This is the official website of the Grand Duchy of Ludentia (or the principality of Ludentia), and exists to promote its culture and national ambitions, and to seek people who might make a claim for its nationality.

To understand its peculiar nature, one has to know something about its origins and history.

Birth of a nation

The origins of Ludentia have been traced to Deceber 1582. Papal gonfalonier Giacomo Boncompagni (1548 – 1612) was was an illegitimate son of pope Gregory XIII, whose father worked actively to hand him a reign over several duchies in Italy. Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph II (1552 – 1612, reign 1576  onward) had decided to spend that Christmas in Lucerne, Switzerland, and Giacomo decided to pay him a visit to secure some powerful foreign support for his plans.

After a game of chess, which Giacomo unwisely won, Rudolph became so infuriated he outright refused to talk to the his guest. The situation was quite awkward, but an old majordomus Fritz Mauer  quickly offered to mediate between them. In order to denigrate his guest, Rudolf appointed the majordomo “Fritz I, grand duke of Ludentia” (possibly a misspelling of Lucern). The apt majordomus had him put that on paper with his personal seal on it, after which the newly appointed grand duke delivered “a most humble apology” to the “papal delegate”. Giacomo accepted it “as delivered by grand duke of Ludentia” “on behalf of the Papal States” “in order to avoid further diplomatique conflict”. Again, Mauer had that put on paper, signed and sealed, and afterward secured. Meanwhile, the two became friends, and played this game for the next week.

Unlike many micronations, Ludentia prides itself of never having declared independence, and as such it does not celebrate an independence day. Instead it mourns a “deportation day”. December 31st, Mauer inquired where exactly was the territory he was supposed to rule. Rudolf, who had come to his senses, but could not just take back his words said: “you may reign it as a grand duke reign it wherever you like, as long as it is not in my empire”. Humbly, Mauer secured this, too, as an edict, and they departed in good terms.

Now, ever since the Peace of Augsburg (1555) the German princes had had the right to dictate the religion of their subjects. Lucerne was a catholic canton, but Mauer’s and his family were privately inclined to Protestantism. Equipped with documents that said that the Holy Roman Emperor recognized him to be an archduke over any territory he possessed, as long as it was not in the Holy Roman Empire, and letters from an official representative of the Papal States that recognized his position as grand duke of Ludentia. Soon afterward, he decided to move to Denmark.

When he arrived to the court of king Frederik II, king called off the formalities. He liked Mauer and his story, and granted his family a house and a garden, which accordingly became the first territory of Ludentia. He only gave order that while the king of Denmark had no direct rule over Ludentia, no ruling in the grand duchy could surpass those of the state in which it was located.

Fredrik Mauer’s son Maxmillian (Maxmillian I) inherited his father. At the invitation of his friend Anne of Denmark (royal consort King James I, daughter to Frederik II) he sold the property and moved to England. On his wife’s request, James recognized the title, but refused to give any land from any of his kingdoms. Maxmillian, in a ruse his father would have been proud of, then secured a royal grant to allow the Grand Duchy of Ludentia to exist only in the second floor of his house in London.

Nature of the grand duchy

This edict defined the final shape of the Grand Duchy of Ludentia, which can now be summarized as follows:

  • Rule over Ludentia cannot be traded, only granted, as an inheritance or otherwise.
  • It is not tied to a geographic territory. In fact, Ludentia has prides itself of the tradition of being fully nomadic, and having never claimed any territory on the face of the Earth. (However, in 1893 grand duke Frederik III laid a claim to a newly discovered asteroid Adalberta). Rather,  Ludentia exists in wherever its prince decides and has property rights over. (The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in 1807, so that restriction has long since passed.) In fact, Ludentia has circumnavigated the Earth.
  • Traditionally, the title of the monarch has been “grand duke”. However, occasionally (like when Ludentia was sailing the seven seas in a sea chest) title “Lord Protector”  has been preferred, for obvious reasons.
  • Administratively Ludentia is a principality, not subject to any other state. Therefore, when it has extended over several states, prince of Ludentia, in that role, has not been a subject to any of the heads of states. However, if parts of Ludonia have resided in some state (and not in say, international waters) anything that has been illegal in the surrounding state has been illegal in Ludentia as well. Occasionally this has led to a situation where the laws of Ludonia have been interpreted differently, depending on what part of the grand duchy one happens to be in. For practical reasons, any ordinances, edicts etc. by default only apply until Ludentia is relocated.

Ludentia today

Looking back, one has to admire the creative and tacitly playful spirit that has hedlped Ludentia to prevail. Today its territory encompasses the interior of a cardboard box (excluding the box itself), wherever that box happens to reside. Consequently, the entire Ludentian population is forced to live in exile. Historically, this is hardly a low point in the rollercoasting story of the grand duchy, which at one point resided in the chamber of a smoking pipe.*

This website exists to promote Ludentian cultural, scientific, diplomatic and economic ambitions and achievements. It is our modest wish that such attempt would reach people, who share the true Ludentian national spirit, and find here their long lost homeland.

This site is maintained by lord protector Tuomas Nurmi.

*In 1912 – 1922. The problem was not the foul smell of the tobacco lord protector Alfons I enjoyed, but that the pipe was lost when they had to flee the battles of  WWI. This caused one of Ludentia’s more severe constitutional crises, as the very continuity of the principality was in question: could the lord protector be said to “own” the pipe he had lost, especially when there was little hope of regaining it? If so, he could simply have relocated Ludentia to somewhere easier to find. In a true manner of philosophical integrity, he decided on the negative. For Ludentia, residing in the smoking pipe turned out to be rather fortunate, since by the time Alfons regained it, he had lost literally everything else, in war and in the afterwar recession. Incidentally, this story of losing everything and a grand duchy helped him to blend in with the surge of Russian emigrants in Paris after the war.

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