a toast to giorgio carbone, prince of improvisers

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The Washington Post

Giorgio Carbone, known to his loyal subjects as has “His Tremendousness” passed away in November in Seborga, the country he created through a masterful feat of improvisation. In 1963, Carbone, a former mimosa farmer, was seized by what the NY Times called “a glorious vision:” that Seborga, five square miles nestled between the Italian Riviera and the Alps, was not part of the surrounding nation of Italy.

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“It was an ancient principality, cruelly robbed of its sovereignty…

After convincing his Seborgan neighbors of their true significance, Giorgio Carbone was elected prince in 1963…and was elected Prince for life in 1995 by vote of 304 to 4. Voters then ratified Seborga’s independence, which, by the prince’s interpretation, it already had.”

In the course of his 46-year reign, the prince created a constitution, established a palace, a parliament and a standing army of one. He minted money with his picture, issued stamps, and designed a coat of arms. More than twenty countries recognized independent Seborga. The BBC profiled Prince Giorgio I in their program “How To Start Your Own Country”. Click here for a short, entertaining profile we found on Youtube.

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Giorgio Carbone, a sublime eccentric, had a big, huge, impossible vision and he pulled it off with panache.

“When the [prince] died, the townspeople walked out of their houses into the narrow stone streets of Seborga and sang the songs, music and words written by Giorgio I in honor of this strange town that didn’t want to wake up from the dream,”

reported the Milan-based newspaper Corriere della Sera.

With thanks to David Saltman.

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