Talossa was founded as a kingdom on December 26, 1979 by Robert Ben Madison, a 13 year-old resident of Milwaukee, shortly after the death of his mother. At that time the kingdom occupied Madison's bedroom, and he adopted the name "Talossa" for it after discovering that the word means "inside the house" in Finnish. Over the years, Talossa's territorial claims expanded from Madison's childhood bedroom to encompass most of Milwaukee's East Side, as well as the French island of Cézembre and a large chunk of Antarctica (called Pengopäts, which means Penguin-land in the Talossan language).
Madison maintained Talossa throughout his adolescence. During this time its only other members were about a dozen relatives and acquaintances. This changed in the mid 1990s, when Talossa's web page came to the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers via a series of stories published in such newspapers as the New York Times and Wired, which were subsequently republished by newspapers in many other countries. Several dozen new "citizens" joined Talossa as a result. Around this time, Madison began to claim that he was the inventor of the term "micronation".
In the early 2000s, some members of the Kingdom accused Madison, and the majority of citizens who supported him, as intolerably eccentric and autocratic. Led by Christopher Gruber, they responded by creating the "secessionist" Republic of Talossa on 1 June, 2004. As of 2007 the breakaway group claims approximately 30 members. Although the Republic is not officially recognized by the Kingdom of Talossa, an agreement of friendship and cooperation has been signed between the two parties.
An elected government, supported by Madison, continued to lead the Kingdom until 2005, when Fritz Buchholz, the Kingdom's immigration minister, declared several non-citizen friends of his to be "citizens", in an effort to take over the country. Madison and many others renounced their allegiance, and Madison abdicated as King in favour of his wife's grandchild Louis, who became King on 16 August. Dr Gregory Rajala held the post of Regent, then proclaimed (without legal grounds) that Louis had "abdicated" on 29 November 2006. An "interregnum" was in effect until 14 March 2007, when John W. Woolley was elected King of Talossa.
As a result of these actions, there were two groups calling themselves the Kingdom of Talossa. One group, backed by the majority of original citizens including Robert Madison, is based in Milwaukee and reorganized its government in August of 2007. As of 2009 the (Madison) Kingdom claims 40 members. The other group (which the Milwaukee group refers to as "Fritzland") is led by John Woolley and his friends and is based in Denver, Colorado. As of 2007 the (Woolley) Kingdom claims 101 members.
- The Kingdom of Talossa (Madison) Official Website
- The Kingdom of Talossa (Woolley) Official Website
- The Republic of Talossa Official Website
- New York Times Article
- "It's Good to Be King" by Alex Blumberg. Wired 8.03 (March 2000).
- "Castles in the air." The Economist, 20 December 2005.
- "Shortcuts: Starting your own country" CNN.com, 27 September 2006.
- "Art in Review: We Could Have Invited Everybody" by Roberta Smith. New York Times 7/15/2005.
- The Octagon & Crown Online newspaper covering both the Kingdom and Republic of Talossa.