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Motto: Pax et unitatis
("Peace and Unity")
|File:Map of Belfras On Acheron.png|
|Recognised regional languages||Quechua|
|Government||Federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
from the Latin Empire
|1 January 1852|
|18 August 1895 |
from 1 January 1900)
|15 August 1952|
|2,361,568 km2 (911,807 sq mi)|
|110,000,000 (mid 2012)|
|56.81/km2 (147.1/sq mi)|
|GDP (nominal)||2015 estimate|
• Per capita
|Currency||Belfrasian Lira (BFL)|
The Federation of Belfras, commonly known as Belfras is a country located in Norumbia, south of Elatia and Gristol-Serkonos. It consists of 41 states, 5 of which are a part of the original federalisation of the country in the mid 19th century.
- 1 Name
- 2 History
- 3 Government and Politics
- 4 Foreign Relations
- 5 Military
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Law Enforcement and Crime
- 8 Economy
- 9 Infrastructure
- 10 Science and Technology
- 11 Culture
- 12 See Also
The name Belfras (pronounced [bɛlˈfrɑz]) is derived from the Tekamoran Ven Potroni Belfras Inin ("The Great blessed land"), originally describing the areas surrounding the state of Mondria inhabited by the Tekamoran civilisation which reigned in the region from 2,500 BCE to 603 CE when the Runakuna empire - now modern-day Kustakuna - invaded from the south. The Runakunans utilised the Tekamoran name for the lands, with expeditions further inland naturally having the name applied to them. Following the withdraw of the Runakuna Empire in the 11th century the league of city states left in it's wake was collectively known as the "Benfrasse League", with the territory itself remaining known as Ven Potroni Belfras Inin.
The name was lost in usage during the 13th century when the Latin Empire invaded the city-states to the south of the Tekamoran civilisation, titling the land they had landed in Hesperia, Latin for "Western Land". This name was for a time utilised by the invading Belisarian Empire for the entirety of modern-day Belfras, but by the turn of the 13th century the eastern coast states had formed their own names, with Ven Potroni Belfras Inin being named "Mondria" after the Latin general in charge of the invasion of the Tekamoran.
The first mention of 'Belfras' aside from in literature of the now destroyed Tekamoran civilisation was in 1724 by Marcus Antonius Questros, a famed explorer who mapped the western coast of the southern continent and renowned lover of Tekamoran arts. A report from him to the Imperial Cartography Office back in Castellum ab Alba was at the time cited as ground breaking work, with multiple scholars opting to continue referring to the southern side of the continent where their colonies thrived by 'Belfras'.
In the 19th century civil discord began to grow within the colonies as citizens began demanding more rights and the ability to self govern, demands that were met due to an unsettled Imperial government following a succession crisis. The country's constitution, created and signed on 1 January 1852, federalised the colonies into one entity under the name 'Belfras', directly referencing Marcus Questros' work as the origin of the name. The central colony at the time of the federalisation, Salonika, renamed itself to 'Hesperia' in honour of the colonial heritage, with the name Salonika being adopted in the 20th century as the capital district for the nation's capital, Thessalona.
The earliest artefacts of human existence in Belfras are remnants of a campfire and chips of stone tools radiocarbon-dated to circa 12,000 BCE in the central flats of Chrysopolia. Paintings inside caves along the Peloponasian ridges date to roughly 5,000 BCE and appear to depict large migrations of people along with animals from sea to land, possibly denoting the journey taken to that cave. Ancient sites in Patrinos - Home of the Tekamora civilisation - show evidence of farmsteads that began to appear around 5000 BCE along with the first large settlement, believed to have been the first major settlement in the area was dated around the same time.
Early historic period
The early historical period in the country saw the rise of chiefdoms around the entirety of the east coast, with the larger tribes banding together to form the Tekamoran Kingdom in 1,400 BCE.
WORK IN PROGRESS While dates vary, between the dates of 603-608 the fledgling Runakuna Empire, modern day Kustakuna, began c
Kustakuna loses northern colonies 1012-1070 central around 1070 to 1120 southern by 1200
The collapse of the Runakuna empire began in modern-day Belfras with several revolts against trade tariffs in the northern most settlements of the empire.
