Charles I of Sierra

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 This article is a C-class article. It is written satisfactorily but needs improvement. This article is part of Altverse II. This page is for a Sierran person in Altverse II. This page is for a Sierran politician in Altverse II.
Charles I
Charles IV & I
Late King and Protector of All the Sierrans (more...)
Charles I older years.jpg
Coat of arms of Sierra.svg
King of Sierra
Reign November 27, 1858–August 15, 1893
Coronation November 27, 1858
Predecessor Title established
Successor Louis I
Prime Minister
Born March 18, 1822
United States Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States
Died August 15, 1893(1893-08-15) (aged 71)
Gold Coast Occidental Palace,
Porciúncula, GC, K.S.
Burial October 10, 1894
Queen Consort Queen Rachel of Sierra
Issue
Regnal name
Charles I
Posthumous name
Charles I, the Late King and Protector of All the Sierrans
Royal house House of Columbia
Father Gregory Miller
Mother Annie Miller
Religion New Anglican
Signature Charles I Charles IV & I's signature
California Secretary of Treasury
In office
June 29, 1854 – November 27, 1858
President Douglass Browne
Preceded by Jedidiah K. Colfax
Succeeded by Office abolished
Mayor of San Francisco City
In office
August 1, 1849 – September 9, 1853
Preceded by Harvey Milton
Succeeded by Winfield Eastaughffe
Military career
Allegiance United States United States
Service/branch U.S. Army
Years of service 1846–1848
Rank Lieutenant colonel
Unit 12th Infantry Regiment
Battles/wars
Charles I (Charles Miller Smith; March 18, 1822–August 16, 1893) was the first monarch of the Kingdom of Sierra from November 27, 1858 until his death in 1893. A direct descendant of James II, Charles was also the first monarch of the House of Columbia, a continuation of the British House of Stuart. Enthroned in 1858 as the first monarch of Sierra, Charles founded the Kingdom of Sierra, a state which succeeded the republican government of California. He obtained power constitutionally after the Californian National Congress ratified the 1858 Constitution, which promulgated the Kingdom of Sierra and Charles as its head of state. Charles I was a popular monarch whose background as a statesman, entrepreneur, and an active Jacobite claimant enabled his rise. Charles's reign oversaw the development of Sierra as a parliamentary democracy and rise as a regional economic power in North America. Although Charles deferred political power to his prime ministers, he wielded extensive influence on state affairs, especially on foreign policy and immigration. He expanded the Sierran overseas empire and turned the Sierran Royal Navy from a small flotilla to one of the most extensive non-European navies by the end of the 19th century.

Charles was the son of wealthy American-born entrepreneur Gregory Miller, who owned the Miller & Stuart Co.. Through his paternal grandmother, Charlotte Stuart, he was a direct lineal descendant of James II, a Stuart monarch who ruled England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1685 to 1688, before he was deposed during the Glorious Revolution. Raised in the American state of North Carolina, Charles emigrated to Alta California in order to expand the family business into the North American West Coast in 1845. In Alta California, Charles amassed a devoted following of Jacobites and monarchist sympathizers due to his publicized Stuart heritage. During the Mexican–American War, he was commissioned in the United States Army, serving as a lieutenant colonel for the 12th Infantry Regiment. He led his regiment at Chapultepec and returned to the newly independent California Republic as a war hero. Shortly after the war, rumors that gold was discovered in Northern California spread, triggering the California Gold Rush, which caused Charles to remain in California, and to become a Californian citizen.

After witnessing the chaotic environment of the California Gold Rush in Sacramento Valley, Charles became involved in politics and journalism. He founded the North California Expositor, a weekly newspaper which advocated for law and order, as well as anti-corruption. In 1849, Charles was elected as the first mayor of San Francisco City. In 1854, Charles was appointed as the Californian Secretary of Treasury, serving under the presidency of Douglass Browne. In 1857, Charles served as the president of the 1857 Constitutional Convention, a constituent assembly organized to reform the Californian government due to perceived government inaction and state failures. Charles emerged as a proponent of constitutional monarchism, placing him in conflict with the republicans. The majority of delegates of the convention ultimately sided for compromise, establishing a new state as the Kingdom of Sierra, combining elements of American-styled federalism with Westminster parliamentarianism. Charles was declared king of Sierra, beginning his reign on November 27, 1858 until his death on August 15, 1893, ruling for a total of nearly 35 years at the age of 71. Charles was succeeded by his eldest son, Louis I, who continued on his father's policies and legacy in his reign.

