This article belongs to the lore of Kylaris.

Azmara

Commonwealth of Azmara

Gemenwelþ âb Azmaara (Azmaran)
Flag of Azmara
Flag
Coat of arms of Azmara
Coat of arms
Motto: “Stranghed komeþ fan galykhed en ânhed”
"Strength Comes From Equality And Unity"
Azmara (dark green) within the Euclean Community (light green)
Azmara (dark green) within the Euclean Community (light green)
CapitalAalmsted
Official languagesAzmaran
Recognised regional languagesIJssentaal
Hytklifer
Ethnic groups
(2013)
86% Azmaran
9% Euclean
5% Other
Demonym(s)Azmaran
GovernmentUnitary parliamentary republic
• President
Harald Alekssun
Sofija Anasdohter
LegislatureAlþing
Landsmot
Folksmot
Establishment
• Western March
974
• Duchy of Groonbank
1038
• Twin Crowns
1238
• Azmaran Confederation
1623
• Restoration
1810
• Commonwealth
1855
Area
• 
43,018 km2 (16,609 sq mi)
• Water (%)
1.7
Population
• 2018 estimate
10,029,100
• 2013 census
10,011,293
• Density
233.14/km2 (603.8/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2018 estimate
• Total
$473.6 billion
• Per capita
$47,309
GDP (nominal)2018 estimate
• Total
$513.5 billion
• Per capita
$51,201
Gini (2017)Positive decrease 28.4
low
HDI (2017)Increase 0.901
very high
CurrencyEuclo (EUC)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+19
ISO 3166 codeAZ
Internet TLD.az

Azmara, (/æzmɑːrə/; Azmaran: Azmaara [ɑzmɑːɹɑ]), officially the Commonwealth of Azmara (Azmaran: Gemenwelþ âb Azmaara [gɛmɛnʋɛlθ æβ ɑzmɑːɹɑ]), is a country located in northeast Euclea with a population of 10 million citizens. The nation consists of eight provinces and has its capital in the city of Aalmsted, whose metropolitan area backs onto many of Azmara's other large cities and comprises around 35% of the nation's population. To the southwest it borders Borland and to the northwest it borders Werania.

The nation's origins are traced to the creation of the Western March as a constituent state of the Rudolphian Confederation in 974. The nation's modern-day territory would form an integral part of the Confederation until 1623, when religious tension between the region's Amendist nobility and burghers with its Catholic rulers would lead to its secession from the Confederation as the Azmaran Confederation. This confederation would see prosperity from maritime trade, bolstered by the links facilitated by the links between its ruling classes and the Soravian royal house, yet would transition towards monarchism as a reaction to Pan-Weranic uprisings. Monarchism, however, would ultimately prove unpopular as the modern-day republican Commonwealth of Azmara was created as a result of the Revolution of 1855 and the War of the Triple Alliance.

Modern Azmara is a liberal democratic parliamentary republic with a developed, service-based mixed-market economy characterised by very high standards of living and a social-democratic welfare state featuring generous unemployment insurance and pensions alongside free and universal education and healthcare systems. It is also a founding member of the Euclean Community, the ECDTO, the ICD and the Community of Nations.

Etymology

The name Azmara for the present day region is thought to come from a portmanteau of the Proto-Weranic word austraz (east) and the Solarian word mare (sea), with Solarian documents calling the region Austmare, which is thought to have turned to Azmara through simplification of the consonant cluster and vowel shifts.

However, after the fall of the Solarian Empire, this name for the region would fall out of use in favour of the Western March, or Westmark in Old Weranic, a constituent state of the Rudolphian Confederation covering much of the area of modern-day Azmara. The name refers to the area's status as a border region, or march, of the Confederation, to the west of the ocean.

However, this name would later only apply to the north-western proportion of the country as the March was restricted to that area, and would eventually give its name to the modern-day Province of Westmaark. The south-eastern portion of the country would become known as the green bank, either referring to its geographical nature as a relatively flat, fertile plain, or the many small rivers that intersected it and was thus on the bank of, after the establishment of the Duchy of Groonbank in 1038, which would lend its name to the modern-day Province of Groonbank.

When the two entities united in 1238, the region was generally referred to as Westmaark-Groonbank, until the name Azmara saw a resurgence in usage and begun to supplant it in the late 15th century, and became officially used in 1623 when the nation seceded from the Rudolphian Confederation.

History

Weranic settlement
Western March
Duchy of Groonbank
Union of the Twin Crowns
Secession
Restoration
Second Revolution
Realignment
 550
 974
 1038
 1238
 1623
 1810
 1855
 1932

Prehistory

The earliest evidence of permanent human settlement in modern-day Azmara dates from around 14000 BCE, and there is evidence of agriculture from around 3750 BCE. The Bronze Age in Azmara (1700-500 BCE) was characterised by an abundance of burial mounds, which are found dotted across the Azmaran countryside, and there have been recorded cases of stone circles and menhirs from this period in various sites.

The beginning of the Iron Age in 500 BCE sees the Pre-Euclean people that had initially inhabited Azmara be largely displaced by Tenic peoples that had migrated inwards. These people left significant archaeological marks on the landscape: hillforts and villages from this time are found in multiple locations across the nation, and there are recorded instances of Bronze Age structures being repurposed by the Tenic Iron Age peoples. Society at the time was thought to be organised into a loose tribal confederation, with different tribes being ruled by tanistry.

Solarian writers of the time commented on the region, describing it as being "filled with largely harmless, primitive people". However, there is evidence of social development on par of the Solarian Empire in the later part of the Tenic period of Azmara, with coins being found in burials from around 300 CE and a few inscriptions written in a modified form of the Solarian alphabet, largely names, have been found on stones dating from the 5th century.

Weranic settlement of Azmara

In the early 6th century CE, Weranic peoples first settled in Azmara. These peoples brought their civilisation with them and founded cities such as Mideltuun, Ostby-an-de-mer and Wucing. Their society appears to have been relatively advanced; various regions and cities were led by nobles elected by the nobles of the regions they represented and then a king for the whole of the loose confederation was elected by the noble leaders. Furthermore, many coins have been found, as have many inscriptions written in runes on stone tablets detailing exchanges, decrees and court proceedings.

