Kingdom of Acrea
Royaume de Acriénne
Motto: In Treue Stadigt
"In Loyalty Steadfast"
|Official languages||Nordic |
|Recognised regional languages||Miraiyan |
|Ethnic groups |
|Acrean (90%) |
|Government||Federal Constitutional Monarchy|
|3,376,982 km2 (1,303,860 sq mi)|
• 2020 census
|58.82/km2 (152.3/sq mi)|
|GDP (nominal)||2020 estimate|
• Per capita
|Currency||Mark (ƒ) (ARM)|
|Date format||dd-mm-yyyy CE|
|ISO 3166 code||ACR|
Acrea (German and Nordic: Nordrige or Akrien, French: Acriénne), officially the Kingdom of Acrea (Nordic: Kongariget Nordrige, German: Königreich Nordrige, French: Royaume de Acriénne) is a country located Eracura in Tyran. It is a federal constitutional monarchy. It is bordered by land to the west by Svinia, to the north by Alemarr, and to the east by Delkora.
Owing to its size, Acrea has a diverse landscape, spanning from a warm mediterranean coast in its far south blending into a temperate climate inland and north with lush forests, rolling hills, and snowy alpine mountains. Its total territory spans 3.36 million square kilometres, the 3rd largest nation in Tyran by land area, with a population of 190.9 million. Its capital is Trier, located at the foot of the Aarau-Voers mountain range. The city is also Acrea's largest city and one of its major financial capitals. Other major cities include Stavanger, Kongsvingen, Aix-en-Provence, Baden, Schönbrunn, Rouen, Gothenburg, and Norsjö. The English name Acrea comes from the ancient city of Acre, located in the Altstad district of modern-day Trier where many ancient ruins and sites can be found as protected landmarks.
Today, Acrea is a regional leader and a highly developed country. It is the region's largest economy, which is post-industrial with services accounting for the largest percentage of GDP, although it has a massive manufacturing sector that focuses on the manufacture of advanced goods and technology. It is a regional leader in several industries, such as automotives, technology, and energy. The Acrean government's extensive investment in renewable energy technologies has put Acrean energy firms at the forefront of this industry as pioneers in the production and use of renewable energy, shown with 40% of the nation's energy needs met via renewable energy sources in 2017. Oil, natural gas, and energy also account for a large volume of Acrea's exports. The focus on utilising its offshore reserves for export purposes has inversely led to high domestic oil prices since the 1970s compared to other petro-states. Socially, Acrea maintains a robust national universal healthcare system, and invests substantially into social welfare. Education is highly valued; in addition to maintaining universal education, the Acrean government strictly maintains low-cost tuition for secondary and postgraduate education.
The city of Acre was founded along the river Varde sometime around 800 BCE, although archaeological evidence shows that the city itself actually existed significantly earlier. However this date given in the Sagas is relatively consistent with other tradition which states that the Kingdom of Acre was founded circa 700 BCE. Not much is known about the Kingdom, as most information regarding it is gleaned either from writings of authors during the later Acrean Empire and collections of oral traditions that were recorded. The Kingdom gradually gained more territory as it was joined by neighbouring villages and small kingdoms, before finally being declared as the Acrean Empire in 300 BCE, at which point it constituted most of the territory of modern-day Acrea. This expansion included a brief conflict with the Sabrian Empire some time in the 6th century BCE, which saw the Sabrians forced from the southern Acrean coast. The empire steadily grew its territory across the Eracuran continent through a combination of diplomatic, military, and mercantile means, and eventually controlled of the continent; Acrean expansion eventually led to further conflict with the Sabrians, which saw Acrean control spread into northeastern Siduri by the 4th century CE.
It achieved stability through decentralised rule; it managed its vast territory through the appointment of Statthaltern, who were the locally-appointed governors of provinces throughout imperial territories. Several provinces would be combined into a region, frequently named for its most predominant local group, who would be overseen by an Acrean-born regnant. Though the empire maintained a standing army, security would be handled by local guard troops, similarly raised and paid for by the province. Taxation was oft-decided by a province's Statthalter, which rates related to the wealth of a given province. Though there were several attempts by Emperors to enforce a more rigid, centralised scheme to tax imperial territories, they were nearly always prevented by the senate. Perhaps the longest-lasting and most prominent feature of the empire, which would go on to be its most important legacy, was the vast network of trade and infrastructure that flourished within imperial borders. Large construction projects saw roads be built to connect far-flung corners of lands under Acrean control, and along with it the ability for merchants to move large stocks with no concern for extra taxes or legal complications.