Inter Regnum period
At the start of the 13th century, the newly coronated Latin Empress Theodora I feuded with the growing Benfrasse League that was steadily gaining territory from the collapsing Runakuna empire over both mercantile and religious means - The growing league opposed the catholic church and followed the native religion of the land. Historians also argue that Empress Theodora and her court was also viewing the collapse of the Runakuna as an opportunity to gain access to the resources being made available by the league. Empress Theodora I's chief general, Aulus Visellius, was a learned military tactician who would have known that the league, unlike a unified country, had multiple armies that if pushed would likely ignore a call for help by nearby members of the league in favour of defending their own lands. The legality of such a move was of course something of concern; while he was the reigning monarch such a move would unsettle relations with national neighbours in Belisaria. The Empress spent most of his reign of the country laying the groundwork for such a move by calling it a crusade to root out the 'catholic-hating league', going so far as to fabricate claims of catholic missions to the country being exterminated.
It wasn't until 1254 - twelve years after the coronation of Latin Empress Theodora I of the Ostian dynasty that the groundwork for a Latin takeover of the now significantly stronger Benfrasse League began to come to fruition. Between 1254 and 1256 emissaries of the Empress met with the leaders of several townships, with one such meeting resulting in a firefight between two predominant families of the port city of Beikena, with a feud between them igniting after the emissary to the town unintentionally ignored one family in exchange of the other. The death of the emissary prompted an opportunity for Empress Theodora, who was able to use this as the ultimate proof of the anti-catholic means of the League, and the pope called a crusade against the League to 'save catholicism in the area'. Historians again agree that bribery more than likely played a role in the speed of which the pope called the crusade.
Government and Politics
Belfras is a federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with the current Sovereign Prince being Nicholaus VI. The country is a federation of semi-autonomous states. The 1852 constitution empowers each state for self governance to a restricted amount, with overall control and a wider array of responsibilities being controlled by the Senate which is itself headed by a Consul that is elected every five years. While the original 1852 constitution empowered the senate, it originally kept the final deciding power with the Latin Emperor. The Power Transition act of 1900 added an array of amendments to the constitution, solidiying the senate as the highest administrative body with the Emperor acting as an advisor and head of state, although a clause exists empowering the Emperor should the Senate enter a state of powerlessness, i.e from a nullified election. The government is headed by the Consul, who is typically the leader of the political party with the largest presence in the government and can serve an unlimited number of terms, with the longest reigning being Frederico Sordeau, who led the country as Consul from 1900 to 1923, retiring from office two years before completing his fifth term. Comparatively, the shortest reigning Consul was Peter Krestos, who rigged the 1975 election and was in office for two months prior to the National Investigative Service arresting him for treason and election rigging.
Citizens of the country are subject to three levels of government: National, state, and local. Each level of governance is elected by vote by citizens of either their district for lower levels of government, state-wide for state-based senates or nationally for the national senate. The local government is typically split between towns and city districts to larger counties or entire cities. This level of government handles direct day-to-day running of their areas and is considered the lowest level of government. State-based governments maintain their areas as semi-autonomous dominions of the Federation, with a governor being directly elected by citizens of the respective state on a five year term. The governor is required to establish a cabinet and is in charge of maintaining and creating legislature for their state while conforming to national legislature. The governor during peace-time has control over their states police forces, guard units and - for coastal states - a level of control exists for the governor over the coast guard units stationed within their state borders.
The chief legislature body of the government is made up of the Belfrasian Senate and makes national law, treaties, controls the treasury and diplomatic actions such as declarations of war. The senate also has the power of impeachment, allowing the body to remove sitting members of government. The judicial body of the national government is headed by the Supreme Court, with lower level courts being held under the Supreme Court's jurisdiction. The Supreme court is comprised of judges appointed by the Consul and are able to interpret laws and ban those they find to be against the Constitution. The Consul is the head of government. The sitting Consul can veto any legislature that comes to the Senate floor, can appoint members of the cabinet and conduct appointments to the judicial body, the military council, and acts as the primary executive body of the government. Owing to the constitution, the Monarch is the head of state and the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces. The current sovereign is Nicholaus VI.
The Senate is comprised of 460 seats, 400 in Lower Senate and 60 in the Upper Senate. The Lower Senate is comprised of state district representatives who are elected on rolling four-year terms and hold a vote for legislature and legal action on a national level. The Upper Senate serves as the final legislative body any law or bill needs to pass to become law, and seats within the Upper Senate are elected from members of the Lower Senate, owing final approval by the Consul. The Supreme Court operates alongside the Upper Senate but is not subject to senatorial interventions without a major vote and the Consul's blessing. The Court is led by the Chief Justice who holds a veto power over legislature and law if it is found to be in breach of existing law or the constitution. Members of the supreme court are appointed for life by the Consul.
