South Sea Islands
|Commonwealth of the South Sea Islands|
|Motto: We hath founded it upon the sea|
|Anthem: Song of the Midnight Isle|
|Official language(s)||Britannic Istvanistani, Madison Isle Batavian|
|Official religion(s)||Protestantse Kerk in de Zuidzee-eilanden|
|Demonym||South Sea Islander|
|- Adjective||South Sea Islander|
|Government||Parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy|
|- Monarch||Monarchy of the South Sea Islands|
|- Lieutenant Governor||George Middlemore|
|- Legislature||Legislative Assembly|
|Currency||South Sea Denarii [SS£]|
|Time zone(s)||CMT+7, CMT+8|
|National animal||South Sea Penguin|
|National food||Beef Wellington|
|National tree||Acer rubrum australis|
South Sea Islands, officially the Commonwealth of the South Sea Islands, is an island nation in the western part of the Eastern Ocean. The 12,173-square-kilometer (4,700-square mile) territory comprises the two islands of Grand Wulfram and Trinity Island, as well as a number of uninhabited islets.
Largely uninhabited until 1501, the islands were settled by former inhabitants of the Britannic home islands, beginning with the arrival of the SS. Endeavour on Trinity Island. The first of these new settlers arrived on Trinity Sunday (May 31st) of that year, a date which is now celebrated annually as a national holiday. A small population of Calbain descent was discovered several years after the arrival of the new settlers on Trinity Island (known as Ynys Corrach to the indigenous population), and the indigenous culture continues to thrive in the communities descended from it.
Named simply due to their geographical location, the Commonwealth of the South Sea Islands was proclaimed by the Captain of the SS. Endeavour, Sir Nigel James Hunt. Having sailed southwards through the Eastern Ocean without sighting land, the Endeavour returned back north after encountering the southern ice cap and sighted Trinity Island thereafter.
The ocean between the islands and the ice cap became known colloquially as the South Sea, and the name of the islands stems from that designation.
Grand Wulfram is named after Wulfram of Sens, a missionary credited with bringing Christianity to Fryslân. Trinity Island meanwhile was named after the date the settlers first arrived in the territory.
During the dying days of the Britannic Empire, the former Britannic home islands (known traditionally as the Madison Isles) were heavily influenced by arrivals from Nova England and Batavia. The intermingling that followed created a unique cultural fusion, but continued political uncertainty led a group of islanders to leave the archipelago under the leadership of Sir Nigel James Hunt.
Following a plea by Hunt to the Nova English authorities, the group were gifted the SS. Endeavour- a recently decommissioned and disarmed navy ship. While the ship was old and antiquated even by the standards of the time, the wind-propelled ship was well equipped to deal with the journey that followed.
The group led by hunt consisted of approximately 600 settlers (300 men, 250 women and 50 children) and, once abroad the Endeavour, they set sail on Tweede kerstdag (December 26th) 1500. The group headed south, hoping to reach the southern hemisphere before the worst of the northern winter.
Discovery and foundation
Following the ominously but accurately named Journey of the Frozen Tears, which lasted a little over five months, the SS. Endeavour landed on Trinity Island on May 31st 1501. The moment was later memorialised on the South Sea Islands coat of arms.
The first settlement established on the islands was named Port Egmont, in honour of the seaman who first sighted the island from the deck of the Endeavour. While the Port Egmont served as the national capital during the early years of the South Sea Islands settlement, the town's location exposed it to extreme weather and the threat of sea ice during winter. For that reason, after only three years of habitation, the settlement was moved to the current site of Joseph Town on the northern coast of Trinity Island. It was during their search for a more hospitable area to settle that the new settlers became aware of the existing small indigenous population, and an increasingly close trading relationship built up rapidly. Over time the two communities merged, although Calbian culture is still proudly observed and maintained in families descended from the preexisting inhabitants of Trinity Island.
Fifty two years after the first settlements, in 1553, Grand Wulfram was claimed by the islanders and the nation's current national borders were established. The temperate climate on Grand Wulfram was a key factor in the island's population growth, and the first settlement established there (Zuid-Richel) quickly grew to become the nation's largest city.
The Geography of Trinity Island is heavily influenced by the island's proximity to the nearby southern icecap. Rising steeply from the sea, the island is only accessible by ship at Discovery Bay in the south and Nightgale Bay in the north west. The island's landscape is predominately rugged and mountainous, with flatter areas of tundra in the coastal regions. At higher elevations, the island is permanently covered with ice and snow.
The island's climate is classified as polar, with average temperatures at sea level at around 0°C in winter and 8°C in summer. In winter, temperatures can drop to around −15°C.
The highest point of the Trinity Island is Mount Richel, which stands at 2,921m above sea level.
Located further north and benefiting from the warmer continental climate of Corum, Grand Wulfram is significantly warmer than Trinity Island. The island consists largely of rugged volcanic terrain, with coastal areas being largely covered by volcanic rock and black sandy beaches. High sea cliffs dominate the northern and eastern coasts, while west and south are both flatter and closer to sea level.
