Vittmark

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Vittmarkarnas Förenade Länder
Flag of Vittmark   Coat of Arms of Vittmark
Flag of Vittmark Coat of Arms of Vittmark
State Motto 'För Vind i Tiden'
 • Hallish Carrying Vind through all Eternity
State Anthem Snabelryttarnas marsch
 • Anglis March of the Elephant Riders
Where in the world is Vittmark?
Official language Wortsproke
Founding Date Federation proclaimed 7564rh
Demonym {{{demonym}}}
Government
 • Type
 • Kung

 
Federative Constitutional Monarchy
Anna Karlsdotter av Kulla

Capital Östvallen
Administrative Divisions 17 states
Largest City Östvallen
Area
 • Total
 • % water

 
359.328 km² (138.737 sq mi)
<1%

Population
 • Total
 • Growth Rate
 • Density

 
8 540 000 (estimate 7570)
9 640 000 (estimate 7575)
2,46% annually
25/km² (/sq mi)

GDP
 • Total
 • GDP/capita
 • Growth Rate

 
225,747,526 G (7569)
26,44 G (7569)
no data%

Currency

Krona (K)

Time Zones 6 zones
(AMT -)
Trigraph VTM

Vittmark (officially the Federative Kingdom of Vittmark) is a constitutional monarchy in Anaria, located on the northern shores of the island Stoldavia. It is a young nation formed in 7564 in the aftermath of the Pan-Anarian War. The formation of a coherent nation is seen as a way to bring lasting peace and stability to the region.

Vittmark consisted until the end of 7573 of 7 member states (lands), 2 federal territories (provinces), 5 minor territories (one island, the crown domain and 3 city states as well as 2 non-territorial entities with the same status as minor territories. With the ratification of the new Constitution in 7574 there are now 18 member states (of which 3 non-territorial) in an asymmetrical federation. It is a nation with large differences in landscape and development, ranging from the highly industrialized state of Liden in the northeast to the almost mediaeval and agricultural mountain region of Sörmark in the south.

The appointed monarch King Karl av Kulla was killed 6 months after coronation in an attack that even killed the crown prince Thomas av Kulla. He was succeeded by his daughter Anna av Kulla, who was coronated in June 7567rh. She managed to create a more and more stable nation, where peacekeeping forces could be replaced by domestic law enforcement units gradually. The country is still suffering from some internal unrest, but the occassional violent or political conflicts are minimal compared to before the formation of the federation.

The nation has strong allies in Anisora and Auresia, while it maintains relations with nations like The Bind and Helreich, both of them arch enemies of each other. Relations with neighboring Aedeland and United Royal Provinces suffered from the Straits Cartel, where Vittmark is an outspoken opponent of the treaty.

Contents

Ethymology

The name Vittmark refers to a region from the Orkanan Realm of Stoldavia. The region Khwītrzamarzkō or Hwitrmearko (depending on the spelling of the era) was used for an area in the south of present day Liden and Ådalen where the alluvial plains transform in a gently rolling hillside landscape as a demarcation towards the Blue Mountains.

It is a common misinterpretation that the name literally would mean "white land" or "white ground", refering to the limestone bedrock that can be found on the surface of this region. In that case, the name would have been spelled as Vitmark (with one t) though. Vitt- is thought to have a similar meaning as vittring (weathering), which also occurs as a natural phenomena in the same area. The region is rich in legends involving mythological creatures, often small and invisible beings living under the ground. The word "mark" also refers to a border region: during the Orkanan Realm the area was the borderland between the coastal and mountainous regions.

The name was chosen at the Conference of Nisipari because of its central location and lack of historical baggage. The last 2000 years there hasn't been any territory using this name as a govenmental name, while it still was in use as a global reference to a wider area. It was spelled Hwittmark in the local language before the spelling reforms that created Wortsproke.

History

Despite the young age of the nation, the area has a long and rich history, where glorydays and dark ages have occurred. The first Jörven tribes entered Stoldavia from Jörveh some XXXX years ago. There they separated in two distinctive groups, one specializing in herding and a nomadic lifestyle, the other trying to combine animal husbandry with agriculture in semi-permanent settlements. This agricultural group, which is a predecessor to the Dölmer people, moved with the climatological shifts.

First Stoldavic Empire

See also: Orkanan Realm of Stoldavia

The territory which at present forms Vittmark played an important role during the Orkanan Realm. It was in the hillsides of (current) Liden that the Dölmer people successfully managed to develop a system of rotating agriculture, adapted to the climatological cycle in the area. The Dölmer managed to combine crop rotation with refertilizing the soil during the process. This agricultural revolution resulted in them becoming the dominant factor in the colder temperate regions. This agricultural revolution laid the foundation of the Orkanan Realm of Stoldavia.

The empire was at the height of its power in the 5500s, during which it increasingly turned outside Stoldavia and attempted to expand its influence abroad. During the late 5600s and early 5700s the already weakened and destabilized Orkanan Realm suffered from a series of invasions by southern peoples from across the sea as part of the Migration Period that caused it to finally crumble.

Migration Period

After the collapse of the Orkanan Realm, the area entered a period of decline and stagnation, which lasted for almost two centuries. During this time, much of the heritage of the Orkanan Realm was being reused as building material in the new circumstances. Even the proud capital of Skiöldavik was demolished and building material was used in nearby settlements. There is even dispute about the exact location of the city, although excavations point towards Östvallen as being the location of the former classical capital.

Roaming bands of armed mercenaries and attempts by nomadic people to retake the territory resulted in small settlements needing to defend themselves with systems of walls and towers. Most of these villages and towns were self sufficient, although periods of famine occurred as well. Even though the agricultural techniques never vanished, the lack of trade with regions with a more moderate climate resulted in a badly functioning agricultural rotation. Villages were vulnerable for attacks and failed harvests.

Skara Samverkan

See also:Skara Samverkan

The coastal town of Skara managed to develop out of these dark ages as a trading hub in the 6500's. At the crossroads of land routes, a river mouth and coastal sea trade, the merchants of Skara became influential people in a larger region. Skarans built warehouses in nearby towns, and with the wealth acquired the were able to buy properties in more far away coastal towns and river towns. This way, Skara became the focal point of a loose alliance of trading cities and towns, which dominated northern and eastern Stoldavia for many centuries. The legacy of Skara Samverkan can still be felt today, even outside Vittmark.

