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Montecara

State of Montecara

Stado de Montecara
Motto: Virtus nostrum tutamen
Virtue is our safeguard (Solarian)
Anthem: Inno dei Populi
"Hymn of the People"
MC-topographic.png
Capital
and largest city
Montecara
28°30′26″N 6°35′24″E
Official languagesMontecaran
Demonym(s)Montecaran
GovernmentDirectorial republic
Direct democracy
• Head of Government
Colegio
LegislatureSenate and Popular Assembly
Establishment
• City founded
542 BCE
515 CE
1729
28 April 1935
Area
• Total
851 km2 (329 sq mi)
• Water (%)
19.04
Population
• 2017 estimate
1,751,643
• 2015 census
1,719,512
• Density
2,540.71/km2 (6,580.4/sq mi)
GDP (PPP)2015 estimate
• Total
$145,903 million
• Per capita
$83,295
GDP (nominal)2015 estimate
• Total
$152,016 million
• Per capita
$86,785
Gini (2015)Negative increase 30.7
medium
HDI (2017)Increase 0.924
very high
CurrencyMontecaran libra (MCL)
Time zoneUTC
Date formatyyyy-mm-dd (official)
dd-mm-yyyy (common use)
Driving sideright
Calling code+70
ISO 3166 codeMC; MTC
Internet TLD.mc

Montecara (Montecaran: [ˌmonteˈkärä]), officially the State of Montecara (Montecaran: Stado de Montecara), is a city-state of approximately 1.7 million people located on a 689 square kilometer main island and scattered islets located in the middle of the Aurean Straits between Euclea and Coius. It lies at the meeting point of the Solarian Sea and Gulf of Assonaire at the narrowest point of the world's busiest sea trade route. Montecara is noted for its unique government and deep-rooted culture stretching back to Solarian times, and is one of the smallest and richest nations in the world.

Montecara is governed under a collegial system which relies heavily on direct democracy, setting it apart from almost all modern states. Every citizen aged 21 and older is a member of the legislature, either in the Popular Assembly (Senblèa Popolà), the lower house, or the Senate (Senàt), the appointed upper house. The Colegio, technically a committee of the Popular Assembly, is the collective head of government and makes executive decisions by consensus.

The Montecaran economy is highly developed and specialized. The state is a major financial center and offshore banking hub and maintains an open ship registry, with the result that a large percentage of the world's merchant ships are Montecaran-flagged. The state controls a large number of corporations under the umbrella of Montepietà, the sovereign wealth fund, which feeds dividends back to the public treasury. Montecara's tax policy is famously straightforward and simple, as it has no income, capital gains, estate, or dividends taxes, which makes it an attractive location for multinational firms to incorporate but has also led critics to label it a tax haven. The currency, the Montecaran libra, is pegged to the Euclo.

Because of its considerable age and natural limits to growth as an island state with rugged terrain, Montecara boasts a dense and walkable urban environment surrounded by well-preserved areas of natural beauty. These factors have contributed to making Montecara one of the world's premier tourist destinations, with an estimated 7.1 million visitor arrivals in 2017.

Etymology

The mountain, namesake of the city-state

"Montecara" comes from the Solarian roots for "mountain" and "face." This quite clearly comes from the striking rock formation that dominates Montecara's skyline.

History

Prehistory

Montecara was part of a land bridge connecting Euclea and Coius that was formed approximately 5.5 million years ago. It became part of a much broader connection between the two continents during the last ice age before returning to a narrow isthmus amid rising sea levels by 17,000 BCE. By the end of the ice age in approximately 9,000 BCE, Montecara was a small archipelago consisting of what had been the tops of mountains. Monte Cara, the highest of these, was in fact a volcano that became extinct in approximately 5,000 BCE.

Because of its strategic location, the Montecaran land bridge became the primary migration route for early humans leaving their origins in Coius and settling in Euclea. By 16,000 BCE, bands of humans were traveling along the route seeking new land to the west for hunting and gathering. With the dissolution of the land bridge, Montecara became a semi-permanent place of refuge for tribes who sustained themselves by fishing in its protected bay along trips up and down the Euclean and Coian coasts in a form of marine nomadism.

Piraean era

Piraean sailors reached Montecara in the early sixth century BCE and recognized its usefulness as a natural harbor and place of abundant fish. A permanent colony soon followed, with the exact year of Montecara's foundation as a city traditionally given as 542 BCE.

Piraean mythology held that the island was created when...

Solarian Montecara

The old city, including Solarian ruins

Montecara was conquered by forces of the Solarian Republic in 259 BCE. The city would remain part of the Republic for nearly seven centuries, with Solarian civilization leaving a profound mark on Montecaran government, language, art, and culture that endures to this day.

The Solarians wasted little time in recognizing Montecara's economic value. The expansive natural harbor offered protection for seafarers and made it easy to harvest abundant stocks of shellfish. Perhaps even more importantly, the Lacùna da sel (Salt Lagoon) was a readily accessible source of sea salt thanks to its vast, shallow expanse and Montecara's warm climate, which allowed for easy and inexpensive solar evaporation. Early trade was organized around fishing, salting the catch, and then exporting it to other parts of the Republic. Archaeological records indicate that the salted fish trade was being exploited on an industrial scale by the middle of the first century BCE.

The city remained part of the Solarian world through the fall of the Republic and birth of the Empire in 15 CE.

Central authority began to crumble in the early fourth century CE, and after a series of civil wars exhausted the state's resources, the last Imperial troops withdrew from Montecara in 426.

Montecaran Commune, 426–1380

Capràxi, Presentation of the Doxe on the day of his election, 1296

By the early fifth century, Montecara had been left largely to fend for itself. The population dwindled as Solarian civilization receded, drying up trade and leaving infrastructure to crumble. Montecara was once again a minor fishing settlement and trading post that fought off occasional seaborne raids, only surviving thanks to its sheltered location and Solarian-built defenses. It existed amid a patchwork of other city-states, feudal holdings, and petty kingdoms that had been left behind as civilization faded.

