The High Principality of Gwenedd, known in Latin and English as Venedotia, is one of the most culturally distinct provinces of Britain. It is known as one of the most Christian of the provinces as Islam was mostly established in the south, and some say that the ancient Celtic tongue still linger most in its influence in Venedotic British as they have more loan words from Celtic Britonnic than elsewhere.
Those days, it's mostly seen as a rural paradise, ideal for hiking, for camping and for seeing the sight of Mount Snowdon. Politically, it has always been favourable to the Conservative Party which has historically been the party of British Christians due to shared rural interests. Its High Princes have been known to speak out in favour of Conservative politics, even when they were merely a hodge-podge of old Loyalists and "Independent Reformists". Indeed, the Gwatcin-Gwen family has even provided Britain with its very last Loyalist Tosaig in the esteemed figure of Gwilim Gwatcin-Gwen, 17th High Prince of Gwenedd. However, Venedotia is not a monolith of Conservative support, and both Liberal Democrats and Labour have found success here, the later especially in the north-eastern cities that emerged in the Industrial Revolution.
Venedots have sometimes elected regionalists to the Senad, especially in times when they feel neither of the "Big Three" listens to them. The primary Venedotic regionalist party, since the 1970s, has been Gwg di Wenedd ("Voice of Venedotia"), a rather centrist yet intensely agrarian and environmentalist party that tends to do better in the Venedotic Senedd than in the British Senad. But on the whole, Venedotia is very much within the British cultural umbrella, and definitely more so than Dumnonia and Armorica, which is a whole different story.
Venedotic "identity" is a rather ambiguous thing, but most often is rooted in its Christian faith [albeit that's kind of more historically true than now, as they're definitely like a plurality Muslim now], history of resistance to the Southerners and their attempts at centralising Britain, defending their ancient Senedd and of course their High Princes and their descent from basically the Venedotic folk hero, Ewein Glendwr, who is praised every year on the Gweil Gweneddig ("Venedotic Festival", 17 June, their local day) with the traditional toast to "Our First Prince".
Of course, Glendwr is known down South too, as he was an influential politician who more or less used Venedotia's known rebellious streak to his advantage and got the other regional princes to unite against a King's increasing authority, and made the Senad into a significant organisation and not just a rubber-stamp for any King's wishes, the very first step towards modern British democracy. This is known as the "Glendwr Revolution" in British history and widely studied as a key constitutional milestone.
In Venedotia itself, he's remembered mainly as the one who united the previously-disparate Venedots under his leadership and managed to get the Southerners to agree to respect traditional Venedotic laws up north. The fact that over the next few centuries, those laws would be more or less quietly repealed is never mentioned in the mythological saying, oddly enough.
Venedots have became quite influential in the Empire, with their fusion of Christianity and Brithenidad proving appealing to parties that wish to acknowledge British culture while not quite giving power to non-Christians. There were of course, Southern Britons that were Christian as well, they just tended to come more from Venedotia due to historical reasons. It was why while Sir Aleisandr Bendith was the first Muslim Prime Minister of Canada, he was by no means the first British-speaking one. Ironically, Bendith was from a Venedotic family, just one that converted to Islam.
Decided to do this as a "small" update. TABE will probably have a proper update eventually [coronavirus has made things go haywire tbh in my planning and motivation [and mental health]], but here's one about @OwenM's part of Wales in my weird TL.
One attempt at a list of presidents for that weird list I did a while ago. 45. Businessman Donald J. Trump (Republican-New York) 2017-2021 46. Fmr. Vice-President Joseph R. Biden Jr. (Democratic-Delaware) 2021-2023 47. Vice-President Catherine M. Cortez Masto (Democratic-Nevada) 2023-2029 48. Vice-President Cory A. Booker (Democratic-New Jersey) 2029-2033 49. Senator Joshua D. Hawley (Republican-Missouri) 2033-2037 50. Governor Brace R. Belden (Democratic/Democratic Socialist-California) 2037-2043
51. House Speaker Elissa B. Slotkin (Democratic/Civic Agreement-Michigan) 2043-2049 52. Fmr. Vice-President Jeannette B. Taylor (Democratic Socialist-Illinois) 2049-2053
53. Fmr. President Brace R. Belden (Democratic Socialist-California) 2053-2057 54. Governor Ashley A. Oshiro ("Democratic"/Civic Democratic-Virginia) 2057-2058
55. Vice-President Taliesin L. Abdullah ("Democratic"/Civic Democratic-Texas) 2058-2060 56. House Speaker Luisa Vincent (Progressive-Pennsylvania) 2060-2061 57. Professor Evelyn J. K. Skála (Nonpartisan-New Jersey) 2061-2069 58. Senator Rosanna M. Jacques (Progressive-Louisiana) 2069-2073 59. Ambassador Stephanie K. "Taffy" Schule (Civic Democratic-New York) 2073-2081
A Roman Politics Game... IN SPACE!
GMs: Turquoise Blue and VoidTemplar
The Senate and People of the Galactic Republic, most often known as Galaxia, is in interesting times as it enters its 570th year. It has conquered many a planet, brought many peoples and races under their control, and has reached so far. But yet, but yet it is so internally divided. The stark inequality in Galaxian society has intensified politics as the old Senate divisions between the elite-favouring Optimates and reform-favouring Populares exist and are even more acute now.
And of course, we must not forget the many races in Galaxia, many of which aren't exactly happy to be there. And of course, Galaxia's many enemies from without seek to undermine it and bring down the upstart Republic down a peg. But all of this is normal and expected.
The Populares have the upper hand as their leader Melita Sempronia is currently Consul and Dictator of the Galactic Republic, and many of her reforms have led to a drastic shift in Galaxian society. Many in the Optimates are certainly not happy with this development, but so far they are seen by Populares as merely old relics of a bygone age, with the Sempronia age bringing forth a truly social Republic, one which works for all humans.
However, many Populares forget that the distinction between an Optimatas and a Popularis is not clear, and many politicians flit between the two, seeking opportunity and power. Indeed many are just with Sempronia because she has the power now, and once were committed Optimates.
Galaxia is in interesting times, and that is where you step in.
Welcome all to Cursus Honorum, a political-game (election-game is perhaps inaccurate) set in a fantastical Space-Rome! This is based on a previous game, a climb one going by the same name (link here), and all credit for the setting goes of course to Inquisition, who will be serving as this game's "lore-master". As you can see, we have moved the start-date a bit back, because we want to get a more stable start before the obligatory chaos, so you can establish your politicians and not-politicians. Sempronia's assassination is not set in stone, but it is very likely. The date for it has been rolled to prevent any of you from knowing the exact date and if you are an Optimatas, you may be invited to the plot itself.
Now, one thing I do have to emphasise about this game is that it is not just about the Senate or the Popular Assembly. There are many avenues for an ambitious character, even those who Galaxia currently sniffs at and consider barbarian. I do encourage people to think of different ways.
Anyway, the chart of the Galactic Republic is below.
As you can see, there are other avenues to power and influence that are not within the Senate and Assembly. Those are of course, possible for your character to enter. A military war-hero was exactly how Sempronia first got to prominence, after all.
But what benefits do you get for aligning with Optimates or Populares within the Senate or Assembly, or outside it? Why, bona and mala of course!
Every character that deigns to consider Galaxian politics worthy of their attention will be placed on a slider.
Champion of the People - Strong Popularis - Flit Popularis - Flit Optimatas - Strong Optimatas - Champion of the Senate
On the left, we have the Populares, the right Optimates. Note there are no "middle option". You can of course, try to raise yourself above the silly divisions, but you won't make much friends and hence get much bona. From left to right, the bona and mala are...
Champion of the People
The people love you, you're seen as the return of the Carinii brothers, but the Optimates despise you. +20 to all initiatives related to supporting popular reforms
-20 to all initiatives related to reaching out to the Optimates
Defection to the Optimates is no longer possible
You're known as a reliable reformer who the people broadly like, but people like you have defected. +15 to all initiatives related to supporting popular reforms
-5 to all initiatives related to reaching out to the Optimates
Perhaps you're an Iohannes-come-lately, maybe you were once an Optimatas who wanted in on the gravy-train... +10 to all initiatives related to supporting popular reforms
Perhaps you're a young elitist who's starting your first steps, maybe you're a former Popularis who defected for some reason... +10 to all initiatives related to resisting popular reforms
You're known as a reliable conservative who the old interests broadly like, but... people like you have turned on a denarius. +15 to all initiatives related to resisting popular reforms
-5 to all initiatives related to reaching out to the Populares
Champion of the Senate
The old interests are all behind you, you're seen as a bastion against dangerous populism. The Populares hate you of course. +20 to all initiatives related to resisting popular reforms
-20 to all initiatives related to reaching out to the Populares
Defection to the Populares is no longer possible
As you can see, it is quite beneficial to stay not entirely committed to one side, and instead jump on the "gravy-train" so to speak. The faction in power, which is currently Consul Melita Sempronia's Populares, has a +5 bonus to all public initiatives by their faction, but a -5 malus to all secret initiatives. The faction in opposition, the Optimates, has a +5 bonus to all secret initiatives by their faction, but a -5 malus to all public initiatives. This, I hope, will create fun times and create a lot of scheming, which is exactly what Roman politics was all about.
Now, what about the social classes, not the factions? While it is advantageous to be of the patrician class, all social classes have their advantages and it isn't that long since the Galaxian Spartacus did his revolt after all.
Free Citizens Patrician
You were born in a heavily prestigious family with clear ancestry from one or more of the Great Houses of the Republic. Galaxia is built for people like you. The red carpet to power and influence was laid out at your birth. You are of the elite. Although not necessarily wealthy. Or even human. +15 to self-interested initiatives
Can only be Human, Abhuman or Kedaya
You are of the wealthy classes. Your house is paved with gold, yet you do not have clear ancestry from the Great Houses, so the very top of the structure is closed off to you. But what blood may not deliver, gold will. You have great fortunes open to you. Use them wisely. +15 to initiatives that require gold
Can only be Human, Abhuman, Xacree or Kedaya
You are of the "ordinary" classes. Well, "ordinary" by Galaxian political standards. You're perceived as representative of the masses. Which... is not accurate, but it helps your imagery quite a bit, that is for sure. +10 to rallying support for any causes
-5 to any influencing of the Senate
Cannot serve in the Senate or be a Legate
Can be of any race
You are of the genuine "common people". Consistently ignored by Galaxian society, despite being one of the 70%, this ignorance can be turned into a strength. That is, depending on how far you wish to go... +20 to extralegal initiatives
-10 to any political initiatives
Cannot serve in the Senate or the office corps
Can be of any race
Not Citizens Resident
You're not a Galaxian citizen. You have rights under the law, yes. But you're even more ignored than the proletarians. You are most likely a non-human, or a former slave. Or both. +20 to army initiatives
-40 to any political initiatives
Cannot serve in any political role or office corps
Can be of any race
You are the lowest of the low. You are a slave. You are property. You are just a thing by Galaxian law. But there is a certain solidarity amongst slaves, one that have in the past trembled Galaxia... +10 to rallying slave revolts
-100 to any political initiative
Cannot own property, serve in the army or hold any political office
Can be of any race
I do hope people try something outside the patrician class, as all have their particular focuses.