Skara managed to monopolize the trade in certain goods, like trunkbull wool and timber. Skarans prohibited the building of saw mills, for example, so that timber had to be shipped to Skaran mills in the valley bassin of present day Ådalen. Even though Skara can not be seen as a direct predecessor of the Greater Stoldavic Empire, it certainly has influenced it even befoe it became an imperial province.

Greater Stoldavic Empire

See also: Greater Stoldavic Empire

The starting date of the Greater Stoldavic Empire is clearly marked by the marriage of Prince Råger of Mellanhand with Princess Caroline Varen of Ostburg in 6934. They declared the establishment of the second Stoldavic Empire, starting a phase of fast expansion by conquest, absorbing the surrounding kingdoms and making its way south, east, and west. In Tellan 6940, the Kingdom of Thronreich sought to align itself with the new Stoldavic Empire. A dual capital was formulated for the Empire, where the city of Hoffnung governed the south and Östervallen the north. Thanks to the growing wealth and well functioning navy, the Empire was able to explore foreign coasts and start modern trade towns.

The empire lasted about two centuries, decline started rapidly when the south declared Stellist-Orkanan as the official religion in 7151. A war between the Stellist-Orkanan Helreich and the traditional Orkanists of the rest of Stoldavia was the result. The war escalated toward Aedeland, which wanted to take the opportunity to secede. The Greater Stoldavic Empire crumbled following the damages of the continuing civil war, eventually breaking up into many smaller kingdoms. The defenestration of Östervallen in 7204 is generally marked as the end date of the empire.

During this final phase, the lack of trunkbulls became a military disadvantage which gave the alliance battling the empire the upper hand. General Ericsson ordered the infantry to force a solution for the lack of trunkbull mastodons. There were three groups of animal trainers proposing different solutions. For the history of Vittmark, the group behind Bengt Olofsson was of major importance. Known as the Third Group, he proposed to let a group of mastodons run free and follow them to tame their offspring and bring them to the fronts. This group was only spotted occasionally and became a distinct travelling group of Orkanan herdes. The group survived as a monastic caste, receiving food and other necessities in return for spiritual guidance and religious services. The Bengtist Stift still is an influential religious and political group, recognized as a non-territorial member state of Vittmark. They are seen as the caretakers of the last of the trunkbull mastodons, which have a symbolic value for many Stoldavic Orkanans. According prophecies, the presence of trunkbulls is necessary for the Stoldavic Empire to re-emerge as the main carrier of the Orkanan religion.

The Lands

After the collapse of the Greater Stoldavic Empire, several warlords started to get control of consecutive territories, forming the backbone of new nations. Countries like Liden, Hagen and Ådalen were formed this way. By appointing local noblemen with approval of the foreign conquerors of the Stoldavic Empire, they were able to build new governments based on a strong noble class leadership. Autonomous city states in border regions between these countries became free havens of trade and innovation. These former nations still form the backbone of Vittmark, also in cultural and political respect.

Pan-Anarian War and Three Way Conflicts

The de jure political situation in 7564:
Hagen (in black diagonal) with dependencies Laxholm, Övre Valhagen and Genomhagen
Ådalen (in red horizontal) with Dunsvik
Liden (in green vertical) with dependencies Miwö and Kulla and the Central Anarian Administration of Nelvesdalia. Smaller dependencies and exclaves are not mentioned.

The area now forming Vittmark was heavily affected by the Pan Anarian War. At first many of the member states stayed outside the conflict, but got involved through supplying to any of the opposite sides in the 7520's. Especially shipbuilding was an aftersought trade. The demand for raw material made the iron mines of Hagen and the copper mines of Kopparbruk strategic objects. With the Wolgos occupation of Mörenburg in the 7540's Hagen, Liden and Ådalen became logistic carrier routes to the south. The large scale war was used as a way to extend the realm of these nation states, as well as for dependencies to steer towards more independance. Much of the leadership had been killed in the latter days of the war, even through local uprisings.

At the end of the Pan-Anarian War there were already ideas to create a more stable situation in northern Stoldavia. Central Anarian powers wanted to secure access to raw material present in the area.But after the war, internal and border conflicts continued and Anarian nations felt it necessary to intervene several times. This era from 7553 to 7564 is known as the Three Ways Conflict.

It took until 7564 to unite the troublesome areas during the Conference of Nisipari. The map to the right depicts the de jure divisions, but the reality was even more complicated. Much of southern Hagen was pacified by neighboring Aedeland, while Hagenite forces themselves occupied about a third of Ådalen, as well as a large part of the southern territories. Liden had invaded Ådalen from the east, occupying about a quarter of it. In the mean time, the former border region between Ådalen and Liden was pacified through a corridor by Auresian and Hallian military, who even occupied a valley in Ådalen in order to secure supplies to Nelvesdalia. Laxholm, Dunsvik, Mivö and Kulla had taken the opportunity to create more autonomy. In the case of Kulla this even extended outside their own area, with Karl av Kulla serving as governor of the Nelvesdalia occupied territory. The outer territories of Friställen (Stella Ferris) and Uppforsbackar (Bachae Anterior) however were managed directly by Anarian forces, although there was a large degree of regional autonomy. This also resulted in military presence from Ådalen, Hagen and Liden in the south, all three were considered illegal forces in the region though.

The almost total military defeat of Ådalen and the rush for raw materials south of the Blue Mountains created a situation in which a new solution should be formulated quickly. With all three major sides largely overstretching their military capacities and the already present foreign military from Amberia, Aedeland, Halland, Auresia and others made it possible to implement the solution as well.

In the Treaty of Nisipari, the region was placed into the custody of the Royal House of Kulla, a notorious noble house which had been very influential during the Greater Stoldavic Empire. All Central Anarian occupation zones were put within the new nation, including the southern regions of Inälvsdalen and Uppforsbackar, which used to belong to the sphere of influence of Mörenburg. The remaining Mörenburger population, who weren't a party in the negotiations, largely left the area. This created a local power vacuum as well as mass destruction of production means. After this third wave of destruction in the south, the population was literally decimated compared to the situation before the Wolgos occupation, with only about 250,000 souls present.

First decade

See also: History of Vittmark

King Karl av Kulla got the task of uniting the nation under Orkanan principles, but with a neutral and non-aggressive international policy. The chosen political constellation was that of a decentralized federal semi-parliamentary monarchy. The process was supported through the presence of international pecekeepers.