According to the consitution, any sitting Consul that is discharged dishonourably from office has their appointments or formal acts made during their term rendered null. A case example of this is the 1972 election rigging scandal, in which Peter Krestos rigged the election to become Consul and was arrested and discharged from office two months after his appointment. The after effects of this saw the entirety of the Supreme Court disbanded along with the cabinet.
Parties and elections
The country operates a parliamentary government which was adopted from the Latin Empire of which the country was a vassal of for 650 years. The Belfrasian Senate meets at the Senate House of Thessalona and is itself divided into two levels. The Upper Senate is made up of 60 seats. 45 of the seats are made up of elevated senators from state-level senates that act as a representative of the state-level senate and that senate's leader. Of these 45, 39 are individual state senators, although the states of Euthlanon, Peloponasia and Eribia Major have three senators each because of ethical differences between population groups and distinct party differences. The state of Patrinos, renowned for it's large population of Arthuristans and northern Belisarians, have two further senators as well as a result of special clauses in the 1852 constitution. The remaining 15 seats of the Upper Senate are made up by the Consul, the Lord Palatine who is replaced by the Monarch when visiting. The final 13 seats are filled by second senators from the southern states. The Lower Senate of the national senate is made up of 400 seats, 390 of which are seated by ten lower senators from each state and a final ten from special political committees and representatives from the crown and upper senate. Elections for the lower senate occur every three years on a rolling basis, meaning that half of the seats would be up for election whilst the other half are half-way through their term. The upper senate are elected once every five years in a general election that also decides on the position of Consul.
The electoral system in the country operates on a tiered basis. Lower Senate representatives and members of state-based senates use preferential voting, in which the voter marks candidates on the card in order of preference (1st choice, 2nd choice etc). These elections are always held in the seat's responsible jurisdiction and most candidates for the lower national senate are sitting members of the state senate. The upper senate operate a first-past-the-post voting system in which voters select a singular candidate as opposed to voting for multiple in a preferential system. Most elected upper senators choose to name a lower senator of the same party and state as their seat successor, so should they at any time find themselves unable to execute their duties during their terms that designated successor may assume the responsibility.
Limitations on political parties are lax within the Federation, although three parties - Conservative, liberat populare pars, and the Union party - are the largest in terms of membership and sitting senators.
The Belfrasian Armed Forces was formally created after the federalisation of the Belfrasian Colonies in 1852 to operate and maintain the now unified government's military. The Armed Forces consists of the Army, Navy, and the Air Force. The Marines and the Coast Guard are deputy branches of the Navy, with the coast guard being jointly operated by the Department of the Interior. In 2015 the armed forces employed a total of 361,500 personnel with an additional 250,000 civilian personnel employed to help maintain and operate it's bases and other necessary operations.
While the Monarch serves as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, the Consul has ultimate power of appointment to the Military Council and the Secretary of Defence to oversee the military. The Department of Defence is the primary administrative body of the armed forces and is headed by the Secretary of Defence and the Military Council, of which the former is superior to in administrative decision-making.
Service within the armed forces is voluntary above the age of 18, but employment within the military can begin at 16 with parental permission through the Junior Academy program. Recruits through the program learn necessary skills and earn their necessary High School-equivalent grades alongside necessary military qualifications for their chosen branch prior to reaching the age of 18 and entering the service at that point. Although service is voluntary, the constitution legalise the usage of conscription as and when deemed necessary by the government "to protect the Federation and it's people".
The budget of the armed forces in 2013 was $64.570 billion, approximately 2.75% of the country's GDP that year.
Belfras is a predominantly christian country with the Fabrian church as it's state religion. Despite this, it allows other religions to operate within it's borders with limitations regarding actively seeking converts or conducting services in areas outside of state-sanctioned areas of worship.
Education within the Federation is provided by public, private, and home school systems. Public education is operated and regulated by state and local governments with oversight from the overall government itself.
