Vasturia

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Most Serene Vasturian Confederation

Vasturian Coat of Arms
Coat of arms
Motto: "Að enginn en guðirnir"
"To none but the gods"
Capital
and largest city
Dagmar
Official languagesSouthwestern Suevi, Southeastern Suevi, Dagmari, Northern Suevi, Northern Tauriscian, Central Tauriscian, Southern Tauriscian
Recognised national languagesHigh Suevi, High Tauriscian
Ethnic groups
(2018)
64% Suevis
32% Tauriscians
4% other
Demonym(s)Vasturian
GovernmentConfederal consociationalist directorial republic with elements of direct democracy, council democracy, syndicalism, and theocracy
• General Secretary of the Presidium of Vassturia
Laoighseach Mhic Dhonnchaidh
• Quinquevir of the Lögrétta
Brynheiður Bjarnfreðursdóttir
• Quinquevir of the People
Eimhear Nic Géibheannaigh
• Quinquevir of the Syndicates
Niallghus Ambarsan
• Quinquevir of the Free Provincial and Municipal Thing
Steinvardur Grettirsson
• Quinquevir of the Consulate
Kjallak Þorgilsson
Placeholder
Placeholder
LegislatureAlthing
Thing of Free Provinces' and Cities' Deputies
Lögrétta
Unification 
of the Vasturian Confederation
• Valish Conquest of Southern Vasturia
488
• Unification of the Vasturian Marches
843
• Independence
957
• Dissolution of the Vasturian Empire
1141
• Unification of the Most Serene Vasturian Confederation
1859
Population
• 2018 census
39,621,532
GDP (PPP)2018 estimate
• Total
$1.759 trillion (9th)
• Per capita
$44,400 (6th)
GDP (nominal)estimate
• Total
$1.969 trillion (6th)
• Per capita
$49,700 (7th)
GiniPositive decrease 19.6
low
HDI (2018)Increase 0.891
very high
CurrencyIce dragon (VSD)
Time zoneUTC-5:45 (Vasturian Time)
Date formatdd-mm-yyyy
Driving sideleft
Calling code+93
ISO 3166 codeVST
Internet TLD.va

Vasturia, officially known as the Most Serene Vasturian Confederation, is a heterogenous confederal consociationalist directorial republic composed of five urban Free Cities and ten rural Free Provinces, both of which are highly autonomous. Vasturia is located to the south of Ambrose and the north of Jorland and Lothican on the Nordanian continent of Esquarium. It also shares a sea border with the Mardin Isles and is located in close proximity to Swastria and Alemannia. Although a liberal representative democracy like its fellow Nordanian brothers and sisters, Vasturia's government system is distinguished from other representative democracies in its directorialism, direct democracy, council democracy, syndicalism, and theocracy.

Vasturia has been inhabited since time immemorial by various prehistoric humans from which a number of Pre-Indo-European cultures and civilisations arose before being displaced by the Indo-European Jutish culture circa 1500-1000 BC, which was in turn displaced by various Tauriscian petty tribes and kingdoms circa 750-500 BC. Such middling states were eventually conquered by the Valish Empire in the late 5th century in the south and their territory was declared the Vasturian Marches, displacing the local Tauriscian culture and religion in favour of the Germanic culture and religion brought by the Valish. The Vals eventually displaced Tauriscian culture in all but the north of Vasturia, wherein Tauriscian tribes maintained their highly-prized independence and later autonomy. The culturally distinct rulers of the Vasturian Marches later successfully rebelled and won their independence as the decentralised Vasturian Empire in the mid-10th century before that Empire in turn collapsed in the mid-12th century, giving way to various thalassocratic maritime republics, feudal states, communal republics, tribalist clan-based societies and theocracies all dominated by the powerful Fírinnist Druids. The various states were eventually unified as the Most Serene Vasturian Confederation in the mid-19th century, giving rise to the modern Vasturian state.

As a highly heterogenous state, Vasturians citizens have no shared first language and belong to numerous cultures with wildly-different traditions and practices. Approximately two-thirds of Vasturians are speakers of certain uniquely Vasturian Low Suevi languages while a further third are speakers of Low Tauriscian languages. Vasturians are thus united not by a shared culture or language but by a shared religion commonly referred to as Fírinnism, which is a highly complex and esoteric mixture of polytheism and animism that is to some extent a syncretism of Norse and Celtic paganism. Vasturians are also united by a nationalist ideology and ethical code known as Þjóðlund influenced by civic nationalism, national mysticism, romantic nationalism and banal nationalism.

Today, Vasturia is a liberal democratic confederation that guarantees freedom of speech, religion and the press, amongst other rights. At nearly 40 million people, Vasturia is significantly more populous than its neighbours due to a very high fertility rate brought about by significant restrictions on the availability of contraception and abortion; furthermore, Vasturia is a developed economy with a higher GDP per capita than its neighbours brought about by historical political stability, a sterling education system, and an unprecedented exploitation of its non-ecumene in the Vasturian interior, which contains some of the world's largest reserves of rare-earth minerals and platinum group elements. Its citizens enjoy a very high standard of living and a relatively equitable distribution of wealth; it is regularly listed as having some of the highest levels of human development, life expectancy and functional literacy in the world, amongst other indicators. However, despite this widespread prosperity and high rates of democratic power and civil liberties, Vasturia has also been condemned by various human rights organisations for various human rights abuses including a longstanding and widespread eugenics program, the legalisation of and widespread castration in order to produce castrati and other human rights abuses. Vasturia is a member of the International League but is not a member of any other major international organisation due to its longstanding practice of armed neutrality; however, Vasturia enjoys friendly relations with various nations including Alemannia, Jorland and Lothican, and the Mardin Isles.

Etymology

The name Vasturia is believed to be derived from a corruption of the Valish language words for garment (Wasti) and place/land (Staþa); literally "garment-land", a term that is believed to have derived from Vasturia's ancient and prolific wool-making and fur-making industries. The first recorded use of the name Vasturia comes from a 9th-century AD High Suevi document referring to the "Vasturian Marches" (as most of Vasturia was an outlying territory of the Valish Empire). The name Vasturia eventually became an endonym as well; after the Vasturian Marches broke away to become the Vasturian Empire and became increasingly accustomed to the local culture as time went on, and after the Vasturian Empire fell and broke apart into various warring states (most notably the Principality of Vasturia, a remnant of the Vasturian Empire seated in Dagmar that was a shadow of its former self), the term Vasturia eventually became the general term for the area that had once been the Marches/the Empire; thus the name Vasturia was chosen as the name for the modern Vasturian state when it was first established in the mid-19th century.

History

Prehistory and early civilisations

What would become known as Vasturia has been inhabited for millennia; archaeological evidence suggests that humans and their Cro-Magnon ancestors have inhabited Vasturia since roughly 30,000 BC, while archaeological evidence further suggests that Neanderthals inhabited Vasturia for millennia before that before going extinct, albeit not without leaving some of their genes to modern Vasturians.

It is believed that the first modern civilisation in Vasturia was the Neolithic/Chalcolithic Treiviri culture in southern Vasturia that developed circa 5500 BC, which eventually developed into the Early Bronze Age Chatti culture by 4000 BC; which in turn developed into the Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age Cherusk culture by 2500 BC. The Cherusks were gradually displaced by the Jutish culture circa 1500-1000 BC (both of which were Iron Age cultures); an event that is considered to be historically notable by archaeologists because the Jutes represented the first Velkian-Nordanian culture in Vasturia. However, although the Cherusks were eventually forcibly displaced by the Jutes there is evidence of considerable cultural and religious syncretism between the cultures; art dated to the Late Jutish period differs considerably from art dated to the Early Jutish period and incorporates many of the themes that art dating to the Cherusk culture incorporates. Furthermore, Fírinnism incorporates many elements not associated with the reconstructed Proto-Velkian-Nordanian religion or the later Celtic and Nordanian pagan themes that influenced Fírinnism as well, suggesting a Cherusk influence. None of the aforementioned cultures developed any system of writing.

