Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Shortest Lived States in History!

Charismatic leaders often boast how their regimes would last forever or at least a thousand years. 

The Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler often spoke of "Tausendjähriges Reich" (thousand year kingdom). 
Photo source

Not only in politics, but also in religion we find similar ideas. There is a Christian doctrine called Premillennialism, which teaches that this current age will end with the physical return of Jesus Christ to the earth to set up a kingdom that will continue for one thousand years. 

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Tiananmen gate in Beijing has placards saying "Zhōnghuá Rénmín Gònghéguó wànsuì" (traditional Chinese: 中華人民共和國萬歲; simplified Chinese: 中华人民共和国万岁; literally "People's Republic of China will last for ten thousand years"). Lasting so long is not uncommon in China. During the Cultural Revolution, it was common to say "Máo Zhǔxí wànsuì!" meaning Chairman Mao will live for ten thousand years. In the Ming dynasty, only emperors were allowed to live so long. 

But not to be outdone, Eunuchs like Liu Jin (from the Ming dynasty) and We Zhongxian, who held real power over weak rulers, called themselves "jiǔ qiān suì" (九千歲, literally "9000 years"). In We Zongxian's case he was the second most important person in the empire as the Emperor was called Ten Thousand Years 

How about the opposite! What are the states with ultra short life spans?

Shortest Lived States in History

One day of statehood! There is one instance of one country existing as an independent state for one day only.

The world record for the shortest duration of statehood goes to
Carpatho-Ruthenia, which broke away from Czechoslovakia and declared independence on 15th March 1939 under its leader Avhustyn Voloshyn. The next day Hungary forcibly occupied the country. Soon the Nazis took over and then after some time it was integrated into the Soviet Union. It is now part of Ukraine. 

The pop art Guru Andy Warhol was a Carpatho Ruthenian, though he was born in Pittsburgh, USA. 

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

The French supported Parthenopaean Republic declared independence on 23rd January 1799 from the Spanish Bourbon Kingdom of Naples and survived until it was forcibly retaken on 13th June 1799.

Rauracian Republic was formed from parts of modern France and Switzerland. It existed for a few months before being gobbled up by the French First Republic in 1793.

Islands of Refreshment – Jonathan Lambert became the self-proclaimed ruler of Tristan da Cunha, a remote volcanic group of island in the southern Atlantic Ocean at the end of 1811. Island of Refreshment ended on 17th May 1812, when Lambert was drowned while fishing.

Biafra, seceded from Nigeria, existed from 30 May 1967 to 15 January 1970, when it was forcibly reintegrated with over one million people dying in the civil war.

Photo source
On 8th August 1960, the Mining State of South Kasai was proclaimed. On 12th April 1961, the president Albert I Kalonji became emperor with the title Mulopwe. On 30th December 1961, the Congolese army re-annexed South Kasai after a bloody battle.

United States of Stellaland survived from 7th August 1883, when the Boer republics Goshen and Stellaland joined, until 30th September 1885, when the British army forcibly re-integrated the area into British Bechuanaland.

Photo source: Wikimedia Commons

The Republic of the Rif (Arabic: جمهورية الريف‎) was created on 18th September 1921, when the Riffians or Berbers, revolted and declared their independence from Spanish and Moroccan occupation. On 27th May 1926, the Spanish, using German made chemical weapons against the Rif dissolved the republic.

Republic of Texas existed as a sovereign state between United States and Mexico between 1836, when it seceded from Mexico, until 1846 when it was annexed as a state of the USA.
Photo source:

The system of racial segregation called Apartheid created
Bantustan as a homeland for the Black inhabitants of South Africa and South West Africa (now Namibia). Transkei (in 1976), Venda (1979), Bophuthatswana (1977) and Ciskei (1981) were even declared independent republics though no other country but South Africa recognised them. When apartheid ended in 1994, these were reintegrated into South Africa, some though not without trouble and violence. 

Photo source:

The Most Exotic Attempt to Create a State

The most exotic attempt to create a state is that of Minerva in the South Pacific Ocean with no inhabitants. Lithuanian born Michael Oliver, a Las Vegas real estate millionaire formed Ocean Life Research Foundation to anticipate a libertarian society with no form of taxes, state subsidies, welfare or meddling from government. In 1971 barges of sand was brought from Australia to raise the reef level high enough to construct a small tower with a flag. The  Republic of Minerva declared independence on 19th January 1972, with Morris C. Davis as Provisional President.

Neighbouring Tonga was the only nation that acted swiftly. The King, Taufa'ahau Tupou IV, saw Minerva as a threat and went there in a rowboat, a naval gunboat and with a convict work group to haul down the flag of Minerva and formally annex the reef to the Kingdom of Tonga on 21st June 1972.

Photo Source:

Do You Want to Establish Your Own State

Yes, it is possible.

Those planning to start their own state can look up help in Strauss, Erwin S
. How to Start Your Own Country, 2nd ed. Port Townsend, WA: Breakout Productions, 1984. ISBN 1-893626-15-6


Bharatheeyam said...

Beautiful pictures and descriptions

Harri Rautiainen said...

an interesting piece of history.


Burroughs J said...

Very interesting information. It's rather cruel how these new states have been snuffed out.

Indre said...

So many attempts yet always predictably ended. Good info. People in many small states like Estonia (where I'm from) should be thanksful.