Children are required to attend school from age 6 to 16, with optional free education continuing through college to the age of 18. The initial cycle of education takes the child through Primary school and Secondary school systems, which form a foundation and expands upon it respectively. These schools are typically public with uniform dress-codes and a nationally-instituted code of standards for education and teacher performance. Districts of a state typically have a 'supervisory board' for education within that district. Children entering Primary school are divided into classes, with those class names differing depending on where that school is or it's own history. Basic education creates a foundation for maths, literature, geography and team-working skills that is steadily expanded as the child grows and learns more until they have a 'Basic Grade' for those skills, typically just before entering secondary school at the age of 11.
Upon entering secondary school, the child has their own education 'tailored' around a central static block of literature and maths. This tailored education aims to bring their overall understanding of chosen and mandatory areas to the national standard by the time they reach the age of 16 and take their National Standard Certification, or NSC. This rates them on their areas in an A-to-F scale, with 'A' being the highest and 'F' signifying a total failure of understanding. Those whom fail in an area are not granted any certificate although the grade awarded remains with them. Following conclusion of secondary school at the age of 16 children may continue on in three junctures: They may continue to college, a free education to the age of 18 which will allow them to gain specific qualifications for chosen career paths. They may also enter a career immediately through the aid of a career councillor at secondary school or alone. Finally, they may enter the government-funded military program which will give them rewarding qualifications. The only draw-back from entering the military program is that you are bound to serve until you reach the age of 21.
Higher education within the country is expanded from the free education college a student may enter at the age of 16. This system allows the student to earn a degree or qualification for a chosen skill or to increase their NSC in literature, maths or anything they 'tailored' for themselves in secondary school. A 10-year advertising program from the government from the 80s to the 90s brought more public awareness of this possibility and has increased educational standards as a result.
The period between the age of 16 to 18 is better known as the 'Free Education Period' within the education system, or EDP. During the EDP for pupils they are encouraged to keep standards high and mid-education ratings (A overall grade of how the pupil is doing in EDP) at a good level as to appeal toward the government and large organisations to 'sponsor' them into advanced education, such as university or academies such as the Academy of Medicine. These sponsorships will pay for their entry and stay at campus facilities for them to gain the qualifications. The difference between a government sponsorship and an organisational sponsorship is the latter tends to be aimed toward you having a job within their organisation at the end of their education, whereas a government sponsorship does not. Organisational sponsorships also tend to be viewed as more prestigious than government ones by the public, especially for larger and better known organisations. The exception to this rule is that the government-run health system may sponsor future medical practitioners and the legal system may sponsor future members of it through the Academy of Law.
Private education in the country allows private schools to formulate their own curriculum, as long as it obeys basic standards for national education and maintains cultural integrity for the country. Private Schools tend to be in two versions, one that is almost identical to public primary and secondary schools but with a much higher limitation on membership. The other version are 'academic' institutions that house the pupil and continues to provide education from the age of 6 to 16 in one place. The military also operates a private school from 11 to 16, with pupils sometimes continuing into the military education program thereafter. Public and private colleges and universities also maintain a parity in standards, although private universities are viewed as far more prestigious and tend to create the leading echelon of the country.
Healthcare in the country is currently at the highest level it has been in living memory. It has a system of private and publicly funded health care with complementary treatments, aftercare, and hospice care. Public healthcare within the country is provided by the National Health Bureau, or NHB. The NHB operates public hospitals and clinics around the country that provide a paid-for health service to permanent residents as and when needed. This service is free for medical treatment with the exceptions of non-life threatening prescriptions, dental charges that are not causing pain, and standard charges for most surgical procedures as necessary. Clinical visitations cost money to book, although hospitals utilise a walk-in service for people of whom have suffered an injury but are mobile.
Hospitals and clinics throughout the country operate within set, district-dependant organisations to better oversee day-to-day operations of each hospital. This has allowed medical aid to be transferred from one to another quickly should one hospital find itself short of one kind of medicine and allows for a better, fluid function of the hospital system. Cross-district transfers are also fairly common, with patients often being transferred to Monrael Place hospital, which is a specialist childrens hospital and the best in the country. Most transfers are done with privately chartered flights, although it has been known for the military to assist as necessary, such as when children suffering burns from the 1993 Downsridge School fire were flown in an Air Force transport plane directly to Monrael Place within hours for immediate surgery. The government at the time called this "Two government agencies working together to accomplish both of their primary objectives; To serve the Federation."
