Blackhelm Confederacy

The Incorporated States of the Blackhelm Confederacy

Status Concorporificatus Foederata Blackhelm
Flag of The Blackhelm Confederacy
Flag
Motto: For our Empire
Location of the Blackhelm Confederacy (dark green) in the Hesperidesian Union (light green)
Location of the Blackhelm Confederacy (dark green) in the Hesperidesian Union (light green)
Capital
and largest city
Paradise City
Official languagesLatin, English
Recognised regional languagesFrench, Arabic, Khoegani, Jafalan, Sabal
Ethnic groups
(2012)
Hesperidesean Native (40%)
Conurbii (34%)
Pureblood (21%)
Egypttianstanni (4%)
Other (3%)
Demonym(s)Blackhelm Confederate
GovernmentRepublic
• Chancellor
Octavius Eaglebrand
• Head of Senate
Cornelius Pureheart
LegislatureSenate
Establishment
• Settlement of Hesperidesia
68 AD
• Foundation of the Blackhelm Confederacy
31 May 1997
Area
• Total
15,668,800 km2 (6,049,800 sq mi)
Population
• 2012 census
2,823,482,192
CurrencyConfederate Credit (CC)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy AD
Driving sideright
Calling code+168
ISO 3166 codeBLC
Internet TLD.BLC


The Blackhelm Confederacy, officially known as the Incorporated States of the Blackhelm Confederacy, is a country in southeast Astyria, covering much of the western half of the Hesperidesian continent. It is a republic with an elected Senate and led by a Chancellor who oversees most foreign and domestic affairs. In the west, the nation shares a land border with the nation of Polarus and in the east with Bungussi, Kwalawi and Jafala. It also shares a maritime border with the Royal Commonwealth of the Scottopian Isles and the Empire of Symphonia. Covering large portion of Hesperidesia, the Blackhelm Confederacy is host to a number of different environments and landforms.

The nation's history began with that of the early Christians, who fled persecution in Rome under the reign of emperor Nero. Founded and ruled by Christian refugees and their descendants, the state of Exponent grew into the jungles steadily before finally proclaiming themselves a full on Empire in the 9th century. By the start of the 16th century, Exponent ruled over all of Hesperidesia, and was beginning to carve out territories in other parts of the region. A series of setbacks over the next several centuries severely curtailed the strength of the Exponential Empire, and it's ultimate collapse in 1996 led to the formation of the Blackhelm Confederacy, centered around Paradise City and Chancellor Lucius Blackhelm.

Almost immediately, the Confederacy reclaimed lost territory, reincorporating the states of Egypttiansstan, Ravetta, Charvonia, Sudanette, and the city-state of Divinity into a unified state through a series of lighting attacks and skilled diplomatic efforts. In 2011, a revolution deposed the government of Lucius Blackhelm and placed Octavius Eaglebrand into the position of Chancellor, who has presided over the nation ever since.

History

Prehistory

Pre-historic rock art depicts the early domestication of animals in Hesperidesia

Around 16,000 BC, in the area that would become present day Sudanette and Charvonia, nuts, grasses and tubers were being collected for food. By 13,000 to 11,000 BC, people began collecting wild grains. This idea then spread throughout the area, moving west into Egypttiansstan particularly, which domesticated its wild grains, wheat and barley. Between 10,000 and 8000 BC, this area of Hesperidesia was cultivating wheat and barley and raising sheep and cattle that were brought in from the vast plains of modern day Kwalawi. A wet climatic phase in Hesperidesia turned the are known as the modern-day Highlands into a mountain forest. Around 7000 BCE, the settlers of the Highlands domesticated donkeys, and by 4000 BCE domesticated donkeys had spread to the rest of the continent. Jafalan speakers, partially turning away from cattle herding, domesticated teff and finger millet between 5500 and 3500 BC.

In the steppes and savannahs of the Polarus desert and Ravetta, the peoples started to collect and domesticate wild millet, Hesperidesian rice and sorghum between 8000 and 6000 BC. Later, gourds, watermelons, castor beans, and cotton were also collected and domesticated. The people started capturing wild cattle and holding them in circular thorn hedges, resulting in domestication. They also started making pottery and built stone settlements. Fishing, using bone tipped harpoons, became a major activity in the numerous streams and lakes formed from the increased rains.

