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Chapter 1: "...our common wealth"

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The apocryphal story that surrounds the establishment of the Commonwealth states that George W Baker merely wished to find a place to exploit the resources so that he could recoup his companies’ investment in a failed mining expedition to South Africa. Though he did not live to see his idea succeed, it was the vision of his sons who made possible the last mercantile state ever founded.blogentry-272913-0-34144400-1304650488_t

He wrote in a letter to a friend and shareholder in 1883, “...(M)y belief that the authority of the law and our tireless industry should lay the foundation of our common wealth.” This was the principle that in 1891 was adopted by the 1st Charter Assembly as the basis for formation of the Commonwealth of Baker Park. After his death in 1890, the control of the company he established to settle his new territory, G.W. Baker & Sons passed to his 3 sons–William, Simon, and John. They had established their first settlement in 1888 and called it Belle Haven. blogentry-272913-0-53662300-1304650664_t

The company commissioned Stuart Marshall and Gustav Lynch to take a party to survey the territory and report back on their findings.

After 4 years of settlement and exploration, on November 11, 1892, sovereignty was proclaimed after HM Queen Victoria gave the Royal Assent to The Baker Park Charter Act.blogentry-272913-0-00047000-1304650563_t

The provisional government continued until Prince Frederick Wilhelm, 2nd son of the Grand Duke of Oldenburg arrived in January 1893. Frederick had been persuaded by George Baker to become Regent of his new country after extensive negotiations in 1889. Frederick called for the first election for a permanent government and in September 1893, the first meeting of The House of Assembly was called to order. William Baker was chosen as the first Prime Minister. blogentry-272913-0-52534400-1304650503_t

From the beginning, lines between governance and the business of trade were blurred. The Company underwrote many projects to improve everyday living while the work itself was used to build the city.blogentry-272913-0-07737300-1304650942_t

The largest single project prior to the turn of the century was the magnificent St John's Palace, the residence of the Prince Regent, with a commanding view of the river it still maintains today. blogentry-272913-0-87450600-1304651134_t

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don't tell anyone: I had to mock-up these shots on a tutorial city b/c I never took pictures when I was first starting out. From now on, all shots will be of actual cities, unless specifically stated. And my skills with MS Paint are not very good, so refrain from criticism of the shoddy look of the intital settlement. :)

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