Charles was a Roman Catholic convert to New Anglicanism and a Freemason. He promoted religious tolerance nationwide and discouraged sectarianism in the Styxie. He was also an ardent opponent to slavery and unlike his contemporaries, held a more positive view towards immigration from Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Charles endeavored to assimilate Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other colonized people into the Sierran Anglo-American culture, but supported brutal colonial campaigns against indigenous resistance. During the later years of his reign, Charles's view on republicanism and the Styxie, where republicanism was most popular, evolved. He supported a hardline approach against republican uprisings and sentiments, and provided moral leadership during the Sierran Civil War. Despite his animosity towards Isaiah Landon, one of the chief architects of the Republican rebellion during the civil war, Charles granted clemency to Landon, placing Landon on house arrest for life, rather than have Landon executed.

Charles has been memorialized by numerous monuments, media, geographical places, stamps, currency, roads, and other miscellanea. He is consistently ranked as one of the most well-known and most popular Sierran historical figures. In 1919, he was posthumously granted the title "Late King of Sierra and Protector of All the Sierrans". He is also the original designer of the flag and coat of arms, as well as the person responsible for Sierra's motto and name.

Birth and early life[edit | edit source]

Smith's father, Gregory Miller, who was the head of the House of Stuart and owner of the Miller & Stuart Company.

Charles was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina, United States on March 18, 1822. He was the youngest son of Gregory Miller, a businessman and son of retired American Revolutionary War captain James Miller and Charlotte Stuart, Duchess of Albany, the daughter of the Jacobite Pretender Charles Edward Stuart. Charles was a direct lineal descendant of the exiled Stuart King James II and VII, who was deposed from the English, Scottish, and Irish thrones during the Glorious Revolution. His father, Gregory Miller, was a locally powerful and wealthy businessman, who operated the Miller & Stuart Company, a shipbuilding construction company.

Charles was raised in an upper middle class household. His father owned and operated the Miller & Stuart Company, a shipbuilding construction company that was prominent in the Southern United States. As the legitimate heirs to the thrones of England, Scotland, and Ireland (according to Jacobite succession), his family was well-known among the Scotch-Irish American and Scottish American community in the Carolinas. Charles's father promoted the family's royal blood lineage in order to secure contracts and deals with Jacobite sympathizers. Although Charles was the youngest of three sons, both of his brothers died before reaching adulthood, thus making Charles the destined heir to his father's claims and fortunes.

Charlotte Stuart, Smith's grandmother, served as the link between Smith and his royal ancestors, including James II, and their claims to the British throne.

His father, Gregory and mother, Anna met in New York City and settled at Gregory's home, the Miller Estate, which Smith's grandfather, James Miller, a former American Revolutionary War captain and veteran, had constructed in 1788. Inheriting the fortunes from his father, and the funding he received from his mother, Charlotte, through her heirlooms and overseas benefactors, Gregory started up the Miller & Stuart Company, purchasing smaller ship manufacturing companies, and securing trading contracts including those along the Potomac River and Hudson Bay. When the War of 1812 broke out, Smith's father decided to sign up and fight for the United States. During service, Gregory suffered minor non-life-threatening injuries from fighting and returned to Newark. They raised their first child, George in 1813 and then Walter in 1819. Born into considerable wealth, Smith attended an elite preparatory school, and was groomed by his father alongside his other brothers, to run the company in the future.

After two panics in Panic of 1825 and 1837, along with the death of Charlotte, the Miller & Stuart Company filed for bankruptcy, due to declining sales, and outstanding debt. Forced to sell the Estate, Gregory and his family were left essentially with scarce resources. Hardship and tragedy continued to plague the Miller family, with the death of Smith's older brothers, George and Walter, both killed in an accident just days after Smith's 15th birthday. These events led to his father's resort to alcoholism and idleness, forcing his mother to provide the family by selling handwoven blankets and quilts. Feeling exceptionally pressured, Smith dropped out of school, and ran away from home, but returned just three months later, and reconciled with his parents. He decided to restore his family's dignity and wealth, and began taking odd jobs in order to support his parents.