However, a year after his inauguration as leader of the new nation in 7566, King Karl and his son Crown Prince Thomas were killed in a separatist attack in the capital of Östvallen. The leadership of the fragile nation now fell into the lap of Princess Anna Karlsdotter av Kulla, the then 26 year old daughter from Karl’s second marriage. She continued implementing the Treaty of Nisipari further, dividing legislative from executive government and splitting the legislative into a federal parliament and House of Lords. She also acknowledged two non-territorial units as member states. Three federal territories were transformed into a member state in March 7570. Fisks entered as an overseas territory in 7571. In 7573 Vittmarks constitution was formulated.

This period also saw many disruptions, like the secession attempt of Ådalen in 7569 (followed by a palace revolution), the attempted coup d'état against Queen Anna in 7572 and the subsequent division of Liden of 7573. The first international clash occurred in 7574, when Vittmark actively opposed the effects of the Common Tariff.

Second Decade

The second decade started with intensifying relations with Anisora and The Bind, as a result of the Common Tariff conflicts. The following Treaty of Gadalhem, an intensification of the Common Tariffs, led to a rift between Anarian nations, where both Auresia and Anisora sided with Vittmark. The conflict led to an expulsion of several Gadalhem signatories from their port concessions, after Vittmark unilaterally withdrew from the Treaty of Nisipari, the foundation of Vittmark as a nation state.

In 7576 Fjällsta Stift surprised the other member states by accepting the Kakuri stond in its registry, making these unregistered natives from Gilles Carls citizens of Vittmark. It resulted in the inclusion of the Kakuri people as a non-territorial member state in 7578, despite heavy internal and international opposition.

Government and subdivisions

Vittmark has recently adapted a new constitution, which replaced the Treaty of Nisipari on which much of the umbrella organization of the federation was based. The federation is a logical climax of the basicly bottom-up structure of government built in Orkanan traditions. The structure of federal government has been outlined with modern insights on national government from mainland Anaria.

On a basic (local) level, Vittmark has a highly democratic form of government. Stims are the main local gatherings, where all members having reached adulthood can get voting rights. The right to vote is something that must be earned, often through kinship (family ties), remarkable virtues or by paying local taxes. Both males and females can be eligible to vote, but in practice only about 75% of the people acquire this right. There usually is an executive board of 3-9 people leading a stim.

The stims choose allegiance with a Socken, which is the lowest level in the (territorial) organization in Orkanan. Each stim has a representative in the Socken, where the local government is led by an Orkanan Alf (guide, wayhand). Most sockens have enclaves and exclaves, and their composition can change due to the formation or mergeure of stims.

Sockens are gathered in Hundreds and / or Stifts. The Hundreds are strictly worldly administrative divisions, themselves subdivisions of the member states. Socken boards appoint representatives into the Hundreds, which mainly have administrative and judicial duties. The Hundred Chamber appoints representatives into the legislative body of a member state. These states form the federative monarchy of Vittmark.

Besides these Hundreds, sockens are often even gathered into Stifts. These deal with regional and internal matters, often with a stronger religious character. Only the (former) federal territories are without Stifts. In many member states, the Stifts form the link towards national government, for example in Hagen, Liden, Ådalen and Laxholm. In these nations, the Hundreds are regional representations of the national government. Two non-territorial Stifts are themselves directly member states of Vittmark.

Federal government

See also: Government of Vittmark
Official state portrait of Queen Anna av Vittmark as issued in 7569

Legislative government

The legislative has been divided into a federal parliament called Förbundsdag and a House of Lords called Förbundsting. The latter was formed out of the Provisional Council of Vittmark in September 7568. It has a single representation for each member state, territory, city state and non-territorial unit. It currently has 17 seats (as of March 7573) of which 15 have appointed representatives. and has one member for each of the member states.

Each state can send representatives to the newly formed federative parliament. This legislative body was installed in January 7569 after elections going on between September and December 7568. Most states use an indirect system of election acording the first-past-the-post principle.

See also: Political parties in Vittmark

Executive government

Anna av Kulla gathered a group of nobleman and -women, scientists, Orkanan spiritual leaders and diplomats around her when she was appointed assumptive heir after the death of her father and half-brother. Until the legislative parliament became fully functional, this Provisional Council acted as executive government. In September 7568 a federal executive government was formed out of it: the Provisional Government of Vittmark. It got its approval from Federal Parliament after its inauguration in December 7568. This cabinet resigned in 7573 after completing the constitutional process.

Based on the distribution of seats around Jan 1st 7574, a coalition government as brokered. Queen Anna gathered information from political leaders and then proposed Iohann Persson Ödebo as prime minister with the task of forming a coalition cabinet. He led the cabinet from 7574 to 7580 when he resigned. A new cabinet was formed by Frania av Lårsten, which became operational in February 7580:

  • Chancellor of Federal Affairs - Frania Matsdotter ättlinge av Lårsten (unaffiliated, Sörmark)
  • Chancellor of Foreign Affairs - Urban Rågersson (Sörmarkspartiet, Sörmark)
  • Chancellor of Judicial Affairs - Astfrid av Vinborg (Framtid, Kötthagen)
  • Chancellor of Security - överste Gummun Hampesson av Hagen (Framtid, Hagen)
  • Royal Secretary of the Treasury - Marey Kassandersdotter Bilanda (Allians, Mivö)
  • Secretary of State Development - Östen Torstensson Liljeroth (Iunsala Förbund, Ådalen)

Subdivisions

See also: Administrative divisions of Vittmark

At the start of 7574, all 17 members were transformed into member states through the ratification of the new constitution. Even though the level of self determination between the member states differs, the nominal difference between principality, land, stift, city state and company territory vanished. The two remaining territories were transformed into states. Some member states have urged the wish to start using the pre-treaty flags again. Only Ådalen is able to do so due to the free association treaty. In 7578 an 18th member state entered the federation.