Issues with local nationalist and ethnic movements shook Acrean control over much of its western territory throughout the latter half of the 8th century, and into the first half of the 9th. With future prospects for unity of the Empire looking grim, the decision was made to grant independence to Acrea's vast western territories, which took place gradually from 850 to 856. Acrean fears very quickly proved to be true, as the former territory fractured into various groups, and order rapidly broke down.
The loss of so much territory, although considered by Imperial leadership to have been not only a necessity but a benefit to Acrea's overall prosperity and unity, was nonetheless a blow to the Empire's pride. The final end to the Acrean Empire came gradually, with close territories such as Nordkrusen and Delkora being granted their independence by mutual agreement. The latter finally separated from Acrea in 982, marking the end of direct Acrean control over any foreign territories. In 1010, Emperor Alaric von Gotha II declared the Kingdom of Acrea, harkening back to the original Kingdom of Acre, and formally ending the Acrean Empire and beginning the next era of Acrean history.
Despite no longer having direct control over much of its former imperial territory, the new greater Acrean Kingdom could not afford to turn totally inward. In the decades after his declaration, Alaric II established a precedent for Acrean kings to make the maintenance of relationships with former territories an important duty of the king. Many former territories, including Shalum, parts of Svinia, and Delkora sought a close relationship with Acrea still. The relationships were mutually beneficial, providing Acrea not only with political allies along its borders and across the continent, but supporting their merchant class through expanded trade.
The ascension of Ivar I Wilhelm von Dansk as king in 1335 would prove to be a pivotal moment in Acrean history. Considered as an "enlightened" king, Ivar I was educated from his youth; literate, and well-read in authors of all kinds from philosophers to historians, both foreign and Acrean. His understanding of the hierarchy of Acrean society led him to the conclusion that it was doomed to failure for the Crown, as the numerous estates and lands spread across Acrea's nobility were, in his view, fuel for personal gain over that of the Kingdom. Jarldoms, baronies, and counties existed independent of each other, each separated primarily by the amount of land which they occupied. Rather than the size of one's lands necessarily dictating their status, it was rather the wealth and power such land could bring them, and legal conflicts over resources and ownership was plentiful. Consequently, Ivar I instituted a series of major reforms beginning in 1358 to reconsolidate Acrean territory and reorganise noble society, creating the modern noble hierarchy which persists to modern Acrea. Initially a means of land ownership and hierarchical reform, his changes to the structure of Acrean territory proved to be useful for positively reforming governance.
Under the reforms, the traditional subordinate kingdoms of Acrea were formally restored as Archduchies (Acrean: Aartsherzogvärdighet): Daneland, Gothaland, Bayern, and Venetia (also known as Venedig). Steiermark was established as the Crown's archduchy, under royal governance as opposed to the archdukes and archduchesses which were to govern the others. Existing counties and baronies were consolidated into larger duchies, which replaced jarldoms. Definitions and importance likewise changed. Historically, all noble families of knightly rank were granted the title of Baron in a practice stretching back to the Acrean Empire. Under Ivorian reforms, this was changed. The rank of Baron and Baroness were separated from their association with military service though retained their connection to allodial governance of baronies (which were additionally abolished as a legal definition), and the ranks of Reiter and Kavalier formally created, with the latter in the same class as a Baron. The new hierarchical structure of the nobility not only established clear ranking by title among Acrean nobility where it had not existed previously, but also a formally defined system of governance for the nobility to follow alongside that which existed for non-nobility. Due to their closeness and familiarity with localities, Barons became the predominant nobles within the Reichshof, whilst Counts and Dukes remained more concerned with regional matters. The reforms additionally created ranks outside of this hierarchy- those of Royal Princes and Princesses, and Royal Counts and Countesses. These titles did not officially correspond to any distinct land holdings, and were instead indicators of status and favour as they answered directly to the monarch.
Among the most important of Ivar I's reforms was increasing the status of the Electors. Directly elected by the Landtag from the nobility, Electors are the only members of the nobility permitted to cast votes for the affirmation of a new Chancellor. With the Ivorian reforms increasing the closeness by which noble and non-noble governance worked together, the importance and prestige of being an Elector drastically increased, and is today still considered an immense honour.