Permanent residents of the Federation or those born in the country and passport holders (such as expats) are entitled to free medical treatments with the exception of non-urgent dental treatments and non-life threatening prescriptions. People within the country that are not permanent residents are also entitled to free treatment by the RNHB at time of use and with clinical aid as well for emergency non-admission treatment. Non-emergency treatment will require the patient to undergo an eligibility interview to establish eligibility and legitimacy. The Bureau has in the past refused to provide treatment to individuals they feel have entered the country with the purpose of exploiting the health service provided or to commit 'health evasion', or to use the service and flee before paying. Regulations for charging non-permanent residents for medical treatments were brought into use in 2016.
Individuals entering the country for a temporary stay that will last more than six months are required to pay an immigration medical surcharge that will entitle them to medical treatment on the same basis as a permanent resident. The surcharge, brought into service in 2004, is $200 a year with exemptions for those arriving on diplomatic visas.
Private healthcare in the country is readily available, although not a free service. These institutions can involve private surgery and aftercare, full hospitals for wealthier residents or alteration specialists, better known as 'plastic surgeons'. Privately-run organisations are also heavily involved in the RNHB to provide on-hand security, cleaning or supplementary staff as well as to provide and maintain the majority of the Bureau's medical equipment.
Law Enforcement and Crime
The Constitution establishes five levels of policing for the country: National, highway, transport, military, and civil. The first three are directly controlled by the national government while the last two are subordinate to the military and state governments respectively. The highest level of law enforcement in the country is the Federal Security Agency, better known as the FSA. They have national jurisdiction and work closely with the Gendarmerie in conducting their duties.
Ever since the 1960s the country has had trouble with organised crime in the country. The production and distribution of illegal narcotics such as cocaine is a major factor in crime in the south of the country and gang violence is one of the leading causes of non-natural deaths in 2014. A corruption scandal in late 2016 revealed that one of the largest crime groups in the country had been bribing government officials, leading to a major investigation by the RID and a sweep of arrests. The country's northern neighbour of Cherogado contributes to the importation of narcotics and other criminal enterprises as a result of it's comparably lax laws against the use of narcotics.
The country is an active practitioner of the death penalty, and was criticised in 2004 for the execution of Pamela Sarkov, a nationalised citizen who was found guilty of murdering her family the year in 2002. Inconclusive evidence and testimonies of Sarkov not being in the area at the time of the murders were ignored by the judge and state authorities, who put her to death by hanging after denying a stay of execution plea. A second case in 2006 also attracted international condemnation after three people suspected of being drug dealers were executed on 'loose' evidence that an independent enquiry found to have been planted by personnel involved with the raid.
Tourism in the country is both a well-developed part of the country's economy and a key part of it. The country had one of the highest numbers of visitors in terms of international tourist arrivals in 2013 and has featured in the top three tourism destinations index for seven years running as of 2016. Tourism in the country is a combination of ecotourism with leisure and recreation, with people either opting to enjoy the sun and beach of places like Thessalona's pristine-white beaches or the in-land Still Sea. The 2015 Travel Guidance issued globally, the country was listed as #1 for visitation in regards to luxury-related tourism and history, with over 500 battle-fields and 250 museums to visit.
Belfras' main competitive advantage in tourism index is it's natural resources, which was ranked 1st in 2008 and again in 2016. The country ranked 18th for cultural resources, due to it's world heritage sites for pre-colonial civilisations and colonial/independence-era museums. The country's transportation infrastructure was rated as being a bonus toward the tourism industry, with the national road/rail network being completed in 1955. A tourism boom in the 1980s saw prices deflate substantially to the area, causing it's appeal to middle-class families to rise from that point onward and a national law enforcing prices to remain low to keep up a steady stream of tourism to the country. Subsequently ticket taxes and airport charges for tourism firms have remained at 1980s levels, with a government fund bridging the monetary gap for larger tourism firms. This has had the unfortunate consequence of the larger tourism firms in the country, Belfrasian Tourism Deluxe being one of them, establishing a monopoly on the industry. Safety and security in the country's tourism regions remain high, with police forces having special Economic Protection Units (FPU) purposed toward specifically guarding tourism destinations. The primary reason for the foundation of the FPU was the 1997 San Marco massacre that saw several tourists killed. The 1997 attack was the last recorded incident with tourists in the country, causing it's Safety and Security index to rise to 18th in 2011.
Water supply and sanitation
Science and Technology
To be filled