|This 1983: Doomsday page is a Stub.|
Hannibal is a city in Marion and Ralls counties in the U.S. state of Missouri. Hannibal is located at the intersection of Routes 24, 36 and 61, approximately 100 miles (160 km) northwest of St. Louis. According to the 2010 U.S. Census the population was 20,500. The Hannibal Micropolitan Statistical Area is composed of Marion and Ralls Counties.
The site of Hannibal was previously occupied by early settlers and Native American tribes. It was laid out as a town in 1819 by Moses Bates. Its origin goes back to Spanish land grants, which gave rise to much litigation. Although the city initially grew slowly to a population of only 30 by 1830, access to Mississippi river and railroad transportation fueled growth to 2,020 by 1850. The town of South Hannibal was annexed to it in 1843. Hannibal had gained "city" status by 1845. The city served as a bustling regional marketing center for livestock and grain as well as other products produced locally, such as cement and shoes, throughout the remainder of the 19th century and on to the present time.
The community is best known as the boyhood home of author Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain) and as the setting of two of his works, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, with numerous historical sites related to Mark Twain and sites depicted in his fiction. The Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse was constructed in 1933 and has been lit at two separate times by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and President John F. Kennedy. Rockcliffe Mansion, the new home of the governor, sits upon a knoll overlooking the Mississippi River.
On the peaceful fall evening of September 25, 1983, the citizens of Hannibal received word that there was a first strike of apocalyptic proportions headed their way. Actually, few figured that the small town itself would be a target. And they were right. However, like many along the Mississippi River, the view in the west that night was lit by the fires and eerie sunlit mushroom clouds over what had been the silos of western Missouri. In addition, bombs were spotted over the capital city and St. Louis. To the north Burlington, Iowa was ablaze and debris from that city was seen within hours as the Mississippi's waters flowed tirelessly past.
Before the bombs began to fall, though, a communication came from the governor's office informing the mayor's office that most of the state government officials - executive and legislative branches - would be working their way up US 54, 19 and 24 to safety in the hamlet. Shortly after that call, though, an EMP far above them would destroy all communication. The governor's motorcade cleared the city limits with a police escorts just fifteen minutes before a 10 kt nuclear bomb took out the city. The lieutenant governor's motorcade, with a smaller group of officials, had departed the city in the opposite direction as a contingency plan. The vehicles of both motorcades had been on the road even before the EMP, so most kept running, but were warned against turning the engines off due to the electronic ignitions. As a result of the precautions the motorcade had arrived in Hannibal within three hours of the destruction of Jefferson City.
A New Home
Governor Chip Bond would never hear from Lt. Gov. Ken Rothman again, but most of his own staff had made it out of Jefferson City with him. He would serve without a lieutenant for over a year until the regularly scheduled election among the communities of Marion and Ralls counties In a lopsided election, attourney general John Ashcroft, who had escaped Jefferson City with the governor, was elected to be Bond's new lieutenant governor in November of 1984. Bond easily won re-election though the Democratic party in the two counties offered candidates for both offices.
In Search of Survivors
It had been a dangerous run from the blast zones of western Missouri, as radioactive dust clouds had covered much of the center of the state. Therefore, even places not victim to nuclear bombs - and Missouri was struck by more bombs than any other state due to its network of missile silos - were considered 'lost' to all who considered the probabilities.
However, as John Ashcroft was wont to say, "God was with them." Even those who tended not to put stock in divinities admit that the escape was not expected. As a consequence of the narrow escape, with winds taking most of the fallout south of Hannibal, two things determined where the search for survivors - a known pattern of nuclear distruction in the southern part of the state, and the clear lack of fallout in the north.
Beginning in the summer of 1984, expeditions would stretch across the northern part of Missouri, beginning along US 36, in search of survivors, finally forming a coalition of towns and villages reaching all the way to the northwest corner of the state covering 23 counties almost to the Nebraska border. Though more centralized locations were discussed for the new capital, Hannibal was established as the seat of government for the provisional government of Missouri by the end of Bond's second term.
Contacts with the Outside World
Due to the extensive nuclear activity on the ground, and the strategic EMP producing nuclear explosion on the edge of space all regular contact with the outside world ended by midnight on September 25, 1983. Or so most people thought. Because of 'radio chatter' among ham radio operators across the former United States, thousands of the radios had been disconnected at the first word of incoming missiles in hopes of protecting the units from electromagnetic pulse destruction. It had worked in many cases, leaving primitive communication open wherever either a battery could be found or a generator could be restored to provide electricity. It was not until 1990, though, that anyone had reported contact with any survivors in nearby areas. Word came from the vicinity of Lincoln, Nebraska, at that time that the government there had survived, but had established a policy of isolationism. Since the people there had wanted to 'go it alone,' very little information was gained about the extent of the city-state. Contact with other survivors, however, came mostly via travel up and down the Missouri River.
Travel down the Missouri was halted for years by the horrific debris field at St. Louis, so travel along the river as far north as Keokuk, Iowa, provided contacts with survivors in western Illinois. From those survivors, word of a successful city-state in the Quad-Cities area of Davenport, Iowa, had promise, but no official exploratory missions dared make the difficult trip upriver until 2004, when retiring governor Mel Carnahan authorized a military team to seek official confirmation. Contact was made in August of that year. By then, the Quad-Cities Alliance had made contact with much of the surviving nations and states of North America. It was then, also, that they learned with sorrow that George Bush had abandoned the American Provisonal Adminstration to a revamped ANZUS that had taken the name of the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand in 1995. Though pressured to declare the state 'independent' at that time, governor Carnahan had resisted. leaving it to the next administration.
