We came to conquer…

Wait, where is everybody?

I can think of only one country in the entire world that is exists with its original management and did not subvert a previous local population. I could be wrong, but only one comes to mind.

Other places still have descendants of the original settlers but they are not countries. Pitcairn Island for instance. This is where the mutineers from the Bounty went when they set Captain Bligh adrift. https://pacificvoyages.net/pitcairn-island/ Pitcairn had never been occupied prior to Fletcher Christian and his crew arriving. I had plans to visit a few years ago but my research revealed a desperately sad place where the pastimes are eating Spam and beans, waiting for the supply ships to bring more Spam and fathers having inappropriate relations with their daughters. No fun there at all.

Then there is Lord Howe Island and Norfork Island, both off Australia. Like Pitcairn they had never been occupied before the British arrived but none of those places became countries. So they don’t make the list.

There are unrecognized micro nations; normally I would find them funny but they lean more toward the pathetic. I don’t suppose we can count fictitious countries, although if they are invented without previous invasions they might make the list.

“Hail, hail Freedonia!”

It’s the oldest story in the book to invade your next-door neighbor (or not so next-door), exterminate or enslave the locals and rename everything after yourself. This is going on today with Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. Nearly everyone in the world thinks he’s wrong but he thinks he’s right because he’s actually doing it. From his point of view what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is also mine.

In a certain sense Putin isn’t ‘wrong.’ He’s just doing what strongmen do. You and I might not like it. We wish it were otherwise but he’s simply following that well-trod path of snatch and grab.

When the first people came to the New World they didn’t displace people, but they did kill off mega fauna like the mammoth, giant sloth and saber-toothed tiger. So from a human standpoint they did nothing wrong, but the mastodons were not exactly jumping for joy. It gets a bit confusing to sort out how things ‘should’ be. One person’s unjust invasion is another person’s freedom fight.

This takes us back to the question of which sovereign country occupied a land, still does, and did not displace other people. Greenland? No, although Greenland wasn’t occupied when the Vikings arrived in 982. In the 1,200s the Thule people (today’s Inuit) came into the area from the north. The Norse (Vikings) left the island entirely in the 1450s when the weather got too cold to farm. It wasn’t re-Europeanized for at least the next 200 years and then it was by the Danes. It finally became independent in 1979. Remember when DJ Trump floated the idea of trading Puerto Rico for Greenland. Ahh, the good old days.

In the latter half of the last millennium the British, Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese and later the Germans, Japanese and Americans invaded countries to play plant-the-flag all over the world but still, one country was never invaded. It’s never had a war on its soil and for the last 1,000 plus years has had essentially the same government. In fact it is the oldest republic. This country has no McDonalds nor does it have bees, mosquitoes or trees taller than a six-foot stepladder. It is also the only country to have a penis museum.

With almost no crime many call this the safest country in the world. Mothers commonly to leave babies in prams outside stores to bask in the sunshine, unattended, on nice summer days.

The country boasts a literacy rate at the very top and one in ten people will publish a book during their lifetime. There are very few ways to make a living in this country but it’s a wealthy place making it happen with fishing, manufacturing aluminum (aluminum is electricity, [they use geothermal power] combined with the mineral bauxite). And they manipulate money.

Have you guessed the country? Sure you have. Iceland.

Now here’s a story. In the mid 1990s Craig McCaw was an early tech billionaire. He vacuumed up a good part of the cellphone spectrum and was reported to be worth 10 billion dollars or so. He lived in Atherton and he would come to Buck’s occasionally. OK, hold that thought.

In 1993 a movie came out titled Free Willy, about captive orca whale. It seems Willy was actually named Keiko and was sold to a Mexican circus where he lived in a tiny pool the size of a Subaru. Americans were not happy that the actual story of Free Willy played itself out in reverse so school children gathered their pennies to actually free Willy or Keiko (or Aizzclic Tic Tic Vizzz) as his mother might have named him.

Now these pennies added up to big pile of, well, pennies so Craig stepped in and shouldered the cost of building a special facility to train the whale to learn to hunt. Vizzz had been captured as a youngster off Iceland and never learned to catch anything other than giant frozen fish sticks.

After the training, the whale flew (in a plane, smarty) back to Iceland where he was released into a bay. He wouldn’t leave to hunt so they started feeding him and made loud noises to convince him to roam. Vizzz was used to millions of screaming kids so the noise didn’t bother him.  

Then Craig’s fortunes sagged with a record setting divorce and reversals in the market taking him down to single digit billions. So he cut Vizzz’s fish sticks off and the whale began to lose weight. The Icelandic government had to step in to feed him as dying on their watch had terrible optics. The government ministers were not happy about feeding a whale because they put whale meat in their tacos in Iceland. Eventually they managed to chase him out of the local waters and he ended up as an illegal immigrant in Norway. For several years fans would come into the fjord where he lived and feed him but he didn’t thrive and he never found his family, although he did hang out with wild whales occasionally. He died at the young age of 29 of disease and probably bummerness .

Thirty years ago I took my kids to Marine World to see a whale show. Back then everybody did. To me whale shows are the worst possible idea. That, and invading Ukraine.

Believe it or not whale shows still take place in America. We also have Cheetos, a Cheeto-tinted ex president and a few Ford Pintos still out there on the road. But we are also the country that developed a cure for smallpox. We invented blue jeans, television and Joni Mitchell. Oh wait, Joni is from Canada. Oh, and Canada has whale shows too, but they are in the ocean where I think they belong.

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3 Comments

  • How about Tonga? And the weather is better. The same gene pool that colonized the island thousands of years ago is still there. And remarkably the Kingdom of Tonga has never been colonized.

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