Meᵹelan

Community of Meᵹelan

Comunità di Meſiolano (Italian)
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Flag
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Coat of arms
Motto: "Tiremm innanz" (Western Lombard)
"Let's move on"
Anthem: La bella Gigogin
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CapitalVergate sul Membro
LargestAlba
Official languagesItalian
Recognised national languagesEastern Lombard
Emilian
Western Lombard
Recognised regional languagesLadin
Walser
Ethnic groups
(2020)
Religion
(2020)
Demonym(s)Meᵹelaneſe
GovernmentConfederal direct democracy under a non-partisan consensus directorial republic
• Consulate of the Community
Directory of 10 people
• Captain of the People
Giovanni Capra
LegislatureGrand and General Council
Credenza
Arengo
Establishment
• Foundation date
7 April 1167
• Joined the Common Sphere
25 March 1957
Area
• Total
34,112.37 km2 (13,170.86 sq mi)
• Water (%)
4.2
Population
• 2020 census
4,237,301
• Density
124.2/km2 (321.7/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2020 estimate
• Total
₤262 billion
• Per capita
₤62,014
GDP (nominal)2020 estimate
• Total
₤356 billion
• Per capita
₤84,140
Gini (2020)28.7
low
HDI (2020)0.946
very high
CurrencyMeᵹelaneſe pound (₤) (LIR)
Time zoneUTC+1 (UTC)
• Summer (DST)
UTC+2 (UTC)
Date formatdd.mm.yyyy (CE)
Driving sideleft
Calling code+37
ISO 3166 codeME
Internet TLD.me

Meᵹelan, officially the Community of Meᵹelan, is a sovereign state situated in northern Tyran, in the continent of Eracura. It is a confederation of 10 constituent states, and the seat of the confederal authorities alternates each year between the planned community of Vergate sul Membro and one of the 10 state capitals. Meᵹelan borders Delliria and Kosdrea to the east and Delkora to the north; plains occupy the greater part of the Community's territory, and its largest cities, up to and including the economic centre and global city of Alba, are located there.

Meᵹelan is part of the Common Sphere; despite having largely adhered to its socioeconomic model, the Community is - along with Gylias - the country most opposed to the strengthening of the organization itself.

The Community is characterized by a politically engaged citizenry, good social indicators and an absence of deep poverty, but also by a relatively low income and slow growth; and, if on one hand a recession in Meᵹelan is, on average, less destructive than it would be in any other country in Tyran, on the other hand recovery takes longer, and growth afterwards is slower.

Etymology

The etymology of the name Meᵹelan remains uncertain; One theory holds that the name comes from the Latin in medio planum, "in the middle of the plain" - the location of the Community's biggest city, Alba. However, some scholars believe that the name comes from the Celtic root lan, denoting an enclosure or demarcated territory, such as the kind of territory used to build shrines.

Moreover, a folk theory links the Community's name to the half-woollen boar, or scrofa semilanuta, that once served as the emblem of the city of Alba and, later, of the Community of Meᵹelan as a whole, having appeared to the legendary founder of Alba in antiquity.

History

Meᵹelan has existed as a state in its present form since the end of the Meᵹelaneſe Civil War in 1943, but the precursors of Meᵹelan established a protective alliance in 1167, forming a loose confederation of states which persisted for centuries, therefore putting the country among Tyran's oldest surviving republics.

Prehistory

The greater part of what is now Meᵹelan used to be covered by sea level until the Pleistocene; as the Ice Age glaciers retreated, a coastal plain appeared, lying within a few metres of sea level. The first known ancient inhabitants of the thick forests and swamps of prehistoric Meᵹelan belonged to an Indo-European people who, while being counted among the greatest producers of rock art in Tyran, began to turn the naturally marshy country they inhabited into flat, dry, low-lying agricultural land, through a system of drainage channels and man-made rivers.

Antiquity

The city of Alba was founded around 600 BCE, by the king of a confederation of six tribes hailing from beyond Meᵹelan's western mountain ranges; Alba quickly established itself as the political and spiritual center of this confederation, that was however partitioned between its neighbours around the time of Cacerta's Padova Period. The influence of the archipelago to the east of Meᵹelan was by far the strongest, as the local inhabitants quickly adopted bits and pieces of the culture and language of Cacerta - even Alba's patron deity was quickly likened to the founder of Cacerta's religion.

Middle Ages

By the 10th century CE, Meᵹelan found itself divided in a multiplicity of small, autonomous city-states, that were at first ruled by the clergy, and then ruled by the people; while in the rural city-states all decisions were made by communalism, with the city-states founded, governed and defended by cooperative decisions, the urban city-states soon fell under the control of violent factions based on family, confraternity and brotherhood.

In 1167, rural and urban city-states alike united under the banner of the Community of Meᵹelan - only a military alliance at first, established to protect the rapidly expanding commerce of Meᵹelan's highly mobile and demographically expanding society, its powers grew more and more with the years, resulting in a system comparable to that of a present-day republic.

Renaissance

The early capitalist principles adopted by the urban city-states and the relative political freedom of Meᵹelan boosted scientific and artistic advancement, leading to a flourishing of the arts, architecture, literature, science, historiography, and political theory; and as Kosdrea built fleets of ships both for their own protection and to support extensive trade networks, Meᵹelan funded their building and provided them with crewmen and supplies, in exchange for a cut of the profits.

This arrangement, born out of necessity - Meᵹelan's coast being boggy and unsuited for coastal trade - was deepened and facilitated by the fact that both countries were governed by institutions as different from those of their neighbours as they were similar to each other; these trade deals between Kosdrea and Meᵹelan nonetheless heightened the divide between the democratic but poor rural city-states and the oligarchic but rich urban city-states.

Due to this divide, plenty of people in rural Meᵹelan sailed abroad to earn a living as soldiers of fortune, especially in the Liúşai League; the most successful mercenary captains and soldiers were able to sail back home, with enough followers and wealth to establish patrician families of their own and become well-connected and wealthy patrons of the arts and sciences. Mercenaries and sailors of Meᵹelaneſe descent reached Akashi as well, serving as infantry and privateers in the local conflicts.