When he turned 21, Smith began attending church weekly and became a devout Catholic and remained so for the rest of his life. His Catholic faith would later come into conflict with the prevailing Protestant majority in Sierra, and was a significant reason for anti-monarchist sentiment during his lifetime. All of his lineal descendants have also kept the Catholic faith. Happier, he mastered his profession in tanning and developed new skills in seafaring and carpentry. At the same time, Smith's interest in politics and law reignited his desire to read and study more. While he was unable to attend law school, citing his commitment to remain by his parents' side, Smith served as notary public for the state of New Jersey from 1847 to 1849. At this time, knowledge of his ancestral and familial connection to the House of Stuart was finally revealed by his parents. News of this emboldened Smith, who desired to achieve greater in his life.

Early political career[edit | edit source]

When news of gold rush came from California, his parents encouraged him to leave New Jersey in search for a better life in the West Coast. Torn, he left the care of his parents to one of his friends and left to California in 1849 by ship. He boarded a trip from Boston to San Francisco arriving in April 1849, after six months at sea. He immediately set up a shop in San Francisco and started his own newspaper. With his newspaper, Smith conveyed his opinions regarding the local affairs of California and quickly earned a substantial readership audience. Smith's popularity helped him the win the election to become the first mayor of San Francisco City in 1849. Later in 1854, Smith served as state treasurer for the California Republic.

Marriage[edit | edit source]

In 1852, Smith met his wife, Rachel Bates at a mutual friend's private party, who coincidentally, was also from Newark, New Jersey. The two became fast friends and Smith proposed within a year. Smith had word sent back to his parents of his wedding who were overjoyed and expressed their desire to move to California. The wedding was held in private at the San Francisco City Town Hall which included President of California in attendance. Following Smith's wedding, Smith secured the funds to have his parents arrive and move to California by 1854.

Constitution of Sierra[edit | edit source]

Portrait of Charles I

When the Californian government openly admitted that it was unable to fulfill its role as a competent government, many Californians demanded a new constitution in order to preserve the nation. Smith joined the Californian Constitutional Convention in 1856 as a founding member and quickly rose to the top of its leadership. With great charisma, reputation, and status (he was serving as state treasurer at the time), Smith was well received by the delegates of the convention. At first, he aligned himself with the pro-American federalist faction but later championed the compromise between American democracy and British monarchism. Some believed that his awareness of his ancestral origins from the former Britannian monarchy also influenced his decision.

Within a year, Smith was chosen as the head of the convention and moderated daily sessions. He served on both the flag and coat of arms committee with his designs for both eventually adopted and mentioned explicitly within the constitution. Smith riveted his colleagues with a vision for a more perfect nation. He urged them to be mindful of time constraints as many Californians grew restless with the amount of time the convention took to agree on consensus. Finally, it was decided that the California Republic be renamed as the Kingdom of Sierra which would incorporate a federal parliamentary-styled constitutional monarchy.

The decision to choose a monarch naturally followed this decision and Smith was the choice pick by recommendation of the convention's leadership. Smith initially declined but decided to accept his nomination to become king, partly to prevent a potential conflict and to restore glory to the fallen House of Stuart. He agreed to forswear all allegiance to any partisan politics and to uphold the law of Sierra and the rights of the people. During the later stages of the constitution drafting process, Smith was unanimously declared the candidate for kingship. Once the new constitution was ratified, the Kingdom of Sierra was declared on November 27, 1858 alongside Smith's coronation as its first king.

Nomination and coronation[edit | edit source]

Immediately upon the conclusion and approval of the final draft for the constitution, Smith was brought to the balcony of the San Francisco City Town Hall around noontime holding the constitution declaring that he would defend the law and the people. Dressed in the same style of clothing as the other members of the constitutional delegation, Smith was given an olive wreath to differentiate himself from the others. About 2,300 people gathered to witness both the birth of Sierra and the crowning of its first monarch. The vice president of the Convention administered the coronation, and Smith was crowned with the unconventional regnal name of Smith, a commoner last name, as a testament to the King's humility and familiarity with the common man. Following Smith's coronation, the first decree of the king was to hold a popular election for the first prime minister. In the meantime, Smith assumed the duty as acting prime minister which was the first and only instance where a Sierran monarch held dual capacity of royal and civil power. His next act was proclaiming the royal house of Columbia which became the official family name for himself, his wife, his descendants, and his future in-laws, and the official successor to the House of Stuart.

Reign[edit | edit source]

File:Charles I sitting.jpg
An undated photograph of Smith during his reign and capacity as king.

