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Kingdom of Albia
Flag of Albia

Coat of Arms of Albia

Flag Coat of Arms
Motto: Strength in Truth
Anthem: Our Mountain Majesty
Capital. Ambershire
Largest City. Ambershire (22,520)
Official languages English
Ethnic Groups Albian 95%, Other 5%
Demonym Albian
Government
 - King of Albia
 - Chief Minister
Semi-Constitutional Monarchy
HM King Christopher
Sir Jeffrey Rhyles
Formation
 - Duchy of Albia
 - Kingdom of Albia

3 May 1808
10 February 1816
Area
 - Total

632 mi²
Population 86,510
Currency
Albian Copper

The Kingdom of Albia is a small landlocked nation on The Continent. For most of its existence as an independent nation, Albia has been plagued by political and military strife between the reigning House of Stanwick and the aristocratic House of Dallowmar and House of Halloway. The House of Stanwick has managed to remain on the throne by playing the noble factions and Houses against each other, maintaining a precarious balance that has allowed the king to conduct the business of the State. However, the last twenty years have seen a breakdown in the careful balance that has resulted in a period of great instability.

Geography[]

The Kingdom of Albia is nestled within a valley of the Meddenlark Mountain Range of The Continent. At its widest points, the kingdom measures 43 miles north to south and 21 miles east to west, confined by the Eastern and Western Ranges of the Younger Meddenlarks. The northern region of the nation contains a large coniferous forest, slowly thinning into gently rolling open plains along the centrally dividing Isengard River, which originates just north of the kingdom in the Meddenlarks and flows south past the southern border. Tributaries of the river feed Lake Winslow and Lake Danby, providing large recreational areas and fishing. Several smaller coniferous forests are scattered along the mountains' edges.

Climate[]

As a mountain valley, Albia has a unique climate that is unlike that of the surrounding region. Protected by the mountains around it, the winters are cool with little snowfall and the summers mild with little rain.

History[]

Archealogical evidence shows that Albia has been occupied since prehistoric times. The first mention of Albia in recorded history dates to a dispatch from Roman general Appollonius Vergarian during the rein of Emperor Domitian. Vergarian had discovered the isolated valley and its inhabitants, a barbaric tribe named by the Romans as the Albini, as the mountains were then called the Albs. The Albini were influenced by the Romans, but never became part of the Empire.

In 345, Christian missionary St. Alucius journeyed to Albia to convert the Albini. He established a monastery near the site of present day Danby, in the southern tip of the valley. From there, he preached to the Albini in the north, eventually converting their chief and most of the tribe. Albia has remained a bastion of Christianity to this day. St. Alucius died at his monastery in 371, but the monastery continued to thrive for centuries after.

The Albini remained isolated and independent throughout the early Medieval period, but were eventually conquered by the Franks around 900. The difficulty in garrisoning Albia led to French King Rudolph granting the County of Albinois to the chief of the Albini, who took the name Carloman Albinois. The Albinois family ruled the County throughout the Middle Ages, doing very little to develop the infrastructure or economy. Following the Franco-Roman War, Albinois was ceded to Rome. The Albinois Count was executed and a Roman governor installed to govern the County.

As an outlying province of the Republic of Rome, its name reverted to the original Albini and it was garrisoned by Roman troops. The chief village of the valley was enlarged, fortified, and named Electrum. As the Roman Republic began to splinter during the 16th Century, the garrison was recalled to Rome proper. In 1589, eight clan leaders combined their personal guards to overthrow the Roman governor and the few remaining Roman soldiers. They declared Albini an independent nation set up as a oligarchical confederacy, governed by a council of the eight hereditary clan leaders.

County of Albini[]

The council form of governance worked for a period of time, but by the 1650s, there was considerable division amongst the eight clans. Factions had arisen, and Albini was in effect eight separate clanships, each governed separately from the rest. The idealistic model had failed, but none of the clan leaders were willing to give up their personal power and submit to a single ruler. The decision was taken out of their hands in 1672 when French General Sébastien Le Prestre invaded Albini from the west and quickly overran the decaying defenses. Albini was absorbed into the French Empire, and because of its isolation and large coniferous forests became the site of a new Imperial hunting lodge for the Emperor and his family.

Le Prestre was made Comte of Albini in 1673, and began construction of his palace in Electrum in 1675. He renamed Electrum as Ambre the following year. Promoted to Marshal of France in 1678, Le Prestre was forced to leave Albini to wage war against the Austro-Hungarian Empire, leaving his chamberlain, Henry Stanwick, in charge of the county. When Le Prestre died in 1707 without an heir, Stanwick petitioned the French Emperor to receive the inheritance and title. In 1710, the Emperor acquiesced and made Stanwick the Comte of Albini.