Early Modern Meᵹelan

At the start of the 17th century CE, Meᵹelan was a relative oasis of peace and prosperity, mostly because all major powers in Tyran depended on the local mercenaries, and would not let Meᵹelan fall into the hands of one of their rivals; politically, they all tried to take influence, by way of mercenary commanders. Between 1629 and 1631 however, a series of outbreaks of bubonic plague - carried by fleas living on the black rats that travelled on the ships of the consortium between Kosdrea and Meᵹelan - ravaged the country.

This plague is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Meᵹelan's population, and may have contributed to the economic decline of Meᵹelan relative to other countries in Tyran in the Early Modern era. The plague created religious, social, and economic upheavals: notably, with such a large population decline from the plague, wages soared in response to a labour shortage, and landowners were pushed to substitute monetary rents for labour services in an effort to keep tenants.

Industrial Revolution

Even though the first factory in Meᵹelan was founded in 1736, it was only in the 19th century CE that the country saw widespread industrialization, largely due to the funding and input of private citizens; these early industrialists often built model villages to house their workers, consisting of relatively high quality housing, with integrated community amenities and attractive physical environments - a consequence of the strict zoning laws of Meᵹelan's urban city-states, whose élites were unwilling to put up with the chaos and filth of early industry.

Industrialization brought the divide between rural and urban Meᵹelan to its tipping point: in 1847, a brief conflict - lasting from the 3rd of November to the 29th of November of the same year - saw the forces of rural Meᵹelan prevail over those of urban Meᵹelan. Despite being outgunned and outnumbered, the rural faction could count on the experience of their officers, due to the legacy of centuries of overseas freelance work. The conditions dictated by the victors restored direct democracy in Meᵹelan's urban city-states for the first time since the early Middle Ages.

Late Modern Meᵹelan

Between late 1847 and late 1919, Meᵹelan enjoyed a period of stability characterised by technological, scientific, and cultural innovations, as well as by a second flourishing of the arts, with numerous masterpieces of literature, music, theatre, and visual art gaining extensive recognition. The traditional divide between rural and urban Meᵹelan was however replaced by class stratification, a consequence of the industrial and technological changes in the country.

A period of intense social conflict was followed by a botched coup by the Futurist Political Party, in 1919; the next 25 years saw the authors of the coup d'état fight over Meᵹelan against several other factions. This period - the Meᵹelaneſe Civil War - saw the death of 69% of the total population of the country; up to 90% of the male population was killed, and it took decades for Meᵹelan to recover from the chaos and demographic losses, as well as from the consequences of unrestricted chemical warfare.

Contemporary Meᵹelan

The aftermath of the Meᵹelaneſe Civil War left Meᵹelan with a destroyed economy and a divided society; the accession of the country to the Common Sphere and Gina Campanelli's 24 year long tenure as Chair of the Economic Commission of said regional organization spurred a period of slow but steady economic growth on one hand, and of gradual but sure social progress on the other hand, despite organized crime's considerable influence and terrorist acts carried out by extra-parliamentary movements.

By the early 1990s, especially after the defeat of the Neoliberal conspiracy, Meᵹelan had gone from being one of Tyran's poorest countries into one of its wealthiest; being one of the smallest states in Tyran, its military and economic influence in regional affairs is negligible, but Meᵹelan nonetheless possesses a considerable degree of soft power, especially within the boundaries of the Common Sphere, and the de facto cultural and political alliance between Akashi, Delkora, Gylias and Meᵹelan itself.

To quote Gina Campanelli herself, Meᵹelan might be the most conservative revolutionary nation in Tyran, or the most revolutionary conservative nation; Meᵹelan today is one of the countries most transformed by the emancipatory ideologies of the 19th and 20th centuries, but also ranks among the highest in its religiosity and reverence for tradition. It has a rural avant-garde, but also an urban folk culture. It is among the most radically democratic countries in Tyran, but also one governed by a relatively narrow cultural consensus.

Geography

With a surface of 34,112.37 km2, Meᵹelan is one of the smallest states in Tyran; the population is about 4 million, resulting in an average population density of around 120 people per square kilometre. The more mountainous western half of the country is far more sparsely populated than the eastern half.

Three distinct natural zones can be fairly easily distinguished in the country, from west to east: mountains, hills and plains. Plains cover 47% of Meᵹelan, mountains cover 41% of the country, while hills cover just 12% of it; The northern and southern borders of Meᵹelan coincide with rivers, while the western border is marked by mountain ranges, whose highlands feature numerous lakes, all of glacial origin.

Natural hazards

Avalanches and landslides are a not insignificant threat in the west of Meᵹelan, due to the hilly and mountainous terrain, while the eastern part of the Community is prone to flooding and hailstorms, as well as other threats related to the presence of bodies of water of significant size.

On the other hand, cyclones and earthquakes are unheard of, and the country does not have active volcanoes in its territory, either. Global warming is seen as a serious concern, both by the government and the public, since rising temperatures could result in droughts that might severely impact Meᵹelan's agricultural output and waterways, both artificial and natural.

Waters

All of the rivers of Meᵹelan run from west to east, being born in the alpine region to its west and draining into the sea to its east; the Community has considerable reserves of groundwater - 6% of all freshwater reserves in Tyran - and a large number of lakes can be found in most areas, especially in the west of the country.

Meᵹelan's numerous rivers and streams cut the Community's mountains into deep and narrow valleys; lakes and rivers alike are connected by an extensive network of artificial canals, the first of which were constructed in the 11th century, and that to this day play an important role in commerce, transport and agriculture.