In choosing to become king, Smith agreed to relinquish his active participation in partisan politics although he remained a powerful force who was respected and sought after by many during his reign. For the short time as acting prime minister, Smith attended the inaugural meeting of Parliament although he refrained from taking part in its partisan sessions. He enacted several decrees within his first year which focused on promoting public services and raising a viable defense force. Smith's goal was to eliminate the inefficiency and lack of order the Californian government suffered by appointing officials in lieu of governors across Sierra's 22 new provinces. Large swaths of Sierran land were effectively lawless and more were uninhabited which could harbor countless of threats and enemy forces. To confront this issue, Smith and the Parliament passed a law granting free land to Sierrans provided they used the land in a reasonable manner, cultivated the land, and enforced the laws of Sierra. This act encouraged Sierrans to form communal townships that later evolved into centralized counties and fully-functional local governments.

Following the election of the first prime minister, Frederick Bachelor, Sr., Charles I completely relinquished his direct involvement in politics. He however, for the rest of his life, continued to play a decisive role in Sierran political history by pressuring his prime ministers to implement the king's own policies. Smith strongly supported an industrialist approach to Sierra's economy and lobbied heavily for the set-up of a national bank. While never officially part of a political party (it was unconstitutional), Smith supported the Royalist Party which conversely, strongly supported him. The king developed a tenuous relationship with the Royalists' main rivals, the Democratic-Republican Party which supported the abolition of the monarchy. When Smith backed the Royalists' tariff proposals, the predominantly agriculturalist Democratic-Republicans backlashed and garnered considerable public support based on the pretense that Smith was out of touch with the common Sierran.

When Ulysses Perry became prime minister in 1870, the newcomer aggressively attacked Smith's position and rallied considerable support against the king. Meanwhile, industrialists, entrepreneurs, and skilled tradesman supported Smith and the king was well-received in the coastal urban cities. Smith's relationship with agrarian Sierra improved over time as he supported the subsidization of the agricultural sector and made frequent visits to the Central Valley provinces where farming was particularly strong at. Despite an incident where angered avocado farmers chucked rotten fruits at the king, Smith continued working on repairing his standing with the Democratic-Republican farmers.

Eventually, after Smith and Perry's relationship continued to deteriorate rapidly, Ulysses Perry died of initially unknown causes. Disputed over whether it was suicide or murder, many Democratic-Republicans placed the blame on Smith, accusing him of having a connection to Perry's death. Outrage intensified despite Smith's attempts to calm dissent, before climaxing with the call for revolution by Perry's longtime friend, Isaiah Landon. This call to arms began the Sierran Civil War, and for the first time, presented a severe breach in stability and safety for the kingdom and Smith's reign.

Throughout the war, Smith entrusted Acting Prime Minister Issac Johnson and the generals with military plans. In the meantime, Smith frequently wrote letters urging peace and offering clemency to Republican defectors, with these letters now known collectively as the King's Pleas. The king regularly inspected troops, and attended various public events in attempt to boost morale. By the war's end, the call for radical republicanism had declined sharply, and Smith's popularity surged in the post-war aftermath as many saw the king as a figure of stability and reason. Fulfilling his promise to provide clemency, he was responsible for ensuring Isaiah Landon was placed on house arrest instead of sentenced to death for treason. The king continued dedicating his reign to foster a strong relationship with his subjects and the government.

Later in his life as king, Smith developed a personal support for expanding the power and influence of Sierra internationally in hopes of discouraging the United States or Mexico from ever invading Sierra. Fascinated with exotic cultures and an early proponent for 19th-century colonialism, Smith readily approved and witnessed the Sierran acquisitions of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Rapa Nui, Hawaii, and the Samoan Islands. At the same time, Smith established numerous diplomatic contacts with nations in Asia and Latin America including Danguk and Japan. In 1862, Smith made his first international state visit by traveling to European countries including Albion-Gaul. His demeanor and personality quickly earned the favor of European statesman and captured the attentions of many commoners. Smith's iconic visit left a deep impression upon his hosts and increased the prestige of Sierra.