It differed from them, however, in its advantageous geography and stable governance. Because the city's leading families recognized their need to band together in a world of hostile pirates and barbarians but were also determined not to let any one family grow too powerful, they maintained the city-state's Solarian civic republicanism. Emulating the government of the old Republic, they formed a Senate of prominent family chiefs who chose a leader from among themselves. This official was called the Doxe (from Solarian dux, "leader"), and he served for life as primus inter pares. This in turn strengthened the state's identity and gave its rulers a sense that they had a stake in the common good, and that they could not simply rule for their own profit and power.

From the sixth through the tenth centuries, Montecara grew considerably in might as its fleet grew from fishing boats to powerful galleys. The city-state's newfound naval power enabled it to negotiate treaties with other states that granted it trade concessions in exchange for naval protection. Montecara's stores of salt and preserved fish made it an important trade destination, and the salt tax (gabèla) became a major source of state income. As the merchant fleet reached far-flung ports, mariners set up colonies and trading posts around the Solarian Sea that reached deep into the hinterland. Citizen-soldiers were augmented by large numbers of mercenaries recruited from abroad. This colonial thalassocracy became known as the Stado Ultramarìn (Ultramarine State).

This period also laid the foundation of Montecara's formidable banking sector as the process of financing trade became formalized. Lending money at interest was considered unholy, so Montecaran merchants skirted around the practice in various ways, for instance by lending in one currency or precious metal and requiring payment in another, higher-valued alternative. As these arrangements became common, the taboo against moneylending faded, and the forerunners of modern banks were founded in the twelfth century. Merchant fleets were supported by an increasingly elaborate financial system that included some of the first precursors to joint-stock corporations by the early 1300s. The elite used their wealth to make great achievements in art and architecture, including the Basilica of Saint Stephen (completed circa 1290).

This period of growth and prosperity also had a dark side. The Montecaran economy became focused on an increasingly exploitative trade system that included plantation-grown coffee, spices, cocoa, sugar, and tobacco, and most notoriously, the Coian slaves who produced these lucrative cash crops, and Montecara became a hub of the slave trade. Captives from Coius and western Euclea were brought in fetters to markets in Montecara to be sold off or shipped directly to receiving ports elsewhere. The most common use for slaves was as agricultural labor; women, considered more useful for domestic purposes, fetched a premium, and eunuchs were some of the most valuable slaves of all. This meant that a lively trade in these castrati arose, and slave-trading houses often employed a professional castradòr to neuter prepubescent boys. The long tradition of castrati in Montecaran music is one of the curious legacies of this period. The slave trade would continue at some level until its total abolition in 1820.

The Last Solarian Expedition

  • 504-505: Emperor Dagobeot requests and receives an alliance with Montecara. The allies coordinate a seaborne invasion of the province of Constellus
  • 513: The Montecaran navy facilitates the invasion of the island of Cartholadinum by General Tacitus de la Croix and participates in the Siege of Cartho. Siege lifted and invasion carried out in June 514.
  • 522-524: de la Croix assists the Montecarans in subduing southern Lusitan coastal cities.

The Regicide and the Scarlet Bull

The city-state's growing power made it an attractive prize for the ambitious, and wealthy merchant Piero de’ Malatesta seized control of the government in early 515 with the aid of an army of foreign mercenaries. His reign was to be short-lived, however; it ended on 16 April with his assassination by the city's burghers. This episode inspired the flag of Montecara, still in use today, and helped solidify the tradition of civic republicanism. To underscore the significance of the event, the burghers issued the Scarlet Bull, establishing the "eternal" status of Montecara as a republic. This law, still in effect, forms part of the city-state's uncodified constitution.

  • 566: Verliquoian Cartholadinum falls. Montecaran sailors report its loss to the Verliquoians.

War of the Cross and Crescent

  •  ?: Bokela (Montecaran Pota, then Bòccala)
  • 930s-940s: Alliance with Verliquois is defunct by this time. Montecaran navy even supports the Irfanics from time to time against the Verliquois.

Loss of independence, 1380–1643

First Montecaran Republic, 1643–1713

Montecara's navy, which boasted over 3,000 vessels at its height, was made increasingly obsolete during the seventeenth century by the widespread adoption of large sail-powered vessels in place of sail-and-oar ships. Montecaran commanders, who had always favored large crews of oarsmen to power their warships, were hampered by intransigence and soon found their military edge dulling. The republic gradually lost many of its overseas territories to hostile neighbors throughout the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Floren Empire, 1713–1729

Second Montecaran Republic, 1729–1810

Slavery was banned on Montecaran soil in 1758 under fear of potential rebellion.

Under the Gaullican Empire

Maestro de Barxi, Harbor scene with Montecaran and foreign sailors, c. 1750

Great War and Restoration

The Senate proclaims the restored independence of Montecara on 28 April 1935
  • Reaction and anti-reaction, 1935-1945: struggle over the place of the Catholic Church in Montecaran society and government. Eventually forced out of its monopoly on social services (education, welfare, healthcare, care of elderly and orphans) by the state.

Geography

Exposed limestone cliffs along the eastern coast

Montecara consists of 689 square kilometers of land in the Aurean Straits. Almost all of Montecara's land consists of a single island, officially called the Island of Montecara but referred to locally as ia Isolòna ("the Big Island"), which measures approximately 41 km from north to south at its extreme points. It is nearly cut in half by an immense natural harbor, the Bay of Montecara, which has sheltered vessels and provided food to local inhabitants for millennia. The bay is considered part of Montecara's integral territorial waters, as is the Lacùna da sel ("Salt Lagoon"), a natural area of shallow water that is so named because it has been exploited as a ready source of sea salt since prehistoric times.

Other islands adjacent to the main island include Lazarèt, a barrier island at the mouth of the Lacùna da sel, and Oçì, an islet in the Bay of Montecara that has hosted a small monastic community for over a thousand years.

Despite its small size, Montecara features dramatic changes in elevation. Its highest point is the peak of Il Coronèl at 1,231 meters above sea level, and parts of the island have cliffs of 30 meters or more that drop off into the sea.

Geology

A levàda on the slopes of Monte Cara

The islands and surrounding region have a karst topography of rugged cliffs and cavernous rock formations. This exposed stone has long provided locals with a readily accessible building material but has limited the island's arable land, one of the main factors motivating Montecara's long reliance on trade and emphasis on fishing. Geological hazards include sinkholes and earthquakes.