Flag Old flag Name Capital Type (nominal) Head of state (political) Inhabitants Area
Bengtist Stift Bengts Gästgiveri, Östvallen Stift TBA 3 564 * 0
Dunsvik Ormserum Landskap Peter Petersson av Dunsvik 245 755
Fisks Carls Nybygge Overseas company territory Arild Fisk 192 964 12 127
Fjällsta Stift Fjällsta Stift Palne Kristersson herr till Fjällsta 205 882 * 0
Hagen Hinnårum Furstendom Gustav Gustavsson av Hagen 945 293
Kakuri Stift Toshi-bu Stift Moa Palnesdotter av Blåkulla 4 755
Kletudde Kletudde Land Teres av Ståhlvik 196 402
Kopparbruk Kopparbruk Company town Petra Brunhildsdotter Pölsmyr 278 781 78
Kram Sandsala Förbundslandet TBA 168 450
Kulla Kronområde Kronsta Kronområde Anna av Kulla konung av Vittmark 64 768 111 168
Kötthagen Vinborg Furstendom Gustav Gustavsson av Hagen 882 640
Laxholm Kobbe Landskap Markvard Turesson av Kobbe 313 204
Liden Månsta Landskap Östen Karlsson av Månsta Lundén 1 874 292
Mivö Källbyholm Stat TBA 688 950
Staden Skara Skara Stadstat TBA 224 562 21
Sörmark Kronsta Landskap Anna av Kulla konung av Vittmark 675 840 *
Östvallen Stad Östervallen Stadstat Gert Halmarsson av Almedalen 596 147 61
Ådalen Äs Furstendom Ulla Ådahl 1 172 357 60 702

Foreign Relations

See also: Foreign relations of Vittmark

Given the young age of the nation, it hasn't developed elaborate foreign relations yet. Most of the relations are a direct effect of the Treaty of Nisipari, which laid the foundation of the federation. Many nations have actually been forced to develop relations with Vittmark quickly because of the so-called port concessions that have been awarded to most of the signatory nations of the treaty.

Most Anarian nations see Vittmark as a political solution in a region with a turbulent recent history, a solution that simply has to be successfull. Many nations have contributed with peacekeeping forces, of which some still are present.

Over the last decade, Vittmark's foreign policy and diplomatic efforts have all been aiming at getting on an equal level of communication with the nations that helped form the federation. This has led to some diplomatic incidents, where the Vittmarkers have been judged as short tempered, impulsive and lacking patience as well as diplomatic skills. Notable events include the assassination of King Karl in 7566, the formation of a zone of economic cooperation with the Häverist Commonwealth in 7569, the inclusion of Fisks as outlying territory in 7571, the attempted coup d'état against Queen Anna in 7573 and the opposition against the Treaty of Ærilar in 7574.

The latter has been the mst serious incident, which according to many international political commentators marked the passage into adulthood of Vittmark as a nation state. Vittmark openly defied the cartel of nations imposing the results of the Treaty of Ærilar upon other nations. This led to a series of international diplomatic conflicts in the second half of 7574, including tempering with the supply of water and electricity to the Port Concession of signatory nations. The conflicts culminated in October 7574 when the All Encompassing Leader of The Bind made its first foreign appearance ever as part of a trade delegation in the capital of Vittmark. Anisora then provided a practical solution to Vittmark regarding the passage of sea straits, in order to prevent Vittmark from being driven further into the arms of The Bind.

The visit from the delegation from The Bind also marked a change in foreign policies as they have been practised even by predecessor state. From the days of the Greater Stoldavic Empire, the Orkanan leaders of the regions have refused to acknowledge any form of government from the Wolgos or Luora people. Due to the lack of interspecies reproduction, the Orkanans considered them to be 'animal species' below the level of other humanoid species. Vittmark now has opened up for diplomatic and trade relations with The Bind and the Wolgos people, but remain firm in their denial of the existence of Arsas. In most states, intercause with a Wolgos or Luora still is considered bestiality and prosecuted as such.

Military

See also: Military of Vittmark

The federal military of Vittmark is divided into the Landsförsvar (Federal Army) and Havsförsvar (Federal Navy).

After the formation of the federation in 7566, a process was started where regional militias and former national army units were being transformed into lightly armed police forces. Many soldiers however opted to join the federal military. The Federal Police in the southern provinces is a branch of the Federal Army as well.

The army consisted mainly of conscripts from Liden, which were being deployed all over the country to replace the foreign peacekeeping forces. During this process, that started in 7568, it became more normal that conscripts from other member states started to participate in more and more mixed batallions. After the turmoil of 7572-73, where Liden military personell seemed to support a coup d'état against the queen, more and more positions in the command structure were being filled with officers from Hagen and to a lesser extent Laxholm and Dunsvik.

The Federal Navy only had some lighter, war battered patrolling vessels, mainly from Ådalen, Mivö and Liden. Most of the heavier ships like battlecruisers and destroyers were downed during the war, with neither of the member states having the opportunity to replace them with similar sized battleships. The navy of Liden was fully incorporated in 7573, but Ådalen still has coastal vessels under its own navy. In 7575 a replacement plan for military equipment was being implemented in phases. A large proportion of the military budget is nowadays spent on a new generation of domestically built steel hull cruisers.

According to the Treaty of Nisipari, Vittmark is not allowed to operate artillery airships. Between 7566 and 7578 it only had scout ships and transporters, which are used in army and navy alike. In 7579 Vittmark withdrew from the Treaty of Nisipari and promptly started acquiring airships from Auresia and Anisora.

The federal units have a simple system of ten military ranks, with the King (Queen) being the highest commander. There are also non-federal military units in several hundreds, where the Herr is the highest ranking officer. Herr is also the rank directly below the King. Non-federal units mainly have policing tasks, including customs and border patrol. These are all strictly military tasks, which directly fall under the jurisdiction of the hundred, the main judicial unit in Vittmark.

Political culture

At the local level, basic democracy is functioning as an egalitarian movement with large influence by active individuals. There is a clear distinction between modernists and traditionalists on this local level. Traditionalists usually are opposing the cooperation within Vittmark and the reforms it tries to enforce. Modernists see the new state as an excellent vehicle to rebuild a proud Orkanan nation in a mechanized and industrialized setting. On the local level, traditionalists and modernists are forced to cooperate though.

Even on the level of socken, the influence of the individual or a group still can be felt. The gap between traditionalists and modernist can be felt here as well. At the state level, both blocks form opposing fronts and do not cooperate though. To make matters more complicated, regional alliances are present as well, especially if a socken representative can not be labeled as modernist nor traditionalist. At this level, the executive tasks are separated completely from the legislative task of the national parliament.