Aside from immense reforms to the nobility, Ivar I oversaw substantial changes to other aspects of Acrean society with particular attention to education. His educational reforms focused on two aspects he considered key; first was increasing the standard of literary, academic, and religious education across the kingdom, establishing rural schoolhouses for the children of agricultural workers to allow them education opportunities equal to those in cities and towns. Much like public schoolhouses in urban areas, these schools were opened and operated in close cooperation with the Storaasurshof, as the Temple not only was able to devote the necessary funding to their maintenance but provide highly literate priests and priestesses as educators. Access to such highly literate educators was what enabled the introduction of classical curriculums for pupils in these schools. The second aspect which Ivar I succeeded in achieving was the creation of centralised trade schools, funded by the state. These trade schools allowed the formalisation of teaching methods and the creation of networks of tradesmen and apprenticeships, not only enhancing the education of aspiring trades workers but enabling other reforms in the areas of working and product standards.
Ivar I's reforms were coupled with investment in industry and agriculture, and an increased awareness of the noble court to prominent inventors and tradesmen. The social and economic impact brought by Ivar I's reforms persisted well after his death in 1374 was compounded by key inventions, such as the movable-type printing press in 1381.
The period referred to as the Aterlsyning is considered by historians to have begun sometime during the late Ivorian Era, in the late 14th century. Loosely translating as "The Illumination" and more commonly referred to as "The Enlightenment", this period is considered to mark the beginning of the modern era in Acrea. It persisted until the early 17th century.
Although first founded in 1432, the Acrean Army traces its modern traditions to 1630 and King Leopold IV's martial and social reforms. The Leopoldine Era, in contrast to the Ivorian Era which came three centuries before it, was centered around power rather than the uplifting of society. Although a boon to the Kingdom, the social reorganisation of the Ivorian Reforms and economic prosperity of the Aterlysning brought a fundamental challenge to Leopold IV in the form of social conflict between a still-growing middle class, and the lower noble Junkers. Distinct from the middle and upper classes of the population, as well as from the higher titled nobility, the Junkers constituted their own tightly-knit group of elites who sought to maintain their growing economic dominance at the expense of the high nobility, as well as the middle- and upper-classes.
As the direct owners of much of Acrea's farmland and arable estates, the Junkers had been important in the raising of Acrea's standing army during the late Ivorian era. However, even by the early 1600s this force was still primarily composed of mercenaries in national service, alongside a small core of Acrean soldiers dedicated to the Crown. This force was both wholly unique and inadequate; the steady pay and merit-based hierarchy of the small professional army meant that military service was a genuine and desirable career option for Acrean men, just as the Empire's Army had been a millennia before. At the same time, it was too small to provide Leopold IV with the force that he needed to enforce his power, as mercenaries still provided the Junkers with the ability to create an army of credible threat to the Crown.
Although he and the high nobility possessed the power to take the wealth and estates of the Junkers, Leopold IV was aware that using his power so tyrannically would undoubtedly lead to a very unhappy and potentially rebellious class of lower nobles, who would still possess considerable resources or could outright refuse the Crown's demands. The solution came from Donatien de la Serre, Comte du Villefranche-sur-Mer, a nobleman from Acrea's south. The son of the Archduke of Venetia, de la Serre's solution was termed the Sursis or Friste. In exchange for the payment of a huge sum to the Crown, the King would allow Junkers the ability to rule their estates without direct interference from the Crown or their high nobility.
The Friste was a success, and in turn Leopold used this newly centralised bounty of wealth to re-acquire power and resources from the Junkers and upper class landowners. He first targeted the weaker and more rebellious of the Junker families; with each, they were stripped of much of their wealth, which was subsequently re-invested back in the growth of the army, until it had grown so powerful that the strongest of the Junker families did not need to be physically confronted or challenged to fall in line.
To a lesser extent, the Friste was extended to the high nobility as well. However, in compensation, Leopold generously offered positions and postings within the government and the new army. These positions were not only well-paid but prestigious, reflecting the high opinion of the new, wholly professional army under the Crown's command. For those Junker families who had not engaged in conflict with the common people or treasonous behaviour, they were offered lower positions. Through these actions, Leopold IV successfully tied the well-being and success of the nobility to the state and the Crown. Thus, anyone who was anyone in Acrean society then had an interest in the well-being of the state and, by extension, the army.
