Liberty

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Country of Liberty
Official language English
Capital Liberty
Largest cities Liberty
Date founded 1676 AN
Government Direct Democracy
Current leader President Theodore Rivington

The Country of Liberty, or more frequently Liberty, is a democratic state located in northwestern Keltia. It began its existence as the communist state known as Col, an acronym for its longer current name. The original Col was destroyed and refounded several times, culminating in the establishment of a new city on the shores of Red Lake, built on the ruins of Old Colgrad and called Liberty. This New Democratic state was founded by Amorians fleeing the civil war in Jingdao who wished to establish a new nation that enshrined the virtues of true democratic principles.

History

USSC

Liberty began its life as the United Soviet States of Col, a communist nation founded on the shores of Red Lake and one of the earliest members of the CIS. Carried in on the waves of migratory peoples by the advent of Lovely, which occupied much of the northern half of Apollonia. The communist state flourished for some centuries, even colonizing the nearby island of Ertia in Red Lake, before its eventual decline and collapse. The area was then fought over by various foreign powers who further decimated the local population. Eventually the region was abandoned altogether, with Liberty becoming little more than a fading memory.

Founding

The present Country of Liberty began far to the west in Senya when a group of Amorians living near Fort Kolgrad - themselves descendants of Colish expatriates - became caught in the skirmishes with the ongoing civil war in neighboring Jingdao. The incessant border raids by roving bands of Jingdaoese warlords had made life for the Amorians miserable. These discontent civilians began to form close-knit communities for self-defense and mutual support. They became known as the Green Rangers, and formed their own militia to help defend the local homesteads. But as these militia went against Senyan law, they found themselves at odds with both the Jingdaoese and fellow Senyans. As such the the topic of resettlement elsewhere came to the forefront. Benjamin Bradford, a prominent farmer and militiaman, proposed the idea of returning to Col and establishing a new city on the ruins of Old Colgrad. The idea gained traction within the community, and in 1675 AN a group of three-thousand civilians chartered a private ship to ferry them to Keltia. The group had sold most of their belongings, save for bare essentials and supplies needed in the new location, and used the money raised to charter passage. In early spring 1676 Bradford landed near the Dark Berry Islands on the western coast of Keltia. From there he lead his fellow pioneers across the Green to the shores of Red Lake.

Upon arriving at Red Lake the group found the ruins of Old Colgrad to be little more than a pile of stone. The former city had been completely overtaken by Mother Nature. Undeterred, Bradford set about building makeshift shelters as temporary housing while others began clearing the roads of debris and building more permanent residences. By winter of 1676 a small village known as Liberty had taken shape on the ruins of Old Colgrad.

The Libertines

The early inhabitants of Liberty took to calling themselves Libertines. With a small population of only three-to-four thousand people, Bradford was able to arrange a commune-like direct democracy wherein all citizens partook in the governance of the city-state. Public meetings were held one per month at Liberty Hall in the center of the city. Here people were given red and blue flags and asked to vote on various legislative issues; a red flag raised meant no, a blue meant yes. People were organized into blocks wherein tallymen would run around counting votes. The primitive system worked and the city prospered as a bastion of democratic government. As a result, immigrants begin flocking to the region hoping to partake in the new nation.

Bradford, who had assumed leadership simply by virtue of helping establish the colony, started to become overwhelmed by the influx of people. Liberty quickly grew from three-thousand to twelve-thousand by 1680. Now aging and overwhelmed by the burden of a large city, Bradford announces in 1681 that Liberty will hold its first general election and he would step down from office. Rather than the use of flags, which had become onerous with so many people, the provisional government decides to use paper ballots to cast votes. The vote would offer the chance for any legal citizen to run for the office of President of the Republic. This leads to a plethora of candidates, but the frontrunner is a plucky young democrat by the name of Hamilton Jones who cruises to victory in a landslide. Jones, who had migrated two years prior with his wife and family, was well-educated. Within the first year of his presidency he helped to create a number of lasting Libertine institutions.

