|Motto: A land of desolation where all are welcome|
|Leadership||Prime Minister Waesche|
|Date of foundation||2nd November, 2001|
|Location||Marie Byrd Land, Antarctica|
|Capital||Peter I Island|
Westarctica is an area of desolate land in western Antarctica that was unclaimed until an American declared the area his own micronation, a declaration of status not recognized by established countries, in 2001. The territory consists of Marie Byrd Land with a few additional claims and has no year round residents, although research stations have been located in the region. Westarctica was founded on a supposed loophole in the Antarctic Treaty. The claim of micronation status has been used as a basis to mint and sell coins to collectors.
The bulk of Westarctican territory consists of Marie Byrd Land; this was the original territory claimed. It was defined as all land south of 60° S and between 90° W and 150° W. This is between the claim of Chile and the claim of New Zealand. The original capital was named Achilles. Later on, the Balleny Islands claimed by New Zealand and Peter I Island claimed by Norway were annexed. Peter I Island was declared the new capital of Westarctica. After the reformation of the Grand Duchy into a protectorate (October 2010) Travis McHenry reduced the Westarctican claim in order to join the AMU and recognize other micronational claims in West-Antarctica. This decission was made official after the signing of the West-Antarctic Treaty.
On November 2, 2001, Travis McHenry decided to claim Marie Byrd Land as a country upon discovering that no country yet claimed it. However, this was because the Antarctic Treaty prevented any new claims on Antarctica by countries. To get around this, McHenry claimed the land as an individual and then founded a country, the Achaean Territory of Antarctica, upon it. He sent letters to the governments of Russia, France, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, the United States, and the United Kingdom to inform them of his claim. All of these countries ignored McHenry and his claim.
In 2004, McHenry changed the name of his country to the Grand Duchy of Westarctica. The next year, he claimed the Balleny Islands and Peter I Island, which were already claimed by New Zealand and Norway, respectively. Grand Duke Travis abdicated in 2006 in favor of being Baron of Dunluce Castle. He was replaced as Grand Duke by Philip Karns.
In early 2008 Health issues caused Philip Karns to cease his involvement in Westarctica. During this time operations moved from Westarctica.com to Westarctica.org. The head of state from 2008 until 2010 was Jon-Lawrence Langer, the Duke of Moulton-Berlin. After a time of inactivity Langer requested that Westarcticans and Westarctica's allies in the micronational community aide in the projects revitalization, but those projects were largely unsuccessful. Meanwhile Langer came in conflict with other Antarctic micronations and some Westarcticans, this resulted in the symbolic Great Micronational Antarctic War and the foundation of the Antarctic Micronational Union. The conflict was even mentioned in a Dutch travel magazine.
On June 3, 2010, the founder of Westarctica, Travis McHenry, aided by members of the Westarctica Baronage, overthrew Grand Duke Jon-Lawrence and proclaimed a transitional government. The following day, the transitional authorities made sweeping changes to Westarctica's government, including rejecting the monarchical form of government, and recognizing all competing claims to Westarctican territory. As of June 4, 2010, Westarctica is being led by the Count of Waesche, who was appointed Prime Minister. The founder is now recognized as Travis, Protector of Westarctica. In October 2010 after singing the West-Antarctic treaty, Westarctica joined the AMU.
Westarctica has produced several coins, in the form of both wooden nickel and metal coins. They have also made stamps. In 2006, Westarctica was featured in Micronations: The Lonely Planet Guide to Home-Made Nations. After the signing of the West-Antarctic treaty in October 2010 Westarctica is a member of the Antarctic Micronational Union.
Like all micronations, Westarctica is not recognised by the government of any larger country, despite its attempts to be. Its sovereignty comes from the declarative theory of statehood. Westarctica is recognised by other micronations.