Division of the Natopian Empire
The Division of the Natopian Empire began in 1707 when the Bovic Empire of the Natopian Nation was divided into two co-equal viceroyalties that eventually became sovereign states. The process began when Emperor Nathan III proposed the division in order to better govern the east by himself. The demesnes east of the River Egale were organized into Eastern Natopia and the demesnes west of the river became Western Natopia. A national referendum in east and west approved the division in 1708. The constitutional process that separated the empire into two states lasted into 1709.
Origins of the Division
The differences between the eastern and western regions of the Empire have been pronounced ever since Natopia first expanded beyond the River Egale. The river had been the traditional demarcation of the Natopian frontier for generations. After the Natopian state expanded into the Laval Peninsula and slowly assumed territory in eastern Tapfer, the River Egale was seen as natural boundary for the empire. Beyond the Egale were territories of such long-lived nations like Alexandria and Stormark. Therefore, western Tapfer occupied an "otherness" in the Natopian zeitgeist that was not challenged until the Alexandrian flu required Natopian expansion beyond the river. The former Alexandrian territories beyond the river were integrated into the empire but received large influx of Alexandrian refugees. The possibility of Natopian manifesting across all of Tapfer was now a possibility, and the control of Tapfer was seen as Natopia's destiny.
After the unraveling of the Vanic Web, Natopia expanded into the Storish land on Tapfer. The new territory was treated carefully, having to undergo years of de-Vanicization and proper assimilation of the native population into modern Natopian society. The lands west of the river were settled, colonized, and managed by Alexandrians, Arborians, Babkhans, Neridians, and safir, giving the west a cosmopolitan culture while the east remained comparatively unchanged, with the same cultures and peoples residing their for generations. The west experienced rapid growth too. After the total conquest of Tapfer, Natopian policy shifted towards Cibola and hegemony over the Jasonian Sea. As the imperial government looked further and further west, the east became overlooked.
When Nathan III became emperor in 1704, he had years of training, education, and personal experience with government at many levels and regions of the empire. He saw that the weight of history stubbornly anchored the east, holding back the vibrancy of the west's yearning to expand. The attitudes of eastern and western Natopians was also different, as he noted during his travels. Easterners were more conservative, easily contented, and introspective. Their cultures had been settled and intermingled for generations. Westerners were still experiencing the melting pot phenomenon of new immigrants, and the challenges of taming new lands. The Emperor himself felt more of an affinity to the Easterners, and felt like their cultural uniqueness was being overshadowed by the expansive west. Likewise, he also felt that the vibrant Westerners were being held back by the Easterners.
The idea of the division arose during private discussions between father and son in 1705. The emperor-emeritus gave his blessing for the plan, telling the young emperor that the reason for his own early abdication was to allow for this radical ideas to come forward: "Son, I could never fathom the idea of splitting up this eternal nation, but you have shown me that the Natopian Nation endures beyond borders, and that as long as the people of the east and of the west continue to see themselves as proudly Natopian, it does not matter to me--or our ancestors who built this expansive empire--whether or not that happens to be united into a singular state. If dividing the empire will maintain, expand, and protect the Natopian Nation, then your imperial oath and duty is satisfied." After more private discussions over two years, the Emperor proposed the first phase of the division to the Frenzy in 1707.
The Frenzy amended the Caprine Code to reintroduce the old legal concept of a demesne union, this time as a viceroyalty with a viceroy appointed by the Emperor. With the viceroys appointed, the eastern and western halves began to govern themselves independent of the other half. The viceroys took advantage of demesne compacts, that allow demesnes to coordinate, to create supra-subnational governments still legally within a single Natopian state. In the east, Nathan III appointed his sister, Leonora Noor Waffel-Paine to serve as vicereine, but in practice took control of establishing the government of Eastern Natopia himself, with Leonora's viceregal position intended to serve as regent, heir, and deputy. He established the Compact of the Eastern Bovic Lands, as a transitional constitution for Eastern Natopia that essentially duplicated the imperial institutions and limited their jurisdiction to Flaventia and Klaasiya. The Caprine Code was also duplicated as the Aigoeidis Kodikas.
As vicereine of the west, Vadoma Rowena Waffel-Paine, began to focus on developing the culture and policies of Western Natopia. Her husband, Prince Edward of Alexandria, has taken special interest in cultivating and preserving the Alexandrian culture amid the former Alexandrian territories that are now occupied by the Natopian regions of Transegale, Arboria del Sur, New Alexandria, and Waffel Plains.
Representatives from the east and west continued to meet throughout 1707 and 1708 to discuss the final arrangements of the division, such as the shared right to the imperial titles and dignities, combined use of the Natopian Defense Force (which would not be divided), the important role that the Dozan Bovic Church will play in both states, and perpetual agreement on certain policies to be enshrined in each jurisdiction's constitution.
