Micro Monarchy

A Micro Monarchy is the setting (or a mentioned location, or a background for a character) used for a tiny (and usually, but not always, modern) country, that is under a monarchy, albeit usually a liberal, modernized one.

If the monarch has the title of Prince, it's called a Principality.

The make-up of the country will include ancient castles that are juxtaposed with modern day architecture of the surrounding buildings and — if it's a European state — the typical modern European car. Despite its size, it will usually have a decent economy, often based around one product that it is known the whole world for, or massive tourism to its historical sites. The nation's defense forces will only consist of ceremonial knights, palace security, and local police, and they will rely on some more powerful neighbor for defense.

If they ever are attacked in earnest and their neighbors let them down (or, even worse, the neighbors are the attackers), expect it to be easily conquered, with its inhabitants becoming either dead or oppressed, or, if they fare better, members of La Résistance. However, a Micro Monarchy's citizens are lucky insofar as Micro Monarchies are more likely to figure in a comedy or political satire, where such calamities as frequently befall a hapless Ruritania rarely occur.

This sort of setting has a tendency to be inherited by a long lost princess who has never even heard of the place before.

Compare and contrast with Land of One City, which may or may not be also a Micro Monarchy; as well as Ruritania, which is just a fictional Eastern European country, Qurac which does the same for the Middle East, and Bulungi which covers Africa: All these can be Micro Monarchies too, but don't have to.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Sauville from Gosick, a tiny European state in the 1920s.
  • Sanc Kingdom from Gundam Wing. While it is probably the size of Sweden, compared to other states in the setting, which span all of the remaining Earth and all of space, respectively, it's pretty tiny.
  • In Ouran Highschool Host Club Tamaki and pals meet a princess from a tiny imaginary European country.
  • Cagliostro in The Castle of Cagliostro.

    Card Games 
  • Parodied in the card game Super Munchkin with the "Ruler of a Small European Country" card, which shows the character standing in a "country" about one foot square.

    Comic Books 
  • Several countries in the Marvel Universe, notably Latveria, Symkaria and Madripoor.
  • DC Comics has Markovia.
    • Green Lantern foe Sonar hails from the tiny Balkan nation of Modora. With a population of four hundred, Modora was relatively unknown to the rest of the world, its only product the wool of a peculiar brown sheep found only in that small area. Sonar planned to use his mastery of sonics to make Modora the most powerful nation in the world.
  • Syldavia from the Tintin comics has been portrayed this way (it is also a Ruritania).
  • The small-state Khulewitz is this in the Suske en Wiske album #300 Het machtige monument. Unlike others on the list though the state is corrupt despite its ruler being extremely sympathetic. The main villain is the one leading the corruption.

  • The Princess Diaries starring Anne Hathaway features the fictional country of Genovia, which seems to replace the real life nation of Andorra.
  • Concordia in the Cold War comedy Romanoff and Juliet. In the UN roll-call, after the alphabetical listing of all the member nations is the footnote, "PS. And Concordia".