This situation is best visible in the southern territories of Uppforsbackar and Inälvsdalen. Traditionalists were able to claim all the positions of power with backing from traditional anti-federation forces from Ådalen and Liden, resulting in the exclusion of all people, stims and stifts not obeying their rule. Some of these groups have gathered in the Fjällsta Stift, which is modernist and supports the claim of the Av Kulla family to rule the nation. In their howetown of Fjällsta, they were able to challenge the sitting powers and acquire a position in local government. In size, both the traditionalist, landowning faction and the modernist, landless stift are about equal in size.

All states feel that the national level is the most important one, and therefore give the federal level a low priority. However, as prescribed by the Treaty of Nisipari, a large part of taxes is lifted to the federal level, with the monarch of Vittmark not only having a veto right, but even a budget right if the federal government is unable to formulate one. In practical terms, the influence of states on how federal taxes are spent is rather large.

Geography

Vittmark is a nation of contrast, with extremes like plains and mountains, fertile ground and rocky fields, dark forests and wide open horizons. Due to the Orkanan religion, the bond between the Vittmarkers and their lands is very intense. This shows for example in the toponomy, which form the basis of (extended) family names.

Geology and landscape

The most prominent feature dividing Vittmark in two separate regions is the Blue Mountains (Blååsarna in Wortsproke). With only a handfull of mountain passes, none of them under 2800 metres above sealevel, this truly is a watershed divider. The geological processes that have formed these mountains are also responsible for the rich findings of metals and coal on both sides.

Especially the southern region is rich in coal and iron, which is an unusual combination at these short distances. This has made the region attractive for foreign intruders. Valleys are deep which outside the industrial pockets results into an agricultural society based on animal husbandry.

Even north of the mountains there are rich findings of iron, especially in Kötthagen. Here, the valleys are wider and more suitable for growing crops. The central region (mostly in Ådalen) has a limestone basis, which has given the area and nation its name: the white lands. A lot of the chalk has been transported by the many rivers to the fertile plains of the coast. This landscape is dotted with remnants of the last ice age, elongated hillridges, still recognizable even when covered with clay and sand.

The coastal region is characterized by cliffs and (former) islands. In the west it's the peninsulas of Nabbe and Kobbe. More centrally it's the sandstone island of Mivö. The northeastern peninsula of Hagen is covered with morene blocks and lacks large rivers.

Climate

Nature

Demographics

Ethnicity

The inhabitants of Vittmark are Dölmer people. Historically speaking the Vittmarkers are direct descendants of the people that lived in the Njudände province of the Greater Stoldavic Empire. Despite having been divided by national borders during the last 4 centuries, there still is a sense of common ancestry and ethnic relationship.

Most of the people won't identify themselves as Vittmarkers (Vittish, Vittrish), but will refer to their nation state.

  • Hagen and Kötthagen: Hagenite
  • Ådalen: Ådalish (Odalish), except inhabitants of Talpå: Tölp (Tulp)
  • Liden: Lidenite
  • Mivö: Mivonian
  • Sörmark: Surrish (or Sörmarker)
  • Laxholm: Laxholmian, Holmian or Kobbish
  • Dunsvik: Dunnish or Duns
  • Kulla: Kullan
  • Skara: Skaran

These differences are purely geographical, although some minor religious and cultural differences are present as well. A distinctive linguistic minority is formed by Stoldish speaking people in the southernmost mountain valleys. These are however also Dölmer people.

Ethnical minorities

In the region of Övre Valhagen a small minority of Aldsay people are still living in an area that used to be etnically mixed before 7566. Most of the Aldsay population left after the plebiscite of 7566, but about 5300 people remained, forming a 20% minority in this particular region.

In the overseas territories of Fisks, there are ethnic minorities not belonging to the Dölmer ethnicity. The Kakuri people, about 4800 people living on Gilles Carls have received the status of non-territorial member state in 7578.

The indigenous population of Gilles Karolinas in the north all belong to the Mizust ethnicity. On Gilles Henkes this population is present as well, but there are also settlements of Izmotal people. The Izmotal etnicity is also present on the southern islands Askers, Carls, Villes and Cillas. On Gilles Carls and Askers these are referred to as Chi. Most natives of Gilles Askers however belong to the Hueiwei ethnicity. Hueiwei are also present on Gilles Carls, where they serve in Fisks' households and the military. Most of these minorities are not listed as residents and don't have an official status in Fisks. The Association Act of 7575 and the statehood of the Kakuri in 7578 have served as a wake-up call for the Fisks administration to address the situation.

Religion

The main religion in Vittmark is Mellanhand Orkanan. The status of Mellanhand is not anchored in the Constitution nor in any federal law. Therefore Vittmark officially has freedom of worship.

Queen Anna is head of the Östvallen - Kulla Stift, which has gotten the task of outlining religious practice in the three major and 16 minor Mellanhand stifts in Vittmark. The Av Kulla family has direct lineage to the Mellanhand branch that ruled the Greater Stoldavic Empire. At that time they were considered the chosen leaders to guide the people towards Vind´s plan. But after the fall of the empire the region got divided into smaller states and religious provinces.

The nobility of Liden, Hagen and Ådalen have made similar claims in the post-imperial era, which has resulted in minor differences in Mellanhand interpretations in those states. The stifts of these former independant nations are still the 3 major Mellanhand institutions in Vittmark:

  • Hagneå Stift, which historically covered Hagen (including Kötthagen) and Dunsvik. Since 7564 Dunsvik has its own stift.
  • Iunsala Stift, currently coinciding with Ådalen (and some peripheral territories outside that menber state). Previously Laxholm and Kopparbruk were incorprated as well.
  • Månsta Stift, encompassing Liden, Mivö and the city of Skara.

Religious minorities

During the last three centuries, people unwilling to conform to the Mellanhand institutes of Ådalen, Hagen or Liden have fled into the mountainous areas of the south. In the Blue Mountains a wide variety of Mellanhand (and even non-interventionist) interpretations is present. These religious minorities managed to create footholds all over Sörmark after the Mörenburger population left. A large part of the goups following a Mellanhand tradition is gathered under Fjällsta Stift. This non-territorial congregation has allied itself with the Av Kulla Mellanhand leadership, but is not a part of it. Fjällsta has about 250,000 registered members and can therefore be seen as the largest religious minority in Vittmark.

