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Abaco- Abaco is an island in the eastern Bahamas. Its population is divided between West Indian blacks, and white descendants of English settlers. Many whites on Abaco opposed the independence of the Bahamas, attempting to retain colonial status under the British crown. It is unclear whether these Bahamians were motivated by a sentimental attachment to the Empire, or whether they were unsettled by the prospect of government by blacks from Nassau. In June of 1973, a month before independence, the Abaco whites gained the financial support of Michael Oliver, who had earlier attempted to set up the nation of Minerva. Oliver hoped to turn Abaco into a libertarian enclave, where he could profit from a market free of all government intervention (and taxation). Oliver bankrolled a newspaper and organized a militia, which he planned to fly to Georgia for military training by Chuck Hall, who supported the Abaconian whites for less savory reasons. Hall backed out at the last moment, however, and the Abaconian revolution ran out of steam. Oliver later attempted a similar action on Espiritu Santo, with the same disappointing results.

See also Phoenix Foundation.

Abalonia- The USS Abalonia was a concrete cargo ship, constructed for the purpose of becoming an independent nation. The company which built it hoped to anchor it in rich shellfish beds on the Cortes Bank, 100 miles off the coast of San Diego, and claim jurisdiction over the area. Shortly after the Abalonia's launch in 1969, it foundered and sank, nearly killing the crew. In the wake of the Abalonia fiasco, a second company began plans to build a platform on the Cortes Bank and declare it the nation of Taluga. The US government quickly gave notice that the Cortes Bank, as part of the continental shelf, fell within its jurisdiction.

Abkhaz Republic- The Abkhaz Republic suffered through a great deal more history than its short existence might seem to justify. The Abkhazians declared themselves autonomous within the Russian Republic in February of 1917. In October of that year, independent Georgia invaded Abkhazia. In February of 1918, the Abkhazians drove the Georgians out. They declared themselves independent in March of 1918. Incensed, the Bolsheviks invaded the area in May of 1918. Desperate, the Abkhazians called on the Georgians to drive the Bolsheviks out. They did, and annexed Abkhazia in June. In March of 1921, the Abkhazians rebelled against Georgian rule. The Bolsheviks used the unrest as an excuse to invade both Abkhazia and Georgia, suppressing both nations.

Abkhazia, Republic of- Following Georgia's declaration of independence in 1991, Abkhazia declared itself a state with rights equal to that of Georgia, but within a Georgian state. The Georgian President Zviad Gamsakhurdia immediately declared this an act of rebellion, and sent troops to occupy the Abkhazian capital. The Russian Federation supplied Abkhazia with air support and heavy weapons. The young Abkhazian republic managed to drive out the Georgians, mostly due to fighting between rival Georgian factions under President Shevardnadze and ex-President Gamsakhurdia, in September of 1993. Following military defeat, the Georgian government was anxious to gain Russian support. Georgia applied for membership in the Commonwealth of Independent States, and expressed willingness to enter peace talks with the Abkhaz government. Russia sent aid, support evaporated for Gamsakhurdia, and he died under 'mysterious circumstances' shortly thereafter.

Talks held under the auspices of the UN resulted in a cease-fire to be enforced by Russian and UN peacekeeping troops. After Abkhazia refused to enter an agreement on the leasing of military bases which the Russian government signed with Georgia, Russia placed a blockade on traffic and trade along the Abkhaz border. Today, Abkhazia is crippled by the blockade, and its economy is in shambles. However, the Abkhaz government has refused to back down from its central claim that it should participate on an equal basis with Georgia in a federal government. The stalemate shows no signs of breaking.