Biodiversity

Despite its size, Meᵹelan has a high level of biodiversity; the plains are characterized by the presence of blackbirds, coots frogs, hares, lizards and vipers, while the hills are home to dormice, falcons, hedgehogs, newts, pheasants, salamanders, squirrels, and several species of freshwater fish. The mountain ranges are by far the regions with the highest level of biodiversity: buzzards, deer, eagles, groundhogs and kites are quite common.

During and after the Meᵹelaneſe Civil War, several of these species faced near extinction, due to the extensive use of chemical weapons during the period.

Climate

The climate of Meᵹelan is mainly humid subtropical, especially in the plains; the winter season is normally long, damp and rather cold. A peculiarity of the country's climate is the thick fog that covers the plains between October and February.

In the foothills of Meᵹelan's western mountain ranges, characterized by an oceanic climate, the numerous lakes exercise a mitigating influence, allowing the cultivation of typically Mediterranean crops; in the hills and mountains, the climate is humid continental: in the valleys it is relatively mild, while it can be severely cold above 1,500 metres, with copious snowfalls.

Environment

In the plains, intensively cultivated for centuries, little of the original environment remains; the most commons trees are elm, alder, sycamore, poplar, willow and hornbeam. Around the lakes, Mediterranean and subtropical can be encountered; the highlands, on the other hand are characterised by typical Alpine vegetation.

Meᵹelan counts many protected areas, with typically Alpine wildlife and, through its heavy reliance on renewable sources of energy and its control of greenhouse gas emissions, the country has become one of the countries in Tyran that have done the most to safeguard the environment.

Politics

The constitution of Meᵹelan is uncodified, and consists mostly of a collection of disparate written sources, including statutes, judge-made case law and international treaties, together with constitutional conventions.

Under it, the communes retain sovereignty over all governmental functions not specifically relinquished to the Grand and General Council, which is empowered to make war and peace, negotiate diplomatic and commercial agreements with foreign countries, and to resolve disputes between the communes.

There are three main governing bodies in Meᵹelan: the legislative Grand and General Council, the executive Consulate of the Community, and the judicial Consulate of Justice.

Legislature

The Grand and General Council consists of 2 houses: the Credenza, or Grand Council, which has 20 representatives - 2 for each commune - and the Arengo, or General Council, which consists of 200 members who are elected under a system of proportional representation, depending on the population of each commune.

The most important task of the Credenza is to provide preliminary advice on the constitutional and legislative proposals to be placed before the Arengo; the Arengo, on the other hand, elects the executive and the judiciary, and votes on the issues put forward by the Credenza.

The Grand and General Council is presided over by the Captain of the People.

Executive

The role of collective head of state and of government of Meᵹelan is taken on by the Consulate of the Community, a 10-member executive council; each Consul of the Community heads one of the 10 ministries of the country.

The position of Captain of the People, or President, of Meᵹelan rotates among the ten Consuls of the Community on a yearly basis. The President chairs the government and assumes representative functions, but is a primus inter pares with no additional powers, and remains the head of a ministry within the government.

Moreover, the Consuls of the Community can not enact decrees or executive orders; they only enforce the law as written by the legislature and interpreted by the judiciary.

During the length of their office, the Consuls of the Community write a Breve, or Brief - an archive and list of all the endeavours undertaken but not finished, to be read and taken into account by their successors in a given ministry.

As of 2020, the ministries are: Foreign and Political Affairs; Internal Affairs; Finance and Budget; Industry and Crafts; Territory and Environment; Tourism; Health and Social Security; Education and Culture; Labour and Cooperation; Justice and Government Relations.

Judiciary

The role of supreme court of Meᵹelan is taken on by the Consulate of Justice, a 10-member judicial council; the Consuls of Justice are the final arbiters on disputes in the field of civil law, the public arena, as well as in disputes between communes or between communes and the Community.

The position of Podestà, or Chief Justice, of Meᵹelan rotates among the ten Consuls of Justice on a yearly basis; the Chief Justice chairs the supreme court, but is a primus inter pares with no additional powers. Moreover, the Consuls of Justice are precluded from reviewing acts of the Grand and General Council, unless such review is specifically provided for by statute.

Meᵹelan's legal structure is a polycentric one, in which providers of legal systems compete or overlap in a given jurisdiction; it is also heavily procedural, and there is no professional legal class - lay people are instead chosen to adjudicate.

Law enforcement

Law enforcement in Meᵹelan is provided by multiple police forces, from neighbourhood-based peacekeeping associations of armed civilians to national agencies that answer directly to the Community's judiciary; along with patrolling, investigative and law enforcement duties, these police forces also oversee the security of transportations.

Incarceration is not widely used; the primary form of punishment in the country is banishment or exile, followed by payment to the victim or their family, and various forms of corporal punishment, up to and including mutilation, whipping, branding and flogging, as well as execution - direct execution via the death penalty, or indirect execution via outlawry, the withdrawal of all legal protection from the criminal, so that anyone is legally empowered to persecute or kill them.

Electoral system

In a general election, all eligible citizens in each rural village and urban district elect an aspirant delegate to the Credenza and an aspirant delegate to the Arengo; in total, 6072 aspirant delegates representing 3036 districts and villages.

The final 20 delegates to the Credenza and the final 200 delegates to the Arengo are chosen through a procedure, restricted to the aspirant delegates, of alternated sortition and election: the initial pool of 6072 is halved through sortition; then, the resulting pool of 3036 is halved through election, and so on.

The Arengo then elects - by consensus and without reference to political parties - a directory of 10 Consuls of the Community, to serve as the country's executive, and a directory of 10 Consuls of Justice, to serve as the country's judiciary.

The delegates so chosen are directly responsible to their constituents, are bound by their instructions, and may accordingly be dismissed from their post at any time or be voted out through a recall election. Each year, 1 Consul of the Community out of 10, 1 Consul of Justice out of 10, 2 delegates of the Credenza out of 20 and 20 delegates of the Arengo out of 200 are replaced.

Said by-elections involving 10% of all delegates are routine; general elections, on the other hand, are held only in exceptional cases.