  • The Discworld series has Lancre: 40*10 miles, although it gets a lot bigger if you count vertical surfaces. Neighboring kingdoms are so small, however, that their kings might rule in their free time, while their main job might be farming. Lancre is unusual for the region in that it is large enough to have a standing army: Shawn Ogg (except when he's lying down), who is also the entire postal service, as well as the royal butler, doorman, herald, privy cleaner, etc.
  • Explorers of Gor: When Tarl ventures to Darkest Gor to retrieve a Plot Coupon, he encounters Bila Huruma, who is consolidating all the tiny independent kingdoms/villages into a powerful empire. Bila Huruma is opposed by Kisu, king of Ukungu, who fights against Bila Huruma in order for his village to remain free — and succeeds:
    To this day, as one may see upon the map, the land of Ukungu stands as a sovereign free state within the perimeter of the empire of Bila Huruma.
  • The Duchy of Grand Fenwick in Leonard Wibberley's The Mouse That Roared series. Duchess Gloriana is the ruler but the Prime Minister runs things.
  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot features the fictional country of Genovia, which seems to replace the real life nation of Andorra.
  • The Castle in Septimus Heap. It's a fairly small city state, except without as much external territory as city states usually have.
  • In Kiki Strike, Kiki is the long-lost exiled princess of Pokrovia.
  • Montmaray in the Montmaray Trilogy is a very small example, with a population of nine at the start of the first book. By the end, it's occupied by the royal family in the summer, and a caretaker in the winter.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Pullamawang, setting of the Micronation series, became its own country after they "forgot to send in their paperwork" during the federation of Australia in 1901, and is ruled by Kingess Betty Cosdosca.
  • In Magnum, P.I. it's Tervia, a delightful principality nestled high in the Pyrenees and very picturesque, according to Higgins. It's run by Prince Roland Monte-Eton and his lovely American bride Wanda.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ghastria of the Ravenloft setting functioned like a Micro Monarchy up until the Great Upheaval. Most domains ruled by nobles and/or royals are micro-monarchies, as the size and population of Domains are quite tiny even by pseudo-medieval Dungeons & Dragons standards (Darkon is the only domain with over a hundred thousand inhabitants; many Core Domains and most Clusters and Islands have less than 1/10th that population). It's common for DMs to increase the population and size of Domains for the sake of realism.

  • Lichtenburg of the musical Call Me Madam, which was a blatant expy of the real-life Duchy of Luxembourg.
  • Pontevedro in The Merry Widow, a blatant parody of Montenegro.

    Video Games 
  • The Principality of Gallia in Valkyria Chronicles. Though it is more powerful than the average Micro Monarchy, it fits the rest rather well.
  • The Kingdom of Sahrani from ARMA : Armed Assault is a small, mostly Spanish-speaking island monarchy in the Atlantic Ocean. Its enviroment and architecture have parallels with the Caribbean and the Cape Verde islands.
  • The Duchy of Soleanna in Sonic the Hedgehog (2006). A constitutional monarchy ruled by an underaged duchess (who's called a "princess" anyway), with an economy dominated by tourism and precision machinery.
  • Hyrule from The Legend of Zelda. Its biggest incarnation contains no more than six humanoid settlements: Hyrule castle town, Kakariko village, the Gerudo fortress, and the Goron, Zora and Kokiri villages. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past just has one castle, one village and two abandoned palaces.
  • Soul Series: Wolfkrone, Hilde's homeland, is a tiny country located somewhere in the German-speaking region of the Holy Roman Empire, supposedly near the Swiss Alps.
  • Novoselic in Super Dangan Ronpa 2, the small, wealthy, and quirky home country of the Ultimate Princess.
  • Riksent of Super Robot Wars Original Generation is a small nation in the Mediterranean whose economy seems to revolve around tourism and gold mining. The ruling family possesses strong clairvoyance and the Divine Crusaders invade twice attempting to kidnap the young Princess Shine and use her powers.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Various countries the world over resemble this trope: Europe has Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Vatican City.note  (Andorra is a weird case, as its co-princes are the bishop of Urgell and ...the president of France). The Middle East has the smaller Arab states of the Persian Gulf (particularly Bahrain); Southeast Asia has Brunei. In mainland Asia there's Bhutan. Africa has two, both closely connected to the nation of South Africa: Lesotho, which is an enclave of South Africa, and Swaziland.
    • San Marino counts for the "Micro" part (being only 61 square kilometers), but not the "Monarchy" part (having been a republic since 301).
    • And the "being easily conquered" parts definitely applies too, as shown with how easily Luxembourg was conquered by Germany in both of the World Wars, or when Kuwait was conquered in just two days by Iraq during the Gulf War.
  • In a way every noble's territory could count through much of history. How much depends on how strong the central authority was compared to the nobles.
  • A typical Scottish clan in the past. The Lords of the Isles might well have ended up as an independent state and perhaps not so "micro" if history had been different.
  • Many real-life micronations - tiny not-quite-countries, many of which have tried to gain independence from their parent countries, some even "succeeding" - if you count police or military not immediately intervening or their stamps being accidentally accepted, that is.
  • After the Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years' War, the Holy Roman Empire fragmented into over a thousand of these. Possibly history's most triumphant example.

Alternative Title(s): Principality