Climate

Montecara is situated 28 degrees north of the equator at the point where two continents and two seas touch. This geography creates wind and sea currents that moderate the often hot climate at this latitude. Montecara has a subtropical semi-arid climate (Köppen BSh), with quite warm and dry summers and mild and relatively wet winter.

Because it experiences long periods with little or no rainfall, Montecara's people have developed inventive ways of supplying themselves with water for drinking and irrigation. The principal method is the levàda, a stone channel that carries water from the hills down to farms and settlements. Water condenses more readily at higher elevations and infiltrates the porous karst bedrock, where it pools and can then be channeled away. The levadà run both on the surface and in underground galleries, both of which also furnish popular hiking trails alongside their routes. There is also a local history of using greywater that goes back to the time of the Solarians. One technique that has been in continuous use since that time is to organize houses and apartment buildings around a central courtyard garden that is irrigated with wastewater from sinks and washing, which provides better air quality, cools the building, and naturally treats the water.

Climate data for Montecara (1980–2010), Extremes (1920–2016)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 28.4
(83.1)
31.2
(88.2)
35.4
(95.7)
35.2
(95.4)
36.4
(97.5)
37.1
(98.8)
42.6
(108.7)
40.4
(104.7)
39.3
(102.7)
38.1
(100.6)
34.0
(93.2)
28.2
(82.8)
42.6
(108.7)
Average high °C (°F) 21.0
(69.8)
21.2
(70.2)
22.1
(71.8)
22.7
(72.9)
24.1
(75.4)
26.2
(79.2)
28.7
(83.7)
29.0
(84.2)
28.1
(82.6)
26.3
(79.3)
24.1
(75.4)
22.1
(71.8)
24.6
(76.3)
Daily mean °C (°F) 18.2
(64.8)
18.3
(64.9)
19.0
(66.2)
19.7
(67.5)
21.0
(69.8)
22.9
(73.2)
25.0
(77)
25.5
(77.9)
24.9
(76.8)
23.4
(74.1)
21.3
(70.3)
19.4
(66.9)
21.5
(70.7)
Average low °C (°F) 15.4
(59.7)
15.3
(59.5)
15.9
(60.6)
16.5
(61.7)
17.8
(64)
19.5
(67.1)
21.2
(70.2)
21.9
(71.4)
21.7
(71.1)
20.3
(68.5)
18.4
(65.1)
16.6
(61.9)
18.4
(65.1)
Record low °C (°F) 9.4
(48.9)
8.1
(46.6)
9.5
(49.1)
9.7
(49.5)
12.0
(53.6)
13.4
(56.1)
16.5
(61.7)
17.0
(62.6)
16.8
(62.2)
14.6
(58.3)
10.1
(50.2)
10.0
(50)
8.1
(46.6)
Rainfall mm (inches) 31.5
(1.24)
35.4
(1.394)
37.8
(1.488)
11.6
(0.457)
3.6
(0.142)
0.9
(0.035)
0.1
(0.004)
2.0
(0.079)
6.8
(0.268)
18.7
(0.736)
34.1
(1.343)
43.2
(1.701)
225.7
(8.887)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 4.2 3.8 3.8 2.4 0.9 0.2 0.0 0.3 0.9 3.1 4.7 5.4 29.7
% humidity 64 63 62 61 61 61 58 61 65 65 64 67 63
Mean monthly sunshine hours 178 186 221 237 282 306 337 319 253 222 178 168 2,913
Percent possible sunshine 52 60 59 61 65 73 78 79 70 65 54 54 64.2
Source: Secretariat of the Environment, Transport, and Urban Development

Wildlife

A pygmy goat in a field of arcotèca flowers

Montecara is home to a diverse array of native plants and animals, including a wide variety of marine life, migratory birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

The native plant biome is dominated by hardy shrubs and grasses, collectively referred to as màçia, which tolerate hot and dry seasons well. An occasional fire season (inxendària) in mid-summer is an essential part of the regenerative process for this biome, which has created tension as human habitation can and often does come under the threat of wildfire. Though naturally occurring fires were suppressed from the advent of modern firefighting around the turn of the twentieth century through the early 2000s, current environmental policy allows fires to burn undisturbed until they threaten property or lives.

The city-state is on a major flyway for migratory birds, and native species include waterfowl such as cormorants, herons, pelicans, ducks, and gannets.

A population of pygmy goats lives wild in the countryside. These animals, which typically weigh around 35 kg when fully grown, were introduced as livestock in the eighteenth century and have since established a sizable feral population that has become a tourist attraction.

Politics

Montecara is a liberal democratic republic with a well-respected (albeit uncodified) constitution. Politics in Montecara are strongly influenced by its direct-democratic system, wherein every citizen can participate in the writing and approval of laws. All citizens are members of either the Popular Assembly or Senate and are accordingly entitled to vote on the laws that govern them. A committee system is in place for drafting and revising legislation, which draws on citizen input through various means, including sortition.

Citizenship

Oath of Citizenship
I swear (or solemnly promise) that, as a citizen of Montecara, I will for the rest of my life give her my sole allegiance, uphold her constitution as a republic, obey her laws, bear arms in her defense, serve her in civil office when called upon, and honor my fellow citizens. I renounce all other states and royal or noble houses to which I have previously been subject, and I take this oath (or solemn promise) truthfully and freely.

Citizenship is the basis of the Montecaran government, as citizens make up the legislature and govern largely by direct democracy. Montecara is a jus sanguinis state, in which birthright citizenship is only available to people with at least one Montecaran citizen parent at the time of birth. The only other way to acquire Montecaran citizenship is to have it granted by law, which is quite rare, with only 10 to 50 Montecaran citizens created through naturalization each year on average. The last step in the naturalization process is to take the Oath of Citizenship (see right), which commits the new citizen to giving sole and full allegiance to Montecara as his or her new homeland.

The Montecaran government does not recognize multiple citizenship; Montecaran citizens who acquire the citizenship of another country or who become members of a noble or royal house are considered to have renounced their citizenship. Similarly, naturalized citizens are considered to be solely citizens of Montecara. Montecarans can also lose their citizenship if they serve another country in a civil office or military capacity or formally renounce their citizenship before a Montecaran consul.

