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Commonwealth of Azmara
Gemenwelþ âb Azmaara (Azmaran)
Motto: “Stranghed komeþ fan galykhed en ânhed”
"Strength Comes From Equality And Unity"
Anthem: In syyt wyn
In sweet joy
Azmara (dark green) within the Euclean Community (light green)
|Recognised regional languages||IJssentaal|
|Ethnic groups |
|Government||Unitary parliamentary republic|
|Independence from Rudolphine Confederation|
• Azmaran Revolt
• Consolidation after Ten Years' War
|9 March 1721|
• Republic of Westmaark
• Kingdom of Azmara
• Commonwealth proclaimed
|25 January 1855|
• Basic Law enacted
|25 January 1933|
|62,845.44 km2 (24,264.76 sq mi)|
• Water (%)
• 2018 estimate
• 2013 census
|159.58/km2 (413.3/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2021 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2021 estimate|
• Per capita
|Gini (2017)|| 28.4|
|HDI (2017)|| 0.901|
Azmara, (//; 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 Azmaran state can trace its origins to the consolidation of many of the petty kingdoms in the modern-day territory into the Western March of the Rudolphine Confederation in 1027. This state, which would later be reorganised into Twin Crowns of Groonbank and Westmaark during the 13th century, would come to be one of the pre-eminent states within the Confederation, dominating the Translanian sphere of the Confederation. Despite this, as the Amendist Reaction spread across the Confederation and found a particular stronghold amongst the lesser nobility and burghers of Groonbank-Westmaark, the state would come into specific conflict with successive Protectors over the 16th and 17th centuries, with the state seeing much bloodshed during the Amendist Wars.
Otto IX's attempts at centralisation would lead to further resistance in the state, culminating in the Azmaran Revolt of 1665, culminating in the self-government of several parts of Azmara under the Azmaran Confederation, which would further consolidate its control of the modern-day territories over the next half-century before the eventual unification of Azmara after the Ten Years' War. The Confederation would be increasingly incorporated into Soravia's sphere of influence, with Frederick I ruling the Confederation in personal union with Soravia, and the two states seeing heavy interconnection after his death. This would however be interrupted by attempts to export the Weranian Revolution to Azmara, with the Republic of Westmaark being created as a sister republic in 1794.
After the demise of the revolutionaries, Stefan I would be crowned King of Azmara in 1801, and would try and bring the concept of an enlightened monarchy to Azmara, yet after his death in 1837 his descendants' rule would become unpopular and after a series of bad harvests and confrontations with radical parliamentarians led by Mikel Hankssun a revolution would break out in the winter of 1854 which would culminate in the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the democratic republican Commonwealth of Azmara, which would become one of the first states to adopt universal male suffrage. Its initial years would see political stability and a dominance of secular liberal nationalism, yet the rise of socialist and functionalist movements in the wake of the Great Collapse would eventually culminate in the authoritarian conservative National Coalition government, which would bring the country into the Great War on the Gaullican side and would ultimately be ousted in the 1932 Realignment, which would establish the modern Azmaran political system.
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.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Politics and Government
- 5 Economy
- 6 Infrastructure
- 7 Demographics
- 8 Culture
The name Azmara for the present day region is thought to come from the Weranic roots *askaz, meaning "ash tree" and *mari, meaning "sea" or "lake" for an original meaning of "ash trees by the sea", with this being attributed to a high prevalence of ash trees within the forests of ancient Azmara and its coastal location - this has been verified by medieval documents referring to the area as Ascmare or variations on this and Solarian authors referring to the tribes in the area as the Ascimari in documents from the 3rd and 4th centuries.
After the fall of the Solarian Empire, this name for the region would come to be used interchangeably with 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. Often, the name Azmara or historically Askmara would be used with geographic connotations while Westmark with political ones.
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 officially referred to as Westmaark-Groonbank, yet Azmara still saw significant use and would ultimately become a politicised name for the territory by Amendist rebels while variations on Westmark would be used by Solarians and loyalists to the Rudolphian Confederation, hence its use for the state established by Amendist rebels in the 17th century.