The Continuing State of Missouri
In February of 2005, the new governor, Joe Maxwell, told his state over a radio network that had been recreated only slowly since the mid 1990's, that the USA as they knew it was no more. However, he promised that the state of Missouri remained in existence, determined to hold to the Constitution of the United States until the day when it was restored as a nation in the family of nations around the world. Since then, contact has been made with former states from Vermont to Florida, and from Oregon to Texas. The most promising contacts, of course, have been from the new, reconstituted United States of America. Talks with the Torrington government began with enthusiasm as present governor Blaine Leutkemeyer began his third year in January of 2011.
In 2013, a referendum was held in Hannibal on the issue of statehood. Hannibal was developing as a major port on the Mississippi River, and locals felt that being part of a country stretching from the Pacific through the Rockies and Great Plains and into the Mississippi River region would be of great commercial advantage to the local economy. Many people involved in the shipping industry were excited about the potential to be part of a trade network across the new USA to the Pacific and back. Voters were also motivated by a sense of American patriotism and nostalgia.
In November of 2013, the referendum results came back with an overwhelming majority voting in favor of US statehood. Talks with Torrington soon began to plan the details of the merger.
Technically remaining a state of the United States of America, the state government at Hannibal remained with the remnant of its system in place since 1983. The chief executive officer is the governor, with the lieutenant governor in the second position. The known 23 counties have been reproportioned into 20 districts where once there were only around eight, allowing for representatives from most of the counties to travel to Hannibal, where they serve for two months each in the spring and fall. The state senate has also been reproportioned to five districts where two were previously. Each district now has two senators instead of just one, to allow for a larger representation. The Senate is in session from May through September, overlapping the House's two sessions. Legislators are paid by the citizens of their districts, often in services and goods (see Economy below).
The Main Newspaper remains the Hannibal Courier-Post, though of late the Kirksville Express, now printed three days a week, is a major competitor for readership throughout the counties further from the capital. Other towns publish at different intervals, some even attempting five weekday editions, but most with just weekly editions. Radio stations are found for the Hannibal, Kirkville and Trenton markets. Television stations running during 'prime time' (dusk to 11:30 pm) six days a week and two hours of religious broadcasting on Sundays are KHQA in Hannibal and KTVO in Kirksville.
Northern Missouri, being near the center of the former USA's 'bread basket,' was a leading agricultural producer before the misiles struck the state. Even with the nuclear holocaust, though, the production of the surviving communites of the north thrived as the need pressed on them to produce or die. Without much of a market outside of the area, the relatively small population known to Hannibal was well cared for.
Other industries, however, were practically wiped out with the large cities. Food processing became the mainstay in whatever factories remained that could be converted. Home industries took to producing clothing from what fabric was on hand, as well as recyled fabrics that could be salvaged, kept the people clothed. Mechanics and machinists became 'rich' in comparison, though the exchange of currency and coinage was rare.
The barter of goods (food and clothing) and services (repairs, maintenance, etc.) prevails even to this day in most of the surviving counties of northern Missouri.
During the 2010's, the town of Hannibal continued growing in importance as a major port city along the upper Mississippi River. Trade has been growing with survivor communities up and down the river, and a new local industry has formed based around building new steamships and repairing older ones. As of 2020, many have remarked that Hannibal's coastline along the Mississippi once again resembles something out of the stories of legendary former local Mark Twain.
After contact with the Quad-Cities Alliance in 2004, rapid success was made in contacting many of the survivor states and nation-states that had only been rumors in the twenty years before. Diplomatic relations have been established with the Quad-Cities and Kentucky, with recent contacts being made with the government of the USA in Torrington. But the most crucial relations that have developed since 2004 are those with the city-states within the state of Missouri. Joplin and Cape Girardeau had different approaches to the restructuring of their respective worlds, leading to different attitudes towards the continuing government in Hannibal. Both cities, and their counties, were cordial, but the prospects for reunion are dim for Cape Girardeau due to its relationship with the Commonwealth of Kentucky which has been its benefactor since December of 2009. In Joplin, though, many of the city's leaders had been warming to the idea of rejoining a reunited state citing the state motto on the state seal ("United we stand, Divided we fall") on the flag they shared. When the city-state was devastated on May 22, 2011, this stance was strengthened as they looked to their northern brothers for support. Meanwhile, the regime in Springfield steadfastly refuses to consider rejoining the state. Investigations into the conditions there continue from Hannibal in hopes of finding legal means to re-establish control of the renegade government there. Help has come from both the US government and that of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in resolving this political firebrand. Kentucky's involvement, however, has caused a rift in the long-standing East American Alliance. Analysts believe this is based on the official stand of the Virginian military regime on the "illegitimacy" of the present United States and any state that may wish to rejoin that nation.
Nevertheless, Hannibal voted overwhelmingly for US statehood in 2013, both out of American nostalgia and from seeing economic benefits to being part of the new American trade system stretching from the Pacific coast through the Great Plains. Hannibal voters felt that becoming the new USA's first major shipping center along the Mississippi River would vastly enhance Hannibal's position.