Apparently, August and September are doing their best to kick my butt as I've been running behind in my blogging duties. I spent all of yesterday in meetings, until the evening which found me traveling. Today I spent a good chunk of the day in the hospital (my health is fine; I was in for my mom -- who's evidently also fine, though we, including the nurses, are all confused as to why the doctor had her come in) and am just now getting a chance to even sit in front of a computer. The next month or so looks pretty hectic as well, with lots more traveling and work and I think there's some wedding that I'm going to in there somewhere.
So in lieu of new content, I thought I'd throw up an article I had written for my old Fantastic Four website some years back. It was last updated in 2007 and obviously doesn't include any recent developments, but the earlier portions are obscure enough that I think some people might find it interesting...
The History of Latveria
Who rules Latveria? Dr. Doom, right? Well, not always. There was a monarchy before Doom and he has not ruled Latveria ever since his first appearance in a Marvel comic. This document will explain the rulership of the small Balkan country.
During World War II, Latveria was ruled by the Baron Tristian Mangegi de Sabbot. Even then, the country was a technological leader and Baron Von Strucker solicited their help in exchange for not overrunning the country with Nazis. Although Latveria was spared from the Nazi machine, the Baron took notes on leadership from Adolf Hitler. (X-Force #63) After his wife developed cancer, the Baron contacted Victor's father, Werner Von Doom, who did what he could but was too late to help. The Baron ordered Werner's death, at which time he ran off with his son. Werner died soon after and Victor vowed revenge on those who would destroy his family. (Fantastic Four Annual #2)
Doom studied both science and magik over the years and eventually won a scholarship to Empire State University. Shortly after his famous disfiguring accident, he left for Tibet and spent several years studying in a remote monastary. (Fantastic Four Annual #2; Fantastic Four #278) It was sometime during this extended leave that the Sabbat passed his power to King Rudolfo.
Rudolfo ruled the country poorly and it was relatively easy for Doom to usurp the dictator, using a robotic double of Rudolfo to deceive the citizens. (Astonishing Tales #2) Doom quickly re-established the country as a technological leader and used its resources to fund his own experiments (at this time, mainly time travel). He even travelled back to 1941 to study both his predecessor's and Adolf Hitler's leadership abilities. (Marvel Universe #2) After firmly establishing himself as monarch, he began using his intelligence and power to enact revenge on his only survivng rival, Reed Richards, and his family, the newly formed Fantastic Four. (Fantastic Four #5)
Doom continued to rule Latveria, occassionally using Doombots in his stead. Feeling a need for change, he began conducting cloning experiments to give himself an heir. While successful in cloning himself, he was forced into killing his clone on the day of Victor II's coronation. The ensuing battle left Victor incapacitated and Rudolfo's brother Zorba took control. (Fantastic Four #200)
Like his brother before him, Zorba was a poor king. Latveria quickly lost much of its previous prestige and wealth. Doom, having regained his sanity, was able to convince the Fantastic Four that he was a better monarch and Doom led a coup that resulted in Zorba's presumed death. It was during this uprising that Doom took a young Kristoff Vernard under his charge as an adopted son and heir. (Fantastic Four #247)
Doom was in the process of bringing the country back into a realm of financial prosperity until his apparent death at the hands of Terrax. (Fantastic Four #260) His Doombots continued to rule in his stead until his death was satisfactorally confirmed to them. At that time, they initiated a fail-safe Doom had installed where all of his memories and identity (which had been recorded earlier) were transferred into his heir, Kristoff. (Fantastic Four #278) Believing himself to be Doom, Kristoff ruled the country as Doom had when he first took control. Kristoff was captured by the Fantastic Four shortly after and exposed as the small child that he really was. (Fantastic Four #279) Although the FF kept Kristoff imprisoned under psychiatric care, he still was the official monarch of Latveria and was apparently able to run the country through his loyal Doombots while imprisoned. In fact, even after Doom's return (Fantastic Four #288), Kristoff was able to hold his power through his escape. (Fantastic Four Annual #20)
Several Doombots, also believing themselves to be the real Doom, fought for control of the country, enlisting the aid of several super-powered agents. Kristoff, however, was able to continually defeat them until the real Victor Von Doom returned and used an implanted memory switch to revert Kristoff back to his own personality. (Fantastic Four #350) Except for a very brief stint where one of the Magus' shades took control while Doom was searching for the Infinity Gems (Silver Sable #4-5), Victor remained in power until he was again believed killed. (Fantastic Four #381) It was at this time that Nathaniel Richards, Mr. Fantastic's father, stepped in and was able to take silent control. He ruled the country much like Doom and in fact made frequent use of Doombots to lead everyone to believe that Doom was still alive and in power.
Victor managed to escape his imprisonment from Hyperstorm and resumed control as Nathaniel quietly slipped out. (Fantastic Four #409) This, however, proved to be extremely temporary as Doom was dragged into the Franklinverse by Iron Man. (Marvel: Onslaught) While the real Victor ruled the Latveria of the Franklinverse, Kristoff and Nathaniel returned to Doom's castle, only to be repelled by Doom's reprogrammed robots. (Tales of the Marvel Universe #1) Nathaniel was able to eventually return, but not before the illegitimate grandson of Baron Sabbat, Dimitri Fortunov, tried to take control in the name of his ancestors. (X-Force #63) Since Doom's departure from the Marvel Continuum had been so widely publicized, it was difficult for Nathaniel to maintain control of the country and Dreadknight attempted a coup that was thwarted by Silver Sable and Spider-Man. (Spider-Man Unlimited #16)
Nathaniel ruled the country in Doom's absence and seemed to be recognized as only the head of a transitional government. Unfortunately, the mutant known as Stryfe unexpectedly landed his ship on Castle Doom (X-Man #45) and forcibly took control of the country, causing a vast amount of destruction to nearby Doomstadt. (X-Man #46-47, Cable #64) Although Dr. Doom returned to his native planet (Heroes Reborn: Doom), he was prevented from returning to Latveria by the Dreaming Celestial. (Fantastic Four vol. 3 #26) Also being punished was Reed Richards, who was forced into playing the role of Dr. Doom while trapped in his armor. (Fantastic Four vol. 3 #26) It appears that Reed was accepted as the sovereign of Latveria, but it wasn't long before Victor reclaimed his homeland. (Fantastic Four vol. 3 #31) Curiously, once doing so, he promptly left for Counter Earth, ruling Latveria only by proxy. At some undetermined point, Doom returned to Earth as part of a plan to destroy the Fantastic Four. Indeed, he was nearly successful, but ultimately was thrown into Hell. (Fantastic Four vol. 3 #500) Shortly afterwards, Reed took it upon himself to take control of Latveria in order to prevent other nations from stepping into the power vacuum and gaining control of Doom's arsenal. While he was successful briefly, the international community (led by the United Nations and S.H.I.E.L.D.) removed him from power. No formal charges against Reed or the Fantastic Four were filed, but that was at the expense of Reed having to turn all of his patents over to the United Nations.