The earliest evidence of permanent human settlement within modern-day Azmara dates to approximately 14000 BCE when hunter-gatherers moved up into the region from modern-day Borland, with evidence of flint arrow and spearheads found from this point. It is thought that the transition to the agricultural era happened around 3750 BCE, with evidence of stone tools used for agriculture and primitive housing coming into existence from this point as well as early stone monuments being found with clay pottery starting to appear dating from this point.
The Bronze Age began in Azmara around 1700 BCE, when the first metal tools are found in Azmaran territory in burials. It is during this time period that a significant number of new technologies are introduced, with early jewelry and needles being found in burials and significant evidence of brewed alcohol existing from this time. It is also thought that the wheel was introduced to Azmara around this time and that animals such as horses and oxen were tamed to help pull vehicles forward. Notably, many stone circle, burial mound and menhirs date from this time, with the most notable example being the Eśen Hill Tumulus near the town of Eśen Hill, Haadland, which was excavated in 1894.
The Iron Age was brought to Azmara around 500 BCE and is marked with the arrival of the Tenic peoples, whose culture would displace the previously dominant pre-Satroeuclean cultures through what was likely a process of intermingling, assimilation and forced displacement. The Tenic cultures, which are thought to have existed as a loose tribal confederacy, notably built many hillforts characterised by wattle and daub housing and are thought to have had significantly more advanced metalworking technology, with more advanced jewelry and weaponry being found such as brooches, torques and swords with intricate designs and decorative features such as embedded gemstones dating from this point.
It is also thought that these people were somewhat literate, with what are thought to be inscriptions found in many finds from this time albeit none of these have been decoded. Furthermore, many Bronze Age sites were reused by these peoples, with chamber burials being found with both Iron and Bronze Age technology within them. Later iterations of these cultures are known to have been in trading contact with the Solarian Empire, with Solarian coins being found in many later-stage burials and Solarian writers from the time describing what is thought to be modern-day Azmara as a "reliable source of tin" inhabited by "primitive but largely peaceful barbarians".
Weranic settlement and Sotirianity
The Weranic invasions of Azmara date to the turn of the 3rd century CE, yet the process by which the Weranic Ascimari culture came to dominate the region is somewhat unclear - while contemporary Solarian writers would write about the "warlike Ascimari people displacing the tin culture" of the region, recent genetic studies and inscriptions have indicated that there was a heavy degree of assimilation between the Tenic and Weranic peoples of the region. Inscriptions in the Elder Futhark are common after this period and have been decoded to give significant information about these people and their way of life - it is clear from these that the Ascimari were not a unified group and were organised into a series of petty kingdoms, with many detailing skirmishes over territory while one from near modern-day Wylijen describes an election amongst the high born of a petty kingdom for a new king, suggesting that elective monarchy was a common form of governance.
From 700 CE references to Midlatun, thought to be the present-day town of Mideltuun, as a centre of power are made in the runic inscriptions, clearly indicating that the petty kingdom surrounding the town had become increasingly important and influential. Its status as a preeminent town is confirmed by reports made during the 9th century. It is also in the 9th century that a Sotirian presence is established in Azmara on the back of a successful missionary effort by St. Wiljâm and St. Jorś, under whose guidance the petty king at Mideltuun converts to Sotirianity and introduces the Solarian alphabet to Azmara, yet the influence of both of these developments is rather limited as traditional pagan beliefs remain strong, albeit often in syncretism with Sotirianity, and runes are still commonly used to write Azmaran during this period.
The petty kingdoms would face a significant adversity during the 9th century as marauder raids became increasingly common on the Azmaran coastline, with coastal fishing towns being key targets as well as newly-built monasteries after the Sotirian conversion of the petty kingdoms. The far north of the country was particularly targeted by marauders, with a significant marauder outpost being established at modern-day Nordberg by Oíngus of Nordberg in 872. This would become a major trading hub for marauders and its capture alongside increased raids would lead to increased co-operation between the Weranic petty kingdoms into a loose confederation, with this being led by the petty king of Mideltuun and being seen by many historians as an important step on the way to a unified Azmaran state.
