The goal of any state is to survive the test of time. Some states have achieved this, forming great nations and even empires – providing their people with security and stability. Other states in history, for some reason or another, have barely lasted a day. As a fledgling state you should know that something’s gone awry when your entire history can be summarized in a paragraph. Below are 10 of the shortest-lived states in history.
10. Italian Regency of Carnaro – 1 year, 109 days
The city of Fiume, now part of Croatia, was unsettled after the First World War, in 1919, after Italy, Hungary and Croatia battled for the right to the land in the Paris Peace Conference. On September 11, 1919, Gabriele D’Annunzio, an Italian poet and patriot, angered by the British, French and Americans for not giving Fiume to Italy, left to seize the city with an army of patriots. The following day, Gabriele seized the city from the occupying British, French and American force. Declaring the city as the Italian Regency of Carnaro, an independent state, the new state held a vote with the result favoring annexation to Italy by a vast majority. Italy, pressured by its allies, forbid the annexation from taking place, instead placing the Regency under blockade.
On September 8, 1920, Gabriele unveiled the state’s constitution, establishing a corporate, fascist state, similar to that which would be founded by Mussolini. The downfall of the state came with the Treaty of Rapallo on November 12, when Italy and Yugoslavia recognized Fiume as a free city, not an independent state. Angered, D’Annunzio declared war with Italy on December 3, quickly losing by the 30th of that month.
9. Markovo Republic – ~243 Days
The first Russian Revolution lead to unrest and uncertainty across the Russian Empire from 1905 to 1907. The village of Markovo, around 100 miles from Moscow, formed a political party, the Peasant Union, after writer Sergei Semenov sent a list of demands to the government in Moscow that went unanswered. On October 31, 1905, they declared themselves the Republic of Markovo. P.A. Burshin, the village elder, was elected President. The new state refused to recognize the authority of the Imperial Russian Government and represented a number of small villages through democratic councils – right on the Tsar’s doorstep. The Republic quickly grew in fame for resisting the Imperial Government and demanding democracy, with a professor from Chicago arriving to lend assistance to the fledgling state.
In July 1906, once the revolution was all but defeated, Imperial forces marched on the Republic. Disbanding it’s Government, arresting leaders and bringing the Republic back into the Russian Empire.
8. Freistaat Schwenten – 218 Days
Emil Hegemann, the pastor of Schwenton, a small village with a majority German population, formed the Independent State of Freistaat Schwenten when the village came under threat. After Greater Poland remained part of Germany in the armistice, an uprising of Poles broke out on the doorstep of the village in December, 1918. After the pastor was unable to get the local German garrison to protect their German nationality, he rallied the villagers and founded the independent and neutral state of Freistaat Schwenten on January 6, 1919.
The landlocked states put together a plan to raise a navy to protect their lake and had 120 soldiers, consisting mostly of German nationals fleeing the Polish Uprising. Patore Hegemann, now President, was also the minister of foreign affairs. The state even arrested the wife of the French ambassador in Berlin, on espionage charges. On August 16, 1919, after getting onto the map, Freistaat Schwenten joined the state of Germany.
7. Republic of Ezo – 184 Days
After the defeat of the Tokugawa Shogunate in the Boshin War, between the Shogun and Imperial forces in 1868, the former Shogun’s navy, led by Admiral Enomoto Takeaki, fled mainland Japan to the Northernmost island of Ezo. Capturing the port of Hakodate and the surrounding areas, the Admiral founded the Republic of Ezo on December 25, 1868, and was elected President.
Although the new Republic had limited resources, they had the support of France. This included an attempt to steal an Ironclad warship for the new Republic, being delivered to Imperial Japan by the United States. This mission ultimately failed, attracting the attention of the Imperial Navy. On June 27, 1869, battles between the Imperial and Shogunate navies led to an imperial victory over the Republic of Ezo.
6. Parthenopean Republic – 142 Days
In 1798, whilst Napoleon was attempting to conquer Egypt, King Ferdinand IV of Naples joined the anti-French coalition. Troops from Naples and Revolutionary France clashed in French-occupied Rome, forcing King Ferdinand to flee. The French, in the process of executing their own monarchy, installed a Republic Government in the former Kingdom of Naples on January 23, 1799. The Parthenopean Republic was born.
Despite the leaders being unable to manage their finances, democratize the city or form an efficient army, liberty and equality were seen throughout the new Republic. A tree of liberty was raised and a newspaper published. The Royal exiles, in Palermo, organized an uprising with the help of the British and Admiral Nelson, who hated freedom just about as much as them. On June 13, 1799, King Ferdinand’s hired sword, Cardinal Fabrizio Ruffo, entered the city of Naples with his men and slaughtered Republican supporters. Putting an end to the Republic and re-establishing the monarchy, by July 8, 1799, more than 200 people had been executed.