In the area around Paradise City and into the lush Backlands, the wet phase ushered in expanding rainforest and wooded savannah. Between 9000 and 5000 BC, people in this area domesticated the oil palm and raffia palm. Two seed plants, black-eyed peas and Paradisian groundnuts were domesticated, followed by okra and kola nuts. Since most of the plants grew in the forest, the people here invented polished stone axes for clearing forest.

Most of the far east of Hesperidesia was occupied by pygmy peoples and Khoegani who engaged in hunting and gathering. Some of the oldest rock art was produced by them.

Just prior to Polarussian desertification, the communities that developed east of Egyptiansstan in what is now Sudanette were full participants in the Neolithic revolution and lived a settled to semi-nomadic lifestyle, with domesticated plants and animals. It has been suggested that megaliths found here are examples of the world's first known archaeoastronomical devices. The sociocultural complexity observed in the area and expressed by different levels of authority within the society there has been suggested as forming the basis for the structure of the ancient societies here. The eastern Egyptianstanni culture was culturally and ethnically similar to Sub-Polarussian Hesperidesians.

By 5000 BC, Hesperidesia entered a dry phase, and the climate of the Poalrus region gradually became drier. The population trekked out of the region in all directions, where they made permanent or semipermanent settlements. A major climatic recession occurred, lessening the heavy and persistent rains in central and eastern Hesperidesia. Since then, dry conditions have prevailed in eastern Hesperidesia.

The early stages

The Great Fire of Rome led to widespread persecution against Roman Christians, causing several thousand to depart for a new homeland in 66AD

In 64 AD, the Great Fire of Rome caused the Christian population of the city to become the targets of horrific attacks, having become the scapegoats of the Emperor Nero. In 66AD, after two years of intense persecution, a large fleet of refugees took to the the seas, hoping to find a safe haven beyond the pillars of Hercules. After two years at sea, stopping sporadically to pick up fresh food and water, the refugee fleet finally made landfall in a land they proclaimed as "Hesperidesia", or the Land of the Hesperides. the initial landing was made around the area of modern day Paradise City, and it is here and in the surrounding areas that some of the oldest Roman ruins can be found.

Contrary to popular belief, the early Romans did not immediately proclaim themselves a new empire, nor did they set out on conquests. It would take several centuries before this would happen, in part a result of attacks from native tribes and kingdoms against the new arrivals. Instead, these first settlers lived an almost communal life, without any form of hierarchy and all members sharing their possessions freely with each other.

Exponential Empire

Explorers from Exponent make contact with locals on the Insula Fera

The year 87AD marked the beginning of the Empire of Exponent with the ascension of Valerius I to throne. Valerius quickly set about pacifying native Hesperidesian tribes surrounding the settlement at Paradisa, and began to slowly expand the new state's holdings into the dense jungle.

Beginning in 810AD, the first of many crusades against the native kingdoms were launched, with the goal of spreading Christianity to the entire continent. These crusades would continue until 1382, when the entire landmass of Hesperidesia was finally brought under the Exponential banner. In a short time, the Empire then decide to spread out its influence beyond Hesperidesia, moving into several islands in the Mare Ferum in the 1400's and into Teudallum by the mid 16th century.

Exponent was one of Astyria's leading powers throughout the 16th century and most of the 17th century, a position reinforced by trade and wealth from colonial possessions and became the one of the world's leading maritime powers. Its growth was stunted, however, by several massive waves of plague that swept the country just as it met its height, and many neighboring states took advantage of the weakened state of the Empire to claim for themselves what was Imperial territory.

Through conquest or royal alliances and inheritance, the Exponential Empire expanded to include vast holdings across all of Hesperdesia, as well as in Teudallum, Lorecia, and across the Mare Ferum, as well as a number of territories outside of Astyria. By the middle decades of a war- and plague-ridden 17th-century, the Empire had enmeshed the region in numerous religious-political conflicts. These conflicts drained it of resources and undermined the economy generally. Exponent managed to hold on to some portions of the scattered empire, but the Aquitaynian War of Independence effectively destroyed any Imperial hopes for permanent possessions outside of its own continent.

By the 20th century, two world wars served to further weaken the Imperial position, and a series of devastating rebellions throughout Eastern Hesperidesia finally brought about the collapse of the ancient Empire in late 1996, giving birth to the modern state of the Blackhelm Confederacy.