What about the races? Well, Inquisition has written up a brilliant summary for all of them, so I will just copy them over, and below, elaborate on the necessary bona and mala for each of them.
Originating on the polluted mudball known as Terra, humanity is perhaps the most populous single species in the galaxy. They have had many nations and empires, some small and some galaxy-spanning, of which the current Republic is only the latest. Making up over 60% of the Republic's population, and 75% of Palatina's, humans are by far the dominant race. +5 to any electoral campaigning in human space
-10 to any initiatives regarding non-humans (not including abhumans)
In the millenia since humanity’s spread from Old Earth, and the isolation that came after the Terran Collapse, homo sapiens have survived and even thrived on planets that would otherwise be considered hostile. Through natural selection and genetic engineering, a number of distinct offshoots of humanity have emerged. While there is no definitive list of different abhuman offshoots, there are a number of distinct types.
Those abhumans adapted for high-gravity and/or high-pressure environments are known as maximales. Shorter and stockier than the baseline humans of Terra or Palatina, maximales are also incredibly strong and hardy in normal environments. They consume significantly more calories per day than baseline humans and have an appearance that other humans have labeled “brutish,” but assertions that their mental capacities are less developed than their counterparts have little to no basis in fact. Additionally, most come from colder worlds, leaving them far more hirsute than average. +5 to any initiatives that require physical strength or endurance (like long campaigns)
-10 to any initiatives including public debating (due to widespread perceptions of you as brutish)
In contrast to maximales, altapueri (literally “tall children”) hail from lighter-gravity worlds, and as a result are tall, slender, and less physically powerful. While on their homeworlds, they have an almost legendary reputation for grace and beauty, but on worlds with typical gravity, this is harshly dispelled as the greater pressure and weight makes them lethargic, clumsy, and constantly tired. Still, altapueri have found their niche in the Republic military, as shock troops for low-zero gravity environments. +5 to any initiatives in the 'subtle art' of diplomacy and persuasion.
-10 to any initiatives that require physical strength or endurance (on planets with typical gravity)
Augebaturi (the “Augmented”) are an “artificial” strain of abhumans. Within the ranks of the Republic military, genemods and cybernetics are ubiquitous, with servicemembers from every branch seeing at least some minor augmentation. However, in certain specific cases, the augmentations go so far that the result is something “more than human.” The ranks of the Praetorian Guard - the elite troops of the Lictorate, and the guardians of the Presidium - are filled by women augmented to this high degree, and the famous classiarii naval infantry have received a similar treatment. This can be applied to a number of the species that live under the Republic’s aegis, although in the case of the kedaya (due to their biology making them poor land-based soldiers) it is very rare. +5 to any initiatives involving the military, warfare or just plain combat.
-10 to any initiatives outside that aegis (the Republic considers you a "warrior people")
For Non-Human Augmented, add this on their existing bona and mala.
Normally-Playable "Xenos", Non-Humans, Extraterrestrials, what have you.
“Qassilo delenda est!” was the rallying cry in the halls of the Galactic Senate over a century ago, as the Palatine legions engaged in the war that would define the early Republic. The Xacree are a roughly avian race native to the Perseus arm of the galaxy, specifically the arid planet of Qassilo. Their homeworld’s proximity to its star forced the Xacree to evolve a chitinous proto-exoskeleton, and while Qassilo’s low gravity made them physically thinner and weaker than humans, their long, spindly limbs and sharp claws give a vicious advantage in hand-to-hand. They are a very individualistic race, beginning as far back as childhood, where children leave their parents at the age of five standard years (although they mature significantly faster than humans do). They have average lifespans of sixty standard years. Despite a fearsome appearance, the Xacree have a history of being a mercantile race, dominating trade between the galactic rim and the human-dominated Core. As the Palatine republic expanded its borders and began to muscle in on Xacree trade routes, war was inevitable. The resulting conflict destroyed entire worlds, and consigned over a billion Xacree to oblivion. At its end in 421 AFR, Consular dictator Paxus Ralian ordered the bombardment and occupation of Qassilo, incorporating the beaten Coalition as a new sector of the Galactic Republic. Since that time, the Xacree have gained a reputation as the most restive subject species, and while they have gained both reputation and respect from their human overlords, the proconsul of the Xacree Sector is still assigned more legions and battlefleets than any other to quell the many uprisings. +5 to any actions against the Galactic Republic
-10 to any actions influencing Galactic politics
Originating from the planet of Nhuli in the Core, the humanoid nuvians have a diaspora nearly as wide as humanity’s. They are a race of humanoid mammals often described as “lupine,” with elongated snouts and lithe, low-gravity statures. One of the oldest - if not the oldest - civilizations in the galaxy, the nuvians have long since waned from their ancient heights. Once their civilization ringed the Deep Core and stretched into what is now known as Wild Space; then, a plague, internal strife, and a brief conquest by the First Carhayan Empire led to a rapid decline. Eventually, the Terran empire of Anastos the Conqueror would bring Carhaya - and with it the Nhuli empire - under a single banner, before Anastos’s death divided the conquests again. A brief rule under a human successor “Emperor” gave way to the modern Tetrarchy, where the empire was divided into four districts, each ruled by one of the Tetrarchs. While this system has for the most part stabilized the nuvian state, it has continued its steady contraction. The Carhayans conquered a large portion of its rimward frontier, including the vital trade system of Ormuz, and in the Core Wars some 110 years ago, the young Galactic Republic bit off a chunk as well to create the Nuvian Sector. The current Tetrarchy, while it still claims the legacy of the ancient empire, is unstable and vulnerable - and time will only tell whether or not they can recover. +5 to any research/learning actions
-10 to any actions influencing Galactic politics
The kedaya were the first fully nonhuman species to fall under Palatine domination, and their annexation was a largely willing one. The kedaya are an amphibious, mostly aquatic species, often referred to by humans as “frogsquids” for their cephalopodic limbs and large, flat heads. Despite having a civilization dating back far beyond that of humanity, the kedaya’s technological advancement was stymied by a need to return to saltwater every few hours or so, meaning that their civilization was purely coastal and things like aerospace travel took a long time to crop up. When the more space-adept Palatine humans arrived at the borders of their tiny Union, some 275 years prior, the kedaya found themselves impressed at the speed with which humanity had expanded, as well as worried by their relentless expansionism. Their pacifistic nature may have been at odds with the more militaristic Republic, but seeing the writing on the wall, they negotiated a deal that left them with a position of privilege and respect within the Republic; to this day, the kedaya are the only species that have patricians counted among their number, and while none have so far served as Consul, there have been a great number of kedaya Senators, Praetors, and Proconsuls. The Kedaya Sector is unique in that it is governed largely by the locals, with the (often native) Proconsul merely taking an advisory and military role. +5 to all initiatives regarding other aliens
-10 to any initiatives involving new ideas
Reptilian humanoids hailing from the planet locally known as Viturgis, these “barbarian tribals” of the Perseus Arm are a new addition to the Republic’s fold - and not a complete one at that. While the Aquarian and Baelican Sectors are made up of systems conquered from different Aquarian clans, the majority remain independent of the Republic’s grasp. While they are disunited and prone to factional conflicts, they still engage in raids on Republic territory when their endless factional wars fail to provide enough plunder. It is theorized that, should they unite, the Aquarians would pose a serious, existential threat to the Republic. +10 to any initiatives involving military actions
-20 to any actions influencing Galactic politics
Not Normally Playable "Xenos", Non-Humans, Extraterrestrials, what have you You need a justification for why they would be in the Galactic aegis, and a really good bio to convince me... Carhayans
The Carhayans, a race of quadrupedal reptilians, have reformed their own Empire in the millennium since the Terran Collapse freed them from the human yoke. Boasting one of the most efficient bureaucracies and powerful militaries in the galaxy, the Carhayan Empire is by far the frontrunner to usurp the power of the Galactic Republic. +10 to all bureaucratic initiatives
-20 to all actions influencing Galactic politics
Like the Aquarians, the Brezhona are a disunited force of tribals - and little is known about them by the Republic. Ill-fated expeditions have returned with heavy casualties and a bleak picture of a resource-poor, constantly warring region of space, with constant battles between honor-bound and warlike mammals tearing their tribes apart. The Brezhona are currently beneath the Republic’s notice, however, concerned as they are with the Aquarians. +10 to all 'honourable' initiatives
-20 to all actions influencing Galactic politics
The Yedevine are an amphibious race of merchants and bankers, dominating trade in the outer arm of the galaxy. With the rise of the Republic, however, they have begun a precipitous decline, as Republic taxes and the unification of the coreward systems have dried up competition and made them increasingly dependent on the Palatines for survival. +10 to all mercantile initiatives
-20 to all actions influencing Galactic politics
The Great Celestial Temple is an out of context issue for the denizens of the Milky Way. Boasting organic technology that far outstrips that of even the Republic, the Celestials came from beyond the galactic disc some three thousand years ago and have since established a powerful empire on the outer rim. Despite the extensive trade with the “southern” Galaxy, they remain an enigma - and rumors abound of great and terrible powers wielded by their leaders. But that’s all just superstition, right? +10 to all technological initiatives
-20 to all actions influencing Galactic politics
Now, with the classes and races listed, here's the char form.
Name: (For Human/Abhuman characters or Galaxised non-humans, use this) Class:
Position: (Cannot be Consul or Dictator, must confirm with racial and hierarchical restrictions) Biography: (Note, a particularly good biography will get a first-initiative RP bonus) Skills: Please spoiler. Shamelessly taken from Augenis wholesale. All credit to him, of course.
Skills can impact your character’s initiatives, political campaigns, and in-game elections. At the start of the game, you given 20 points to spend on stats, ranging from 1 to 5. You must have at least 1 point in every category, which leaves you with 13 points to increase your preferred skills.
- Oratory (your character’s capacity for public speaking and persuasion)
- Economics (your character’s knowledge and experience of economic matters)
- Diplomacy (your character’s knowledge and experience of diplomatic matters)
- Legalism (your character’s knowledge and experience of legal and constitutional matters)
- Campaigning (your character’s ability to run an effective political campaign)
- Cunning (your character's ability to plot, scheme, and conduct illicit political actions)
- Integrity (your character's public reputation and how trustworthy they are known to be)
The Mexican Empire, or just Mexico for short, is a superpower. Perhaps it has always been in its potential to be, and it is true that since the late 19th century with the industralisation and modernisation overseen by Liberal governments (especially that of José Yves Limantour, three-time Prime Minister) it has boomed and developed greedily into its present powerhouse status. But there was an era when Mexico was a laughing stock.
