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The Skaldafen Confederation
Motto: "Land of Song"
|Official languages||Skaldanic, Omiat, Hugonaut|
|Government||Confederated Martial Oligarchy|
• Brothers' Pact
• Ossken Accords
• 2016 estimate
• 2016 census
|Skaldanic 33% |
Mixed Ethnicity 21%
|GDP (nominal)||2015 estimate|
• Per capita
Skaldafen (officially, the Skaldafen Confederation) is a country located along the Kunun Bridge in Norumbia. The country has coastline on both the Makiran ocean and the Qualet Bay, bordering much of Bastard Lake. It shares a land border with Nunaaqqinit and Enyama in the north, Concordia in the east and Belfras in the south. Its capital and largest city is Kæp Jriak, though is home to many other large cities such as Veshiv and Ostendal. Skaldafen is most densely populated in its naval regions, with the majority living along the south-western coast, and the largest minority living along the northern coast. Skaldafen's climate varies dramatically depending on elevation and latitude, with coastal flatlands along the Makiran housing fertile and relatively temperate farmland, while mountainous boreal forests mark the interior.
The Kunun bridge has been inhabited by a number of peoples throughout history, most notably by the now-extinct Sakrossi people. Beginning in the 9th century CE, the first Skaldanians began to settle in the region, displacing the Omi and Haratago who had also begun to move in just a century prior. While a number of small despotic warrior states would eventually take control the region, Skaldafen had not begun to unify until the formation of the Jriak Confederation in 1781, and would not finish doing so until the integration of the Ostendalic Marches in 1942. A series of civil conflicts known collectively as the Skaldanic Spring began in 1846, spurred on by a wave of revolutionary thought originating overseas. The Spring replaced the existing semi-feudal order with a system of military rule, and was followed up a century later by the peaceful Orange Revolution in the 1960's.
The government of Skaldafen is a confederated martial oligarchy with an appointed parliament, although most legislative power rests in the hands of democratically-elected provincial governments. First Marshal Saga Oraka is the head of state, and is the overall executive commander of the AFNS. It is notable for effectively serving as both the civilian government and the armed forces. The country is known for its naval heritage, but is also a notable global contributor to cultural, industrial and technological pursuits worldwide.
- 1 Eytmology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography and Climate
- 4 Government and Politics
- 5 Military
- 6 Economy
- 7 Education
- 8 Language
The name Skaldafen is the modern pronounciation of an ancient composite word meaning "Land of Song" in an old 8th century Ottonian dialect. The name had originally been used in the Ottonian language to describe a state of festivity during the winter solstice, but eventually was repurposed by the Skaldanic people to describe the land and their ties to it.
With the addition of the Ostendal kingdom to the Confederation in 1942, the country was officially renamed to the Skaldafen Confederation, although the term had already been in use colloquially.
The Skaldafen Confederation is a relatively young nation, but the Kunun Bridge had already been inhabited for several hundred-thousand years before the Skaldanians had arrived in Norumbia. Throughout prehistory, several semi-nomadic maritime cultures lived along the coasts and in the large cave systems found further inland. Eventually, the major Sakrossi Civilization began to sprout in the 11th century BCE, coming to found a number of significant cities monumental stone Ziggurats along the Makiran coastline.
The Sakrossi would exist continuously as a series of independent and often hostile temple-cities until the Iron Age collapse of the 4th century CE. These cites would individually grow and fade from prominence at different rates, sometimes conquering and being conquered by the neighbouring Temakoran civilization. Haratago tribes on the periphery were often contracted as mercenaries and artisans for Sakrossi lords, and evidence of contact with the Mutulese 6th dynasty first starts to emerge in the 4th century BCE. This suggests that the Sakrossi had developed a highly sophisticated maritime trade network, one that was likely operated in part by proto-Skaldanians whose merchants had begun to arrive in the region.