When the American Civil War broke out, Smith expressed sympathy toward the Northern states and the abolitionist movement. Although slavery had never been an issue in Sierra, occasionally, white American Southerner immigrants brought their slaves into the country. For a brief time, the Sierran government allowed slavery to be practiced provided that slaveowners be immigrants from the United States. Children born from slaves in Sierra would be considered free and any runaways that escaped were not to be returned to their owners. The fact that slavery existed in Sierra infuriated Smith and when the First Amendment was proposed which struck down slavery in all of its forms, Smith was quick to support it and officially assented to it in 1868. After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, the Union began to break apart and fell into a second civil war, the War of Contingency, following the Confederate Uprising. Smith kept Sierra neutral and had Prime Minister Richard Trist sign an agreement between Sierra and the United States to ensure that the war didn't reach Sierra. The deal broke apart in 1867 following clashes on the American-Sierran and American-Rainian borders resulting in Sierra joining the war after Charles I gave his Sovereignty Proclamation in support of the various breakaway states in Anglo-America.

Death[edit | edit source]

In 1893, at the age of 71, 35 years into his reign, Smith developed severe health complications that forced him into recluse. An overworked statesman who scarcely took the time to rest, Smith suffered high blood pressure and had a minor heart attack back in 1884. Around January 1893, Smith contracted a flu while traveling to the province of Shasta. Although starting off minor, Smith decided to deliver a speech to local townsmen but when snowfall came, Smith's condition worsened. Eventually, Smith developed lungs infected and developed into pneumonia. Panicked, officials had the king transported back by train to Porciúncula where he would receive treatment.

Upon arriving in Porciúncula, Smith's condition improved although remained frail for the remainder of his final six months. Later in July that year, on the 29th, the king fell down the stairs of the Parliament Building after attending a legislative session. He suffered a hip fracture, a broken nose, and a minor head injury. After attended to, the king was confined to his bed where he often rested up to eighteen hours. During his waking times, much against the insistence of his wife and other officials, Smith continued working by corresponding with Parliament and issuing his own opinions by letter. Prime Minister Frederick Bachelor, Jr., who frequently visited Smith for advice, noted that "the king was in a particularly gruesome state of affair" and that "[the king] was now a withered corpse whose charm in the pupils have long once diminished considerably". By August, the king stopped working and seldom spoke. He developed a fever on August 13 and had to be relocated to cooler room in the palace where he would spend his final two days at. Sensing that his time was near, Smith called for his family to come to him and bid their farewells to him. He urged his son, Lewis, to "do whatever is best for the nation and for the people". In the evening of August 15, Smith died in his sleep from the fever that wrecked his already deteriorating health.

Following his death, Lewis succeeded the throne and his first official act was declaring a state of mourning for his late father. Smith's body was handled by the Royal Coroner, a new post established by Smith himself months before his death. The coroner officially declared that the king died from a fever although attributed both his earlier pneumonia and physical injuries as other influential factors. Smith's body was laid in state underneath the rotunda of the Parliament Building and his royal funeral was held in front of the building. The funeral gathered as much as 10,000 Sierrans, all whom paid their respects and grieved for the death of their king. Several officials including the prime minister delivered eulogies and the body was temporarily buried in a plot directly behind the Parliament. A year later, after a new room was constructed beneath the foundation of the Parliament Building, Smith's was laid there. Since then, many important Sierrans including his son, Lewis, and granddaughter, Elizabeth I, have been buried in the room. The room came to be known as the Tomb of the West where Smith's remains and others are displayed to the public on special occasions and holidays. Reports of Smith's ghost have commonly surfaced with numerous publicized incidents from lawmakers in the building to civilian visitors. Urban legend purports that Smith's apparition appears in front of the Occidental Palace and Parliament Building on some midnights, especially on the day of his death and Constitution Day.

Legacy and image[edit | edit source]

File:Charles I Expressway Exit Sign.png
Charles I's name is honored in Interprovincial 1. His name appears on 13 other highways nationwide.
Charles I graces the front of the $1 Sierran bill.
A posthumous portrait of Charles I produced in 1909.

As the founder, the first king, and creator of the flag and coat of arms of Sierra, Charles I has been hailed as one of the greatest figures in Sierran history. His life has been frequently studied by Sierran scholars and has attracted a cult of personality among extreme far-right Sierran nationalists. Charles I appears on the $1 bill and the 25¢ of the Sierran dollar, numerous postage stamps, and over 932 public and private buildings in 2014 were named in his honor.

Smith has also been regarded by Jacobites as the rightful successor to the throne of the Britannian throne, and his house, the House of Columbia, as the continuation of the House of Stuart. During his reign, Smith acceded to using the titles of King of Britannia, King of England, King of Scotland, and King of Ireland although never legally pursued anything to achieve these claims. His descendants, including current ruling Elizabeth II have continued to claim the titles and seen as rightful heirs to the thrones by the Jacobites.