The Blackhelm Confederacy

When the Empire of Exponent collapsed on November 18, 1996, Western Heseperidesia became dotted with more than a dozen city-state successors, many of which quickly realized that they would struggle to remain viable on their own. In order to secure a more powerful state, the city leaders of Redemption, Divinity, and Paradise City gathered in Paradise City on May 31, 1997, to sign the Paradise Accords - bringing the Blackhelm Confederacy into existence for the first time.

Lucius Blackhelm, who had led Paradise City through the tumultuous post-Imperial period, was nominated as Chancellor of the new Confederacy, and members unanimously elected to impart his name to the new state as a sign of gratitude for his efforts not just in reforging stability in Southen Hesperidesia, but also for his efforts to bring an end to Exponent and install Republican rule.

Under Blackhelm's rule, the three city-states would be allowed relative freedom within their own locales, but overall decisions concerning nation-wide legislation or foreign affairs would be decided by the Senate in Paradise City.

Expansion

Blackhelm Confederate troops with AR-2 rifles entering into Ravetta after the annexation

Shortly after creating the new Blackhelm Confederate state, Senate leaders in Paradise City began pressuring the nation of Ravetta, which had formed along the southwestern Hesperidesian coast. On March 11, 1998 the Ravetttan Prime Minister, Claudius Redbrook, was presented with an ultimatum from the Confederate Senate - the Ravettan state would need to join the new Blackhelm Confederacy or face invasion. Two days later, in March 13, Redbrook acquiesced to Senate demands and Confederate forces marched into the region greeted by a jubilant populace.

Following the success in Ravetta, the Confederate Senate then sent another ultimatum to the nation of Charvonia, centered around the city of Sacrament in central Hesperidesia. On September 18, 1998, the Charvonia Republic refused to accept the demands of the Confederate ultimatum, leading to a period of increased tensions along the Confederate-Charvonian border. On February 4, 1999, after several months of tensions, Confederate forces pushed across the border and rapidly secured key cities across the nation. By March 12, the war was over and Charvonia became yet another province of the growing Blackhelm Confederacy.

In 2001, the government of Egypttiansstan was overthrown by a radical regime which began instituting a series of increasingly oppressive legislation. On August 9, 2001, the Egypttiansstanni government executed several children on the crime of "illegally operating a business" - which was in reality the unlicensed operation of a lemonade stand. The parents of the children were then billed for the execution expenses, drawing worldwide outrage. The Confederate government opted to deploy special operations personnel into the country to foment a new revolution, but on August 23 a 12-man team from the Blackhelm Confederate Imperial Honor Guard were captured after a standoff at a farmhouse near the Confederate-Egypttianstani border.The Honor Guardsmen were tortured for several days, and on September 2 several were returned to the Confederacy after having undergone forced amputations by the Egypttianstanni military, with 4 men missing legs or arms.

In response the Confederate military launched an invasion of Egypttiansstan on September 4. Most of the Egypttianstanni military defected or refused to engage with the Confederate army, which made rapid progress to Alexandria where the regime threatened to execute the remaining Honor Guard and to also detonate bombs around the city to kill much of the civilian populace. After a 10-week siege, the Egypttianstanni regime finally surrendered on November 19, 2001.

On October 20, 2003, the nation of Sudanette was given an ultimatum similar to the ones given to Ravetta and Charvonia. Sudanette refused the ultimatum, and reached out to the Lorecian Community to mediate the brewing conflict as Confederate forces massed along the Confederate-Sudanette border.

Confederate expansion was finally contained by the Katovice Conference on May 23rd, 2004. In accordance with the conference, Sudanette would peacefully join the Blackhelm Confederacy, and in return the Blackhelm Confederacy would agree to abandon any further territorial ambitions on Hesperidesia.

Post-containment and Revolution

Blackhelm Confederate Imperial Guard trooper manning a checkpoint in Platteissen Adler

Belka invades Platteissen Adler and Arstotska for reasons. Fearing invasion Ecossian president Atticus Moriarty reached out to Chencellor Lucius Blackhelm for assistance. In response, the Chancellor authorized the Blackhelm Confederacy's very first overseas deployment, sending members of the Imperial Guard to help stabilize the Ecossian frontier and ward off any potential Belkan invasion.