Major dipping of the local climate and over-irrigation led to the systemic breakdown of Sakrossi civilization by the beginning in 371 CE, resulting in the swift disappearance of their people. The following years leading to the 7th century CE were marked by near-total depopulation and emigration. Although minor trade settlements dotted warmer fragments of coast, very few cultures managed to endure this environmental collapse. Small numbers of semi-nomadic Haratago tribes continued to survive in the mountains, but all major cities were lost in time.
Beginning with the turn of the 8th century CE, a stabilization of local temperatures in the Kunun bridge would lead to several ethnic groups attempting to resettle the region. The first group to arrive in substantial numbers were the Omi, an Arctic-dwelling semi-nomadic culture which managed to take control from the Haratago through a sudden population increase. This would not last, as by 792 CE, the first Nordane explorers had begun settling along the Norumbian coastline.
These Nordane Sea Kings were exiles from the Great Tumult of Norday, and would found the city of Vestorðæn in what is modern day Concordia. Vestorðæn would go on to become a massive city, and would serve as the central hub for Nordane expansion on the continent. Clans would form, grow and then explore for land to settle further westward along the Norumbian coastline. Cities would spring up and disappear all along the continent, with the remains of settlements found in modern day Concordia, Belfras, Ghant and Nunaaqqinit. Eventually coming into regular contact with the Omi and Haratago of the Kunun bridge, the Nordanes found the bridge to be incredibly easy to settle. Depopulated, rich in the woods used to make longships, and flanked on either side by fertile coasts and rivers, the largest Nordane cities would be founded here. Soon eclipsing the more eastern cities, these "Skaldanians" (as they had come to call themselves) soon became the dominant element among Nordane settlers on Norumbia.
During this time, there was frequent overlap between the Skaldanians on the coast and the local native populations already living in the mountainous interior. Such encounters were rarely peaceful as roaming warbands would frequently come to blows. These skirmishes were usually short and inconclusive, with both people's wabands being specialized raiders rather than any kind of fighting army. This form of fighting, known as the "Little War", has since come to form a martial legacy that extends to modern Skaldafen military doctrine.
The Wicing Period
Even as the Skaldanians began to settle down and peacefully coexist with their native neighbors, their culture's restless nature endured. Using their newly founded cities as home ports, the Skaldanians began to sail abroad once more to trade, raid, explore and settle many more far off lands. Omi and Haratago men called Skrælings would often join these expeditions, hired out as mercenaries or seeking riches of their own. Such expeditions would travel far away from their homes, with period Skaldanian goods having been found as far away as Vannois and Tsurushima. The impact of warriors was equally widespread, as raids frequently echoed the movements of merchants. Beleaguered lords could offer a Skaldengeld to would-be raiders, a tribtutary bribe to never return.
This cultural network of seeking profit wherever it could be found brought incredible riches to the various Skaldafen city-states that had since emerged. The Kunun Bridge provided them with spectacular protection and isolation while simultaneously allowing them to sail just as easily as they ever had before, a protection that other Nordane cities did not have. The city of Veshiv soon grew dominant, located atop a vast silver deposit. Even so, independent "Sea Kings" would continue to live like their anscestors as wanderers, though this time they had home ports to serve as safe harbour. From the 11th through to the 16th centuries CE, the Skaldanians were experiencing a golden age of art and culture funded by these overseas adventures while the other Nordane cities in Norumbia began to decline.
Frequent clashes with Latin crusaders were another fixture of the second half of this period, with several southern Skaldanian and Nordane petty kingdoms falling victim to the more organized Eastern armies. However, the continued reach of the crusades were eventually blunted by the inhospitable nature of the Kunun bridge and local Skaldanic dominance over the many barrier islands along the Makiran coast. As the Belfrasian threat began to increase, Wicing warbands began to retreat closer and closer to their home cities and the various Sea Kings began to coalesce in and around major city states. After the 1739 Battle of Vigorok Pass, where a Latin crusader army was annihilated by a coalition of Skaldanian cities, further expansion north had been halted permenantly.
