In 1816–1919 neutral Moresnet, a small part of the canton of Aubel from the time of the French Empire (today: in the Belgian commune of Kelmis) and in the past a wedge between the Kingdom of The Netherlands and Prussia, comprised a mini–state which Polish historiography has totally forgotten. For more than a century this territory enjoyed a certain form of independence and possessed numerous attributes of a sovereign state - its own anthem, flag and post stamps. Interest in this region on the part of its eastern neighbours was caused by the presence of zinc ore deposits. In the wake of the victory won by the anti-Napoleonic coalition, the Border Treaty, also known as the Treaty of Aachen, divided the territory in question into three fragments: Prussian Moresnet, Dutch (Belgian) Moresnet, and a small piece of land with the village of Kelmis and a zinc mine, granted neutral status. In the shape of an irregular triangle, this territory was to be jointly ruled by Prussian and Dutch commissioners. After the outbreak of the Belgian revolution (1813) and the proclamation by the southern Netherlands of secession from the Kingdom of The Netherlands, the right to Moresnet was taken over by the Kingdom of Belgium. The most outstanding local figure was the physician Wilhelm Molly, who embarked upon a series of initiatives envisaged as successive steps on the path towards gaining independent political existence. Alongside with an attempt at organising a postal service and the issuing of own stamps, Molly's most prominent undertaking was a transformation of Neutral Moresnet into an Esperanto state known as 'Amikejo'. The outbreak of the first world war liquidated the neutrality of the titular state. The Treaty of Versailles awarded all of its land to the Kingdom of Belgium, which replaced Neutral Moresnet with the commune of Kelmis. At present it has a total of more than 10.000 inhabitants and is the second largest commune in the German–speaking part of Belgium.
R. Zelichowski, Instytut Studiów Politycznych PAN, ul. Polna 18/20, 00-625 Warszawa, Poland
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