"So far from God, so close to the British Empire" was a popular remark of many European diplomats in the early 19th century regarding Mexico. And it was painfully true. Britain seemed to have a vendetta against Mexico from the moment it first was born in the revolutions against Spain. From funding Centroamerican rebels [leading to Central America leaving] to backing Mayan rebels in the Yucatan leading to a forced purchase due to diplomatic pressure being put to bear on the long-suffering Mexico. This steady drip-drop of diplomatic humiliation upon diplomatic humiliation undermined every government Mexico had, from Agustin Iturbide's Empire to the United Mexican Republic of Presidents Bustamante and Santa Anna. In the end, democracy buckled and Santa Anna declared himself ultimate authority in the conservative-dominated United Mexican State.
This inevitably got opposition within Mexico from liberals fearing Santa Anna would extinguish democracy permanently. In the end, this torn Mexico apart, and when Atlantic-Americans moved into Texas and declared they were an independent country, the country all but fell apart, especially with Santa Anna dead. In desperation, the liberals and conservatives came together and hammered out a compromise. This compromise, peculiarly enough, ended up with another monarch, but a Spanish one with a very familiar last name. Pedro I of the House of Moctezuma de Tultengo would be the new Empire's figurehead, to serve as a symbol of unity for a country that sorely needed one, while the country united and ended the Texan threat.
Peculiarly enough, Britain had one of its many volte-faces and declared that since Texas was harbouring known traitors to the Crown, that they would support Mexico's attempt at crushing it. Mexico was deeply bitter and cynical of any British "support", knowing of its past repeated humiliations, but would publicly accept diplomatic support. With Texas crushed, Mexico could finally heal itself. Yes, yes, there was still Atlantic-Americans heading into Texas, some weird religion was emerging in Nevada, and mutterings of secession in California, especially from that grandson of a drunkard Bourbon who thinks he's the monarch of California. But for once, Mexico could rebuild. In 1853, the northern border was agreed upon with Britain who had a vested interest in ascertaining the border between British Oregon and Mexico.
The aforementioned Mormons in Nevada was outraged by this and started a decades-long rebellion in favour of Mormon unification into an independent theodemocratic state, an ideology that would persist to the present day. And once Prime Minister Jose Manuel Iglesias signed the 'Doctrine of Autonomy', it caused a conservative backlash that resulted in Liberals being thrown out of power for decades.
And once Britain had yet another volte-face and declared that the Bourbon descendant's claim was genuine, Mexico under Conservative Prime Minister Manuel Gonzalez Flores had a grim choice to make, it could either stand up and refuse yet another humiliation, or it could avoid further bloodshed and destruction, and ensure that Mexico itself was developed. Yes, California was the richest part due to the gold, but surely even Britain understands the necessity of being paid to cede land? It did after all, give Mexico some gold for Yucatan, even if a piffling sum. The expertise of Mexico's diplomatic team was of such a note that they managed to convince the world that actually they were the wronged party. Britain's pressure denied them the chance of not losing California, but the princely sum they got soothed any pains, and ensured the emergent California would be in debt to Mexico for decades.
Never had losing a huge chunk of land felt so sweet. Tragically, the next loss, that of Nevada, was anything but. The Mormons were getting louder, and with California now independent they felt emboldened. The assassination of the youthful but intensely successful Prime Minister in 1883 led to a crisis and the emergence of the Deseret Liberation Army. The successor, an aging elder statesman, eventually gave assent to an independent general/self-made noble to lead a National Government. The Duke of Nayarit, for all his reputation presently is one as an erratic leader of zero principles outside of his native Nayarit, fought the Deseret War as strongly as any Mexican government could. However, the Mormons knew the land best, and managed to drain resources so consistently that it was inevitable. Mexico threw in the towel and consented to Deseret being independent.
Thankfully for Mexico, it was after the Duke of Nayarit retired that they got perhaps one of their best Prime Ministers, the Liberal Jose Yves Limantour. Limantour is widely reckoned today as 'the Father of Modern Mexico', and was a strong advocate of industrial development and free trade. His policies and their legacy led to the rapid development of Mexico. Limantour was in many ways building on Gonzalez Flores' policies, but history remembers Gonzalez Flores mostly for the "Golden Bargain" and Limantour for the development. His governments may have been irregular, but the Conservative governments inbetween did not dare reverse many of his popular policies.
Mexico was on its way to superstardom at long last, heralded by the glitzy wedding between the Crown Prince and an Iturbide scion that unified the two imperial claims and forged the House of Moctezuma de Tultengo-Iturbide, that was widely attended by even the highest of European nobility. But there was one more humiliation left in store, and this time not even Britain was to blame. Texas was by the wake of the 20th century a bubbling nest of anger that rose above sectarian lines. Radical rhetoric was abound and once a Conservative government, egged on by a nationalistic press, declared that the nationalistic Lone Star Party was to be banned as a revolutionary party that went against Mexican values, Texas exploded, with its leader declaring that "if Mexico wants a revolutionary party, let them have a revolutionary party!" and declaring the Second Republic of Texas.
Now, was the Second Texan War winnable for Mexico? Yes. They had the right amount of men, the ideal diplomatic situation [turns out no European government likes this man Debs who is a proud Marxist] and even had Britain on their side for once. But ultimately, the Mexican people was just conditioned by repeated defeats into a sort of cynical pessimism that not even the Limantour boom cleansed off. And this took its toil as recruitment was atrocious, the Deseretans was all but openly cooperating with Texas, and a loud pacifist and "why do we need Texas anyway" element grew.
By 1911, it was once again too much. And Mexico finally agreed to sign a treaty agreeing that Texas would go independent. However, this Texas was a shadow of its grand ambitions. It did not contain much of the old claims of the First Republic, nor even all of the former New Philippines. And this would pay off dividends as many would-be Texan fields contained oil that proved key to yet another rapid development era in Mexican history.
Shorn of Central America, Yucatan, California, Deseret and Texas, this Mexico proved much more resilient and even though its politics was thrown into uncertainty with the rapid rise of Luis Morones and his Labour Party, it remained strong. Even a failed attempt at reconquering Texas in the late 50s and early 60s [a deeply questionable decision directly connected with the Mexican Prime Minister having a personal grudge on all things Texan] did not dent Mexico's clear rise to superpowerhood. Mexico was by the 80s a clear superpower, with even cultural influence growing far and wide.
The taco, a classic Mexican dish, can be seen in many cities all over the world, as a handy dish to eat, while international cities are guaranteed to have more specific Mexican cuisine influences. And it isn't purely in cuisine either, Mexico stands in an unique position in the Americas, as the most major Latin American country not deeply distrusted by European powers and yet rather indigenous-influenced. So it has in the IDO been a loud supporter of indigenous rights, even though its own history with that has been deeply spotty at best. Hey, superpowers are often hypocrites.
As the two-hundred year anniversary of Mexico's Second/Third (it's a whole historical debate) Empire approaches and the millions of Mexicans prepare to sing their national anthem Adoro a mi tierra, they are a country like a diamond. Shines due to intense pressure.
The Democratic Republic of Cumaná, also known as Koumana through the Arabic transliteration and historically known as "Granadan Guyana" or "Castillian Guyana", is widely considered the "bastion of Andalusian culture in the New World". The native tongue of the Cumaná people is a variant of Andalusian Arabic, and they are mostly descended from Granadan colonisers of the land in the 1500s to the 1700s.
Now, how did this happen, when Granada was on the brink of being conquered not that long before? One word answers it all - Britain. The British was frustrated at failed attempts at colonising future British Guyana, with the Dutch having more success, that they decided to send their puppets to do the job instead while focusing on colonising Permont and the Maritimes. The Granadans, whatever you can say about their status as dependent on the British for the very survival of their nation, were far more canny than the British regarding Latin America. And they knew that the Castillians was about to lose yet another war with Britain in their zeal to finish the reconquista and reclaim Cadiz. So they suggested to the British that they should demand parts of Latin America instead of just beating Castile down and leaving. Especially the bit next to Dutch Guyana...
The British signed off on that, and the lands of al-Andalus expanded once more. Under British guard, the first Granadan colonists landed in Cumaná and founded a town that they named "New Granada" in 1515. "New Granada", later renamed Cumaná after the natives, would grow into the nucleus of the entire colony. The Cumanagoto people were noted to be a native people hostile to settlers, so they were of course treated with extreme violence by the settlers and systematically pushed off their land in favour of the settlers.
By the 1700s, Cumaná was somewhat reasonably populated by Granadan people, especially after the last Castilian War which almost resulted in Granada itself being lost. This created an impetus for people fearing that their culture was not safe in Granada itself. As much as the Emir tried to discourage such sentiments, it did result in more settlers which he wished for anyway. But the final split between Cumaná and Granada was to come in the Seven Years' War. While Britain did in a sense win it, it was only via tying themselves tightly to former enemies in England, and Castile in the war took over and absorbed Cumaná into Venezuela. With Britain unwilling to continue the war despite clear victories, it signed over the land to Castile, leading to objections from Granada that would sour their relationship [up to the Emir asking Pedid if he would return Cumaná in exchange for them entering the war against Foucherist France. Pedid responded to that with "Would you rather Cumaná be Castilian or Granada itself?"].
Castile moved fast, and authorised the settlement of many Castilian colonists there, giving them economic priority above the now downtrodden Granadan settlers. This would create a division in Cumaná society that would linger until the present. In the Latin American Revolutions, the Castilians stuck with Castile, while the Granadans revolted. The Granadans wished an independent country, a republic. Granada failed them, it promised to protect them and it only meekly bowed down while Britain gave Cumaná to its enemies. No! A republic was needed! Cumaná shall govern itself!
The Democratic Republic of Cumaná was based on revolutionary ideals such as democracy, republicanism, secularism, all that Enlightenment thing that was very popular at the time. But the tensions between the Granadans and the Castilians remained, even if it was phrased euphemistically as "High and Low Cumaná". And of course, Britain, now their neighbour in Guyana, decided that obviously because they funded the entire thing, that they would have a say in Cumaná's economic development. In the end, decades of argument between Granadans, Castilians and British went nowhere.
There was an increasing tendency for Castilians to move to Venezuela for economic prosperity, leaving the small Cumaná to the Granadans, while the British just quietly bought up everything in the dimunitive republic and handed it over to the "British West Indies Company", which would be the main thorn in Cumaná's butt for centuries. Even after socialists succeeded in winning governments, the BWIC still held intense sway over the republic.
And even now, Cumaná is seen as much of a puppet of Britain as its mother country was. How tragic.
The island of Cyprus is divided in three, the Greek-dominated Principality of Cyprus, part of the Byzantine Empire; the Turk-dominated Province of Cyprus, part of the Ottoman Empire; and finally the Phoenician-plurality Crown Colony of Cyprus, part of the Kingdom of Britain. How did we get here?
