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United Republic of Gran Aligonia
República Unida da Gran Aligonia
Motto: "Vi libertatis."
"Force of Liberty."
Location of Gran Aligonia in the Periclean Region
Political Map of Gran Aligonia
and largest city
|Ethnic groups |
• Prince (transitional)
|Leuter Sion (interim)|
• Grand Minister
|4,384 km2 (1,693 sq mi)|
• Water (%)
|221/km2 (572.4/sq mi)|
|Currency||Florin (Ƒ) (GAF)|
|Time zone||BCT (+0)|
Gran Aligonia, formally referred to as the United Republic of Gran Aligonia (Aligonian: República Unida da Gran Aligonia) or more rarely as Aligonia, is a sovereign country and microstate located in the Periclean Sea, approximately 282 km off of the coast of Mont, with which it shares a maritime border. Gran Aligonia's location in the Periclean Sea has made it a historically important stop on trade routes along the coastline, bridging Belisarian and Scipian shipping lanes, lending it the moniker of Gateway to the Periclean.
Located on the Aligonian archipelago, Gran Aligonia has an area of 4,384 km2 (0.780 sq mi), making it one of the geographically smallest nations in the world and the smallest nation in Scipia. With a population density of 221 inhabitants per km2 and a total population of 968,864, Gran Aligonia is also one of the smallest nations in the world by population.
Gran Aligonia was until recently a principality goverened by an absolute monarch; as of 13 January 2020, the microstate is a presidential republic with strong protections for worker's rights. Until recently, the House of Abellán ruled Gran Aligonia. The Abelláns rose to power 1950 after the end of Yisraeli occupation of the archipelago, in the Third West Scipian War of 1949. The official language is Aligonian, a Latinesque language, but Yisraeli Anglic, Montoise, and Latin are widely spoken and understood by different sections of the island's population. Despite Gran Aligonia's independence and separate foreign policy, its defense is currently the responsibility of Latium; the Latin Navy has been evicted from their base at Sidora, but have yet to leave, maintaining their defense pact tentatively. Gran Aligonia also maintains a national gendarmerie and several national military units, including a small air force.
After the rise of the House of Abellán, Gran Aligonia's temperate climate, scenery, and gambling facilities contributed to the principality's status as a tourist destination and recreation center for the world's hyper-wealthy. Gran Aligonia has been one of the world's major banking centers since the mid-14th century and continues to treat the financial industry as one of its priorities. The nation has recently sought to diversify its economy into the services sector and small, high-value-added, non-polluting industries. Gran Aligonia is transitioning away from its previous status as a tax haven to a more well-rounded economic structure. Since Octover of 2019, the nation has been undergoing protests and subsequent reforms to its economy and political structure, leading to democratization, with the first round of elections planned for 31 January 2020.
The first evidence of human settlement on the Aligonian archipelago dates back to the 11th millenium BC, with a plethora of stone tools and a complex burial ground being uncovered in an archeological dig in 1972 near Vella Viasa on the island of Aligonia; the inhabitants appear to have been culturally Proto-Scipian, and had a complex system of stellar navigation that they used to reach the island; the site, known as Toro Galla, is one of the earliest discovered human settlements in the world, and the only one on an island. Many believe that Toro Galla was an important stepping stone in the transition from transitory hunter-gatherer groups to more organized society, with large bonfires being lit on the archipelago to allow the smoke to be seen from the coastline or neighboring islands. Professor Raul Sabdera of the University of Villa Romera reports:
As the weapons seen at the site appear to be made of rough-hewn bronze or copper and not the more later metallurgical developments of the Hellenic and Scipian settlers which permeated the Periclean in Pre-Antiquity, it would indicate a difference in culture from the mainline continental populations, potentially accelerated by geographical isolation after the initial post-Neolithic settlement of our archipelago. Since, however, this population … preserves so many elements of proto-Scipian art, the Proto-Aligonians may be recognized as a remnant of a pre-Latin, pre-Hellenic population unrelated to both modern Scipian and modern Belisarian populations.