Introduction of Firearms
Though the Skaldanian Petty Kings and Sea Lords were slow to adopt firearms, their usage elsewhere in the world had already changed their own fortunes for the worst. Though raids were still theoretically possible, the proliferation of fortresses and such deadly ranged weaponry had stymied what were formerly dynamic and easy targets.
When the gun eventually was adopted by Skaldanic warriors, it coincided with impending disaster. Foreign trade drying up led to large scale wars of conquest between Skaldanian city states, often resulting in drawn out conflicts that slaughtered millions. Local Hugonaut settlers were spared the worst of the bloodshed thanks to their status as tributaries and artisans, but even they were subject to the violence when local truces inevitably broke down. A newfound desperation for food and resources devolved into a series of decade-spanning episodes of prolonged killing. The Omi, who had no wide access to firearms, were nearly driven extinct and fled further north to avoid such a fate. Haratago populations were not so lucky, with widespread killings wiping out the majority of their settlements in the Kunun Bridge.
Unification & Skaldafen Spring
The era of conflict and stagnation was brought to an end with the formation of the Jriak Confederation under Queen Frilau II, who managed to break the stalemate by annexing the mighty and once fiercely independent city of Veshiv through diplomatic means in 1781. No other individual city could withstand this alliance, and so one by one became they would be coerced or convinced to become members of this new state. The only city that managed to remain truly independent for the near future was the easterly Ostendalic kingdom on the fringes of Skaldafen.
Unification proved to be a permanent development, but the monarchy did not last. Beginning in 1838, revolutionary ideals that had arrived from overseas had taken hold in Skaldafen. Dissent over monarchical ineptitude and a general famine resulted in widespread rebellion, cumulating in a national-level revolt. Led by a coalition of junior army officers, this Skaldafen Spring overthrew the old Sea Kings and replaced them with the initially turbulent National Republic. Plagued by infighting and power plays, the Republic was soon abolished by a bastard of the former regime, Floke Sarfair and his staff in favour of the Council of Marshals. By 1846, the appointed Grand Ministry had been established and the democratic elements of the government had been relegated to the newly-formed Provincial system.
This new military government was initially very stable, gradually delegating power to the democratically-elected provincial governments as they began to fall in line under Sarfair. On his death in 1861, transition of power to the next First Marshal managed to take place without major incident thanks to Sarfair having established a balanced and clear system of oligarchic succession within the military. Attempts at spreading this liberal revolution by force proved unsuccessful, as a major defeat against Belfras in the 1865 Battle of Bathurst River led to an overall curbing of Skaldanian aggression. In the following years, continued industrialization and an increasingly large wealth gap resulted in the popularization of Liothidian Socialist ideals, cumulating in the formation of the Nationalist Socialist (SPSND) party.
Early 20th Century, the Orange Revolution
Even the ancient city of Ostendal would eventually become a part of the confederation. In 1942, the Ossken Accords would be signed and all Skaldafen people had been united under one nation. In doing so, they had also integrated two distinct ethnic minorities into their borders, the Omi and the Hugonauts. Sufferage for both groups had arrived by 1955, and full citizenship had been granted to both in 1958. As the 50's came to a close, a major socialist movement had taken root in the country's national consciousness.
At the head of this movement were a great many religious figures, particularly The Reverend Thomas Dallier. They advocated for the "Human Values Doctrine", a system wherein the state's duties to protect its citizens extended to activities such as providing healthcare and transportation. This movement was united under the Coalitanon-Rougedr, a broad coalition of leftist parties led by the Christian Democratic CNCS party and the SPNSD. In time, the movement would even gain majority support in both the Grand Ministry and the Council of Marshalls, and comprehensive socialist policy had been peacefully enacted by provincial governments country-wide by 1967.
