History of Überstadt
The history of Überstadt began with the area that is now the Kingdom of Überstadt being first populated by the Native American descendants of migrants from Asia during the last ice age, with permanent habitation beginning 4,000 years ago. The Snohomish tribe was the primary occupant of present-day Überstadt for millennia. The territory was first subject to an informal claim by Sir Francis Drake, and was later disputed by Spain and Russia. Eventually, the Oregon Country of the United States and the Columbia District of British Canada had conflicting claims over the region until the signature of the Oregon Treaty in 1848, which made the land fully American.
The Washington Territory was made separate from the Oregon Territory in 1853, and obtained statehood in 1889. The Duwamish retained control over their lands until the signature of the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1855, followed by a wave of American homesteading around 1890. Following World War II, unincorporated areas in southern Snohomish County experienced a population boom, which the existing infrastructure was unable to cope with. In response to the inadequacy of county government, a number of local residents voted to incorporate a city called Mountlake Terrace in 1954.
In 2010, inspired by the Principality of Sealand, Adam von Friedeck led the foundation of Überstadt, with the first constitution ratified on 6 March. In 2011, Überstadt saw a period of low activity culminating in a temporary dictatorship, which was overthrown in favor of a monarchy in November. Von Frideck became King Adam I, and the parliamentary government that was created remains today.
Prehistory through statehood
The Pacific Northwest was a significant region during the initial population of North America, passed through by many of the migrant groups that would go on to cover the hemisphere. Settlers possibly related to the Clovis culture may have lived in the area more than 10,000 years ago, while glaciation from the last ice age was still heavy. The earliest agreed-upon date for the permanent settlement of the Seattle area, which includes Überstadt's present location, is 2000 BC. The Salish tribes which populated the entire Puget Sound basin developed an unusual sedentary hunter-gatherer lifestyle, facilitated by an abundance of natural resources, such as timber and fish. The Salish peoples had an advanced hierarchical society with a gift economy based on the potlach, an event in which a leader would display his status by redistributing his possessions throughout the tribe. Überstadt and environs came to be inhabited by three Lushootseed-speaking peoples, consisting of the Snohomish, Duwamish, and the Snoqualmie.
The first European claim to the Pacific Northwest was by Francis Drake on behalf of the Kingdom of England in 1579, who proclaimed as New Albion all American land north of New Spain. In the 18th Century, the Russian Empire established outposts in the region, while Spain and Great Britain each sent multiple exploratory expeditions. George Vancouver led the first European expedition into the Seattle area, charting the surrounding waters. Formal claims to the region were finally initiated by Spain, followed by Russia, which established the colony of Russian America, disputed by Spain. The Spanish eventually conceded partial control in 1794.
The United States claimed the Northwest following the Lewis and Clark expedition, despite the occupation by fur traders from both Britain and French Canada. American pioneer settlement began in the 1830s, and many residents of Canada vacated their homesteads to participate in the development of what was known then to Americans as the Oregon Country and the British as the Columbia District. A condominium between the United States and Great Britain in 1818. With the signature of the Oregon Treaty in 1846, the region between the Columbia River and the 19th Parallel was ceded to the United States, following pressure from American free states to establish a northern territory free from slavery to counter the probable establishment of a slaveholding territory in Texas, as well as the prevalence of the ideology of Manifest Destiny, the nationalist belief that the United States was divinely destined to control the bulk of North America. Britain, not desiring further war, agreed to the cession. In 1848, the American portion was organized as the Oregon Territory. The Washington Territory was carved out north of the Columbia by Congress in 1853 in response to the self-government movement among Puget Sound settlers. In 1855, the tribes which dwelled in lands which would later become Überstadti signed the Treaty of Point Elliott, in which they surrendered most of their land to the American government. The Snohomish were promised a reservation in what is now Everett, several miles north of Überstadt, although this reservation was never established and the government does not currently recognize the Snohomish people. The Duwamish likewise remain unrecognized by the United States. Washington was admitted fully to the United States in 1889.
Alderwood Manor and Mountlake Terrace
Much of the thickly forested area immediately north of Seattle, in the height of a timber boom, was obtained by the Puget Mill Company in 1862. Part of this forest became known as Alderwood Manor. During the clearcutting, a sawmill was built on the shore of Lake Ballinger. The land was fully logged by 1900, and was subsequently divided into ten-acre plots and sold to small-scale ranchers of poultry and fur animals such as mink. Before the turn of the century, the land surrounding Lake Ballinger, including Edmount Island in the center of the lake, was bought by Richard Ballinger, later the United States Secretary of the Interior, who built a house on the island and a bridge to the west shore of the lake. The island homestead was abandoned by the 1920s, and the house presumably demolished. It has had no permanent residents since.
