Syldavia, a fictional country created by the famous cartoonist Hergé for his hero Tintin, has become the story of one of the biggest micronational plagiarisms.
Directly inspired by the political news of his time, Hergé used this imaginary country in his comic album entitled "Ottokar's Scepter", where Tintin plays a crucial political role. Hergé was inspired by the annexation of Austria by Germany in March 1938. The first is peaceful Syldavia and the second is totalitarian Borduria. For the country culture, he took inspiration from the Balkans and previous states that formed Yugoslavia once.
It was during "Ottokar's Scepter" that Tintin intervened directly in the affairs of the country. He discovers a plot to steal the scepter to dethrone the king and destabilize the country. After which, the Bordurians would invade Syldavia.
However, this was only the beginning of Syldavia's influence. Without knowing it, the Belgian cartoonist would inspire several micronationalists in the creation of their micronations.
So far we could go, a Kingdom of Syldavia was founded by Aidan Clifford in 2020 ( no specific date recorded ). It is a micronation located in Quebec. Its actual King is Vincent 1st since April 2021. Capital : Klow-South. The national flag and the coat of arms are a copy/paste from the comic album: A black pelican flanked on a yellow background flag.
Then, we also find a Kingdom of Sildavia that is a constituent country of the United Kingdom of Sildavia and Borduria. This one was created in March 2021 (initially as sildavian dominion then as a kingdom in march 2023). It is ruled by Queen Maria, located in Brazil. Capital is Klöw without a "south". National flag and coat of arms are also inspired from "Ottokar's Scepter" with 3 black pelicans instead of just one, also flanked on a yellow background flag.
Hergé's "Syl" or "Sil" - davia (according the language you speak), also founds a micronational version in Europe with several "Syldavian consulates" on the continent. These are created by fans of the comic strip who are gathered in a diplomatic brotherhood. This group of fan is headed by Sir Plinio Crivelli, a Swiss leaving in the French speaking part of Switzerland.
Self-proclaimed First Consul of Syldavia, then promulgated Chancellor of the Syldavian Consuls, Plinio Crivelli is looking for Tintin's fans around the world to join this small group of diplomats where reigns a "sweet madness" as he likes to say it. For its purists of the work of Hergé, only Muskar XII and his descendants are recognized as legitimate on the throne of the said Syldavia which they consider as one and only of course.
They stay faithful to Hergé's original Syldavia and they recognize King Muskar XII as the original, true and faithful King. On Facebook, the group "Konszulat Syldave de Westzt-Bordeaurie Métropolitaine" began to interact in micronationalist groups. It organizes meetings featuring the Syldavia of Hergé with costumes faithful to those of the comic strip.
Now we might wonder why In the world of micronations, plagiarism is not always a problem? None of the micronations involved have declared any conflict to claim ownership of their micronation's name. Well, how could they from the moment that none of them created it ? MicroWiki itself closes its eyes to the question by merely stipulating the distinction between Syldavia and Sildavia. A matter of spelling according to the language you speak.
In the micronational world, there is no International Court of Justice to solve such an issue . it would be considered interference, any attempt by others to take a stand. In such a situation, it is highly likely that the micronationalists will let the two micronations settle their point of contention between themselves. The case has already arisen with the "Kingdom of Hanover" in the past.
When names, flags and other cultural aspects are not really the product of a micronationalist's creativity, and therefore, of his/her intellectual property, How can his/her micronation claim the right to exclusivity and denounce plagiarism when it is a cultural plagiarism itself?
Micronationalists thus building their micronations on strong and already existing cultural symbols are therefore reduced to the constraint of tolerance towards those who reveal themselves with the same idea. After all, everyone has the right to be a big fan of something and to bring it alive.