Hellenic and Scipian settlers arrived on the Aligonian archipelago sometime around 550 BCE, likely superceding and assimilating the native settlers and conquering their declining political instiutions. The city of Actamea, founded on the site of the modern Aligonian capital of Villa Romera, subsequently developed into a powerful maritime city state, and was subject to intense cultural mixing with populations from both Scipia and Belisaria, as well as the older inhabitants of the island. The first documented find of a Hellenic aeolipile, a form of primitive steam engine, was uncovered from a shipwreck near the port of Tarraron in 1872; though advanced, it is likely that this form of rudimentary technology did not have any substantial practical use to the Actameans.
The first documented ruler of Actamea was a petty king known as Kritodemos, whose exploits establishing and expanding the city state became partially mythologized in existing Hellenic cults and their more ancient counterparts. In broader Hellenic mythology, the Aligonian archipelago, known as Olynagrana, was the home of the sorceress Alemene, who invented a special form of honey that turned those who drank it into demigods, including mythical hero Lydus. Scholars in ancient religions at the University of Villa Romera have speculated that this "Alemenian honey" was a form of entheogen possibly related to those witnessed on the Hellenic mainland in a ritual called the Eleusinian mysteries, which would mark the Aligonian archipelago as one of the centers of production and origin for such a ritual. As the sources are partially or fully narrative and mythological in nature, it is hard to discern whether the mythic substance was based on any actual ritual, or simply invented for the purpose of the stories.
Though Actamea had democratic elements, and seemed to have a degree of gender equality higher than that witnessed in other locations in the ancient Scipian and Hellenic worlds, the city state seemed to operate as an autocratic state, with a small class of noblemen and merchnats ruling over substantially larger groups of free peasants and slaves. In 50 CE, the Aligonian archipelago was invaded by the Latin Empire, where it was christened Insula Romera, a name from which the modern city of Villa Romera derives its name. The city remained an important center of commerce between Scipia and Belisaria, often serving as a stop between the Latin mainland and ports in modern Sydalon and Mont. A form of Vulgar Latin began to be spoken on the island during this time, which would lay the foundations for the modern Aligonian language. During the 2nd century, the islands were an early stronghold of the growing Christian faith among the subjects of the Empire, with local governor Hegio Candidius Geta publicly converting in in 301 CE, shortly before Emperor Chlorus' conversion and the subsequent Edict of Ravenna.
With growing influence from the Thraysian Empire in Scipia, Aligonia was one of the first places to fall out of the sphere of influence of the declining Empire; the islands were conquered by the rival state in 520 CE, and was again conquered by the XX Caliphate in 780, before several successful anti-Azdari rebellions primarily headed by the exiled Bishop of Sidora led to their expulsion in 824 CE. With the Empire at large also subject to conquest, the islands' nobility organized independently into the Principality of Aligonia, which would serve as an important Christian stronghold near Scipia and a staging area for subsequent Crusaders and holy orders, including the native Aligonian Order of Saint Brandasma, commonly known as the Knights of The Red Lion, which would go on to hold immense political and economic sway over the local Aligonian nobility, both as a chivlaric order sponsored by the Fabrian church, and as one of the Christian world's earliest banking guilds.
Aligonia during this time was considered an important maritime ally of the crusader kingdom of Sydalon, with many Aligonian pilgrims and knights heading to the Holy Land to participate in the Sydalene Crusades. After subsequent Crusades became more defensive and less successful in the establishment of permanent Christianized kingdoms on the Scipian coast, the Principality began to become more tolerant towards different faiths due to sustained cultural diffusion and the arrival of Jewish traders from Medina Yehuda in the late 11th century, becoming an important stopping point for important trade goods, particularly spices, arriving on the island from Scipia and distant Ochran.