Cyprus was part of the Byzantine Empire until the wars of the 1500s between it and the Ottoman Empire, which was hungering to take over more Byzantine lands after being frustrated in their attempts at taking parts of Greece or even the City itself. Britain was disinterested in helping Byzantium in this war due to being in an intense religious awakening that eclipsed their Romanitas attitude for a while. And the other European countries were, as a result of the "Problem of Two Emperors" and heavy Papal distrust of the Byzantines, heavily disinclined to help the Byzantine Empire. Hence the Ottomans successfully seized Cyprus in a war. Their control was irregular, and once or twice it fell to Byzantine hands. But ultimately it stuck in Ottoman hands until the Eastern War in the 1870s in which Britain seized Cyprus at the same time as the Byzantines retook Crete and several Aegean islands. Britain holding Cyprus made a lot of strategic sense for them, but the Byzantines distrusted this, seeing Cyprus as rightfully theirs.
Cyprus' Turkish minorities, growing due to Turkish settlement of the island and cultural conversion of some Northern Cypriots, and later by the fleeing of Turkish Cretans to Cyprus, increased the sectarian tensions. The Dog Days of the late 19th century was primarily caused by Egypt, but Cyprus' possession was also an argument, and indeed, you would see Greek and Turkish Cypriots argue in the British Parliament. Conservatives, due to being the party more amenable to Christians and Romanitas, would get Greek loyalty, while Turks would side with the more religious Liberal Democrats. The Dog Days was underlined by this bitter feud between Cypriot parliamentarians. However, do not assume this was reflective of the communities.
Indeed, before the 1950s, this was an island noted for strong cultural exchange and melding, with families regularly participating in Greek, Turkish and even Phoenician cultural customs and both Christian and Muslim religious observations. The British were more or less uninterested in stoking any religious strife, since they associated overt sectarianism with domestic division at home, at least in the Dog Days. Under Liberal governments, mosques were funded and more Cypriots identified as Turks, under Conservative governments, churches and Greeks. But more or less it was manageable and a strange sort of balance was found. Then after WWI, with both Byzantines and Ottomans unsatisfied by the outcome, they both funded nationalist movements in Cyprus, and hence created two ideas that would permanently divide the island - enosis and taksim.
Now, on the surface those ideas were simple. Enosis argued that Cyprus was majority-Greek [which by some readings yes, but remember the flexibility of identity] and should be a part of the Byzantine Empire, which was the natural home of Greeks. Taksim was the response to that by Turks. They believed that Cyprus should be divided into two and the Northern half allowed to return to the Ottoman Empire, which they argued was the natural home of Turks, as the nation-state of all Turks. Both of those arguments had a certain appeal in the 1920s, and especially once the economy crashed in 1929. The people of Cyprus felt that they needed a change, and a lot of them blamed the British colony.
Hence Cypriot anti-colonialism was extremely coloured by the rhetoric of enosis and taksim. And the once cultural flexibility ossified as people more virulently identified as Greeks or Turks. However, there were those who felt more loyalty to Phoenician culture, the third and most marginalised culture in Cyprus. And with them were the families who felt themselves neutral in this growing divide. With Britain studiously avoiding favouring one religion or identity for too long, those people, the neutrals and Phoenicians, they argued for a third way. They argued for mexrab.
Mexrab can only be understood by what it is a reaction against. To the neutrals and Phoenicians (the neutrals would eventually be absorbed into the Phoenicians), the rhetoric of enosis threatened them as it argued for Cyprus to be explicitly identified as Greek and thus join the Byzantine Empire. Enosis rejected comprehensively the very idea that you could be Greek and not want to join the Byzantine Empire. Hence it rejected the validity of the neutrals. Yet to them, taksim was anathema. Taksim's rhetoric was the same, and perhaps even worse, for taksim identified only two communities in Cyprus, and defined the Turkish Cypriots by who they were not, namely Greeks. To the neutrals and Phoenicians, this was rejected immediately, and of course taksim's argument about joining the Ottoman Empire, forget it.
So, what did mexrab propose as a solution, to enosis' joining the Byzantine Empire and taksim's Ottoman Empire? It was a very simple solution, and one rooted in Britain's perceived neutrality. They wished to continue the status quo of being a crown colony of Britain. The Phoenicians argued that instead of risky divisive ways, the continuation of local self-government and representation in the British Parliament worked well enough. And the British were able neutrals in the growing sectarian division (due to their politics, but shh). And it did help the Phoenician case that while Liberal Democrats favoured Turks due to their religiosity and Conservatives Greeks due to their Romanitas, Labour favoured the Phoenicians due to their tendency to form considerable union organisation to resist discrimination and marginalisation in the workplace. So every now and then, the Phoenicians would get some funding their way from a Labour government, boosting their argument.
Now, was all of this merely the natural wish of the Phoenicians? Of course not! After the end of WWII, Cyprus started getting rowdy as nationalist sentiment grew, enosis and taksim flooded the airwaves, and sectarianism soared. The British government, by then dimly aware that there was a slice of Cypriot population supporting their continued control, funded them even more than Labour did in the past, and explicitly funded those advocating mexrab. They were doing the exact same as the Byzantines did for enosis and the Turks taksim. As the Concord of Nations called for a Cyprus Convention to decide its future, the British were the loudest to demand Phoenician presence despite Byzantine and Ottoman scepticism. They knew the Phoenicians were the only community favourable to them, and they exploited it mercilessly.
The Cyprus Convention of 1959 was a mess, but it hammered out a three-community model under loose British suzerainty as the "Cypriot State". And all sides agreed that after 15 years, in 1974, there would be a referendum on its future. The Cypriot State honestly never had a chance. The Greek nationalists dominated the Greek community, the Turkish nationalists the Turkish, and the Phoenicians were too burnt by the past to give up mexrab. The three Presidents regularly clashed, the religious fights intensified, and the British had to place soldiers there to maintain peace in 1970, which got outrage from the Byzantines and the Ottomans. To be fair, there were a lot of attacks on peaceful protesters from both Greek and Turkish communities, which poisoned the water further, and as the referendum approached, nobody wanted the Cypriot State to survive.
The 1974 referendum was deceivingly simple. It had four choices. 1) Continue the Cypriot State. Only 4% of people voted for this. 2) Join the Byzantine Empire. This was enosis, and it was voted by Greeks in a landslide, making up around 60% of the vote. 3) Split into Turkish and Greek slices. This was taksim, and the Turks voted for it in a landslide, making up 24% of the total vote. And finally 4) Rejoin Britain as a Crown Colony. This one was the most bitterly opposed by Byzantines and Ottomans, of course, and was added without their knowledge by the British. It was mexrab, and basically every voting Phoenician cast their vote for it, making up 12% of the vote. The map of the referendum was clear in its regional favouring. The North, tending Turkish, voted taksim. The east, tending Phoenician, voted mexrab. The rest, tending Greek, voted enosis. As much as the Byzantines argued that 60% was a clear mandate, even the Concord of Nations rejected it fearing that it would lead to ethnic conflict.
Hence the present division which in a sense fulfilled enosis, taksim and mexrab. The outcome would lead to decades of a frosty relationship between the British and the Byzantines, only healing with the wedding of the Byzantine Emperor with a British princess in 1991.
In recent times, there seems to be a fourth idea emerging, and this time in the British colony of Cyprus, that of xismat. Xismat is very much rooted in the idea of "Phoenician self-achievement", and argues that Lebanon is Phoenicia [it certainly is Phoenician-majority in ethnicity, even if not in language...] and that the Cypriot Phoenicians should seek to achieve union with the Lebanese, to form one "State of Phoenicia". It is not popular with elderly people, who perceive it as more a "Phoenician" version of the accursed enosis or taksim, and instead argue that being part of British rule is fine. However, due to a wave of youth support one of the Cypriot representatives to the British Senate is from the Phoenician Nationalist Union, or the Phalanx for short, and has certainly made waves as the latest headache from the island for British politics, following in a rich Cypriot tradition.
Govt. Status (1-25 Minority, 26-40 Coalition, 41-50 Bare Majority, 51-85 Comfortable Majority, 86-100 Landslide): 71 (Comfortable Majority)
Sunak had done it. It took him the better part of two decades, but he had done it.
It all started with a humiliating fall from prestige when he failed to save the economy from the Coronavirus Crash as the Chancellor. Then came the 2022 forced resignation of Boris Johnson leading to new PM Raab replacing him with a less "Johnson loyalist" candidate, he had wavered around in the backbenches. The victory of Labour under Keir Starmer in '24 destroyed Raab with the Tory membership and led to a series of bloodletting leadership contests that led to Starmer winning two more elections in '29 and '32. After '32, with Michael Gove resigning as leader, and the Coronavirus Crash receding back into vague memory and Sunak's role as the most active one in that government remembered more, he stood and won. And when Labour's own factionalism resurged under Rayner and the economy stagnated leading to people voting Labour out, well...
Cabinet at the start
Prime Minister: The Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak MP
First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Global Affairs: The Rt. Hon. Cat Baldwin MP
Chancellor of the Exchequer: The Rt. Hon Mike Worsley MP
Secretary of State for Justice and the Interior: The Rt. Hon. Suella Braverman MP
Secretary of State for Defence: The Rt. Hon. Laura Mitchell MP
Secretary of State for Health: The Rt. Hon. Dr. Rob Clarkson MP
Secretary of State for Social Services: The Rt. Hon. Will Hilling MP
Secretary of State for Energy Infrastructure: The Rt. Hon. Sian Griffiths MP
Secretary of State for Business and Commerce: The Rt. Hon. Chloe Smith MP
Secretary of State for International Trade: The Rt. Hon. David Pond MP
Secretary of State for Educations: The Rt. Hon. James Holt MP
Secretary of State for Environment and Climate Change Management: The Rt. Hon. Prof. Kelly Langborne-Roberts MP
Secretary of State for Agriculture and Rural Affairs: The Rt. Hon. Liz Butterfill MP
Secretary of State for Aquaculture and Marine Affairs: The Rt. Hon. Tony Flint MP
Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and the New Towns Strategy: The Rt. Hon. Shelley Jones MP
Secretary of State for National Harmony: The Rt. Hon. Steven Ripley MP
Leader of the House of the Regions: The Rt. Hon. Sen. Charlotte Caplin
Secretary of State for Digital Space, Culture and Sport: The Rt. Hon. Matt Warman MP
Reception of Cabinet (1-10 Hostility, 11-80 Ambivalence, 81-100 Welcomed): 32 (Ambivalence)
With the cabinet assembled, mostly stocked with people who have never been in cabinet before due to the long Tory drought, Sunak got to work. Of course, there was typical Labour criticisms, most of them decrying his axing the Department of Mental Wellbeing and merging it with Work and Pensions to form the Social Services Ministry, but that just didn't cut through to the British public who, if they heard of it, would consider it merely Labour bemoaning they lost the election. Such was typical politics, and the British people was willing to give Sunak a chance.
