Spitzenbergen

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Republic of Spitzenbergen
Respublica Spitsbergia
Flag of Spitzenbergen
Flag
Capital
and largest city
Vespiario
Official languages English, Interlingua
Recognised national languages Nevajin
Demonym Spitsbergian
Government Parliamentary Democracy
• Prime Minister
Mammut Lanose
Legislature House of Delegates
121 members
Establishment
• Discovery of Spitzenbergen by Neveh
November 18, 1730
• Independence from Southeastern Federation
August 15, 1983
• Declaration of Republic
August 17, 1990
Area
• Total
498 km2 (192 sq mi)
Population
• 2014 (Census) census
1,867,591
• Density
3,750/km2 (9,712.5/sq mi)
GDP (nominal) estimate
• Total
$57.05 billion (2014 est.)
• Per capita
$30,548
Currency Spitz Libra-Sterling (LS)
Internet TLD .sp


The Republic of Spitzenbergen (Respublica Spitsbergia) is a republic located in the Southeastern Ocean that emerged as an independent nation separate from the Nevajin Imperium on August 17, 1990, following its departure from the Southeastern Federation on August 15, 1983. It is divided into 2 islands: North Spitzenbergen and South Spitzenbergen, with the majority of the population, major cities and political scene centered on South Spitzenbergen.

History[edit]

Dawn of Civilization in Spitzenbergen to First "Discovery"[edit]

The exact year that Spitzenbergen was first settled is hard to pin down, even pinning this first settlement date down to a decade is beyond most archaeologists and historians who study Spitzenbergen. This is partly due to the sheer time that has passed since this original "D-Day", but also due to the many years of colonial rule and imperialism Spitzenbergen would later experience, which would wipe the island nearly completely clean of its past history.

What we do know of Spitzenbergen's past suggests the arrival of humans on the island around the year 500 AD. Historians posit that these first humans were Agarinans, a people whose origins lie on Pebbleland's southern coast. These humans would have Spitzenbergen's two islands all to themselves for the next millennia, as further "invasions" of humans never quite materialized. What historical records we do have show that the Agarinans formed relatively complex settlements and civilizations on Spitzenbergen's two island during the next 1000 years, in line with more accurate historical records from other parts of the Southeastern Islands. We see fragments of this original civilization of Spitzenbergen scattered across the archipelago, but the next, main chapter of Spitzenbergen's history would be written not by the islands' native population, but by explorers from a far-off land, and the colonists that followed them.

These explorers came from the Kingdom of Neveh, a regionally significant imperial state from distant Xenatia. Neveh had been sending dozens of these expeditions for decades, throughout the latter-sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, but the main expeditions came following the year 1711, when the Kingdoms of Neveh, Emish and Marqash — united under one crown — succeeded in their attempts to conquer Evesh-uzum, the final state in the local region to oppose them. This resulted in the formal declaration of the Nevajin Imperium, and the creation of a truly united state to rule this vast area, totaling nearly 1.9 million square kilometers. The subsequent period of economic prosperity brought millions of ingots of gold into the Imperium's coffers, resulting in major infrastructure construction, but also the resources to properly equip a long-distance expedition. This investment into stronger, more powerful ships is credited by Nevajin scholars as the key turning point in Nevajin attempts to project power beyond its immediate region – it allowed a nation whose expeditions were unable to progress further than the areas where the most daring of Nevajin fisherman ventured (Irdminia's #46 on Xenatia), to reach a land thousands of miles in the distance.

However, this alone does not explain the interest in colonization that would need to arise to yield a Nevajin Spitzenbergen. J.E. Eshbabum, a leading scholar of Nevajin History at Imperial College Marqash, argues that this interest developed as a result of the period of scientific and social thought that happened concurrently with the development of new naval technologies. This, combined with a desire by the Crown to show the power of the newly created Imperium, resulted in dozens of expeditions led by young men willing to brave the long distances, who were keen on claiming "glory and riches" for themselves and their suzerain.

Colonization[edit]

Ask any school-age child in Neveh, and they'll be quick to tell you that the most famous explorer in Nevajin history is Aarius Ayastal, the man who discovered Spishenbergesh-uzum. Born to a thoroughly naval family, Ayastal received a Royal Charter from the Prince-General of Emish in 1729 to lead an expedition to the West, in search of "new and exotic lands". Ayastal set sail in March 1730 on his flagship, the Arshad, to the west. Several months later, he and his crew would arrive at what is now the Southern Island of Spitzenbergen. After landing on the shore, with no natives to initially greet him, Ayastal declared that the seemingly-uninhabited island was "claimed in the Divine name of the Prince-General of Emish and his descendants". He christened the island, and the companion island to the north which he discovered a few weeks later, "Spisenbergesh-uzum" after its numerous waterfalls and large jungles. He soon set sail, and returned back to Emish in early 1732 to a hero's welcome.

After hearing stores of the lush islands with "bountiful treasure", the Prince-General of Emish ordered that the islands be settled by the Nevajins. After several setbacks and numerous delays, this "settlement expedition" left port in 1762, and arrived on South Spitzenbergen in 1763. However, these colonists were in for a shock. Aarius Ayastal had, for reasons still unknown to this date, never encountered the native peoples of Spitzenbergen during his initial expedition some twenty years prior. The colonists, however, did come across these natives. In the early years of the Spitzenbergen colony, the two peoples managed to co-exist somewhat uneasily, with high tensions abounding throughout this period. The settlement of Vesparikh was created during this time; named for a constellation on the traditional Emish-arum astrological charts, this settlement would later become Vespiario, the capitol city of present day Spitzenbergen.