Among Jones' accomplishments was the construction of Liberty Hall, which was built to house the legislative assembly and presidential offices. He also helped to codify the first Libertine constitution which helped lay out the laws for general elections and governance of the city (then the extent of the colony). His efforts to streamline the processes of direct democracy helped to ensure Liberty would develop as a true republic and not, like so many other nations, slip into a dictatorship in the future.

Westward Ho!

The exponential growth of Liberty soon caused the city to overflow with immigrants. While it transitioned from a rural colonial settlement to a major city there were many who quickly began to itch for more lands outside the suburban environs. In 1683 Jones announced the Western Treaty negotiated with the local indigenous Qeltois tribes. In a pact signed with Chief White Wolf, the tribe granted Liberty a large tract of land to the west which included the ruins of Benkerngrad, another former Colish city. Within mere hours of signing the treaty families began packing up their belongings and heading west. The vacuum created by this mass migration triggered another influx of migrants from outside the country.

Within the western land grant, Jones announced that each family could claim rights to 100 acres of land provided they could turn a profit on the property within five years. This included paying a tax levy that in turn would support the government. The lucrative promise of free land lured many to try their hand farming, and with those farms arose the logistical needs to support them: blacksmiths, taverns, sawmills, gristmills, etc. But not all farms were successful. Many gave up fighting poor soil, diseases or rural isolation, eventually returning east to Liberty City. Nonetheless, the westward population continued to grow. Despite treaties with the Qeltois, other native tribes began raiding the new settlements. The Massacre of Helmswyck, in which 500 settlers were killed, caused the government to reassess the situation. In a meeting at Liberty Hall, Jones announced the construction of Fort Defiance on the ruins of Benkerngard, which would serve as a bastion to defend the western frontier.

Fort Defiance

Fort Defiance

Fort Defiance would quickly become the epicenter of the Libertine Militia. President Jones, realizing the necessity for creating a standing army to defend the country, decided to use the new fort as the headquarters for the militia. The stone fort quickly began to take shape, with 12-foot thick walls four stories high and with cannons on each level. Six bastions, three of which protect a four-story, eight-sided stone citadel. Watch boxes were located at the tip of each of the four corner bastions. Inside the citadel, cannons were mounted on each floor and the entrance included a ditch and drawbridge. The fort was planned to mount some 62 cannons with about a 100 man garrison. The fort even had its own chapel. The focal point of the fort was the four-story, eight-sided stone citadel that stands as the main bastion.

The fort quickly became a major staging ground for the fledgling Libertine Militia and for settlers traveling west. Even though it was at the far western end of Libertine lands, the fort became an important point of resupply for wagon trains. People migrating from Liberty City to tracts in the west would loop north to resupply after the long trek, then head south towards the land grants. This brought a great deal of wealth and development to Fort Defiance. With all these people passing through the area also grew to house the militia barracks and various training facilities, soldiers' housing, farms to supply food, and so on and so forth. The Great Western Turnpike, as it came to be known, soon formed a major arterial road between Liberty City and Fort Defiance.

Birth of the Republic

In 1687 Hamilton Jones passed away at the ripe old age of 86. Only a year prior Benjamin Bradford had also passed away, himself 96. While not entirely unexpected due to their advanced age, the power vacuum left behind by the loss of these two men shook the young Libertine state to its core. By now the country had grown to a considerable size, far more than the founders had originally envisioned as a small city-state. And up until this time, Libertine citizens had been given relatively free reign, with limited taxation and bureaucracy. But these freedoms came at the price of poor representation, limited government services, and a shoddy infrastructure. Thus in late 1687 a congress was called at Liberty Hall to debate the future of the country, decide policy, and elect a new president.

The Second Libertine Congress is considered to be the official birth of the Republic. In mid-1687 the congress convened and decided that the pandemonium of a direct democracy, with thousands of citizens rushing to cast votes, was becoming too unwieldy to ensure accuracy. Thus congress agreed to the Voting and Districting Act which divided the country into dozens of districts which would allow all citizens to continue conducting a direct democracy voting system but would allow vote-counters to manage collection easier by allocating district borders. Districts would have no political station and would be only for purposes of aggregating votes. Since having every citizen be a member of congress was impossible, it was agreed to form a system of representation by population. This system would elect a congressman for every ten-thousand citizens. The congress also elected a new president, Theodore "Teddy" Rivington, who had served as a notable captain of the Libertine Rangers.