Aceh- Aceh is a region on the northern tip of Sumatra. Fiercely independent and Islamic, Aceh first rose to importance as a center of resistance to the Portuguese. Aceh went into decline when the Dutch established a presence in Malacca. It was used as a counter to the Dutch by the British, and an Anglo-Dutch treaty guaranteed Aceh's independence in 1824. However, this was not the end of the matter. In 1871, the Treaty of Sumatra gave the Dutch a free hand in Aceh in return for recognition of British rights in the Horn of Africa. Alarmed, the Sultan of Aceh turned to the United States for help. The Dutch, acting swiftly to forestall American interference, invaded in 1873. While the Dutch gained control of the cities, they could not project their power into the countryside. A vicious guerrilla war continued until the last resistance leaders were rounded up in 1912. The dismantling of the native state and the long war meant that real power in Aceh was wielded only by the hardline religious leaders.

Aceh's imams were angered when the Republic of Indonesia was not constituted as an Islamic state. They consequently seceded from Indonesia in 1953 as part of the Darul Islam movement. Although the Indonesian government subdued most resistance in 1959, sporadic guerrilla actions continued until 1962, when the region was granted autonomy. The region has seen heavy unrest since the fall of the Suharto regime; the possibility of a separation like that in East Timor cannot be ruled out.

Acla- see New Caledonia.

Acre, Republic of- Acre is a territory on the border of Brazil and Bolivia in the Amazon basin. Although the area was ceded to Bolivia by the 1867 Treaty of Ayacucho, the late 19th century's rubber boom brought thousands of Brazilian immigrants to Acre. These immigrants soon formed their own government and just as quickly began ignoring decrees from La Paz. Incensed, the Bolivians founded the town of Port Acre in an attempt to reestablish authority. Tension between the two communities continued to mount, and in May of 1889, Luís Galvez Rodrigues, a Brazilian, declared Acre an independent republic. Brazil diplomatically ignored the declaration, and the Acre separatists subsided. In 1901, the Bolivian government leased the Acre region to a group of American investors, who took over most administrative duties in return for a monopoly on rubber exports. This action outraged the Brazilian inhabitants, who organized a 2000-man guerrilla force under José Plácido de Castro. Castro defeated the Bolivians in several engagements, and won a decisive victory in January of 1903. Castro was declared President of Acre. On January 17, the Bolivian and Brazilian governments signed the Treaty of Petrópolis, which ceded Acre to Brazil. Brazil formally annexed the Republic of Acre on February 25, 1904.

Addu- see United Suvadiva Republic.

Afar Republic- The East African nation of Djibouti is equally divided between two ethnic groups, the Afars and Issa. Following an Issa seizure of power and the destruction of the carefully constructed ethnic balance in Djibouti's government, the Afars rose up in 1991. Afar areas in eastern Eritrea and northern Ethiopia also joined the rebellion. In 1992, the Afars had nearly toppled the government of the Issa President Aptidon when the French Foreign Legion troops based in Djibouti intervened, repelling the rebels. However, the French government forced Aptidon to hold free elections later that year. In 1994, a peace agreement was signed and the Afars reassumed a role in Djibouti's government.

Afrikaner Republic- In 1837, the Boers of South Africa left the British Cape Colony to build their own nation deeper in the African veldt. Their first capital was established at Winburg in the Orange Free State, under the title of the Free Province of New Holland. As the British expanded, annexing several native tribes and the Boer republic of Natal, Sir Harry Smith, the High Commissioner for the Cape Colony, began to see the nascent Afrikaner state as a threat. In 1848, he announced the annexation of Winburg. Outraged, the newly proclaimed Orange River Sovereignty declared the Boers free of Britain. In 1852, a treaty was signed between the Cape and the Afrikaners, recognizing the independence of the Boer state.

Agni- see Sanwi.

Airrecú, Republic of- Relations between Costa Rica and Nicaragua have traditionally been strained. This situation was not improved when the Costa Rican government granted land rights to settlers along the San Juan River, which forms part of the border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua. A short dispute ended with Costa Rica acknowledging that the territory in fact belonged to Nicaragua, and promising to remove the settlers. The settlers, however, refused to leave. In June of 1993, they declared their independence as the Republic of Airrecú, which means "friendship" in a local Indian language. The Nicaraguan Army immediately descended upon the area and escorted the Republic into Costa Rica. The Nicaraguan government has asserted that the Republic's aspirations were centered on cattle rustling and the declaration of a duty-free zone to help along the illegal harvesting of rain forest timber.

