Sunset Sea Islands
Radiant Republic of the Sunset Sea Islands
Motto: In Solitudine Pax
Peace in Solitude
Anthem: Toui Sora He ("To the Far Sky")
The Sunset Sea Islands on Eurth
The Sunset Sea Islands in Thalassa
|Official languages||Sunset Sea Islandian|
|Demonym(s)||Sunset Sea Islander (singular)
Sunset Sea Islanders (plural)Sunset Sea Islandian (adjective)
|Government||Unitary Presidential Republic|
• Prime Minister
• First Orinese settlements
|1200 - 500 BCE|
• Founding of Mat Troi Lan
|9 February 1947|
• Radiant Dawn
|25 November 2017|
|955,217.11 km2 (368,811.39 sq mi)|
• 2017 census
|171/km2 (442.9/sq mi)|
|Currency||SSI Sol (☉) (SOL)|
|ISO 3166 code||SSI|
The name "Sunset Sea Islands" is an exonym bestowed upon the nation following the end of the Thalassan war. Prior to the war, the country was known as the "Empire of Mat Troi Lan", which roughly translates to "Empire of the Setting Sun". Internally, citizens still use endonyms when they refer to their country. Overseas, however, the usage of the endonym and its derivative demonyms is somewhat frowned upon, as they are often associated with the oppressive imperial regime.
An individual citizen or groups of them of the Sunset Sea Islands can be referred to as "Sunset Sea Islandian". The expression also works as a general adjective in context with Sunset Sea Islandian origin.
When referring to the historical empire, the usage of "Matroilan" is applicable for individuals and concepts alike.
The origin of the endonym (from which the exonym was derived) is theorised to lie within the Great Turmoil period (late 15th century - early 17th century). According to potentially prosaic recounts, prior to the decisive battle that would unite the entire archipelago under one banner, a motivational speech given by the later victorious warlord to his forces was illuminated by an extraordinarily beautiful sunset. This sight was interpreted a blessing by the goddess of the sun, which served as an in hoc signo vinces (Aroman, "in this sign thou shalt conquer"). To commemorate this occasion, the empire was named Mặt Trời Lặn.
Traces of prehistoric settlements on the Sunset Sea Islandian archipelago are fairly limited as a result of its isolated position in the middle of the Thalassan Ocean. Nevertheless, remnants of at least one fallen civilisation were found along a gulf on the northwesternmost of the four main islands. The artefacts, which have been dated as far back as 15.000 BCE, exhibit a level of complexity and sophistication rarely encountered elsewhere in the world during this period. Meteorites seemed to form an integral part of this civilisation's culture and beliefs, as imagery found on abandoned ritual sites often depict artistic renditions of falling stars and meteorite showers. Members of this civilisation seemed to be aware of the meteoric origin of the archipelago, which would later come to be known as the Sunset Sea Islands. It is theorised that during this period the Eurth passed through an almost depleted field of cosmic dust, which led to yearly meteor showers. Upon observation of minor impacts, conclusions could have been drawn regarding the origin of the entire archipelago, which might have served as a cultural and religious origin story. What caused this civilisation to go extinct is, as of yet, unknown.
Roughly ten thousand years later, hunter-gatherer tribes, probably originally eastern Europan in origin, arrived at the southeastern main island. These tribes were characterised by their semi-sedentary nature, pit dwellings and rudimentary agriculture. Remains of pottery and other clay vessels have been recovered from these tribes, which are now referenced as "native". Western Aurelian islanders would intermingle with native inhabitants in the last few centuries before the Christian calendar, introducing wet rice farming, as well as more sophisticated pottery and metallurgy. Sunset Sea Islandian language, both spoken and written, were strongly influenced by these migrant ethnicities.
At this point, awareness of all the major islands was present in early civilisations, only the southern ones, however, were densely inhabited or pursued for expansion. The northeastern one was very hostile towards human colonisation, as the rough terrain, sparse vegetation, hostile wildlife and brutal equatorial solar radiation made prolonged presence unviable at best, dangerous at worst. The northwestern island, however, was largely uninhabited for vastly different reasons. The lush, densely vegetated island was unrivalled in natural beauty and was believed to be the home of the gods in early Sunset Sea Islandian cultures and religions. The permanent population was minuscule in comparison to the rest of the inhabited islands and mostly comprised of monks and acolytes. The only artificial structures on the island were sanctums and temple complexes, designed for communication with the gods inhabiting the island. The largest of these sites had to be visited by every new emperor to notify the gods of their commencing reign and the goals they pursued. Presumably, weather patterns or other natural phenomena were interpreted as omens regarding the new emperor's mandate. The sanctity and isolation of the island led to many ancient temple structures being spared from military conflicts raging elsewhere in the region. Some temples can prove millennia of continuous use. Nowadays, aside from the few monks maintaining the temple complexes, the only other inhabitants of the island are scientists studying the island's unmatched biodiversity. No urban settlements have ever been constructed there, despite the island's considerable size.
The institution of the first imperial structures were results of conflicts throughout the western Aurelian islands. The imperial court led to far-reaching reforms covering most aspects of classical society, from land use to taxation, uniform writing systems and social norms. The first central and subordinate local governmental structures were created during this era. Most aspects of cultural identity today identified as distinctly Sunset Sea Islandian begun during the end of the Classical Period, which ended with the destabilisation of imperial structures during the 12th century CE.
Great Turmoil Period
During this period, Sunset Sea Islandian society was defined by a stratified, but not impermeable caste system. Whilst the vast majority of the population were farmers, rising through the castes was possible, most commonly through enlisting in the armies of the warlords which carved up the territory of the archipelago.
Whilst the archipelago de nomine was united under one emperor, several local authorities had evolved into armed clans and largely decentralised the authority away from the imperial throne. These quasi-states were powerful enough to raise taxes, draft soldiers and enact laws in their spheres of influence. The warrior culture present in this time, as well as its code of conduct, intrigues, ornate armours, stealthy assassins and aesthetic influence modern pop culture throughout the world significantly. In this era of general mistrust and frequent military conflict, the clan controlling the imperial capital (and thereby the emperor) de facto ruled the country. These, roughly equally strong factions, would often rise and fall in prevalence, as every battle won or lost could dramatically shift the balance of power. In the end, it was an alliance of two such states that led to the eventual unification of the country under the Empire of the Setting Sun. The consequent legal reforms laid the foundations for the modernisation of the country in the following centuries.
Other castes included artisans, which were commonly taught in temple schools by monks specialising in the respective fields. Products by traditional black- or goldsmith temple schools are in high demand as luxury goods both in the Sunset Sea Islands and overseas.
Contact with Europan and other foreign cultures was established during this era, leading to significant cultural and technological progress, such as firearms, whose introduction had a great influence on the Great Turmoil. However, to avoid colonisation or foreign conflicts swapping over to the empire like at the end of the Classical Period, a largely isolationist foreign policy was introduced. Limited contact was maintained with Orinese tradespeople, which laid the foundations for "Western Studies", which led to the proliferation of paved roads, modern water transportation and banking at the end of the Great Turmoil.