This peaceful redistribution of capital is known collectively as the Orange Revoltution, or the Second Revolution. It marked a severe shift in Skaldafen foreign policy, moving away from militarized Autarky and towards revolutionary socialism. The National Government has since begun a policy of "Pacifistic Revolution" by encouraging socialist movements overseas, although other governments have accused Skaldafen of using belligerent forms of subterfuge in addition to overt support.
Geography and Climate
Government and Politics
Skaldafen is described as a "Military Socialist" state, with a tradition of decentralized rule and a revolutionary socialist political ideology. An emphasis on social equality and balanced rule have been the emphasis of this most recent government, enforced by a system of state-mandated military oversight. This federal-level National Government is not as powerful as might initially appear, however. The majority of internal legislation is handled by a series of largely autonomous and democratically-elected Povincial parliaments, known as the Lesser Ministries. Rather, the National Government is responsible for maintaining the country's "Legal Mandate" and to oversee foreign policy.
Several political parties coexist within this system, with 13 parties holding seats in the Grand Ministry. The predominant Nationalist-Socialist SPNSD party has been the primary representing body thoughout most of Skaldafen's recent history, focused on strengthening national identity and economic centralization. They are in turn challenged by a number of minority parties forming the official opposition, led by the Vanguardist VWCI party.
Although dominated by military personnel, the government has traditionally avoided conflict in favour of indirect confrontation since the Orange Revolution. This is not always strictly peaceful, however, as Skaldafen is known to make use of violent subterfuge in search of its goals on an above-average basis.
Skaldafen has a federal military system of governance, divided into three seperate wings of government. All wings are subservient to the Council of Marshals, which composes the executive branch and serves to elect the First Marshal from among their ranks. The Legislative, Legal and Armed wings of government form the parliamentary, judiciary and military duties respectively.
The Legislative wing is composed of the Grand Ministry, a parliamentary body who in turn elect the First Minister from among their ranks. Ministers are appointed by the Council of Marshals from amongst 'Venerable Members' of the communities they are chosen to represent. Whichever party or coalition has the most seats in the Grand Ministry has the right to organize and form a civilian government. Ministers are assigned specific duties such as economic or diplomatic oversight based on their qualifications, and are collectively responsible for drafting and composing legislation. The Council of Marshals has the ability to dissolve the Grand Ministry in the event of legal deadlock, which it has had to do twice before (in 1953 and 1998).
The Legal wing is comprised of the various army courts known as the National Courts. They are few, and are assembled and dissolved on a case-by-case basis. They are rarely used, and are effectively a last resort Supreme Court that steps in when provincial courts lack the ability or scope to deal with a case, or when corruption charges are levied within the government. Judges are selected from both Provincial and Military courts based of of their specialization in the laws specific to the case at hand, and juries are assembled at a judge's discretion. Party affiliation and other conflicts of interests automatically disqualifies a judge from participating in the National Courts, as it is legally expected that such individuals exist solely to interpret the law.
The Armed wing is effectively the Armed Forces of the North Star, and is relatively uninvolved in the act of governance. The exception to this is the Skaldafen National Police branch of the AFNS, who function as national police force in the stead of any civilian organization.
The provinces have always retained a relatively high ammount of legal autonomy. Although the National Government is likely to step in if a province attempts a general shift away from state cohesion or values, the provinces are largely left to their own designs. These local bodies are tasked with a number of duties normally under the jurisdiction of a federal government. Where the National Government manages economic regulation, the Provinces are effectively given free reign to legislate as they please, and are all democratically elected governments
No constitution exists within the Skaldafen government, instead relying on the concept of the state as the absolute enshrinement of law. As previously stated, the National Courts are relatively rare, so the day-to-day management of the law is upheld by the Military Police and permanent local courts.
Though privacy laws are highly restrictive and the state effectively has the right to search property at will, the actual restrictions on the citizens of Skaldafen are remarkably lax, and even immigrants are often free to do a great many things that would be considered punishable in their nations of origin. What other countries might consider an illegal black market is alive and thriving with in Skaldafen's borders, and they are frequently accused of protecting fugives from overseas.