More stuff happens, and additional Confederate forces are authorized for deployment after a heavy air assault and commando raid at Matvayez Airbase, where Confederate and Rombergian forces were stationed. Following the attack at Matvayez, Confederate, Rombergian, and Ecossian forces pushed into Platteissen Adler, encountering stubborn Belkan resistance.

On November 23, 2010, the Blackhelm Confederate Senate voted on laws authorizing the removal or forced conversion of Islamic citizen living in the country, and the following day the military was authorized to carry out the Senate's wishes. To assist them, the Senate also authorized the establishment of militias across the country to root out and identify pockets of refugees. Almost immediately the province of Egyptiansstan threatened succession and mobilized its armed forces, and mercenaries working for the Griffincrest Corporation were put on alert and ordered to repel and military attempts to extract Islamic employees from Griffincrest owned facilities.

Gunfire was exchanged for the first time on December 29, 2010, when a group of Confederate soldiers attempted to force their way into a Griffincrest oil field near Cathantaea, resulting in three Confederate soldiers and one Griffincrest security officer killed and several more wounded on each side. The Senate responded to the exchange by declaring Griffincrest facilities to be enemy assets and ordering the military to capture all oil fields, refineries, and officers across the nation.

Civilians block the road during clashes with security forces in Paradise City

The decision was immediately countermanded by Chancellor Lucius Blackhelm, but was ignored by the Senate. With his orders to halt operations ignored, Blackhelm issued arrest warrants for several top senators, including Octavius Eaglebrand and Cornelius Pureheart. A force of Blackhelm Confederate Imperial Guard were mobilized, but word reached the Senate before the Guardsmen were able to arrive. The Senate, in turn, barricaded themselves within the Senate and ordered an attack of their own which drove back the Guard and led to an eruption of fighting across Paradise City.

Taking advantage of the fighting between the Senate and Chancellor's forces, large groups of armed civilians also took to the streets to lay claim to portions of the city. Paradise City security forces - often supported by Town Guard or even Senate-loyalist forces - frequently engaged with these armed groups in a bid to regain control over the streets. Several of these groups, however, reformed themselves as militias and pledged loyalty to the Senate in order to maintain control over their localities.

By mid-January, forces loyal to the Chancellor had been confined to a handful of cities and the Chancellery island in the center of Paradise City, and a joint loyalist/Griffincrest force had managed to capture the city of Redemption. The rest of the city - with the exception of Egyptiansstan, was firmly under the control of the Blackhelm Confederate Senate, who began to carry out their removal campaign under immense foreign protest.

The tensions with the rest of Astyria finally came to a head on January 22, when Confederate militiamen attacked the Aquitaynian embassy in Paradise City, killing eight soldiers and four staffers. This prompted a popular outcry against semi-legal militias that were still operating and resulted in a large-scale government crackdown, with the Blackhelm Confederate Army raiding several now illegal militias' headquarters and ordering them to disband.

The attack on the embassy also prompted much of Astyria, led by the Lorecian Community, to threaten a boycott of Confederate oil unless peace was restored to the country. The Kingdom of Nikolia soon after sponsored peace talks between the Chancellor and the Senate, following which Lucius Blackhelm agreed to peacefully abdicate in return for a guarantee of safety for his family and property, as well as for the remaining Islamic population. The Senate, under threat of boycott, agreed, bringing the Blackhelm Confederate Revolution to a definitive close on March 9, 2011.

EATA revitalization

Blackhelm Confederate forces provided the bulk of the manpower during the Invasion of Terre Azure in 2014, deposing the dictatorship of Raphael Nargolet

Following the containment protocols mandated by the Katovice Conference, the Blackhelm Confederate government moved to strengthen its soft power on the Hesperidesian continent and tighten bonds with other EATA members, throughout the first decade of the 21st century, the Blackhelm Confederacy had managed to secure alliances with its Hesperidesian neighbors - bolstered by generous trade and economic stimulus packages - to secure its position as the key player on the continent.

The resolve of the entirety East Astyrian Treaty Alliance was tested for the first time in the 21st century by Raphael Nargolet, the President of Terre Azure. In November 2013, Nargolet began instituting a series of repressive laws aimed at driving foreigners from Terre Azure, and imprisoned several Blackhelm Confederate and Dangish civilians. within days, the gory execution of several captured Dangish civilians appeared on the internet, prompting the EATA to plan a response to the bloodshed.