With the goals of the Friste completed by 1644, his attention turned to reform of the army which although vastly expanded in size and repute, still followed the model of the Ivorian professional army that was now two centuries old. The army was, for the most part, considered the bastion of what became known of "Acrean Virtues"- traits such as discipline, loyalty, and modesty which had often been quite literally beaten into the men of the army. An army which, Leopold is noted as having observed, was inefficient for a continental power of Acrea's size. In 1648, he instituted the levy, or Landwehr, system. The Landwehr system was the first organised system of conscription in Acrea, and was created with the purpose of not only increasing the number of soldiers available at any given time, but also providing an immense, deep reserve of military-trained men which could be called upon in times of war. The reforms stipulated that all able-bodied men were required to serve at least two years under standard beginning at any point from their nineteenth to their twenty-third birthday, formed into Landwehr regiments which were based locally in the areas from which their manpower originated. These regiments would serve in support of the regular professional army, and would receive training equal to the regular army with the only fundamental difference being their shorter time of service.
The introduction of the Landwehr system was a balancing act for Leopold, but one which proved successful. Numerous changes had to be made to the way in which the army was run and trained, which are often referred to along with the creation of the Landwehr as the Leopoldine Reforms. Punishments were changed from physical ones to jail time and additional intensive drill. Likewise, prospects for advancement into the officer corps were made far, far better for individuals from any strata of society. These changes, combined with the existing prestige and socioeconomic prospects the army could offer, led to a drastic increase in the number of recruits for the professional army. The Landwehr is attributed with being the organisation that gave rise to the idea of "Acrean Virtues", as with the vast majority of men throughout Acrea spending time in the military, the population was gradually infused with these same virtues which came from martial education.
Law Enforcement and Security
Policing within Acrea is centralised, with the National Police (Rigspolitie) being the largest and most prominent police force under the Ministry of the Interior. The National Police operates divided by provinces, and is then further subdivided into districts. Primary police markings are dictated by Archduchy- officers in Daneland will wear equipment marked Politie, those in Gothaland are marked Polizei, and those in Acrean Venetia are marked Police. In addition to the National Police is the Marechaussee. Originally a gendarmerie force tasked with crime prevention, the Marechaussee rapidly expanded in the 18th and 19th centuries into an effective investigative police force as well as a gendarmerie.
Acrea's non-police security organisations are organised under the Ministry for Internal Security (MIS). MIS is considered Acrea's overarching intelligence agency, and coordinates the efforts of the entirety of Acrea's intelligence community both military and civilian. MIS has two subsidary agencies, the National Security Service (MIS-SAPO) and the Office of National Intelligence (MIS-ONI). SAPO serves as a special security and intelligence service, focused primarily on counter-espionage, counter-terrorism, and counter-intelligence operations. It closely coordinates with ONI, which is focused on foreign intelligence and foreign clandestine operations. SAPO also works closely with the National Police and the Marechaussee to engage in crime prevention.
The Acrean government, since 2000, has invested heavily in nationalising renewable energy methods, with the eventual goal of making at least 80% of the nation's needs met through the use of renewable energy sources by 2030. Approximately 40% of the nation's energy requirements were met using renewable energy in 2017, of which the most efficient have been wind farms in the North Sea. The Acrean Government has also done extensive work to begin utilising ever greater amounts of hydroenergy, employing extensive development programmes in order to implement newer and more efficient technology.
Acrea is a strong oil producing economy. Expansive offshore drilling in the sea and in the arctic has yielded large reserves not found in continental Acrea. One of the chief goals of the Acrean Navy is the protection of Acrean economic assets at sea. However, the majority of the oil is exported which results in comparatively high domestic gas prices.
Acrean cuisine is well-known and renowned. It is often cited as the origin of modern restaurant service and fine dining. It is composed of a wide variety of regional and local cuisines reflecting Acrea's wide climate range, and its rich and diverse cultural history. Acrean cuisine is perhaps best known abroad for number of its exported staples; its wide array of cured meats and sausages, and chocolate treats from its alpine chocolatiers, its vast selection of alcohols ranging from beer to many different types of wine, and its high quality and abundance of certain types of seafood. The Acrean government maintains a strict set of food safety and quality standards, not only to improve the quality of food within Acrea but to maintain the value of it as exports.
Fine dining and culinary arts has a long history in Acrea. Beginning in the 1400s, Acrean society began to see the development of haute cuisine, distinguished from regular cuisine not by who could eat but rather in the nature of its preparation. Although dedicated chefs had existed since antiquity in Acrea, it wasn't until the establishment of the country's first dedicated culinary school in Baden in 1436 that truly professionally educated chefs became commonplace in the courts and estates of Acrean society. Culinary arts had long been considered a trade alongside those such as carpentry and masonry, however where these professions had long had their own dedicated institutions, culinary arts had not. Professional chefs quickly became a staple amongst higher society, with chefs taking up positions not simply as the head of their estate's kitchen but also serving as the individual in the household staff responsible for planning lavish events such as parties, feasts, and weddings. "High" cuisine became known as such because of the meticulous planning, deliberately selected ingredients, use of extravagant presentation, and complex cooking techniques which was used by these chefs.