5. Hungarian Soviet Republic – 134 Days
After World War I, the Hungarian Communist Party seized power from the Hungarian People’s Republic. The leader, Bela Kun, declared the reformation of Hungary as a new state, the Hungarian Soviet Republic on March 21, 1919. A temporary constitution granted freedom of speech and assembly, free education and cultural rights not previously available under the monarchy. However, at the heart of their popularity was their promise to restore Hungary’s borders which had been reduced after the First World War.
On June 25, a dictatorship was announced and popularity of the new Government and state amongst its people nose-dived quickly, with attempts to extort grain from peasants and vast numbers of executions (around 590). The new nation’s downfall came about when the Government decided to keep their word on re-establishing their borders. In late May, the Hungarian Red Army occupied parts of Slovakia. After the French threatened to get involved, they backed off. That is until July 30, 1919, when the Hungarian Red Army, unable to learn any lessons after they’d burnt so many books, failed to break the Romanian Army during their attempted invasion. Romania occupied Budapest, bringing an end to the Hungarian Soviet Republic on August 1, 1919.
4. Crimean People’s Republic – ~34 Days
On December 13, 1917, in Bakhchisaray, Russian-Occupied Crimea, the local Tatar people declared independence for the region of Crimea during the power vacuum of the Russian civil war. Forming the Crimean People’s Republic, Noman Celebicihan, founder and first President, created one of the Islamic states that featured secularism and female suffrage. Historians also suggest that all people were equal in the CPR, with Jews facing none of the prosecution that they did in the Christian world. Non-Muslims were even allowed to live the same life as Muslims. This strangely progressive Republic, although short-lived, allowed all peasants to be legally free and girls to go to school.
From the 1st to the 15th of January, 1918, after winning the uprising at home, Russian Bolsheviks fought the new Republic, attempting to regain control. The three regiments of the CPR eventually fell, with Crimea being reintegrated into the USSR.
3. Bavarian Soviet Republic – 27 Days
Bavaria, a powerful self-governing region of Germany, became ruled by the people after a strike on November 7, 1918, overthrew the Bavarian monarchy. Kurt Eisner, a member of the Independent Socialist Party and the man behind the strike, was named President of Bavaria. Following his election loss, Eisner was shot dead on February 21, 1919, while on his way to resign, by a right-wing monarchist.
The Independent Socialist Party used the ensuing panic to seize full power, formally proclaiming the region of Bavaria as the independent Bavarian Soviet Republic on April 6, 1919. With the leader, Ernst Toller, doing little to restore order, the Communist Party of Germany seized power on April 12. With the Communist Party being about as popular as the last Government, loyal elements of the German army defeated the new Red Army, returning Bavaria to Germany on May 3.
2. Republic of Connacht – 12 Days
The Republic of Connacht, founded during the Irish rebellion of 1798, was an Irish Republic founded by the French General Jean Humbert. The French, hoping to annoy the British who were fighting an Irish rebellion, and maybe “liberate” the Irish in the process, sent Jean Humbert and 1100 men to County Mayo on August 22, 1798. On the day of his arrival, Humbert proclaimed that the French had arrived to deliver “liberty, equality, fraternity, and union” to the Irish.
On the 27th, after taking the garrison of Castlebar from the British, along with Killala and Ballina the previous day, Humbert founded the Republic of Connacht and declared Castlebar as its capital, with John Moore, a local, being named President. On September 8, Humbert marched his force to Longford, where his 850 French troops and 1000 Irish allies met an English force over five times as strong. After a battle that lasted no more than 30 minutes, Jean Humbert surrendered along with his Irish allies, bringing an end to the Republic of Connacht.
1. Carpatho-Ukraine – Less than 24 Hours
Carpatho-Ukraine was a region of Czechoslovakia which had the smart idea of declaring itself an independent republic on the brink of World War II. After the Nazi annexation of Western parts of Czechoslovakia in 1938, the Czech state was weakened and the region of Transcarpathia demanded more autonomy from the Government. After further areas of Czechoslovakia were annexed by Hungary, the state was thrown into uncertainty, with Transcarpathia, now named Carpatho-Ukraine, declaring independence on March 15.
After Avhustyn Voloshyn was declared president of the Republic, the inability to bring about order led to border skirmishes taking place on the new state’s boundaries. This gave Hungary sufficient reason to invade the region on the same day as it’s declaration of independence. The next day, coming across little military resistance, Hungary annexed Carpatho-Ukraine.