At roughly the same time, the sudden collapse of the Imperial Spartanian Empire on the Insula Fera provoked a new crisis for the Blackhelm Confederate government. In the aftermath of the Spartanian government's collapse, widespread lawlessness led to a humanitarian crisis that the government of Aquitayne sought to resolve by force. Within days of the Aquitaynian King, Samuel Reich, announcing the mission of the United Kingdom to, "bring peace, order, justice, and hospitality back to the Pangean and indigenous peoples", the Empire of Dungeyland - a long-standing ally of the Blackhelm Confederacy and member of the East Astyrian Treaty Alliance - invoked the Osborne Doctrine, a Dangish foreign policy that sought to retain the balance of power in eastern Astyria and to prevent nations from tilting that power for their own benefit.

In the aftermath of the doctrine's invocation, the Blackhelm Confederacy through their support behind a separate, Dangish-led peacekeeping operation that was intended to run concurrent to the Aquitaynina mission. In a bid to lower tensions, both the EATA and the United Kingdom of Aquitayne and Symphonia agreed to form the Multi-national Force - Insula Fera, in which forces from both sides would cooperate jointly during the invasion under a unified command.

On December 28, 2013, the multinational force launched their invasion of Pangus and Prudenesia - the two newly established states formed in the aftermath of the Spartanian collapse. Coalition forces captured the final independent stronghold of Corvus in mid-January, 2014, and then settled into an anti-insurgency role. Despite the EATA involvement on the Insula Fera, there has been heavy speculation that the Confederate government was actively supplying arms, training, and munitions to various rebel groups on the island. Confederate support has been heavily speculated to have been behind the bloody shootdown of a Symphonian KV-107, in which nearly a dozen Symphonian servicemen were killed when a guided missile struck their helicopter near Noveau Avignon.

With the conclusion of heavy fighting on the Insula Fera - which stalled the planned actions against the Nargolet regime - EATA forces finally entered Terre Azure on February 23, 2014. The campaign culminated in the bloody Battle of Port Blacksand, which saw the Nargolet regime deposed and replaced with the government of Dr. Andrew Mullins on July 2, 2014.

We all go and invade Kamalbia

Blackhelm Confederate forces would remain in the Insula Fera until November, 2016, when EATA forces agreed to withdraw and hand over power to local government forces. Confederate forces remain in both Terre Azure and Kamalbia, and likely will remain there for the foreseeable future.

Geography

Jungles

Dense jungle covers much of the Blackhelm Confederacy. Known as "the Backlands," the jungle is home to the vast majority of the Hesperidesian Native population

The Hesperidesian Backlands are an important biodiversity hotspot. The area is home to a tremendous range of willife, and is also an important source of Hespeidesian teak, used for building furniture and flooring. Several hundred million people depend on these woodlands, surviving on traditional livelihoods. At a larger level, the Blackhelm Confederacy's forests act as the region's lungs, by functioning as a huge "carbon sink." These forests trap carbon that could otherwise become carbon dioxide, the main cause of global warming and convert it into oxygen. These forests also affect rainfall across the Mare Ferum.

Highlands

The Highlands is a North-South running spine of mountains that serve as the current border between the nations of the Blackhelm Confederacy and Polarus. The Highlands are a mineral-dense area that serves as the primary source of mining for the country. The highest mountain in the Highlands is Mount Elbrus, which is 14,037 feet high. The Highlands are primarily inhabited by the Sabal population and has a markedly distinct climate between the jungles of the Backlands and the desert of Polarus and Egypttianstan.

Desert

Much of Western Hesperidesia is covered by desert, and the province of Egypttiansstan falls into this category. The climate is generally extremely dry all over the province except on the Mare Ferum coast, which receives rainfall in winter. In addition to rarity of rain, extreme heat during summer months is also a general climate feature of Egypttiansstan although daytime temperatures are more moderated along the northern coast.

Islands

The Blackhelm Confederacy also includes the islands of Sancte Crucis and Marci Evangeliste in the Mare Ferum, and a number of smaller islands in the Gulf of Neptune and the Gulf of Salacia.

