Kingdom of Xevden
|Government||Absolute monarchy (1704–1754)|
Constitutional monarchy with an authoritarian framework (1754–1902)
Absolute monarchy (1902–1934)
Constitutional monarchy (1934–1947)
Absolute monarchy (1947–1958)
• 1704–1744 (first)
• 1947–1958 (last)
• 1938–1947 (last)
|Historical era||Pre-modernity, modernity|
• Colonisation War begins
• Colonisation War ends
• Liberation War begins
|1 January 1938|
• Liberation War ends
|2 January 1958|
|Today part of||Gylias|
Part of a series on the
|History of Gylias|
The Kingdom of Xevden is the common name for the state that existed from 1704 to 1958 in the territory today occupied by Gylias. It was established after the Colonisation War (1695–1704), which resulted in Xevdenite conquest of the Liúşai League together with the simultaneous loss of their homeland to foreign annexation.
For much of its existence, Xevden was an absolute monarchy or authoritarian state, ruled by an alien elite outnumbered by hostile native populations, Gylic and non-Gylic. It was largely a pariah within Tyran and became one of its poorest states, ravaged by corruption, nepotism, arbitrary rule, and a deficient industrialisation in the 19th century.
Xevden was repeatedly destabilised by popular revolts, with notably large ones occuring in 1749, 1789, 1848, and 1856–1868, as well as ongoing resistance from kyðoi. Reforms to consolidate the state and redress the injustices committed since the Colonisation War were repeatedly blocked or sabotaged by an intransigent minority among the elite, desiring to preserve its privileges and dreading a reckoning for its abuses.
The Gylian ascendancy and a disastrous war with Cacerta heightened Xevden's crisis, and the state entered a period of disintegration in the early 20th century. King Láaresy launched an attempt to resolve the crisis known as the 1400 Days' Reform, which was unsuccessful.
When the Liberation War began in 1938, the monarchy's retreat to the Nerveiík peninsula produced a reformist constitutional period known as the Nerveiík Kingdom. It was overthrown in turn by the Tymzar–Nalo regime in 1947, which itself led Xevden to a defeat in the Liberation War and its demise in 1958. It was followed by the Free Territories, which evolved into present-day Gylias.
The term "Xevden" is a modern, pejorative coinage. It initially came from "Ŋej dvin", meaning "Ŋej state". Among Gylic populations, it was pronounced "n'hej dven", partly an eye dialect since before the Gylian languages reform of 1958–1959, "Ŋej" was written Nhej. The pronunciation evolved as the initial [n] was lost, the [h] hardened into an [x], the [v] and [d] were transposed, and the [ʒ] was merged with the [d], resulting in the pronunciation [xevd͡ʒen]. The [d͡ʒ] then underwent fortition to [d], resulting in "Xevden".
The state was officially known as the "Ŋej Realm" or "Ŋej Kingdom" during its lifetime. However, the Gylian ascendancy led to the standardisation of "Xevden" for the state and "Xevdenites" for its elites. Part of this was due to the Gylians exploiting diglossia and language secessionism among the Ŋej: ordinary Ŋej underwent a process of Gylicisation, particularly through linguistic relexification, while the elites grew increasingly apart both culturally and linguistically.
The explicit politicisation of the term has attracted complaints from other Tyranian historians. Rózsá Prohászka once commented that "It would be ridiculous to retroactively rename the Socialist Republic Vörösállam ['red state'] and those who collaborated with it vörösok ['reds']."
The Ŋej people first began to arrive in the 17th century. They began to settle in the Nerveiík peninsula and trade with Gylics. Reports of the Liúşai League's weakness after a series of natural disasters and internal conflicts drew the interest of the Ŋej authorities, who concluded it was a suitable target for expansion. The expansion scheme was launched in earnest by king Ḑary, but the Ŋej's growing numbers and activities caused tension and suspicion from the League.
The Ŋej state launched the Colonisation War in 1695. Despite the League's spirited resistance and war of attrition tactics, the Ŋej advanced slowly northwards, using divide and conquer tactics and taking advantage of the states' weakness. However, the campaign was disastrous for the Ŋej: with their entire army committed to the Colonisation War, their neighbours seized the moment to attack and conquer their state. The Ŋej elite, military, and many civilians fled by sea towards the conquered Gylic territories.