These Weranic peoples are thought to have become the dominant cultural group in Azmara by the end of the century, yet there is little evidence of conflict between them and the Tenic inhabitants and DNA records of modern-day Azmarans show both Weranic and Tenic origins, suggesting that the Weranic settlers assimilated and mixed with the Tenic inhabitants in their settlement of Azmara.

It is thought that before 792 CE, Weranic paganism was the dominant religion, with many inscriptions mentioning gods such as Woden, Thor and Frey, yet Tenic gods such as Lugh have also been mentioned, suggesting a degree of religious syncretism. However, Georgius Septimus, a Sotirian missionary from modern-day Gaullica, arrived in the nation in 731 CE to convert the people of the region to his religion.

This conversion was much more successful than previous attempts as he was able to convert Wilhjelmar I, the ruler of Mideltuun, who actively participated in his missionary work and, on a day commonly reported to be the 25th January, 792, they were able to convince the High King to convert to Sotirianity. Both Septimus and Wilhjelmar were made saints for their efforts in the conversion of Azmara, and are recognised as St. Jorś and St. Wiljâm, the national saints of Azmara, and the 25th has been declared St. Wiljâm's Day, a national holiday, to commemorate the event.

Despite the introduction of Sotirianity to Azmara, many beliefs from traditional paganism appeared to have stayed strong in the following centuries; a 9th century monk describes the continued celebration of "backwards pagan holidays" by the common people, while another decries the "madness" of the conflation of "false old gods" with "the one true Sotirian God". While Septimus also attempted to introduce the Latin alphabet to the region, their use is only seen in religious matters: official government documents continued to be written in runes, or in both scripts, for many years afterwards.

Rudolphian Confederation

Azmaran Confederation

Restoration

Radical Revolution

The Kingdom would suffer severe issues over the early 1850's, as poor harvests and a lack of available imports due to the War of the Triple Alliance consuming much of the continent. Bread riots became a major issue across the country from 1853, and as the country became gripped by rioting the 1854 election to the Folksmot saw the election of many radical-liberal members such as Mikel Hankssun of Aalmsted-VI and Jorś Wilhjâlmssun of Eśen Hill, demanding major reforms such as expanding suffrage, increased power for the Folksmot, expanded poor relief and land reform to give farmers more land at the expense of the nobility.

However, while many proposals of this nature were advanced and saw majority support in the Folksmot, the nobility and clergy in the Landsmot and King Stefan II refused to countenance them as they wished to retain their power. The news of this spread quickly throughout the capital and surrounding regions, and angered many of the lower classes, and rioting picked up again on a more serious scale with an increasingly political edge. As the government began to use force to put down riots, seeing no other way out, the rioters and radical-liberal representatives became more explicitly republican in nature, and as radical-liberal representatives formed a majority on the Aalmsted City Council, they used the government offices of the council to organise further agitation to try and advance their causes, leading to the Council's power being suspended by the central government.

However, in protest as to the shutdown of the Council, the radical-liberal representatives on the Council and in the Folksmot stormed the Council chamber and, on the 25th January 1855, co-ordinated with St. Wiljâm's Day, proclaimed the Commonwealth of Azmara as a sovereign entity in which power derived from the people. Serving as the interim President of the new state, Hankssun managed to secure the support of many of the rioters by endorsing the concepts of universal male suffrage and the abolition of noble privilege, and after managing to amass arms and gain further support, most of the city of Aalmsted was under the control of the new Republic by the end of April.

The revolution was able to consolidate control over much of the surrounding areas and over growing, industrialising areas such as Sompland and Kyningsmer, as well as over large swathes of Haadland by the end of the year, yet it significantly struggled to gain the support of areas such as Nordberg, Hytklif and rural Ostlaak, where the idea of noblesse oblige stayed strong and led to scepticism over the increasingly radical promises of the revolutionaries.

The revolution also faced a threat from within as many of its urban working-class supporters came to doubt its commitment to its pledges, and thus by the end of November an election was hurriedly held in consolidated areas, confirming Hankssun as President of the Commonwealth and seeing a convincing majority of radical-liberals elected to the Folksmot, which was made the sole legislative body initially. However, Hankssun's increasingly secularist and urban-focused rhetoric alienated other revolutionaries such as Wilhjâlmssun, who wished to retain a strong role for the Church in society and worried for the neglect of urban areas, leading to a political split between Hankssun's followers in the Progress Party and Wilhjâlmssun's followers in the Alliance for the Commonwealth.

Republican Azmara

Post-war Azmara

After the fall of the National Coalition government, a temporary government of national unity was formed between the Workers' Party, the Radicals, the rump Azmaran Section of the Workers' International and Gold Flame came to power, led by the Workers' Party's Hjalmer Alekssun. This government pursued constitutional reform, giving married women the vote and establishing proportional representation and making the presidency an officially non-partisan office.

New elections under this system saw a massive victory for Hjalmar Alekssun, with his party winning 40% of the vote and forming a coalition with the Radicals. The two parties would proceed to dominate Azmaran politics for the next two decades and, after re-entering the war on the side of the ultimately victorious Grand Alliance, would initiate many progressive reforms to Azmaran society, establishing universal secondary education and healthcare as well as the modern Azmaran welfare state, drastically expanding higher education and nationalising many key industries.

Azmara would also align itself with Euclean co-operation as its primary foreign affairs goal, joining the United Nations of Euclea, seeing it as a counterweight against the right-wing Weranian government and later co-founding the Euclean Community in 1948 after the collapse of the United Nations, with then-Thingspeaker Maþijas Aansgaarsun being one of the six founders of the organisation and declaring his vision of an "Eastern Euclea united by democracy, liberty and socialism".

The dominance of the political left over national politics would end in 1954, when a centre-right coalition would defeat the incumbent government. Despite the anti-socialist stances of the two main parties involved - the Sotirian Democrats and Gold Flame, and the explicitly economically liberal tendencies of the latter, both parties were willing to accept the newly created welfare state and continued the Knowlesby School approach to the economy, committing to full employment and fiscal intervention in recession. This consensus, often called the "Bojner compromise" by political scientists, would be maintained throughout most of the next few decades as both centre-right and centre-left governments alternated power.

