The Principality of Seborga is a self-proclaimed nation located in the northwestern Italian Province of Imperia in Liguria, near the French border; and in sight of Monaco. The principality is in coexistence with, and claims the territory of the town of Seborga, which is an Italian municipality.
In arguing for the founding of Seborga in 1963, His Tremendousness Giorgio Carbone claimed that during the Middle Ages the town had become part of the feudal holdings of the Counts of Ventimiglia. He insisted that in the year 954 Seborga became the property of the Benedictine Monks of Santo Onorato of Lerins and in 1079 the Abbot of this monastery was made a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire, with temporal authority over the Principality of Seborga. On 20 January 1729, this independent principality was sold to the Savoy dynasty's Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, then ruled by Victor Amadeus II. Subsequently, in 1815, the Congress of Vienna overlooked Seborga in its redistribution of European territories after the Napoleonic Wars, and there is no mention of Seborga in the Act of Unification for the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. The argument for Seborga's present-day status as an independent state is founded on the claim that this sale was never registered by its new owner, resulting in the principality falling into what has been described as a legal twilight zone.
In the early 1960s, Giorgio Carbone, then head of the local flower-growers co-operative, began promoting the idea that Seborga retained its historic independence as a principality. By 1963 the people of Seborga were sufficiently convinced of these arguments to elect Carbone as their "Head of State". He then assumed the self-styled title Giorgio I, Prince of Seborga, which he held until his death in 2009. Carbone's status as "Prince" was confirmed on 23 April 1995, when, in an informal referendum, Seborgans voted 304 in favour, 4 against, for the Principality's constitution, and in favour of independence from Italy. Carbone reigned until his death on 25 November 2009. Prince Giorgio of Seborga had been styled with the honorific title Sua Tremendità ('Your Tremendousness' or 'Your Terrificness'). He died without heirs on November 25, 2009. His successor Marcello Menegatto was elected and crowned on May 22, 2010.
In June 2006 a minor controversy arose when a woman calling herself "Princess Yasmine von Hohenstaufen Anjou Plantagenet", who claimed to be the rightful heir to the throne of Seborga, wrote to Italy's president offering to return the principality to the state. Her claim was contested by the then-prince, Giorgio I (Giorgio Carbone), who asserted that there were no credible sources supporting her and said: “Pah! No one’s ever even seen her as far as I know. I call her the ‘internet princess’.”
The Principality of Seborga has a constitution ratified of April 23, 1995. The head of state and government is the Prince, elected to a term of seven years, with no term limit. The constitution provides a legislative parliament called the Priori, consisted of the elders of Seborga, which holds both legislative and judicial powers. The Priori selects the members of the Crown Council, which is the Cabinet of the Prince. The Crown Council is headed by the Chancellor, which also serves like a Prime Minister.
Laws and other orders by the Prince and the Priori are required to have popular approval, therefore referendums are common in Seborga.
Unlike many other micronations, the Principality has an armed force of one: Lt. Antonello Lacala.
Economy, folklore, and tourismEdit
Thanks to the publicity as a principality, tourism expanded. The principality's historic town centre was also restored, ensuring that its charms were protected from commercial overdevelopment. A local currency, the Luigino, was issued from 1994 to 1996. The Luigino is accepted inside the city (along with the legal currency, the Euro, and before that both Italian Lira and French Franc); it is recognized by the International Bank, but without legal value outside the town. Some claim that the Italian government did not welcome this initiative. It is not clear what is the total amount of Luigini issued. Stamps are also issued, but only have a philatelic value, since the only post office is the Italian one. Tourist Office currently issues a Tourist Passport.