The war ended with the League's defeat in 1704, and the official proclamation of the Ŋej Kingdom. For many years, the loss of the homeland was used as a mobilising myth, in an attempt to inclucate revanchist and expansionist sentiments among the elites. However, the Ŋej's origin outside of Tyran led to mockery from the conquered populations, who derided the supposed "homeland" as non-existent, and made hopes of a reconquest impractical.
Rebellions and constitution
Xevden was precarious from the start, since the Xevdenites were now a numerically inferior alien elite ruling over vast territory inhabited by the hostile populations defeated in the Colonisation War. A transformation took place along aristocratic–oligarchic lines: native populations were marginalised throughout society, land was stolen and taken by the nobility, and an authoritarian system was imposed.
The economy took on a more feudal character, with land owned by the elite and most of the population worked the fields in return for wages and protection. The Xevdenites promoted a more restrictive and patriarchal morality, particularly regarding gender and sexuality; women were denied equal status and excluded from public life.
Although the Xevdenites managed to cling to power, being significantly outnumbered put a limit on their ability to rule by violence. The Gylic and non-Gylic populations resisted Xevdenite rule. From the beginning, native bandits and guerrilla fighters, known as kyðoi, took refuge in the mountains and attacked and harassed the Xevdenites. Military expenses strained the royal treasury, resulting in higher taxation that fueled further unrest.
The Rebellion of 1749 benefited from the attrition of the authorities, and managed to seize significant, if discontinuous territory. The resulting stalemate made clear that Xevden was both unable to defeat the rebellion, but the rebels also lacked the means to overthrow Xevden alone. Panic seized the palace, and king Keďys was overthrown by his wife, Senalta.
Senalta managed to end the rebellion peacefully and signed the Treaty of Aðnat in 1754, laying the basis for a constitutionalisation of the state. Reigning through enlightened absolutism, she introduced a series of reforms, including the establishment of a bicameral parliament, a bill of rights, the abolition of serfdom, and the introduction of a class-based citizenship system. The latter afforded native populations the lesser status of resident aliens — allowed to establish their own schools and local assemblies, but disenfranchised and subject to certain legal restrictions.
Senalta's reforms made an enemy of the nobility; she was forced to rely on her support from native populations. However, the pace of reform remained slow, and the resident alien status, initially intended as a first step towards citizenship, calcified into a legal second-class citizenship. Censorship and a secret police, initially created to suppress the reactionary opposition, would later become weapons in their hands.
The deepest repercussions came from religious policy. Senalta studied countries like Mansuriyyah, Syara, and Shalum, and resolved to use religion as a means to strengthen the state. She was interested in the monotheist religions of Mansuriyyah, but was unwilling to adopt them out of fear of foreign subordination. Instead, she drew on various aspects to form her own state religion, known as "salvationism", premised on monotheism, millenarianism, and the monarch as a divine messenger. Far from consolidating the state, salvationism caused a backlash among native populations, which retained their traditional beliefs in defiance.
The fragile peace Senalta secured began to unravel after her death in 1804. Her successors lacked her skill at balancing competing interests or credibility among Gylics and non-Gylics. The monarchy lost power to the nobility and the conservative-dominated parliament. Seeking a new pretext for rule, the elites increasingly embraced a mélange of salvationism, racism, and social spencerism. The advent of the Industrial Revolution brought a haphazard transition to capitalism. The deficient industrialisation highlighted the pervasive inequality, corruption, and poverty of Xevden, and the emerging middle class provided an additional challenge to aristocratic privileges.
The Gylic and non-Gylic populations took advantage of the Xevdenites' policy of marginalisation, carving out space outside of the Xevdenite state and beginning a national awakening. The Gylian ascendancy produced a common Gylian identity, and a network of organisations outside Xevdenite society, including cooperatives, mutual aid organisations, schools, publications, and political parties. United by resistance to Xevden and monotheism, the Gylians became a receptive audience to radical ideologies. One notable victory of the Gylian ascendancy was the Ŋej's acceptance as Gylic peoples. The Gylians skilfully exploited the existing diglossia, language secessionism, and industrial discontent, convincing the ordinary Ŋej they had more in common with the impoverished Gylians than the Xevdenite elite.