However, in the early 70's, as second-wave feminism, pacifism and other social movements gained in prominence, mass protests in favour of women's rights in terms of pay, abortion and contraception, withdrawal from the ECDTO and addressing social inequality in education broke out. The Radicals under Aleksaander Mâþijassun aligned themselves with these movements, and in 1972 the party came a close second in the elections and, refusing coalition with other parties, formed a minority government focused on social reform in many of these areas, establishing equal pay, legalising contraception and abortion in cases of danger to the mother and introducing comprehensive schools.

Many would, however, reject the government's stalling and failings on other areas, and the party would be forced back into a coalition with the Workers' Party next election. This government, however, would face multiple economic issues such as stagflation and the start of a decline in Azmara's traditional steel and coal industries. While the government was able to win re-election in 1978, promising to be proactive in bringing down inflation and unemployment, yet it was unsuccessful in this and measures such as high interest rates and tax hikes were unpopular and were restricted by the budget deficit.

Modern Azmara

This would lead to a resurgent Gold Flame taking power under Aarne Leifssun, a former economist from the University of Aalmsted, who promised economic reform to alleviate the situation. Leifssun would keep up the high interest rates, but would also attempt further reforms to address the economic issues - his government began to restructure and sell off shares in multiple government companies in order to pay off the national deficit, while bringing the steel and coal industries into a managed decline to try and shift the economy towards a service-based one.

While his government saw success with bringing down inflation, high unemployment persisted and as a result the government was defeated by the Workers' Party in 1987, whose attempts at job creation schemes helped to somewhat mitigate the situation yet would see tensions with the Radicals over the recent reforms as the government sparred over attempts to reverse Leifssun's reforms, with Leifssun returning in tow with the Radicals in 1990 and engaging in a program of both social and economic deregulation, legalising abortion on demand as well as selling off shares in government owned companies and deregulating the stock exchange.

This would lead the Workers' Party to shift to court the now-growing middle classes that had resulted from this shift, adopting the mantle of "professional socialism" as the party shifted its focus to building strong public services, cutting bureaucracy and investing heavily in national infrastructure. This approach led to a resurgent party leading the government from 1993 to 2005, initially in coalition with the Radicals under Jonssun's second stint in office and later with Gold Flame under Jorś Mâþijassun and Eleina Helmutsdohter. While for most of this period this brought economic prosperity combined with further social liberalisation and Euclean integration as the gylder was scrapped in favour of the Euclo, the Great Recession of 2005 would hit Azmara heavily towards the end of Helmutsdohter's term.

The crisis would fracture Azmara's political scene and lead to a succession of what were termed "revolving door" governments as leading politicians failed to win re-election; while immediately after the recession Radical Helmut Þurisassun was elected and enacted a stimulus package saving the country from the worst of it, his untimely death meant his government failed to win re-election and was co-opted by the Workers' Party's Niina Hermansdohter, yet this grand coalition would see much infighting, especially after Hermansdohter's resignation would fail to win re-election. It was succeeded by two Gold Flame-Sotirian Democrat governments: the first saw an increasingly right-wing agenda due to support from the right-wing populist People's Party while the latter formed as the former collapsed and saw a more centrist course due to collaboration with the Radicals.

However, since 2017 under Thingspeakers Eryk Jorśsun and Sofija Anasdohter Azmaran politics have seen a return to a Workers' Party-dominated, social democratic equilibrium as both Thingspeakers have pursued an agenda of renationalisation and strengthening of union power and a return to the principles of the Knowlesby School.

Geography

Climate

Much of Azmara features a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification: Cfb), with mild winters and warm summers. The recorded temperatures at the Ostdyyk weather station exemplify this, with an average January temperature of 1°C and an average July temperature of 17°C. The country also experiences notable precipitation, with an average yearly rainfall of slightly over 600 millimetres. While this precipitation is relatively consistent across months, late autumn and early winter tend to be wetter, with October seeing an average of 69mm rainfall.

Some far western parts of the country, such as the province of Ostlaak, experience a continental climate (Köppen climate classification: Dfb), with colder winters where average monthly temperatures for December and January go below freezing and slightly warmer summers.

Climate data for Ostdyyk, Sompland
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 3
(37)
3
(37)
6
(43)
12
(54)
15
(59)
18
(64)
22
(72)
22
(72)
17
(63)
11
(52)
8
(46)
4
(39)
11.8
(53.2)
Daily mean °C (°F) 1
(34)
1
(34)
3
(37)
8
(46)
11
(52)
15
(59)
17
(63)
17
(63)
14
(57)
10
(50)
6
(43)
2
(36)
8.8
(47.8)
Average low °C (°F) −1
(30)
−1
(30)
0
(32)
4
(39)
7
(45)
11
(52)
13
(55)
14
(57)
10
(50)
6
(43)
3
(37)
0
(32)
5.5
(41.8)
Precipitation mm (inches) 55
(2.17)
41
(1.61)
41
(1.61)
44
(1.73)
50
(1.97)
45
(1.77)
45
(1.77)
49
(1.93)
49
(1.93)
69
(2.72)
59
(2.32)
55
(2.17)
602
(23.7)
Source: MSKM (Ministerium foor Stroom, Kliimatsforaþering en de Milijen)

Politics and Government

Azmara is a unitary parliamentary representative democratic republic, with its system of government laid out in the Basic Law of the Commonwealth of Azmara. Originally written in 1855 after the Radical Revolution, the document was heavily revised twice - first in 1915, seeing a shift from a presidential system to a parliamentary one, and again in 1933 after the Great Realignment.

The Constitution establishes the head of state to be the President of Azmara, who has the power of an impartial figurehead and a mediator between elements in the government; they are meant to give up their party affiliation, if one is possessed, before taking their role to ensure impartiality. An election is held every six years for the President, and instant runoff voting is used to choose the winner. They have the constitutional duty to dissolve the Alþing and sign laws, however they are restricted to only exercising these rights in certain circumstances, and they cannot refuse to sign a law, and while they customarily swear in members of the Government, this is only a de facto responsibility and has no constitutional basis. The current President is Harald Alekssun, a former marine biologist and television presenter.