Renaissance and Merchant Republic
Main Article: Most Magnificent Republic of Aligonia
In 1324, with the last line of Princes in Villa Romera, of the House of Peredo, coming to an end with the death of the childless Prince Sabino V of Aligonia, the nobility of the capital of Villa Romera convened to set up a new political entity over the archipelago, in order to prevent a disastrous war of succession or potential weakness to foreign invaders. A meeting of several prominent nobles in the "Big Five" families of Villa Romera, Tarraron, Mont Moceno, Porta Mobria, and Vella Viasa met at the Edict of the Merchants in 1322 CE, creating a merchant republic known as the Most Magnificent Republic of Aligonia.
Spurred by decrees by the church attacking the increased economic power of chivlaric orders following the Crusades, the fledgling Republic accquired the economic assets and banks formerly belonging to the then-disgraced Knights of the Red Lion, albeit with a tighter relationship with the greater Fabrian church, and particularly the Archdiocese of Sidora, which was elevated to such a level in 1349 CE. The Republica Magnifica continued to garner economic power during this time as a trading hub, and established a powerful navy with expeditionary capabilities that rivaled that of many smaller nations in Belisaria; many Scipian cities would be under implicit or direct control of the Republic, paying tribute and contributing to a complex network of trade outposts and powerful hubs during this time. The Republic often sparred with, and traded with, Scipian states such as Tulura, Fahran, and others, continuing to recieve an influx of rare goods during this time which contributed to the island's wealth and population; by 1420 CE, the population of Villa Romera was recorded at almost 182,000, though several outbreaks of plague and Typhoid fever repeatedly lowered the population.
The position of Magnus rotated largely between the Big Five families during this time, though it was also limited by the 320-member Grand Council of Patricians, which largely consisted of a noble class composed of elevated merchants and other rich dignitaries. The earthquake of 1440 crippled the islands and decimated the city of Sidora, and thus its religious and political power, while also allowing the powerful Oberlia family to seize power for a then-unprecedented 75 years. As a part of a larger global renaissance, the Republic and particularly its main island were a hub for artists and early scientists, with many, including Linhidosi sculptor Iakovos and local Aligonian polymath Xosue Razo de Avina being prominent residents of the republic, often commissioned by the ruling Magnus. The controversial panpsychic scientist Sabino Verdugo was executed by the local Fabrian church in 1492, though his contributions to the field included early theories of heliocentrism and contributions to the philosophy of science and the growing Enlightenment.
Conquest and Reform
West Scipian Wars and Yisraeli Rule
As a majority-Fabrian nation, the Principality began to involve themselves in the growing West Scipian flashpoints between Sydalon and Yisrael starting with the 2nd West Scipian War in 1915. Prince Hugo II Oberlia, in a bid to support Sydalon, offered the services of the Xendarmeria as a pseudo-foreign legion, on retainer for very little to Fabrian forces fighting against Yisrael, particularly regarding military engagements on the Periclean coast. The move was internally greeted with a mixed reaction; some were enthused by the prospect of Gran Aligonia again following in its crusader and merchant roots by using a religious conflict to expand its governmental influence, but others were wary that greater involvement with larger Periclean countries would ultimately lead to subjugation, as had happened to the Merchant Republic.
In July of 1918, a detachment of Xendarmes were involved in the massacre of approximately 1,300 Sydalene civilians thought to be Yisraeli sympathizers. The massacre was initially denied by the Prince, but eventually news reports headed by the del Villar family-funded infant newspaper, Xornal Xeral de Aligonia, helped reveal the truth through a sequence of award-winning photos, resulting in Prince Hugo's withdrawal from the war before its final completion, and increased political scrutiny towards the Oberlias by other members of the nobility. The Xendarmeria were subsequently demilitarized and reintroduced into their original role as a security force, and the leadership directly responsible for the massacre, a triumvirate of Sub-Directors, were exiled from Gran Aligonia in 1920.