Technically the largest military in the world at aproximately 4 million members, the Armed Forces of the North Star (AFNS) encompasses the entirety of the Skaldafen national government and its various services. However, the actual combat-oriented aspects of the AFNS are restricted to the four direct military branches, which contain a relatively above-average 910,000 total members and 580,000 active-duty personnel . This number is also somewhat inflated, as the federal police and intelligence apparatuses are included in the statistic.
The AFNS is divided into four branches, the SNA, the SNN, the SNP and the SNI. It is notable for having no branch for an Air Force, with air assets distributed among the other branches on an operational level similar to how many armies treat rotor aviation. The total budget allocated to the AFNS military branches is a state secret, but is speculated to total at about 39% of the federal budget.
Operating closely with the PRA, there are a number of Liothidian military bases on Skaldafen soil. The AFNS procures a substantial quantity of its equipment from Liothidian orders and surplus. Skaldafen has a had large and established defence industry since the early 50's, one that is closely tied to those of Liothidia and Milostia. It is known for design theft, illegal arms dealing and corporate espionage, and is a source of significant strain on Skaldafen's international relations.
The Skaldafen economy is organized into 12 autonomous province-based planned economic regions, each with varying degrees of state corporatism. Skaldafen has the tenth-largest economy and the largest natural resource-based primary sector in the world. Starting in the early 19th and over the course of the 20th century, Skaldafen has grown its mining, manufacturing and lumber industries as the country underwent gradual industrialization.
The economy receives large-scale economic subsidies, at aproximately 22% of the 2015 federal budget in addition to several billion dollars in provincial funding. Though smaller companies can be privately owned, they are eventually transitioned to government control after reaching a designated threshold. Corporate activity is held to relatively high regulatory and labour standards, and anti-corruption legislation keeps a close watch on wealthier executive personnel. Foreign corporations and government industries are frequently permitted access to Skaldafen's markets, but are held to an even higher standard than native companies. Tariffs are used strategically, with practically non-existent economic inhibitors placed on allies while enemy countries are levied with prohibitively high taxes.
It is a member of the Economic Internationale, and maintains additional economic ties to several mixed and capitalist economy nations. Skaldafen is a net exporter of goods, with nearly 60 billion Skoldr in trade surpluses reported in 2017. This globalized economy has permitted Skaldafen to maintain such a relatively high standard of living for its' citizens. It is ranked 5th worldwide for income equality, and is an attractive destination for economic migrants.
The Kunun Bridge is one of the most resource-rich parts of the world, and Skaldafen's economy is centred around resource exploitation as its primary sector. Although much of this wealth had remained untapped before the development of modern extraction techniques, today Skaldafen's mining industry is a leading producer in Cobalt, Coltan, Silver and Casserite. The lumber industry is almost as large, having since established a long-term sustainable woodcutting system based around the Pine, Redwood and Spruce trees.
The majority of these resources are exported to Liothidia and Tsurushima, with the former importing 137 billion Skoldr of Skaldanian raw materials in 2013. The next largest consumer of Skaldanian resources is Skaldafen itself, the defence subsector of the manufacturing industry using a particularly large share. Some internal critics have claimed that these industries are not as efficient as they could be, but proponents frequently cite excellent working conditions and wages well above the international industry standards as worth any potentials in lost production.
The second-largest industry in Skaldafen surrounds transportation. There are 379 airports, 187 significant naval ports, and over 24,000 kilometres of railway in the country. Centered around a number government-owned aerospace, maritime and railway companies, it is one of the most advanced industries of its kind. Companies such as Rail Ostendal and Song Aeronautics have strong international presences and are responsible for Skaldafen's highly developed infrastructure. Subsidized heavily by both federal and provincial budgets, these corporations are consequently required to undercharge the cost of tickets. This has led to a relative lack of personal transportation in the country, leading to a noticeable improvement in city living as traffic, roads and parking lots have receded significantly in recent years.