The legislature consists of the Alþing, which is made up of the Landsmot and the Folksmot. The Landsmot is the upper house of the notion, and consists of 40 representatives elected by the governments of the seven provinces, while 35 are chosen by five constituencies representing trade unions, employers' organisations, small business owners and farmers, cultural organisations and university graduates, while the Folksmot’s 150 members are elected every three years by the general population of the nation through proportional representation. The legislature has the right to propose, debate and vote on legislation, which is then sent to the President for approval. Imperfect bicameralism exists; the upper house can not deny confidence to the government, although it can vote down budgets and other legislation, leading to governments making deals with small parties to pass legislation.

The executive branch is centered around the Government of Azmara (Azmaran: Wisemaanenmot âb Azmaara), which consists of 16 ministers responsible for the running of various departments of the central government; theoretically it is a council of equals, with the Thingspeaker of Azmara (Azmaran: Þingspreker âb Azmaara) being a primus inter pares leader of the council, yet since the 1990's Thingspeakers have been accused of "presidentialism" and personality-based politics. The current Thingspeaker, since the aftermath of the 2020 election, is Sofija Anasdohter of the Workers' Party.

Political parties and elections

The Folksmot serves as the directly-elected lower house.

The centre-left Workers' Party has often been referred to as Azmara's natural party of governance, having come first in terms of votes in every election since 1933 and leading the Azmaran government for 57 out of the 87 years since. The party's dominance in the post-Great War period has been linked to many factors, such as its historical ties to Azmara's historically influential trade unionist movement, its historical big tent status encompassing many strands of left-of-centre thought and a divided political right historically discredited to accusations of collaborationism with Functionalist Gaullica.

The party has traditionally faced opposition to the right from the classically and economically liberal Gold Flame and the socially conservative and agrarian Sotirian Democrats, with the former traditionally drawing support from Azmara's urban middle classes and the latter drawing the support of much of the countryside, small business owners and regular Church attenders. The two parties have, when given the opportunity, traditionally co-operated to form governments based on their common anti-socialist outlooks.

However, on multiple occasions, both parties have crossed the floor, with the Sotirian Democrats having formed a government with the Radicals, a left-leaning liberal party whom has been the traditional ally of the Workers' Party, in their 1972-75 and 2005-08 stints in government, later joining together with the Workers' Party between 2008-11 to form a broad centrist bloc. Meanwhile, the 1999-2005 governments saw grand coalitions between the Workers' Party and Gold Flame based on shared social liberalism and the centrist leadership of the Workers' Party at the time.

Since the Great Recession, however, new parties have gained prominence due to their anti-establishment credentials. These include the Green Party, whose progressivism and environmentalism have seen them gain appeal and participate in government 2005-11 and from 2017, the right-wing populist People's Party who controversially provided support to the 2011-2014 centre-right government and the left-wing populist Socialist Party, who were a junior partner in government with the Workers' Party between 2017 and 2020.

Law

The legal system of Azmara has been based on civil law with influence from Weranic law since the founding of the Commonwealth, coded down in the Gemenwelþlagensbok, the supreme legal code of the nation. Noted principles of the Azmaran legal system have been practices such as trial by jury, innocent until proven guilty, retribution and rehabilitation, where Azmaran law traditionally focuses on getting criminals to repay their debts to society while re-integrating them into society.

The Commonwealth Justice Court (Azmaran: Gemenwelþrehtnesraad) is constitutionally set up as the supreme court and final court of appeal and is responsible for constitutional matters with the power of judicial oversight. The Basic Law also provides for the creation of specialised national courts to deal with specific fields of law, of which three currently exist: the Commonwealth Labour Court, which deals with labour law, the Commonwealth Social Court, which deals with disputes relating to social security and the Commonwealth Finance Court, which deals with tax law.

While the death penalty did not see heavy usage before the abolition, Azmara was early to abolish the death penalty, with the last execution happening in 1862, with the leader of a monarchist paramilitary being executed for treason, and the death penalty itself being abolished in 1864. However, notably, the old Germanic system of wergild only came to an end around a similar time, with the system being kept due to the continued belief in retributive justice, however other ways of retribution and an increased focus on rehabilitation led to its end.

Azmara has a low murder rate of 0.7 homicides per 100,000 people yearly.

Administrative divisions

Azmara consists of eight subdivisions, traditionally called provinces (Azmaran: ryken). Legally, however, only seven of its subdivisions are provinces, with Aalmsted officially being considered a free city albeit with an equal status to the other seven provinces.

Each province has its own legislature, which are elected every four years through proportional representation. The executive of the provinces differs slightly: in the seven traditional provinces, these legislatures select a Provincial President (Azmaran: Ryksforsiter) from among their members to serve as their executive, while the Mayor of Aalmsted (Azmaran: Stedsmaaster âb Azmaara) is a directly elected position that serves the same role. Upon their inauguration, both of these positions have the authority to appoint a nine-member Government to help them with administration.

Azmara is officially a unitary state, and as such these governments only have responsibilities that have been devolved to them by the national government by legislation. Notably since 2019 significant powers over educational, cultural and environmental issues have been granted to the provinces of Haadland and Hytklif, and a notable federalist movement exists demanding for further powers to be devolved to all eight provinces.

Each province is divided into municipalities (Azmaran: gemenþen), of which there are currently 253, of which 20 have the official status of cities and seven of which have the status of boroughs of Aalmsted. In the seven traditional provinces, an additional distinction of fief (Azmaran: fyfen) exists which acts as a partnership of multiple bordering municipalities and of which 42 currently exist.