While control over Nordberg would be returned to the Azmaran petty kingdoms as a result of the Battle of Nordberg in 992, the petty kingdoms would face a new threat in 1025 as the newly formed Eastern Marches began a campaign in Borland to invade it and bring it under Sotirian rule. While Azmara was majority Sotirian in this time, it was feared by many of the petty kingdoms that expansion into Azmara would follow on the grounds it was not sufficiently Sotirian and thus it would align with pagan Weranic kingdoms in modern-day Werania to help repel the invasion of Borland.
This war, while short and largely fought outside of Azmara, would have a major effect on the country as the petty kingdoms would officially merge into a new state known as the Western March upon its conclusion in 1027 which would become a constituent part of the newly-founded Rudolphine Confederation, a protective alliance of northern, largely pagan states in northeastern Euclea against Estmerish aggression. Initially a loose protective union, it would be cemented as a key part of the Western March's identity when the Treaty of Vorausdorf was signed in 1044, which would forbid the March from acting unilaterally in war and bound the state to the Protector of the Confederation.
However, the status of the Western March as a preeminent state within the Confederation would be challenged in 1075 with the death of Margrave Jon II, whose twin sons would dispute the succession and threaten to bring the state into civil war, yet ultimately the division of the March would be pursued in order to defuse the situation, with the March being divided so that the northern part of the state above the Bojner and Aisen rivers remained the March and the southern part of the state below the rivers would become the Duchy of Groonbank.
The religious divide between modern-day Azmara and Borland and the rest of the Confederation, in which the former had a significant Sotirian presence and the latter was overwhelmingly pagan, was remedied upon the conversion of Protector Rudolf III to Solarian Catholicism in 1106. This conversion would make Catholicism the official religion of the Confederation and result in an aggressive campaign of Sotirianisation which is often cited as the reason for the decline of religious syncretism and the use of runes in Azmara as Sotirian orthodoxy and the Solarian script would become enforced by the government.
The newly-converted Confederation would become particularly zealous when it came to the crusades of northern Euclea, with crusades in Ruttland and Caldia being launched over the course of the 12th century in order to convert the Ruttish from paganism and to return the Caldish to the fray of Catholicism after a power struggle between the Caldish church and the continental church. Many knights from the Western March and Groonbank would enthusiastically fight in these crusades, resulting in a minor crisis for the feudal system as a significant death toll was recorded for both states, which resulted in a significant number of knighthoods being given out as a result.
Ultimately, due to the laws of agnatic primogeniture the Western March's branch of the House of Mideltuun would die out in 1237, resulting in a succession crisis ultimately resolved as the next male heir to the throne was found to be Herman II, the Duke of Groonbank, who would marry Ana of Westmaark, the daughter of the previous Margrave in order to secure his claim and would thus create a personal union between the two states which would often be referred to as the Union of the Twin Crowns. As a result, the small towns of Aalmsted and Stefansburg, which had been built at fords on the Bojner, would become significant political centres of power due to their intermediate location between the two states and ultimately displacing Mideltuun by the end of the 13th century.
Over the course of the 13th and early 14th centuries, the state would become increasingly prominent, with the splitting of the empire into imperial circles for administrative purposes allowing it to extend its power further as it came to dominate the Translanian sphere of the empire. Governance and society would also become increasingly Solarianised as Solarian would become the dominant language of governance and clerical matters. This would help enforce the feudal class divisions in society, with education in Solarian largely being restricted to the children of the nobility resulting in a government and church run largely by and for members of a hereditary upper class which the vast majority of the population were in vassalage to.
However, certain social changes would begin to challenge the strictness of the feudal system and result in a move towards a more flexible system. The increasing prominence of burijen meant that the residents of many prominent towns would be freed from feudal ties of their nobles, with a noted increase in the creation of burijen across the 14th century attributed to the increased taxation revenue the Crown could draw from them through taxing the guilds and markets that a burije would possess. Furthermore, a series of bad harvests in the early 15th century led to a major famine which significantly decreased the state's peasant population and thus resulted in significant numbers of revolts as peasants agitated for greater rights and wages in large parts of the country, resulting in large numbers of peasants being granted emancipation from their feudal overlords. This class of free peasants would soon diverge based on luck - while some would be able to use their emancipation to gain land of their own and thus become self-sufficient, many would not be able to afford to do this and would become travelling tenant workers providing their service to noblemen in exchange for wages.