Comte Henry Stanwick died in 1713, only three years into his reign. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Henry Stanwick II, who undertook to modernize the Albini clans into a proper lesser nobility. The eight clan leaders became the Lords of Albini, and once again sat in council in Ambre. They were joined by two additional Lords, Britannic relations of the Comte. Henry II died in 1733 and was succeeded by his son, Henry III. While Comte, Henry III secretly plotted with the Britannic Empire against the French Imperial Family, who still frequented Albini during the hunting seasons.

In 1745, Henry III was host to a delegation of Britannic Brewery Masters to discuss the opening of a brewery in Albini. Along with the actual brewers were several disguised members of the Britannic military. With the heir to the French Imperial throne in residence at the hunting lodge, Henry III arranged an introductory meeting between the Britannic delegation and the Prince. During that meeting, the Prince was assassinated by the disguised soldiers, an act that directly resulted in the Third Franco-Britannic War, and ultimately in the downfall of the French Empire.

Government[]

The government of Albia is officially a semi-constitutional monarchy, although the current internal situation has resulted in diminished royal control in the southern half of the nation. In the northern half of Albia, the official government continues to operate according to constitutional intention. The Head of State is the monarch, currently King Christopher of the House of Stanwick. The Head of Government is the Chief Minister, currently Sir Jeffrey Rhyles, who was elected in 1989. The Executive Council, consisting of members of the Chamber of Deputies, administer the various ministries of the government: Finance, Foreign Affairs, Defence, State, Justice, and Social Services.

The National Assembly, the national legislature, consists of two chambers. The upper chamber is the Chamber of Lords of which the heads of the ten Noble Houses are members. The Lords are chaired by the Senior Peer, the eldest of the assembled members. The full Chamber of Lords has not met in session since the Battle of Dash's Ford in 1899. The lower chamber is the Chamber of Deputies. The forty Deputies are elected by the populace to serve for a period of three years. Ten Deputies are elected from each of the Farthings and are chaired by the Chief Minister, who is selected by the Deputies from amongst their membership. The National Assembly writes and approves legislation that is then sent to the Monarch for final approval.

The judicial branch of the government consists of two courts, the five member High Court, which acts as an appellate and tribunal court, and the six member Ordinary Court, which tries all criminal and civil cases originally.

Governance in the South[]

Due to the ongoing hostility within the nation, the reach of the royal government has diminished greatly in the south. The primary market towns of the southern farthings are governed by either elected councils or those appointed by the local lord. Their jurisdiction spreads across the countryside surrounding the town with only a few notable exceptions.

As many of the southern towns have refused to seat Deputies in the National Assembly in Ambershire, an opposing Chamber has been seated in Berwick under the auspices of the House of Dallowmar. The Deputies at Berwick represent the towns of Berwick, Ironton, Eamons Field, Danby, and Thorpe Hill, as well as most of the South and East Farthings. Southshore, the seat of the House of Langley, is the sole town south of Lake Winslow that remains loyal to the crown.

Politics in Albia[]

Throughout the early history of Albia, political parties did not exist. Deputies were backed by the Noble Houses and voted as their local Lord wished. Shortly after the end of the Second World War, that practice began changing as Deputy candidates began gaining more autonomy from the Noble Houses. A new constitution in 1923 specifically forbid the intervention of the Noble Houses in lower chamber elections or votes. This change led to the rise of formal political parties in the late 1920s.

The oldest party in Albia is the Granger Party, organized in 1925 by a consortium of Deputies representing the primarily rural southern Farthings. The Labor Party was founded in 1926 by labor leaders in Ambershire. In 1930, the Bishop of Ambershire led the movement to organize a Christian Right Party, which influenced elections in the 1930s and 40s, but disbanded in 1952. The conservative National Union formed in 1948 in response to a small, but vocal, Communist sympathizer movement in the Labor Party. Since the 1950s, several other small, short-lived parties have formed and disbanded, but three have remained constant since the 1950 Deputies election - the Granger Party (GP), the Labor Party (LP), and the National Union (NU).

As both the Granger Party and National Union are relatively conservative and often form a coalition, the Labor Party has rarely held the Chamber leadership in the last sixty years. Notable exceptions are from 1974 to 1977 and 1983 to 1986, both times of global economic recession.

Elections[]

Elections for the Chamber of Deputies, the only elective body in Albia, are held every three years in January, with incoming Deputies taking their seats at the start of the new legislative session in March. The last election was held in January 2010, with the new session starting on 2 March 2010.

