The Aerican Empire (conventionally referred to in short form as Aerica) is a micronation founded in May 1987, which has no sovereign territory of its own and has never been recognized by any other sovereign state as existing. The name is cultured from the term "American Empire". In 2000 The New York Times described its website as "one of the more imaginative" micronation sites.Its members claim sovereignty over a vast disconnected territory, including a square kilometer of land in Australia, a house-sized area in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (containing the "Embassy to Everything Else"), several other areas of the Earth, a colony on Mars, the northern hemisphere of Pluto, and an imaginary planet.Their flag is similar to the flag of Canada, with a large yellow smiley face instead of the red maple leaf in the white square (although the red rectangles on the sides have different side length ratios).
== History ==
The Aerican Empire was founded on May 8, 1987 by Canadian Eric Lis and a group of friends. For the first ten years the Empire was almost wholly fictional, claiming sovereignty over a vast galaxy of planets and engaging in wars against other micronations. After the advent of the Internet, through which the founders discovered other micronations similar to their own, the Empire slowly abandoned most fictional elements and worked towards becoming a political entity rather than a hobby. In 1997, the Empire created a website.In 2007, Aerica first issued "novelty passports." The first issued passport was exhibited in the Palais de Tokyo 2007 Micronational art exhibition.The Aerican Empire first issued coinage in November 2009, and a second coin was minted to celebrate Aerica's 25th anniversary in 2012. Banknotes were issued for the first time in 2017.Aerica issued stamps for the first time in 2015.
== Status ==
The Empire's mission statement is: "The Empire exists to facilitate the evolution of a society wherein the Empire itself is no longer necessary." It claims to be organized as a parliamentary democracy, with various elected bodies and offices, under the oversight of an Emperor (currently the founder, Eric Lis). Lis, who founded the Aerican Empire as a child, obtained his M.D., C.M. from McGill University and has been published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience and Weird Tales magazine.The group's activities are permeated by a great deal of humour and a love of science fiction and fantasy, with recurrent references to Star Wars, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and similar works. Annually, the Empire holds story-writing contests, role-playing and wargaming days, and such events as the Dog-Biscuit Appreciation Day Scavenger Hunt. It also developed a "religion" called Silinism, the worship of the Great Penguin; originally intended as a joke, but which the group claims to have thirty practitioners worldwide. It has holidays and "niftydays" (such as 2 January Procrastinator's Day, 27 February *Oops* Day, 19 March What the Heck is That Day, and 26 October Topin Wagglegammon, The Niftiest Day of the Year).
== Offline activities ==
While Internet-based activities in the Empire are more well-documented and facilitate interaction between members in different countries, a major focus has always been local physical events. Members gather for weekly meetings in Montreal, Springvale, New York and other centers, and a twentieth anniversary convention was held in July 2007.Delegations from the Aerican Empire were in attendance at the Polinations academic conference in London in 2012 and the MicroCon micronations convention in Atlanta in 2017.
== References ==