Thus, by the end of the 15th century, Groonbank-Westmaark had seen a significant change in its social structure from the strict social system it had had upon its creation as a state to a significantly more fluid version of the feudal system in which a large contingent of the peasant population had gained their freedom be it via residency in a burije or through emancipation. A small contingent of both of these groups had gained a notable amount of wealth and had become property owners yet would be locked out of political or religious influence due to the education required to obtain either being restricted to members of the nobility.
Amendist Reaction and Wars
The Amendist Reaction and its teachings would gain ground in Azmara in the early 16th century, with clergymen largely led by Herman Marckssun spreading the teachings of the Reaction into Azmara, notably translating significant religious texts into the Middle Azmaran vernacular in 1523 and attempting to set up parallel ecclesiastical institutions over the course of the next few decades. The movement would face strong opposition from the contemporary governing bodies - the Solarian Catholic Church would excommunicate Marckssun and many of his followers in 1525 and the law was changed to make professions of Amendism equal to heresy were passed. However, despite the severe penalties, Amendism would gain a significant foothold amongst the growing burijer and free peasant classes and amongst small sections of the nobility over the next few decades.
Ultimately in 1554, Margrave-Duke Jorś II would issue the Edict of Kyningsmer, which would legalise the practice of Amendism within Groonbank-Westmaark and allow the presence of Azmaran Amendism's parallel institutions in the country in return for a special tax on Amendists and Amendist services. This would ease the strong religious tensions that existed within the state over the first half of the 16th century, yet the compromise was opposed by significant parts of the state's Catholic clergy and Catholic sections of the nobility. The news of Jorś II's deathbed conversion to Amendism in 1566 would cause a significant controversy.
His son and successor, Jorś III, while Catholic, would continue his father's policy of relative tolerance to Amendism during the first part of his reign, yet ultimately in 1578 he would publicly convert to Amendism, repeal the Amendist tax and officialise the movement's parallel churches as the Church of Azmara, with an equivalent tax being placed on the practice of Catholicism within the state's borders. This development would, however, be followed up by the selection of Otto VIII, a devout Catholic, as Protector of the Rudolphine Confederation, who would attempt to enforce Catholic religious uniformity across the Confederation. This would severely anger Jorś III, who would view the policy as a severe infringement on his liberties as a ruler and as such he would attend the Gothberg Diet with other Amendist princes and would elect Maximilian of Ostbrücken as a rival Protector in an act known as the Amendist Defiance.
This act would solidify Amendism's presence within Groonbank-Westmaark and would ultimaely trigger the outbreak of the Amendist Wars, with Groonbank-Westmaark aligning itself under Maximilian in the Amendist League with other Amendist states such as Bonnlitz, Ostbrcüken, Wolfsfled and Wittislich. After the Battle of Kottenwice in which the Amendist army was defeated and which is often seen as the starting point of the war, the remaining Azmaran Catholics would face increasing repression both from the state and the local populace, with anti-Catholic pogroms increasing in severity across much of the country.
Over its twenty-five year course, the war would have a significant destructive effect on much of the Confederation, Azmara included. While its peripheral location meant that physical destruction was not as rampant as in other states in the Confederation, border cities such as Kyningsmer and Wucing would still see significant destruction, with the Battle of Kyningsmer seeing one third of the city's residents massacred. Furthermore, the state would still see significant death tolls, with anywhere between twenty and one hundred thousand casualties being estimated by modern historians. Ultimately, while the Amendist League failed to install Maximilian as Protector, the Peace of Frankendorf in 1607 would enshrine the principle of cuius regio eius religio, allowing for the state to freely practice Amendism without the interference of the Confederation's central authority.
Azmaran Revolt and Ten Years' War
The first half of the 17th century would be marked by an increasingly strained relationship between the central government of the Confederation, the government of Groonbank-Westmaark and the growing landholding peasant and burgher classes as the central government began to desire increased centralisation within the Confederation which the latter two groups opposed and as the final group wished for increased political power within the state. The dispute between the two governments would be particularly pronounced within the newly-established legislature for the Confederation, the Reichsrat, in which the Translanian representatives would often serve as rebellious voices and standing against plans for increased centralisation, especially after 1645 in which Otto IX assumed full control of the government.