Constitution

Montecara has an uncodified constitution, though some elements are written and considered more authoritative than ordinary laws. These include the Scarlet Bull of 1117, which established the "eternal" status of Montecara as a republic, the Declaration of the Rights of the Citizen of 1870, which provides for a range of political and civil rights for citizens, and the Charter of Basic Rights of 1990, which provides certain rights to non-citizens and modernizes other rights.

Communes

Panorama of Montecara

Montecara is traditionally divided into the city (çìta) and countryside (canpo). The dividing line between the two is known as the pomero in a tradition that goes back to the Solarian Republic. While the so-called countryside was once almost entirely rural and sparsely inhabited, growth outside the bounds of the old city in the 19th and 20th centuries resulted in urbanization in many parts of the old canpo, and the vast majority of Montecara's population now lives there.

There are two types of local government unit in Montecara: sieteri and vilà. Collectively, these are known as communes (comùni). The two types are identical in function, the difference being that the çìta is divided into six sieteri, while vilà are found in the canpo.

Communes are the fundamental unit of government in Montecara's bottom-up, direct-democratic political system. They are governed collectively, with every citizen allowed an equal say. Communes operate on consensus (though, importantly, not unanimity) in their decision-making.

Communal meetings are typically held monthly, usually on the first Saturday afternoon, in a space large enough for everyone to take part in the discussion. This is usually a festive occasion, with participants contributing food and drink to make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. Citizens bring up any pressing issues, such as quality-of-life matters (street cleaning, noise, garbage collection, and so on) or ideas for making improvements to their neighborhood. Communes also have a say in decisions regarding the development, redevelopment, and demolition of buildings and in other matters materially affecting the community.

Aside from their main purpose of handling local concerns democratically, communes also use their collective voice to make contact with elected leaders and officials in the national government when necessary. Communes also serve as statistical areas and units for the distribution of public utilities such as water and electricity. Perhaps most importantly of all, communes are mutually supportive communities that citizens can turn to for help in situations as minor as needing care for a cat while on vacation to those as serious as a death in the family.

Legislature

Palaço Pùblico, seat of government

Montecara's political system is designed to distribute power as broadly as possible in order to maintain a powerful citizenry. Accordingly, it is governed principally as a direct democracy and directorial republic, with elements of sortition added to prevent corruption. Citizens of legal age who are not Senators are all members of the Popular Assembly, the lower house of the legislature. This body, along with the Senate, must pass all laws, ratify all treaties, and appoint all officials by majority vote. Voting was once done at mass meetings held in the fields outside the city, but since 1988 has been done exclusively by postal ballot during the last full workweeks of March, May, July, September, and November in order to minimize disruption to daily life.

Each year a Committee of Selection is randomly chosen from among members of the Popular Assembly and tasked with nominating public officials through a complex system of supermajority voting and sortition. The most important body appointed is the Colegio, the seven-member cabinet that functions as the collective head of government. Campaigning for public office is banned; Montecaran tradition holds that ambition in politics is a bad thing and sees holding public office as a civic duty that one must perform when called upon.

The Senate (Senàt) is the upper house of the legislature, and is intended to provide experienced oversight to government functions. It is the court of last resort for administrative law and is empowered to conduct investigations.

Montecaran law applies the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy. Legislation may not be challenged in courts of law.

Laws are made according to the following process:

  1. Introduction: A legislative proposal can be introduced by either the Colegio, in which case it is called an Executive Proposal (proxèt executìva), by a private member of the Popular Assembly, in which it is called a Popular Proposal (proxèt populàr), or by a member of the Senate, in which it is a Senatorial Proposal (proxèt senatoriàl). Popular Proposals must be supported by the signatures of at least 1,000 members of the Popular Assembly to be considered.
  2. Deliberation: The proposal is put up for debate by the Popular Assembly and Senate.
  3. Senate approval: Proposals must be approved by the Senate to advance. The Senate may pass, pass with amendments, or reject proposals.
  4. Popular Assembly approval: The final version of every proposal must be passed by the Popular Assembly to become law.

Judiciary

Court system of Montecara

Montecara is a civil law jurisdiction, basing its judiciary on Solarian law. Trials are conducted using the inquisitorial system. Judges are appointed by law, and courts are organized into a three-tiered hierarchy with separate streams for civil, criminal, and administrative cases. In some cases, lay judges contribute to resolving the case. Criminal cases are prosecuted by a procùrador, a state official. The Procurator General (Procùrador-xenèr) is the state's senior prosecutor and is called on to represent the interests of the state itself in matters of national or international importance.

Because Montecara's judiciary is governed by civil law, judges are not empowered to make law; nonetheless, the doctrine of jurisprudence constante is influential, and courts will often cite similar cases where the same judgement was reached when making their decisions. The doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty means that judges are not entitled to invalidate laws.

Criminal offenses are categorized into three tiers: the contravènxon, a minor offense which carries a maximum penalty of a Ł5,000 fine and no detention; the delito, which may be punished with a maximum fine of Ł25,000 and detention for up to twelve months; and the crìma, which is subject to unlimited fines and imprisonment.

Administrative offenses, including petty traffic violations, are punishable only with fines or other remedies such as removal in the case of immigration violations, not a custodial sentence.

In criminal matters, the unanimous agreement of the professional and lay judges is required for conviction. There is no insanity defense; defendants judged guilty but insane are committed to specialized psychiatric care within the penal system.

Gonfalonièr

The Gonfalonièr is one of Montecara's longest-standing public offices, with a history dating back to at least the 13th century. He was originally responsible for the maintenance and protection of those who could not provide for themselves: orphans, widows, the elderly, and the infirm. The office has evolved into that of an ombudsman for Montecarans. The Gonfalonièr can bring legal action against the state or its organs if a citizen's rights have been violated, and can order administrative remedies directly. He or she also works closely with the Court of Audit to combat corruption and maladministration.

Public safety

Law and order are maintained by the Corpo dei Dragòni, a branch of the Military of Montecara, and by the civilian police force, the Vigìlia.

The Vigìlia is responsible for day-to-day policing, and its members patrol unarmed. The Dragòni, by contrast, is an armed military force and is responsible for supporting the Vigìlia as necessary, policing the military, guarding Montecara's borders and ports of entry, protecting Montecaran diplomatic missions, staffing the city-state's prisons, patrolling the coasts, and serving as an anti-terrorism force. Its elite unit, responsible for protecting public officials and important public buildings, is the Brigàda di Coraçièri. There is a persistent problem with organized crime in Montecara which a dedicated section of the Dragòni is dedicated to combating.

