We have heard interesting stories of many great empires. These include the British Empire that never set, Genghis Khan’s empire that stretched from China to the gates of India, or the Mughal Empire that stretched from Kabul-Kandahar to Karnataka.
But today we are going to travel to one of the smallest empires in the world. Should it be called an empire? There is also a question. Because only 11 people live in this place and that too part-time. There is a king here who himself runs a boat for passenger transport and a restaurant. He is living his life by wearing half-pants and sandals. This interesting kingdom is the Kingdom of Tavolara.
A small island
It is a small island in the Mediterranean Sea near the Italian province of Sardinia. There is still an empire here. It has existed since before Italy was recognized as a country. The Kingdom of Tavolara… is actually located on a small island called Tavolara. Its total area is five square kilometers.
The name of the king of this empire is Antonio Bertlioni. If you ever go to Tavola for a walk, you might have a hard time spotting the kings here. Because he doesn’t look like a king. Neither the dress nor the living conditions are the same. Antonio Bertlioni says that as a king he only gets free food. That too from his own restaurant.
Some other small countries like Tavolara
1. Redonda – This region near Southampton, England declared itself an independent country to escape the smoking ban.
2. Tavolara – Spread over 5 square kilometers, this country has a total of 11 citizens. King Antonio runs the only restaurant here.
3. Tonga – Located in the Pacific Ocean, this country has an area of 748 square kilometers. The population of this country is 1 lakh 6 thousand. It was discovered by Captain James Cook in 1773. Captain Cook named it ‘The Island of Friendship’. But actually, the citizens of this place wanted to kill Captain Cook.
4. Brunei – Spread over 5 thousand 765 square kilometers, the population of Brunei is 4 lakh 13 thousand. People here never have to pay taxes. The Sultan (King) of Brunei is one of the richest people in the world.
5. Swaziland – The area of this country in Africa is 17 thousand 360 square kilometers. Due to its natural beauty, this country is called the land of mysteries. The total population here is around 13 lakhs.
6. Lesotho – Located in South Africa, this country is spread over an area of 30 thousand square kilometers. The population of this country, which is low above sea level, is about two million.
Kingdom of Tvolara
The Kingdom of Tvolara is celebrating 180 years since its founding this year. In fact, the topic of an island empire can be amusing these days.
But the people of this place and King Antonio Bertlioni are very serious about it. When asked about this, he reveals the history of many generations.
Guiseppe was from the city of Geneva. Within a few days, they found out about the golden-toothed goats on the island. It is the only such type of goat in the world.
The information about these goats reached Italy within a few days. King Carlo Alberto of Sardinia came to the island of Tavolara to see and hunt these goats. This incident is between 1836. At that time, Giuseppe’s son Paolo helped Carlo Alberto to hunt goats and drove them all over the island. Antonio says that when King Alberto of Sardinia arrived on the island, he introduced himself as King of Sardinia. At that time, Paolo introduced himself as the king of Tvolara.
When Carlo Alberto returned to his country after three days in Tavolara, he issued an edict declaring that Tavolara was not part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. Paolo Bertlioni then proclaimed himself king. At that time, there were a total of 33 citizens on this island. So Paolo then became the king of those 33.
Before his death, Paolo created a royal cemetery (graveyard). He wrote in his will that after his death, a crown should be placed on his grave after his funeral. Interestingly, Paolo Bertlioni never wore a crown when he was alive. In later times many tales of the kings of Tvolara were heard in the Mediterranean.
The kings of Tavolara also made treaties with the kings of many countries. Among them was Garibaldi, known as the founder of Italy. The then-king of Sardinia, Vittorio Emanuele II, even signed a peace treaty with Tavolara in 1903.
In the 19th century, Britain’s Queen Victoria started a campaign to collect photographs of monarchs from around the world. At that time he also sent a ship here to photograph the royal family in Tavolara.
After that, this photo was in England’s Buckingham Palace for many years. Currently, this photo is displayed in Antonio Bertlioni’s restaurant.
NATO military base
The sovereignty of this small empire ended when NATO soldiers set up a base here in 1962. No one was allowed to come and go on most of it. But Italy never officially accepted or occupied Tavolara as part of them.
If you look at it, no country in the world recognizes Tavolara. King Antonio of Tavolara and his family operate passenger boats that bring tourists from Italy to the island. A large number of tourists come here to visit. They come here to see an endangered species of goats and eagles.
A family business
The sea around Tavolara Island has a wide variety of marine life. Many tourists come to see them. Antonio and his nephew operate a passenger boat here, while his other nephew is a fisherman.
The same fish and other marine life are made available to tourists in the form of various dishes in their restaurants on the island. Antonio says that ruling Tavolara is like our generational business. Due to the increase in the number of tourists, the income of Antonio’s kingdom has also increased. But they like to live like normal people.