The Principality of Seborga (Principato di Seborga) is an Italian microstate, one of the dependent communities that surround the core lands of Monaco. It has grown beyond the boundaries of the pre-Doomsday commune, but it's still very small: it comprises the territory of the communes of Seborga, Taggia, Ceriana, Ospedaletti and Sanremo.
- 1 History
- 2 Government
- 3 Economy
- 4 Administrative regions
- 5 Defence Forces
- 6 Internal Security
- 7 International Relations
Before Doomsday Seborga stood out among other Italian villages in that it claimed to be an independent country. Supporters of the Principality claim that it was never legally sold by its Prince-Abbot in 1729. In 1961, the people of Seborga elected Giorgio Carbone to be Giorgio I, Prince of Seborga. The Principality was never recognized by anyone outside of the small community of micronationalists around the world.
The province of Imperia was not hit by the nuclear bombs, but it suffered nuclear fallout and a refugee crisis, like most other parts of Europe. On May 14th, 1985, in the Palace of the Monks (Palazzo dei Monaci), the Principality reasserted its independence from Italy. It declared itself - for real, this time - to be a sovereign and independent nation.
Seborga faced grave challenges from the beginning. The town faced a famine, which the Council of Seborga sought to prevent by instituting tight controls over agriculture and rations. This was only partially successful. In 1984 the Council approved a new constitution for the state, the General Statute.
From 1985, the social cohesiveness provided by the Principality attracted some neighboring regions to Seborga. A unit of Italian soldiers agreed to cooperate with the self-declared principality. They began to threaten some of the violent groups who had become active in the nearby mountains and led an expedition to Ospedaletti, the nearest coastal town, to dislodge another group. They would later form the nucleus of the Seborga Defense Force. On 10 April 1985, the people of Ospedaletti agreed to unite with the Principality; this was the start of its physical expansion toward the east. By 1988 it had incorporated the communes of Sanremo, Taggia and Ceriana. Sanremo, the most populous commune of the province before Doomsday, was already partly abandoned by this time. It was also claimed by Genoa, so this annexation sparked a long border dispute with the republic.
The Monegasque protectorate
Despite these gains, Seborga lacked the resources to fully defend itself and its territory. In 1987 it concluded an alliance with Monaco, a neighboring principality that like Seborga was working to stabilize its surrounding countryside. But unlike Seborga, Monaco could boast several centuries of uninterrupted independence; it had the infrastructure of a sovereign state, albeit a very small one. This had allowed Monaco to attract a sizable contingent of French military forces. In its relations with Seborga, Monaco was very obviously the senior partner. A series of agreements reduced Seborga to essentially dependent status by the end of the decade. It's been said that the Principality of Seborga's vassal status was what inspired Monaco's Prince Rainier to promote himself to a King.
In the spring of 1989, Sicily began its first attempt to take over northern Italy; this served to unite most of the surviving communities of the north in a war that halted the island republic's advance. Monaco stayed out of the war, but it used the confusion as an occasion to formalize its claim over Seborga's expanded territory, including the port of Sanremo. Monegasque troops reinforced local Seborgans to solidify their control of the west end of Liguria. The following year, 1990, a Genoese delegation came to Seborga and was received by the prince. Neither Prince Giorgio nor King Rainier entertained the thought of ceding Sanremo, and the talks ended angrily. Nevertheless, the Genoese visit opened access to news of the wider region.
In the mid-90s, with Monaco's borders more secure, it no longer was seen as necessary that the capital remain in the village of Seborga itself. The prince and government relocated to Sanremo, which thanks to its harbor was again the largest town within the principality. This of course only angered the Genoese further; the issue has never been resolved.
The new millennium has brought prosperity and stability to Seborga under Monegasque protection. The population and economy have slowly begun to recover. On the other hand, the policies of Monaco and the harsh realities of the region meant that Seborga would remain highly militarized. Seborga has the same intense conscription laws as the other Monegasque states: service is mandatory for adult males between 18 years and 40 years of age, resulting in a rather large force for its size.
