|Anthem: "Home Is Where I Hang My Towel"|
|Official languages||English, Aerican|
|Organizational structure||Constitutional monarchy)|
|•||Declared||May 8, 1987|
3,474,919 sq mi
|Membership||181 (2012) |
|Purported currency||Mu and Solari |
The Aerican Empire (conventionally referred to in short form as Aerica) is a micronation founded in May 1987, which has no sovereign territory of its own and has never been recognized by any other sovereign state as existing. The name is a pun on the term "American Empire". In 2000 The New York Times described its website as "one of the more imaginative" micronation sites.
Its members claim sovereignty over a vast disconnected territory, including a square kilometer of land in Australia, a house-sized area in Montreal, Canada (containing the "Embassy to Everything Else"), several other areas of the Earth, a colony on Mars, the northern hemisphere of Pluto, and an imaginary planet.
As with most micronations, the number of members ("citizens") has fluctuated wildly with time. In May 2009, it was claimed to exceed 400 people.
Their flag is a parody of the flag of Canada, with a large yellow smiley face instead of the red maple leaf in the white square (although the red rectangles on the sides have different side length ratios).
The Aerican Empire was founded on 8 May 1987 by Montreal psychiatrist Eric Lis and a core group of friends. Lis, who founded the Aerican Empire as a child, obtained his M.D., C.M. from McGill University and has been published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and Weird Tales magazine.
For the first ten years the Empire was almost wholly fictional, claiming sovereignty over a vast galaxy of planets and engaging in "wars" against other micronations. After the advent of the Internet, through which the founders discovered other micronations similar to their own, the Empire slowly abandoned most fictional elements and worked towards becoming a political entity rather than a hobby. In 1997, the Empire created a Web site.
In 2000, the first growth spurt in the Empire's population was triggered by an article in The New York Times. In the months following this, the Empire's membership rose to over five hundred people. This number slowly fell over the following years as members left, eventually stabilizing and rising again with time.
The Empire's mission statement is "The Empire exists to facilitate the evolution of a society wherein the Empire itself is no longer necessary." It claims to be organized as a parliamentary democracy, with various elected bodies and offices, under the oversight of an Emperor (currently the founder, Eric Lis).
The Aerican Empire first issued coinage in November 2009, and a second coin was minted to celebrate Aerica's 25th anniversary in 2012. It does not have printed passports, but has a downloadable "novelty passport" and ID card. The first issued passport was exhibited in the Palais de Tokyo 2007 Micronational art exhibition. Aerica issued stamps for the first time in 2015.
The group's activities are permeated by a great deal of humour and a love of science fiction and fantasy, with recurrent references to Star Wars, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and similar works. Annually, the Empire holds story-writing contests, role-playing and wargaming days, and such events as the Dog-Biscuit Appreciation Day Scavenger Hunt. It also developed a "religion" called Silinism, the worship of the Great Penguin; originally intended as a joke, but which the group claims to have thirty practitioners worldwide. It has holidays and "niftydays" (such as 2 January Procrastinator's Day, 27 February *Oops* Day, 19 March What the Heck is That Day, and 26 October Topin Wagglegammon, The Niftiest Day of the Year).
Possibly the single most widespread cultural activity within the Empire is gaming, particularly role-playing games and wargaming. The Aerican Empire's official gaming club (AEGIS) is associated with seven universities worldwide and has sponsored/funded/supported an annual gaming day on December 29 since 2003. AEGIS has funded the creation of several Aerican Empire-themed Warhammer 40K armies which have competed nationally in tournaments.
While Internet-based activities in the Empire are more well-documented and facilitate interaction between members in different countries, a major focus has always been local physical events. Members gather for weekly meetings in Montreal, Springvale, New York and other centers, and a twentieth anniversary convention was held in July 2007.
- Aerican Empire: Citizens
- Aerican Empire: Census 2012
- Aerican Empire: Money
- Extraradi: Extraradi, 22 September 2009. Barcelona: COMRadio
- Ryan, J: Micronations: The Lonely Planet Guide to Self-Proclaimed Nations, ISBN 1-74104-730-7
- Aerican Empire: FAQ at the group's website, section "What kind of name is Aerica?". Retrieved July 2009.
- The New York Times: "Utopian Rulers, and Spoofs, Stake Out Territory Online", 25 May 2000.
- Aerican Empire: Lands controlled by the Empire
- The Aerican Empire
- Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience: , 2007, "Neuroimaging and genetics of borderline personality disorder: a review".
- Weird Tales Magazine: Weird Tales, 2008, "My True Lovecraft Gave To Me".
- Weird Tales Magazine: Weird Tales, 2011, "A Contract Without Loopholes".
- The Montreal Mirror: The Montreal Mirror, 17 August 2006, "The little empire that could"
- O'Driscoll, F: Ils ne siègent pas à l'ONU, ISBN 2-87867-251-8
- The Boston Phoenix: The Boston Phoenix, October 2000, "States of Mind".
- CBC Daybreak: Daybreak, 13 July 2006, "The Aerican Empire: Interview With Eric Lis". Montreal: CBC Radio
- Le Soleil, Quebec City: Le Soleil, 18 January 2001, "Vive Eric 1er, empereur virtuel!"
- Aerican Mailing List Archive, , December 2, 2006
- Aerican Empire Post, , May 8, 2015
- Context Magazine: Context Magazine, April–May 2001, "Altered States".