Government

Branches of Government

The Confederate Senate determines the legislative and administrative policy within the Blackhelm Confederacy

According to the Constitution of the Blackhelm Confederacy, the country is a confederacy and significant powers are granted to local governments,but the Senate and Chancellor still maintain substantial power. The Confederate government is composed of three branches:

  • Legislative: The Senate of the Blackhelm Confederacy, made up of the representatives from across the nation, is the most powerful institution in the country. The Senate adopts law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse and the power of impeachment of the Chancellor. Additionally, the Head of Senate, if supported by the majority of Senators (51%) is able to overrule any decisions made by the Chancellor and serves as the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  • Executive: The Chancellor is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, can veto legislative bills before they become law, and appoints the various ministers to their positions (aside from the foreign minister) and other officers, who administer and enforce national laws and policies.
  • Judiciary: The Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Arbitration and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the Confederate Senate interpret laws and can overturn laws they deem unconstitutional.


The Chancellor is elected by election of the Senate and remains in office until his retirement or the decision by the Senators to have him replaced.

Administrative Divisions

Provinciae, or provinces in English, are the most basic divisions of the Blackhelm Confederacy. Each province is run by an appointed Praetor, except for Egyptianstan, which is ruled over by the Consul Egypttianstanus. Under normal circumstances, available or soon to be available praetorian posts are brought before the Senate in August so that elections can be held to fill them with ambitious patricians. All members of the patrician class can run for this office, the stipulations being that they give up their current job and leave for their appointed province no more than two months after winning their election The purpose behind the praetorship is for every province, with the exception of Egypttianstan to be lead by an individual of Exponential blood. This is a relic of the custom of maintaining direct Roman rule over all the provinces. However, the Head of Senate or Chancellor can impeach any reigning Praetor, forcing a new election unless the impeachment is vetoed by the the other.

The lowest ranking political division is the Municipia (Township), administered according to a system distinct from higher strata. Praefecti Urborum (City Prefects, mayors) are elected every other year by popular assembly of the inhabitants (not just the land owners) of the township. This is the only titled government position that can be held by a non landed citizen.

Tax System

All Confederate Citizens are required to pay 20% of their yearly earnings to the Confederate Senate in return for the services they recieve yearly. Confederate citizens, however, reserve the right to check where their money is spent, and can divide accordingly, as long as it adds up to 20%. The following are the options they may choose from:

  • National Defense
  • Veterans Benefits
  • Water and Land Management
  • Energy Supply and Conservation
  • Environmental Protection & Green Technologies
  • International Affairs (Humanitarian aid, Embassies and staff, Security Assistance)
  • Space, Science and Technology
  • Immigration and Law Enforcement
  • Roads and Infrastructure

In addition to the 20%, the majority of Confederate citizens donate an annual tithe of 3% to their local church. In return, they are provided access to church provided medical and educational services, as well as food stores and other charitable endeavors.

Foreign Relations

The Blackhelm Confederacy is recognized in international law as a successor state of the former Empire of Exponent. The Confederacy continues to implement the international commitments of the former empire, and has assumed the empire's rights and obligations under international treaties, and property and debts. The foreign policy is determined by the Chancellor and implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Military

The Confederate military is divided into the Army, Navy, and Air Force. It is mandatory for all Pureblood male citizens once aged 18 to be drafted for a year of service in the armed forces. Most units, although not all, practice some from of segregation.

The Blackhelm Confederacy has one of the largest stockpiles of nuclear weapons in the world. It has the second largest fleet of ballistic missile submarines in the region and is one of the few Astyrian countries with a modern strategic bomber force. The Confederacy's tank force is the largest in the region, its surface navy and air force are among the largest ones.

Economy

Agriculture

A Hesperidesian Native farmer at work in the Backlands

Agriculture plays a major role in the lives of many Confederate citizens, and an estimated 60% of the working Confederate population is employed in the field. Major crops include beans, sesame, cashew nuts, cassava, cocoa beans, groundnuts, gum arabic, kola nut, corn, melon, millet, palm kernels, palm oil, plantains, rice, rubber, sorghum, soybeans and yams.

Cocoa is an especially important cash crop for Confederate farmers, and is the leading non-oil foreign exchange earner for the Confederate economy. Rubber is the second-largest non-oil foreign exchange earner. Tobacco and the Hesperidesian wine industry also provide a substantial influx of capital to the nation, and viniculture on the Hesperidesian continent has recently begun to enjoy a newfound prominence in the region thanks in large part to overseas advertising from many Confederate grape growers.