As the largest Monegasque dependency on the Italian side of the old border, Seborga has kept up an interest in Italian affairs. Monaco began a wary cooperation with the Alpine Confederation in the early 2000s as it became clear that Sicily was the greater threat. Alpine forces made use of the ports of both Ospedaletti and Sanremo several times to support maneuvers against Sicily.
Monaco did not participate directly in the Second Sicily War of 2009-2010. But after it ended, Seborga offered a contingent of 50 troops to help keep the peace in New Rome. This has meant cooperation with the Italian Peninsula Alliance, though to date neither Monaco nor Seborga has considered joining it as a member - the territorial conflict with Genoa being a major barrier to membership.
An expedition from the World Census and Reclamation Bureau passed through Seborga after Monaco joined the League of Nations in 2010. The report noted the principality's healthy economy and strong public health.
On 25 April 2010, Marcello Menegatti was elected prince Marcello I after the death of Prince Giorgio I from a disease. The new prince has sought to modernize and expand the economy and has traveled widely in the region, beginning with a trip to Corsica shortly after his election.
According to Article 1 of the General Statutes (The constitution of the Principality), adopted April 23, 1984, "The Principality of Seborga is free and sovereign, governed by democratic norms". The form of government is a parliamentary constitutional elective monarchy.
The Council of Seborga is a the unicameral parliament. It is headed by a Seneschal and consists of 25 members, elected by the citizens. The current Seneschal is Enrico Ilariuzzi, elected since 2018. The Council holds the power to approve laws, changes to the General Statutes, and the budget of the Principality. It also has de jure power to approve international conventions, though it has ceded much of this power to Monaco.
The head of state is the Prince, who is elected by the people for a term of seven years; reelection is permitted. In case of vacancy of the Prince, the Seneschal temporarily acts as head of state. He or she can also be consulted by the Prince on international relations.
The Cabinet holds the executive power. Has 7 members: four elected by the Council of Seborga and three appointed by the Prince; the Prince and Seneschal bring the total up to 9. Cabinet members have a mandate of five years and can be re-elected only for two terms.
Since the acquisition of Sanremo and the expansion of the principality the princes had moved their official residence in the city of Sanremo, the biggest in the ex-Province of Imperia. Several palaces are now propriety of the crown, mainly located in Sanremo and Seborga proper.
The official residence of the monarchy is Borea d'Olmo Palace, built at different times, starting from a house from the late Middle Ages, the palace, in the central via Matteotti a few meters from the Ariston theater, took on its current appearance between the 17th and 18th centuries, and is one of the most important buildings baroque of western Liguria. The sixteenth-century portal is surmounted by a statue of the Madonna del Montorsoli, a pupil of Michelangelo, as well as seventeenth-century frescoes by Giovanni Battista Merano. Other residences owned by the crown are the Palace of the Monks, in Seborga, the structure, over the centuries, was used as the local residence of the monks of Lerino, seat of the mint of the ancient principality, and in more recent times as the former seat of the town hall and state schools. Today it is used as the official winter residence for the royal family and Villa Nobel, in Sanremo, built in 1870 the chemist Pietro Vaccheri from Rivoli had an elegant building built on the east coast of the city which "for the speed and elegance of its forms appeals to the most scrupulous in wanting to comply with the rules of art". In Moorish style, this was the last residence of Alfred Nobel, who bought it in 1892, renovated it (based on a project by Pio Soli) by raising it by one floor, renamed "Villa Mio Nido" and where he moved mainly for health reasons.
Political parties of the Council of Seborga
- Seborgan Monarchist Party (Partito monarchico Seborghino) : 15/25
- Socialist Party (Partito Socialista) : 5/25
- United for Seborga (Uniti per Seborga) : 3/25
- Seborgan Social Moviment (Movimento Sociale Seborghino) : 2/25
The currency of Seboga is the Monegasque franc (Fr).
Key industries of the principality include fishing, boat building, shipping, and ceramics. The main agricultural products are wine, cheese and wheat. Education, healthcare, television communications, transport, energy industry and culture are under control of the Principality.
The main television service of the Principality is Seborga TV, which is under the control of the state. Seborga TV has three channels for now. The studios of Seborga TV are located in Sanremo. They used the previous machinery and the offices of the ex-studios of the RAI.