Labour Leader (1-25 SCG, 26-70 Soft Left, 71-100 "New New Labour"): 79 -10 (Institutional Legacy) = 69 (Soft Left)
Of course, the new opposition had to lick its wounds. With the SCG roaring to go after underming Rayner with a whisper campaign, they entered the election ready to retake the party leadership. Of course, Labour in power had picked up some rather opportunist MPs who were in it for the career, the so-decried "New New Labour". Now, they weren't Blairite. Blair was so far back now and they condemned him as much as any Labour MP. They just had a disturbing lack of ideology and backed what they thought made the party popular, and hence guarantee them re-election. Hence they were the ones most sceptical of the SCG, and proved the unlikely allies of Angela Rayner as she entered her final months as PM.
And the Labour membership, always much more fond of Rayner than the PLP, remembered this. When Nadia Whittome was eliminated and it went to a runoff between a soft-left and a New New Labourite, both which of course sounded similar, the hard left of the party seethed.
But in the end, soft-left champion Kelly Roderick won, staving off Labour turning overtly centrist for a while.
SCG Split (1-10 Yes, 11-100 No): 78 +5 (Traditional Unity) = 83 (No)
Roderick's Shadow Cabinet was deftly chosen to appease all factions. The New New Labour careerists got jobs, the SCG was soothed, and factionalism seemed to calm down for Labour, much to Sunak's hidden displeasure as Labour falling to factionalism would lead to stronger margins.
Economic Recovery 2039 (1-20 Worsens, 21-70 Stagnates, 71-100 Improves) = 19 (Worsens)
Public Blame (1-60 Rayner 61-100 Sunak) = 42 -10 (Literally Just Got Here) = 32 (Rayner)
Budget (1-30 Major Deficit, 31-85 Manageable Deficit, 86-100 Surplus) = 76 (Manageable Deficit)
And to add to Sunak's displeasure, the ticking time bomb that was the economic stagnation fell into a depression just after he got in charge. This was all too familiar to him. Although there was cold comfort, as the public seemed to blame Rayner more than they did him, and the polls seemed to widen despite Roderick's efficient faction-management. As he declared that he would bring Britain back from the "Labour recession", he looked over the budget. Being a former Chancellor meant that he would tend to keep a close eye on the budget, much to the sometime annoyance of Mike Worsley. Much to Sunak's relief, it was an extremely manageable deficit and Labour had enough maintained enough public faith in Britain's fiscal solvency. So for the second time, he could act as the "magic money-tree man", spending more to boost the country from the recession.
Sunak's "Magic Money-Tree" Strategy (1-30 Fails, 31-100 Passes) = 12 +5 (Public Loves Money) +15 (Loyal Majority) -5 (Labour Opposition) +5 (Divided Minor Party) = 32 (Passes)
Conservative Party Support (1-50 Absolute Loyalty, 51-85 Mostly Loyal, 86-100 Fracturing) = 12 -20 (Just Won Election) = -2 (Absolute Loyalty)
Labour Party Whip (1-70 Firmly Opposition, 71-90 Some Opportunists, 91-100 Fracturing) = 15 -10 (Faction Appeasing) = 5 (Firmly Opposition)
Minor Party Whips (1-40 Opposed, 41-85 Divided, 86-100 Supportive) = 59 -10 (No Reachout) = 49 (Divided)
It was surprisingly closer than expected to pass the bills needed to push his ambitious projects in existence. His party was loyal, of course, he won them the election! But there was a flu going around, not the coronavirus thankfully, that primarily affected Tory MPs and the new parliamentary remote voting via the (newly-popular) Digital Space was new and insufficient to meet the increased demand. The minor parties was what saved it in the end. Do not pay attention to the budget later in the year allocating more cash to the regions, of course.
EuroCrisis? (1-50 No, 51-100 Yes) = 14 (No)
European Attitude to Rishi Sunak (1-25 Hostile, 26-50 Dismissive, 51-75 Constructive, 76-100 Favourable) = 88 -10 (Eurosceptic) = 78 (Favourable)
Meanwhile, he was paying attention elsewhere. As a firm Eurosceptic, he of course was opposed to the European Union in 2016 and was opposed to what it became, the sprawling "EuroFed". However, there was a distinction between being opposed to the EuroFed including Britain, and being diplomatically hostile to it. And of course, there's the sticking matter that Britain's trade still relied on Europe a lot. So when he was invited to Brussells, he was expecting a cold reception. Both Starmer and Rayner received mixed reception after all, and he didn't expect any different.
However, Europe was then in the hold of much more mainstream conservatives rather than the eclectic mixture of national-populists and social-democrats it was under Starmer and Rayner, and Sunak was seen by them as opening up a more promising fiscal relationship, despite his beliefs.
Trade Negotiations with EuroFed (1-20 Breaks Down, 21-75 Inconclusive Year, 76-100 Success) = 59 +5 (Favourable Opinion) = 64 (Inconclusive)
But yet, there was all that a favourable reception could get you. The nitty-gritty and the competiting bureaucracies was what sank negotiations this year. As Sunak returned to London, he hoped that next year, he could renegotiate that blasted Labour agreement and get a proper Tory one through that would reaffirm British fiscal independence and ensure it could get a truly equal status in. He was so close, damn it!
Social Crisis? (1-25 No, 26-75 Minor, 76-100 Major) = 86 (Major)
What Sort? (1-25 Euthanasia, 26-50 Rioting, 51-75 Corruption, 76-100 Nationalism) = 36 (Rioting)
Sunak's Speech (1-20 Went Flat, 21-75 Competent, 76-100 Convincing) = 44 (Competent)
He returned to London in rather a haste as the streets was engulfed with major rioting due to anger at the economic crash and many were effectively lawless. Pledging his support to bring order back on the streets, he gave a competent speech that proved nothing but average. There were words, and then there were deeds. And the rioters, angry at everything, were just full of disillusionment.
Sunak's 'LawDrone' Plan (1-20 Fails Embarrassingly, 21-50 Falls Short, 51-75 Mild Success, 76-100 Major Success) = 36 (Falls Short)
Popularity After Crisis = 11 +10 (Labour's Blamed for Recession) = 21
His idea was... creative. Britain was one of the last countries left that did not use the LawDrone system provided by Amazon that would observe streets from a height, something that became very popular in mid-2020s America despite opposition by the Biden Administration, and spread internationally in the 2030s. In a rush to be seen as doing something, Sunak got his cabinet to advocate it being implemented. It was a nice idea, he reasoned.
He did not count on this being one of the rare moments of British libertarian sentiment. Well, not really. People say it was, but it was really more anti-American sentiment wrapped up in crocodile tears about "what about British liberties". The bill died in the House of Regions, and Labour took a consistent lead in the polls as the year started to wrap up. People were saying that Rishi Sunak was done as a Prime Minister.
The rioting died out as traditional policing started to assert themselves, and the weather became more cold and intolerable.
King's Speech (1-10 Public Dislike, 11-50 Ignored, 51-80 Ambivalent, 81-100 National Unity) = 64 -10 (Diana) = 54 (Ambivalent)
Of course, the final thing of note in the year was the King's Speech. The 91-year-old King Charles was giving what many privately believed was his last speech as King given his declining health, and it proved... well, the public seems to have made note of it, but didn't much care about it.
To understand the Duchy of Shetland, you have to understand its history. The Shetland Islands did not exist until 700 AD. Before that, it was nothing but water and sea floor. The islands first emerged when the portal from Equus was opened and the islands emerged to meet the magical beckoning of new arrivals. The portal was opened by the co-princess of the Heavenly Principality of Equestria, a realm peopled by sentient ponies. She deemed that those new, cold islands would be settled by her own subjects as an outpost to this uncertain and different world.
That portal still exists to this day, and the Shetland Islands are settled very much with an Equestrian majority, and is widely seen by the world as the "bridge from this world to another". Christiandom becoming aware of the existence of the portal and the Shetland Islands led to theological disputes over if the ponies of the far north were "devil-things emerging from Hell to corrupt us all" or "unchristened savages that need to be civilised". There was a proto-crusade [nobody really counts it as a crusade, but it was a religious war] that utterly failed at defeating the ponies, and merely led to a lot of deaths as the Shetland Islands were binded tightly by magic to repel any hostile forces.
The Norse tried to land on it, of course, and learnt fast that those who were peaceful traders could walk in peace, but those that were hostile, well they fled to their ships screaming if they were lucky. The Shetland Islands were widely seen as unholy land, and many Christian churches pointed to what they referred to as "the islands of Devils" to put the fear of God in their congregation, hinting that the End Days were near.
The first nation to recognise the Shetland Islands and Equestria was of course Britain. As the Tales of Sultan Arthur tells it, Arthur received one of his many mysterious and eldritch visions. He already followed them to survive attacks on his life when he was but a young child, he already followed them to discovering the Sword in the Stone, he already followed them to his conversion to Husainite Ibadi Islam, and he already followed them to successfully conquering Romano-Britain as a mere teenager. His faith in what his visions told him was absolute.
And this particular one told him to send Princess Bewdrig, his youngest daughter, on a ship to the already well-known Shetland Islands, the lands known to many Europeans as the most dangerous land known in the North. No other monarch would have done it, but Arthur did it without a second thought, ordering his daughter to follow his orders. Princess Bewdrig was merely 8 at the time, but she was very much someone who obeyed what her father said, unlike some of his other children. Two months later, Bewdrig returned in a flash as she was next to a shining white crowned horse who declared in a lofty voice why did Arthur send a young child on a ship, alone.
And that was how Sultan Arthur and Princess Celestia met, and started a new era in Equestria-Earth relations. There were common similarities Britain and Equestria had. Both were despised and isolated in Earth [although Equestria was mostly in its own dimension], both had religions that were considered "devil-worship" to medieval Christians, and both were led by notably-enigmatic leaders who somehow found each other extremely pleasant company despite the rocky first impressions and became the most peculiar of close friends.
As Britain became more influential after those isolated decades, Equestria via Shetland became a key ally up until Britain became more orthodox in their Islam as a result of Ibadi scholars coming to bring them back into the fold. By that point, the Duchy of Shetland as a clear entity was well-established with many houses and infrastructure being established. There is no Duke or Duchess of Shetland, the position is widely-seen as merely one of many titles held by the Co-Princesses, but the islands do have essentially domestic independence due to not being on Equus.
The Renaissance in Europe led to many Northern European countries becoming considerably interested in Equestria and the science thereof. Experiments were done with permission to analyse Equus' physics, and the surprisingly best-selling part four of Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica was Newton's gallant attempt at explaining the "variability of dual spheres", namely the difference in laws of physics between the worlds of Earth and Equus. It can be said that in the Renaissance, Europeans' insatiable curiousity overrode their heavy distrust of the Equestrians. And Shetland was for many of the natural philosophers, a hub of science in where they based their experiments and heavily used the portal. They still saw the Equestrians as backward savages, but their world was so interesting that it forced them to "play nice". The tales of the horrors dealt on people who turned violent towards Equestrians helped to deter any who thought they might want to just seize the place.