Ambulance, firefighting, and search and rescue services are provided by the Spartòli.

Emergency and other public services are available at the following telephone numbers at all times:

  • 110: Directory assistance
  • 112: Emergency
  • 113: Police non-emergency
  • 114: Medical non-emergency
  • 115: Mental health helpline
  • 116: Municipal services
  • 117: Roadside assistance and travel information
  • 118: Services for the hearing impaired

Penal system

Montecara has a moderate-to-low incarceration rate by world standards of 75 per 100,000 people as of 2018. This works out to a prison population of approximately 1,300 inmates on average for 2018. These inmates are held in one of three principal locations: the main, mixed-security prison at Molàro, the special unit for medical and psychiatric prisoners at the Ospedàl Marìn, or the military prison at Castèl Gerò. By far the largest and most populous of these is Molàro, which holds approximately 1,000 prisoners.

There are six to nine murders in an average year; the homicide rate as of 2017 is .51 per 100,000 people.

Military

Soldiers of the Guàrdia fire a salute to a visiting dignitary

Montecara's military consists of three services: The Montecaran Navy (Armàda Montecarà), Guàrdia di Stado (land forces), and Dragòni (gendarmerie).

There is conscription for both men and women for a 24-month period beginning at the end of secondary education, with most serving from ages 17 to 19 or 19 to 21. Once off active duty, service members remain on the reserve list until reaching the age of 40, or 45 for officers.

Foreign relations

Montecara's foreign relations strategy is based on four fundamental pillars: defense, diplomacy, economics, and culture. These four sources of power, used in concert, enable Montecara to exert an influence on international affairs that it disproportionate to its small size.

Montecara enjoys good relations with its immediate neighbors, Florena and Tsabara, and has no major transnational or territorial disputes. Illegal migration from less-developed nations is a persistent issue.

Foreign and signals intelligence services are provided by the Executive Directorate for Strategic Operations (DEOS). The investigation section of the Dragòni handles domestic intelligence.

Economy

Economy of Montecara
Bolsa-madrid-010711-3.jpg
The Borse Mercànte on a trading day
CurrencyMontecaran libra (MCL)
1 April – 31 March
Statistics
GDP$175.561 billion (PPP) (2017)
GDP per capita
$102,100 (PPP) (2017)
1.8% (2016)
0.5% (2018)
Population below poverty line
0.0% (2018)[1]
30.7 (2016)
.880 (2016)
Labor force
1.36 million (79% participation rate, 2017)
Unemployment0.7% (April 2018)
Main industries
finance, tourism, shipping
External
Exports$146 billion (Q4 2017)
Export goods
luxury items, precision tools, medical instruments, pharmaceuticals
Imports$160 billion (Q4 2017)
Import goods
foodstuffs, fuel, vehicles, consumer goods
$834.768 billion (Q4 2017)
$344.275 billion (Q4 2017)
Public finances
AAA
Outlook: Stable (Auberge, 2017)

Montecara has a highly specialized, developed, and advanced social market economy. It consistently ranks at or near the top of international surveys on the ease of doing business, low taxation, and per-capita foreign investment. Because its economy is so integrated into the global financial market and reliant on international trade, it is known as a bellwether for the financial health of the world at large.

Montecara's labor force is very heavily unionized. Closed shops are legal and indeed the norm, and over 90% of workers are members of a union. Labor and business interests are closely aligned with the government of Montecara and have an official voice through the Tripartite Commission, which consists of representatives of leading trade unions, employers, and the government. The Commission has many devolved regulatory powers, including the ability to set minimum wages, vacation time, worker safety policy, and pensions by sector. It also has the power to issue formal opinions on other areas of economic policy, including proposed trade deals.

Annual foreign trade flows are 200% of GDP and capital flows approximately 250%, making Montecara the most trade-dependent country in the world. Montecara relies on imports to supply most basic necessities for its citizens. Because Montecara is a free port and major entrepôt, the state directly profits on trade by assessing landing and docking fees and selling fuel and other supplies to ships, while allowing goods to be temporarily offloaded into the Port of Montecara and re-exported without assessing tariffs.

The coat of arms of the Bànca de Montecara

Finance, tourism, and shipping are the three biggest industries. There is a small but high-value-added manufacturing sector which produces mainly niche products. The primary sector is quite limited given Montecara's small land area, and is focused on high-value agriculture and fishing.

The Bànca de Montecara is the city-state's central bank and issues the libra (code: MCL; symbol: Ł), the national currency. The Bànca, aside from issuing currency, also issues bonds and performs certain financial regulation duties.

Montepietà is the state's sovereign wealth fund, responsible for a portfolio of state-owned enterprises along with investments in securities and real estate.

The stock exchange, the Borse Mercànte de Montecara, is the oldest in the world and includes a large number of locally incorporated joint-stock companies as well as commodities and foreign currency exchange.

Taxation

Controversially, Montecara is a well-known tax haven. It assesses no taxes on income, inheritances, dividends, or capital gains. The state is funded through a combination of excises, tariffs, and taxes on corporations, land value, added value, and a number of more minor transactions. It funds its social protection programs such as the public health system, pensions, and direct cash support through its sovereign wealth fund, Montepietà.

Finance

The financial sector is the largest and most important pillar of the Montecaran economy. Montecara has a centuries-long banking tradition, and its tax and banking secrecy laws make it an attractive location for financial institutions to incorporate. Major financial institutions include:

The logo of De Craxi s.a.i.

Retail

Retail workers account for approximately 12% of the Montecaran workforce, and consumer spending in the retail sector amounts to approximately one-third of Montecara’s annual GDP. The retail sector includes businesses ranging from the highest-priced couturiers to the simple neighborhood sfumerìa, a traditional convenience store, the licenses for which are preferentially distributed to widows and the disabled in a scheme that dates back to the mid-18th century.