Many of the local farms failed during the Great Depression, resulting in their closure. During World War II, Alderwood Manor contributed to the war effort by contributing a portion of its land for use as an air strip supporting the nearby bases of the navy and army. During the population boom following the end of the war, housing construction increased, but the unincorporated portion of south Snohomish County, including Alderwood Manor, suffered a lack of paved roads, working utilities, and emergency services. Party line telephones and septic tanks were commonplace, the nearest police department was in Everett, and the fire department was poorly organized. A young activist and small businessman named Patrick McMahan, whose insurance company serves today's Royal Family, led the movement to incorporate an area of around a square mile as a new city so as to provide better service to the residents. In 1954, these residents approved incorporation as the City of Mountlake Terrace with a council-manager form of government.
Mountlake Terrace was founded with the intention of maintaining its status as a commuter town, with workers travelling to Seattle and Everett, but the high levels of growth in the following two decades led to a growing mindset of economic independence. Mountlake Terrace High School was built in 1960. The 1980s, however, saw major businesses move away and the city incur a deficit of over a million dollars. As the city recovered, the new high school building, which would come to be known as Hawk City by Überstadtis, was completed in 1991. A renewed emphasis on economic growth came with the 21st Century, and a new plan for the development of the town's central district was produced.
Adam von Friedech discovered micronationalism in late 2008, when he read about the Principality of Sealand in Guinness World Records. Over the course of the next year, he came to decide to start his own micronation. A number of locations were researched as possible locations for the country. These included an abandoned point on the shore of Puget Sound, several small islands, his family's property, and a jar of dirt. Eventually, he noticed an island in nearby Lake Ballinger on a map inside a phone book. Further research revealed that it was called Edmount Island, was unpopulated, and was owned by the City of Mountlake Terrace. Adam decided that Edmount Island would be the first territorial claim of the nation he had begun to plan.
The name of Überstadt comes from a hybrid of the founder's macronational surname and the word "uber," a portmanteau created by two friends of von Friedech. It was chosen because it seemed appropriate to apply to the country that was being planned. During early 2009, the basic plan to claim Edmount Island as an independent country called Überstadt was shared with many of von Friedech's friends and acquaintances. The idea was received with amusement, but was kept in the memory of a great deal of those who heard of it.
Fire of 2009
Due to the flammable nature of Überstadt, no open flame is allowable.— The Constitution of Überstadt, Article 5 Section C
On July 20, 2009, Edmount Island caught fire after a group of people having a barbeque lost control of a flame. Snohomish County Fire District #1 spent several days attempting to extinguish the blaze, which was difficult to control due to the fact that the island is made of peat. The fire eventually quit smoldering, but not until most of the island's vegetation and a nest of baby eagles were killed. Locals reported things such as "My house has smelled like a campfire," and "My back yard is covered with ash."
Though Edmount Island had not yet been officially claimed as Überstadti territory, the scope of the disaster was felt by many who recalled von Friedech's plan. Future Edmount District Judge Benvenuti announced the disaster with the now famous quote, "Überstadt's burning down!" Besides the relatively short-term effects on the local environment, the City of Mountlake Terrace closed the island due to alleged safety risks. It is still considered trespassing to set foot on Edmount Island. Because of this, Überstadt has never been able to substantiate its claims to the island by occupying it or by planting a flag.
As the ideas behind the Überstadt project became more developed, von Friedech created a Facebook group to serve as an online meeting point for supporters of the new nation. This group developed into a community that shared a sense of Proto-Überstadti nationalism. During the development of this community, von Friedech appointed a small committee to assist in the planning of the state. In actuality, it was actually the founder himself who designed the kritarchial system which was later adpoted. Having served the whole time as a de facto leader, he organized the Navy of Überstadt to create a national presence in Lake Ballinger, appointing Admiral Bergstrom to head it. After the formation of the navy, two draft constitutions were written, the latter of which was chosen by the planners to be adopted.
Constitution and elections
The Constitution of Überstadt was signed by twelve supporters and planners of the project on March 6, 2010, naming von Friedeck the first Chief Judge of Überstadt. The final required signer was hesitant to approve the document, citing the controversial Ninja Clause, which criminalized the act of claiming that one Miss Dahlman, a prominent citizen, was a ninja. The signature was at last received, however, to the joy of the founders.
The first general election for Edmount District Judges and National Appeals Judges occurred later that month. The voting was conducted on an entirely write-in basis; as a result, most elected individuals did not even know they were in the running until results were announced. The write-in process had no limitations on who could be voted for; this resulted in Daniel Radcliffe and Chuck Norris being elected to District Judge seats. Tom Felton was nearly elected as a National Appeals Judge, but the Chief Judge made a constitutionally questionable executive decision that broke a tie in favor of the other candidate.