Celtic invasion

The Jutes (or more properly Jute-Cherusks) were eventually displaced by Celtic invaders from 750-500 BC who are believed to have originally hailed from Daecon but like the Cherusks before them, the Jutes left a considerable impact on Vasturian history and culture; a limited degree of cultural, religious and political syncretism developed between the Jutes and the Celts, eventually leading to the formation of the Tauriscian culture and ethnicity (who are mostly Celtic culturally but still theoretically a mix of the Celtic, Jutish and Cherusk cultures). Most notably, however, small pockets of Jutish-Cherusk society, culture and religion existed as late as the era of early Valish rule; the Valish scholar and official Ulfilas (455-531 AD) mentioned after travelling to Vasturia that: "...there are small towns and settlements in the mountains and valleys of Wastisaþa whose residents spoke a tongue unlike that which is spoken by the Tauriscian tribes and worshipped queer gods and spirits alternatively alien and terrible or nameless and universal; these residents cling on to their old civilisation and their old gods and believe that they will rise again, but they grow less numerous every year at the hands of the Tauriscians who are united by these older tribes..."

However, such a Jutish-Cherusk culture was always a small minority compared to the much larger Tauriscian majority, which eventually came to dominate the vast majority of Vasturia ethnically, culturally and linguistically. The Tauriscians were most notable for having been the first culture in Vasturia to have developed writing, having done so by the 1st century AD as evidenced by various inscriptions on stones or trees demonstrating a relatively simplistic use of writing. Such a writing system eventually became Vasturia's unique numerical system and has some religious use in certain grimoires, but is no longer used in any major capacity as a writing system by Vasturians and has not been used as such for centuries. This period, although marked by great warfare between various feuding tribes, clans and petty kingdoms, and the Jutes and the Tauriscians above all, was also a period of great prosperity as various chiefs and petty kings developed thriving wool and fur-making industries that were Vasturia's chief exports as late as the early 20th century.

Valish conquest and rule

This status quo of predominantly-Tauriscian petty kingdoms and tribes would not last, however. Following a dispute amongst rival Valish clans and factions in the mid-5th century, a great many Valish hailing from the losing side (Ulfilas claims 1 million as was typical of ancient historians of the day; but modern historians believe the number was closer to 50-100,000) fled what would become Alemannia and eventually settled in and conquered southern Vasturia. Ulfilas claims that such invaders engaged in an elaborate ritual of gang rape, disembowelment, necrophilia and cannibalism of all Tauriscian/Jutish men (in that order) in the territories that they conquered but kept all women as concubines, but modern historians dismiss all claims but the latter as unsubstantiated propaganda and instead believe that the absence of Tauriscians and Jutes in southern Vasturia can be explained by the fleeing of natives to the unconquered mountains and wetlands of Vasturia (as is documented in Tauriscian oral tradition), the fleeing of natives to the Mardin Isles and the sheer critical mass of the Valish as compared to the Tauriscians and the Jutes. However, the final claim (that the conquering clans kept Tauriscian/Jutish women as concubines) is substantiated by modern genetic research, which indicates that a majority of Suevi Vasturians' mitochondrial DNA (indicating female lineage) is Celtic rather than Germanic.

The Valish Empire had not yet endeavored to invade Vasturia due to a myriad of various factors, but subsequently did so out of fears that the Vasturian Vals would use their newfound territory as a base in an attempt to invade the Empire. Due to the Imperial Vals' superior numbers and ability to harness more resources, the Vasturian Vals were slowly but surely defeated and southern Vasturia was incorporated into the Valish Empire; while the Vasturian Vals were themselves enslaved and forced to till the land. The Valish were initially welcomed by the Tauriscians, who hoped that they would restore their traditional sovereignty and domain over southern Vasturia, but the Valish soon made clear that they were interested in conquering and ruling, not liberating.

As a result, the Imperial Valish conquerers faced frequent revolts from both the Vasturian Valish and Tauriscians, and thus turned to the Jutes for support. For example, Ulfilas stated that: "... [the Jutes] harbor nothing but hatred for the Tauriscians and love us for conquering their eternal enemy, and thus will prove especially useful in our goals in Wastisaþa..." The Imperial Valish thus bestowed a great deal of freedoms and privileges to the Jutes, culminating in Valish sub-chief and ruler of Vasturia Sigeric wedding Jute Chieftess Adobogiona to seal an alliance between the Valish and the Jutes. The marriage alliance created a new noble house with a name that would eventually become the name of Vasturians of Germanic descent - the House of Sørbeni. This alliance, created in large part to counter the mutual threat of the Tauriscians both parties despised, ironically led to the eradication of the Jutish culture, a goal that had been a goal of the Tauriscians for centuries; in the following decades, the Jutes would become ethnically assimilated to the Valish majority (although they nevertheless left a great, primarily religious, mark on Vasturian society).

Yet such an alliance did not pacify southern Vasturia; indeed, the Tauriscians only revolted more frequently in reaction to the alliance with the Jutes. Such regular violence and revolt led to Sigeric's son and successor Ermanaric declaring a policy of complete religious toleration of the Tauriscian religion, various rights and freedoms for the Tauriscians not granted to the Vasturian Vals, and most importantly a marriage with the Tauriscian chieftess Cartimandua that would seal the alliance between the Valish and the Tauriscians in southern Vasturia. Furthermore, Ermanaric invited numerous tribes and clans from the Valish Empire to immigrate to Vasturia with the promise of land and lordship in the hopes of establishing a large population supportive of his rule; a goal that was wildly-successful. During his rule, Ermanaric strongly encouraged and promoted both Valish, Tauriscian and Jutish culture; an action that is believed to have sown the seeds to the great cultural and religious syncretism of southern Vasturia. Ermanaric and his immediate successors ruled from the mercantile and originally Tauriscian city of Aurentina on the far southwestern Vasturian coast and had no interest in expansion; they instead focused on solidifying their rule in southern Vasturia itself.

However, this focus on internal development would not last as subsequent generations of Sørbenis progressively conquered more and more of central Vasturia through a mix of marriage alliances, offers of vassalisation and brute force; but after conquest the Sørbenis always adopted the same policy of settlement and cultural syncretism that was wildly successful at pacifying the Tauriscians but led to the Sørbenis themselves become more and more distant from their Valish overlords to the extent that they began to form their own culture. Perhaps no decision made by the Sørbenis is more emblematic of this policy and its effects than Margrave Visburr's decision to, in 639, move the capital of the Vasturian Marches from Aurentina to the newly-established city of Dagmar on the Vasturian River in central Vasturia, which greatly developed central Vasturia but further removed the Sørbenis from their Valish roots. The Sørbenis established numerous other cities as well; most notably the city of Kalengia on the Vasturian coast (roughly in the middle of the country) and the temple/citadel city of Calaverde that would in time become the religious center of Vasturia.

By the beginning of the 8th century, the highly-autonomous Vasturian Marches encompassed all of southern and central Vasturia and were mostly Germanic culturally and linguistically; although the language spoken in the Vasturian Marches (what would eventually become High Suevi) was markedly different from the language spoken in what would become Alemannia, instead being much more similar to the language spoken in Sjealand at the time. Throughout the 8th century, the Sørbenis once again focused their energies on expanding their territory, this time to northern Vasturia. Initially attempting a largely militaristic society with the eventual aim of cultural assimilation and pacification as had proven successful in the southern and middle regions of Vasturia, the Sørbenis were unable to emerge victorious on the battlefield; a mixture of guerrilla warfare, unity on the part of the Tauriscian chiefs (something that the Sørbenis did not experience when conquering southern and central Vasturia) and a highly unfavorable terrain (most notably the brutal winters of the harsh, cold mountains and plateaus of Northern Vasturia the Sørbeni were unaccustomed to) meant that the Sørbenis were consistently defeated in their wars in the north, even when they requested support from the Alemannic Valish state itself.

Without recourse as to military action, the Sørbenis turned to diplomatic action. The Sørbenis enticed the local chiefs of the northern mountains, steppe, bogs and marshes, all still Tauriscian, with marriage alliances, trade agreements and other, more sinister methods; from exploiting the feuds of the Tauriscian tribes (while the Tauriscian tribes were temporarily united by the existential threat that the Sørbenis presented, a softer approach and the helpful attitude of the Sørbeni meant that a new generations of chieftains was not afraid of the Sørbenis the way their predecessors were) to court manipulation. The chief impetus for annexation, however, was not adroit manipulation on the part of the Sørbenis but rather luck on the Sørbenis' part; to the north of their lands, Anglo-Saxon crusader armies descended upon the petty kingdoms of what would become Ambrose and decisively conquered the lands of the Northumbrians. These armies were not unaccustomed to the harsh winters and terrain of northern Vasturia either; indeed, they hailed from a land to the north of northern Vasturia. Without such an advantage, the Tauriscians feared that they would face the same fate as the Northumbrians and decided that they would prefer the religious toleration (as the Tauriscians were still Celtic pagans at this point) and relative autonomy granted by the Sørbenis to the total conquest of the Anglo-Saxons.