By the early 18th century, Equestria was receiving envoys from European powers and Fillydelphia had a distinct "Legation District" that is still named such today despite all legations being upgraded to embassies. Equestria was not the sole power in Equus, and humans slowly realised this despite Celestia's efforts to cover it up. The Europeans' attempts to contact countries such as the Griffon Empire led the portal to be abruptly shut for years. Shetland and its ponies were left on its own, and the British sailed to declare it a protectorate, daring the others to challenge them.
Now, the British were either the most clever or the most mad of European nations, but they were the foremost students of thaumatology as many wanted to emulate their national hero Merlin who was one of the most famed mages. Clandestine studies of the portal when it was open led to considerable theories, and the assistance of the Shetlandic ponies led the portal to be forcibly reopened, to Celestia's dismay. She had to save face, one of the few times she was forced to, by making it out to be an experiment to see if the Europeans knew how to reopen the portal. This news of course spread all over Equus, and by the end of the century, humans knew more or less the known extent of Equus and the countries within.
Shetlandic ponies however, found it hard to believe their Celestial Princess' claims it was merely a test. Perhaps it was that they lived their entire lives on a world where the sun and moon rose by natural cycles, not by the ritual of a living deity, that led them to believe such things. What we do know is that many of them grew disillusioned and an emigration started from Shetland. This is how the Equestrian diasphora was born. And in the busy cities of the New World came along with Italians forming neighbourhoods called "Little Italy", Equestrians forming ones called "Little Shetland".
While Equestria was engulfed with the return of Nightmare Moon/Princess Luna, Shetland and the diasphora was much more concerned with World War One. With a lot of them going to Britain, the eagerness to recruit for the war was palatable, and while many died in this tragic war that resulted in no victor, quite a few received clear medals and honours, with two even receiving peerages. With Princess Luna somehow rehabiliated, she returned to her consistent sceptical stance on anything to do with Earth. This created a clear division between Equestria and Shetland, and it is one that has not been dealt with, merely quietly ignored by both sides. It is clear however, that Shetlandic ponies are much more "Earth-facing" than the ones of the "old country", and notably much less religious (even if they still worship Celestia and Luna on the whole). And for the diaspora, this is even more so. There's even quite a few Christian and Muslim ponies thanks to this long disconnection.
World War Two was for many reasons a confusing war. But it caused a controversy within Equestrian society as Shetland's government declared war on Germany without Celestia and Luna's support. This ended up being blown over, but it did show how much Shetland was increasingly seeing itself as an independent country, albeit one with the same monarchs as Equestria. When the war was over with Germany and Russia, this was seen as something that had to be dealt with. Now, there was no mood for harsh punishment. Merely a new understanding. Hence the court was assembled.
And after a while, the Shetlandic Constitution received both princesses' blessing. It explicitly took away the right to declare war from Shetland, yes, and also made it so that they were still legally part of Equestria, but it granted them all other privileges of an independent country.
And that is where we are now. To understand the Duchy of Shetland is to understand the Equestrian experience with Earth.
To call someone a left-reformist in British, you call them yn sacwral. Originally a word found only in Britain itself, it has spread rapidly via globalisation to become the universal term in the British-speaking world. But where does the word originate from, what does it mean exactly, and what does it have to do with the Labour Party's weird logo and the reason people wear pink roses on the 1st of May?
All of this starts with the Cherry Blossom Society, the very same famous one as seen in Around the World in 80 Days by Ewein Fern of Armorica. British upper-class society in the 19th century always had a deep fascination with the 'exotic' East, one which would eventually be described as "orientalism". By the mid-19th century it was clear that the industrialisation of Britain was leading to more pollution of the air, and even the aristocrats couldn't deny that even Castreleon stank and everyone coughed more. The more 'compassionate' of the upper-class decided that they needed to do something to aid the least fortunate, especially in the cities. The idea they came up with was uniquely blinkered.
It was that Western air was ultimately now unclean, and that if Britain imported botany from cleaner Eastern climes, it would get more clean air. Now, this was not as stupid as it looks, as they did not champion chopping down native trees, and indeed some argued for reforms that would become the first clean air laws to prevent even Eastern botany from succumbing to 'smog sickness'. Still, a lot of them were genuinely of the mind that if Britain surrounded itself with new flora, it would somehow get cleaner air. The Cherry Blossom Society was the first, and the biggest, society set up to champion this idea and organise mass importing of Eastern flora, especially the cherry blossom, which Britons called sacwra, taking from the Japanese.
As the Cherry Blossom Society expanded in membership, it gradually became less of an one-issue organisation, and the core intention of the society came to the forefront. Whatever you can say about those deluded aristocrats, they wished to heal the air so that everyone could breathe free. This later element became the primary reason of the society circa 1870. It became a way both aristocrats and businesspeople would organise funding for poorhouses and for charities. However, as time went on the Society increasingly became political. Both Liberal Democrats and Conservatives could be seen in the grand Cherry Blossom Society building, which was deliberately built in a style aping traditional Japanese architecture, and talk of aiding poor people via legislation was the heady consensus of the late 19th century.
Many wealthy men had sacwra trees planted in their estates to declare their being part of the big consensus of the day, and bragging contests about how much of their income they spent on 'just causes' were common. Philanthropy was now the fashionable thing, as well as speaking out in favour of perceived pro-poor laws here and there. By 1890, a Senator could be known to comment - "We are no longer Liberals or Conservatives. We are all Sacwral." The comment works way better in the original British as both Liberal and Conservative ends in -al.
Now, the British workingman wasn't a fan of all this nonsense of course. They welcomed pro-worker laws and all, but they saw all of this as something the wealthy had as a fad that would be abandoned once the next thing turns up. The British Labour Party had as its first logo a red rose, very traditional for European electoral socialist parties, and had in its 1900 manifesto a clear scathing comment on sacwral philanthropy that it was merely 'there for the amusement of the rich, not the enrichment of the proletariat'. They were absolutely correct.
In World War One, the sacwra was used as a symbol, first by the middle-class, then the workers' movement to show their commitment to creating 'a homeland fit for our heroes'. The Cherry Blossom Society was working overtime on promoting this as it was led by new middle-class leaders who were extremely ambitious at creating a 'New Britain'. The 'New Britain' ideal came out of the old [and by the 1910s discredited] cleaning-air theory, and was rooted deeply in Romantic notions of the nation as something essentially more. They believed that Britain was essentially one 'body', making analogues with the human body, and that bad air, inequality and violence was disease that could bring the nation down. This was the new notion of what was sacwral, and it proved surprisingly popular with even Labour voters.
After the war, that notion soared in popularity, leading to a Labour surge and entering power by the mid-1920s. In 1926, the party dropped the by then seen as somewhat radical red rose, replacing it with a much more 'moderate' red cherry blossom, which they now hold, in one form or another, today. This was part of their eager rebranding from a party seen as somewhat radical and socialist to merely the left-wing face of sacwral thinking. Helping this was that their die-hard Marxists either left the party for smaller splitters, or in the case of their loudest, split off from the country entirely.
Now, what does all this have to do with 1 May? Well, that is more a conflation. 1 May is Labour Day, and it's that because of a strike in Haymarket Square in the Chicago Free State in Canada in the 1890s. The marking of it as a major day recognised by countries came around after the First World War. While red roses were seen by a lot of Atlantic countries as too explicitly socialist, more lighter and pinker varieties were seen as 'safer', and once artificial roses were made, they often were made using pink fabric. While the openly hard-left wear their roses proudly red, many still wear pink on that day. The Canadian socialist Jack London once said that the red rose stings the enemies of the workers, while the pink welcomes their grasp.
In Britain itself, the Cherry Blossom Society still exists even today, and continues to support and sponsor bills they deem to help the most unfortunate. They have been at the forefront of environmental legislation, succeeding at championing the first bill investing in research into more 'sustainable' energy sources, and while they do still support growing cherry blossoms all over Britain, they prefer to use locally-grown varieties rather than use a lot of energy metres to import from Japan. There's already a lot of them everywhere in the country, so it isn't hard to find.
The most lasting legacy in terms of political parlance is of course the word sacwral. It was always a broad label, stretching from barely-reformist socialists all the way to extremely-paternalist conservatives, but as time has moved on, it has acquired a clear, even if vague, definition. Pick up an edition of the latest Mendes Dictionary, and under sacwral you'll find "reformist who supports state policies to heal inequalities". It has became by default the broad centre-left label due to the right turning to neoliberal thinking over time, but there still exist quite a few Conservatives proud to wear the pink.
And due to globalisation and the DigitiNet, the word has became a popular one used by the global British-speaking people under the age of 70 by 2040.
The 1895 British Senate election promised to be turbulent. British civic society was still roiling as the so-called "Dog Days" continued to intensify. To tell you the truth, despite how it started, it was never truly about Egypt. Egypt just forced British society to look at its contradictions and how to reconcile its dual identities. Was Britain primarily a Roman country, and hence should prioritise supporting the expansion of Romanitas? Or was it primarily a Muslim country, and hence should be a supporter of expanding Muslim self-determination? And at a much more rawer level, it was ultimately about Britain having a bitter debate over how much religion should matter in society. It was the least secularised European power, and since the Great Realignment of the 15th century it was intensely proud of its faith, even as it hypocritically pushed Catholics into diplomatic positions.
Of course, pocket-book issues still reigned even in the zenith of the chaos. Britain's economy was still chugging along happily despite its society going almost at war with itself, but as the bitterness spread many workers increasingly said "why do I not get a fair wage for a fair job?". Britain somehow became a paradox unto itself, something that led economists in other countries to be baffled. The standard orthodoxy at this time was that a good economy and low unemployment would naturally lead to a stable and happy society. Britain was proving them wrong.
The Tosaig at the time the election was called, the Liberal Democrat Arthur Lladda, was in the job since his predecessor retired in 1891. Lladda was a firm adherence to the standard Liberal playbook, that of individual autonomy and rights, free trade and the government staying out of people's business. Now, there were of course Liberals who wished for a more social push, but they were, even at this time, safely out of influence. But what really broke Lladda's Liberal Democrats was his extension of the principle of autonomy to the colonies and the notion of dominionhood for Oregon. Upon being reduced to a minority in 1893, he arranged for support from the anti-colonial Radicals and the many regionalist parties to continue in government. One of those regionalist parties was the Oregon Self-Government League.
The Oregon Self-Government League was a broad-tent, multi-religious but very separatist movement that dominated the Oregon Regional Council since it was founded. While it was noted to be rather factional, it managed to reserve that for the Regional Council, and acted firmly as a bloc for the Senate. In exchange for support of Lladda's government, it demanded full dominionhood, and hence would have no Oregon seats after the next election. With even the Radicals shying away from some of Lladda's policies, he agreed to their demand.
The government would also have to finally recognise Egyptian independence, under their new President Ptolemy Ptolemy, which definitely made more nationalist-inclined Liberals unhappy with Lladda. Compounding this tension, Lladda himself was arrogant, and believed he could just delay and delay the dominion bill until it was convenient. Upon hearing this, the Oregon Self-Government League pushed forward the bill and said to Lladda to order his whips to tell people to vote for it, or lose their support. And they did not do this hastily, for they prepared.