The second largest minority is formed by Sunna Stift, a branch predating Mellanhand and following a version of interventionist Orkanan that does not build on nobility as leadership. There are between 50,000 and 75,000 Sunnists in Vittmark.

The Bengtist Stift is a non-interventionist branch with only several thousands of registered followers. The group is highly influential because of their caretaking of trunkbulls. This status is emphasized by a non-territorial membership of the Bengtists as state of Vittmark. It is said that it is thanks to the Bengtists that Vittmark is not a single religion nation, but apply freedom of worship.

Outside Vittmark proper, two more religious minorities have been identified (but not yet acknowledged) among te native people of Fisks. About 6,000 people practice Chi, a natural phenomena religion heavily influenced by Mellanhand colonizers. These people are not registered as citizens nor residents, so the status of their religion is non-existing.

About 5,000 people follow the belief system of the Kakuri people of Gilles Carls. These people are an associated socken (stond) within Fjällsta Stift, even though the Kakuri do not practice a religion that falls within the Orkanan or Mellanhand tradition. The religion is well documented, but in a language that still puzzles linguists.

Language

The only official national language of Vittmark is Wortsproke (locally called Vårtspråk). The language is a recent creation, connected to the creation of Vittmark as a nation state. It is composed out of several dialects and language variations in the region. It was presented as national language in 7566rh and is currently being deployed as national standard. Wortsproke literally means "our language".

There are six language variations being spoken, connected with the former nation states that existed before the Pan-Anarian War. Storlidish and Odalic are the largest in every day use, but even Hagenish, Kobbish and Dunsvic were considered separate languages. All of these are mutually intelligable.

Other language variations are being spoken as well, but they are considered dialects. Most distinctive is that of Inälvsdalen, which hasn't undergone some of the modernizations from the later era's of the Stoldavic Empire.

Minority languages

The region Inälvsdalen belonged to the Mörenburg before the Pan-Anarian War, while Friställen and Kulla were semi-autonomous. Despite the fact that most of the Mörenburger government representatives and their families have left the area, there are still pockets with mainly Mörenburger Stoldish speaking people left. These are often agricultural settlers, who migrated into the area some four centuries ago and never adopted the official religion of Mörenburg. These local variations of Mörenburger are only used in every day life and some sockens. While a couple of sockens have stated a request to maintain their language when applying for a new stift within Vittmark, the Stoldish or Mörenburger language still has no official status on the federal level. Only Fjällsta Stift has recognized Mörenburger Stoldish as a minority language in order to preserve the right of its members to be educated in this language. The estimated number of native speakers vary between 3,000 and 20,000, since no language affiliation is registered.

Heirska is a language variation of Wortsproke as spoken by the 1300 inhabitants of the Härska valley in Sörmark, Vittmark. Although it does not have the (political) status of a language, its grammar and ortography is so much different that it could be classified as such. Heirska is hardly interintelligable with Wortsproke. The roots of the language go back to the Orkanan Realm of Stoldavia, a lot of modernizations did not arrive in this remote mountain range.

A separate mention is necessary for the indigeonous languages as spoken on Fisks. Since these people are not registered as residents of Fisks (and with that, neither of Vittmark) their status is non-existant. The only exception is the Kakuri language which is spoken by about 5,000 people and has a status as local language within Kakuri Stift.

Economy

See also: Companies of Vittmark

Agriculture, fishery, forestry

Within Vittmark, Liden and the surrounding counties can be seen as the main agricultural area. 90% of the fruit and vegetable produce, 85% of the cereals and 60% of the sugar are being produced here. However, Liden still is a net importer of food products, due to the large proportion of the industrial and urban population. Kötthagen is the heartland for animal husbandry, with two thirds of the meat and 50% of dairy production.

With a long coastline on the Stoldavic Sea, it is of no surprise that fishery is an important source of food and income. Hagen is by far the largest fishing nation within Vittmark. Most of the fishing happens in coastal waters, the long periods of unrest are the main reason why the fishing fleet does not have any larger vessels.

Forestry is widespread within Vittmark, with Hagen, Kötthagen, Liden and Ådalen as almost equal contributors to the national production. The region has a long tradition of avoiding clearcuts, as well as active reforestation in natural surroundings. Pine and birch are the main species, but commercial exploitation of oak, spruce, aspen, alder and beech are also present. Due to the large production of lumber and related industries like sawmills, furniture production and shipyards, there is a large surplus of wood as energy source.

Mining and industry

Vittmark is relatively rich in coal and metal ore. Especially the recently acquired territories south of the Blue Mountains have large iron deposits. Huge findings were made in the latter days of the Pan-Anarian War, when the demand for iron for weapons and armor catapulted. New mining techniques have made it possible to process vast amounts of ore in Inälvsdalen. After the area became part of Vittmark, Lidenish industrials have quickly taken over the mining industry. Ore is processed in situ, so that only the half product of iron rods and plates need to be transported over the mountains towards the industrial heartland of Liden.

Even Kötthagen is rich in iron finds, which are much easier to exploit and transport thanks to the presence of railways, rivers and harbors. The presence of iron has been a major element in continuous invasions by Aedeland, which lacks considerable sources of iron. In the same area and neighboring Laxholm, the mining of lead, copper, bauxite, gold and platinum is a major contributor to the regional economy. Ådalen is rich in silver, tin and bauxite, of which the first two have played an important role in the industrialization of the nation.

Liden is however far most industrialized, with a large proportion of the people living in urban areas. Many of the industries are located near the sources (like wood and stone) or near sources of energy (hyrdropower, coal and lately even natural gas). The most technically developed industries can be found in industrial towns on railway junctions.

Transportation and infrastructure

See also: Railways in Vittmark and Automotive industry in Vittmark

The differences within Vittmark regarding infrastructure are enormous. Well developed and industrialized areas like Liden have a well functioning and elaborate infrastructure network. Inland areas, like the regions of Uppforsbackar and Inälvsdalen lack the most basic infrastructure above the level of gravel roads. Here the railway line is the only significant infrastructure available. In Vittmark road traffic uses the right hand of the road for passage, apart from Ådalen which still applies left hand traffic on its roads. Especially in the large port of Talpå, near the borders of Laxholm and Kötthagen, this tends to lead to confusion.