Tourism

Cruise ships docked at Montecara

Montecara is consistently one of the top-ten destination cities in the world for international tourism by number of visitors per year. Its high density of cultural, artistic, and entertainment attractions has helped to make tourism a major component of the economy. Some of the most popular destinations for visitors include the famous casino, the city-state's plentiful and legal brothels, and the sights of the old city. Cruise ship docks, a major international airport, and road and rail links to the rest of Conitia have helped the tourist sector to grow exponentially since the early 20th century.

Infrastructure

Port facilities in the Bay of Montecara

Communications

Montecara has a modern telecommunications network, with all residents able to access broadband internet service as of 2012. Landline telephone, cable, and internet services are provided by Infotel de Montecara, a majority state-owned corporation. Montecara's country code for international telephone calls is +70, and the format for local numbers is +70-0000-0000. The international call prefix is 00. There are no area codes; individual numbers are randomly assigned, though it has been possible at various times to request a specific number if it is available.

Postal services are provided by the state-owned Poste de Montecara.

Energy

Montecara has no fossil fuel sources and has historically imported natural gas from mainland Conitia for electricity generation, along with direct electricity imports. Annual electricity consumption is approximately 14.35 billion kilowatt hours in total, at 8,194 kW·h per person per year, as of 2017. The electricity industry and imports are regulated by the Secretariat of the Environment, Transport, and Urban Development, and electric generation, distribution, and sales are handled by the cooperative Comega.

Because of its lack of fossil fuel resources, transitioning to renewable energy is a major focus, as is energy conservation. The government has the stated goal of making the city-state 100% free of fossil fuels by 2025. Leaded gasoline has been banned since 1963. The coastal shelf to the south of the main island has strong winds and currents which are now being utilized as energy sources. Montecara's first wind turbines were built there in the 2013, and there are currently plans to further develop sea-based wind power. A waste-to-energy plant which uses combustible non-recyclable waste to generate approximately 400 GW·h of electricity per year was completed in 1997. Montecara is a nuclear-free zone, though it allows allied nuclear-powered naval ships to make calls in its port. Comega has allowed net metering since 2006, which has encouraged the development of privately built and operated wind and solar systems.

Transport

Sign at Montecaran ports of entry
Pont Vespàxi over the Bay of Montecara

Transport in Montecara is eased by the city-state's small size. Public transit is provided by VM, which operates tram, ferry, and bus networks and a bicycle share system. Trenalia, jointly state-owned with Desena, operates regional rail routes within Montecara and to nearby destinations in Conitia, as well as inter-city rail routes that connect with points beyond. The hub of the passenger rail system is Montecara Pòrta Conìxia railway station.

The Montecaran government strongly discourages private car ownership due to the dense nature of the city-state and a desire to avoid pollution. The number of license plates issued is capped and new plates are only issued through an auction system. Vehicles are banned in the old city with the exception of bicycles and certain electric vehicles due to the extreme narrowness of many streets and the often fragile pavements. This has preserved Montecara from destruction in the name of road expansion and keeps air quality high. The urban core of Montecara thus remains a very walkable and compact environment.

Montecara has some of the most arduous driver licensing requirements in the world. Licensees must be between the ages of 18 and 79 inclusive, and must pass a medical exam (including vision test), take a classroom-based driving theory course, complete an in-car course with a certified instructor, and then pass written and practical tests. First-time applicants, if successful, are granted a probationary license valid for two years which will be revoked if the driver accrues more than two violations of the traffic code. The medical and written exams must be passed again every other year for the license to be renewed.

All vehicles registered in Montecara must pass annual safety and emissions tests, and may not be more than ten years old. There is a high excise tax on petroleum fuel. Traffic drives on the right according to priority to the right, and only left-hand-drive cars are legal to operate in Montecara. There were 42 traffic-related fatalities in Montecara in 2017, a rate of 2.4 for every 100,000 inhabitants.

Montecara's transport network relies heavily on bridges, both to connect the city-state with the rest of Conitia and to provide connections across internal waters. The Pont Vespàxi carries road and rail across the Bay of Montecara, while the twin road and rail bridges of the Pont Calcària connect Montecara with the rest of Conitia.

There is one airport, Montecara–Enrico Dulio International, which serves as the hub for flag carrier Aeracara. The airport and seaport are operated by the government-owned Porti de Montecara.

Demographics

Montecara's total fertility rate is 1.4. Its natural growth rate is -1.25% per annum. Its net migration is approximately 11,000 immigrants per year. On average, women have their first child at age 27.

If current trends continue, Montecara's population will peak at approximately 2.19 million in 2058. From that point, it will gradually decline until reaching an equilibrium of approximately 1.32 million around 2270.

Ethnicity

Ethnic composition of Montecara (2017)

  Montecarans (63.9%)
  Florens (8.4%)
  Etrurians (5.3%)
  Badawiyans (4.8%)
  Atudites (1.7%)
  Other (15.9%)

Religious adherence in Montecara (2017)

  Irreligion or none (9%)
  Irfan (5%)
  Other Sotirianity (4%)
  Atudaism (2%)
  Other (1%)

Montecaran society is split between ethnic Montecarans, who comprise approximately three-fifths of the population, and foreigners, who are usually non-citizens and come temporarily to work.

Montecarans are a Solarian people related to many other ethnicities in Euclea. They trace their lineage back to the population that lived in Montecara at the time of the Solarian Republic and speak Montecaran, a Romance language, as their common tongue. Solarian Catholicism is their dominant religion.

Language

All citizens and most non-citizen residents speak Montecaran. Montecaran is the sole official language, and its use is regulated by the University of Montecara.

Religion

Solarian Catholicism is followed by the vast majority of Montecarans and many immigrants from neighboring Euclean countries. There are minority populations following Irfan, Atudaism, and non-Catholic Sotirianity.Irreligion has grown significantly since the early to mid-20th century, with at least one in ten residents of Montecara now professing no religious faith.

The status of Irfan and Atudaism is highly controversial in Montecaran society. The Popular Assembly has overwhelmingly voted to ban circumcision and other forms of genital cutting, covering one's face in public, loudspeakers on religious buildings, the ritual slaughter of animals and the importation of ritually produced meat, and non-state religious courts or arbitration panels, and all of these measures have passed into law with the approval of the Senate. All forms of polygamy and polygyny are strictly illegal, as is cousin marriage.