Throughout the following decade, the House of Oberlia made an increasing number of political blunders that eroded their internal support among the nobility, although they continued to rule unimpeded due to the continued loyalty of the island's security forces. Diplomatically, the massacre had led many previously friendly nations, including Latium and Lihnidos, to cut relations with the Principality due to its actions, leaving it particularly geopolitically isolated.
Gran Aligonia's strategic location on the Periclean, and newly politically isolated status, caught the eye of Yisraeli imperialists and war hawks which saw the Principality as a prime target for the expansion of hard power and increased access to deep water ports in the greater Periclean region. In the late 1920s, a number of right-wing Yisraeli politicians openly debated the 'Gran Aligonia Question' in light of the Sydalon Bloc's geo-strategic holdings surrounding Yisrael.
Liberation and modern period
An archipelago of approximately 1,682 islands, Gran Aligonia's large main island is formally known as Aligonia, a name also sometimes given to the whole archipelago as the Aligonian Archipelago. Situated in the Periclean Sea approximately 282km from the shores of Mont, almost all of Gran Aligonia possesses a Periclean climate with mild winters and hot summers, hotter in the inland areas. Rain occurs mainly in autumn and winter, with summer being generally dry. The islands are famous for their typcial morning mist. At the main island's highest point of Mont Moceno (3894 m), the climate becomes more temperate and even continental owing to the increase in altitude, providing a snowy peak which has occasionally been used for amateur skiing. Since 2002, however, Mont Moceno's peak and accompanying settlement have been seeing less snow due to climate change, often only recieving 13cm of snowfall total yearly.
The average annual sea temperature is 20 °C, from 15–16 °C in February to 26 °C in August. The annual average relative humidity is high, averaging 71%, ranging from 65% in July to 78% in December. The islands are home to a wide variety of flora and fauna, particularly the Aligonian porpoise, which is a nationally and internationally protected species. Approximately 25% of Aligonian islands in the archipelago are uninhabited and have been designated as nature preserves. Approximately 35% of Gran Aligonia is naturally forested, with lumber typically being imported.
Gran Aligonia is a semi-absolute monarchy, with the Prince serving as the head of state and the head of the judiciary. However, the legislative branch of the country, the Grand Ministry, is organized separately along democratic lines; though both voting and running for parliamentary elections were restricted to wealthy male landowners for the majority of the Principality's history going back to the days of the Serene Republic, the 1956 Voting Rights Act expanded suffrage to every identification-bearing citizen of the country above the age of 16. Pro-democracy critics regard Gran Aligonia as an autocratic state; the Forum of Nations Democracy Index rated the Aligonian governing process as "partly free".
In the absence of national elections for the executive, politics in Gran Aligonia take place in two distinct areas: within the royal House of Abellán and its other noble peripheries, particularly the "Big Five" families, and within the more diverse field of the Grand Ministry, where pro-democratic, socialist, and other voices have been gaining traction in the last half-century.
The rule of the House of Abellán, and the continuation of the existing "Big Five" power structure, faces political opposition from three major sources: Schraderist socialist activism; Fabrianism activism, typically also socialist in nature, and liberal democratic critics, typically those steeped in foreign business interests. Among the Gran Aligonian population, the socialist opposition, though fragmented, is generally perceived as the primary critic to the interests of the nobility, including the ruling House.
The wider defence of the nation has traditonally been provided by Latium since the end of the 3rd West Scipian War. Gran Aligonia formally no army or navy, instead relying on a national militia known as the Xendarmeria. The Xendarmeria operates a substantial coast guard, and serves as the archipelago's police and military force simultaneously. There are several elite units of the Xendarmeria which have some independent jurisdiction, including the Aligonian Air Force, which operates 14 Super-Tucano aircraft, and the Prince's Guard (Aligonian: Garda do Príncipe), which recieves special training and is in charge of the defense of the Prince, Great Minister, and their families.