The Gylian revolution of 1848 led to the first Gylian national assembly, convoked in Keraþ. The assembly produced a liberal democratic constitution, with a strengthened parliamentary democracy, less powers for the monarchy, decentralisation of the state, and universal citizenship and suffrage. The Keraþ constitution's compromises displeased the radical leftist faction, but was stalled by the Xevdenites. The stalling led to the Glorious Rebellion, which seized a large territory in south-western Laişyn and implemented radical democratic reforms between 1856 and 1868.
The Xevdenite elites realised their essentially lucky escape after the failure of the Glorious Rebellion, and took a more careful approach. The elites split between pragmatists, which advocated concessions to resolve the "Gylian Question", and reactionaries, seeking to maintain the system by force. Similarly, the failures of 1848 and 1856–1868 produced debates within the Gylian opposition between the constitutionalists, preferring non-violent gathering of strength to more fruitless uprisings, and the confrontationists. The latter drew on the influence of insurrectionary anarchism and illegalism, and were crucial in transforming the kyðoi from disorganised bandits and raiders into a modern guerilla force.
The years after 1868 were a window when the Xevdenite pragmatists and Gylian constitutionalists had the upper hand in their respective camps, and a succession of governments struggled to resolve the "Gylian Question". However, the Xevdenite pragmatists were sabotaged by the instransigent reactionaries, whereas the Gylian opposition simply gained strength as the confrontationists gained more followers.
The hung parliament produced by the 1890 election marked a turning point. Raţiáş Keýmer became prime minister, causing a split in the ruling Party of Order and forming a coalition between pragmatists, liberals, Gylian nationalists, and republicans. Raţiáş managed to introduce several reforms, but by then it was too late: they were too little for the increasingly radical Gylians, and were predictably rejected by reactionaries. His government fell in 1897 after losing republican support, and the reactionaries caused a constitutional crisis by attempting to form a government without parliamentary backing.
The 1900 election saw the first victory of a liberal coalition, led by Gezy Nemáz. Gezy's government was confronted by reactionary intransigence and obstruction. Much of its agenda was stalled, although it notably disbanded Xevden's upper house by force and used legislative violence to suppress reactionary obstruction. The increasing ill-health of king Laŋyl caused the reactionaries to panic. When he died in September 1902, they staged a palace coup, killing all the other heirs and installing the authoritarian Karnaz on the throne.
Karnaz instituted an autocratic regime, abandoning even the trappings of constitutionalism. He abrogated the constitution, shut down the legislature, imposed censorship, and banned most political parties, trade unions, and similar organisations. He directed law enforcement to begin mass arrests of the opposition and dissenters.
The authoritarian turn was a failure. Decades of administrative decay and internal rot brought by rampant corruption and nepotism sabotaged the purge: many escaped from the authorities, and the arbitrary and capricious enforcement destroyed any remaining support for the regime outside the Xevdenite elites.
Trying to end Xevden's pariah status in Tyran, Karnaz pursued a reckless foreign policy. He allowed a dispute with the Cacertian Empire to escalate into the Cacerta-Xevden War of 1904–1908. The war was an unquestioned victory for the Cacertians, who settled for modest territorial gains out of a fear of over-expansion. Their territory was organised as Alscia. Alscia experienced robust economic growth, social progress, and cultural development; it became a centre of Gylian media and dissidence, with a key role in disseminating and popularising radical ideas. Furthermore, it engaged in the protracted Alscian Border War to harass and pressure Xevden.
Karnaz's regime never recovered from the Cacertian defeat. It lost the exclusive claim to Gylian territory when Alscia was formed, and now gained a powerful rival who made the destruction of Xevden a cornerstone of its foreign policy. Xevden spent the rest of Karnaz's reign stumbling from one crisis into the next, sliding into an unofficial civil war. Emboldened by the defeats and Alscian aid, Gylian insurgencies and uprisings consistently erupted and gained ground. Many of these were led by anarchists, cementing their increasing importance to the Gylian resistance. At the same time, Gylian radicalism made Tyranian powers wary of intervening, regardless of their growing distaste for Xevden.
