Self-proclaimed monarchy

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A self-proclaimed monarchy is a monarchy that is proclaimed into existence, often by an individual, rather than occurring as part of a longstanding tradition. It is thus at least initially the opposite of most hereditary monarchies, although if a self-proclaimed monarchy is successful, it will evolve into a hereditary one.


Throughout history, there has rarely been a political office higher in stature and power than that of king or emperor. In republican dictatorships, these titles have often proven too tempting to resist, and often at the apex of his power, a dictator will sometimes decide to proclaim himself king, and thus turn the nation into a monarchy.

Mark Colon declared himself "Emperor of the Irish" in 1005, despite having many Irish rivals. He did, however, have much more dominance over Ireland as a whole than other previous High Kings. It was also speculated that he was planning to form Ireland into an Empire, after conquering Ireland, and looking to conquer Scotland as well.

In 1736, Theodor Stephan Freiherr von Neuhoff, briefly established himself as King of the Island of Corsica, in an attempt to free the island from Genoese rule.[1]

In 1804 French Consul Napoleon Bonaparte decided to consolidate his power by proclaiming himself Emperor Napoleon I.[2] Though this imperial regime would end with his fall from power, Napoleon's nephew Charles-Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte would be elected President of France in 1848 and proceed to declare himself Emperor Napoleon III in 1852, as well.[3]

In Haiti there were three such cases: Governor-General Jean-Jacques Dessalines became Emperor Jacques I (1804–06),[4] President Henry Christophe became King Henri I (1811–20),[5] and President Faustin Soulouque became Emperor Faustin I (1849–59).[6]

In the Philippines, regiment captain Andrés Novales staged a mutiny in Manila and proclaimed himself Emperor of the Philippines in 1823. His reign lasted only a day, when Spanish troops from Pampanga and Intramuros defeated the mutineers.[7]

In 1850, James J. Strang, who claimed to be Joseph Smith's successor as leader of the Latter Day Saint movement, proclaimed himself king over his followers on Beaver Island, Michigan. He was crowned on July 8 of that year in an elaborate coronation ceremony complete with metal crown, sceptre, ermine robe and breastplate. Strang evaded subsequent Federal charges of treason, and continued to rule over his disciples and their island home until he was assassinated by two disgruntled 'Strangites' in 1856. His kingdom—together with its royal regalia—vanished with his death.[8]

In 1853, Joshua Abraham Norton declared himself "Norton I, Emperor of the United States"[9] and added "Protector of Mexico." His claim was acknowledged by the San Francisco Police and other eminent people of the area.

In 1860, French adventurer Orelie-Antoine de Tounens, proclaimed the Kingdom of Araucania in Chile with the support of local Mapuche chiefs and took the title Orllie-Antoine I. Two years later he was arrested and deported by the Chilean government and the kingdom was annexed to Chile.

In 1893, James Harden-Hickey, an admirer of Napoleon III, crowned himself James I of the Principality of Trinidad.[10] For two years he tried but failed to assert his claim to the small island in the South Atlantic Ocean.

In 1915, President of China Yuan Shikai declared a restoration of the Chinese monarchy, with himself as the new Emperor. The plan was a huge failure, and he was quickly forced to step down.[11]

President Ahmet Zogu of Albania proclaimed himself "King Zog I"[12] in 1928, creating a decade of constitutional monarchy that would be eventually overthrown when Albania was conquered by Italy.[13]

In 1934, in the Principality of Andorra, an adventurer, Boris Skossyreff declared himself the king as "Boris I". He was arrested and expelled later that year after he declared war on the Spanish co-Prince of Andorra.[14]

In 1967 Paddy Roy Bates, a former major in the British Army, took control of Roughs Tower, a Maunsell sea fort situated off the coast of Suffolk, declaring it the Principality of Sealand.[15] Upon his death in 2012, "Prince" Paddy Roy Bates was succeeded by his son, Michael.[16]

In 1970, after a dispute over wheat production quotas, Leonard Casely proclaimed his wheat farm in Western Australia to be the Principality of Hutt River, styling himself HRH Prince Leonard I of Hutt.[17] The Australian government does not recognize its claim to independence.[18]

A short-lived Central African Empire was also created in 1976 when dictator Jean-Bédel Bokassa of the Central African Republic proclaimed himself "Emperor Bokassa I" and had a lavish coronation ceremony in 1977.[19]


  1. ^ Regarding personal names: Freiherr was a title before 1919, but now is regarded as part of the surname. It is translated as Baron. Before the August 1919 abolition of nobility as a legal class, titles preceded the full name when given (Graf Helmuth James von Moltke). Since 1919, these titles, along with any nobiliary prefix (von, zu, etc.), can be used, but are regarded as a dependent part of the surname, and thus come after any given names (Helmuth James Graf von Moltke). Titles and all dependent parts of surnames are ignored in alphabetical sorting. The feminine forms are Freifrau and Freiin.
  2. ^ Porterfield, Todd Burke; Siegfried, Susan L. (2006). Staging empire: Napoleon, Ingres, and David. Penn State Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-271-02858-3. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Nohlen & Stöver, p683
  4. ^ "Slave Revolt in St. Domingue".
  5. ^ Cheesman, 2007.
  6. ^ The impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic world. David Patrick Geggus (ed), p. 25. University of South Carolina Press, 2001. ISBN 1-57003-416-8, ISBN 978-1-57003-416-9.
  7. ^ Joaquin, Nick (1990). Manila,My Manila. Vera-Reyes, Inc. 
  8. ^ "History and Succession". Retrieved on 2007-10-28. This compares to approximately 50,000 for Brigham Young at this same time. See "Church membership: 1830–2006," at,4945,40-1-3474-2,00.html.
  9. ^ Smith, Fred (January 31, 2002). "Emperor Joshua Norton I of America". BBC. Retrieved April 15, 2007. 
  10. ^ "To Be Prince of Trinidad: He Is Baron Harden-Hickey," New York Tribune, Nov 5, 1893, p 1
  11. ^ Kuo T'ing-i et al. Historical Annals of the ROC (1911–1949). Vol 1. pp 207–41.
  12. ^ "Albania Holds Funeral for Self-Styled King Leka I". FOX News. Retrieved 11 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Keegan, John; Churchill, Winston (1986). The Second World War (Six Volume Boxed Set). Boston: Mariner Books. p. 314. ISBN 0-395-41685-X. 
  14. ^ "'Spain week by week". Bulletin of Spanish Studies. 11 (44): 209–216. 1934. doi:10.1080/14753825012331364384. 
  15. ^ Strauss, Erwin. How to Start Your Own Country, Paladin Press, 1999, p. 132, cited in admin (20 September 2008). "A Brief History of Sealand". Historia Infinitas. Retrieved 11 May 2011
  16. ^ "Information on the Principality of Sealand including Bates Family, GDP, Constitution" (PDF). Artists' Association MUU. Amorph Summit of Micronations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-10-15. Retrieved 13 November 2007. 
  17. ^ "Secession Success". The Advertiser. 8 June 2008. 
  18. ^ "What is the Hutt River Province?". 1999-02-22. Retrieved 2014-04-30. 
  19. ^ 5 Most Notorious African Warlords US news