Members of the executive, legislature and judiciary only serve part-time; they receive regular payment, but at a much lower rate than a full-time professional politician. Moreover, they have to reside in and hold the citizenship of the quarter or district they represent in a given election.

Direct democracy

The delegates to the Grand and General Council are directly responsible to their constituents, are bound by their instructions, and may accordingly be dismissed from their post at any time or be voted out through a recall election: before the Arengo can approve or reject a constitutional or legislative proposal drafted by the Credenza, said proposal has to be approved or rejected by the constituents of each delegate; then, the delegates approve or reject the constitutional or legislative proposal, according to their constituents' vote on the subject.

If the constitutional or legislative proposal is approved, it then has to be approved by the rest of the country through a compulsory referendum; this form of direct democracy effectively grants the voting public a veto on laws adopted by the elected legislature.

The voting public also has the right to push for a citizen-initiated referendum, to propose - by petition - specific statutory measures or constitutional reforms to the government; if successful, such a proposition is then placed directly on the ballot to be subject to vote.

Moreover, the Arengo of each rural (county, civil parish, village) and urban (city, quarter, district) administrative division of each commune of the Community is open to all eligible citizens, that decide on specific issues, elect delegates and representatives, and vote on local questions in the open air, through a public, non-secret ballot voting system operating by majority rule; voting is accomplished by those in favor of a motion raising their hands.

Communes

The Community of Meᵹelan consists of 10 communes, that have a high degree of independence: each commune has its own constitution, and its own parliament, government, police and courts. The communes consist of cities, subdivided into quarters and districts, and counties, subdivided into civil parishes and villages; in total, there are 3036 districts and villages.

Meᵹelaneſe citizens are therefore subject to and can hold the citizenship of five legal jurisdictions: Community, commune, city/county, civil parish/quarter and district/village.

List of communes

Colours Code Commune Colours Code Commune
       AB Alba        BR Barra
       AD Abdua        CL Coloniola
       AR Aria        GD Gradaro
       AT Altilia        MS Mosa
       BM Brimonia        TC Ticena

Foreign relations

Meᵹelan joined the Common Sphere in 1957; at first a recipient of development assistance - at the time, it had been recovering from the devastating Meᵹelaneſe Civil War - Meᵹelan eventually backed and provided several ideas and policies to the regional organization.

Inside the Common Sphere, Meᵹelan is often seen as being part of a bloc also including Akashi and Gylias, founded on a cooperative, decentralized ethos; nonetheless, it has historically expressed opposition to certain aspects of the organization, and is opposed to the strengthening of the organization beyond its function as a hub for intergovernmental cooperation spurring mutual development.

Meᵹelan has been especially opposed to the idea of creating a Common Sphere Parliament out of fear it would give excessive influence to the most populous states in the Common Sphere at the expense of thinly populated states, such as the Community.

Military

The communes that make up the Community of Meᵹelan each have their own military; by law, they nonetheless have to put a contingent of 2% of the population of each commune at the Community's disposition, and it is illegal for the individual communes to declare war or to sign capitulations or peace agreements.

Professional soldiers in Meᵹelan only constitute a small part of the military; the rest are conscripts or volunteers. Military training begins at school, and continues with drills and exercises for a few days and at fixed periods, throughout the life of every Meᵹelaneſe; each and every citizen has to serve for 40 days a year.

Meᵹelaneſe citizens serving with the colours are not estranged from their homes and usual occupations, military training being a part-time rather than a full-time endeavour; only professional soldiers and volunteers can be stationed outside of their place of residence. Citizens keep their own personal equipment, including all personally assigned weapons, at home.

Today, the Meᵹelaneſe military is a purely defensive organization, that has never declared war or used military force in international disputes ever since the end of the Meᵹelaneſe Civil War; nonetheless, Meᵹelaneſe citizens tend to be statistically overrepresented as private military contractors, and Meᵹelan hosts the headquarters of several PMCs, a subject that has been the source of controversy.

The Meᵹelaneſe military is therefore a pyramid, made up - at the bottom - by a base of conscripted territorial militias that can be counted on for rapid mobilization, the cernide, and - at the top - a select group of professional and voluntary forces, with the élite Compagnia della Morte, or Company of Death, above all.

Service in the military - as a conscript, professional or volunteer - is the only way to earn the right to be elected and to vote in Meᵹelan, at least in theory; in practice, conscientious objectors and the disabled can access several other avenues to earn said right.

Capital city

For the first few centuries of its existence, the rather loosely coupled Community did not know a central political organization, but the delegates met several times a year at the capital of the commune presiding the Grand and General Council for one year; nonetheless, until the 16th century, the delegates met most of the time in Alba, by then already the biggest city in the Community.

Vergate sul Membro - a visionary ideal city built in 1469 as a direct response to the congested cities of the Medieval period - largely took over Alba's role as the influence and wealth of the noble dynasty that built it grew; after the War of the Separate Alliance, waged and won by a coalition of communes to protect their interests against centralization of power, a compromise between the traditional lack of a true capital and the establishment of a true capital was reached, with the seat of the Community's institutions alternating each year between Vergate sul Membro and one of the capital cities of the 10 communes, the duty of being the seat rotating among the capital cities once over each 2-year period.

During the Meᵹelaneſe Civil War, Alba was turned into the Futurist Political Party's capital city; after the end of this period, the previous arrangement was restored. Moreover, each of the 10 communes became the seat of one of the 10 ministries of the Community.

Economy

Meᵹelan began to industrialize at the beginning of the 19th century, largely due to private initiative. Since the end of the Meᵹelaneſe Civil War, during which the country's economy suffered greatly, the Community has seen impressive growth, thanks to a development model that is characterised by strong export-oriented entrepreneurship in traditional economic sectors and close social cohesion.

Though its importance has been decreasing, agriculture continues to play a significant role in the economy of Meᵹelan, and the agricultural sector of the country is among the most productive in Tyran; however, it is still characterised by an intensive use of labour rather than capital, due to its specialization in market gardening, fruit-growing and vine-growing.