The Sørbenis gladly accepted such an oath of fealty and acquiesced to the Tauriscian chiefs' demands for a high degree of autonomy; although such a degree of autonomy was greater than that enjoyed by a majority of the Sørbenis' vassals it was not significantly greater than the degree of autonomy enjoyed by the Sørbenis' vassals, which ranged from highly autonomous thalassocratic republics in Aurentina and Kalengia to monastic theocracies ruling wide ranges of territory seated in Calaverde to virtually communistic herding clans in southeastern Vasturia all united under an ethical and cultural code stressing kinship and hospitality. However, the fact that this autonomy was granted initially meant that the Tauriscian tribes had the power to ensure that the cultural assimilation that had befallen their southern brothers would not befall them; to this day, northern Vasturians are Tauriscian, not Suevi. The House of Sørbeni did not dwell on such a fact, however. More important for them was that on 11 February, 843, their Margraviate's size nearly doubled.

However, such a degree of cultural difference from southern and central Vasturia did not meant that the Tauriscian's vassalisation had little impact besides preventing an Ambrosian conquest of northern Vasturia; far from it. The Sørbenis greatly encouraged economic development in their new northern domains, establishing the trading city of Ubouhu on the northwestern coast of Vasturia and most importantly constructing the Northern Aqueducts that would funnel water drained from the alpine glaciers of northern Vasturia to the south in an elaborate system of canals and waterways in what would become known as the Great Northern Canal. The Sørbenis would later construct a Great Southern Canal that would drain water from the Lake Fernão in the south and southern mountains and joined the Great Northern Canal in making transporting across Vasturia considerably faster and easier and "made the deserts bloom", to quote an 11th century [i]Fili[/i] employed by the Sørbenians. The two major canals and other canals dispersed throughout Vasturia would collectively be referred to as the Great Canal System following their completion on 9 September, 891.

The Sørbenis attempted to drain the wetlands of the north as well, but the power of the Tauriscian chiefs who ruled such wetlands were able to prevent such an event from occurring. Nevertheless, the Sørbenis' construction of the Great Canal System not only transported water from the north to the considerably drier south (thus causing a population boom) but totally changed the economic and geographical landscape of Vasturia forever; its residents would no longer be concentrated along the Vasturian River but would be concentrated along the Great Canal and other canal systems as well as the Vasturian River. It was perhaps for this reason that the Great Northern and Southern Canals are joined together at Dagmar, the ancestral seat of the Sørbenis and Vasturia's capital (and largest) city.

By the time the 9th century made way for the 10th, a great deal of religious syncretism began to spread as the Germanic paganism of the Suevis (by then heavily-influenced by the Jutish-Cherusk religion and in part by Celtic paganism; the castes of the Tauriscians, most notably the Druids, had partially been adopted by the Suevis) and the Celtic paganism of the Tauriscians began to give way to Fírinnism, a syncretic mix of both as well as the Jutish-Cherusk religion; thus making it a highly unique religion, albeit one rooted in paganism and Animism. Such a new religion further differentiated the Vasturians from their Valish rulers in Alemannia and helped inspire nationalist and secessionist sentiment amongst the nobility and clergy/Druidry (i.e., the dominant classes of 10th century Vasturia), particularly as the myriad of Fírinnist beliefs (as Fírinnism was a highly disorganized, eclectic religion at the time) grew stronger in the early 10th century; it is estimated that a majority of Vasturians were Fírinnists by 950.

Vasturian Empire

Such secessionist sentiment finally caused the young Margrave Valdemar of the Vasturian Marches to declare himself Emperor of the sovereign Vasturian Empire in 951; although his advisors and vassals urged him to pursue a more moderate path, Valdemar was convinced that he was blessed by the (Fírinnist) Gods and that it was his divine mission to free Vasturia. Although such an action was viewed as a vainglorious folly by many, Valdemar soon proved to be a charismatic man who won the love of both the people and the lesser aristocracy; both of which highly prized valor and bravery at the time. Against all odds, Valdemar (believed to have been a military prodigy) proved to be victorious in the War of Vasturian Independence by 957 in what is believed to have been the first major loss of territory suffered by the Valish Empire. Such an action soon won him a level of adulation by the Vasturian people and elites to the extent of apotheosis; a cult was eventually formed around Valdemar as a powerful spirit of war.

However, Valdemar proved to be a poor peacetime ruler who was alternatively focused on spiritual and theological matters or indulged in various hedonistic actions. Such actions were so extreme that the Ambrosian monk Æthelberht said of Valdemar that: "His heretical faith in the heathen gods of Vasturia is boundless and unadulterated as is his indulgence is every sin from lust to gluttony to wrath to pride. He is a bloodthirsty, obscene ruler who indulges in such suns to such an extreme extent as to make a saint out of every other pagan and sinner." Yet despite the negative consequences of such behavior, Valdemar's formative reign is believed by modern historians to have established the future social and religious order of Vasturia; Valdemar's profound religiosity caused him to surround himself with Fírinnist Druids; who served as his advisors and the de facto rulers of Vasturia during his reign. With his consent, Valdemar willingly granted immense tracts of land to such a Druidic class; which helped lead to the enduring social and political influence of the Druids in Vasturia. Furthermore, Valdemar's rule was marked by great theological standardisation throughout Vasturia led in part by Valdemar himself, who wrote a series of voluminous theological tacts that still influence Fírinnist thinking today. Most notable amongst these tracts were tracts on the Absolute and sin which heavily influenced Fírinnist beliefs on those respective subjects; the latter of which strongly influenced traditional Fírinnist doctrine on material pleasures.

Following Valdemar's death on 9 November, 993, his devout grandson Harald embarked on a series of attempts to strengthen and centralize the new Fírinnist religion, which eventually culminated in the Great Council of Druids in Calaverde from 1 May, 1029 to 21 June, 1032; which organized and standardized Fírinnist religious practices and created the Fírinnist holy text, the Book of the Truth. Such a council provoked intense religious rebellion amongst the Vasturian population; and quelling such rebellions, promoting the new Sacred Circle of Druids (now the state church of the Vasturian Empire) and persecuting opponents of the Circle became the focus of the rest of Harald's reign and the reigns of his immediate successors. However, a mix of financial support for the Circle, support for missionaries and simple brute force eventually succeeded in ensuring that the vast majority of Vasturians were followers of the Circle by 1100. Celtic pagans and Germanic pagans who opposed the new Fírinnist religion and suffered persecution at the hands of the Empire and the Druids mostly fled to the Mardin Isles and Sjealand respectively; those who remained were gradually rooted out throughout the following centuries.

However, such a religious centralisation came at a tremendous cost for the House of Sørbeni and the Vasturian Empire. By 1100, various political compromises with the Empire's vassals and the comparative lack of attention the Sørbenis paid to governing rather than warring and converting had meant that the power of the Sørbeni's vassals and the Sørbeni's advisors (who had been tasked with managing the secular affairs of Vasturia), the Druids, were stronger than they had ever been since the Valish conquest in the late 5th century and the power of the House of Sørbeni had declined to rates never seen. Such a state of affairs led to an ever-growing conflict between the Druids and the Sørbenis; as tensions would grow every year and the Sørbenis' powers would decline. Conflict and war between the two factions was inevitable; and the Sørbenis were doomed.

This conflict that would ultimately arise when the Druids asserted that the powerful Druid Snorri, the great-great-grandson of the notoriously lascivious Valdemar, was formally qualified to be elected as the Tanist of Vasturia in 1134 as a descendant of an Emperor; whilst the House of Sørbeni asserted that Snorri was disqualified from such a post for his distant relation to the main Sørbeni line, his status as a Druid and his lineage from one of Valdemar's concubines rather than one of Valdemar's wives. Such a diplomatic incident ultimately caused the War of the Vasturian Succession in 1135 between the Druids and the Sørbenis. Furthermore, the conflict went far deeper than mere conflicts between the Druids and the Sørbenis, for it was in a sense a foreign war as much as a civil one. Sjealand under the Lyksborgs fought under the banner of the Sørbenis because of a royal marriage between the Vasturian Emperor and a Sjealandic princess, whilst the vast majority of the Sørbeni vassals fought under the banner of Druids; thus in a sense beginning the great historical rivalry between Vasturia and Sjealand that would last centuries.