- Seborga TV 1 (Generalist)
- Seborga TV 2 (Generalist : Targeted at a young audience)
- Seborga TV 3 (Generalist : Tuned to sports, documentaries and deepening)
Seborga can also receive the signals of the television and radio of the Alpine Confederation, the Subalpine Federation, Genoa, Monaco and Tuscany. Seborga TV can be also broadcast its signal in Monaco and Genoa.
Seborga also has a radio service, Radio Seborga, which is under control of the state. Radio Seborga can also broadcast its signal in Monaco, the Subalpine Federation and in Genoa. There are also some private radio stations in the state.
The main newspaper of the principality is the Gazzetta of Seborga which is under private control. It is printed daily.
Seborga is divided into the following five municipalities, known locally as Contea (meaning "county").
Each county is administrated by a prefect, elected by its citizens for seven years. The chief magistrate of a commune is the mayor, elected by the citizens of a city or in special case nominated by the prefect. He is assisted by a Municipal Consul, composed of five councilors named by the Mayor.
The Seborgan Defence Forces (It: Forze di Difesa Seborghine) are the armed forces of the Principality of Seborga. They are separate units under the overall command of Monaco. The Principality doesn't have an air force; its small number of aircraft are attached to army and navy.
The branches are :
- Seborgan Defence Army (Esercito di Difesa Seborghino) with 1500 forces
- Seborgan Defence Navy (Marina di Difesa Seborghina) with 500 forces
Equipment of the SDF :
- Beretta 92 as standard sidearm
- Beretta BM59 as standard service rifle
- MG 42/59 as standard squad GPMG
- Carcano M91, Carabine M1, MAB-38 and M1 Garand as secondary main rifles and as ceremonial rifles
- L96 as standard sniper rifle
- SPAS-12 as standard shotgun rifle
- Beretta PM12 and Franchi LF-57 as standard SMG
Vehicles of the SDF :
- Iveco VM-90 as standard multirole military vehicle
- FIAT Ducato as standard ambulance
Air Fleet of the SDA and of the SDN :
- Aleina G222 (1)
- Agusta-Bell AB204B (2)
Fleet of the SDN:
- Ships of minor size
The Seborgan Police (Polizia di Seborga) as the public security authorities, ensure public order and safety, provide relief to public and private entities in the event of accidents, and seek the peaceful resolution of disputes between individuals. The Seborgan Police are equipped with Beretta 92, swords and in special cases, with the Beretta BM-12.
The Kingdom of Monaco is responsible overall for Seborga's relations with other nations; but the Principality has a limited capacity to act on its own behalf. In general Seborga seeks greater engagement with the rest of Italy and with the Alpine Confederation than the relatively isolationist establishment in Monaco. This has been a source of tension between the kingdom and its dependency, in particular during times of war between the A.C. and Sicily.
Seborga has engaged in limited bilateral relations with the Subalpine Federation, Corsica, Tuscany, and the Alpine Confederation. The Prince frequently travels on missions of goodwill, and in this capacity he is seen as a useful representative of King Albert of Monaco.
The border dispute with Genoa is a long-simmering issue that continues to limit the extent that Seborga can engage with its neighbors. Genoa's claim amounts to a big majority of the Principality's area and population, including its capital. The only parts of the principality that Genoa does not claim are the villages of Ospedaletti and Seborga itself; furthermore the Republic refuses to negotiate this point until a plebiscite is held in the zone. Monaco has not complied with this request, arguing that the lands were annexed at a time when the Genoese Republic had no presence whatsoever in the area, and that most of the current residents moved in when it was firmly under Seborgan and Monegasque control.
Since Genoa is part of the Alpine-dominated Italian Peninsula Alliance, and Alpine forces also maintain an important naval base within Monaco, the territorial dispute in Seborga is a source of tension within the community of Italian states. It has also led Monaco to seek military support outside the Alpine Confederation and engage with the Atlantic Defense Community. The Alpine naval base near Nice is actually jointly run with the ADC, and Seborgan officials have advocated ADC membership for Monaco. So far, the kingdom has not pursued membership in any defensive alliance.