In some provinces, Smith's birthday, March 18, is celebrated as a work-free holiday. There has been a movement pushing towards making his birthday a federal holiday although no substantial legislation has been successful largely due to concerns that adding another federal holiday would be considered wasteful.

Since Smith's ascension to the throne, there had been many proposals to erect a monument in his name. During his life, he consistently insisted that there be no monuments or buildings constructed in his name believing that he was but a "mere man". However, when the Royal Monetary Authority proposed that Smith be featured on the $1 dollar bill, Smith agreed to have a facsimile of a portrait of his to be featured on it. He believed that "the people ought to know who works for them" and would keep his image in touch with the public.

Today, various places, streets, and buildings have been named in Smith's honor. The King Smith University and Smith Charles Miller University are two high education institutions named after the king and the first interstate highway, Interstate 1, was named the King Smith's Expressway. The King Smith National Park, located in the Sierra Nevada, was named after the king following the creation of a national park system in 1907. Since then, twelve other parks and wilderness lands, all at the provincial-level, have been named after Smith.

A collection of Smith's writings and letters have been compiled by the Library of the Parliament and most salvaged copies of the king's writing are stored in the Royal Archive Building in Porciúncula. The papers containing original concept art construed by Smith of the flag and coat of arms are also stored in Porciúncula at two separate buildings: the Royal Flag Institute and the Royal Heraldic Center.

Historians who study the life, achievements, and works of Smith are called "Smithologists" and hundreds of literature have contributed to the exhaustive study of the king. The Royal Historical Society of King Charles I, founded in 1956, is the largest association of Smithologists who collaborate with the monarchy in the research of Smith's life and legacy.

Perry assassination controversy[edit | edit source]

In recent years, new light upon the assassination of Ulysses Perry (as well as the earlier homicide of Perry's wife), the third prime minister of Sierra, brought attention to Smith's possible involvement. The two were bitter political, ideological, and personal foes and their tenuous relationship was well-known throughout the country. Perry was successful in rallying popular support to dethroning Smith and abolishing the crown and he and Parliament were close to overturning various constitutional provisions relating to the monarchy.

On February 14, 1873, Perry was killed by unknown assailants but his body could not be located. Until contemporary time, Perry's death went by the official report that he committed suicide. In 1998, San Joaquin and Tahoe province police declared that Perry's death was an assassination. Speculation that Perry's assassins were connected to the state government quickly led to the accusation that Smith was behind the orders. In 2015, new papers unearthed underneath one of Smith's residences in Tahoe suggested that he indeed may have encouraged killing off Perry.

Personal life[edit | edit source]

A photograph showing Charles I, known for his calm demeanor and affable personality.

Both before and during his reign as king, Smith held various strong relationships and friendships with others. After the death of his two brothers, Smith developed a deep and strong relationship with both of his parents whom he brought to California after he left them. Grieved by the loss of his siblings and remorseful for his shaky relationship, Smith embraced his parents into his life until their deaths in 1867 (Smith's father) and 1869 (mother). In addition, he frequently wrote letters to his cousins who chose to remain in the United States. Throughout his reign, Smith held a strong affinity for his wife, Rachel, and often insisted that she accompany him wherever he went. Several times Smith refused to attend a Cabinet meeting regarding security issues when members did not invite his wife on the grounds "a woman, even that of the queen, was able to handle pressing matters". Sensitive when it came to personal attacks on his family from the media, he had court servants read and burn any incoming papers that wrote "inflammatory and outrageous libel" against him or his family. Smith easily kept his personal life separate from the public for fear that enemies would capitalize on "the smallest of things". After a newspaper report sensationalized a private party held at the palace, Smith grew wary and suspicious of the press. Each evening, Smith personally closed and curtained all the windows in the Palace for fears someone would come in and get away with "sensitive information".

Smith was an avid horseback rider and kept a stable near the palace. In addition, the king took up golf and hunting for leisure, often playing in front of the public. Smith was also a brilliant player at chess, a woodworker, a fisher, and a musician. The king kept a grand piano, a cello, and a harp in the palace where he often played them during state dinners and galas. Although often interested in activities associated with high culture, Smith, wing from his humble origins, enjoyed the company of commoners. He often attended theaters and lectures, mingling himself with average Sierrans. Smith imitated the French salon and established one near the Palace in 1865 where he headed and conversed with both intellectuals and common visitors on a variety of subjects including literature, science, philosophy, storytelling, and even politics.

