National History

The history of the Serene Principality of Serendip is a brief but illustrious one.

The Early Days

The personal banner of HSH David.

The Principality was founded on September 9, 1999 by HSH David.  There was an earlier incarnation for about three years previous, as the Serene Principality of Monastico.  Monastico was created as the issuing government for artistamps, a form of mail art that involves making and issuing stamps, created by David Locicero.  There was a website for Monastico, of which the less said, the better.  While the stamps were a success, David was dissatisfied with the name.

It was in mid-1998 that David discovered micro-nations on the internet.  He discovered them at about the same time that he read a news story about a professor at Stanford University who was postulating that the internet could be, and perhaps should be, considered a place wholly separate from the physical world, a place where people could stake out their own territory and make their own rules for their piece of it, a place where governments, corporations and individuals could all be equal.  It was a naive time, indeed.

These two ideas “clicked” with David and he re-examined Monastico and decided to repurpose his principality as a micro-nation and he launched a new website for the Serene Principality of Serendip.

The Origin of The Name

The name is derived from a story told by Horace Walpole in a letter about the three princes of Serendip (an archaic name forSri Lanka), who were sent away by their father, the king to see and learn of the world.  In their travels they have a series of adventures which put them in predicaments of various sorts.  The solutions to the predicaments are always present in the situations they find themselves in.

This idea of serendipity, of the answer or solution being present if only you can see it, strikes a chord with HSH David.  It is for him a core belief about the way the world works and has served him well for many decades.  For this reason he renamed his micro-nation, the Serene Principality of Serendip.

The Shameful Years

For much of its history the principality has provided the platform for HSH David to participate in the mail art world, issuing artistamps.  The micro-national aspects, while interesting, have not been the main focus.  The mail art aspects of the Principality were developed around Serendip being a nation in Diaspora, having fled their homeland in the Austro-Italian alps ahead of the invading Napoleon Bonaparte.

The principality did solicit citizens and acquired roughly 20 or so from around the world.  Though the principality was active on various online forums and did enter into diplomatic relations with some few micro-nations during the late 90’s and early 00’s, there was too much drama and insanity out there.  To paraphrase Cheeta, it was a goddamn jungle out there, Tarzan.

Owing to the insanity and the PrinceBishop’s uncertainty about how to include citizens whom he did not know in the physical world and the fact that he had started his own business which demanded huge amounts of time, the principality fell into a period of decline.

The Phoenix Rises

The Phoenix Rising, the Principality’s National Symbol

During that period, the URL for the principality’s website was not renewed and belonged to somebody else for about a year.  HSH David was pleased to see that the interim owner had let it lapse and snatched it back.  He shall not let it go again.

And so the Serene Principality of Serendip finds itself once again in a period of growth, rising from the ashes like a phoenix.  The phoenix is the national symbol, as there is always hope for renewal and rebirth in the Principality.

The Principality has shed its fictional history and claims our actual history, recounted here, with pride.  We are a micro-nation of real people, living in real places, with real claims to national sovereignty, which, we realize, are unlikely to be met with much more than derision or indifference by most of the world, though not our fellow micro-nations.

The world of micro-nations seems to attract lunatics, teenagers, artists and eccentrics.  The  PrinceBishop counts himself in the latter two categories and hopes that others will agree.


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