Province Population Area Density Capital President
Aalmsted 1,023,942 592 1,730 Aalmsted Analiisa Aleksdohter (Ap)
Groonbank 2,531,928 7,192 352 Jorś-Hylager Mikel Wiljâmssun (GF)
Haadland 814,295 6,691 122 Cârlesby Liis Wiljâmsdohter (R)
Hytklif 502,810 4,123 122 Nyhâben Jana Jonsdohter (FB08)
Nordberg 391,192 3,018 130 Nordberg Lorenc Hankssun (SF)
Ostlaak 1,128,381 3,390 333 Kyningsmer Leif Carlssun (Ap)
Sompland 1,618,271 9,283 174 Saltsdyyk Jon Cârlssun (Ap)
Westmaark 2,018,281 8,729 231 Stâjnensby Âlfred Jonssun (Ap)

Foreign relations

Former Thingspeaker Niina Hermansdohter (left) has served as High Commissioner of the Euclean Community since 2019.

Azmaran's foreign relations are largely the domain of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, with the responsible minister currently being Ana Freidriksdohter, yet the appointment and reception of diplomatic missions is the domain of the President. Azmara currently maintains diplomatic missions with most sovereign states around the world, with dozens of countries possessing embassies within Aalmsted. Furthermore, it possesses membership of many important international organisations, having been a founding member of the Northern Forum, the Euclean Common Defence Treaty Organisation and the International Council for Democracy and possessing membership of the Atomic Energy Commission, the Global Institute for Fiscal Affairs and the International Trade Organisation.

It is also one of the six founding members of the Euclean Community, and Azmaran foreign policy has been described as staunchly multilateral within the organisation, and the country's governments have generally been supportive of further political and economic integration, with a dedicated Ministry of Euclean Affairs existing . Within the organisation itself, Azmara has been described as a major player in "small state" co-operation, working with governments of countries such as Alsland, Borland, Caldia and Hennehouwe to try and counter the organisation's perceived dominance by Estmere, Gaullica and Werania.

It has maintained especially strong relations with neighbouring Borland, with a history of strong co-operation between the two states dating back to Borland's independence from Estmere and the two countries having been described as possessing a "special relationship", and co-operation between the two states and Alsland to reach objectives within the EC has earned the three countries the moniker of "Alsbora".

Outside of Euclea, the Azmaran government has traditionally pursued a policy of encouraging human rights and liberal democracy through non-military methods, being a major contributor to humanitarian missions by the CN and strongly supporting the role of other international organisations in encouraging these goals. It is also a major donor of development aid, with the country's development aid budget consisting of 0.5% of its GNI in 2019.

Military

CNA Maarijana, a minelayer owned by the Azmaran navy.

Azmara's military is known as the Commonwealth Armed Forces (Azmaran: Gemenwelþswermaaht) and consists of the Commonwealth Army, the Commonwealth Navy, the Commonwealth Air Force and Coastguard. The commander-in-chief of the military is the President and the management of the forces is overseen by the Ministry of Defence during peacetime. The forces in total number approximately 30,000 in 2019, and the military budget was 1.1% of Azmara's GDP in the same year, which was significantly below the ECDTO's spending target.

While chiefly intended as a force for self-defence, the Azmaran military is bound by collective security treaties for the EC and ECDTO and has traditionally sent contingents to ECDTO peacekeeping missions and interventions. It is, however, considered one of the more dovish members of the ECDTO and has opposed the more interventionist policies of other members such as Estmere and Werania, with the government expressing a preference for peacekeeping and humanitarian missions which it has more readily contributed to.

Economy

Azmara has an industrialised, developed economy with key characteristics a skilled labour force, low levels of corruption, high levels of innovation, a relatively generous welfare state based both on subsidiarity and universalism and integration with the Euclean Community, of which it was a founding member in 1948. In purchasing power parity, it maintains a relatively high GDP per capita, of $47,309, combined with a relatively low level of income inequality, with Azmara's Gini being 28.4 in 2017.

Traditionally, Azmara's economy was driven by a heavy industrial base, the main components of which were coal and iron mining in much of the Ostlaak Province and its hills, large steel and cotton mills in the central urbanised regions in cities such as Aalmsted, Jorś-Hylager and Stajnensby and in the industrial towns of Sompland, glass blowing in parts of Westmaark and shipbuilding in coastal towns such as Sooþbryg and Ostby-an-de-mer. However, Azmara's industrial sector has seen significant downturn in recent years as outsourcing has led to the decline of these industries at home, and many traditional players such as the Azmaran Coal Board and the Azmaran Steel Board have seen their role within the national economy significantly reduced.

Many economists have described Azmara's recent economic history as a transition from a manufacturing-based, export-driven economy with elements of dirigisme in its economic strategy to a service-based social market economy via the process of deindustrialisation and aided by neoliberal policies implemented by governments between 1981 and 2005. However, the Azmaran government still maintains a strong presence in many of what it deems "key sectors", owning a majority share in the Ostlaak-Haadland Port Authority, which manages trade and docking rights in many of the country's major ports, and in Azmaariś-Telekom, which operates the moble and wireless networks of the country, and Azmaaris-Lesten, which operates the country's rail network.

While structural unemployment has become a major issue in modern Azmara as many post-industrial towns and cities have long struggled with the loss of their main employers, the Azmaran economy has seen significant recent growth in new sectors. Examples of sectors that have grown over recent decades include consumer electronics and information technology, largely as a result of heavy subsidisation and tax breaks by recent governments, and luxury goods such as fashion and confectionary. Within these four specific sectors, Azmaran companies such as Blauberja, Foorbindest, J&J and Freidrik's respectively have had a significant impact on the national economy.

Azmara's economy has been characterised by a fairly high unionisation rate: 59.4% of the Azmaran workforce are members of a union, of which the overwhelming majority are affiliated with Bund âb de Arbeiden, a confederation of four blue-collar unions, one public sector union and one professional union which has heavy links to the Workers' Party. This union plays a major role in Azmara's system of social corporatism as its shop stewards and representatives take a key role in collective bargaining with employers' organisations, and also takes a major role in electing the 7 representatives for the Trade Unions constituency on the Landsmot.

Science and technology

Infrastructure

Energy

Transport

Communications

Demographics

Population by ancestry (2019)

  People of Azmaran descent (84.21%)
  Immigrant (12.23%)
  Descendant of an immigrant (3.56%)

In 2018, Azmara was estimated to have a population of around 10,029,100 people, an increase of 17,807 people from the 2013 census, meaning a growth rate of 0.18% over five years. Azmara is also one of the more densely populated countries in Euclea, with a population density of 233.14 people per square kilometer.