Holy Druidic State

Such a War was ultimately resolved in 1141 with a decisive victory by the Druids; with such a victory leading to the Druids soon abandoning the pretext of crowning Snorri and instead installing their own new political order of the Holy Druidic State of Vasturia, which was a highly decentralized, loose confederation ruled by the Druids that had little power over its vassals; the Druids instead exercised their own political power not through such a central authority but through the powerful nature of various individual Druids, particularly the power of the Incarnations of Áine enjoying the power to bestow and revoke sovereignty on rulers in junction with Áine's role as the sovereignty goddess. The Holy Druidic State did not cover the totally of the Empire, however; some Suevi clans in the southeast and Tauriscian clans in the north of Vasturia became fully sovereign following the end of the War of the Vasturian Succession. The old Empire would continue as a remnant in the Principality of Vasturia based in Dagmar, which would eventually submit to Druidic rule albeit not without abandoning its claims to being the true heir to the Empire.

However, in spite of such disunity and a weak central authority following the War of the Succession, Vasturia largely remained geopolitically and military unified to the extent permitted by feudalism; indeed, Vasturia collectively grew to be a great regional power in northwestern Nordania throughout this time. This has been largely attributed by historians to both the Pact of Njord and Nerthus signed by Vasturia's thalassocratic maritime republics that created a trade league and alliance against Sjealand; and the tremendous and immense ability of the Druids to organize and unite the various middling states of Vasturia against a common (usually Sjealandic) enemy. Such a tremendous power led to the Holy Druidic State's vassalisation of Lothican as a consequence of the War of the Lothican Succession from 1203-1205; which subsequently led to the conversion of Lothican's nobility to Fírinnism and the vassalisation of Lothican's various coastal cities by Vasturia's maritime republics. This colossal power enjoyed by the Druids soon led to economic prosperity and renewed arts throughout Vasturia; Vasturia would pioneer Gothic architecture during this period. This would lead to the era of the Holy Druidic State eventually becoming known as the Second Vasturian Golden Age.

Essential to such military successes was the existence of the Lugh's Own and the Utangardians; a term used to denote a caste of eventually-powerful slave soldiers primarily serving the northern maritime republic of PLACEHOLDER formed in the 10th century and various Manx language-speaking fiercely independent and militaristic hosts in middle-northeastern Vasturia originating from Tauriscian clansman who rejected Sørbeni rule respectively. Both such armies were both famed and feared for their military discipline and prowess on the battlefield, prowess that proved essential the Wars of the Vasturian and Lothican Succession; but such prowess came at the cost of severely weakening of existing Vasturian institutions. By 1300, Lugh's Own became a tremendous political power in its own right; its senior officers often served in high-ranking political, often feudal and hereditary, positions and its soldiers, once considered the scum of the earth by the Vasturian elite, enjoyed the power, prestige and wealth of lords. Furthermore, the Utangardians eventually supplied the bulk of the Vasturian army and enjoyed virtually total and inalienable sovereignty over Manxplaceholderland; they too enjoyed substantial power, prestige and wealth. Such power severely weakened not only the existing Vasturian institutions but Vasturia itself as well; where once the Utangardians and Lugh's Own were unquestionably loyal to the Druids and the republics their loyalty was now wavering and flaky.

Such questionable loyalty eventually culminated in the aftermath of the Ambrosian Civil War of 1320-1324, when the Druids and various Vasturian states unsuccessfully supported the Kingdom of Ambrosia against the House of Æthwal as backed by Sjealand, which directly led to the annexation of Ambrose by the Sjealandic Empire and the conversion of Ambrose from Celtic paganism to Norcism. Such a war took a tremendous toll upon Vasturia; its people were starved, its economies collapsed and its societies in chaos. This chaos and poverty led to the Irishportplaceholderstani coup d'etat in 1328 by Lugh's Own in the northern city of Irishportplaceholderstan, which plunged Vasturia into civil war. Such a war was supported by the Principality of Vasturia seated at Dagmar; which was still ruled by the House of Sørbeni at this time and retained aspirations of restoring its Empire over Vasturia and finally saw its chance to regain imperial control after the Ambrosian Civil War.

Such an attempt by the Principality soon became more than just a war of restoration but a grand conflict between feudalism on one side and republicanism/Druidism on the other; the Principality was widely backed by feudal lords who resented the encroaches on their power brought about by the Druids, the burghers and even the peasants via the Things whilst the burghers widely supported the Druids. Such an immense and literal class war plunged Vasturia into one of the greatest wars it had ever seen; Vasturia would be sent into a fire that would last for 11 years, until 1339. Furthermore, this war, later dubbed the War of Heresy by Druidic propagandists, would not only represent great civil conflict but also begin a critical decline in Vasturian military and to a lesser extent economic power throughout Nordania; the Principality of Lothican would use the chaos and critical (albeit temporary) weakening of Vasturia's military power to declare independence in 1335 whilst Sjealand used the opportunity to gain immense trading power over their Vasturian rivals.

The War of Heresy would eventually conclude in 1339 with a decisive but pyrrhic victory by the Druids and the burghers; the Principality of Vasturia was destroyed and in its stead the Republic of Dagmar was established as a communal guild-based republic. Furthermore, the feudalist and manorialist structures of parts of Vasturian society were critically weakened and the peasants and burghers granted power at the lords' expense. The powers of the Things and Lawspeakers were greatly expanded in comparison to the local rulers (and such assemblies created in those Tauriscian lands that did not know them), the rights of the peasants and burghers to participate in such assemblies reaffirmed (although peasants had little power in such assemblies in practice), most cities and towns granted significant amounts of autonomy or independence as communal republics and even the rights of slaves expanded; and most importantly the power of the Druids (mostly the the Incarnations of Áine) to grant and thusly revoke sovereignty was enshrined and affirmed. Yet such colossal domestic victories by the burghers and the Druids came at a cost that far exceeded such domestic gains; the geopolitical, economic and military power of Vasturia. All of Lothican was lost during the war, while Vasturian influence on the high seas and in the Mardin Isles was vastly reduced; and such costs deeply weakened the wealth of the Vasturian elites and thus their ability to patronize artists, sculptors and architects. The War ended the Second Vasturian Golden Age.

The Age of the Burghers

[WILL REWORK]

The chief immediate domestic effect of this War was the strengthening of the Burghers primarily at the expense of the Chieftains and their soldiers. Throughout this period, the unique feudal and manorial structures that underpinned Vasturian society were eroded and destroyed by such a rising power of the burghers. The various lands held under feudal tenure and fiefs were, as punishment against the Principality-supporting nobles systematically converted to common lands in lands wherein the peasants were strongest or more commonly to allodial lands. While such allodial lands theoretically gave near-sovereignty to the minor nobles and lords owning such lands (on paper the most important affect of such allodial titles), in practice the most important effect of such a legality was the inalienable right of alienation enjoyed by the owners of allods. Such a right of alienation allowed for the wealthy burghers to, for the first time in Vasturian history, extended their holdings to lands as various ambitious burghers purchased vast swathes of land to the oft-indebted and impoverished feudal lords due to the war and later various crop failures and famines that plagued Vasturia throughout the 1340s and 1350s.

This extension of holdings to land lead to the fundamental destruction of the jarlar and þegns as social classes in central and southern Vasturia (their strength in the Celtic society of northern Vasturia remaining), with their dual powers of land ownership and military power declining throughout the Late Middle Ages and being largely ceded to powerful burgher families and various non-noble professional soldiers respectively. In the late 14th and early 15th centuries, this immense social upheaval led to, in the words of Aininian historian Jean-Pascal Chastain, "an egalitarianism in non-Celtic medieval Vasturia and uniquely powerful peasant class unprecedented even in the comparatively democratic society of the ancient and medieval Vasturians". The rural peasant republics and urban proletarian republics greatly expanded and many more were established throughout this period; some of which were comparatively moderate, such as the peasant republics established in the hinterlands and frontiers between the Celtic lands of the Utangiards and the lands controlled by Dagmar, and some of which were far more radical and collectivist that called for the abolition of all property and hierarchy, such as the communities of Skadifron that endure to this day or many proletarian republics. A majority of these republics, many of which were not enduring, forged compromises between these two opposing ideologies and took a middle road that abolished all social and economic distinctions amongst the karlar (the peasants and proletarians comprising the majority of this predominant social class, which included the burghers) and divided the þrælar (who did not engage in any large-scale political action on their own in this period, although they critically and often decisively played a role in the revolutions of the peasantry and proletariat, particularly in Skadifron) into a larger group of freedmen that would be subsumed into the peasantry/proletariat and a significantly smaller, marginalized underclass that would eventually merge with the Andrian Travellers. Such actions would permanently weaken slavery in Vasturia, although slavery would not be officially abolished until later centuries. The cause of this revolutionary political upheaval was twofold; it was borne in part out of desperation due to the poor economic conditions of the time and in part because the peasants and proletarians took advantage of the already chaotic sociopolitical situation.

