Republic of Saugeais
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|Republic of Saugeais|
| Motto: ?|
Musical Anthem: Dé san qu’y a dèz hounnous â mondou
(English: Since men were in the world), by Joseph Botillon
|Location:||Val Sauget, France|
|Membership:||> 350 honorary citizens|
|Date of foundation:||1947|
|Leadership:||President Georgette Bertin-Pourchet|
|Language:||French + Langue Saugette|
The Republic of Saugeais (French: La République du Saugeais), sometimes referred to as the Free Republic of Saugeais, is a long-lived tongue-in-cheek micronation located in the Département of Doubs, in eastern France.
It is located in the upper valley of the river Doubs, an area which has been known since the 12th Century as Val Sauget (Sauget Valley), and is comprised of eleven French municipalities, namely: Les Alliés, Arçon, Bugny, La Chaux, La Chaux-de-Gilley, Gilley, Hauterive-la-Fresse, La Longeville, Montflovin, Maisons-du-Bois-Lièvremont, Ville-du-Pont, and Montbenoît - the last of which is it's designated capital.
It was created on a whim in 1947, during an official visit to Montbenoît by the Prefect of the Département of Doubs. While lunching at the town's Hôtel de l'Abbaye, the Prefect was jokingly asked by the business' owner, Georges Pourchet, if he held a permit authorising his entry into the Republic of Saugeais - an entity which he had invented on the spur of the moment. When the bemused Prefect sought further information about the mysterious republic, Pourchet obliged by inventing that too. The Prefect - suitably entertained, and in good humour - responded by annointing the hotelier President of Saugeais.
Georges Pourchet died in 1968 and his wife Gabrielle initially succeeded him as president before retiring in 1970. However, several years later she became active in a campaign to raise money for the restoration of Montbenoît's historic abbey, and during a luncheon held in 1972 as part of a fund-raising event, Gabrielle Pourchet was publicly acclaimed as Saugeais' President-for-life.
Over the course of the next three decades President Pourchet turned her husband's ephemeral, whimsical fantasy into a light-hearted but nonetheless warmly-regarded - and widely respected - expression of regional French pride. She appointed prime ministers, general secretaries and ambassadors, and honorary citizenships were awarded to over three hundred others. A song written in the Langue Saugette, a Franco-Provençal dialect, by Joseph Botillon in 1910 was adopted as the national anthem, and in 1997 a banknote was issued to mark the 25th anniversary of Pourchet's presidency.
In 1987 the Republic of Saugeais became the first (and as of February 2010, last) micronation to be publicly acknowledged by any national agency of any sovereign state, when the French postal service released a commemmorative postage stamp in its honour.
Gabrielle Pourchet died on 31 August, 2005, aged ninety nine. She was succeeded as President by her daughter Georgette Bertin-Pourchet.
List of presidents
- Georges Pourchet (1947-1968)
- Gabrielle Pourchet (1968-1970)
- Gabrielle Pourchet (1972-31 August, 2005)
- Georgette Bertin-Pourchet (2005- )
- The flag of Saugeais at Flags Of The World.
- A brief history of the Republic of Saugeais from the Montbenoît local government website (in French).