Tales of freedom fighting are heavily romanticized and idealized by society. The French uprising against the oppressive monarchal rule, men and women opposed to archaic Apartheid laws in South Africa, and our forefathers who fought for freedom against the British are all viewed as inspirational and brave groups. However, some instances in which freedom is sought are viewed in a slightly less reverent light. In this category falls the micronation. A micronation is a modern phrase referring to an entity within an established country that is trying to gain its independence from a government that they disagree with, but are not recognized by the international community. Generally micronations are taken lightly and ridiculed. Although there are many micronations existing in some form throughout the world, a prime example is the Principality of Hutt River, which exists within the country of Australia. The creation of this principality was initiated by Leonard George Casley, who goes by the self-stylized title: his Royal Highness Prince Leonard of Hutt. In a disagreement with the Western Australian government regarding a quota that limited the amount of wheat which he could sell from his farm, Casley and his associates seceded from the Commonwealth of Australia, and his family elected him ruler of the new state. To avoid prosecution for secession, Casley gave himself his present title, so that he was protected by an Australian law that prevented law charges being brought against a monarch. Despite initial conflicts with the Australian government regarding mail delivery and taxes, (which resulted in a Hutt declaration of war against Australia) the two countries have now largely resolved their differences and coexist peacefully, with no taxes levied on the 75 square km principality by the Australian government. Hutt River features various signs that it could be recognized as a real country: it has a capital (called Nain, the country’s lone settlement), boasts national currency, and levies income taxes. As described by the self-proclaimed sovereign state’s website, the economy relies upon “the growing of wheat, white and blue lupins, and barley, as well as fat lamb production, wool and the sale of sheep for export”, as well as wildflower sales and tourism. The existence of a country is an ambiguous concept. Why can one political entity be called a country, and another not? Separations occur in an attempt to redefine and reform the status quo of a society. Movements such as the Great Schism, the southern secession, and even the initial colonization of America by religious separatists have defined our world. Rebellions against oppressive and tyrannical governing bodies are generally perceived reverently. So maybe micronations created in opposition to injustice aren’t such a ridiculous concept after all. But how will (or will) history remember His Royal Highness Leonard of Hutt?
-Brit H., period 7