For the other regionalist parties and the Radicals sensed weakness, and backed them on this and gave the same demand. Lladda's government would live or die on this bill. The Tosaig would briefly consider a grand coalition, but dismiss it as a death sentence. It would lead to many Liberals turning Radical overnight. He would tell the whips to whip in favour of the bill. It was a hauntingly close thing, with even Conservatives splitting, but it passed.
The media mogul Merthin Gris was for decades sniffing around for an opportunity to promote himself. He despised both Liberals and Conservatives in equal measure, believing both to be inferior to his mighty mind. He knew that if he just promoted it as a personalist movement, it would fail. He needed a wedge. And on this, he grasped it. When even the Conservative leader voted for the Oregon bill, he struck. Persuading anti-dominionhood Senators to defect to his nascent movement was easy, but organising it was harder. He wished to sell it as a "third way" between the 'appeaser' Liberals and the 'incoherent' Conservatives, but the name skewed towards appealing towards Liberals due to the greater opportunity there.
The National Democratic Union became the third-largest party in the Senate overnight, boasting over 90 Senators. It undeniably took from the Liberal Democrats more than from the Conservatives, and all but took their machines from several overseas constituencies. And in the spring of 1895, hearing that the Conservatives and NDU was planning a vote of no confidence, the always-proud Lladda chose to decide the election date himself rather than let it be determined by the whims of the Senate. The campaign was on.
The embattled Liberal Democrats believed that they could ride off the NDU's being a new thing without any established support in the majority of constituencies. Gris was clearly overconfident and never faced a true test of politics. His own seat was granted to him with his father's death and he never faced any election. While Britain was a wide-spreading country, over a quarter was in the Valleys, and this led Lladda to do what is known as the "Valleys Campaign" where he went around the region, speaking widely to voters and persuading them that the Liberal Democrats was the ideal choice.
Hindering his success, however, was the increasing disillusion of the working-class, and the rapid emergence of the Labour Party. Trade unions in Britain were always somewhat relevant since the 1850s, but by the 1890s they wished to flex their political muscles, and teamed up with the very middle-class 'Socialist Reform League' (a left-wing break off the Cherry Blossom Society) and nascent populist movements in the colonies to form the Labour Party, and chose to organise leadership as a triumvirate to reflect this. Abdelilah Benjelloun was commonly perceived as the most forceful and dominant of the three, and often received more attention as a result in the media, often by Gris in an attempt to crush any third party that wasn't his NDU. This led Lladda to lean into a perception of Labour as a 'foreign' party, utilising dogwhistles of 'loyalty' to deflate a potential Labour surge.
The Radicals was only a threat to Conservatives and the NDU, with them and the Liberal Democrats' votes tending to be in different areas. Liberal Democrats did well in core Britain, while the Radicals ran their last candidates there in 1879, and was by then, mostly an Armorican and colonial party championing the cause of ignored minorities. Hence Lladda arranged for a clandestine campaign truce with Connan, and quietly got some local Liberal Democratic candidates in Armorica to step down in favour of the Radicals to avoid any Conservative or NDU gains due to vote splitting.
The other parties which were expected to win seats - the Irish Independent Party, the Sons of Glendwr, the Indian Reform League, the Dominion Association and the Brazilian Party - as well as the many independents, were in long negotiations with Lladda even before the campaign officially started, and thanks to Gris' expert spinning they were seen by many voters as in the LD column as well as the Radicals, boosting Gris' argument that any of those votes were a vote for the Liberal Democrats to continue their "failed, tragic government that merely appeases enemies of Britain".
The Conservative Party was not blind or toothless when all this was happening. They fought as hard and as viciously as they could, portraying Lladda as "leading this country to ruin, betraying this nation's birthright and selling out our people" and Gris as "a man who wishes for nothing but power and will lie, lie, lie to get it". Gwithur himself would drudge out Gris' being of quarter-English ancestry to dig into Britain's deepest, darkest fear and imply that the media mogul was actually working on the orders of England. Gris fired back by accusing Gwithur, on the front-pages of all his newspapers, of having been in corrupt deals and tearing him apart as "a man who hated Britain".
The high level of political tension, combined with vicious attacks, would lead to a sharp surge of violence. Angry men would find catharsis in other men's blood, and even the newly-modernised police force struggled to keep up with this. Lladda himself would come close to death at the bullet fired by a crazed man believing Gris wished him to kill the Tosaig. After that, perhaps recognising just how close Britain was to outright falling apart, Lladda cancelled all his campaign plans, and suggested a truce with the Conservatives and National Democrats. Gwithur, having released a condemnation of the assassination attempt and a passionate plea for less violence, agreed.
Gris did not. He in fact amplified, accusing Lladda of bribing the man to make out that he was ordered by Gris to kill the Tosaig. This order was sent to all his newspaper presses. Only one ever published it, as the Labour Party pulled out their greatest gamble, a press strike. Upon hearing of this, Gris ordered all the striking people fired, something that the Liberal Democrat and Conservative press (suspiciously except from the strike) were very much happy to cover. And many of those striking people went to vote Labour at the ballots.
Gris' grand gamble failed. While the NDU was to acquire the most successful vote for a new party in British history, they lost almost 40 Senators, and around ten dropped out after the press scandal, endorsing their original party's candidate instead. Gris resigned as NDU leader almost at once upon hearing of the final results, and the party would collapse in the coming decade, most voters flowing back to the original parties.
The Conservative Party would decline Gwithur's offer of resignation despite him losing 35 seats, for he was a skilled senator and the new unstable government would need a strong, forensic criticism. Gwithur would eventually become Tosaig himself come the next election, and cemented the Conservative Party as a party supporting devolution and decentralisation, with the Old Conservatives all but discredited with Gris.
The Radical Party held on respectably well compared to predictions of a wipeout, but it was the Labour Party that truly blossomed. At 11 seats and almost eight percent, it rode off media obsession and a last minute swell of good publicity against Gris to break through FPTP barriers. All three of its leaders easily won their seats, as stark contrast to the expectation at the start that they all were winnable for other parties.
The Liberal Democratic Party however, would find itself much unsatisfied with the election results. Yet again with a minority, and this time a smaller one than in 1893. Even the Liberal-Radical pact wouldn't get them enough seats. While the collapse of the NDU whip did get Lladda confirmed once more as Tosaig, it was fundamentally an unstable one reliant on either independents or the regionalists as Labour refused to vote for Lladda. Once he resigned in 1897, the Labour Party announced their support for his successor, guaranteeing him a stable government.
In present history, the 1895 election is remembered as the most violent election campaign in British history, and is a popular PoD for "Socialist Britain" uchronia, with Benjelloun's British Empire being a popular novel published by SpecHist Press.
A Nonsensical Claim
Harold II (Godwin) 1066
Godwin (Godwin) 1066-1069 [eldest son of Harold II] Harold III (Godwin) 1069-1098 [eldest surviving brother of Godwin] Mstislav I (Rurik) 1098-1132 [first son of Gytha, eldest surviving non-monastic offspring of Harold II] Vsevolod (Rurik) 1132-1138 [first son of Mstislav I] Iziaslav (Rurik) 1138-1154 [eldest brother of Vsevolod] Mstislav II (Rurik) 1154-1170 [first son of Iziaslav] Roman (Rurik) 1170-1205 [first son of Mstislav II] Daniel (Rurik) 1205-1264 [first son of Roman] Leo (Rurik) 1264-1301 [first surviving son of Daniel] George I (Rurik) 1301-1308 [first son of Leo] Andrew (Rurik) 1308-1323 [first son of Yuri] George II (Piast) 1323-1340 [brother-in-law of Andrew] Casimir I (Piast) 1340-1370 [named heir of George II] Casimir II (Piast) 1370-1377 [first grandson of Casimir I through Princess Elizabeth] Sigismund (Luxembourg) 1377-1437 [cousin to Casimir II, great-grandson of Casimir I] Albert I (Habsburg) 1437-1442 [son-in-law of Sigismund, via his daughter Princess Elizabeth] Ladislaus (Habsburg) 1442-1457 [posthumous son of Albert I] William I (Wettin) 1457-1482 [brother-in-law of Ladislaus, via his sister Princess Anne] John I (Hohenzollern) 1482-1499 [son-in-law of William I, via his daughter Princess Margaret] Joachim I (Hohenzollern) 1499-1535 [first son of John I] Joachim II (Hohenzollern) 1535-1571 [first son of Joachim I] John II George (Hohenzollern) 1571-1598 [first son of Joachim II] Joachim III Frederick (Hohenzollern) 1598-1608 [first son of John II George] John III Sigismund (Hohenzollern) 1608-1619 [first son of Joachim III Frederick] George III William (Hohenzollern) 1619-1640 [first son of John III Sigismund] Frederick I William (Hohenzollern) 1640-1688 [first son of George III William] Frederick II (Hohenzollern) 1688-1713 [first surviving son of Frederick I William] Frederick III William (Hohenzollern) 1713-1740 [first surviving son of Frederick II] Frederick IV William (Hohenzollern) 1740-1786 [first surviving son of Frederick III William] Frederick V William (Hohenzollern) 1786-1797 [nephew of Frederick IV William via Prince Augustus William] Frederick VI William (Hohenzollern) 1797-1840 [first son of Frederick V William] Frederick VII William (Hohenzollern) 1840-1861 [first son of Frederick VI William] William II (Hohenzollern) 1861-1888 [eldest brother of Frederick VII William] Frederick VIII (Hohenzollern) 1888 [first son of William II] William III (Hohenzollern) 1888-1941 [first son of Frederick VIII] William IV (Hohenzollern) 1941-1951 [first son of William III] Louis Ferdinand (Hohenzollern) 1951-1994 [first surviving son of William IV] Frederick IX William (Hohenzollern) 1994-2015 [first son of Louis Ferdinand] Philip (Hohenzollern) 2015-present [first son of Frederick IX William]
-- Extracted from digi.safe//zapfeed.dit/funfact/five-things-you-never-knew-about-hp-lovecraft (Created August 20, 2021, Extracted 16 June 2040)
You of course know of H. P. Lovecraft. The founder of the cosmic horror and technopunk genres and long-term chair of the Global Defense Initiative. A deep recluse whose emergence into public space was a notable thing [The New Castreleon Times led its front page with "LOVECRAFT SIGHTING" in 1959 for a famous example], and who was a regular novellist for decades, while his involvement in leading the GDI remained mysterious for almost as long.
A famous man, with much to be famous for. But do you know the below five things about him? We here at ZapFeed bet you don't!
--05: His name isn't really Hugh Phillip Lovecraft
Gasp! We're starting off strong, with this revelation, it seems! He was born in Rhue Island to British-American parents, and the decision to rename his name on his books was something unilaterally taken by Michael Starke, his English publisher, who deemed that a British name wouldn't sell as well as an English. When Lovecraft first heard of this, he responded in outrage, but by the time he did so, his first book was already published widely. His own writings at the time shows that he deemed "Lovecraft" a 'mere pen-name, one forced on me by some English man in Boston'. He would later subtly attack Starke in one of his books by naming the savage Starkelings, one of his famous 'degenerate races', after him.