1400 Days' Reform
In his last years, Karnaz's health declined and he grew increasingly paranoid, as the Xevdenite pragmatists gained influence at the expense of the discredited reactionaries. They staged their own palace coup, placing Láaresy on the throne on 3 March 1934.
Láaresy immediately launched sweeping changes, which came to be dubbed the "1400 Days' Reform". Prisoners were released, censorship was abolished, the repressive apparatus was dismantled, and the old class-based citizenship system was replaced by equal citizenship and suffrage. He promised the drafting of a new constitution, based on the Keraþ constitution, and elections for a restored legislature. Formerly banned parties, trade unions, publications, and civic organisations were legalised.
Láaresy was unique among Xevdenite monarchs in relying on support from Gylians to an extent that even surpassed Senalta. He sought to establish a popular monarchy, drastically simplifying protocol and style, and restricted the royal family to just himself and his sisters. The prominent public role taken by his younger sisters and wife, all vocal supporters of feminism and women's rights, earned Gylians' goodwill as much as it scandalised the reactionaries.
While Láaresy won a brief respite in fighting, it was too late for a constitutional resolution. A new election in 1935 was tainted by fraud and political violence, producing a hung parliament. He fended off a reactionary coup attempt in 1936 and organised new elections in 1937, with similarly violent and inconclusive results. Polarisation was now at an all-time high, and militias and paramilitaries proliferated as the public anticipated violent conflict.
War and demise
The outbreak of a People's Army insurgency on 1 January 1938 marks the conventional start of the Liberation War. Láaresy held back the Xevdenite military, seeking to de-escalate the situation, and after the Free Territories were proclaimed, he engaged in negotiations with Darnan Cyras for a comprehensive peace settlement. Although the two developed a mutual respect, the Free Territories used the talks to stall for time. With more Gylian uprisings breaking out and extremist paramilitaries instigating further conflict, Láaresy ordered the withdrawal of the military to the Nerveiík peninsula, a chaotic retreat that lasted nearly a year.
The retreat inaugurated the period of the Nerveiík Kingdom. Although it was undoubtedly a military setback, the withdrawal yielded unexpected benefits by removing many obstacles to the 1400 Days' Reform. The Nerveiík Kingdom experienced consolidation as a reformist constitutional monarchy, and achieved some successes in modernisation, particularly of the economy and military. However, it was heavily dependent on support from great powers, particularly Acrea and Ossoria.
The Nerveiík Kingdom marked a crossroads for Xevden. In its reformist zeal, it sought to catch up on the lost time caused by reactionary intransigence. The Varnaþ family's sincere commitment to reform and peace won it respect among Gylians, even among the Free Territories with which the Kingdom observed an unofficial truce. Symbolic moves such as the alteration of national symbols and the introduction of new textbooks that condemned the abuses of the ancien régime made it at least plausible, if a long shot, for the Nerveiík Kingdom to reform itself and secure a "national agreement" that would transform Xevden into a new entity entirely.
This possibility was destroyed by a reactionary coup d'état on 31 December 1947, which brought to power the Tymzar–Nalo regime. A totalitarian regime resting on an uneasy alliance between traditionalist reactionaries and Political Futurists of the Revolutionary Front for Patriotic Victory, it marked the final revenge of the reactionaries: it began with purges and crackdowns to destroy all trace of the Nerveiík Kingdom's achievements, and then it brought Xevden into the Liberation War, launching its second phase.
The war became Xevden's final and fatal catastrophe. Although the Tymzar–Nalo regime initially achieved success against the fractious Gylian factions, it proved no match for the Free Territories. The People's Army's mastery of guerrilla warfare, control of advantageous higher ground, and superior strategy proved decisive, and they regained the upper hand with spectacular victories at the battles of Nerazur and Mytin on 14-15 April 1948. Worse, Xevden's decimation of the other Gylian factions drove them to unite behind the Free Territories, making the war a straightforward conflict.
After a drawn-out collapse lasting a decade, the Battle of Velouria ended on 2 January 1958, and with it the Xevdenite state. The transition from the Free Territories to Gylias began afterwards, and the Arnak Trials took place to punish Xevdenite crimes and war crimes.
