25 April 2023 — Correction: Versmark is not a successor state but a spiritual “successor” state according to government officials.
25 April 2023 — In an exclusive update from Penn Press staff, the paper can confirm that the Discord server referenced in the original story has evolved into the spiritual “successor” state of “Versmark”, the name originating from the Dutch prefix “vers-“, meaning “new”, and the root “-mark”, paying homage to the original Empire of Lehmark. William I of the now-defunct Empire of Lehmark expressed disdain for the idea of a successor state, refusing to personally recognize it and falsely claiming that Versmark was profiting from his work.
See the original story below.
19 April 2023—the Empire of Lehmark, an absolute monarchy located in Australia with 36 online citizens, celebrated four years of independence. The Emperor, William Lehman I, had released a 13-minute long independence day speech on YouTube praising the project, which he called, admitting bias, “one of the most developed micronations.”
But in the early hours of 20 April at about 2:32 a.m. (UTC), came the shock announcement that William I would be abdicating as Emperor and immediately dissolving the Empire. He stated on Discord that after sometime of reflection, “I [William I] have come to the extremely difficult conclusion that I am no longer equipped or healthy enough to continue running this project.” He later deleted all of Lehmark’s social media, its Discord server and website. However, most of the website was archived on the Internet Archive by a citizen hours before the dissolution.
Several citizens were surprised by this sudden announcement, and further enquired William I as to why he would be dissolving the Empire. One citizen stated that “things had just started to get good.” William I explained that he wanted to do more with his life; running the Empire of Lehmark was far too time-consuming. He further explained that he felt little of Lehmark’s goals had been achieved nor would ever be achieved.
Citizens, though distraught, supported William I’s decision, one stating that “mental health should always come first.” However, many were surprised and wondered what would happen to their projects and the Lehmark Digital Tokens—Lehmark’s digital currency—that they had amassed. William I responded by stating “Honestly, LDT (Lehmark Digital Token) is useless,” and said that cryptocurrency exchanges would not accept LDT.
One citizen created a new Discord server titled “Lehmark Community” for former Lehmarkian citizens at 2:00 p.m., which has since amassed 12 members. Many citizens stated they were distraught and wished to keep their work going. Others were not aware of the announcement and found themselves suddenly kicked from the Discord server for Lehmark. One example of a project is the Imperial University, which offered free education to all citizens. It had just approved a new degree, with two more—courses on micropatriology and the German language—about to be completed.
By 4:01 p.m., members of the server had started a voice call to deliberate on the future of the former Lehmarkian citizens who all wish to continue working together and on the former projects of Lehmark. The existence of a successor state and the right to form a council per the constitution of Lehmark were discussed first. By 4:16 p.m., the members of the call agreed to create a new micronation for the former Lehmarian citizens to join as a replacement to Lehmark. Proposals for a name, flag, culture and form of government are to be discussed throughout the day.
The Empire of Lehmark was a secessionist micronation founded upon the ideas of “Absolutism and Social Progression” that was dedicated to creating a society that would respect individual freedom and the environment. Lehmark had a dedicated community which saw daily activity, although citizenship growth had been stagnant for over a year. Citizens could apply for government jobs, including becoming a Minister. Jobs would be payed in LDT. President Devin Purcell had recently been appointed Minister of Finance this April.