The Kung Birger aquaduct near Hveteryd in Ådalen, an infrastructure hub with the river Landan below, used for timber logging, and the railway bridge on the Östvallen to Äs railway above.
Thanks to its history as a trading nation, port facilities are well developed. The main harbors are Östvallen, Talpå, Källbyholm, Skara, Kobbe, Tammerköping, Kletudde and Åmynningsås. Large rivers are being used for inland shipping when the weather allows. More shallow rivers are used for timber rafting. During the last century, some larger lakes have been connected with the navigable river system by canals and locks, making use of smaller lakes and deepened rivers.

Liden and Ådalen have well developed railway lines from the aforementioned harbors to the hinterlands, and between the largest cities, but both use different railway gauges. Liden uses 1220 mm, while Ådalen mainly applies the long range 1829 mm famnspår gauge on its main network. Hagen and Kötthagen uses the traditional "five foot" (1524 mm) gauge, which is also present in the valley of Inälvsdalen. Feeder lines and industrial railroads often have narrow gauge (alnspår 610 mm and räckspår 915 mm).

The federal government has stated upgrading the rail infrastructure as a main task for the coming decade. Connecting the national capitals with a similar gauge track is the first stage according federal plans. In the spring of 7568 a large infrastructure project called the Blue Mountains Railways was started in order to connect the southern region with reliable means of transport. But this railway project through the mountains was built in 1220 mm gauge instead, while the onging east-west railway improvement gets carried out in 1829 mm.

Roads through the mountains are narrow and during the winter season as good as impossible to travel on. During the cold periods, frozen rivers are being used as roads for wheeled vehicles as well. Winter routes and summer routes through the coastal lowlands differ considerably. During the spring and summer season, rivers are being used for timber rafting.

Trade and commerce

See also: International trade in Vittmark

Trade has traditionally been concentrated in the larger coastal towns. Skara's history as a trading hub goes back 15 centuries, and even today it's an important crossroad of water- and landways. Other important staple ports include Kobbe (Laxholm), Äs (Ådalen, inland port), Källbyholm (Mivö), Talpå, Östvallen, Kletudde and Waldemarsborg. However, a lot of the trade possibilities have remained unused during the previous decades because of internal conflicts and (civil) war.

Since the formation of Vittmark, a revival of trade has been started through the Port Concessions of Vittmark. Most Anarian nations have a dedicated harbor for seafaring trade, in the case of Aedeland, Helreich and URP even through railways. The port concessions have led to focused investment by foreign companies and governments, with all trade to the respective nation going through the particular concession. This has boosted export of coal, iron and building materials, as well as import of food, textiles and more luxury consumer goods.

The Vittmarker seagoing merchant fleet is divided among several registries. It is no longer possible to fly the flag of any of the member states, these have all been replaced by the Vittmarker merchant flag in 7569. Since the entry of Fisks into the federation, there is now a second registry available. In 7572 a federal court ruled that the vessels from the Fisks registry are not bound by the Treaty of Nisipari and can therefore call to any port or harbor facility in Vittmark. This has led to some shipping companies registering their fleets in Fisks. The non-territorial Fjällsta Stift has applied for the same status, opening its own registry in 7573, all of them with Nabben as home port.

Due to the signing of the Treaty of Ærilar in 7574 and the implementation of the accompanying Common Tariff, the Vittmarker merchant fleet saw a problem arising. The federal government does not have the means to pay for the Common Tariff, nor does it have instruments to acquire funds for doing so. As a result, a large part of the Vittmarker fleet is converting to the open shipping registry of Anisora. It is estimated that of February 7575 about 30% of the merchant fleet now is flying an Anisoran flag of convenience. These vessels must use the Port Concession in Talpå for international trade though.

Culture

See also: Culture of Vittmark

Architecture

Traditionally most of the buildings are built from timber. In forested areas timber stocks are used as building material, but in the more agricultural and urbanized regions the main building technique is that of a timber framework with plank walls. In most of Vittmark standing panels are used for outside walls, but in Ådalen there is a preference for horizontal panels. In the south a lot of people still are living in so-called "half-houses", which are partially dug out with earthen walls and only a plank roof.

Houses are grouped in a typical Stoldavic manner, which includes a main house, two wing buildings and an entrance building facing the public road. This creates a private yard, while at the same time the roads are lined with elongated buildings that make transportation of cattle more easy. This gathering of buildings is the usual residence of the extended family or stim.

In urbanized areas, this basic building form has been transformed into the closed quarter building block, usually consisting of 4-6 of these stim yards. Buildings facing the streets contain workshops and stores. Living areas tend to be built on second and third floors. Building materials used in these cities differ considerably. Hagen and coastal cities on the mouths of slow flowing rivers are dominated by brick buildings. In Ådalen huge blocks and slabs of limestone are being used, while Mivö and Liden have a tradition of using locally available sandstone as building material. Bu many of these city blocks are being built in timber as well.

Education

Traditionally, education has been the domain of the Orkanan Alfs in villages and neighborhoods. During the Stoldavic Empire, public education was founded, primarily in the trade towns on the coasts. They were public in the sense that apart from a contribution fee, everyone could attend, even girls.

In many places, this tradition is still alive with a large part of home schooling and Orkanan education by Alfs. Only in larger cities and the seats of (worldly) hundreds, there is a public school system. In the city states of Kopparbruk, Skara and Östvallen, attendance is obligatory, unless a child gets exempted. Here, over 90% of the children aged 15 can read and write proficiently. But in war-torn areas, there are whole generations of illiterates.

Vocational training is organized by simen, a type of guild that is closely related to the extended family or an Orkanan stim. This education is only available on invitation and usually confined to the own stim. The craftsmen select promising pupils for training in the necessary skills for the trade of the stim. While this was originally a system upheld by craftsmen, it is currently in place for most professions. Some of the simen have opened for a wider audience, also providing education for people outside the stim.

While the Östervallen University is one of the oldest of its kind on Gotha, its size and importance have dimished considerably during the last century.

Science

Science in Vittmark falls clearly under the Mellanhand scientific school, expanding knowledge is seen as an almost holy task. There is a huge emphasis on hands-on science and experiments, based on creative concepts and theories. Understanding the complex and seemingly chaotic nature of things is a preferred way to contribute to Vind's Master Plan. Scientific research usually is interdisciplinary teamwork.

