Does history have a funny side?

Ed O'Meara
4 min readJan 25, 2020

Historical or hysterical? New podcast Countries that don’t exist anymore tries to do both…

Countries that don’t exist anymore is a new podcast from comedian and historian Ed O’Meara and radio producer Phil O’Meara. It tells the story of nations that were once high and mighty but have since disappeared into the mists of history. Why?

Well, there are plenty of podcasts that deal with history in an informative manner — probably most famously Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History. Then there are podcasts (such as Last Podcast on the Left) that take serious subjects and gives them an amusing spin. But there are very few that do it for history — especially obscure history. Expect to laugh and learn. Or just to learn. You can listen to the episodes on the website or wherever you get your podcasts — including Apple podcasts and Castbox.

So, what countries that don’t exist anymore are coming up on the first series of Countries That Don’t Exist Anymore?

1. Mercia

Before England was England, the land that Scots to this day call “that shit hole” was divided into a number of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. One of these was Mercia which, at its peak, was the top dog in the land, minted golden Arabesque coins under its great King Offa and built a large earthen dyke to keep the Welsh out.

You can still see it to this day, though the average Welshman seems to have no problem hiking over the top of it. So partial credit, Mercia.

2. Republic of West Florida

Who says that a country has to last very long? Not the Republic of West Florida, which lasted for about 2 and a half months. The Republic of West Florida is thought of as a transitional country between the British Empire then the Spanish Empire than finally part of a state of the United States.

But the West Floridians weren’t to know that. They cobbled together a government and a constitution and a flag and everything. So what happened? Well, you’ll have to listen to the episode.

3. Sultanate of Rum

If you’ve never heard of the Sultanate of Rum, you’re probably not alone. Some people have heard of sultanates. Even more people have heard of rum. Most people wouldn’t combine the two together. Well, the Sultanate of Rum did.

And guess what? It did a pretty damn good job of ruling a large portion of Turkey for hundreds of years. Did they have a well developed trading network, you ask? Don’t get me started on that. They also considered themselves to be the legit successors to the Roman Empire. Spoilers: LOTS of countries do.

4. Fourth Roman Republic

Weirdly, except these guys. While the first Roman Republic lasted 500 years, this one could only manage 5 months during the still pretty revolutionary year of 1849. And while many of our CTDEA subjects will have names you’ve never heard of, the Fourth Roman Republic has the who’s who of 19th century revolutionaries — like Mazzini and Garibaldi.

And they didn’t even mind that this state didn’t last. This was like a show home for revolutionary ideas. Almost the total opposite of a Bovis Home… that’s an example of the sort of joke that our international listeners may not get. And also our British listeners.

5. Inca Empire

Some of our countries last for hundreds of years. Others are barely around. The Inca Empire is strange in that it has such a hold on our imagination but wasn’t around very long at all. The Inca Empire did things in a way that was very different to us. And not just an early form of murder ball which sounds excellent.

Their society, although hierarchical, was based on ideas of sharing and joint endeavour and community service. This is why the Christian Spanish said: “it’s got to go!” What survives the Inca is a still rich legacy of art and architecture and stories. Unfortunately, we still have chicha — which is a revolting drink. But you can’t have everything.

6. Republic of Pirates

Is this just an excuse for loads of bawdy jokes and cliched pirate voices? Arrrrr. It’s not all dry, maggoty history biscuits on CTDEA. Sometimes we like to kick back too.

During the Golden Age of Pirates, a group of famous buccaneers (including Blackbeard) got together to form a country to basically show how much they didn’t like countries. Pirates were meta like that.

Visit ctdeapod.com or follow @ctdeapod on Twitter for more info.

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Ed O'Meara

Copywriter and historical comedian. Looking for the gravy train.