The fertility rate in Azmara stands at 1.69 babies per woman, significantly below the 2.1 minimum rate of population replacement. However, life expectancy in Azmara is relatively high, with women living to 83.4 years and men living to 79.0 years on average.

The largest city in Azmara is its capital, Aalmsted, with a population of 1,023,942 within the official Province of Aalmsted, which constitutes over 10% of the entire Azmaran population. A further 15% live in the nearby cities of Stajnensby and Jorś-Hylager, which serve as the capitals of the provinces of Groonbank and Westmaark respectively, leading to what has been labelled the Aalmsted-Stajnensby-Jorś-Hylager conurbation being home to over a quarter of Azmara's population.

In the 2013 census, 86.0% of respondents identified themselves as Azmaran, 8.5% identified themselves as Euclean and 5.5% identified themselves as Other.

Around 5% of Azmarans are thought to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Languages

The sole official language of the Commonwealth of Azmara is the Azmaran language, a Weranic language closely related to Borish, Estmerish, Swathish and Dellish. It is taught as the primary language in most schools across Azmara, with 98% of the population being able to converse in the language.

There has been debate in recent years over the status of the Hytklifer and IJssentaal dialects, which have both traditionally been considered dialects of the Azmaran language despite only partial intelligibility spoken in the Provinces of Hytklif and Haadland respectively. Both of the dialects have been stigmatised and marginalised in favour of standard Azmaran across the 19th and 20th centuries in the face of Azmaran nationalism, yet both of them have seen a revival in the face of growing regionalism, with bilingual schools emerging in recent decades and bilingual signage being introduced. Both dialects gained recognition in their respective provinces in 2019 after devolution, and it is thought that around 5% of the population of each province has knowledge of them, with around 50,000 speakers of IJssentaal and 20,000 of Hytklifer.

Tajkensprek, also known as Azmaran Sign Language, has also gained some government recognition due to disability rights legislation within Azmara, and around 40,000 people are thought to understand Tajkensprek, including deaf Azmarans and family or friends of deaf Azmarans.

Foreign language studies are mandatory in Azmara for primary and secondary education, with Gaullican being the main language taught within schools, although Estmerish and Weranian are also commonly taught, and many schools along the border with Borland teach the Borish language.

Immigration from other countries has led to many other languages being spoken by migrant communities within Azmara, especially within Aalmsted.

Religion

Religious identity in Azmara (2013)

  Church of Azmara (66.1%)
  Irreligious (24.1%)
  Other Amendist (1.8%)
  Irfan (1.6%)
  Odinist (0.5%)
  Other (2.4%)

The Basic Law of 1933 establishes freedom of religion within Azmara, yet 71.4% of Azmarans identify themselves as Sotirian in the 2013 census, with the overwhelming majority of these being adherents of the Church of Azmara. An Amendist church with a fairly liberal theology, it was founded in 1623 as the national church of Azmara after the Reformation and Azmara's secession from the Ahnemunde Confederation. However, the church's current presbyterian polity stems from the Second Reformation of 1856 which saw the church's hierarchical structure democratised and flattened.

The Church is divided into 792 parishes spanning the Commonwealth, which are governed by a board of elders elected by the congregation, and its governing body consists of a synod with a member for each parish, which appoints the Primate of Kyningsmer, currently the Reverend Sofija Cârlsdohter, who serves as the Church's primus inter pares leader. In recent years, the Church has taken the example of the Church of Caldia, recognising same-sex marriages soon after their 2004 legalisation and allowing woman clergy. However, despite the large adherence to the church, only around 1 in 4 members regularly attends Church services.

A further 24.9% of Azmarans are not members of any particular religion, including atheism and agnosticism as well as spiritual but not religious people. This number has increased consistently in the most recent censuses, and it is thought to be higher than the census says, with private polling organisations finding an irreligiosity rate of around 35%.

Other religions, such as Irfan, have had small presences in modern Azmara due to increased immigration from other continents. There has also been an effort to revive traditional Weranic paganism, with 0.5% identifying as "Odinist" in 2013, although it is thought many of these responses were in protest.

Education

The Midelbulþen of the University of Aalmsted, one of Euclea's most prestigious universities.

Education in Azmara is free and compulsory between the ages of 6 and 18, consisting of primary and secondary education.

Primary education is undertaken between the ages of 6 and 14, consisting of eight grades. In this time students are taught Azmaran, mathematics, science, history, computer science, geography, one foreign language, religion and PE. At the end of primary education a series of assessments are done by the student in these various subjects to analyse their strengths and weaknesses for moving forward.

Secondary education is taken between 14 and 18, in which there are two different traditional educational institutions one can attend based on their primary school performance. The first of these is a gymnasium, which has a more academic focus, where students are taught on a range of subjects, some mandatory and some of their choosing, which is designed to prepare students for university education. All gymnasium students take the Gymnasiumwegaanenprufen at the age of eighteen, which assess them on their knowledge of the subjects they studied. The second of these is vocational school, which is designed to prepare students for a specific vocation: while core studies are still taken, most of their lessons are oriented around guiding them for a particular career which they may enter when they leave school, and which is assessed through the Arbeiderskulwegaanenprufen.

In recent years, a third type of school called the comprehensive school has emerged, especially in the provinces of Aalmsted and Haadland, which combines elements of both schools and allows students to take a Gâlykskulwegaanenprufen which allows them to combine the university-oriented subjects of the gymnasium with the vocational school's career training courses. However, students can still specialise in academic or vocational subjects and gain the other types of Wegaanenprufen.

Tertiary education in Azmara is free and largely provided by public institutions, with the prestigious Aahtbund group dominating the university system, with the University of Aalmsted often being considered one of the best universities in Euclea. The exact entry requirements vary for each university, but a satisfactory score in one's respective Wegaanenprufen is generally required for admission, yet many more prestigious universities will only take those with a Gymnasiumwegaanenprufen. While foreign students are often required to pay, fees are relatively low and foreign students studying in Azmara has become increasingly common in recent years.

