The micronation of Molossia embraces creativity and chocolate chip cookie dough.
A nation lies within Nevada’s borders. It has its own navy, space program, railroad, and postal service. MoonPies, cookie dough, and the San Francisco-based historical figure Emperor Norton are revered. Onions, incandescent bulbs, and plastic shopping bags are prohibited.
If this place intrigues you, just note that it is only open to visitors once a month from April through October. Since you will be crossing a border, remember to take your passport. Oh, and set your watch ahead 39 minutes. The Republic of Molossia has its own time zone.
Tiny Border, Big Dreams
The Republic of Molossia is a micronation set within the boundaries of the United States. Founded by His Excellency, President Kevin Baugh, and his family in 1977, the republic consists of 11.3 acres of territory within Nevada and parts of Northern and Southern California.
A micronation is a self-declared independent nation or sovereign state that is unrecognized by a larger world government or international organization. Micronations are created during times of territorial confusion; for political, environmental, or cultural advocacy; or as an educational tool.
For the citizens of Molossia, it’s just good, clean fun.
“The sky’s the limit with what you can do with the idea of having your own country,” Baugh says. “I’m always coming up with ideas to go with our nation. What’s our next activity? What’s our next event? It’s exciting and it’s fun.”
The amount of creativity and enthusiasm that the president, first lady Adrianne Baugh, and the citizens (children, grandchildren, and immediate relatives) show for their little nation is evident during a two-hour visit.
Molossia flies its own green, blue, and white flag. Painted signs indicate the border crossing from the United States; you can get your passport stamped at the customs house, and Red Square is flanked by the Friendship Gateway and occupied by the republic’s government buildings. Here is where visitors can send postcards from the Molossia Post Office, purchase goods from the Molossia Trading Co., and learn more about the national currency, the Valora, which is linked to the value of Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Astute observers may recognize the buildings’ addresses as references to some famous numbers. 10/6, 221B, and 33⅓ are just a few.
“Countries are made up of a million moving parts, and micronations go beyond ‘I have a national anthem and I have a flag’ and include things like economies and culture,” Baugh says. “I’m constantly brainstorming to see how we can make Molossia a better place.”
The nation’s intriguing features include a telephone system that works only within Molossian borders, a space program consisting of a highly popular Stomp Rocket, a hiking trail through the Back Forty National Park, and a watchtower staffed by Molossia’s chief constable. In this zone, any contraband (such as the aforementioned plastic bags or onions) are confiscated, and smugglers are gently placed in the nation’s jail.
While the republic adopts ideas that are common among other countries, a unique sense of humor is woven throughout the nation and has made Molossia a model micronation as well as a favored addition to the state. In fact, Baugh and his first lady (wearing a shiny tiara) are regularly part of the Nevada Day parade.
Planning a Visit?
“Everyone loves visiting Molossia, and that’s not hyperbole, that’s the truth,” Baugh says. “Folks that visit Molossia do so because they already kind of ‘get it.’ We love to show off our little nation.”
So what does this have to do with food?
“Being a country, we are always seeking ways to make it a little more self-sufficient; it’s too small to be totally self-sufficient, but we have chickens now and a garden going in, and hopefully next year we’ll have bees,” Baugh says. “And even though the first lady opposes it, I would love to get a goat because I think they are hilarious.”
Molossia’s holidays and the vittles served also reflect the independent nature of the nation. The president’s favorite ice cream is served on Chocolate Mint Day (Feb. 19), MoonPies are consumed on Sept. 15 to coincide with the Chinese Moon Festival, and white Russians are served on March 6, or the Day of the Dude.
If you are lucky enough to be around for Molossia’s Founder’s Day, you can take in a barbecue at the Molossia Tiki Bar and Grill in Red Square as part of the festivities. The Molossolini, Molossia’s signature drink made with Sprite, pineapple juice, grenadine, and slices of fresh banana, oranges, pineapple, and cherries also is served.
Since most of its citizens are of Italian descent, spaghetti is the nation’s favorite food.
While Molossia’s residents know it’s part of a larger system and defy the misconceptions that micronations want to overthrow the government, Baugh does believe that citizens of other countries can learn a lot from these mini motherlands.
“I believe that when it comes to countries, smaller is better,” he says. “If you take a look at some of the smallest countries on earth, for example, Denmark, they are a very happy country. I think this is one thing that people can learn from micronations. Micronations are an expression of creativity and imagination, and people should have more of it.”
Christina Nellemann was honored to be accepted as a recent visitor to the Republic of Molossia. She knows that 10/6 is the cost on the Mad Hatter’s Hat, 221B is the address for Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, and 33⅓ refers to the rotation speed of a vinyl LP.
The Republic of Molossia grants permission for tours every Saturday between April 15 and Oct. 15. For details about the micronation, including tour scheduling, visit Molossia.org.