These industries trace their origins to the early 1930's, when the government of Agadet Province discovered and disrupted an attempt by a Belfrasian automotive corporation to buy up state-owned railways for demolition and flood the market with personal automobiles. Following this incident, the Skaldanian federal administration realized that transport was a matter of national security and began heavily incentivizing provinces to start subsidizing local transportation companies. With the Orange Revolution and subsequent nationalization of most major corporations across the 1960s, Skaldafen soon found itself in a position of direct control over its own transportation industry. Since then, it has used this unified local market to streamline and standardize the construction of infrastructure within the country, and to compete overseas on an international scale.
Starting in 2006, the federal government began the Pan-Skaldafen Railway project, using standardized construction templates and provincial solidarity to build the world's longest high speed railway network. The project was completed in 2014, and has since been recognized as a marvel of engineering. The network spans 17,000 kilometres of operational rail, with another 6,000 kilometres of new expansion planned. The tracks are designed to run maglev trains travelling at speeds between 250-350 kilometres per hour. The project was completed with remarkable efficiency, with construction lasting only 8 years and costing up to a third less than equivalent projects from other countries.
These various companies are also tied the country's defence industry, with AFNS contracts put up both locally and within the Intenationale. Design contests are incredibly competitive, with upwards of five designs being submitted per contract on average. Designs are also offered as exports, barring some exceptions that the AFNS deems a matter of national security.
Co-dependant on the country's other major industries, Skaldafen's manufacturing sector has grown into a sizeable entity. Specializing in refining and heavy machinery, the sector is also responsible for meeting the government demand for construction materials and weapons. It also is the leading supplier for the transportation industry's vehicles. Symbiotically tied to the mining industry, manufacturing companies are frequently subsidiaries of various government-owned primary sector companies.
The country produces a large quantity of replica and knockoff products thanks to incredibly lax intellectual property enforcement. This is often done to supply Skaldafen's own service industry, or to provide a cheaper alternative to international buyers. It is also a major entity in overseas information-technology and telecommunications markets, who rely on refined Skaldanian rare-earth components to make compact electronics.
Science and Technology
Over the course of 2017, Skaldafen spent aproximately 6% of the national budget on domestic research and development, with another 264% of this initial value being spent by provincial governments. The country is a global benchmark for Robotics, Ballistics, Aeronautics and Spaceflight technologies, and was rated 4th overall in a 2012 study of international scientist quality.
The Skaldafen National Navy operates the Navy Orbital Divison, which serves as the country's national space agency and is an active part of the Internationale Space Exploration Initiative. Conducting aviation, planetary and deep-space research, Skaldafen currently has aproximately 300 registered satellites in orbit. Skaldafen was the second country to design, construct and launch a satellite with the Hugonaut SOX.1 model probe in 1962. Since then, the country has designed multiple models of satellite and space station. Currently, Skaldafen has its own manned space station in the SOX.97 model satellite, in addition to their Internationale duties on the IIS.
While the country is notorious for its flagrant disregard for foreign intellectual property, Skaldafen makes a concerted exception for copyrights that the government has defined as 'legal art'. The most prominent kind of artistic pursuit in Skaldafen has grown to be the musical industry, with several significant record companies headquartered in Kæp Jriak. Live music also makes up a notable portion of the industry with 289 significant musical festivals taking place in Skaldafen across 2017.
Several Skaldanian artists are widely recognized as pioneers in progressive music genres, such as progressive rock and progressive metal. Traditional symphonic orchestras are also major players in the musical scene, as the country's various city orchestras are considered to be world-tier. Speaking to proliferation of music in the country, 178 musicians have achieved a diamond-certified album in Skaldafen, 48 of which have done so twice and 2 who have done so thrice.