Ajaristan- The Ajaris are a Sunni people who speak a Georgian dialect, and live in southwestern Georgia. In December of 1914, they rebelled in support of a Turkish invasion. The Turks were forced out, and the Ajaris suffered through severe Czarist reprisals. With Turkish assistance, the Ajaris seceded and formed the Southwestern Caucasian Republic in April, 1918. In December of that year, British peacekeeping troops occupied the nation. The British withdrew in June of 1920, and Georgia quickly annexed the SCR. The Turks encouraged a third rebellion in February of 1921, but withdrew in May when faced with Soviet disapproval.

Akhzibland- also Akhzivland. Akhziv, site of a city in biblical Israel, was in 1948 a small Palestinian village. During Israel's War of Independence, the inhabitants were forced across the Lebanese border. With Akhziv empty, the new government of Israel declared the area a national park dedicated to the excavations of the ancient city. Few Israelis protested, but one man, a former soldier named Eli Avivi, moved to the area and declared the village the independent nation of Akhzibland. Avivi announced that he was holding the small nation in trust for its Palestinian inhabitants. Avivi has been involved in endless quarrels with the Israeli government, and his anti-establishment views (along with some spectacular beachfront property) led to Akhzivland becoming a mecca for counter-culture types, who visited from all over the world. Today, Avivi is slowing down with age and the possibility has been raised that Akhzivland will throw in the towel if the authorities protect the village from incorporation into the Akhziv national park.

Alamut- The Order of Assassins was a branch of the Ismaili sect of Islam, founded by Hassan ibn Sabbah. In 1090, the hill fortress of Alamut was constructed by Hassan in central Persia, and several other forts were built in the hills of that country. Although they were heavily persecuted, pressure on other Muslim states from first the Crusaders and then the Mongols (along with the obligatory program of political assassination), saved the Assassins from destruction. The Assassins expanded into Syria, often cooperating with the Christians against local Muslim rulers. The Mongols pushed the Assassins out of Persia in 1256. The Order survived in Syria until 1272, when the Mamluk Sultan Baybars destroyed their last stronghold.

Åland Islands- also Ålandöerna- The Åland archipelago is located between Finland and Sweden, and its culture consists of both Swedish and Finnish elements. The Ålanders have long considered themselves more Swedish than Finnish, and demanded self-determination in 1917, inspired by the disintegration of the Russian Empire and the promulgation of President Wilson's Fourteen Points. In 1920, Finland granted autonomy to the Ålands but refused to allow the islands to secede. This decision was ratified by the League of Nations, which in 1921, agreed that the Ålands should remain an autonomous region of Finland.

Alashan Republic- see Inner Mongolian Republic.

Alawites- see Latakia.

Albazin- When Russia pushed into eastern Siberia in the seventeenth century, Cossack horsemen pioneered many of the trails used by the early settlers. As central authority was strengthened and Moscow sent officials to ensure a steady flow of taxes, many Cossacks simply packed up and rode further east. Many of the rebels ended up along the north bank of the Amur River (the modern Russian border), in land claimed by the Chinese Empire. As a result of Chinese punitive expeditions, there were several abandoned villages in the area. In 1665, Cossacks at Ilimsk killed the local official and fled to one of these villages, Albazin. The Cossack rebels organized a small colony centered around the town, and began clearing ground for grain. Although the Cossacks were guilty both of murder and mutiny, they collected tribute in furs from the local tribes and sent the proceeds to Moscow. Accordingly, the Albazin band received a royal pardon in 1672. However, they had little time to enjoy their freedom; continued Chinese attacks pushed the Russians out of the Amur region entirely by 1689.