Meᵹelan's industry is especially made of small and medium-sized businesses, which are active in several sectors: food products, wood and furniture, leather and footwear, textiles and clothing, gold jewelry, but also chemistry, metal-mechanics and electronics. This has led to the establishment of a strongly export-oriented system of industries.

Since the 1980s, Meᵹelan's development has been marked by the growth of the services sector and, since the 1990s, Meᵹelan has also seen a rapid increase in Internet companies, even though its reputation as a major fashion centre - on par with Gylias - is still the driving force behind the Community's services sector.

Meᵹelan has an overwhelmingly private sector economy. Meᵹelaneſe labour law is characterized by large-scale antitrust regulations, and favours economic mechanisms such as small-scale cooperatives and family businesses; it is also characterized by the presence of a guild system in stead of labour unions.

Agriculture

Meᵹelan is extremely protective of its agricultural industry; high tariffs and extensive domestic subsidisations encourage domestic production, which currently produces about 60% of the food consumed in the country. The vast majority of the Community's farms are family-operated and small, averaging only 8 hectares in size; the country produces primarily maize corn, rice, sugar beets, soybeans, meat, fruits and dairy products.

Meᵹelaneſe agriculture generally tries to follow self-sustainability principles whenever feasible or possible: rural homesteading (subsistence agriculture, home preservation of food, and the small scale production of textiles, clothing, and craftwork for household use or sale) and urban farming (the practice of cultivating, processing and distributing food in or around urban areas) are practices encouraged by the Community; solar panels are paired with green walls and roof gardens in the country's high-rise buildings.

Synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are generally prohibited, alongside genetically modified organisms, nanomaterials, human sewage sludge, plant growth regulators, hormones, and antibiotic use in livestock husbandry; exceptions do exist, but the use of such techniques is heavily discouraged.

Education and science

Education in Meᵹelan is very diverse because the Community delegates the authority for the school system to the communes; schools can be structured along several lines, depending on who pays the teachers: in schools where students hire and pay for the teachers, the students run the school, while in schools where the teachers are hired and paid for by the communes, the teachers run the school.

Even though schools can rent, buy or construct buildings specifically for the purposes of teaching, it is not uncommon for classes to be wherever space is available, up to and including the teachers' own homes; neither is uncommon for teachers and scholars to move around: schools often compete to secure the best and most popular teachers.

There are several universities in Meᵹelan, most of which are maintained at the commune level; The first university in the Community was founded in 1361 in Ticena, while the largest university in the country is today the University of Studies of Alba, founded in 1924.

Through the centuries, Meᵹelan has fostered a scientific community that produced many major discoveries in physics and the other sciences, such as the electrochemical battery, stem cells as vectors for gene therapy, and more.

Economic policy

Meᵹelaneſe economic policy rests upon the belief that the means of production should be spread as widely as possible, rather than being centralized under the control of the state, a few individuals, or corporations.

Therefore, craft workers, sole proprietors and small farmers are not taxed at all, while taxation on larger businesses grows exponentially in relation to the size of the business, to the point where businesses that are too large are forced to devolve themselves into multiple smaller businesses, to avoid being taxed out of existence.

Cooperation and resource pooling between businesses is facilitated by guilds, associations of professionals in a given field that take responsibility for the training of their members and the quality and price of their products and services; they are the sole judges of the qualifications of their members, and have the power to set both standards and prices.

There can be several guilds in any given field, leading to a great variety of approaches to business, and ensuring that none of them is able to monopolize the market as the medieval guilds did, to the detriment of the economy.

Energy, infrastructure and environment

Electricity generated in Meᵹelan is 56% from hydroelectricity and 39% from nuclear power, resulting in a nearly CO2-free electricity-generating network; as a result, the Community has one of the best environmental records among nations in Tyran.

The country has developed an efficient system to recycle most recyclable materials, through publicly organized collection by volunteers and economical railway transport logistics; the country's system for garbage disposal, based mostly on recycling and energy-producing incinerators, is economical and efficient, as well.

Meᵹelan has the most dense rail network in Tyran, as well as the region's longest and deepest railway tunnel; however, only a few kilometres of the country's very limited road network are paved, and maintenance on most roads is poor. Because of this, cars are relatively rare, but bicycles are common.

Given Meᵹelan's small size, internal air traffic is negligible, as well; traffic to and from the country is however intense, and planes land on and take off from the Community's three international airports every day. Only a couple cities in the country have a rapid transit network, but ferry boats and shuttle ferries are a frequent sight on Meᵹelan's national inland waterways network, comprising several kilometres of navigable canals, channels and rivers.

Tourism

People have visited Meᵹelan for centuries, yet the first to visit the Community for touristic reasons were aristocrats looking to study ancient architecture and the local culture, in the 17th and 18th centuries; tourism to Meᵹelan remained very popular until the early 20th century - the increasing political instability meant that fewer tourists came.

After the end of the Meᵹelaneſe Civil War and of the Great War, the Community briefly returned to its status as a popular resort, until the economic crises and political instability of the 1970s and 1980s triggered a significant slump in the local tourist industry; by the late 1980s and early 1990s, with the country ripening its position as a fashion capital, tourism to Meᵹelan saw yet another return to popularity.

Since the latter half of the 20th century, the guilds in charge of the industry have prioritized sustainable tourism over mass tourism; tourists to Meᵹelan are expected to inform themselves about the culture, politics, and economy of the country, to support the local economy by purchasing local goods and participating with small, local businesses, and to conserve resources by seeking out businesses that are environmentally conscious, as well as using the least possible amount of non-renewable resources.

The relative lack of hotels in the Community is balanced by the ubiquity of homestay, a popular form of hospitality and lodging whereby visitors share a residence with a local in exchange for monetary compensation or in exchange for housekeeping or work on the host's property.