The dispute between the Translanian representatives and the central government would escalate during the 1650s and would eventually culminate in the 1664 decision by Otto IX to dissolve the Reichsrat and rule as an absolute monarch citing the principle of divine right of kings. This decision would prove very unpopular amongst both the government of Groonbank-Westmaark and the common people, and by 1665 as it became clear the Reichsrat would not be reconvened riots broke out in much of Groonbank-Westmaark, with the largest concentrations in modern-day Groonbank, Hytklif and Haadland. While initially solely against the dissolving of the diet, the rioters would ultimately seek secession from the Confederation, with the 1665 storming of Aalmsted seeing prominent rioters declare the Azmaran Confederation as a new authority over the territory of Groonbank-Westmaark as a new, Amendist state to be ruled by the nobles, landowning peasants and burghers, with many rioters having come to emphasise the Amendism of the territories and having come to see the royal house of Groonbank-Westmaark as unwilling to stand up for the rights of Amendists within the Confederation.
Otto IX would send troops to try and quell the uprisings within Groonbank-Westmaark and return the area to the control of the Confederation, and while he would largely succeed at quelling the riots in much of the territory, a "rebellious core" would remain in the territory beyond the Aisen and Bojner rivers, which would remain under the control of the Azmaran rebels, with a de facto ceasefire coming into being towards the end of Otto's reign using the rivers as the borders between Azmara and the Confederation while the Confederation still de jure claimed the whole territory.
In the years after Otto's 1687 death, the rebels would refuse to abide by the ceasefire and his successors would fail to stop the expanse of the rebels, who under the leadership of Chancellor Herman fan Ryksmark would successfully capture the remaining parts of modern-day Haadland and Groonbank alongside modern-day Sompland during the 1690s and 1700s. Seeking more territory, however, the Azmaran rebels would align themselves with the newly formed alliance between Soravia and Kirenia as the latter began to contest the Rudolphine state of Cislania's claims to the throne of Ruttland in a crisis that would come to ahead in 1711 resulting in a joint declaration of war against Cislania.
This would begin the pluricontinental war now known as the Ten Years' War, which would result in the fledgling Azmaran state having to fight both Estmere and the Confederation for control of its lands. While seeing some early successes in fighting the Cislanians and managing to extend their control to parts of modern-day Westmaark, the Azmaran forces would struggle against the Estmerish army during the middle phase of the war. However, as the Gaullicans were convinced by Soravia to enter the war on the same side of the Azmarans in 1717 and with Soravian and Kirenian help, the Azmarans were able to capture the vast majority of Groonbank-Westmaark's territory during the final stages of the war, gains that would be reflected in the Congress of Cislania which would affirm Azmaran sovereignty over the territory it had gained over the war and its full de jure independence from the Rudolphine Confederation.
Azmara consists of a 62,845.44 square kilometre portion of northeastern Euclea sandwiched between Borland to the south and Werania to the north. This area is relatively flat, largely consisting of plains and low-lying foothills, yet the far west of the country, notably in the province of Ostlaak, the terrain is significantly more elevated, with Azmara's highest point, the Woodensmont, being located near the three-way borderpoint with Borland and Werania and standing at 1,128 metres above sea level.
In contrast to this, the southeast of the country is notably low-lying and marshy, with much of eastern Sompland and southern Hytklif seeing elevations of 0 metres above sea level and the lowest point in the country, Eksfen in Sompland, being at 1 metre below sea level. This area poses multiple challenges for the country in terms of flooding risks, with national and regional governments investing heavy amounts of money in flood defences and polders to maintain the integrity of the land in these regions.
The terrain of Azmara is intersected with many rivers. The Bojner is often considered the longest river in Azmara at 219km, springing up in the foothills of Westmaark and making its way through Stajnensby, Aalmsted and Jorś-Hylager before flowing into the sea at Nyhâben, Hytklif. However, this has been disputed, with the river Dover (Azmaran: Doower), which forms the border between the country and Borland, being sometimes classified as being the longest river in the country when counted alongside its tributary of the river Aawen, which starts in Kyningsmer and snakes through parts of Ostlaak, Westmaark, Groonbank and Sompland before flowing into the river Dover near Saltsdyyk, collectively encompassing 302km.