Alcatraz Nation- Alcatraz was first occupied by Native American activists in 1965. They cited their interpretation of a federal treaty with the Sioux, promising that surplus federal land would revert to the Indians. Federal marshals removed the activists. A second group led by Richard Oakes landed on November 9, 1969. They too were expelled, but Oakes returned on November 20 with ninety followers. The activists offered to buy the island for 24 dollars and some beads. The federal government prepared to reoccupy the island, but public opinion prevented the use of force. Oakes planned to turn Alcatraz into a center of Native American culture and scholarship, but left the island in January of 1970, after his youngest daughter accidentally fell to her death. Negotiations were broken off in March. The government finally arrested fifteen holdouts in June of 1971, ending the occupation.

Alitao- In 1840, Apolinario de la Cruz founded the Cofradía de San José at Lucban in southern Luzon, an island in the Philippines inhabited mainly by Tagalogs. Apolinario hoped this new monastic order would encourage a higher standard of communication between the Catholic hierarchy and Filipino peasants. The Cofradía drew hundreds of followers from surrounding churches. In October of 1840, Apolinario applied for ecclesiastical recognition. He met with hostility. Manuel Sancho, the vicar of the Lucban region, recognized that this persecution would strengthen the Cofradía movement. He therefore took steps to destroy it completely. In October of 1841, he engineered the arrest of several leading Cofradía members, and had the movement banned. Apolinario and his lieutenants refused, and massed a militia of 3,000. On October 23, the Governor of Lucban marched against the Cofradía, outnumbered ten to one. His forces were predictably defeated. Apolinario then retired to the Alitao plain, in order to build a defensible position. A week later, a Spanish colonel assaulted Alitao at the head of a thousand Pampangan warriors, traditional enemies of the Tagalog. A six-hour artillery bombardment which left nearly a thousand dead was followed by a charge which overran the Cofradía's stockade. Apolinario escaped, but was captured and executed on November 4. Tagalog enmity against Manila continued for decades after the Alitao incident.

Altai, Confederated Republic of- Located in southwestern Siberia, the Altai Turks comprised the majority of this state. Resistance to central control began when the Russian Empire began mobilizing Altai in 1916. After the Bolshevik Revolution, this sentiment rapidly burgeoned, and in February of 1918, Altai declared its independence. Inspired by the imperial legacy of the Altai as part of the Mongol Empire, the Altai Constitutional Congress announced its intention to form the state of Karakorum (named after the capital of Genghis Khan), which would encompass Altai, Tannu Tuva, and the territory of several smaller Mongol nations. Progress towards this goal was hampered by the presence of a large White Russian force in Altai, who comprised most of the republic's army and were determined to maintain a united Russia. Through 1919 and 1920, the White army suffered several major defeats, and Red partisans overran much of Altai. Scattered resistance continued, but was finally crushed in 1922.

Alto Ariari- see Marquetalia.

Alto Monferrato- see Ossola.

Alto Sumapaz- see Sumapaz, Republic of.

Alto Tortonese- see Ossola.

Amaro- Amaro was a Maroon quilombo in northeastern Brazil. Founded in 1660, the inhabitants were driven out less than a year later.

Ambon- see South Moluccas, Republic of the.

Amelia Island- Amelia Island off the Texas coast was the first base of operations for Louis Aury, a famed French privateer. The Spanish appointed Aury the first governor of Galveston, although the reputation for piracy he gave the area attracted the even more famed French privateer Jean Lafitte in 1814. Aury was forced to leave Galveston, and went on to take over the Florida Republic at the port of Fernandina.

Amuntai- Japan invaded the Dutch East Indies at the same time it was attacking Pearl Harbor, the Philippines, and Singapore. While welcomed at first, the heavy-handed brutality and ideological rigor of the Japanese occupation soon made it unpopular. Native resistance was felt most strongly on the island of Kalimantan, where the Japanese arrested over a thousand people in 1943 in retaliation. Tensions soon broke out into rebellion, and in September the region of Amuntai declared itself an independent Islamic state, raising the banner of jihad. The Japanese army swiftly invaded and crushed the rebellion.