Demographics

In 2020, Meᵹelan's population slightly exceeded 4 million; in common with other developed countries, the Meᵹelaneſe population increased rapidly during the industrial era. This changed dramatically with the Meᵹelaneſe Civil War, with the total population of Meᵹelan being cut by 60% and the male population by 90%; there has not been any remarkable growth since then, even though the gender ratio has stabilized.

The population is concentrated especially along canals, channels, rivers, the coast and the lakes; even though Alba is, by far, the biggest city in the Community, industrialisation has been remarkably decentralised, and the Community has therefore maintained quite a viable rural culture.

As of 2020, resident foreigners make up 18.2% of the population; the largest group of resident foreigners consists of the descendants of those Meᵹelaneſe that left the country during and after the Meᵹelaneſe Civil War.

Languages

The official language of the Community is standard Italian. At the commune level, Eastern Lombard, Emilian and Western Lombard (all of them Gallo-Italic languages) are official in the communes where they are spoken, alongside standard Italian, and speakers of these three languages make up the vast majority of Meᵹelan's population.

Ladin (a Rhaeto-Romance language) and Walser (an Alemannic German language) are spoken by small minorities in the western mountain ranges of the country, and are official wherever they are spoken, below the commune level - usually in civil parishes and villages deep in the valleys of western Meᵹelan - alongside standard Italian and at least one of the country's national languages.

Health

Meᵹelaneſe residents are universally required to pay a fixed annual fee to a medical guild of their choosing; in turn, these are universally required to accept every applicant.

These guilds are empowered to establish their own clinics, their own training and education programs, their own pharmacies, labs, administrative structures, and whatever else is necessary to medical practice; in exchange for these privileges, the guilds are required to devote a certain amount of their resources to free or low-cost care for the impoverished or indigent.

Due to the extensive use of chemical weapons during the Meᵹelaneſe Civil War, Meᵹelaneſe carry a large accumulation of genetic damage, which leads to fewer successful pregnancies and higher infant mortality.

Urbanization

In Meᵹelan, the total of the population who lives in urban areas is around 14.3%, and it is declining rather than rising; many inhabitants of the Community live in rural areas and commute to work within the country's cities and towns. Therefore, even though Meᵹelan has a dense network of towns, where large, medium and small towns are complementary, almost nine-tenths of the population is classified as rural.

A peculiarity of the Community's urbanization is the presence of roughly ring-shaped areas of rural territory, about 7 kilometres wide, extending from the country's urban centres outwards; these areas are rich in water, owing to the presence of canals, channels and rivers, and are often devoted to the cultivation of perishable but profitable vegetables, that are not subject to duty taxes when sold in the urban centres at the core of these areas.

Largest towns

Rank Name Commune Population Rank Name Commune Population
1 Alba Alba 190,000 6 Ticena Ticena 25,000
2 Altilia Altilia 40,000 7 Aria Aria 24,000
3 Brimonia Brimonia 37,000 8 Abdua Abdua 18,000
4 Barra Barra 35,000 9 Modoicio Alba 18,000
5 Gradaro Gradaro 30,000 10 Coloniola Coloniola 16,000

Immigration

As of 2020, foreigners constitute 11.4% of the Community's population; as the bestowal of Meᵹelaneſe citizenship is heavily dependent on a stringent set of qualifications, people of foreign descent in Meᵹelan can only apply for the status of subject; they have no voting rights, can not hold any position within the Community, and possess none of the rights and civic responsibilities conferred on citizens.

Citizens of another nation that have not applied for or have not been granted the status of subject are referred to as aliens; just like subjects, they have no political rights - all residents in Meᵹelan are however entitled to basic civil rights whether their citizenship status or national origin. The children of a Meᵹelaneſe citizen and an alien or subject are eligible since birth for the bestowal of Meᵹelanese citizenship.

As the Community is heavily concerned with balancing population size and optimal standards of living, emigration and immigration from and to Meᵹelan are subject to quotas; moreover, people of Meᵹelaneſe descent and people hailing from other Common Sphere countries are heavily favoured as prospective immigrants.

Religion

Meᵹelan has no official state religion; nonetheless, 69.3% of the Meᵹelaneſe population adheres to a set of local worship traditions devoted to a deity or spirit known as Lady of the East - also known as Lady of the Game - and to a host of lesser deities or spirits, usually called Meᵹelaneſe folk religion. Sofianism was brought to Meᵹelan from Cacerta in antiquity, and it is followed by 11.1% of the Meᵹelaneſe population.

Concordianism, on the other hand, gradually spread to Meᵹelan from Gylias through merchant activities by traders, Gylian and Meᵹelaneſe alike; 9.1% of Meᵹelan's citizenry adheres to it. Vallyar is adhered to by the near totality of the Walser ethnic group, culturally and linguistically close to Delkora, that is, 4.2% of Meᵹelan's inhabitants; Kisekidō is followed by 2.8% of the Meᵹelaneſe population, chiefly by resident foreigners of Akashian descent.

The remaining 3.5% of the citizenry either follows other faiths, or is entirely irreligious.

Culture

Meᵹelan's culture has been shaped by a multitude of regional customs and local centres of power and patronage - for centuries, a number of magnificent courts competed for attracting the best architects, artists and scholars, thus producing a great legacy of monuments, paintings, music and literature; even today, the Community is home to many notable contributors to literature, art, architecture, music and sciences.

Outside Meᵹelan's cities, a traditional farmer and herder culture predominated and, to this day, small farms are omnipresent in many areas, both inside and outside the towns; as a result, folk art is kept alive in organisations all over the country.

Architecture

Meᵹelan has a very broad and diverse architectural style, which cannot be simply classified by period or region; this has created a highly diverse and eclectic range in architectural designs. 95% of the built environment of the Community consists of vernacular architecture, characterised by the use of local materials and knowledge; such buildings are typically simple and practical, whether residential houses or built for other purposes.

