In times past, movements like colonialism and manifest destiny made men push deep into North America - from coast to coast, and beyond. Thanks to that, the territory that makes up the United States has been secure for generations. One would think that the country alone would satisfy most, but apparently there are those who want to go against the grain. Zaq Landsberg is one such person - because rather than stay put in the States, he’s opted to claim a section of it as his own.

To be fair, Landsberg has admitted upfront that even if he wants to create his own country - a space he’s officially dubbed as Zaqistan - his dream will likely never come to pass.

In the face of the American government and countless regulations, creating an official, recognized sovereign nation is well out of his reach. That hasn’t stopped him from putting up a strong effort, though. Zaqistan may only occupy a small section of Utah, but the New Yorker is doing what he can to ensure his nation’s legitimacy.

The Land of the Free

Landsberg bought the space that would become Zaqistan a decade ago. In terms of size and location, it’s easy enough to pass over; in total the country measures in at four acres, and sits sixty miles away from the nearest town. Despite the mock sovereignty, Landsberg makes sure to pay property taxes to Utah’s Box Elder County - though given his efforts so far, taxes aren’t the only price he’s paid on the country’s behalf.

Zaqistan has an official red and yellow flag, while its border is protected by a robotic sentry, inasmuch as a tin scarecrow can guard a subsection of the Utah backcountry. Still, legitimate passports are available for transport in and out of Zaqistan, complete with a stamping process for visitors.

It’s a safe bet that Landsberg’s home away from home is more of a curiosity and less of a geopolitical fixture - much less a threat to the country that houses it.

Fortunately, that status is one Landsberg is well aware of. He claims that Zaqistan is more of an artistic endeavor than anything; though he is still technically the country’s president, his mission is to see how far he can push the concept of sovereignty and land ownership within America’s bounds.

Time will tell what successes and troublesZaqistan sees.

If nothing else, those who venture within its borders can enjoy it for what it is: a curiosity, and a country in spirit.

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