Xevden began as an absolute monarchy, and even the nominal development of a constitutional monarchy never rid it of its authoritarian impulses. The main centre of power was the Xevdenite monarch, who retained significant powers even after constitutional reforms. These included an absolute veto over legislation, the right to dissolve the legislature, and the sole right to appoint and dismiss ministers, who were responsible solely to the monarch.
Xevden's parliament was bicameral, composed of a lower house elected by suffrage and an appointed upper house consisting of the nobility. Suffrage was initially limited to only formal citizens who were also male property owners. Reforms in the 19th century gradually expanded the suffrage by abolishing the property requirement and slowly introducing female suffrage. However, true universal suffrage only occured during the 1400 Days' Reform, when the class-based citizenship system was abolished. The lower house was elected by plurality voting in constituencies; the upper house was forcefully dissolved in 1900 and never restored afterwards.
For most of its existence, the Xevdenite leadership was determined to protect the status quo, and only assented to reforms under significant duress. The state was extremely inefficient, and the royal court became infamous for its incessant intrigues and factionalisation, leading the disgusted Láaresy to unilaterally purge all other relatives and courtiers when he restricted the royal family to just himself, his sisters, and his wife. The role of government evolved late due to its subordination to the monarchy, and the post of prime minister was repeatedly suspended at several intervals, including the 1897–1900 constitutional crisis and Karnaz's royal dictatorship.
Xevden's foreign relations were generally poor or outright nonexistent. It was ostracised by the rest of Tyran as a precarious state, a doddering sick man of Tyran lurching from crisis to crisis. Fear of destabilising such an immense territory in south-eastern Siduri precluded most powers from intervening, though some made notable efforts to weaken Xevden, including Kirisaki's support of the Gylian ascendancy, the Cacertian Empire's successful conquest of Alscia, and the Ruvelkan Socialist Republic's ambitions for world revolution.
|Ḑary||—||1704–1744||Previously Ŋej monarch from 1690, launched the Colonisation War.|
|Keďys||—||1744–1754||Overthrown in a palace coup caused by the success of the Rebellion of 1749.|
|Senalta||1754–1804||Signed the Treaty of Aðnat and implemented constitutional reforms, but also instituted the class-based citizenship system and the state religion.|
|Gelberḑ||—||1804–1835||His reign was marked by the increasing authoritarian drift of Xevden.|
|Ŋarny||—||1835–1870||Assassinated by the pragmatist faction in the palace.|
|Laŋyl||—||1888–1902||His reign saw the height of conflict over the "Gylian Question".|
|Karnaz||1902–1934||Sezied power in a coup d'état. His authoritarian regime led Xevden to defeat in the Cacerta-Xevden War and strengthened Gylian insurgencies and uprisings.|
|Láaresy||1934–1947||Launched the 1400 Days' Reform, and presided over the Nerveiík Kingdom during the first phase of the Liberation War.|
|Tymzar||1947–1958||Overthrew the Nerveiík Kingdom in a coup d'état and formed the Tymzar–Nalo regime.|
Xevden was one of Tyran's poorest countries. It suffered from severe inequality, with a massive divide between the wealthy elites and impoverished workers. Corruption and nepotism ran rampant, and rotted the state's administrative capacities over time. The country was overwhelmingly agricultural, economically undeveloped, and illiterate.
The deficient industrialisation of the 19th century only added to its problems. Xevden was unable to finance development on its own, but Tyranian industrialists cared little for its corruption, lack of infrastructure, and structural deficits. Its currency, the crown, suffered repeated bouts of inflation and devaluation, and was generally treated as a laughingstock among Tyranian currencies. The fact that its currency was so tied to the monarchy fueled ample republican sentiment during the Gylian ascendancy and after.
The abandonment of laissez faire in the wake of the 1888–1889 depression led to the belated adoption of interventionist and progressive policies, particularly under the Nerveiík Kingdom. Even then, the Kingdom struggled to catch up to the achievements and growth rates of Alscia, whose strong economic performance was a significant challenge to Xevden's legitimacy.
Xevdenite society was severely unequal, largely rural, and spread over vast spaces. Urban areas were badly affected by the Colonisation War, and many cities endured stagnation until the Industrial Revolution.
