Travis McHenry is the founder and creator of two micronations, neither of which has yet been recognized by a world government.
In 2001, while a seaman in the United States Navy, McHenry founded the micronation of Westarctica. In 2004, he appointed himself ruler of the Grand Duchy of Westarctica, which was located in the Marie Byrd Land region of Antarctica. He has said that this took advantage in a loophole in the Antarctic Treaty System. In 2006, after learning that McHenry had been communicating with foreign governments asking them to recognize the nation, the Navy required him to abdicate. As of 2015[update], Westarctica has a population of about 300 citizens (none of whom actually live there), and McHenry still calls himself its Grand Duke.
In 2009, after McHenry left the military, he acquired a few acres of rural desert land in Southern California from his family, and founded Calsahara. McHenry later expanded it to cover 117 acres. A 2015 profile in Los Angeles magazine described the project as good-natured, but said, "It's hard to discern whether Calsahara is a serious endeavor or an absurdly long-term joke."
Sometime before 2011, McHenry changed the name of Westarctica from "Grand Duchy of Westarctica" to "Protectorate of Westarctic."
In 2014, McHenry made Westarctica into a non-profit organization that advocates for protection of Antarctic wildlife and for the study of climate change.
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