Amongst many Hesperidesian Native groups women and men within the same family will traditionally work on separate plots growing different crops. Women are usually engaged in subsistence farming to provide food to fulfill the needs of the members of the household while men are engaged in the production of cash or export crops. Men may also take part in the cultivation of yams, which are considered by many groups to be a "prestige" crop.

With the longest coastline in Astyria, Confederate fleets also contribute significantly to the regions fish supply, annually producing more than three million tons of seafood to the regional food supply.

Tourism

The climate of the Blackhelm Confederacy, its geographic location, popular coastlines, diverse landscapes, historical legacy, vibrant culture and built up resort islands, has made the Confederacy's international tourist industry among the largest in the world. Nearly 5% of the nations GDP is brought in through tourist revenue.

Energy

The mineral-packed Highlands and the vast oil, gas, coal, and timber reserves of Hesperedesia and the waters around it make the Blackhelm Confederacy rich in natural resources, which dominate the countries exports. Oil and gas exports, specifically, continue to be the main source of hard currency. The petroleum industry in the confederacy is one of the largest in the world, and the oil and gas sector make up nearly 20% of the nations GDP and the vast majority of its exports.

Transport

The Blackhelm Confederacy is connected by a massive highway and rail network, the most modern of which is the Paradise-Sacrament Expressway, which was built in 2005. The PSE was a major project that involved cutting through miles of dense jungle to connect the capital city with the largest city in the Backlands, but it was believed to be a necessity to enable the increased truck traffic from late-90's Backland urbanization to take place. The Blackhelm Confederacy also is home to a number of navigable waterways which play a crucial role in transportation across the country, and the country also has an extensive pipeline network which is used to move oil, gas, and other resources across the country.

Culture

Sport

Cuisine

A "jumble," a common meal in the Blackhelm Confederacy eaten with tortilla chips

Confederate food is an odd affair by most standards, as that it lacks actual utensils save for an odd looking spoon, which looks almost identical to the ones used by the Japanese in their soups. Most foods in the Blackhelm Confederacy are served in either an edible bread bowl, or on a thick, crispy fried tortilla. Food is also usually served with some kind of cracker or smaller fried tortilla, which is used to scoop up the food in place of a fork or spoon.

Food is often in the form of a diced up jumble, or a dip. The average Confederate family living within the cities of the country will often eat a meal of a crab or fish spread, served with crackers and on a fried tortilla. If this is not the meal, another common meal is a melted cheese dish very similar to Welsh Rarebit. Both of these can vary from being very tasty to rather bland, depending on how the item is prepared. This is usually reliant upon the family income. If Confederate (or Exponential, from the nations former name, depending on the owner) restaurants exist in your nation, you are highly likely to be served urban style food. Another dish, more often enjoyed by the upper classes, and very common in restaurants, is a spiced and marinated diced steak, rice, tomato/cilantro type salsa, cheese, and sour cream served in on a fried tortilla, and usually with an additional corn/cilantro salsa mixed in, and also eaten with small pieces of fried tortilla or crackers.

On the streets of the Confederacy's cities, the most beloved food in the nation has its position. Similar to the hot dog of NY or Chicago, Paradise City is well known for its street food, the stuffed dormouse. The little delights often come stuffed with either beef, pork, cheese, or any combination of them, and sometimes chicken. They are served in a small cardboard container with a sheet of wax paper in it. Another type of food on the go is the Isicia Omentata. It is a white wine soaked french roll, sprinkled with some pepper, and a meat patty that has a bit of salt, white wine, pine kernels, and pepper corn. It is very common in the cafes of the major cities of the Blackhelm Confederacy.

Pancakes, made by mixing flour, milk, oil and eggs together into a dough and then fried in a pan and topped with honey and a bit of pepper are also very common all over the country. Exponential rolls are also a type of food known throughout the nation. They are made by pouring some young wine or grape juice over the flour, then adding anise, cumin seeds, lard and cheese. The baker then forms this mix together until he has a reasonable dough, forms rolls, then puts one bay leaf under each of them. The result is wonderful, and is common in virtually all Confederate homes.

Desert varies widely, but a very common desert is a fruit with a bit of honey, or pastry. All of it is made with honey, as sugar is not terribly common in the Blackhelm Confederacy.

In the countryside, sorghum is the staple food, and in some areas there is rice. The people often are not very creative in eating this, and it is not very note worthy.