Deputies Election of 2010[]

Party Votes % Seats +/-
National Union 17,680 44.2 10 -
Labor Party 15,480 38.7 8 -1
Granger Party 6840 17.1 4 +1
Invalid/blank votes 371 - - -
Total 40,371 100 22

0

Deputies Election of 2007[]

Party Votes % Seats +/-
National Union 17,515 43.9 10 -
Labor Party 16,078 40.3 9 -
Granger Party 6304 15.8 3 -
Invalid/blank votes 294 - - -
Total 40,191 100 22

0

Deputies Election of 2004[]

Party Votes % Seats +/-
National Union 18189 45.7 10 -1
Labor Party 15562 39.1 9 +2
Granger Party 6050 15.2 3 -1
Invalid/blank votes 353 - - -
Total 40,154 100 22

0

Deputies Election of 2001[]

Party Votes % Seats +/-
National Union 19559 49.0 11 +1
Labor Party 13372 33.5 7 -1
Granger Party 6985 17.5 4 -
Invalid/blank votes 244 - - -
Total 40,160 100 22

0

Foreign Relations[]

The Kingdom of Albia has long managed its own foreign affairs. Albia was a founding member of the League of Nations upon its creation in 1921, and has remained active in the organization. Nestled between two empires, Albia must balance its relation with each so as not to show more favor for one over the other. Although never invaded by either of its neighbors, there have been times in the past when Albia was forced into a neutral role to ensure its survival when the two were at war with each other. Outside of The Continent, Albia maintains relations with very few nations.

Military[]

Two opposing armed forces currently occupy Albia, one loyal to the crown and the other to the southern rebels.

Royal Armed Forces[]

The official armed forces of Albia consist of the Royal Albian Army and the Royal Airship Service. The Army is head-quartered in Ambershire, but occupies several forts in central Albia to prevent the rebel forces from getting close to the capital. Commanded by General Henry Ross, younger brother of the Lord Ross, the army consists of two battalions of infantry and a company of cavalry. A garrison force is quartered in Ambershire to defend the city against siege should the event occur.

The Royal Airship Service was initially created in 1902 with the purchase of a small dirigible for observation. It was expanded to its current force of five combat-ready dirigibles, manned by a combined complement of 55 officers and crew, and ground support staff of 80. The airship service is head-quartered at Queen Amelia Park outside of Ambershire and is commanded by Commodore Sir Bryan Knowles.

A quasi-official naval service was recently commissioned with the purchase of three ageing tugboats to serve on river patrols. Newly commissioned Commodore Stephen Albertson has been placed in command.

Rebel Armed Forces[]

The armed forces of the rebel forces in the south are composed of the personal household guards of the rebelling noble Houses with the addition of hired mercenaries. Commanded by the Lord Dallowmar, they are quartered on the grounds of his estate outside of Berwick. Numbering fewer than 1000, they are outnumbered and out-equipped by the royal forces.

Administrative Divisions[]

Albia is divided into four districts, called Farthings. The Farthings act as electoral divisions for the Chamber of Deputies and as regional fire and sheriff districts. The Farthings do not have a regional government entity.

Areas of Population[]

There are eleven market towns within the borders of Albia, all of which serve as the seat of a Noble or Royal House. The towns are listed below in order of population, with their Noble affiliation denoted.

  1. Ambershire (22,520) - House of Stanwick
  2. Mayfield Junction (9810) - House of Townsend
  3. Douglas (5260) - House of Ross
  4. Ironton (4850) - House of Bigsby
  5. Berwick (4100) - House of Dallowmar
  6. Winslow (3650) - House of Winslow
  7. Danby (2720) - House of Halloway
  8. Miles Station (2470) - House of Miles
  9. Southshore (1630) - House of Langley
  10. Thorpe Hill (1190) - House of Thorpe
  11. Eamons Field (1080) - House of Collins

Smaller villages and hamlets are sporadically spread throughout the farthings, primarily farming communities centred around a grain mill.

Economy[]

The economy of Albia is primarily agrarian, although significant efforts have been made to bring industry into the nation. The Industrial Tax Code of 1998 made significant reductions in the tax liability of industries operating within Albia, resulting in the moving of several large Britannic and Austro-Hungarian manufacturing plants to Ambershire and Mayfield Junction, the primary industrial centers. Ore deposits in the Meddenlark Mountains have also resulted in a budding natural resource extraction industry, centered primarily around Berwick. The proceeds from this industry bankroll the rebellion in the south.

As an isolated, neutral nation, Albia is also well suited for international banking. Private banks have existed in the nation for centuries, but the development of discrete international banks during the 19th Century has led to huge increases in national revenue. However, it has also led to charges against the nation for harboring tax evaders by other nations on The Continent. Albian bankers have refused to cooperate with investigations into tax evasion.

The primary exports of Albia are wheat, wool, coal, canned goods, timber, and pine nuts. The primary imports are steam machinery, citrus fruit, and steel.