Chief amongst such revolutionary republican revolts was the Wastisaþan Revolt in 1418 of the Dagmari lower classes, proletariat and Þraelar alike, in which the Dagmari revolted by both violence and a general strike and successfully demanded mutualisation of the wool factories and incorporation of the entire Dagmari population into the Guilds, which in the Guild-based republic of Dagmar led to universal suffrage. Such a revolt was neither moderate nor radical in character as it preserved the existing social structures but abolished thralldom and the Nordanian thrall trade in Dagmar and is generally considered to be the most significant of the revolts as it impacted the largest Vasturian state at the time. This Revolt represented the apogee of the power of peasantry and proletarians; the power of the burghers and Druids expanded throughout the 15th century and various traditional hierarchies were reinstated in many states that had overthrown them. The burghers ascended as the new ruling class with the support of the Druids (except in the traditionally clan-based society of Skadifron, where the Druidic caste was always weaker and more egalitarian than in other regions), who retained their traditional power, whilst the nobles declined except in the north and the peasants remained more powerful than before the War of Heresy but less powerful than they were in the late 14th and early 15th centuries.

Geography

  • Almost exactly the same as Ultima Borealia except slightly warmer and more diverse I guess (much warmer on the coasts)
  • Extremely mountainous, lots of taiga, tundra, steppes and marshes

Government System and the Great Ramet of Vasturia

The confederal Vasturian government is a unique form of democracy that combing directorialism, direct democracy, council democracy, syndicalism, and theocracy; furthermore, Vasturia's government is considered to be one of the most complex ones in Esquarium, its Constitution is the longest Esquarian Constitution, and Vasturia's confederal-level legislature is theoretically tetracameral. Due to this nigh-immeasurable complexity, the Vasturian government is rarely categorised into distinct branches of government; rather, Vasturia's government is an intricate, oft-indistinguishable mixture of legislative and executive, confederal and provincial, religious and secular, syndical and popular, etc; Vasturia's government is thus referred to as the "Great Ramet"; or an intricate mixture of individual bodies of government that fundamentally contain the same legislative/executive elements that emanate from the same root of local, religious popular sovereignty.

The proverbial sprouts of the Great Ramet are the ceremonial, popular, provincial, judicial, syndicalist, censorial, meritocratic, and electoral trees. Such sprouts, all of which contain both a legislature and collective executive, respectively serve as the collective head of state of Vasturia, dictate the foreign and social policies of the country, regulate the other branches to the Free Provinces/Cities' interest, enforce/interpret the laws and the prevailing Constitutional and nomocratic order, regulate and plan (both centrally and indicatively) the economy to the advancement of the proletarian interest, monitor the other branches to prevent corruption, appoint and oversee the civil service, and independently manage the democratic elections from which all institutions are dependent on.

Somewhere in the midst of the Great Ramet lies the Quinquevirate, a directorial Vasturian head of government composed of five Quinquevirs respectively elected by popular vote, the Lögrétta (the parliamentary chamber of the Popular Sprout), the Congress of Syndicates, the Thing of Free Provinces' and Cities' Deputies (the parliamentary chamber of the Provincial Sprout), and the Consulate (or the executive cabinet elected by the Lögrétta that handles foreign policy matters). The Quinquevirate serves as a collective primus inter pares of the Vasturian government, its individuals members preside over their respective fields as first among equals themselves, and Quinquevirs rotate as the individual head of the Vasturian government every 2.4 months.

Furthermore, the Vasturian government is also renowned for its strong tradition of direct democracy from the local level (exemplified by the open town meeting, a celebrated fixture of Vasturian politics) to the national; initiatives, referenda, and recalls are frequent on the national level. Vasturian voters are also required to approve any constitutional amendments or declarations of war; such direct democratic actions have instilled and maintained a strong sense of civic participation and duty in the Vasturian citizenry only exceeded by that of Montecara.

Ceremonial Sprout

Popular Sprout

Lögrétta

Folkgoðar

Provincial Sprout

Judicial Sprout and Law

Syndicalist Sprout

Censorial Sprout

The seat of the College of Quaestors and the Tribune of Censors in Dagmar.

The Censorial Sprout is a highly independent body of government charged with monitoring and overseeing the other agencies of Vasturia’s complex, opaque government. In many ways, the Censorial agencies are simple ombudsman agencies; this power is not unique to Vasturia, although the immense independence, prestige and power of the Censorial Sprout is. The Censorial Sprout’s most prominent feature that separates it from other government monitoring agencies is that it functions as a joint body tasked with finding and uncovering government corruption and waste as well, and the Tribune of Censors themselves as well as the agencies below frequently publish lengthy reports on government waste, corruption and disregard for the rule of law, human rights and the Constitution on all levels of government, ruthlessly investigating corruption and government waste in such brutality that makes the Censorial Sprout a force to be reckoned with all on its own. The Censorial Sprout is also tasked with publishing international indexes and reports on corruption and transparency in various countries.

The Censorial Sprout was initially created as the Tribune of Censors upon Unification in the original Vasturian Constitution to mirror the historical Censorates that were a fixture of historical Vasturian governments since the conquest of Vasturia by the Valish Empire in Classical Antiquity; throughout this period until the revolutionary reforms of the 1920s, the Tribune performed its duties relatively adequately, yet failed to tackle the broader issues of government corruption, mismanagement and violations of human rights throughout this period due a lack of necessary political infrastructure, although the institution remained wildly popular and to later, foreign policymakers and historians has served as one of the first examples of Ombudsmen to be emulated by other nations. This relative weakness of the Tribune of Censors, combined with rapid governmental expansion throughout Vasturian society in the early 20th century and increased desire for executive and legislative branches in all sections of Vasturian government, led to the eventual creation of the College of Quaestors upon the ratification of the Vasturian Constitution of the 1920s; an action that was broadly supported and continues to be broadly supported by all major Vasturian political factions. However, despite the fact that the Censorial Sprout is broadly supported by the Vasturian elites and masses alike, substantial critics remain at the perceived inefficiency of the Censorial Sprout's institutions, particularly questions relating to the necessity of both a collective executive and legislature.

As with the other Sprouts of Vasturia, the Censorial Sprout is further divided into executive and legislative components; such components are referred to as the 7-member Tribune of Censors and the 49-member College of Quaestors respectively. Unlike in other Sprouts, however, it is the executive and not the legislative that holds the vast majority of power; the Quaestors are given few powers outside of electing and dismissing the Censors, who are allowed to perform most actions without legislative oversight. The Censorial Sprout enjoys a degree of independence unmatched by most other Vasturian sprouts and operates with a near-total lack of scrutiny from the other sprouts owing to its duty to scrutinise said branches itself.

Tribune of Censors

The Tribune of Censors is the 7-member executive component of the Censorial Sprout tasked with nearly all of its responsibilities and consequently granted nearly all of the Censorial Sprout's power, although it is theoretically subservient to the College of Quaestors. In order to fully achieve its goals, the Tribune is granted the right to censure legislators it believes are corrupt, initiate the impeachment trial of any government official, and initiate trials on the a law's constitutionality; it is also granted the power of issuing a search warrant of any member of any public office or worker in the public sector on suspicions of corruption or disregard for the Constitution, the rule of law and human rights. The Tribune is also empowered to make recommendations to reduce government waste or curb corruption, recommendations that are almost always accepted by the Government. In addition to its own individual powers, the Tribune of Censors granted the power to, and frequently does, establish agencies devoted to specific duties under its purview, much like executive departments.

These subordinate agencies of the Tribune respectively serve as the supreme audit institution and comptrollers of the government; as external government performance evaluators and investigators; and as political Ombudsmen for the Vasturian Government. The Tribune of Censors and its subordinate agencies are empowered to serve its various duties on all levels of Vasturian governance, from the local to the national. In order to protect its independence from financial concerns, the Tribune is allowed to levy a small land value tax, value added tax, and financial transaction tax, which may not exceed 2%, 1% or 0.1% respectively. The Government is theoretically allowed to allocate additional funds to the Tribune of Censors; but in practice any such funds are negligible, and the vast majority of funds come from the Tribune of Censors' independent levies as a result of a political consensus that the Tribune of Censors ought to be wholly financially independent in order to be able to perform their duties undeterred by political concerns.