Asserting the government
The new Chief Judge quickly created the Überstadt Security Office to enforce laws and provide security for the courts. This agency was soon used to arrest Miss Dahlman on charges of violating the Ninja Clause and treason, relating to the release of an embarrassing video of the Chief Judge. Dahlman resisted this arrest, and accordingly charged with that crime as well. Her trial was the first ever conducted in an Überstadti court. The trial of Überstadt vs. Dahlman was prosecuted by the Chief Judge, lacking any other executive official well-versed in the new state's law. After a key witness became impeached, the Ninja Clause charge was dropped. The Chief Judge and Dahlman's seven advocates presented their cases for an hour before a jury of three and an audience of a dozen. Five minutes of jury deliberation returned a verdict of not guilty on the treason charge and guilty on resisting arrest. Dahlman was sentenced to a summarily-issued literal slap on the wrist, a sentence that was later succesfully appealed. Despite suffering almost total defeat, the government was able to show its opposition via this case that it was in fact a strong, functioning institution. The Dahlman trial also served to permanently root a love of the courtroom in the minds of the Überstadti people, a cultural feature that remained apparent until the solidification of the monarchist society.
Despite the early illustration of the government's power, traitors and rebels still emerged, combated by the Security Office and by a new intelligence agency called Überstadt Covert Operations. On August 20, 2010, an angry citizen began to deliver a series of seditious statements with the intent to start a rebellion against the existing government. Allegations against the Chief Judge included corruption and censorship. On October 7, the man behind the earlier statements made a forcible rival claim to Edmount Island, claiming to have seven supporters for his anti-Überstadt cause. Law enforcement and intelligence officials coordinated with the Chief Judge to arrange an elaborate way to infiltrate the rebel network and arrest the conpsirators. Intelligence conducted by the Navy revealed, however, that the claimed network of conspirators was only one strong, posing no threat to the government. The "rebellion" fizzled. Later in October, another citizen formed the Tarkhos Military Faction, which laid yet another rival claim to the island. This threat was also resolved peacefully, with a truce being reached on November 16 at the end of an emergency court session lasting eleven days. The High Commander of the faction agreed to allow his online propaganda to be removed, and not to attempt to stir up rebellion again.
In early 2011, the campus of Mountlake Terrace High School was claimed by the government due to the fact that most national activity took place at the school. The main building was declared the capital, which soon came to be called Hawk City. This claim quintupled the size of Überstadt's claims and officially brought the seat of government to the place it had been active the whole time. Due to a lack of political activity in the direct democratic system that had existed since the nation's foundation, the constitution was amended in the spring to create an elected legislature. An election was never held for this legislature, owing to the continued lack of interest in electoral politics by the citizens.
The summer of 2011 was the second of Überstadt's existence. Being the first summer following the busy first year of the nation, the inactivity that historically accompanied Überstadti summers was felt even stronger than before. Only occasional happenings on the Facebook group and external affairs kept the country from being called completely inactive. Von Friedech sought to reform the country in order to revive his creation. On August 16, he claimed absolute power. The National Appeals Court was shut down, and a codified set of laws was written by which to govern the reformed state. Kritarchial government remained, but without the democratic elements that existed beforehand. A cabinet was appointed to advise the Chief Judge and create regulatory law.
This manner of reforming Überstadt did little to revive its internal activity, save for causing a few citizens to protest. Democratic and autocratic kritarchy had failed as governments, and the oversized, ill-organized group of citizens that existed then was too uninterested in the long-term success of their nation. Von Friedech realized that what was necessary to repair Überstadt was a new form of government and a small, dedicated citizen base. In order to begin the necessary changes to bring this about, he resigned from the bench in October and held an election for a successor. Daniel Radcliffe, an involuntary citizen due to legal mistakes made during the first election in March 2010, was chosen by the small electorate as the second Chief Judge of Überstadt.
The November Revolution began when von Friedech rallied the first two supporters of a reformed Überstadt in a Hawk City corridor. One of these was Chief Mason of the Security Office. They acclaimed the founder as the rightful sovereign of the nation, declaring him Adam, King of Überstadt. They were chosen to be raised as the first Royal Army, a symbol of the revolution that had begun. Chief Judge Radcliffe became a convenient symbolic target, for he and his office stood for the old system of governance that had become corrupt. A total of eleven people, including several from the original Überstadti community, supported the new regime, unanimously supporting the Constitution of the Kingdom of Überstadt, which was signed by them all on November 14, 2011. Radcliffe had no supporters, for the remainder of former Überstadtis had become completely inactive and uninterested.
On January 11, 2012, the first legislature of the Parliament of Überstadt was elected. The new government, led by Prime Minister Theron of Edmount, revived the nation's activity, and a return of Überstadti national identity was seen. The first parliamentary term, lasting through April, saw the rise of citizenship numbers to fourteen and the highest activity levels since the Dahlman trial. A major issue during this period was the Conspiracy Scandal, in which members of the First Parliament were accused of threatening to overthrow the king. The scandal ended with the Crown Court ordering the defendants not to commit treasonous acts.