Industrial Revolution

President Rivington was a bold man with high hopes for the republic and a matching sense of ambition to see those plans to fruition. He had spent the better part of a decade serving as a ranger on the frontier and living among the settlements around Fort Defiance. Rivington quickly saw the vast stretch of untamed land as a valuable resource waiting to be colonized. Thus as president one of his first acts was the construction of the Great Western Turnpike, a macadam road that would stretch from Liberty City northwest to Fort Defiance. The road was a welcome concept for the Libertine public, who desperately needed a better thoroughfare than the pitted and muddy dirt roads. By early 1688 Rivington had secured congressional approval and funding for the road. Composed of macadam (layered and packed gravel), the turnpike was completed in less than two years. The state was reimbursed for the cost by the addition of toll booths that collected a small tax from travelers. The construction of a parallel railway soon followed.

The completion of the turnpike heralded a new era for Liberty. The western frontier had become accessible overnight, and settlers no longer needed make a months-long trek to reach Fort Defiance. The increased availability of land also encouraged more immigration, which saw a rise of 150% between 1689 and 1691. As immigration increased, so too did the need for more goods and services increase. This fueled a rapid industrialization of the country. The Western Turnpike soon became the single most important artery of the country. Connecting Liberty City to the small metropolis of Sashaburg and then to Fort Defiance, the road and adjoining railway served to provide a rapid means of transporting goods and people to the frontiers of settlement.

The Golden Age

Due to Liberty's small geographic size and the rampant growth in population, the country's infrastructure grew rapidly. Secondary roads branching from the Western Turnpike began to connect once-isolated communities, and the abundance of natural resources allowed industry to prosper; especially along Red Lake. Increased trade relations with the Hexarchy and neighboring tribes in the Green greatly increased exports, leading to the founding of Port Kern and Tarrytown along the byway between the port and Liberty City. The establishment of Fort Ross in the southwest helped to solidify Libertine claims in the area and provide a buffer against incursions from the Green. Even older cities, such as Sashaburg, saw a surge in growth. The areas directly outside of Liberty City - the main port of entry for immigrants - saw the highest growth rates. Helmswyck, which had been decimated just a few years prior, was now a city again. Kirovia and Amoriana soon followed, along with the network of roads to tie them altogether.

The combination of a gigantic labor pool supplied by swarms of immigrants, access to untapped natural resources, and open opportunities for entrepreneurship, fueled a massive economic boom for the country. Business owners became millionaires overnight, and those who were poorer looked to them with envy and ambition, thus pushing the economy even further. But these wealthy industrialists also saw the value of investing in their workers and the lands they lived on. Where business flourished, development soon followed. And as metropolitan sprawl pushed the edges of the frontier back the wealth of cities soon followed.

Collision of Cultures

By 1699 Liberty's small geographic size had become densely populated due to massive immigration. While areas were quickly developing, population pressure had already begun to press people to seek more open space further afield. This led to people settling along Liberty's small borders and even outside them in uncontrolled lands. As these populations began to overflow into adjacent territories not under direct Libertine control, they began to conflict with the indigenous people's living there. The largest of these groups was the Qeltois Confederacy, an amalgamation of several tribes that had formed a loose confederation in mutual defense after losses of land to Libertine immigrants. The Qeltois had been pushed to the east and were held back by Fort Defiance and Fort Ross, thus their actions were limited to frequent raids. In the meantime, immigrants from the former territories of Gotzborg and Treisenberg had settled in the lands north of Helmswyck where there was already a large Germanian-Cibolan population. These groups came together and formed the Free Order of Beloprussia, a military state whose order of cavalrymen saw themselves as righteous defenders of their faith and freedom. Operating outside the confines of Liberty they soon established a quasi-feudal independent state whose ill-defined borders often caused conflict with the Libertines. To compound matters, skirmishes with the inhabitants of the mountainous regions north of Fort Defiance added yet another front to the Liberty's stretched resources. The mountain folk claimed to have been holed up in underground bunkers dating back to Soviet times and that they were the Instrumentality of Ertia, a technocratic state based on scientific principles who viewed Liberty as a threat to their isolated utopia.