College of Quaestors

The College of Quaestors is the 49-member assembly of legislators (all of whom at referred to as legislators) of the Censorial Sprout charged with electing the Tribune of Censors, which must maintain the confidence of the Quaestors. The College of Quaestors is also required to oversee and approve the Tribune of Censors' more prominent actions, such as the censure of legislators, the initiation of impeachment trials and trials on a law's constitutionality, in addition to the appointment of the heads of the Tribune of Censors' subordinate agencies and the levying of taxation on the citizenry of Vasturia. Furthermore, the College of Quaestors is allowed to block any other actions of the Tribune of Censors or its subordinate agencies; in practice, however, the College of Quaestors is wont to function as a rubber-stamp on the Tribune of Censors outside of election season, when the College of Quaestors is considered to be highly cautious and meticulous in its election of Censors.

Due to the steadfast belief of Vasturian legal experts, legislators and policymakers that the election of Twenty-five members of the College of Quaestors are elected by the people, fourteen are elected by the College of Lawspeakers, five are elected by corruption watchdog groups and five are elected by the Meritocratic Sprout's legislative body, the Centuriate Assembly. The status of "corruption watchdog group" is managed by the Industrial Syndicate of Non-governmental Organisations; applications are analysed by teams of experts on corruption, although the Tribune of Censors and existing corruption watchdog groups are not involved in the application due to fears of a conflict of interest.

Meritocratic Sprout

Like the Censorial Sprout, the Meritocratic Sprout is a group of institutions comprising executive departments and a legislative chamber whose function is shared by various agencies of most modern Esquarian nations, but one whose prestige, illustriousness, power, and most importantly independence is unmatched by any organisation sharing a similar purpose in Esquarium. Tasked with overseeing the public sector and more particularly the civil service, the Meritocratic Sprout is composed of both a legislature and an executive subordinate to said legislature; more specifically, the Meritocratic Sprout is divided between the executive Council of Examination and the legislative Centuriate Assembly, who are composed of five and fifteen members, respectively.

The Council of Examination is a body tasked with overseeing the public sector and particularly the civil service, and was established upon Unification to create and modify all public sector and civil service examinations, a power that is still the responsibility of the Council of Examination today but has declined in favour of its other, more potent responsibilities in modern times; today, the Council of Examination is most notably tasked with simultaneously negotiating with the civil service labour organisations, representing the concerns of civil service workers to the Popular and Regional Sprouts and mediating between the competing interests of the Vasturian government and the civil service labour organisations. The Council is also tasked with hiring and overseeing civil servants at the local to national levels (a power implemented as a part of broader civil service reform measures in the late nineteenth century) and functioning as the Functional Sequence and Industrial Syndicate of the the civil service. The Vasturian Examination's regional predecessors were directly inspired by the Tuthinan Imperial Examination, which historically served as the basis of the nevertheless-distinct Vasturian Civil Service Examination (and later Examinations). The Council (which is composed of five members) is elected by the Centuriate Assembly.

The Centuriate Assembly itself is a fifteen-member body that elects, has confidence in, and has the right to approve and veto any of the actions of the Council of Examination; powers that are frequently exercised or at least spoken of by the Assembly, unlike the similar body of the Assembly of Quaestors of the Censorial Sprout (wherein it is the executive and not the legislative that dominates its respective Sprout). Seven of the Centuries are elected by the civil servants themselves, four by the Free Council, and four by the Folkgoðar.

Within the Council of Examination there are numerous departments that are tasked with creating examinations (the Examination Department), managing relations with labour (the Labour Affairs Department), managing information and research relating to the public sector (the Information and Research Department), managing legal affairs (the Law Department), accounting and the budget related to the public sector (the Budgetary and Accounting Department), and numerous other departments related to all facets of the civil service.

Electoral Sprout

The Electoral Sprout is the sole Vasturian Sprout that is not composed of both a collegial executive and a legislative chamber. Rather, the Electoral Sprout is composed of executive and judicial branches rather than executive and legislative ones. Most powers of the Electoral Sprout are afforded to the Electoral Commission, which is granted the power to appoint all officials (or such officials' superiors, and so on and so forth) tasked with administering elections and preventing electoral fraud, and is comprised of nine members, three of whom are appointed by the College of Lawspeakers, three of whom are appointed by the Centuriate Assembly, and three of whom are appointed by the Congress of Syndicates; the Electoral Commission is in turn led by the Chief Electoral Commissioner, who is elected by the Electoral Commissioners themselves but is usually the most senior member. The Electoral Commissioners are appointed for nine-year terms, with the term of each Commissioner being staggered so that the term for one Commissioner occurs every year; Electoral Commissioners are limited to one term only.

The Electoral Courts are considerably weaker than the Electoral Commission, as their sole purpose is to consider accusations of electoral misconduct and administer election recounts; in this way the Electoral Courts function as a mixture of the role of the Electoral Commission, the Tribune of Censors, and the standard Vasturian courts. All Brehons of the Electoral Courts are clerical in nature, as the Vasturian Constitution requires all Brehons of the Electoral Courts to have been ordained as Law Druids; however, numerous checks are in place that restrict the potential influence of the Brehons' Druidic education upon their judgement not normally instated for Law Druids-turned-Brehons, including a prohibition of political party membership and mandatory participation in the relevant Workers' Council. The Brehons of the Electoral Courts are also required have had significant experience as polling officials and bureaucrats working for the Electoral Commission prior to their appointment.

The Electoral Courts are separated into the Free Provincial and Municipal Electoral Courts and the Supreme Electoral Court, which respectively have primary jurisdiction over each Free Province/City and appellate jurisdiction over the entire Vasturian state. Both the Free Provincial and Municipal Electoral Courts and the Supreme Electoral Court are composed of five persons, and two-fifths of the Courts' Brehons are appointed by the College of Lawspeakers, two-fifths by the Congress of Syndicates, and the Chief Brehons by the Quinquevirate. Like all other courts of Vasturian law, the Electoral Courts are wholly inquisitorial in nature, as the adversarial system is believed by Vasturian jurists to be the source of injustice reeking into the judicial system.

In its immense independence, the status of the Electoral Sprout as a separate branch of government, and the existence of the Electoral Courts, the Vasturian Electoral Sprout/Electoral Commission is considered to be a mixture of the independent, branch, and judicial models of election commissions. Moreover, the independence of the Electoral Sprout that is its primary feature is further-enshrined by the Electoral Commission's right to levy a land value tax, value added tax, and financial transaction tax not exceeding 2%, 1%, or 0.1% respectively much like the Tribune of Censors; and as with the Tribune of Censors, such taxes provide almost all of the Electoral Sprout's funding.

Administrative divisions

Direct democracy

  • Directorial confederal democratic quasi-theocratic republic
  • Directory required to include members of all ethnic/cultural groups and elected by the National Assembly/Thing
  • State governments range from virtually anarcho-communist clan societies to parliamentary constitutional monarchies to carbon copies of Ulitma Borealia to federal clan councils
  • Legal system based off Ancient Germanic law, Brehon law, ecclesiastical law and civil law (albeit with juries, citizen's arrests and posse comitatus in some provinces)
  • Legal system also varies by region
  • Depends on region
  • Liberal/humane prison system; strong focus on restorative justice for religious reasons (virtually no retributive justice) except for violations of hospitality/other "unforgivable" crimes (Líathoenar help you)
  • Strong military with mandatory conscription

Politics and Governance

Since the unification of Vasturia in 1859, the multi-party Vasturian political system has largely been based on consensus and Proporz wherein all mainstream parties govern in coalition, a party's degree of power in government is closely based on its share of electoral support, and ministerial portfolios and the power to determine certain policies are based on a party's popularity within the relevant constituencies. Furthermore, the model of consensus government, the relative weakness of the Vasturian Federal Government and the similar values and mores share by the highly-collectivist Vasturian nation have all led to a general political consensus in favour of moderate traditionalism, strong state intervention in a labor-dominated economy, and most importantly the continued heavy influence of the clergy in Vasturian politics.

However, despite this political consensus and model of consensus government in which all mainstream political parties participate, distinct inter-party political alliances exist that wholly defy the left-right political spectrum known as the Sannandist Democratic Movement and the Modernist People's Group. Rather, such alliances can instead be roughly identified as traditionalism versus progressivism respectively, although both exhibit numerous other characteristics, including isolationism versus internationalism, and localism versus centralisation. The two political alliances are also primarily distinguished by the radical factions of their alliances; the moderate factions are nearly indistinguishable, and all tend to support the prevailing political consensus. Whilst the SDM is generally more right-wing, and vice versa, it also exhibits numerous left-wing characteristics and vice versa, including a greater emphasis on collectivist, communalistic economics and support for conservationism (although most Vasturian politicians support a degree of environmentalism to combat climate change) and greater extremity in their support for the non-monogamous family structure of most of traditional Vasturian society.