The study of ethnicity in Acrea has been fraught with contradictions and disagreements, largely relating to what constitutes an ethnicity. The union of Acrea early in its history has led to its three main cultural groups- Nords, Germans, and Venetians- share all but one of the indicators of an ethnic group, with the exception being language. Even this barrier has considered to have been long crossed not just by the infusion of Acrea's three main languages into one another, but by the prevalence of both multilingualism and the development of mixed dialects that in some cases border on becoming creole languages. Because of these similarities, many popular scholars have proposed since the 19th century that Acrea fundamentally consists of a single Acrean pan-ethnicity. Today, this is considered the academic consensus in Acrea, and was solidified by the decision to replace the options of "Dane", "Gothic", and "Venetian" from Acrea's census in 1921 with a single identifier of "Acrean". Since then, only linguistic data is gathered by the census.
Settlement of much of the continent by Acreans has led to several states in Eracura tracing their lineage back to Acrean settlement of their current territory. This is especially prevalent in the cases of Nordkrusen, Æþurheim, and Delkora, both of whom attribute settlement by Dane settlers as significant parts of their national formation. The prevalence of what could be considered Acrean ethnic groups in states other than Acrea has challenged the current mainstream definition of Acrean ethnicity, especially as centuries of efforts sponsored by Acrean rulers has led to the creation of a very strong Acrean national identity which would oppose the inclusion of foreign nordic groups into the Acrean identity- there are, however, notable exceptions to this rule. The children or descendants of foreign-origin families are greatly included in the Acrean national identity, with the most notable being the Mirai and Sarai people, often referred to in combination as Ryukan people. The Ryukans are one of the largest minority groups in Acrea. The Ryukans originated from the Ryuku archipelago and are named according to their respective home islands; Mirakaedo and Sarushima.
Moravians, a slavic group originating from eastern Svinia, are another significant minority in Acrea. Shalumite and Quenminese constitute the largest immigrant groups within Acrea. Following the economic devastation of Shalum during the Eracuran Great War, large numbers of refugees and job-seekers migrated to Acrea in search of work and economic well-being. Significant numbers of Shalumite women also immigrated to Acrea after marrying Acrean soldiers who had fought in and occupied Shalum after the war. Extramarital relations between Acrean soldiers and Shalumite women proved substantial enough that the Acrean government instituted a birthright policy in 1965 which allowed migration of children born as a result of these affairs to migrate to Acrea, and which still exists currently. Quenminese immigration has always continued at a high rate, but was especially significant in the late 19th and early 20th century where many migrated to Acrea in search of better economic opportunity.
Owing to its unique national makeup, Acrea has one of the highest rates of multilingualism in Tyran. The Acrean government recognises three official languages: Nordic, German, and French. Nordic is further distinguished into three major dialects; Northern (Nordnorsk), Western (Västranorsk), and Eastern (Østnorsk), all of which have considerable differences in pronunciation, spelling, and in some cases lexicon. Miraiyan and Saraiyan are additionally considered official languages in the Ryukan islands, but are considered only regional languages in continental Acrea. Nordic is considered the lingua franca of Acrea, as the predominant first language for Acreans (48%). German is the second most common first language (30%) while French is the third (22%).
The Acrean government is required to communicate written documents in Nordic, German, and French. For other official uses, such as the names of political parties, businesses, etc. any one of the three is accepted. The regional distinctiveness of the three Nordic languages can be seen in the Nordic-speaking countries that were formerly a part of Acrea; Nordkrusen speaks a variety of Western Nordic, while Æþurheim speaks a dialect of Northern Nordic where its settlers originated from, and Delkora its own dialect that is incredibly similar to Eastern Nordic.
There is an incredibly high rate of multilingualism among the Acrean population. A 2018 survey showed that about 76% of Acreans used more than one language on a weekly basis, 82% on a monthly basis, and nearly 100% responding that they used more than one language to communicate extensively at least once a year. Beyond being a practical necessity of daily life in Acrea, multilingualism is also psuedo-legally mandated. Language education is compulsory for all Acrean pupils beginning in kindergarten, and often by the secondary school level full classes are taught in a non-primary regional language of the region. In addition to extensive linguistic education, Acreans are also heavily exposed to all Acrean languages in their daily life through media, advertisements, and so forth. The Acrean government also recognises two native mixed languages, North Acrean and Venetian.