Ancash- Ancash is a province in Peru along the coast north of Lima. In 1885, peasants in Ancash rebelled, slaughtering businessmen and landowners. Forced into the Callejón de Huaylas Valley, the peasants withstood government forces for several months before capitulating.

Andaloquituche- Andaloquituche was a Maroon quilombo northwest of Lagos in northern Brazil. Founded in 1672, it was destroyed by the Porteguese in 1694 as part of a massive operation against the Maroon nations.

Anglo-Corsican Kingdom- see Corsica.

Angoche-Angoche was a port near the mouth of the Zambezi River in Mozambique. Its main source of income was the illegal shipment of slaves, which allowed it to field a small army. It was not taken by the Portuguese until 1858. The port's ruler, the self-declared Sultan Mussa Quanto, escaped into the interior.

Anguilla- Anguilla is a small island northwest of St. Kitts in the Leeward Islands. Since 1650, Anguilla has been ruled by Great Britain from St. Kitts. In 1967, the inhabitants of Anguilla became tired of interference from St. Kitts, expelled the police, and declared independence. The United Kingdom quickly stepped in, but negotiations were fruitless. In March of 1969, British troops re-established control of the island by force. In 1980, Anguilla was separated from St. Kitts, and remains a British colony.

Anjouan- also Nzwani. The nation of the Comoros consists of three main islands; Anjouan, Moheli, and Grand Comore. On July 14, 1997, the islands of Anjouan and Moheli declared their independence in favor of closer ties with France. The conflict erupted into bloodshed in early September. The government of the Comoros severed ties between the island and the rest of the world, and claimed victory over the separatists. In 1998, the Organization of African Unity sponsored talks between the two sides, which failed when Anjouan balked at the proposed terms. Negotiations in 1999 nearly led to a peace agreement and the installation of a three-year rotating presidency shared by the three islands, but rioting broke out on Grand Comore shortly before the signing of an agreement, and a military government took power in the Comoros. Continuing chaos and coup attempts, both on Grand Comore and Anjouan, have stymied the slow progress towards resolution, and the future of the islands remains uncertain.


Anyidi State- see Southern Sudan, Republic of.

Apalachicola Bay- A group of Maroons from Georgia settled Apalachicola Bay in northwest Florida in the early 19th century, and prospered for several years. In 1816, U.S. Army forces were sent to raze the settlement and found the Maroons holed up in a well-stocked and heavily built fort. A lucky cannon shot hit the powder room, destroying the fort and killing 270 men, women and children. The forty survivors were sent back to Georgia and the auction block.

Arab Union- The Arab Union was formed in 1958 by the Hashemite kingdoms of Jordan and Iraq in response to the formation of the United Arab Republic. In July of 1958, Ba'athist elements of the military command staged a coup in Iraq and the Arab Union dissolved. However, rivalry between Cairo and Baghdad prevented the expansion of the UAR, and helped speed the eventual secession of Syria.

Arakan- Arakan is an area on Burma's northwestern coast, populated by both Muslims and Buddhists. Tension between the groups was exacerbated during the colonial era, when the British extended preferences to the Muslims, who were less interested in Burma’s independence than the Buddhist majority. Tensions flared when the Muslim-dominated cities were the center of a Communist rebellion in 1947, which was quickly put down by Burma’s Karen-dominated army. In 1948, the Arakanese Buddhists declared themselves independent of Burma, fearing domination by the majority Burmese. This triggered a secession by the largely Bengali Muslims, who similarly feared persecution by the Arakanese. Burma’s new military government quelled both rebellions over the course of the 1950s, which ended with an amnesty offer in 1958. The government still harbors suspicions that the Muslims are more loyal to Muslim Bangladesh, prompting periodic crackdowns.