Transportation[]

Ground Transport[]

Prior to the construction of the Marsellus-Vienna Railroad, it was very difficult to enter Albia by land. An eastern route through the mountains into the Austro-Hungarian Empire passed through the high altitude Buelstein Pass and was inaccessible during the winter months. Fairlow Pass, in the western range, was much lower in altitude and allowed transportation throughout the entire year, although crews were employed to remove snow during the winter. Because of its accessibility, a cobbled roadway was built from Ambershire through Fairlow Pass to connect with the Eastern Imperial Highway in eastern France. In 1811, during the First World War, Duke Edward III of Albia ordered the Fairlow Pass closed to protect the Duchy from invasion by either the French Imperial Army or the Britannic Imperial Army. After the French Empire's defeat in 1816, the pass was reopened, but was closed permanently by an avalanche in 1887, by which time the rail connection had rendered the pass unneccessary.

In 1874, during a cessation in the hostilities between the Britannic Empire and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Marsellus-Vienna Railroad was planned, linking the Austro-Hungarian capital to the important Britannic port city. Imperial Prince Richard of Britain negotiated the right of the railroad to pass through Albia in exchange for the construction of a short branch to connect Ambershire to the main trunk. The rail line was completed through Albia in 1877 from the east, linking the tiny nation to Vienna through the Unterberg Tunnel. The eastern Marsellus Tunnel was completed in 1879 and service to Marsellus begun. Rail service was interrupted by the Second World War between 1914 and 1919, the Third World War between 1944 and 1948, and the Austro-Britannic War between 1969 and 1972. Service was also interrupted briefly in 1937 by the bombing of an eastbound Imperial Hungarian Freight Company train by the southern rebels.

Air Transport[]

Airship service to Albia began in 1898 by Luftshiff Personenverkehr Süden, linking Vienna and Ambershire. This weekly service existed until it became too dangerous to operate during the Third World War and was terminated in 1945. Britannic Imperial Airways began airship service between Ambershire, Marsellus, and Paris in 1910. This daily service has continued without interruption to the present.

The sole civilian airship port in Albia is Ambershire Yards, just north of the city. It has been used for airship service since 1898, and has extensive facilities, including airship hangars for overnight stays. The current terminal was constructed in 1933, at the height of the Art Deco movement. It features elevator service to the embarking level, a three-star dining room, and state-of-the-art communications center. Although owned by the government, it has been managed by Britannic Imperial Airways since 1959.

Domestic Transport[]

Within Albia, the primary route of freight transport is the Isengard River and its tributaries. Barge traffic moves goods along the river and south into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, due to the southern rebellion, freight traffic from the north has been sporadic, resulting in a long period of economic recession in the southern Farthings.

Most roadways in the nation are unpaved, except for the Old Western Road, which runs from Ambershire to the western mountains. It is in ill repair, however, and is rarely used. The main road in most market towns is cobbled within the town limits, especially in the south. The roads in Ambershire are almost completely cobbled, as are those in Mayfield Junction. Plans have been made to construct a cobbled road along the Isengard River from Ambershire to Danby, but the southern rebellion has made construction impossible.

Culture[]

Religion[]

Albia has long been a bastion of Roman Catholicism, with over ninety percent of the population following the Latin Rites. Until 1897, Albia did not have its own Catholic diocese, but that year, the Diocese of Ambershire was created. The old Ambershire Catholic Church was renovated and expanded to become Ambershire Cathedral. The Diocese does not belong to any conference of bishops, but reports directly to the Holy See. There are ten parishes throughout Albia under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Ambershire.

The Bishops of Ambershire since creation have been:

  1. Ricardo della Silva (1841-1908) served 1897-1908
  2. Herman Rottinger (1853-1923) served 1908-1923
  3. Edward Vincent Washburn (1870-1936) served 1923-1936
  4. Lawrence McReddy (1881-1957) served 1936-1955
  5. George Bernard Bradshaw (1899-1972) served 1955-1972
  6. Henry Edward Townsend (1918-2000) served 1972-1993
  7. Jerome Laddingham (1940-Present) served 1993-Present

Aside from Roman Catholicism, there exists a substantial population of Protestants (6%) and Jews (2%). Very few Albians adhere to no faith. The majority of the Jewish population is found in Mayfield Junction, where the sole Temple in Albia is located.

Sports[]

Professional sport in Albia is limited in scale, with very few teams sponsored by the government. FC Albia is the national football team, which competes with third tier teams from the other Continental nations. They are based at Ambershire Stadium, which was constructed in 1994 and can seat up to 12,000 spectators. On a domestic level, most market towns sponsor a football club which compete in the Albian Football League throughout the season and in the Stanwick Cup, so named because it was financed by King John III in 1965.

Fencing is also a popular sport in Albia, with the government sponsoring a national team that competes throughout The Continent.

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