Religious beliefs[edit | edit source]

Raised in a Catholic household, (the traditional belief of his ancestors) Smith did not become religious until he turned 21. After suffering from depression, he decided to attend church in hopes of finding relief for his pain. Attending a local church in his hometown Newark, Smith became heavily invested at the church and began attending every Sunday. He became a Sunday school teacher and remained so before his departure to California in 1849. His involvement in church made him happier and indirectly led him to take up a career in politics. With a new sense of hope, Smith was able to work his way up for success with the support of his local church.

During his trip from Boston to San Francisco, Smith spent his days reading the Bible and openly conversed about it with his fellow travelers. Ridiculed, more so because he was Catholic, he nonetheless remained firm and managed to develop a strong friendship with one of the travelers thanks to their religious discussions.

When he met his future wife, Rachel Bates, he exhausted all attempts in confirming that Bates was the "ideal Christian woman". After judging her to be one of virtues and morality (along with their mutual attraction and compatibility), the two married within a year of meeting. As he entered into active political duty in the Californian government, he continued attending local Catholic churches. At one point, during his free time, he delivered seminars and wrote a brief pamphlet on Catholic apologetics. Before undertaking the duty of becoming king of Sierra, he reportedly declared, "I am merely an earthly King but Christ is the eternal Prince of Princes."

Smith's deep religious convictions often influenced his political decisions. When he discovered that slaveowners from the United States moved to Sierra, bringing along their slaves, Smith was furious and supported passing the First Amendment which would prohibit slavery. Smith denounced slavery as a "great evil" and "incompatible with the merciful religion of Jesus". When he wrote abolitionist statements to the movement in the United States, they often held a strong religious undertone. At the palace, Smith dedicated an entire room where he studied the Bible and other religious literature on Saturday evenings. He prayed daily and occasionally, took up to a fasting especially during particularly stressful times in his life. He attended the Mass every Sunday at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Assumption, Porciúncula.

At his deathbed, Smith offered Lewis advice as the successor and also pleaded to his family that they remain "in covenant with God" and promised that he would see them in Heaven. A personally annotated version of the Douay–Rheims Bible exists and is kept by the Library of Parliament in an encased glass box at the entrance.

Contemporary scholars have described Smith as a "pious and passionate man in his faith" and Smith's particularly strong religious beliefs have increased his reputation among the more conservative Christians and Royalists in Sierra. Nonetheless, at the time when anti-Catholic sentiment was widespread in a heavily Protestant nation, Smith was labeled as a "papist" and viewed with great suspicion and even disdain by a large number of Sierrans. The King's Catholicism was seen as a symbol of minority-elitism whose very existence conflicted with the nation's culture and values.

Freemasonry[edit | edit source]

The Masonic lodge Charles I attended prior to his ascension to the throne.

When Smith arrived to California, he developed contacts with local Freemasons who invited him to join a lodge. Initiated, Smith seldom attended Masonic meetings at the San Francisco Masonic Lodge No. 13 although Smith was promoted to a Fellow Craft within the Grand Lodge of California in 1856. Following his ascension to the throne in 1858, Smith kept silent on his affiliation with Freemasonry and later came to denounce it citing his own religious convictions and suspicion of the lodge's secrecy. Following the establishment of the Grand Lodge of Sierra, Smith requested an act of demit from the Lodge after it automatically transferred his membership from the now-defunct Californian lodge. After his departure, the king made no more mentions or associations with Freemasons. Likewise, the Grand Lodge of Sierra made no direct references to the king's former membership within the lodge until after his death.

Ever since public knowledge on Smith's association with Freemasonry came to light, conspiracy theorists have accused Smith of being in fact, a high-ranking Mason who continued Masonic activities well after his official departure from the Grand Lodge. Claims that Smith, alongside with other high-ranking officials were all active Freemasons, grew widespread only after Smith's death. New World Order theorists purport that Smith established a secretive and overarching network of Masons throughout Sierra's government and that all of his successors including Smith's great-grandson, the Duke of Cabo, are Freemasons part of the Illuminati.