Education

Education in Montecara is divided into five stages: preschool, primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, and tertiary. School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. There are public and private schools at the upper secondary level and below.

A student's prior academic record and teacher recommendations determine whether he or she may advance from the lower secondary level to the liçeo, the university preparatory form of upper secondary school. The alternatives to liçeo are scuol generàl (general-education school), which places a greater emphasis on life and workplace skills and does not have a specifically preparatory curriculum, or scuol tecnicàl, which provides a vocational education in addition to a foundational academic curriculum.

Aspiring university students may take the Matùra at the end of their secondary education. Performance on this test determines whether a student may even apply to the University of Montecara, and is also used by foreign universities and colleges to determine admissions qualifications. The Matùra covers Montecaran language and literature; mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and logic; science, including physics, chemistry, biology, and environmental science; civics and government; and history, including Montecaran, Solarian, and world history. A qualifying score consists of at least a 3 out of 5 on a majority of the test's five sections.

The standard grading system, used for students from primary school through the graduate level, is on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high). Cases of academic dishonesty may be dealt with by assigning the special grade of 0.

Stages highlighted in yellow below are compulsory.

Level Name Duration
Preschool Crèxe 3 years (age: 3 to 6)
Primary education Scuol primàr (Primary school) 5 years (age: 6 to 11)
Lower secondary education Scuol segònd (Lower-grade secondary school) 3 years (age: 11 to 14)
Upper secondary education Liçeo (University preparatory school) 5 years (age: 14 to 19)
Scuol generàl (General education) or
Scuol tecnicàl (Technical or vocational education)
3 or 5 years (age: 14 to 17 or 14 to 19)
Tertiary education Làurea (Bachelor's degree) 3 years
Magistrà (Master's degree) 1 or 2 years
Dotoràt (Ph.D.) 3, 4, or 5 years
Dotoràt medicinàl (M.D.) 6 years

Higher education is only provided through the state. There is one university in the city-state, the University of Montecara, founded in 1291. The university is organized into 21 colleges, which are themselves divided into 38 faculties.

Colleges of the University of Montecara:

Matriculating students apply to one or more specific colleges within the University and take only courses within their given college when enrolled. Students may, at the discretion of the instructor, audit courses from outside their college, but no credit is given.

Officers in the Montecaran military can receive additional military education at the Academìa militàr de Tornèa, and officer candidates are often co-enrolled at Tornèa and the University of Montecara.

Health

"Rabies doesn't exist here. Let's keep it that way. There are severe penalties for smuggling animals into Montecara."

Healthcare is provided by the state free of charge to all legal inhabitants in and visitors to Montecara. The state health program, Sànita Montecara, owns public hospitals and clinics, buys drugs wholesale, pays medical staff salaries, and covers all other expenses associated with patient care. Montecara enjoys the highest life expectancy of any country at 83.5 years overall, 85.4 years for women and 81.4 years for men. Healthcare spending amounted to 9.5% of GDP in 2017.

Montecara has the highest ratio of physicians per inhabitants in the world, at 7.21 per 1,000. As with all university education in Montecara, medical education is free of charge, and there is significant competition to work in the domestic healthcare sector. This promotes both a high number of trained clinicians and a high standard of expertise.

Prescription drugs are free of charge. Over the counter drugs must be paid for out-of-pocket. Both prescription and over-the-counter drugs may only be sold at licensed pharmacies (apotecà), which except in the case of those at public hospitals are privately owned. Elective treatments such as cosmetic plastic surgery are conducted only by private physicians and must be paid for out-of-pocket.

The Ospedàl Marìn (Naval Hospital), founded in 1680 to meet the needs of ill sailors, is one of the world's leading research institutions for tropical diseases and nutrition. The University of Montecara Hospital, which is owned by the University of Montecara but jointly operated by the University and Sanità Montecara, is the main teaching hospital.

Culture

Dòna Cara, personification of Montecara

Montecara has a Solarian culture that highly values aesthetics, a rich social life, and liberality, among other ideals. It is personified by Dòna Cara, depicted as a woman wearing a mural crown representing the city's walls. It is her face that the country's namesake mountain is supposed to resemble. Other national symbols include the cormorant, the national animal, and the xinòta tree, which bears the sour citrus that is a common flavoring for drinks and sweets. The pygmy goat, though unofficial, is widely thought of as symbolic of Montecara as well.

Art

Tixàn Vecèlo, Neptune Offering the Wealth of the Sea to Montecara

Montecara has a strong fine-art tradition, particularly exemplified by the paintings produced during its Golden Age. Montecaran art was known in this period for its use of vivid color and majestic subject matter, including classical themes and rich interiors. Tixàn Vecèlo is perhaps Montecara's most famous painter, and his masterpiece, Neptune Offering the Wealth of the Sea to Montecara, hangs in the Palaço Pùblico and is depicted on the 50-libra banknote.

The Palaço dei Doxi, the former palace of the Doxe of Montecara, is now a museum with a collection ranging from ancient times to the present day. The Galerìa Sufrèxi, one of the world's most visited museums, houses one of the world's finest collections of Solarian, Medieval, Renaissance, and Neoclassical art. Begun as the private collection of a wealthy merchant, it is now publicly owned.

Architecture

Arnòld di Buçhe, Principia architecturae

The Montecaran architectural tradition stretches back to the Solarian Republic, which brought its expertise in engineering to the city. Traces of Solarian architecture, including extensive brickwork, arches, vaults, stucco exteriors, mosaic floors, and wall frescoes can still be seen in contemporary buildings.

Montecaran architecture developed its own style beginning in the late 12th and early 13th centuries under the influence of the master Arnòld di Buçhe, whose treatise Principia architecturae (Principles of Architecture) is still recognized as a world masterpiece in itself. The main body of his work consisted of villas for Montecara's senatorial and patrician class, most of which are still standing.

Architecture has generally been well-preserved. It is illegal to demolish or substantially alter historic structures, and building designs must be approved by the state architectural review board before construction. Except for in industrial areas, Montecara has a remarkably coherent architectural vocabulary that remains true to its traditions.

Cuisine

Montecara must import nearly all of its basic foodstuffs because of its lack of arable land. It does, however, harvest a great deal of seafood, which is reflected in traditional dishes. The limited farmland is devoted to high-value crops suitable to the climate, mainly grapes (mainly for wine production), citrus, coffee, saffron (zafràn), and flowers.