Ararat- In the early 19th century, it could be argued that Mordecai Noah was the most famous Jew in the United States. He was a politician and playwright in New York when he was seized by the conviction that the Jews should rebuild their homeland in America. In 1825, he purchased most of Grand Island, a 27-square mile island near Buffalo, and proclaimed that Grand Island would become Ararat, a city of refuge for the entire Jewish nation. Unfortunately, his scheme was met by indifference at best, and vicious denunciation at worst. After a grand procession from New York to Grand Island, Noah abandoned the idea and went back to New York, where he advocated colonizing Palestine until his death in 1851. It has been suggested that while Noah's dream did not inspire many Jews, it may have inspired Joseph Smith to create the Mormon religion.

Arauca- The city of Arauca is in the center of the Colombian region known as the Llanos, an underdeveloped frontier closer to Venezuela than to the Colombian capital. The region's remoteness bred lawlessness for much of its history, and Arauca served as one of the best examples of this in 1916. In December of that year, Humberto Gómez assembled a mercenary army from fugitive ex-rebels and mutinous soldiers. In brief fighting on the morning of December 30, Gómez and his thirty-seven followers seized control of the city and declared it the Republic of Arauca. Gómez then issued a call for Liberals and other ex-rebels to join him, a political whitewash for his plan to loot the region. Over three hundred men responded, and Gómez spent the next month raiding at will throughout the Llanos. On February 3rd, Gómez measured his dwindling army against his mounting pile of booty and decided the time was right to abscond. He fled to Venezuela, where he was promptly discovered and arrested. After Colombia reestablished control, negotiations began to extradite Gómez, and the Venezuelans agreed in March of 1918. However, no record of a trial exists, and no further news of Gómez can be found either in official archives or newspapers. His fate remains a mystery.

Araucania- The Araucanians are a Native American nation that repelled the Incas on several occasions and once controlled all of southern Chile and Argentina. They defeated several Spanish armies in 1553 which had entered their territory. After repeated victories, the Spanish agreed to recognize the Araucanians in 1641. In Argentina, the Araucanians dwindled over the next few centuries. In Chile, they remained the sole power and repelled several Chilean attacks. In 1859, a French freebooter named Aurelio de Toumans convinced the Araucanians that he could repel the Chileans. He declared himself King of Araucania in November of 1861, and promptly annexed all of Patagonia. Declared an outlaw by Chile and Argentina, he was captured and deported in 1863. In 1880, Chile sent its entire army against Araucania, and the Araucanians finally submitted the following year.

Arotirene- The Maroon quilombo of Arotirene in northeast Brazil was founded in 1672, and was overrun in 1694.

Artsakh- see Karabakh.

Aryan-Pacific, Nation of- also United Kingdom of Arya. Arya is located on a small island in the east Pacific. A Californian owns the island, and declared that Arya would provide free food, medical care, education and housing to those "Aryans" willing to relocate. To further encourage settlers, Arya announced its annexation of 500,000 square miles of Antarctica in 1981. Surprisingly, this failed to attract the expected swarms of supermen, and Arya remains uninhabited.

Assam, Socialist State of- The state of Assam in eastern India rebelled in 1987, and the leaders of the rebellion declared Assam a socialist republic. Politicians, businessmen, and plantation owners were killed. Indian troops counterattacked and drove the United Liberation Front of Assam into the mountains of southern Assam. The rebels surrendered in January of 1992.

Assassins- see Alamut.

Asturias- In the 1930s, Asturias was one of Republican Spain's most politically radical provinces. Unions and other working class organizations kept firm control over Asturian policy. In the wake of the Asturian Commune's destruction, the province was also wary of central administration. However, the Civil War went poorly for the Republican government. This problem was exacerbated by the independent attitude of provincial governments. In the midst of a fresh Nationalist offensive in the summer of 1937, Madrid declared that the central government would assume control over provincial military and production decisions. Asturias, by this time completely cut off by Franco's forces, repudiated Madrid and declared itself independent in August of that year. The young republic succumbed to Nationalist seige during the winter.