The Grand Union

When 1701 rolled around Liberty found itself in the crosshairs of a potential regional conflict. The Qeltois, fearful of any further expansion by settlers, had become hostile. To the north, the Ertians also took a hostile stance, even going so far as to reactivate some of the mothballed Soviet weaponry. In the northeast, the Beloprussians, feeling threatened by hordes from the Green, were skirmishing with migrating bands of Qeltois who were traveling to their seasonal hunting lands. Blaming settler pressure from the Libertines and often confusing them with the Beloprussians, the Qeltois began attacking settlements. As more conflicts arose, the Ertians became more agitated and also began entering the fray. To compound matters, Libertine settlers, under a combination of population pressure to move and facing hostile natives in the wilderness, began to form independent militias to fight hostiles. These militias acted freely and without official endorsement, causing more bloodshed despite pleas from Liberty Hall to end the violence. In an act of desperation President Rivington formed the Rangers, an elite cavalry unit to bring the rogue militias under control.

Rivington himself led the unit out west and they soon became known as Rivington's Rangers. The Rangers were able to quell the militias and calm the various Qeltois tribes within a matter of a few months. Taking advantage of the brief lull Rivington invited representatives from Qeltoia, Ertia and Beloprussia to Liberty City to meet and formulate a peace plan. The resulting conference mapped out the basic principles for the formation of the Grand Union. Under this plan Liberty would act as the hub of a union of states comprising all four parties. Negotiations took nearly a year and by spring of 1702 a new constitution was adopted at Liberty Hall establishing Ertia, Qeltoia and Beloprussia as states of Liberty.

A Difference of Opinion

What works well on paper does not always translate well to reality. And this proved to be the case for the Grand Union. At first things progressed very smoothly. Three of the four states excelled in their designated areas. Ertia became the country's hub of science and academia, educating the population and helping to advance the country into the more modern age. Beloprussia became the epicenter of the military, with training camps, armaments factories and defense manufacturing fueling an industrial boom. Liberty State became the administrative hub of the grand bureaucracy required to keep the union from fragmenting and to spur international relations. But Qeltoia, whose earthy and artistic culture failed to resonate with the progress-driven other states failed to gain economic or social momentum. For the Qeltois, the union failed to bring about any measurable benefits. As a result the Qeltoian economy began to stagnate and an economic depression took hold in the region. This sowed the first seeds of dissent against the central government.

As the status of the economy continued to worsen into late 1705, dissatisfaction with the central government increased. The arts, especially, suffered as incomes shrank and people found it a greater necessity to buy food than a painting. This directly impacted Ertia, which had become a cultural hub and whose industry was expendable. The situation in Qeltoia was even worse as people began to starve and unemployment skyrocketed. Even Beloprussia, whose economy had been reaping huge dividends from their industrial output, ground to a halt as demand for goods shrank. And meanwhile Rivington's government struggled to hold the union together in what was quickly becoming a power keg. It exploded with the assassination of President Rivington in 1705.6.

Civil War

With the assassination of Rivington - who had been gunned down in the streets by a seemingly unaffiliated assailant - the central government lost what little control it had left over retaining the union. The Qeltois Elders met and unanimously voted to secede from the union peacefully, marking the first state to break free of the central government. Ertia quickly followed suit. Beloprussia, loathe to lose the industrial and economic might they had so recently gained, declared the central government inept and rather than secede marched on Liberty City with most of the army on their side. The central government, having lost control of the army, put up a futile resistance but quickly collapsed. Ertia, threatened by the Beloprussians aggression, rallied its own army and also marched on Liberty City. The Qeltois tribes, wanting to avoid conflict, packed up their belongings and began to migrate away from the area, to their further western lands.