Titles, styles, honors, and arms[edit | edit source]

The royal monogram used by Charles I during his reign.
Monarchical styles of
Charles I
Coat of arms of Sierra.svg
Reference style His Royal Majesty
Spoken style Your Royal Majesty
Alternative style Protector of All the Sierrans
  • November 27, 1858 – August 15, 1893: His Royal Majesty The King
  • August 15, 1893–present (posthumously): His Royal Majesty The Late King and Protector of All the Sierrans

As the sovereign, Smith held various titles and honorary military positions during his reign. The founder of five of the ten current heraldic orders in the Kingdom, Smith also received several foreign honors and distinctions during his life.

National honors[edit | edit source]

Knighthood[edit | edit source]

Sovereign Grand Master of the Celebrated Order of the Golden Poppy

  • Sovereign/Member First Class of the Royal Family of King Charles I
  • Sovereign/Member First Class of the Order of the Tricolor
  • Sovereign/Member First Class of the Order of the Encircled Star
  • Sovereign of the Order of Merit
  • Grand Master of the Royal Order of the Rose of Sharon (posthumous)
  • Grand Master of the Royal Order of the Navel (posthumous)
  • Sovereign/Grand Cordon of the Order of the Harmonious Kingdom (posthumous)
  • Sovereign/Grand Cordon of the Order of the Pacific (posthumous)

Civilian[edit | edit source]

  • Fellow Craft Mason, Grand Lodge of Sierra (relinquished 1864)
  • Honorary Chairman of the King Smith University
  • Honorary President of the National Botanical Gardens
  • Honorary President of the National Council of Equestrian Sports
  • Honorary Grandmaster of the Sierran Chess Association
  • National Cultural and Artistic Enrichment Award, Political (1891)
  • Sierran Philanthropic and Humanitarian Society Provider of the Year (1961, 2005; posthumous)

Foreign honors[edit | edit source]

Family tree[edit | edit source]


Ancestry[edit | edit source]

16. Christopher Miller
8. Sidney Miller
17. Sofia Valdez
4. Cap. James Miller
18. Frederic Montpelier
9. Mary Montpelier
19. Marie Baudin
2. Gregory, Duke of Napa
20. James Francis Edward Stuart
10. Charles Edward Stuart
21. Maria Clementina Sobieska
5. Charlotte Stuart
22. John Walkinshaw of Barrowhill
11. Clementina Walkinshaw
23. Katherine Paterson
1. Charles I
24. Peter Clemens
12. Robert Walter Clemens
25. Sarah Gibson
6. Jack Clemens
26. Patrick Walkins
13. Emily Walkins
27. Hilda Baumbach
3. Annie, Duchess of Napa
28. John-Pierre Montgomery
14. David Montgomery
29. Anna Baker
7. Elizabeth Montgomery
30. Lewis Lee
15. Annabelle Lee
31. Mary Caper

Quotes[edit | edit source]

  • "I was pleased knowing I took part in naming our beloved nation Sierra. It is a refreshing stand against the external forces that are obsessed with taking what is ours. It pleases our Spanish-speaking brothers whom understand it to mean "a range of mountain" [sic]. At the same time, even to the English-speaking people, the name evokes a sense of passion and romanticism—some manner of pride and sentiments for a rising kingdom. Perhaps all the world soon will admire and marvel at Sierra in all her majesty...the very utterance of her name will shake even the mountains that christened her." – Papers to the Union, December 8, 1858
  • "When I was asked to accede the offering of a crown, I of course, chose to. It was the unyielding desire of the masses." – Regarding his shift from republicanism to monarchism and later ascension to the throne
  • "All my life I believed that an aspiring people ought to lead their own life." – Said to Prime Minister Trist in 1866
  • "It is the duty of a civilized people and a Christian nation to protect and serve the weak, such is the case in the Pacific." – Regarding the imperialistic endeavors of Sierra
  • "I have it be said to all of you that whomever believes unfavorably of me, let him speak but that man there should just shut up." – Said to his royal staff in the presence of Prime Minister Ulysses Perry in 1871
  • "Born into the home of humble origins, I understand fully the plight of the common man. I owe my existence to this and I shall never forget. I am of them and I shall serve them--do not believe otherwise that I am against him for how can a man go against his own self, his own people? Your King here shall plow the fields, mend the steel, and mine the coals--I am not above but with you all." – In an 1876 address directed to Democratic-Republican farmers

See also[edit | edit source]

Charles I of Sierra
Born: March 18 1822
Order of precedence
First Orders of precedence in Sierra
as the Sovereign
Succeeded by
Louis I
Order of precedence
First King of Sierra Succeeded by
Louis I