Nature and wildlife
The country possesses many species of flora, with deciduous forests being common across much of the country with species such as oak, birch, beech, ash, elm and maple being particularly common and defining the national landscape, yet the reach of many of these trees has declined due to use of the land for agriculture and human settlement, yet due to government planning there exist many national forests and protective orders with the government in 2021 pledging to end deforestation in Azmara. While rare, coniferous forests exist in the far western, elevated regions of the country, yet many notable areas of coniferous tree coverage have been artificially introduced to the country.
The country's fauna is similar to those in many neighbouring countries, with the country seeing a healthy variation of mammal, and bird life, with many native and migratory species of bird being present amongst the country and species of small mammals such as hares, hedgehogs, otters and bats being considered emblematic of the country. Larger mammals, such as deer and foxes, are also a notable presence in Azmara, with many species of the latter seeing growing numbers in the country's national forests and the latter having adapted to the conditions of urban Azmara.
Marine life in the country's territorial waters is also vibrant, with many species of fish such as cod, haddock and plaice being common and being the source of a traditional fishing industry, yet concerns exist over the numbers of many species due to overfishing and unsustainable practices. Seabirds such as puffins, gannets and ospreys are also very common, and marine mammals such as seals and cetaceans such as dolphins, porpoises, orcas and blue whales are also a notable presence in Azmaran waters.
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|
|Average high °C (°F)||3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||1
|Average low °C (°F)||−1
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||55
|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 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.
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.
Azmara consists of eight subdivisions - the seven provinces of Groonbank, Haadland, Hytklif, Nordberg, Ostlaak, Sompland and Westmaark and the free city of Aalmsted. Despite this official distinction between provinces (Azmaran: ryken) and free cities (Azmaran: friisteden), Azmara's first-level subdivisions are often collectively referred to as provinces in non-official contexts.
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 Aalmsted) 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.
The Basic Law of Azmara gives the national government the right to devolve legislative powers to each province as it sees fit so long as the "integrity" of the nation is not threatened by this. While this leads to Azmara being officially categorised as a unitary state, it has often been argued that this setup was designed in order to allow for regional autonomy along the lines of asymmetric federalism and in 2019 the Home Rule Acts were passed giving significant power over economic development and cultural affairs, amongst other fields, to the provinces of Haadland and Hytklif, and the idea of moving Azmara towards a federal model has gained increased support in recent years.
Each province is divided into municipalities (Azmaran: gemenþen), of which 18 have the additional status of cities while fifteen hold the status of boroughs of Aalmsted, Jorś-Hylager and Stajnensby and collectively hold city status as a result. Additionally, municipalities within the seven traditional provinces are grouped into fiefs (Azmaran: fyfen) which serve as economic partnerships between neighbouring municipalities - there are currently 42 of these.
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.
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.
Azmara has an industrialised, developed economy with key characteristics including a skilled labour force, low levels of corruption, high levels of innovation, a social democratic 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.
As a result of its status as the co-epicentre of the industrial revolution alongside Cislania, Azmara's economy has traditionally driven by a heavy industrial base, with notable historical industries including 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 Ostby-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 Azmaariś-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
Azmara's energy market is dominated by the Azmaariś-Stroom company, in which the government possesses a majority ownership stake. The company owns the national grid and serves as an electricity provider for the majority of households, yet under competition laws is required to allow other electricity providers to use the national grid for fair rates and provide their own services through it in an attempt to encourage competitive pricing.
While the national grid was traditionally powered by Azmara's coal mining industry, the decline of this industry has led to it seeking alternative sources of energy - the country imports around 45% of its electricity from other countries, with Caldish oil being a major source of energy for the country. However, in order to develop more self-reliance when it comes to energy and in an effort to reduce its carbon footprint, the Azmaran government has attempted to develop its domestic renewable energy, with major developments being seen in wind, tidal and wave power through government investment over the past two decades.
Concerns over limited physical space within the country and pressure from environmentalist groups have led to a moratorium on nuclear power in Azmara since 2007 - while the administration of Eleina Helmutsdohter controversially approved the construction of two nuclear power plants in 2004, this was cancelled in 2006 as a condition for the participation of the Green Party in the cabinet of Helmut Þurisassun and was followed by a referendum on the moratorium a year later, which passed with 56.3% in favour.