The largest political parties present in both the SDM and the MPG (the National People's Party and the Modern Socialist Party, respectively) support a social democratic, dirigist, and technocratic economy in which the state controls of commanding heights of the economy and economic planning is handled by the Functional Sequences, Congress of Syndicates and Planning Commission, all of which are dominated by organised labour alongside the state. However, the National Populists and the Modern Socialists differ in other economic matters, including the National Populists' strong support for Distributist economics (albeit support tempered by Social Credit and communitarianism)) and the Modern Socialists' support for an orthodox, Bernsteinian social democracy tinted by Vasturia's unique economic system. Furthermore, other major factions within the Vasturian system, such as the Sannandist Democratic Labour Party and the Modernist [[Revolutionary Socialist Party (Vasturia)|Revolutionary Socialist Party) are strongly supportive of the Syndicalism present in a large minority of Free Cities and Free Provinces, and in economics primarily differ on their philosophical underpinnings, with the Labourists supporting guild socialism and the Revolutionary Socialists orthodox Syndicalism, although both parties are influenced by Communalism and Marxism respectively; such parties, and indeed the federal alliances in general, are distinguished by social issues, rather than economic ones. (TBC)

Party System

  • Multi-party system (ranked in rough order of founding)
  • Highly spirited electoral campaigns similar to those of the American 19th century (again a copy of UB/Atlantica here)
  • Radical Party: born out of the Revolution (oldest political party in Vasturia), formerly radical/anti-clericalist, now (neo)liberal/moderate secularist; traditionally supported by farmers and intellectuals, only major party (alongside the Bourgeois Party?) to advocate economic liberalism and secularism and to oppose the castrati/the immense power of the Druids (centre to centre-right)
  • National People's Party: founded by the Druids and the nobility shortly after Unification, never really changed its ideology outside of grudgingly accepting democratic republicanism: political Fírinnism, corporatism/Tory socialism, One-nation conservatism, Localism/Decentralisation, Protectionism, High Toryism; i.e., a classical Tory mixture of concern for the working class and contempt for the bourgeoisie born out of noblesse oblige and staunch defence of hierarchy and aristocracy (right-wing); traditionally supported by the Druids, the aristocrats and segments of the conservative middle class (especially lower-middle class)
  • Labour Party: founded by the Guilds during Unification, has gradually become more leftist and socialistic: labourism, trade unionism, social democracy, left-wing populism (centre-left to left-wing); supported by the lower-middle class and working class (especially skilled workers and manual labourers)
  • Bourgeois Party: founded by the bourgeoisie as a liberal alternative to radicalism during the Revolution and Unification: conservative liberalism, divided between secularist and political Fírinnist factions (centre-right); supported by the bourgeoisie (might've been absorbed by the Radicals or just faded away into a minor political party due to the moderation of the Radicals)
  • Revolutionary Socialist Front: a coalition of parties founded by the burgeoning Vasturian socialist movement (majority anarchist or syndicalist): revolutionary socialism, anarcho-syndicalism (left-wing to far-left); supported by the radical working class and radical intellectuals
  • Nationalist Party: founded by romantic nationalists and national mystics opposed to both radicalism, socialism, laborism, liberalism and conservative localism in the late 19th century: ultranationalism, right-wing populism, national mysticism, non-fascist because it's still relatively democratic (right-wing to far-right); supported by the middle-class and nationalists (will probably scrap as the Nationalists will probably merge with the National Populists before the first election in a united Vasturia)
  • People's Traditionalist League: founded by the clan-based societies of the southeast, only runs candidates in that Free Region: regionalism, autonomism, anarcho-communism, extreme traditionalism, political Fírinnism (syncretic); supported by most residents of the southeastern Free Region
  • National Sovereignty League: founded by the radical secessionist wing of the PTL, only runs in that Free Region: secessionism, anarcho-communism, extreme traditionalism, political Fírinnism (syncretic); supported by the secessionist residents of the southeastern Free Region
  • All parties support the strong influence of the Druids, Þjóðlund and the continued existence of Castrati with the exception of the Radicals and to a lesser extent the Bourgeoisie; all parties support eugenics with the possible exception of the National Populists and the Bourgeoisie
  • Electoral agreement wherein the PTL/NSL doesn't contest seats in Free Regions that aren't their own and the national parties don't contest seats in that Free Region (maybe Radicals don't abide by that agreement?)

Political campaigns

Law enforcement

Military

Foreign relations

Economy

Like its neighbours, Vasturia is considered to have a developed, largely post-industrial economy, and it is considered to be the sixth-largest economy in Esquarium by nominal GDP and the tenth-largest by purchasing power parity; and to have the seventh-largest GDP per capita of any Esquarian nation by nominal GDP and the sixth-largest by purchasing power parity. The Vasturian economy also has one of the most equitable distributions of wealth in the world; Vasturia's gini coefficient is only 19.6.

Vasturia is principally distinguished from other developed nations because of the extreme importance the primary sector and secondary sectors play in the Vasturian economy relative to other developed nations. Vasturia has a virtual monopoly on platinum group extraction in Esquarium because it contains nearly of all platinum group wealth, whilst significant industrial investment has meant that it is, alongside Tuthina, one of Esquarium's largest extractors of rare-earth minerals. However, Vasturia has largely avoided the effects of the resource curse seen in other nations, a fact that is attributed to three major factors; firstly, the large-scale development of Vasturia's platinum and rare-earth element wealth mostly occurred during the 1960s and 1970s, when strong, non-corrupt government institutions were already well-developed in the framework of an already-industrialised, democratised nation neither dependent on mineral wealth nor suffering from major rentierism; secondly, the existence of a monopoly and duopoly on wealth respectively has meant that the major price fluctuations seen in resources such as petroleum have largely been avoided, and prices stabilised; thirdly, Vasturian prudence itself in the form of establishing a sovereign wealth fund has virtually prevented any immediate, short-term impacts of rises or falls in mineral prices.

In addition to its immense rare-earth and platinum group reserves, Vasturia enjoys extensive iron and copper reserves, and is considered to be one of the largest steel producers in Nordania, and to this day remains a net steel and copper exporter; however, the development of cheaper production in nations such as Namor has meant that Vasturia has undergone significant deindustrialisation and economic decline in steel-producing areas in recent years, albeit to a lesser extent than nations such as Luziyca and Ainin. Vasturia historically contained major coal reserves and boasted of a world-class textile, particularly wool, industry (indeed, the word Vasturia itself comes from a corruption of the Valish-language words Wasti and Staþa, literally "garment-land"), which together fuelled Vasturia's Industrial Revolution in the 19th century; however, most coal reserves were largely depleted by 1950 and the Vasturian textile industry is minor, owing to competition from developing and newly-industrialized countries.

In line with its post-industrial status, Vasturia is also considered to be one of the world's foremost exporters of biotechnology and to a lesser extent pharmaceuticals; the Vasturian biotechnology sector, in particular, enjoys an unusually high rate of government-backed research and development that has enabled Vasturian scientists to lead biotechnological research. Economists have largely attributed these high rates of Vasturian investment into biotechnologies as an unintentional byproduct of its pervasive eugenics program, as Vasturian policymakers have consistently sought to expand biological and genetic knowledge in order to both further current Vasturian eugenics practices and allow for the possibility of direct, transhumanist genetic modification of humans in the future; indeed, such economic impacts are cited, alongside Fírinnist doctrine and nationalist ideology, as one of the reasons for the continued success and expansive nature of Vasturia's eugenics program at a time when such programs are virtually unknown in other liberal democracies.

Unlike most other Nordanian nations, which are largely mixed-market capitalist economies based on a varying synthesis of social-democratic and Keynesian or Neoclassical and neoliberal policies, Vasturia's status is divided amongst its regions; a large minority of regions operate upon purely syndicalist lines, whereas a small majority function as a semi-capitalist economy based on a mixture of social democracy, particularly social corporatism, and dirigisme, albeit with a greater role for the state and labour than suggested, even when compared to those states' mid-twentieth century antecedents. The commanding heights of the economy - this term being understood to include most capital-intensive businesses, including all public utilities (including internet access, broadcasting, and telecommunications), mining, shipbuilding, aircraft manufacturing, and banking - are fully nationalised and administered by both the local, regional, and national governments depending on sector. Legal mandates mean that organised labour represents approximately 90.7% of the Vasturian workforce (and 100% in syndicalist regions, albeit virtually 0% in the region of Skadifron, because unions are considered unnecessary in that region's anarcho-communist economy), whilst organised labour exercises significant power throughout Vasturian society - as the fundamental organisers of economic activity in the syndicalist regions, or as primary partners and social representatives in the non-syndicalist regions. works councils, codetermination (and as completely equal representatives on corporative boards as those of shareholders, not as members of separate labour-controlled boards), and tripartist social corporatism are universal in the non-syndicalist regions.