A traditional alternative to university for those who studied at vocational institutions, arbeiderkolegen, or work colleges, has long existed, which provides formal education in the theoretical aspects of their intended field of study in conjunction with an apprenticeship at a company.

Healthcare

Friihâben Infirmary, a university hospital in Aalmsted.

Azmara has a universal healthcare system, the Universal Healthcare Insurance System (Azmaran: Algemensundhedsurgforsiheren), administered by its Ministry of Healthcare. The system has been described as a mix between a single-payer and a social insurance, in which a 3% levy on the income of all registered taxpayers in Azmara is used to fund the costs of non-cosmetic healthcare procedures for all resident in the country and general practitioner visits for those resident for over three years. These services are provided by a mix of private and public hospitals - while many general hospitals are ran by non-profit trusts and subsidised by the government, the government owns all university hospitals and specialist hospitals.

Azmara performs well on international health metrics, with a high average life expectancy of 81.2, and a very low infant mortality of 3.7 babies per 1000. However, the country possesses notable health problems, notably with obesity and mental health, with recent attention given to both issues leading to government campaigns to encourage activity and healthy eating to combat the former and raising awareness of the latter through government campaigns.

Culture

Azmaran culture is notably linked to Weranic culture with few outside influences; the lack of other influences on Azmaran society has led to them conserving many of their cultural traditions from the Weranic era, although notably the early Sotirianisation of Azmara has led to a more Sotirian moral code than a traditional Weranic code. Civic and cultural nationalism based on the Azmaran culture and its values has seen large popularity throughout the course of the nation; many Azmarans are very proud of the Commonwealth's values of strength, equality and unity and believe in a link between them, and are also fiercely proud of their language; as a result, many foreign loanwords in the modern day are outright rejected, with native terms such as Forsiter being preferred in place of President.

Azmaran culture is known for its rather modest orientation; Azmarans are likely to keep their personal lives to themselves, with excessive bragging and sharing about one's personal life being frowned upon; examples include talking about sex in public and rich people flaunting their wealth; these are both looked down upon in Azmaran culture. However, Azmarans also have a sense of individualism, with 67% of Azmarans saying "a sense of individual identity is important" in a recent poll, although many elaborated saying that "a sense of individual identity should be within a community"; due to this facet, individual opinions and views are more openly tolerated, leading to observations from foreign journals that Azmarans are much more open about their politics than their sex lives.

Azmarans also have a strong sense of community and egalitarianism; over 90% said they knew someone they could rely on, and many reported regular socialising. This has been linked to the rather homogenous nature of the population, and the typical closeness of families within Azmara. The egalitarian nature of Azmaran culture can also be seen in many other attitudes; the Basic Law notably declares noble titles to be incompatible with Azmaran citizenship, describing the Azmaran nation as "a nation of equals" and Azmarans are almost always referred to by their first names. The nation has also taken an increasingly liberal attitude towards gender equality and LGBTQ rights in recent years - the country elected its first woman President, Jana Eryksdohter, in 1985, and has allowed for same-sex marriage since 2004 and retains extensive protections against discrimination for the LGBTQ community.

Azmara is also known for its naming customs, with Azmarans typically not possessing traditional surnames but in stead using patronymics and occasionally matronymics - an individual's last name will typically consist of the first name of their father, or occasionally mother, with -sun or -dohter affixed depending on their gender. Notably, Azmaran law treats this as the default, with special permission from the Ministry of Internal Affairs required for a child to be given a surname.

Literature

A portrait of Maarija fan Midlanden by Anonymous (1827)

Azmara possesses a long literary tradition dating back to the era of Weranic petty kingdoms, in which sagas were written about mythical events and the deeds and lives of famous Azmaran warriors and leaders. Many of the preserved sagas have been recognised by Azmara as an important aspect of its cultural heritage and have been inducted into the official government archives in both their Old and Modern Azmaran forms, and have been cited as an influence by many contemporary Azmaran authors.

In the early 19th century, Azmaran-language literature saw a major resurgence due to the emerging national identity, with the works of romanticist authors such as Alan fan Mideltuun, Jon Aleksaanderssun and Maarija fan Midlanden often being cited as encouraging the growth of Azmaran nationalism through their idealised portrayals of the nation and its rural hinterlands in their poems and novels. Maarija fan Midlanden's 1832 work, De Hyt Brook, is considered one of the most important works in the Azmaran language, with its portrayal of themes of coming of age and forbidden romance and allusions to radicalism giving it notoriety at the time.

The introduction of universal education and abolition of literary censorship after the Revolution of 1855 spurred on Azmaran-language literature further as realism became a prominent movement, with writers such as Henrik Aarnessun, Jorś Jorśsun and Eryk Hjalmerssun's works aiming to portray the experiences of common people around the nation and being used as an avenue for political commentary, with Aarnessun's works such as Karl Wiljâmssun being known for utopian socialist themes.

Modern Azmaran literature covers a wide range of genres and a prolific industry exists, with Azmara being one of the world's highest per capita purchasers of books and a burgeoning translation industry existing. A particularly notable modern Azmaran series is Karla Hermansdohter's Faaruwen trilogy, focusing on three generations of a family during the Republic of Westmaark, the Revolution of 1855 and the Great War. Since the publication of the first book in 2012, the series has sold over 30 million copies and has been translated into several of the world's languages.

Music

Ana en Henrik, a prominent duo associated with the Aalmsted sound

Azmaran traditional music has been characterised by the use of the fiddle, the flute and complex percussive rhythms. These instruments would be played by folk bands at town gatherings in historical times, with group dances among the townsfolk commonly accompanying the music. These bands still enjoy popularity at traditional events in modern times, with many folk-inspired songs being ballads about the singer's personal life or protest songs about political events.

Azmaran ślager would emerge from traditional music in the early 20th century, featuring light pop melodies and generally having lyrics about personal experiences. It is traditionally played on such instruments as accordions, guitars and violins, but in modern times featuring synthesisers and drum machines. Notable performers include De Freyjasdaagen, Maarijana and Hans, Jorś Cârlssun and Sofija, whose 2011 album Wen de naaht komeþ was the bestselling album of the 2010s within Azmara.