The Community's rural areas are characterized by the presence of square-yarded farms located at the centre of large pieces of cultivated land; they act as isolated, semi-autonomous settlements, with sometimes as much as one hundred inhabitants, many of them including public buildings. Meᵹelan's urban areas are characterized by walkable neighborhoods containing a wide range of housing and job types, usually featuring roofed, continuous walkways.

Planned communities, either inspired by Renaissance ideals and built by nobility - such as the de facto capital, Vergate sul Membro - or inspired by welfare capitalist ideals and built by business magnates, are also present; artificial canals, originally developed for the transit of goods, also operate as public transport routes.

Visual art

Meᵹelaneſe art has influenced several major movements throughout the centuries and has produced several great artists, including painters, architects and sculptors; throughout the 20th century, the Community gave birth to several avant-garde art movements, the earliest being Futurism.

Today, Meᵹelan has an important place in Tyran's art scene, with several major art galleries, museums and exhibitions; contemporary art in Meᵹelan is typically figurative and clearly derived from real object sources - nonetheless, it takes full advantage of digital technology and new media.

Wall paintings are widespread in the Community, both inside and outside buildings; they feature a wide variety of themes: animals, still life, scenes from everyday life, portraits, and some mythological subjects; erotic scenes are also relatively common.

Meᵹelaneſe art is also characterized by the lack of a true distinction between fine arts and applied arts.

Literature

The earliest literary works produced in the vernacular languages of Meᵹelan - rather than Latin - date back to the 13th century, and are either didactic or religious in nature.

This kind of literature got superseded, by the 17th century, by a kind of poetry - the bosinada - of a popular and coarse nature, written on loose sheets, told by storytellers, and characterized by the lack of a fixed or codified structure, but that was usually satirical in content - sometimes explicitly designed to hold someone up to ridicule, or to debunk certain social habits or circumstances.

The anti-Classicist bosinada could not have been born if not for the appearance, in the 16th century, of a group of artists, artisans, musicians and theatre actors that deliberately adopted a bizarre language inspired by that of labourers, but full of references to subjects such as cabalistic and Orphic theology or natural magic.

The 17th century also saw the birth of Meᵹelaneſe theatre, with the country contributing greatly to the rise of the Commedia dell'Arte - an early form of professional theatre based on improvised performances based on sketches or scenarios, and featuring fixed social types and stock characters.

Literature and poetry continued to flourish in the 18th and 19th century, especially literature and poetry against the religious hypocrisy of the time, literature and poetry descriptive of lively popular personages, or that of a political nature; but it is Meᵹelaneſe theatre that had its golden age in the 19th century, with the birth of the first true celebrities and stars of the stage.

The late 19th century and the early 20th century were characterized by the rise of the Scapigliatura, an artistic movement that included poets, writers, musicians, painters and sculptors that aimed to erase any difference between art and life, living lives of anti-conformism and anarchist idealism.

The movement, that first developed through literary cenacles which met in taverns and cafes, eventually gained a politically active wing, the Scapigliatura Democratica, that was central to the development of both anarchism and socialism in the Community.

The early 20th century also gave birth to another artistic and literary movement that eventually gained a politically active wing: the Futurists, led by Enrico Grolli, emphasised speed, technology, youth, violence, and objects such as the car, the airplane, and the industrial city, and expressed a passionate loathing of everything old, especially political and artistic tradition.

Meᵹelaneſe literature has been typically characterized, regardless of the genre and throughout the centuries, by a frank and direct language, thought of, by its users, as being more sincere and expressive than the literary and classicist language of Cacerta.

Theatre

The theatre of Meᵹelan is a thriving and diverse art form, ranging from festival performances of street theatre, nude dancing, and acrobatics, to broadly appealing situation comedies, to high-style, verbally elaborate tragedies.

Modern Meᵹelaneſe theatre often depends on improvisation, being heir to forms of theatre such as those performed by medieval strolling players and by the Commedia dell'Arte players of the Renaissance. Theatre plays can be anchored in traditional habits and stories, or tackle political and topical issues; satire and travesti roles are frequent.

As a result of the relatively free-form nature of theatre in the Community, theatre is not considered any more highbrow in Meᵹelan than cinema or genre literature, and is easily accessible by everyone; and, since one of theatre actors' main skills is the command of their voice, it is not unusual for theatre stars in Meᵹelan to take up radio hosting or voice acting roles.

Media

Meᵹelan has long had one of the best developed and most complete media sectors in Tyran; still, due to its small territorial size, it is strongly influenced by the media of larger bordering countries, with foreign journals, radios and televisions popular throughout the country.

Meᵹelan has historically boasted the greatest number of magazine and newspaper titles published in proportion to its population and size, and is in fact the place of birth of one of the world's oldest newspapers still existing, a local newspaper in Gradaro established in 1664. Magazines and newspapers have a strong regional character, but some are nonetheless renowned for their thorough coverage of international issues.

Television has a far smaller role in Meᵹelan than in most other countries; radio, on the other hand, has always had extraordinary success and very high ratings in the Community: generalist and music radio alike have proven able, over the course of several decades, to both follow and influence the taste of the public, also due to the spread of the Internet and the birth of web radio in the late 1990s.

With very few exceptions, all the radio and television stations and all the newspapers and magazines in Meᵹelan are privately owned; public broadcasters and publishers do exist - indeed, a number of communes do have commune-owned public broadcasting authorities which operate and fund all public television stations in their respective communes, and the Community itself runs such a public broadcasting association - but their role is often confined to public service.

Music

Meᵹelaneſe folk music is an important part of the country's musical heritage, and spans a diverse array of local styles, instruments and dances; it can be roughly subdivided into five categories: epic songs, ritual songs, love songs, work songs, and pub songs.

The earliest Meᵹelaneſe popular music was the opera of the 19th century; opera tunes spread through brass bands and itinerant ensembles. In the same century, street musicians became a common sight in pubs and taverns, where they entertained the diners with folk songs and nursery rhymes.