Regions Affected by the Division
The most immediate result of the division was the surprising decision of Nathan II, Faro of Flaventia to announce the dissolution of that demesne into six new regions. Although Nathan II had abdicated the imperial throne, he did not abdicate the faronic throne in Flaventia. The leadership of Ziegeland, Tas Neemia, Nova Alrodria, and Sororiya had all been consolidated into the person of Nathan II. Seeing that Eastern Natopia would have two demesnes, and more than half of the population residing within Flaventia, Nathan reasoned that Flaventia would become unmanageable too. He hoped the four constituent Lands would prosper under their own direction.
In 1707, Nathan II amended the constitution by Faronic Mandate to allow for the constituent lands to be separated and maintain separate lines of succession or forms of government. He then abdicated his titles in Sororiya, naming Viktor Von Zeck IV, descendent of Konrad von Zeck, as the new Prince of Sororiya. He appointed the Lord Lieutenant of Nova Alrodria, Gwyn Moonoak, as the new Lord. With the dissolution of Flaventia, the Faro would no longer issue decrees in the name of the Rani of Tas Neemia, thus Kaiseress Salome would be responsible to appointing a representative. By his decree the Ziegish duchies of Hazelwood and Cheshunt, where split off from Ziegeland into the Chiefdom of Hazelwood, and he names his sister, Clara Sundara as the Chief and her husband as Arch Druid. The Universal-majority duchy of Soliya, in Sororiya, was also split off into its own techno-state again.
Nathan II remains King of Ziegeland, a position he intends to hold until his death.
The Confederate States of Klaasiya were also divided into their three constituent states: Northern Klaasiya, Egale, and New Dracoheim with the hope that their local customs and cultures would resurface.
The de facto division of the empire proved to be popular in many regions of the empire. Priorities that were once at-odds with each other on a national scale were new priorities in the viceregal courts. In mid 1708, the full Frenzy passed an Act to promulgate the Declaration of Lindstrom--a treaty that establishes the legal framework of the division and governs how Eastern and Western Natopia interact with each other and share common resources-- and to authorize a referendum to be held throughout the empire. The referendum asked a single question: "Shall the de facto division of the Natopian empire into two vice royalties be made de jure, with the eastern and western half of the empire separated into two sovereign states, united by a common military, common Natopian identity, and an aligned foreign policy?"
Among the provisions of the Declaration of Lindstrom, the most significant was the reorganization of the Imperial Council of Natopia into a confederal council that would control the Natopian Defense Force and coordinate important foreign policy decisions.
Eastern Natopian Results
The referendum was conducted using Eastern Natopia's newly configured demesnes. Support was notably high among the newly re-established demesnes with significant minority populations like Nova Alrodria, Universalis, and New Dracoheim where local autonomy would be significantly increased by the formal dissolution of Klaasiya and Flaventia.
Polling in Lindstrom and Ziegeland slightly favored division only after both Emperor Nathan III and Emperor-emeritus Nathan II publicly advocated for it. A sizeable minority of Ziegelanders opposed it as it would permanently dissolve Flaventia, which many other people on Yellow Island saw as an artificial dynastic hegemony that favored Ziegelanders. Hazelwood, conversely, strongly favored division as it would greatly increase Hazel autonomy.
Voters in Tas Neemia were skeptical of the need for division, but a campaign highlighting Tas Neemian exceptionalism and uniqueness won over many undecided voters. Nova Alrodrian voters had the highest polling in favor of division. As a sparsely-populated island with incredible resource wealth, Nova Alrodrians were eager to divide the empire in order to amplify their own voices.
Sororiya was notably the only former Flaventian land to be opposed. It stood to lose its Universal region, and the newly appointed Prince, Viktor von Zeck IV, was an unproven leader. Up until then, his position as Duke of Zek was largely ceremonial. Before the referendum various Sororiyan leaders began organizing for protests against the demesne's government, citing that the original terms of granting the principality to Nathan II were now nullified. Universal voters voted overwhelmingly for division to secure their status as a separate demesne.
Klaasiya was most evenly divided, with most polls showing that voters in Northern Klaasiya failed to see the point and preferred the status quo. Rural voters tended to favor division, and tipped Northern Klaasiya in favor as they believed it would give them more representation in a smaller empire. New Dracoheim's enthusiasm was bolstered by a campaign promising greater cooperation with the Draconian diaspora in the Shirerithian county palatine of Draconia. Voters in Egale were against division as it would suddenly put them at the border of a new state, Western Natopia. Although assurances of open migration were given, a popular movement called the Practicalists convinced a slim majority of voters that it was better to remain in the middle of a single country than on the border of a divided country.
Overall, a majority of Eastern Natopians favored division, and exit polls cited various reasons for their support. One popular reasoning was that two Natopian states, working together, could achieve twice the progress and growth as a single state. Another reason was the belief that the east was stagnating, while the west was flourishing. Among the factors that Eastern Natopians cited as reasons for not fearing division were: the continued shared use of the Natopian Defense Force, the integration already inherent in Raspur Pact membership would not inhibit the two Natopian states' commerce, the continuity of both states sharing the Emperors of the Natopians as the heads of state, and securing the longevity of the Natopian Nation in two robust empires.