Moreover, Vasturia further abrogates the traditional capitalist model and empowers organised labour in its prolific use of the Workers' Guilds, Functional Sequences, Industrial Syndicates, the Congress of Syndicates and Planning Commission, a synthesis of traditional guild-based economic organisation, the Technocracy movement, and syndicalism itself. Workers themselves directly elect the local Workers' Guilds of their particular industry, who in turn elect (in an imperative mandate, in accordance with the system's use of soviet democracy) the Functional Sequences at a regional level, who in turn elect the Industrial Syndicates at a national level, who in turn elect the non-industry specific Congress of Syndicates. Unions act as political parties in these elections, and use such the bodies to set government regulatory policies of the industries in question, negotiate with employers' unions (in the non-syndicalist regions), and directly manage the industries themselves (in the syndicalist regions). The Congress of Syndicates itself elects the Vasturian Planning Commission, which is the main orchestrator of Vasturia's extensive economic planning (both centralised, indicative, and {{wp|decentralised planning|decentralised, with the former orchestrated through the VPC, the latter through the Guilds/Sequences, and the indicative through a mixture), although both the employers' unions (who are organised along parallel lines with the Syndicates) ad the state are heavily-consulted on appointments in accordance with their economic importance.

Vasturia likewise stands out from its fellow Nordanian nations because it is less urbanised than is typical for a post-industrial, developed nation at a 62.9% urbanisation rate. This fact is largely attributed not to unconscious economic developments idiosyncratic to Vasturia, but rather due to conscious social engineering by Vasturian policymakers, virtually all of whom have encouraged significant economic industrialisation, particularly through light industry and mining within the context of communal, rural societies, either due to an agrarian conservatism (in the case of the Eddaic People's Party), a desire to maintain the collectivist communalism of the rural communities (in the case of the Labour Party), or an ideological support for bridging the gap between town and country based on Welzist ideology, in addition to a desire for a collectivist communalism (in the case of the Revolutionary Socialist and to a lesser extent Modern Socialist parties).

  • Energy is mostly derived from hydropower and nuclear power

Demographics

  • Almost entirely Fírinnist and members of the Sacred Circle of Druids (one of the highest rates of church attendance in the world)
  • Two-thirds Germanic, one-third Celtic (very few immigrants due to strict immigration policies)
  • Higher birth rates than typical for developed countries because of regulation of contraception and abortion (maximum and minimum brith rates being determined by government eugenics programs)
  • Highly linguistically diverse; Old Norse and Old Irish are both lingua francas but are used for different purposes (Mediterranean trade language vs. Latin in the Middle Ages being the closest approximation)
  • Single-payer healthcare system (albeit operated by the provinces/cities but funded by the national government via equalisation payments)
  • Education systems partially funded by equalisation paymets; similar to the Finnish educational system but with a strong focus on religious education (that non-Fírinnist parents may opt their children out of)

Culture

Vasturia is noted by international observers for its unique, distinct culture; it is at once highly collectivist, communitarian, and conservative, yet simultaneously highly libertine and egalitarian. Traditional Vasturian society places a high emphasis on kinship and clans, which are the basic nucleus and dominant social unit of rural Vasturian society. In Hofstede's cultural dimensions theory, Vasturia exhibits very high femininity, indulgence, and collectivism, high uncertainty avoidance, moderate long-term orientation, and very low power distance, summarising the nature of Vasturian society; at once valuing conservatism, collectivism and rigidity, but simultaneously valuing egalitarianism, free expression of desires, and compassion for the weak.

Most rural Vasturians live in Ættgarðr, or large, egalitarian collective farms and agrarian communities whose members all belong to a certain clan. Communal child-rearing, an internal gift economy, and complete economic egalitarianism amongst its members are hallmarks of the Ættgarðr, which produce the vast majority and a significant proportion of Vasturia's agricultural and industrial (particularly light industrial output), respectively. Modern Vasturian clans, particularly primarily rural ones (i.e., clans whose members live in the clan's Ættgarðr), are highly exogamous for both anthropological reasons and the impact of the Westermarck effect amongst communally-raised Vasturians. Although such exogamy was traditionally-maintained by mass arranged marriages between two different clans (i.e., dual exogamy lasting for only a single generation), increasing individualism in Vasturia's otherwise-collectivist society and the corresponding decline in arranged marriages has led to higher education or alternatively (and less commonly) Journeyman years becoming integral to this exogamous process, as these are the years wherein Ættgarðr residents live apart from of their fellow clan members.

At 62.9% of the population, urban areas form the living environment of a slight majority of Vasturians, most of whom have lived in an urban area since the mid-20th century. Such urban residents are noticeably more individualistic than their Ættgarðr-residing peers; however, urban Vasturian society remains highly collectivist, communitarian, and conservative in a number of ways. Most urban Vasturians live communally with their extended family (all of whom belong to the same clan, either by blood or by marriage), are expected to regularly attend social functions of their clan's branch in urban areas, and, should they work in the private sector, work for a corporation/cooperative owned by a fellow clan member.

Amidst this strong clan-based society unique amongst developed nations, the institution of the Druids plays a vital role in uniting the nation and upholding its Collectivist values, in both historical and modern times. In the organisation of the Druids, the in-group is extended to all Vasturians and the "out-group" extended to non-Vasturians. With the exception of the clan-based ancestor worship widespread in Vasturian life, Vasturian religious practices are typically inter-clan rather than intra-clan. The Druidic houses of worship (which are attended by over 90% of Vasturians weekly), which are a pillar of social and community life, are attended by Vasturians of all clans, and an overwhelming majority of Vasturians are members of multiple mystery cults, or confraternities and mystery cults devoted to a particular deity, usually based on either workplace occupation and theological interest. Such mystery cults likewise do not discriminate on the basis of clan and form, with generalised Druidic houses of worship maintained for a particular, atomised, locale, a foundation of Vasturians' friendships and relationships. Furthermore, although clan distinctions are important in Vasturian society, far fewer distinctions arise on the basis of ethnicity.

But such an emphasis on collectivism and traditional values does not diminish the libertine and egalitarian nature of Vasturian society. Like Tuthina, Vasturians are highly socially conservative, but their definition of traditional, conservative values at once includes both their cherished collectivism and a cultural openness and liberalism that extends deep into the libertine. Most forms recreational drugs are legal, culturally-accepted and widely-used, the legal minimum age of consumption of soft drugs such as alcohol and cannabis is 13 (and none with parental permission), and gender dysphoria is accepted through a belief in non-binary genders. Furthermore, sexual activity considered unacceptable in most other conservative Nordanian societies is emphatically not so; homosexuality (albeit traditionally as an extension of bisexuality or as a part of non-binary gender practices) and prostitution are legal and accepted, whilst the vast majority of marriages are small polyamorous group marriages, bot not polyfidelitous; extramarital casual sex between individuals, especially when unlikely to produce a child, is common and culturally-accepted. However, abortion and contraception are highly-restricted within Vasturia, particularly amongst a group marriage, and families are expected to bear a certain amount of children by the State in order to maximise theoretical genetic potential as part of Vasturia's eugenics program.

  • Highly conservative, communitarian and collectivist culture (with a strong focus on clans and hospitality)
  • However, cultural mores are much more libertarian than in other nations, including both conservative and even liberal nations (especially sexual mores)
  • Culture is also generally egalitarian and highly alien to outsiders (albeit not as bad as Tuthina or Akai)
  • Religious and Druidic influence on culture is immense
  • Traditional sports (Aonach Tailteann) and music is popular due to general traditionalism
  • High rates of alcohol consumption as is typical of northerly nations (mostly mead and to a lesser extent ale/small beer)
  • High rates of newspaper readership

Transport

  • Canals the primary means of transportation from the age of the Sørbenis all the way to the late industrial revolution; now mostly used by tourists (declined in the early 20th century)
  • Railroads and mass transit are the major ways of transportation
  • Automobiles are frequently used, but there is a much lower rate of car dependence compared to other nations