Since the 1970s, Azmaran artists have been at the forefront of developing many types of popular music, with the punk movement having a big influence on popular music in Azmara as its musicians branched into other genres such as new wave, alternative rock and electronic music - the 1979 self-titled album by Bleiknes proved a notable milestone in the development of popular electronic music and is considered one of the first synthpop albums. Both alternative rock and developments of electronic music, especially dance-influenced subgenres such as house, trance and Euclodance, have been very prominent in Azmaran popular music in recent decades, with a fusion between the two known as the Aalmsted sound emerging in the mid 2000s and being particularly prominent and influential on Azmaran music.

Azmara has also been an active participant within the Euclovision Song Contest since the contest's inception, with the country carrying multiple victories under its belt. Notably, it has won twice in the 21st century - in 2003 with Giftyk by Niina Aleksdohter and in 2015 with Paradiis geloosen by Aniita, and came second by one point in 2020 with Pay No Mind by Freissun. The contest and its winning and national entries have a big impact on domestic music markets, with all three aforementioned songs having been the biggest-selling singles of their respective years.

Cuisine

Meat, potatoes and vegetables are considered the three "building blocks" of Azmaran cuisine

Azmara's traditional cuisine is largely based around meat, fish and potatoes, like many of the traditional cuisines of north Euclea. Dishes tend to be seasonal, based on the climate of the time of year.

Rye bread is also a staple of Azmaran cuisine, with rye bread sandwiches being a common light lunch dish served in the nation, often served with fish, cheese or various meats on top of it. Minced meat features prominently in many dishes, such as śwynflyśbalen and ruuþesflyśbalen, which are pork and beef meatballs, often served with potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Śnitsel, the Azmaran version of a schnitzel, is also popular, often consisting of a breaded escalope of chicken, pork or veal. Azmara is also known for its beers and ciders, the latter of which tend to be flavoured with berries.

Azmaran pastries, often consisting of brioche filled with crushed berries and sugar, are a common desert in the nation. A distinction has been made between winter pastries, which are filled with crushed apple and blackberries, and summer pastries, which are filled with strawberries, raspberries and cherries.

Sports

Azmara has seen success in ice hockey matches in international competitions.

The most popular sport among Azmarans is football, being played by many across the nation in the summer months, with a complex league system existing which teams move up and down in. Azmara has entered many international tournaments for football, and while it has never won any of these international tournaments, it has made a strong performance in many of the ones it has qualified for.

In the winter months, aided by many of the country's lakes traditionally freezing over in the winter, ice hockey has become a common pastime in the winter, with many major football teams running secondary teams playing ice hockey and similar leagues existing for these teams to play against each other in. Furthermore, ice skating is a common amateur sport in Azmara, especially among children, and the country possesses many notable figure skating teams. As technology to do so has become available and as lakes have frozen over less commonly in recent years, artificially frozen ice rinks have become the main venue for these sports and as recreational venues, often being set up during the winter months for the country's nativity markets.

Azmara's relatively flat terrain has led to recreational cycling becoming a common pastime of Azmaran people; many cities have specific cycling lanes on their streets and cycling paths are common in the Azmaran countryside. Competitive cycling between informal clubs has become common in recent years, although no formal organisation for competitive cycling exists, with tournaments happening informally and many cycling non-competitively and as a method of transport in and of itself.

Media

Śwartnes won the Béco aùreo at the 74th Montecara Film Festival.

Freedom of the press has been protected as a guaranteed right since the Revolution of 1855 and is considered to be granted through Article 65 of the Basic Law, which guarantees free speech and bans censorship outside of the contexts of defamation, libel and hate speech. As a result of this, Azmara has developed a competitive media environment, with the broadsheet market being dominated by the left-liberal Aalmsted Heraald, often considerd Azmara's newspaper of record, the centre-right Stajnensby Tyden and the moderate Westmaark Nuudaag. Other notable media publications include the Stedśryer and Þyyd tabloids and the Folksrâgelen political magazine.

Azmaran television and radio are largely dominated by Azmaariś Râdio en Faarsejen (ARF), a state-funded enterprise which owns several radio and television stations focusing on a wide array of programming. The company's flagship TV channels, the news and documentary-focused ARF-1 and the more entertainment-focused ARF-2, have long been the country's two largest channels by a wide margin, while its flagship radio station, the popular music focused ARF-R1, similarly dominates radio. Privately-owned TV channels are also popular, many of whom operate in both Azmara and neighbouring Borland, and the Azmaran-language services of the Borish state broadcaster, TVB, can be picked up in much of southern Azmara.

The country's film industry is also notable and has produced a steady output thanks to funding from the Azmaran Film Academy, which receives support from the Ministry of Culture and Equality. Azmaran films are known for their their social realist influences and commentary on social issues, and also for the country's lax standards on regulation for profanity, sexual content and violence. Notable Azmaran films include Śwartnes, which won the 2013 Montecara Film Festival, and Water under the Bridge, a 2019 sleeper hit which would go on to become the highest-grossing film of 2020 in Azmara.

Holidays

The government of Azmara recognises nine official holidays in which companies are required to allow time off for workers, alongside one day recognised as a culturally relevant day. Many of these derive from Sotirian tradition, with Nativity and Pascha being recognised as national holidays, and St. Wiljâm's Day deriving from the commemoration of Azmara's patron saint albeit being treated as a secular national holiday. However, secular holidays such as the New Year and Labour Day are also recognised, as is Commonwealth Day to commemorate the Revolution of 1855.

Date English name Azmaran name Holiday
Secular and national holidays
1 January New Year's Day Nyjersdaag Yes
25 January St. Wiljâm's Day Wiljâm-Hylagersdaag Yes
1 May Labour Day Arbeidensdaag Yes
19 October Commonwealth Day Gemenwelþsdaag Yes
26 December Boxing Day Aftahylagsdaag No
31 December New Year's Eve Foornyjersdaag Yes
Sotirian holidays
Variable Good Friday Godfreyjasdaag Yes
Variable Pascha Monday Ostermaandaag Yes
24 December Nativity's Eve Foorhylagsdaag Yes
25 December Nativity Hylagsdaag Yes