claims the territory of, the town of Seborga, which is an Italian municipality.

History[edit]

In arguing for the founding of Seborga in 1963, a Seborgan named Giorgio Carbone claimed, based on documents held at the Vatican,[citation needed] 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.[3]

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.

Government[edit]

Monarch[edit]

In the early 1960s, Giorgio Carbone, then head of the local flower-growers co-operative, began promoting the idea that Seborga retained its historic independence as a principality.[4] By 1963 the people of Seborga were sufficiently convinced of these arguments to elect Carbone as their "Head of State". He then assumed the self-styled 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.[5] Carbone reigned until his death on 25 November 2009.[3]

His successor Marcello Menegatto was elected on April 25, 2010 and crowned on May 22, 2010.[6]

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[1][7] reigning monarch
The former Government Palace, used until 2009.

Claimant[edit]

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.[8] Her claim was contested by the then-prince, Giorgio I (Giorgio Carbone), who asserted that there were no credible sources supporting her,[9] and said:

“Pah! No one’s ever even seen her as far as I know. I call her the ‘internet princess’.”

Politics[edit]

The Principality of Seborga has a constitution, called the Statuti Generali, which was ratified on April 23, 1995 and is currently being reviewed.

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 Priori, which consists of those Seborgans who have at least one living parent (mother or father), or have at least one child born, baptized and resident in Seborga. The Council of the Priori holds both legislative and judicial powers, 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 Döbler Menegatto - Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Mirko Ferrari - Minister of Motorization and Population Register
  • vacant - 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

Diplomatic relations[edit]

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 who promote its existence and advocate for its full independence.

Military[edit]

Unlike other micronations, 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[edit]

15c Seborgan coin

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.[10] 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.

Knighthood[edit]

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 Pop Culture[edit]

A minor character in the series Hetalia: Axis Powers was made to represent the Principality of Seborga. [11]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Squires, Nick (27 April 2010). "Tiny Italian principality announces new monarch called 'His Tremendousness'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "Self-Proclaimed Micronations", WorldStatesmen.org
  3. ^ a b "His Tremendousness Giorgio Carbone" (Obituary) The Telegraph, November 27, 2009
  4. ^ "Prince of Seborga fights on for 362 subjects", Italy Magazine, 15 June 2006
  5. ^ Caitlin Moran,"Noel Gallagher is my choice for monarch", The Times, January 30, 2006
  6. ^ Seborga Times, Article "Seborga will crown his new elected Prince: Menegatto I"
  7. ^ "The King of Nylon: 'kingdom' of Seborga ruled by hosiery heir". The Metro (London). 28 April 2010. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  8. ^ Malcolm Moore,"Battle rages for His Tremendousness's throne", Daily Telegraph, 13 June 2006
  9. ^ "Prince of Seborga fights on for 362 subjects", Italy Magazine, 15 June 2006
  10. ^ "Seborga (Principality of) - Coins of Seborga", The Imperial Collection
  11. ^ http://hetalia.kitawiki.net/index.php?title=Seborga

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°49′33″N 7°41′40″E / 43.8259°N 7.6944°E / 43.8259; 7.6944