His real name was Hyw Philip Arthafur. Starke was more creative than most Anglophone publishers, as he had enough of a command of British to understand that Arthafur's name translated as Love-art, which he twisted slightly to create Lovecraft. Starke was known to be a rampant renamer, doing it for many other writers, up until he was fired by the company over repeated complaints of discrimination against non-English writers.
--04: He actually wasn't a best-selling novelist until the 50s
Despite his widespread fame now, he was actually much more known in the late 30s and 40s as the Director of the GDI, with his novelist career struggling to get off the ground. This was actually the main reason he cited for taking the directorship, as it was at the time a paid sinecure with the GDI more or less functioning without the clear need for a leader. Jacques Temer, his perpetual second-in-command for decades, noted in his diary that 'Lovecraft was perfect. He was not tied to any political interests from any nation, and was too much of a recluse to tamper with day to day management'. The reason he was chosen was that the few people who were firm fans of his books, tended to include the top brass of the GDI at the time.
As WWII concluded, the GDI grew in importance and prominence, and people increasingly paid attention to the reclusive director. Theories were made about him, about why he was so much hidden from the public, and if it was for secretive reasons. Once people learnt that he wrote books, those became best-selling hits, with The Shadow over Innsmouth, The Clockwork Child and Starkeling Delights becoming the most popular of the books. His diary at the time simply notes that 'I now have more of a revenue than before, as people have finally discovered my talent'.
--03: He was an effective Director of the GDI
While his almost forty years as Director pales in comparison with his successors' more brief yet more public and charismatic tenures, none of them have criticised Lovecraft's tenure, consistently referring to it as extremely efficient while of course refusing to disclose much about it that is not top secret. What we do know from their releases is that he was a man who, due to his reclusive status, relied a lot on the first flowtubes to deliver him his mail, which he was a regular, obsessive responder to. His focus on technology was key to the GDI adopting new, modern technology to improve efficiency and communication, and while he let Temer more or less take over day-to-day affairs, we do know that he regularly read updates from the GDI headquarters, and often sent back responses suggesting what to change.
The public perception that he was nothing but an inefficient recluse who let Temer take charge while he wrote books, is something that even LightBulb notes as "Mostly False" and tracks back to Temer's own dismissal by Lovecraft in 1967 over a long disagreement over how to respond to what the GDI notes as 'an unexplained anomaly'. Temer at the time was known by GDI as someone who deeply desired full authority, and grew to resent Lovecraft for receiving it due to merely writing some books. Hence he announced to the public his 'resignation' and gave a long speech portraying Lovecraft as the 'indolent man who neglects his duties endlessly', and portrayed the job as unchanged from its 1930s version as a sinecure.
While the GDI was quick to condemn this, the perception spread far and wide before they could correct it.
--02: His views on race changed over time
While we all know that The Shadow over Innsmouth was a deeply racist book, and that many of his early books contained 'degenerate races' such as the Starkelings, by the time he wrote Lament in Llagunoeth in 1943 his views on race was deeply mixed, and of course by The Clockwork Child in 1954, his views was by that time deemed 'respectably liberal' by his acquaintances, even if still deeply paternalist and distrustful of people. And by the time of his final book The War in the Heavens in 1969, two years before his death, he grew to explicitly see race-based bigotry as a 'backwards' thought holding back society, and consistently showed contempt for his oldest works, including The Shadow over Innsmouth.
This is commonly hypothesised as one of the contributing reasons why he dismissed Temer, who was from Rationalist France and deeply held to its bigoted values concealed in a thin rationalist veneer. Values which Lovecraft once shared, which made the two clash more until that fateful day.
--01: His genre changed over time as well
Now, this one isn't much of a "unknown" fact, but it's definitely one not thought of much. Early Lovecraft, before the 1950s, had an obsession with biology, the "unnature" and the eldritch gods beyond humanity's understanding, the basic foundations of the 'cosmic horror' genre, which counts him as its creator. By the 1950s, he started to pen books focused extensively on technology, and on its dangers. While he was a staunch modernist, he believed in civilisational restraint, as he termed it. This later Lovecraft would prove the founder of the 'technopunk' genre.
Technopunk Lovecraft is almost like a different writer, as he writes novels attacking the obsessions of the time which included technology becoming the main definition of societal 'worth', not art or science. In The Clockwork Child, he presents, in his characteristic pseudo-industrial setting, a harrowing tale of Garfan, a young boy in a closed society, discovering just how much his society has given to the god of technology. This is considered the earliest of Lovecraft's technopunk novels, and is the most "on-the-nose" of them all, being seen as mostly a retelling of The Shadow over Innsmouth in a more technopunk way, as Lovecraft was increasingly disaffected with his older works. By the time of The War in the Heavens, he was fully in his stride, and could write easily about how a galactic war would impact the humble, backwards people of a minor planet caught in the crossfire.
Those are all the five things you might not have known about H. P. Lovecraft!
I got carried away with writing the plot before I realised it wouldn't make sense in an article. So here.
Garfan, a young boy in a closed and insular society, finds out over time that his society has given more and more to 'Dijjo', a god of technology in exchange for 'untold wonders' such as effective immortality. Part of this obsession, he finds out, includes the sacrifice of every first child to Dijjo's grinding gears that demand more and more blood to oil it. Garfan believed that he was the first child, and believes that there was someone older than him that died for the sacrifice. But he finds out in the end the sacrifice was his humanity, and he was entirely mechanical. Driven insane by the revelations, he takes a spanner and screws his head off, killing himself.
The Amazon Indigenous Biome, or just Amazonas for short, is one of the youngest nations on Earth-Theta-Prime. Declared in 2030 by a convention of natives angered by the at-that-time recent Amazon Deluge, it decided that the Amazon Rainforest (or what's left of it) should be taken into indigenous hands. Indigenism, the very ideology that the Amazonas revolutionaries championed, was and remains the 21st century's most ascendant ideology in a reaction to increasing neo-colonialism and indeed Tawantinsuyu proved a key ally to the Amazon struggle. The Amazon War was brief compared to other wars, but that was because nobody planned for the Deluge, nor for its aftereffects.
In the summer of 2032, the Amazon Indigenous Biome was finally recognised as a sovereign state. Acutely aware of the need for a government structure to replace the temporary convention yet with very few educated natives sympathetic enough to the cause, it recruited the services of its most vocal European supporter at that time and a key enabler of the war's end in their favour, to write a structure up for the convention to review. There was a canny move to this too, as while Amazonas was recognised as a sovereign state, none of the European powers would consider any indigenous-written constitution to be worth anything. They knew this was a regular occurence for Europeans, and decided to avoid it entirely.
Now, designing a constitution for the Amazon Indigenous Biome was a challenge. How do you balance the demands for some of the tribes to encourage a more communal defense against the world with others' determination to maintain aloof independence even after the war? And how do you make the small tribes feel as if they have a say while permitting the big tribes to still wield influence? And would there even be a head of the country? The one thing the young former Concord of Nations diplomat had on her side was that she was seen as utterly neutral to any tribal disputes, and would write something unbiased that would nevertheless work for all sides.
The first issue she had was how to deal with the varying populations, was handled with her first solution, which was to define a clear two-choice system for the myriad tribes. One would be to be noted as 'independent', and hence be recognised by the AIB as such for purposes of domestic policy which would be in line with what the bigger and more independent-minded tribes desired for, and the other would be 'integrated', and hence recognised as such for purposes of the domestic policy, which would be in line with the smaller and more solidarity-minded tribes desired for.
With that in hand, she moved to her next challenge, that of the possible government structure, which would rely quite a bit on that distinction. There would be a bicameral structure, both chambers would have considerably different powers, but the power to negotiate with the tribes would rest in the upper chamber, named the 'Tribal Circle'. This would be solely appointed by each tribe based on the population reported by an official census for 'integrated' tribes, or by the tribal leaders themselves for 'independent' tribes. An official census for the later would be in contrast with the promises of de facto independence from any state above them. However, she knew that they would have interest to exaggerate their numbers to increase their pull in the Circle, and she wished to curb the benefit that would give them.
Enter the lower chamber, the 'Grand Convention'. It avoided the whole matter of population entirely, and rooted itself purely on an at-large proportional system, where voting would determine the outcome and not some form of census or reporting. It would receive the general domestic portfolio, in keeping with it being the chamber primarily for the 'integrated' tribes, and was quietly noted down as bound in the constitution as always at least double the size of the Circle and with the power to determine its own size, to restrain the Circle from rapidly growing due to 'independent' tribes exaggerating their numbers. Also in the articles detailing the Convention, it would be excluded from any matters tampering with what was deemed 'inviolable tribal rights', which applied no matter if it was 'independent' or 'integrated'. Part of that was the right to their environment.
Now, how do you avoid a possible strong leader emerging, as this was a prime concern of the people who charged her with the task? This took the diplomat some time, but she came up with a very creative idea. She was brought up in the heady days of European 'New Monarchism', which extoiled the virtue of a non-partisan and neutral head of state. While a monarchy was unworkable here, something like it could be created. She turned to the idea of a parliamentary speaker, and penned one down as the 'Grand Convenor'. It would be de facto a parliamentary speaker selected by at least two-thirds of the Grand Convention, and solely have responsibilities over foreign policy and being the head of state. There would be no foreign minister. The clash between that of the Convention, a chamber devoted solely to domestic policy, and that of the Convenor, which had a foreign portfolio, was intentional. It ensured that the Convenor could never ever consolidate power into their hands.
Accompanying this was its sister role, that of the 'High Listener'. It was selected by the Circle via an absolute majority and would, as the head of government, have responsibility of appointing a cabinet and of determining domestic policy for the combined parliament's term. The 'independent' tribes would be impossible to turn via pork spending to consolidate power due to their being recognised as 'independent', and their perceived likelihood of exaggerating their numbers would in turn benefit the system as it would undermine any potential dictator from consolidating power.
With the Biome founded on indigenist and ecologist lines, the former was appeased but the later was not. This was remedied by writing into the Constitution the declaration that the environment would come ahead of any other non-people concerns, and penned down a firm ban on non-Amazonas people exploiting resources unless both the Circle and Convention gives permission, and this permission would last only a year before having to be renewed. She knew that such permission would be impossible to get and deliberately frustrating for non-Amazonas people, but that was what she was charged with making so. It would safeguard such resources for future generations.
Presenting this to the convention to determine their views, it would spark two weeks of debate, but in the end it was approved pending translations into the native languages by speakers of those languages as the diplomat wrote purely in Portuguese as a practical consideration to all.
That diplomat could now say that she wrote a constitution for a nation. Not a lot of people in human history can boast that they accomplished that rare feat, and now Lime Baudelaire could add her name to their ranks.
[This is mostly an excuse for me to post this creative government structure tbh.]