Beloprussia, able to wield the full might of their military-industrial complex, made swift gains in consolidating their power. The Ertians, on the other hand, began to throw everything they could muster against them, trying to seize Liberty City for themselves. At first they made some victories, seizing Fort Defiance, but were soon halted at Sashaburg. Here the Ertian troops started to falter as the Beloprussians hammered them. It wasn't long before they began retreating back towards Fort Defiance, losing it only two months after occupying it. But the Beloprussians, lustful for power, refused to stop at the border and began pushing into Ertia proper, vowing to subdue all of the union by force. Backed into a corner the Ertians drew upon the ancient devices left them by the Soviet regime - a weapon of power that they didn't fully understand and which had remained a close-kept secret.

In 1705.7 the Ertians launched two 1 megaton nuclear ICBMs. One targeted at Lazarholt, and the other at Liberty City. Both missiles detonated at an optimal height, creating a firestorm that consumed the landscape for 100 square miles around them. The firestorm was an unexpected side-effect of the bombs and, to the Ertians dismay, it not only incinerated the Belorussian army, it swept across and torched the Ertian soldiers as well. By the time the twin mushroom clouds dissipated, Liberty was a scorched wasteland. What sad survivors remained were soon left to dealt with the ill health effects of radiation poisoning. The only people left unscathed were the Qeltois. Aware that their lands would soon be poison and already having fled to the safety of the west, the Qeltois migrated north and disappeared into the Green. It was thus that the dream of Liberty died, prey to the fallacies of human greed.

Geography

Map of Liberty

Liberty is located on the northern shores of Red Lake on the continent of Keltia. To the east lies the nearest country, the Hexarchy. It is divided into four states: Liberty, Qeltoia, Ertia, and Beloprussia.

Government and Politics

Liberty is a direct democracy wherein the entire nation acts as a collective assembly. Every registered citizen is granted the ability to vote in government. This includes electing congress and setting national policies. A citizen-initiated referendum (also called an initiative) empowers members of the general public to propose, by petition, specific statutory measures or constitutional reforms to the government and, as with other referendums, the vote may be binding or simply advisory. Initiatives may be direct or indirect: with the direct initiative, a successful proposition is placed directly on the ballot to be subject to vote. With an indirect initiative, a successful proposition is first presented to the legislature for their consideration; however, if no acceptable action is taken after a designated period of time, the proposition moves to direct popular vote.

Culture

Libertines are a true melting-pot of cultures. The country is primarily composed of immigrants from the former lands of Amoria, located far to the west on Apollonia. The second-largest ethnic group are those who consider themselves of Colish lineage. This includes Colish that resided in Amoria and immigrated back to their original homeland here, or those who remained here and have joined as citizens of Liberty. Although a full two-thirds smaller than the Colish population, the next largest ethnic group hails from Senya. The Senyans occupied much of the former Amorian lands, and thus became tightly interwoven with that population. Thus when many Amorians immigrated east to Liberty, quite a large number of Senyans also followed. The remaining population consists of those identifying as belonging to one of the many native tribes, such as the Qeltois, or those who have immigrated from other countries.

Demographics

The country has a total population of 1,002,449 citizens.

The following was the ethnic breakdown of the country, according to the 1691 census:

  • Amorians: 558,991
  • Colish: 304,179
  • Senyans: 98,157
  • Indigenous: 29,119
  • Other: 12,003

Economy

An abundance of natural resources is offset by the lack of available labor to capitalize on it. The relative newness of the nation has made land cheap and available in large tracts, which has in turn attracted many immigrants. But the lack of infrastructure, such as roads, railways, or canals, means goods are not easily transported to their destinations, and communities are isolated. As such the economy is almost entirely self-serving, even if it is considered profitable. High demand for goods keeps prices and demand steady, but those same goods are not able to be exported, resulting in a market completely dependent on domestic sales. Luckily the high population growth rate looks to change the future economy as the infrastructure improves.

Infrastructure

Liberty's infrastructure is primarily agrarian with some shipbuilding located along Red Lake. But since Liberty has no direct access to the sea, all ships have to pass through the Hexarchy. Thus most ships are sold to people living along the lake or within the Hexarchy itself. Most other industries are self-sustaining. Meaning that goods produced are not exported but are instead directly utilized by the residents of those immediate areas.