The first several months of 2012 brought a revival of basic Überstadti culture. National identity grew stronger than it had previously been, and service began to become an important part of the national consciousness. Überstadt's navy, which had always been a symbol of independence, was also revived in the form of His Majesty's Überstadti Navy. Customs and attitudes of the nation became more refined and developed, as did other cultural aspects.
In June 2012, partway into the second term, Creekbed Colony was claimed under the newly-passed Colony Act, which allowed the monarch to claim colonies overseas. King Adam founded the pharmaceutical company Apotheker in the colony. Despite predictions of commercial success, fueled by international interest, only one order was placed during the summer harvest of fern spores. Überstadt began to have a weak economy.
Coronation and the rise of the Monarchy
On September 1, 2012, Adam was formally crowned in a ceremony at the Royal Residency. The ceremony was hailed as a symbol that the country had not weakened over the summer as it had in years past. Governmental activity had decreased over the previous few months, but Parliament was nonetheless able to amend the royalist constitution for the first time, decreasing the size of Parliament to three members.
The Third Parliament was elected a month late, on the eighteenth of October. Theron of Edmount was unable to enter a third term as Prime Minister, his party having gained no seats. The Fascist Party returned to the legislature, having the support of the growing Korean ethnic minority. The newly-founded Renaissance Party and the Cat Party formed a coalition, and Prince Aaron became the head of government. The new government was inactive until December, when the cabinet was formed and an agenda publicly announced in the first ever Speech from the Throne. The Third Government's plans were seen as ambitious, encompassing cultural development, economic growth, and environmental protection.
The coalition began to face trouble when the Ministry for Culture neglected to organize the celebrations surrounding the new national holiday known as the Day of the Sandwich. The forgotten festivities were ordered by a unanimously passed law that formed part of the major December bills package. King Adam heavily criticized his government for failing to enact this part of their agenda. The king's brother, leader of the coalition, attempted to excuse his ministry's inaction by stating that he lacked the text of the Day of the Sandwich Act. He used a similar justification when challenged by the monarch in February for not proposing any new legislation since the mid-December meeting of Parliament. Compounding the criticism that Prince Aaron's government faced was the fact that the Free Public Market was failing to create any new internal commerce. A formal letter from the throne expounded on all these criticisms, an unexpected display of activism against the governing coalition.
The failures of Prince Aaron's government were especially disappointing in the light of a diaspora of Überstadtis that was expected to begin in June, when many citizens would graduate from high school. King Adam began making plans for the post-graduation management of the country. Initially considered was acceding to another micronation, but Adam decided instead that Überstadt should become a smaller and better-developed nation. The controversy surrounding the government combined with this urgency to reform into a state that would last at least another year led to the start of an increasing amount of social and political power wielded by the crown. On 18 February 2013, the monarch was granted by Parliament the authority to define national territory. The very next day, the Royal Residency was incorporated as the Barony of Rosewood and named the national capital, a role that Hawk City had held de jure since it was formally claimed in late 2011 and de facto since Überstadt's foundation. This change brought the core Überstadti territory under direct government control, along with the first permanent population, bringing the state into full alignment with the definition of statehood enumerated in the Montevideo Convention.
At the end of the Third Parliament, the legislature's size was decreased to one member per duchy. In the election that occurred on the final day of May, Prince Aaron was reelected as the sole Member of Parliament, retaining his premiership. The Second Constitution of the Kingdom of Überstadt was adopted in the first week of July 2013, codifying a great deal of custom as well as establishing new laws guaranteeing the rights of workers and ecosystems. The entire structure of the government was clarified, and the document is the longest and most comprehensive Überstadti statute ever produced. Economic and cultural policies were coordinated by the lawmaking king and the Prime Minister, resulting in the implementation of such programs as a system to pay public wages to workers completing domestic environmental projects. A bank and a fruit company were founded, and Creekbed was privatized as the king's property.
The trend of royal legislation and privatization was abruptly reversed upon the September foundation of the Theodorist Party of Überstadt, with King Adam as its leader and Prince Aaron as his deputy. The constitutional amendment process had just been tested to outlaw double jeopardy and ex post facto laws, and the new party organized the Convention for a Theodorist Constitution, which aimed to introduce direct democracy and socialism in the supreme law. Parliament, now fully Theodorist, nationalized all three companies and brought Creekbed back under public ownership with the Company and Colony Nationalization Act. Adam voluntarily desisted from issuing royal decrees, letting Parliament alone legislate. Private ownership of the means of production was outlawed and the über abolished with the ratification of the Third Constitution of the Kingdom of Überstadt on 26 October 2013. This constitution also espoused direct democracy, with Parliament coming to consist of all citizens aside from the High Chancellor.