Café-chantant and jazz were introduced to the Community in the 1890s and 1910s; in the 1950s, foreign styles became more prominent, especially rock - in the same decade, songs about the criminal underworld of the country grew in popularity. The later 1960s saw the emergence of singer-songwriters, while the Community's rock scene, originally very reliant on Gylian influences, soon diversified into progressive, punk, funk and folk-based styles.

Meᵹelan was also an important country in the development of disco and electronic music, with Italo disco being one of the earliest electronic dance genres, featuring a futuristic sound and a prominent use of synthesisers and drum machines.

The first song contest in the Community took place in 1891; it was joined by another song contest in the 1950s. Today, Meᵹelaneſe popular music - especially after the birth of the Internet - can often be either very lighthearted pop music or very dark metal.

Cinema

Early Meᵹelaneſe films - produced in the first couple decades of the 20th century - typically consisted of adaptations of books or stage plays; films about historical figures were also popular. Soon afterwards, the Community became home to the first avant-garde movement in cinema, inspired by the country's Futurist movement: to the Futurists, cinema was an ideal art form, being a fresh medium, able to be manipulated by speed, special effects and editing.

In the years of the Meᵹelaneſe Civil War, the country's film industry struggled against rising foreign competition, with light comedies and propaganda films being the only genres able to fly under the radar of Futurist censorship; post-Great War Meᵹelan saw the rise of the influential Meᵹelaneſe neorealist movement, that eventually turned toward lighter atmospheres, more coherent with the improving conditions of the country - nonetheless, films that talked very seriously about important social themes did not disappear entirely.

Several other film genres became popular in the 1960s and 1970s - horror, thriller and Western flicks above all; eventually, Meᵹelaneſe cinema became internationally synonymous with violent horror films, and several countries charged the Community's studios with exceeding the boundaries of acceptability.

Amidst an atmosphere of socio-political turmoil and increasing crime rates, films generally featuring graphic and brutal violence, organized crime, car chases, vigilantism, heists, gunfights, and corruption up to the highest levels were produced, obtaining a great level of success;

Between the late 1970s and mid-1980s, Meᵹelaneſe cinema fell into a crisis; art films became increasingly isolated and separated from mainstream Meᵹelaneſe cinema, and it was only at the end of the 20th century - as fledgling companies and local guilds supported young directors and introduced good business practices into the industry - that glossy blockbusters and creative genre films began to be produced in Meᵹelan again, and exported abroad.

Sport

Traditionally, pallone col bracciale - first codified in 1555 - is considered Meᵹelan's national sport; over the course of their careers, professional players of the sport earned fame and honours, not to mention considerable sums of money, not unlike those earned by the star athletes of today.

Other traditional sports, such as bocce and scherma tradizionale, are also widely practiced and enjoyed by spectators in the country; annual athletic contests pitting the districts of a city or the villages of a civil parish against each other in horse racing, archery, jousting, crossbow shooting and similar medieval sports are also popular.

From the 19th century onwards, other sports, that originated elsewhere in Tyran, were introduced in Meᵹelan and began to spread through the education system, such as association football, basketball, volleyball and cycling; professional communities for these sports began to be established in the late 19th century and the early 20th century.

Meᵹelan also has a strong tradition in motorsport, being home to several automobile and motorcycle manufacturers, and several closed track circuits adhering to international standards.

Fashion and design

Meᵹelan has established a long history within the fields of fashion, textiles and design in general. The Community's fashion first became prominent during the 11th to 16th centuries; from the 17th century to the early 20th, Meᵹelaneſe fashion lost its importance and lustre but, starting from the 1970s, the country's fashion image became more glamorous, and it regained its ancient role as an internationally successful and famous fashion capital towards the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Meᵹelaneſe fashion is characterized by generally sombre and simple style, moderate in terms of decoration and ornamentation, with an emphasis on the quality of tailoring and the different fabrics and textiles; the Community's designs are known for their practicality and simple elegance.

Every city and village in Meᵹelan hosts several several tailors and seamstresses, that are listed on guides; traditionally, artisans sell the items they made directly or to small stores; resource pooling by way of the guilds enables these small stores to set up joint pop-up retail shops in the country's department stores.

The Community is also very influential in automobile, industrial and interior design; it hosts Tyran's largest permanent trade exhibition, and one of the most prestigious furniture and design fairs in the region.

Cuisine

The cuisine of Meᵹelan is heavily based upon ingredients like maize, rice, beef, pork, butter, and lard; in many aspects, Meᵹelaneſe cuisine has much in common with that of Acrea, being rather meat-based and buttery.

Rice-based food is highly common throughout the country, and is often cooked with saffron or sausages; since the plains of central and western Meᵹelan allow intensive cattle-raising, there is a great variety of regional cheeses, and butter and cream are widely used.

Maize-based dishes are also common parts of the national cuisine, as are single pot dishes, which take less work to prepare. The oldest Meᵹelaneſe dish is cuz, a dish of Iron Age origin consisting in a stew of mature sheep meat cooked in its own fat.

In general, the cuisine of Meᵹelan is characterized by a preference for maize and rice over pasta and wheat, butter over olive oil, prolonged cooking, and a widespread use of pork, milk and dairy products, as well as egg-based preparations.

Public holidays and festivals

Public holidays celebrated in Meᵹelan include both religious and secular festivals, that can be celebrated by the Community in its entirety or just by a part of it; Meᵹelan's national day falls on the 29th of May, the anniversary of the 1176 Battle of Liciniaco.

Many religious festivities, such as the four seasonal Ember days, are traditionally celebrated on Thursday, while other such festivities, such as Midsummer on the 24th of June, the Night of the Dead on the 1st or the 2nd of November, the Twelve Nights from the 25th of December to the 6th of January and the monthly full moon celebrations can be held on other days.

There are many other festivals and festivities in the Community, some of which have been included among the intangible cultural heritage of Tyran; they range from festivities of ancient origin to modern film festivals.