Spaiòl grapes drying indoors

Montecara's access to the sea and long culinary tradition has led to a great variety of specialties making use of local ingredients. Cuttlefish braised in ink, fried sardines, and bixàto, or roast eel, are all typical dishes. Fowl is also a traditional favorite, especially duck and other water birds, and duck eggs are still more popular than their chicken-borne counterparts. Songbirds were also eaten in large numbers up to the 1980s, when their capture was banned by environmental legislation. Montecara is on a major flyway, so stakes covered in birdlime (vignòla) were used to catch birds for culinary use. Though illegal, it is reportedly still possible to find some chefs who will prepare songbirds in the traditional manner. Meat from land animals is a small part of the diet and consists mainly of goat and pork, though cheese (mainly goat-based) is ubiquitous. The principal cooking fat is duck fat, with olive and sunflower oils assuming lesser roles.

Historically, rice (rixo) was the supreme staple food for Montecarans. There was always some domestic production, but Montecarans have relied on the sea trade for the bulk of their rice import for centuries. This is reflected in traditional dishes such as rixoto, a soupy preparation of rice simmered in broth, and rixi e bixi, rice and peas cooked together. In modern times, corn (biàva) is even more popular than rice, and is used to make bread, polènta, and many other dishes.

Montecarans generally have a light breakfast on the way to work or school at cafés or stalls located throughout the city. This often consists of a pastry, sandwich, or fruit accompanied by coffee or juice. There is a traditional mid-morning break for coffee around 11:00, and shops and offices often close briefly to allow for this. Lunch, usually the largest meal of the day, is eaten around 14:00 to 15:00, and workers generally take a full hour to do so, often eating at home. Dinner is eaten at about 21:00.

Xinòta cut in half

Montecara produces wine in a range of styles and varietals, but by far the most popular type, and the one most closely associated with Montecara's culinary identity, is xàca, a fortified wine made from white grapes. Three varietals enjoy protected status as heirloom crops in Montecaran law, all white grapes: Garganèga, Verdùxo, and Spaiòl. Garganèga is used to make still wine noted for its lemon and almond notes, Verdùxo is favored for the sparkling white Caràxa, and Spaiòl is used to make both a golden dessert wine with notes of honeysuckle and apricot and a light, acidic still wine. All three are used to make xàca, which can range in color and sugar content from nearly clear and dry to almost black and very sweet. Under Montecaran law, only wine that is produced from 100% domestic grapes can be sold as "Montecaran wine" (vin Montecarà). Montecara has high per-capita alcohol consumption rates, and in addition to wine, beer and spirits are popular.

Montecara is known for its sweets, notably xinòta-flavored marmalade and hard candy and formàxo giàço, a frozen dessert and snack similar to ice cream that is flavored with soft cheese and usually served in a split-open sweet bun (brioxa).

Special foods are eaten around Saturnalia. These include galani, a rum-flavored fried pastry served with lemon zest, and pandòr, a sweet egg bread. Dinner on the last day of Saturnalia traditionally includes a feast of seven different types of fish, the exact components of which vary but which generally include clams, scallops, salt cod, anchovy, and sea snails.

Media

IlFinan.png

Montecara's state-owned television and radio broadcaster is Telèradio Montecara. It operates three television and two radio channels and is supported by a license fee applied to cable television, Internet service, and cellular data bills.

Of Montecara's four domestic newspapers, the most circulated is Il Finansiér, which publishes financial news. Its international French-language edition is distributed worldwide.

Music

Montecara has a strong operatic and orchestral musical tradition dating back to the first operas written in the early 17th century. Indeed, because the arts in republican Montecara were supported by public funds rather than by wealthy patrons, it was until the late 18th century the only place in the world where opera could be seen by the general public, who were able to simply buy tickets.

The main venue for opera performance is the Càxa da Òpera, a 19th-century house that premiered the works of Montecara's most famous composer, Giacopò Verxì. It still hosts regular operatic performances throughout the year.

The city-state's classical music conservatory is the Academìa da Mùsica, which fosters young musicians and maintains its own orchestra, the Sinfònia da Academìa. The youngest of Montecara's orchestras is the Orxèstra di Radio Montecara, best known for its live performances on Radio Montecara. It performs at the Sàla de Mùsica di Radio Montecara.

Sport

The major sports in Montecara are, in approximate order from most popular to least, association football, rugby union, cycling, tennis, track and field, polo, and sailing. The major stadium, host to rugby, football, and track and field events, is the Arena de Montecara, with a seating capacity of 35,000. Montecara is also host to an indoor velodrome and swimming facility, gymnasiums, spacious polo grounds, and the historic grass tennis courts at the Club Raquèt de la Croxa.

The Montecara national football team is the city-state's national men's team. SDB Montecara is the top professional football club.

Holidays

Every Sunday is a public holiday in Montecara in addition to the other declared holidays. Public holidays are mandatory in Montecara, with shops, businesses, and public institutions required to close. Workers in Montecara typically receive at least four weeks' paid vacation time per year in addition to public holidays.

Date Name Montecaran name Notes
1 January New Year’s Day il Capodàn Also the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.
6 January Epiphany ia Epifània
10 February Victory Day Fèsta da vitòria Commemorates victory ending the Great War.
The Friday before Easter Good Friday Sànta veneri
Movable Sunday between 22 March and 25 April Easter Pàscua
The day after Easter Easter Monday Pasquètta
18 April Regicide Day Fèsta di rexeçìdo National day. Commemorates the assassination of dictator Piero de' Malatesta on this date in 515.
28 April Liberation Day Fèsta da liberaxòn Commemorates the end of the Gaullican occupation in 1935.
1 May International Workers' Day Fèsta dei lavoratòri Commemorates the achievements of workers and the labor movement.
15 August Assumption of Mary Fèsta da asunxòn de Marìa
1 November All Saints' Day Ognisànti
8 December Feast of the Immaculate Conception Fèsta da conxeptimènt inmacolàda
25 December Christmas Nadàl
26 December Saint Stephen's Day Fèsta di San Stefàn
  1. Based on international standard of population living on less than NSD 2/day. Montecara does not have a national poverty line.