In 1948 James T. Mangan declared your entire universe to be a rustic below his safety | Boing Boing

In 1948 James T. Mangan declared the entire universe to be a country under his protection | Boing Boing

That is from final week’s subject of my e-newsletter, The Magnet — Mark

Anybody can begin their very own micronation. The onerous half is getting the snobbish macronations to simply accept you into their membership. Wikipedia has a list of about 90 micronations from the previous and current. Carla and I even visited one among them — Christiania, a micronation (strictly talking a “free city”) established in 1971 on deserted navy barracks in Denmark. We spent a summer season afternoon there within the late Nineteen Eighties. We ate in a restaurant, watched bare carpenters rework a constructing, interviewed a young person who labored within the submit workplace, and turned down a few aggressive cannabis and psychedelic mushroom sellers in the neighborhood market. Christiania is still around, however after going by some tough patches with murderous biker gangs working issues, it is quite a bit much less anarchistic now. Even with a inhabitants of 1,000 residents and 50 years of historical past behind it, Christiania hasn’t achieved official nation standing, however I do not suppose any of its residents actually care what the United Nations thinks of it.

Then again, the founding father of the Nation of Celestial Area (aka Celestia) wished nothing greater than to have the United Nations acknowledge his micronation. James Thomas Mangan, a 52-year-old Chicago publicist, self-help writer, and industrial designer based the Nation of Celestial Area in 1948, claiming everything of outer house, ”particularly exempting from declare each celestial physique, whether or not star, planet, satellite tv for pc, or comet, and each fragment.” In different phrases, Celestia owned regardless of — simply the empty house the matter occupied. (Celestia’s constitution made an exception for the Moon, Venus, and Mars and its two moons as “Proclaimed Protectorates.”)

Mangan’s grandson, Todd Walter Stump (Duke of the Milky Method), wrote in 2005 that Mangan’s declare to the universe was typical of ”an infinite character who had an insatiable curiosity, a voracious urge for food for argument, and a catholic array of pursuits. Papa was one of many fortunate few whose vocation and avocation had been the identical. He was a promoter of concepts… However make no mistake: the creation of the Nation of Celestial Area was a totally forthright and severe endeavor.”

From 1948 till his dying in 1970, Mangan labored tirelessly to persuade the world to acknowledge the Nation of Celestial Area, which had been ”instituted solely for Peace and Service to Man.”

The primary 4 articles of Celestia’s structure had been:

Article One: There shall by no means be any taxes on property in Celestia

Article Two: No modification can ever be made to this structure altering Article One

Article Three: No navy conscription, and no conscription of any type, shall ever be legalized in Celestia

Article 4: no modification can ever be made to this structure altering Article three

Mangan registered Celestia with the Prepare dinner County, Illinois Recorder and mailed letters to the secretaries of state from 74 international locations and the United Nations asking them to formally acknowledge the Nation of Celestial Area. They ignored him. “Solely my spouse, my son, and my companion see the depth of it,” he instructed a reporter within the May 1949 issue of Science Illustrated. “It is a new, daring, conceited concept.” In 1958 Mangan took it upon himself to journey to the UN constructing in New York Metropolis and run the Celestia flag up a pole alongside the opposite nationwide flags flying there. UN safety personnel rapidly eliminated the flag and instructed Mangan to not strive it once more.

Because the self-appointed Founder and First Consultant of Celestia, Mangan had dictatorial powers over the universe. He warned world governments that satellites and house stations wouldn’t be welcome in his nation, a minimum of not with out his categorical permission. Even tv and radio alerts had been “trespassers” who had been “violating the legislation proper now.” He additionally stated that “all house capsules, house junk {hardware} floating within the sky, are there by sufferance of Celestia and could also be ordered out at any second as violating the sovereignty of Celestia.” (He did, nevertheless, give a distillery in Kentucky the best to fabricate whiskey in outer house, an undertaker a license to carry out burials in house, and a person named Harold Henry Elsesser permission to “use and function in any manner he wishes the house inside his personal bowling ball.” )

Mangan additionally wasn’t above abusing his energy. After a police officer issued a $1 visitors ticket to one among Mangan’s members of the family, Mangan despatched a letter to the cop, warning him that he would develop into ”the primary man in Historical past to be declared Persona Non Grata in Outer Area and a dunce for not figuring out worldwide protocol and being so backward within the Area Age.”

To generate income, Mangan bought “excellent spheres of pure house, barely bigger than the earth” for the modest sum of 1 greenback apiece. Those that paid turned “members” (Celestia did not have residents) and had been granted “suggestion rights or considering rights” however not voting rights (“I do not like voting,” he stated).

Mangan additionally funded his mission by issuing postage stampspassports to the Moon, paper foreign money, and gold, silver, and brass coins with the profile of his daughter, Ruth Marie, “the pleasantest individual within the universe,” to whom he bestowed the title “Princess of the Nation of Celestial Area.” In 1962, Mangan despatched a passport to astronaut John Glenn who wrote again thanking him. “Looks like I’m all set now,” he stated. These cash and different memorabilia are actually highly-sought-after gadgets within the collectibles market.

By 1963, over 36,000 folks had develop into members, in accordance with a letter Mangan wrote to the curator of coin displays at the Smithsonian Institute. “This isn’t a fly-by-night mission, Physician,” Mangan instructed the curator. “I’ve stored it up with intensive publication for 14 years and have acquired a lot encouragement from males of effective reputation.”

Mangan, who died in 1970, inspired his youngsters to proceed his quixotic quest to have the Nation of Celestial Area formally acknowledged by different international locations. He appeared unperturbed by a 1966 UN decision that “outer space is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty.”

Was Mangan mentally unwell? Was he a prankster? Was he attempting to make a satiric level in regards to the absurdity of claiming the universe? I am undecided, however I believe he was severe about his want to encourage folks to think about the way forward for human endeavor in house and promote its use for peaceable initiatives. And I recognize that he did it in an amusing, attention-grabbing manner.


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