The Country with No Territory
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sign up over at brilliant.org/HAI. Let’s see, a super-secret, sovereign, international
organization with ties to governments worldwide that dates back to the 11th century? I don’t
see why anyone would suspect any… oh you know what it looks like a few people do this
something weird could be going on here. Here’s a one-minute history of the Sovereign
Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta—AKA the
Order of Malta. In the 11th century there was a country called the Duchy of Amalfi.
A bunch of merchants from there went to Jerusalem, which was ruled by an islamic caliphate at
the time, and started a hospital to care for anyone from any race or religion—something
rather progressive for the time. But then the crusades happened, the Christians conquered
Jerusalem, and the regular order became a military order with the goal of protecting
the Christian stronghold. They were pretty successful at that until 200 years later when
Jerusalem was conquered again by an opposing group and the Order was kicked out. So, they
went to Cyprus, then they went to Rhodes, and then they went to Malta. Oh yeah, and
there weren’t really called the Order of Malta until they got to Malta, and while they
were there they got really powerful, briefly owned the Caribbean Islands of Saint Barthélemy,
Kitts, Croix, and Martin, then in about 1800 your boy Napoleon Dy… I mean Bonaparte kicked
them out of Malta so they went to Rome where they still are headquartered today.
The mission of the group is stated as “Tuitio fidei et obsequium pauperum” which, if you
don’t speak Latin, translates to “defense of the faith and service of the poor.” The
“faith,” in this context, is of course Roman Catholicism, the faith that Jorge Bergoglio
practices, who’s also known by his other name—Pope Francis. The pope is the very
reason why the order of Malta is a sovereign entity today—just not this Pope. 105 popes
ago, Pope Paschal II said that the Order of Malta was a sovereign entity, and since the
Pope was basically president of the world at the time, at least the western world, everyone
listened to him. So, still today, the Sovereign Military Order
of Malta is sovereign. It’s treated like a country even though it doesn’t have any
territory. It does have buildings, like its headquarters in Rome, but these buildings
aren’t technically territory of the Order. They’re considered extraterritorial territory.
Extraterritorial territory is the kind of territory that the embassies of any country
are in. Embassies are not subject to the local laws of the country they are in but they are
not territories of the country of origin even though they’re subject to the laws of the
country of origin. Therefore, since the Order’s properties are extraterritorial, the Order
of Malta has no real territory making it the only sovereign entity in the world to exist
territory-free. But they do have pretty much everything else
a country has. They have coins, they have stamps, they have license plates, and they
even have passports. Only 500 people have this passport, though, making it the most
exclusive in the world. 105 countries actually recognize the Order as a sovereign entity
so 105 countries will actually let members in on their Order passports, but they do have
recognition from the most important organization—the United Nations.
The UN’s declaration of an entity’s independence is really the definitive determinant for whether
or not the entity is sovereign, so, the order really is sovereign. They aren’t, however,
full members of the United Nations. They have permanent observer status much like the Vatican.
The Order of Malta even has embassies in 75 countries worldwide and a military. The unique
political independence of this group allows them to hypothetically use their military
to invade a country and start war without the approval of any other country. Nowadays,
however, the order’s primary focus rests on charitable acts around the world. They
still hold true to the mission of their original hospital in Jerusalem and administer aid to
those in need regardless of their race or religion though employing over 25,000 doctors,
nurses, and paramedics globally. Although, a secret society wouldn’t be very
good without some secrets, so you can never really be sure who’s in the Order because
they don’t release that information publicly. Some people will say that they’re members,
but many don’t which helps fuel some of the conspiracy theories. Alleged members include
George H. W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Rick Santorum, and plenty of other powerful politicians,
but, if you want to join the Order of Malta, use its military to topple the oligarchy,
and usher in a new era of tyrannical international dictatorship, you’ll probably want to get
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