Although the Treaty of Aðnat abolished the serfdom-like regime, the elites continued to exploit the population through a variety of mechanisms such as taxes, low wages, control over land, and some forms of corvée labour.
Overall population figures for Xevden are wildly varied and notoriously unreliable for historians. There was no organised nationwide census until the Nerveiík Kingdom held one in 1943, by which time its reduced territory made it more of a census of the Nerveiík peninsula. Record-keeping was haphazard, and Xevdenite authorities only counted citizens before the abolition of class-based citizenship.
Historians estimate that the proportion of citizens was 5% of the population at most, the rest being resident aliens.
Senalta adopted a state religion as a means of state consolidation, which came to be termed "salvationism". Drawing on various aspects of zoroastrianism, the monotheist religions of Mansuriyyah, and Syaran Zobethos, it was a religion based on monotheism, millenarianism, a simplistic dualist morality, and positioning the monarch and nobility as divine messengers.
Salvationism never really took root in Xevdenite life beyond being a convenient tool for social control. Its theology emphasised the corrupt nature of the world and humanity and obedience to the sole deity as a guarantee of a good afterlife, communicating elites' contempt for non-Xevdenites. Its implicit glorification of wealth helped spread the racist and social spencerist sentiments that emerged among Xevdenite elites in the 19th century, and manifested itself in the building of lavish religious buildings, all of which would later be destroyed during the Liberation War.
Official conversion to salvationism was required to obtain full citizenship of Xevden. This caused a significant disagreement among the Gylian opposition: constitutionalists argued for an essentially entryist strategy of going through the formalities in order to build up a presence in the parliament, against the opposition of the confrontationists who argued for complete ostracism and treating any Gylians who converted as traitors and enemies of the people.
The weaknesses of the Xevdenite state paradoxically advantaged the Gylian resistance. Xevdenite policy was one of discrimination and marginalisation, but Xevdenites' contemptuous social spencerism meant they cared little for what non-Xevdenites did outside official supervision. Few Xevdenites attempted to learn any Gylic language, scornfully dismissing them as inferior. Censorship was mainly used to police Xevdenite society. While Xevdenites occasionally tried to encourage resident aliens to become full citizens through conversion, and thus implicitly acceptance of Xevdenite ideology, most of these efforts were perfunctory.
Marginalised but largely left to their own devices by the Xevdenite authorities, the native populations managed to construct a nearly parallel society outside of the Xevdenite state, which culminated in the Gylian ascendancy.
The size of Xevden's territory was also advantageous, as it provided the kyðoi with extensive mountain areas to use as their base, and helped them establish themselves in Gylian communities that they could rely on for support, supplies, and information on Xevdenite movements.
The memory and reputation of Xevden remain overwhelmingly negative in Gylias. For Gylians, Xevden represented a defining negative example, embodying all the hated traits that the Gylian ascendancy revolted against — authoritarianism, discrimination, elitism, inequality. The Gylian identity that emerged during the Gylian ascendancy defined itself strongly as the opposite of Xevden, making it easier for Gylians to embrace radical ideologies such as anarchism, through a mindset of "the more extreme the contrast, the better".
The end of the Liberation War and the Arnak Trials brought harsh historical judgement on Xevden; one of the verdicts in the latter described it as a "200-year old machine of criminality". The wicked–evil distinction and adversary–enemy distinction achieved widespread acceptance as concepts that separated Gylians from Xevdenites. One illustrative example of the war was the Nerveiík Kingdom being treated as an adversary, with the Varnaþ family being granted a peaceful retirement afterwards, while the Tymzar–Nalo regime was treated as an enemy, and its leaders were given the harshest punishment at the Arnak Trials.
Senalta's attempt to use salvationism to consolidate the state backfired severely. Gylics had already had conflicts with monotheists dating back to the Liúşai League, and had defeated the Quliyasi Jihad. The imposition of salvationism outraged native populations and strengthened their determination to retain their traditional beliefs in defiance. The experience of Xevden also cemented Gylians' association of monotheism with tyranny and oppression, which later culminated in the hostile environment of the Free Territories that drove monotheist adherents to flee, and all traces of their presence physically destroyed.