The University of Östervallen (Lärosäte i Östervallen) is one of the oldest institutes for science and higher education in Stoldavia. It was the foremost scientific institute during the Greater Stoldavic Empire and has since been a major seat of learning for science based on Mellanhand Orkanan philosophy of science.

Another influential university is the renowned Siutton University of Talpå. It has earned its name thanks to the 17 faculties that jointly form the university, each faculty being managed by a different stim and named after its Exemplar. The university was founded as such in 7483, but individual academies date back to the 70th and 71st centuries. Siutton is a model organization for similar academies in other Vittmarker cities, opposing the 'single school' model applied by the Östvallen University.

Music

The musical traditions of Vittmark are rooted in Orkanan beliefs. There are however large differences between the several regions. The ingenuity of people has led to the development of variations of instruments, adapted especially for the type of music played in a region.

The more agricultural and small scale south of the country has a tradition of folk music with many different instruments and relatively small performing groups. The music tells about Orkanan legends and myth, as well as local folklore, with or without text sung by vocalists. Many vocals are in double or triple harmonies. Typical instruments are the 8-string violin, mandolin, key harp (nyckelharpa) and 6-string fretted viol, as well as hand drums.

A region like Kötthagen has a large vocal tradition, both in the form of travelling singers, as well as large choirs. It is of no surprise that the other end of the country, Hagen, knows a similar tradition. Both are sparsely populated with a background in agriculture and fishery, and have been under the same rule since the last 3 centuries.

Ådalen has a very distinctive musical culture, which is based on mass participation and mass experience. Music from Ådalen is loud, distorted, pompous and rythmically advanced. Characteristics include the frequent use of the minor key, dissonant harmonies, syncopations and progressions known as riffs. Music is played quiet fast (up to 160 bpm) and is making use of multiple violins, cellos, guitars, clarinets, oboes and reeded copperhorns.

The musical tradition of Liden has similar roots, but a completely different execution. Shuffle notes, grooves (4/4 played as 12/8) and double bassdrums accompany riffs here. The more industrial background of Liden has resulted in different instrumentation, like guitars, violins and cellos. Bass versions of violins, balalaikas, guitars and mandolins are used as well.

Competetive activities

Several forms of competitive physical activity exist within Vittmark, most of them with a long history. These are not only applied to develop physical abilities (training) but also play a role in Stoldavian and Orkanan culture. The large emphasis on group rituals has created a social context in which sports are a reoccurring routine. The most popular ones are usually team activities, which also provide entertainment to participants and spectators.

Stickball is the most typical sport in Vittmark, although it has decreased in use during the last 4-5 decades because of war and unrest. Several attempts are being made to revive the game, for instance by formulating general rules. It is currently on the rise again as upper and middle class recreation.

Classic athletic track & fields are also practiced in Vittmark, but even here the group results are more important than individual ones. For instance in decathlon meetings, where teams of athletes compete against each other in different events, resulting in a team total. With the reopening of higher education and the relative tranquility on the countryside, these competitions are gaining in popularity. Not all the regional or local competitions have the same events though.

Literature and Art

The strongest tradition in literature are the biographies of Orkanan Exemplars. A biograpghy that tells the life experience of an exemplary person, usually formulated by a number of writers and using several sources is pivotal to gain the status of Exemplar. Traveling clergymen have written down accounts for centuries, usually eye-witness accounts, anekdotes or short stories. Combining these accounts could result in a biography, but there are also collections of stories with a certain theme or from a certain region being published. Biographies are seldomly chronological, and it's even more rare that autobiographies are being published. However, autobiographical accounts and anekdotes are a key ingredient in biographies.

Vittmark also has a strong oral tradition of storytelling, where legendary persons or mythical creatures play an important role. Storytelling is considered an artform, which includes poetry as a styleform and with storytelling on music as a separate art. Story improvisation on music is considered a higher artform. There is a thin line between storytelling and performing, especially in the case if the storyteller picks up the role as witness or main character in the story. Storytelling by 2 or 3 people occur as well, which can be labeled as performing arts and plays.

Although Vittmark has a rich imperial tradition in painting and sculptures, many of these skills have been lost during the recent decades of unrest and the predecessing centuries of scattered development. Therefore a relatively new artform like photography is gaining terrain swiftly, partially thanks to Queen Anna's masters degree from an Auresian artschool as an inspirational source.

Cuisine

The cuisine of Vittmark is as varied as the country itself, thanks to its historical and natural differences.

Kötthagen is known for its wide variety of sausages, thanks to the combination of grassy plains and mining industry. Traditionally, leather has been used to haul ore through shafts from the several mines in the south. This has led to a yearly trek of bovines towards the mining cities, where meat was a by-product of the much higher valued leather. In order to be able to store and transport meat products, a huge sausage industry has arisen in many of the mining towns.

Ådalen's coast is famous for its many dishes including fish and seashells. Where in most other fishing ports the impact of fishery is local, in Ådalen it has reached a national status. The recent development of a consistent railway network has been the foundation of this, making it possible to transport freshly caught fish to inland market towns.

Beer is considered the main beverage in Vittmark, even here with large local varieties. There is a difference between beer with low alcohol content (1-3%) which nowadays is mostly produced on an industrial scale, and beer with high alcohol content (6-12%), which still is the domain of ritual Orkanan breweries. Low alcohol beer is the staple drink of the nation, while high alcohol beer is only used in combination with meditation, Orkanan gatherings, festivities and holidays. Ales, stouts, wheat beers and lagers are all produced and consumed in Vittmark.

Folk costume and official attire

It is obvious that a nation like Vittmark shows a wide array of local folk costumes. An important part of all of these costumes are the visible signs of affiliation. Most known are the different patterns of embroidery used on collars and cuffs. These patterns have been used in the appointed flags of Vittmark.

Official attire has undergone radical changes during the last decade. On one side, Vittmarkers try to distantiate themselves from mainland Anarian fashion. This is clearly visible in the fact that ties and bowties are hardly used in male fashion. In both male and female fashion the tradition of showing body proportions through tightfitting clothing has re-appeared even in every day life.

Vittmarker fashion can be labelled as a mixture of Anarian and local styles, using different materials (from leather to lace) in unusual combinations for example. Another typical Vittmarker assett is the application of asymmetrical clothing, mainly in jackets and dresses.

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