As a result of it being one of the first countries to industrialise, Azmara was also one of the first countries to see the development of rail connections, with some of the first railways in the world being built connecting mining villages in Ostlaak to the provincial capital of Kyningsmer and the Kyningsmer-Aalmsted railway connection being one of the first intercity railways in the world.
The country possesses approximately 2,213 kilometres of 1,435 mm standard gauge railways, of which 1,598 kilometres (72.2%) are electrified. The vast majority of this rail network and its stations are operated by the Azmaariś-Lesten company, which the government owns a majority share in. However, some lines, such as the legacy narrow gauge Azmaran Coastal Line between Ostby-an-de-mer and Heuthenberg, are not owned by Azmaariś-Lesten, in stead being run by non-profit trusts and part of the Azmaariś-Lesten network between Maancester and Stajnensby is used by the trans-Euclean Euclostar network. Azmaariś-Lesten also runs a metro service covering Aalmsted and Jorś-Hylager and a tram service in Stajnensby, the former of which consists of the only underground rail connections in the country.
The country also possesses a significant road network with 1,125 kilometres of national highways and 5,394 kilometres of other national-level roads, linking the Bojnersteden conurbation with the country's other major cities. Of the country's motorways, by far the two most used are the NH1 and NH2, which serve as ringroads around Aalmsted and the wider Bojnersteden conurbation respectively. While all of the motorways are free to drive on, many other national roads require tolls to drive on, with electronic payment being implemented on many of these.
Azmara's sea ports are largely administered by the state-owned Ostby-Haadland Port Authority, with the ports of Ostby-an-de-mer, Nyhaben, Sooþbryg and Heuthenberg being the four main ports administered by this system and seeing the vast majority of Azmara's international cargo shipping. Of these, Nyhaben and Ostby-an-de-mer sit in the top 20 of the busiest ports in the Euclean Community. Heuthenberg was formerly one of the busiest ports in the world during the 18th century, but has since seen a major decline in activity.
The country's two largest airports are Aalmsted International Airport and Mikel Hankssun International Airport, both of which are located in the periphery of the capital city and connected to its metro, with Aalmsted International to its north and Mikel Hankssun International to its south. Aalmsted International serves as the base for the flag carrier airline of the country, Gemenwelþsluft, which offers flights from both airports to destinations across Euclea and the broader world. Other airports of note in the country include Sompland Airport and Kyningsmer Henrik Aarnessun Airport, servicing the cities of Saltsdyyk and Kyningsmer respectively.
Azmara has a modern, developed communications network, with over 90% of the country being covered by 4G networks and high rates of adoption for both mobile phones and broadband - for the country's population of 10 million there are 14 million registered SIM cards within the country in 2017 and over 95% of the country's population are thought to have an Internet connection in 2019. Most of this telecommunications network is run by the majority state-owned Azmaariś-Lesten, which administers the country's network and owns the largest internet service provider and mobile network owner, with the company having market shares of 57% and 55% respectively.
Azmara possesses the international calling code of +19 and the top-level domain of .az, with which approximately 1.5 million websites are registered. Landline numbers are assigned with codes of +19-1yy-xxx-xxx and +19-2yy-xxx-xxx, in which yy represent localised area codes, while mobile phone numbers are assigned on +19-3 and +19-4 codes and are assigned randomly based on number availability.
The country also possesses a state-owned postal service, Commonwealth Mail, which is often cited as Azmara's oldest state-owned corporation due to its ability to claim lineage from the Confederation-era postal service.
Largest cities or towns in Azmara
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-Stâjnensby-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.
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. Chiefly among these are Piraean, Vespasian and Emessan, with these having emerged from the immigration of southern Eucleans to the country since the 1970s to fill labour shortages.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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|
|25 January||St. Wiljâm's Day||Wiljâm-Hylagersdaag|
|1 May||Labour Day||Arbeidensdaag|
|19 October||Commonwealth Day||Gemenwelþsdaag|
|26 December||Boxing Day||Aftahylagsdaag|
|31 December||New Year's Eve||Foornyjersdaag|
|24 December||Nativity's Eve||Foorhylagsdaag|