Atlantis, Isle of Gold- Atlantis was one of the first platform nations. The Atlantis Development Corporation began constructing this platform off the southeast coast of Florida in 1966, hoping to establish a new haven for offshore banking and other activities frowned upon on the mainland. At the same time, a rival company began plans to build a nearby platform called the Grand Capri Republic. Construction actually began on Atlantis, but it was destroyed by a hurricane. The US government launched a lawsuit against both corporations, arguing that any construction of new nations less than five miles off its coast was a detriment to its national security. Predictably, the courts upheld this decision and neither Atlantis nor Grand Capri joined the community of nations.

Auca Republic- Escaped slaves founded Maroon societies throughout the Americas. Many of these societies flourished in the South American colonies of the Guyana coast, through the weakness of the colonial authorities and the forbidding nature of the rain forest. One of these was the result of an insurrection led by a slave named Arabi in 1757. After four years of protracted fighting, the Dutch government granted Arabi’s band (who called themselves Djukas) and their village independence, provided that they take in no new refugees. The Auca Republic returned to Dutch rule a few years later, when a Maroon leader named Boni launched a brutal war to expel the whites from Surinam and unite the blacks under his rule.

Ausonia, Federal Republic of- see Padania, Federal Republic of.

Austriens- see Dega-Cham High Plateaus.

Awdal Republic- Declared in February of 1995, the Awdal Republic occupies the land of the Somalian Dir clan between the northwestern Somaliland Republic and Djibouti. The Dir have long been dissatisfied with the results of Somalia's independence, and the civil war clinched their disgust with the government in Mogadishu. Unlike the Puntland and Jubaland movements, Awdal has refused to participate in any new Somali government.

Azawad- The northern regions of Niger and Mali are occupied by the Tuaregs, a Berber people which has fiercely resisted attempts at integration. Before the imposition of French rule, the Tuaregs were desert aristocrats, who controlled the trade routes through the Sahara. They have insisted on autonomy since independence from France. The largely black governments of Niger and Mali were unsympathetic to Tuareg goals, as their history included many slave raids from the Berber north. The Tuaregs became increasingly restive throughout the 1980s, as low oil prices and drought eroded their economy. In May of 1990, the Tuaregs attacked Malian government forces sent to re-establish control. A section of the militants declared Tuareg areas independent as Azawad. Mali's army responded by massacring the male population of entire villages, regardless of their connection to the revolutionaries. As atrocities continued, some 35,000 Tuaregs fled to Mauritania, where they remain as refugees. The Tuareg rebellion flared up again in 1999, although the rebels have made little headway.

Azerbaijan, Autonomous Government of- Conditions in 1945 were ripe for revolution in South Azerbaijan, in northern Iran. The Shah's government suppressed the Azeri language, and little of the area's oil wealth stayed to benefit the Azeri community. And Stalin's USSR occupied northern Iran, under a wartime agreement to prevent the Shah from allying with the Axis. In September of 1945, the local committee of Tudeh (a communist party) merged with the new Azerbaijan Democratic Party. The ADP declared South Azerbaijan an autonomous province, and rallied the population into volunteer militia units. A raft of reforms ranging from universal suffrage and restoration of the Azeri language to wide-sweeping land reform won the new government under Premier Mir Cefer Pisheveri wide support.

Unable to face the Soviet forces still controlling the area, Tehran opened negotiations with the Azerbaijan government, giving in to many of the nationalists' demands in June of 1946. However, at the same time the Shah reached an agreement with the Soviets: they would withdraw and the USSR would be allowed partnership in developing the region's oil resources. Satisfied, Stalin withdrew his troops. The Shah launched an intense diplomatic effort in the West, gaining tacit approval from the US and UK to crush the revolution and its threat to the free flow of oil. Iran launched a three-pronged assault against Azerbaijan, which surrendered in December of 1946. At the same time, the Shah destroyed the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad.

Footnote: Abalonia While the Abalonia never became a nation, it did become a haven for aquatic life and a well-kept secret in the diving world.Which, if you ask me, is just as much an honor. Back.

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