The shaky truce between the natives and the colonists would be broken in 1804, when a new Prince-General came to his position. This Prince-General, influenced by the prevailing thought of the time regarding the Imperium's "innate cultural superiority", would send a detachment of his troops to Spitzenbergen to enforce this "reality". Arriving in mid-July in 1806, these soldiers would harshly attack the native population of the island, killing or enslaving these people as well destroying every last vestige of their civilization. Backed by these forces, the Prince-General used these native slaves to serve in the copper mines of North Spitzenbergen. Fueled by the copper trade, the population of Vesparikh and the rest of Spitzenbergen would triple in a few short decades, to more than forty thousand in 1854. Also during this time, the official name of "Spishenbergeshuzum" would transform into its modern form, "Spitzenbergen".

However, this political situation was not to last. In 1855, a major native uprising took the troops and colonial population of the islands by surprise, leading to the death of nearly two hundred Nevajins before colonial troops could put down the uprising. These deaths would spark harsh criticism in the halls of power back in the Imperium, and in 1858 the "Government of Spitzenbergen Act" was decreed by the Empress in Neveh. This brought Spitzenbergen under the direct rule of the Empress in Neveh, who would now appoint a "Viceroy of the West" to rule in her place. However, these actions did little to save the native population, by now depleted by forty years of enslavement, war and mistreatment, and the native population fell to negligible numbers by the 1881 Census.

Over the next century, Spitzenbergen would see a gradual development of its industry and growth in its population. The Industrial Revolution that was sweeping Neveh would lead to the quick growth in the "cheap labor" population; the copper mines where the natives toiled away for years were soon filled with this cheap Nevajin labor.

The Creation of Modern Spitzenbergen[edit]

The years between the late 1880s and the 1960s are not all that significant in the grand scheme of things, as the colonial polity and economy were preserved with few consequential changes. The year 1961, however, is regarded as one of the most significant years in Nevajin history, as it marks the start of the "People's Uprising" (or the "Communist Insurrection", depending on whom you ask) in the heartland of the Imperium. Simultaneous communist uprisings in more than a hundred cities took the government by surprise, and started a bloody and violent civil war that would rage for the next thirty seven years, until the Truce of Marqash was signed, in 1998.

There was an attempt to launch a concurrent uprising in Spitzenbergen in solidarity with these mainland uprisings, but it was quickly and easily put down by Imperial forces. More significantly for Spitzenbergen's development, the uprisings led to a near total collapse in communication between the Crown and the Viceroy in Spitzenbergen. The Viceroy at the time, Lord Belshejni, continued to rule Spitzenbergen, and the political status quo was maintained. However, Lord Belshejni's death in 1970, and the continued absence of communication from the mainland, would lead to the establishment of a "People's Viceroy", an official elected directly by Spitzenbergen to rule in the absence of Imperial authority. Lord Nergeshu, the first (and only) People's Viceroy was elected in late 1970, and was drawn from the islands' own population.

During his reign as People's Viceroy, Lord Nergeshu would negotiate Spitzenbergen's entry into the Southeastern Federation in 1976, as an attempt to protect Spitzenbergen from foreign (primarily Internatian) powers while cut off from reinforcements and military support from the mainland. After various disputes regarding the capitol city and other issues, and with the departure of the Lost Islands in May 1983, Spitzenbergen would leave the Southeastern Federation later that year (on August 15th) and once again become de-facto independent (while nominally under the rule of the Empress in Neveh).

Spitzenbergen Today[edit]

The People's Viceroy, Lord Nergeshu, died in 1988. His death led to great turmoil in the Spitzenbergen political scene, as the question of whether Neveh would ever re-establish communication or direct rule over Spitzenbergen was raised. Finally, a solution was reached and the Republic of Spitzenbergen was declared in 1990. Over the course of the following election cycles, the notion of a three-party state was firmly established, aided by a MMP-electoral system. In 1999, advocates for the creation of a uniquely "Spitzenbergen" identity succeeded through popular referendum to establish English and Interlingua as the Official Languages of Spitzenbergen, displacing Nevajin to "Recognized Language" status.

In the modern world, Spitzenbergen has attempted to reposition itself as a banking state (more derisively referred to as a "tax haven") servicing Internatia, with some degrees of success. The copper mines which once made the Prince-Generals of Emish wealthy beyond measure are now closed, the copper having long since run out (although there are occasional discoveries of small pockets of copper every now and then). Spitzenbergen has a stable and mostly fair democracy, with relatively liberal freedoms and guaranteed rights. As in any post-colonial society, Spitzenbergen suffers from relatively high income inequality, a fact the government has been trying to address in recent years with new welfare programs, and a new progressive tax system.

As of October 2014, despite the stabilization of the political situation following the Truce of Neveh, the Nevajin Imperium has yet to re-establish communication, or administration, in Spitzenbergen.

ISC participation[edit]

Main article: Spitzenbergen in the Internatia Song Contest