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November 20, 2008

Wikinews interviews the Grand Duchy of Machias

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wikinews held an exclusive interview with the Grand Duke Peter of Machias. Machias is a micronation or entity that resembles an independent nation but which is unrecognized by world governments or major international organizations.

On August 1st 2008, the Duchy claimed the islands of North Rock, New Islay, and Machias Seal Island, claiming that they were Terra nullius. All three island lay off the coasts of Maine (USA) and Nova Scotia (Canada).

It can be noted that the islands seem to be in Canadian waters. Grand Duke Peter cites the Treaty of Paris as basis for the claim.


WN Tell us about your country. Why was it started? How long has it been in existence? Do you have a flag, national anthem or currency? Can one become a citizen?

Peter of Machias: The Grand Duchy of Machias was official founded on the 1st of August 2008 due in part because of a loophole in the Treaty of Paris following the American War of Independence. The territory claimed by Machias consists of three Islands in the Bay of Fundy which were omitted, one of which did not have any charted name until the Grand Duke bestowed one upon it. An Ad Hoc committee was set up in 2004 to make some important decisions for the creation of the state and this August it was dissolved with the foundation on the first of the month. Machias does have a national flag and anthem but the cabinet of the government concluded that having an independent currency would not be necessary and would only cause further strain on the global economy based off of the ideas of Nobel Laureate Professor Robert Mundell’s economic theories. Citizenship is very much open following a brief citizenship test and pending official acceptance from the Ministry of Citizen Affairs.

WN Today, there are hundreds of micronations, or unrecognized countries, that are little more than online chat groups. Is Machias serious nation?

Peter: The Grand Duchy of Machias has territory, a population, and government as well has begun diplomatic communications with states around the world. In regards to being a serious nation Machias realizes that with such a small population base it would be impossible to compare with nations like the United States or Germany, instead we seek the to fit in the niche of nations such as Liechtenstein and Monaco.

WN Do citizens of Machias have citizenship of any other country? Do they pay taxes of those countries?

Peter: The Grand Duchy does not require anyone to relinquish other citizenships that they hold on to. As a peaceful nation we believe in an inclusive theory on the matter, in fact even the Grand Duke has a Canadian citizenship. Tax matters of other states remain in there jurisdiction, if you are a permanent resident in another country, most nations omit any taxes owed, although there are some like the US which has a citizen abroad tax system.

WN Can people visit Machias? Is tourism part of your nation’s economy?

Peter: Currently there are a few boat tour companies that run during the summer to our largest island to view Atlantic Puffins. All are welcome, but there is an upcoming bill that would place a landing fee for none citizens.

WN Can Machias legally be recognized as a nation?

Peter: Yes. Although the Treaty of Paris was signed centuries ago the islands have remained terra nullis in the eyes of the international scene. This can be seen with the International Court of Justice ruling that the islands neither belong to Canada nor the United States.

WN I noted, by looking at Google Maps, that Machias seems to be located in Canadian waters. What are your thoughts on this?

Peter: As being a new nation based on a former piece of unclaimed territory this has been a difficulty based. If one were to look at multiple sources it can be found that all maps made in Canada are normally required to put our largest island as Canadian. Similar ideologies flow out of different firms in the USA. Charts and maps made outside of these two countries normally place the islands as contested, terra nullis, or just choose not to specify. The government has begun communications to charting organizations as well as web based mappers to correct these errors.


This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

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