Coastal farmlands in these areas give way to the cooler, wetter highlands that dominate the island's centre. The highest point on Grand Wulfram is Mount Martinus, which stands at 290m above sea level.
The South Sea Islands' two cities are home to approximately 80% of the nation's population, while the remaining population inhabit a number of smaller towns, farms and settlements.
Located on Trinity Island, Joseph Town is the the national capital and the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in the South Sea Islands. With a permanent population of 3,000, the city was built on the shores of Nightingale Bay, between the spurs of nearby Mount Torrington. The city's primary industries are fishing (primarily toothfish and squid), animal husbandry (yak & reindeer) and public services (including government administration).
Government House, the ceremonial home of the Lieutenant Governor and the location of the Legislative Assembly chamber, was build in 1586 and overlooks the city's busy harbour. The nearby Joseph Town Cathedral has been a notable local landmark since its construction in 1556, with a replica of SS. Endeavour located on its seaward side. Additionally an existing ancient memorial to Prince Jack of the Calbain was later expanded to include a large bronze statue of the Prince, which stands in the Memorial Park opposite the cathedral.
Joseph Town's most famous landmark meanwhile is St Christopher's tower. Standing at 40m tall and constructed part way up the eastern spur of Mount Torrington, St Christopher's tower operates as a lighthouse and was constructed to celebrate the South Sea Islands'centenary in 1601. It is also the tallest building in the islands, where single or two storey buildings are the norm.
The largest city in the South Sea Islands, with a population of around 6,000, Zuid-Richel is located on the island of Grand Wulfram. Founded in 1553 when Grand Wulfram was first incorporated into the nation, Zuid-Richel's favourable climate and proximity to farmland contributed to the city's rapid expansion. Inward migration from former Britannic Empire territories fuelled the city's population growth, and successive waves of migrants brought new industries and innovations to the city.
Today, Zuid-Richel is home to South Seas International, the only civilian airport in the South Sea Islands. Additionally, the nation's only railway line leads from city's industrial centre to the nearby seaport.
The city's primarily industries are high-tech and precision manufacturing, support work for nearby military installations, e-commerce and tourism.
The Camp is a collective term used to describe all areas of both Trinity Island and Grand Wulfram that lay outside of the city limits of the two main cities. The rural and wild areas of the South Sea Islands are home to a total population of 2,289.
While the small population of the South Sea Islands prevents the development of labour intensive economic activities such as mass manufacturing and raw material extraction, the islands nevertheless boast a diverse and robust economy. The islands largest single employer is Great Southern Utilities followed by the Government of the South Sea Islands and the South Sea Islands Broadcasting Association.
Farming, fishing, high-tech manufacturing, film making and logistics all play a significant role. Meanwhile, light-touch banking regulations and favourable tax conditions mean the islands are home to a number of primarily online corporations.
Government and politics
The South Sea Islands are a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy.
While the reigning monarch holds ultimate Executive power within the islands, the constitution of the South Sea Islands indicates that the monarch may appoint a Lieutenant Governor to exercise that power on his or her behalf. The current Lieutenant Governor is George Middlemore.
While the monarch, and by extension the Lieutenant Governor, theoretically holds significant powers including to declare war and make peace, in reality the Executive usually acts upon the advice of the Legislative Assembly.
The Legislative Assembly of the South Sea Islands consists of 25 directly elected Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). The islands are split into three constituencies:
*The Camp is a term used to describe all areas of the islands outside of the two main urban centres.
MLAs are elected for a four year term using the Single transferable vote system. The constitution of the South Sea Islands does not allow for political parties, and therefore all MLAs sit as independents.
MLAs elect a Speaker of the Legislative Assembly once per year, the Speaker is chosen by Simple Majority.
The last election for the Legislative Assembly took place in 1691.
Due to the lack of an indigenous population on the South Sea Islands, and the immigrant heritage of those descended from the successive waves of settlers who arrived since 1501, the islands today are generally ethnically diverse, particularly in urban areas. As of the 2020 census, the racial makeup of the population is as follows:
- 55% white, Britannic (approx. 35% Britannic home islands descent, 20% Nova English descent)
- 15% Skerry Islander
- 10% white, other (Primarily Batavian descent)
- 10% Britannic Cantonese
- 5% Indigenous Calbain
- 5% Other
The islands' official religion is the Protestantse Kerk in de Zuidzee-eilanden (Protestant Church in the South Sea Islands), an amalgamation of various Protestant Christian traditions established in 1506. The church was established by Pastor Jacob van Bergen to unify the South Sea Islands'original settlers and prevent religious discord. As of 1687, 65% of the islands' population identify themselves as active members of the Protestant church, with rural communities having particularly high attendance at formal acts of worship.
Vedasism is also present in the South Sea Islands, particularly in Zuid-Richel where the sect and operates the Zuid-Richel Mandir. Vedasists account for 20% of the islands' population. The remaining 15% identified themselves as Atheist, Agnostic, or declined to answer the census question regarding religious faith.
The diversity of the South Sea Islands' population has given rise to an equally diverse variety of cultural traditions. The following festivals and observances are national holidays in the islands:
- New Year's Day (January 1st)- taking place annually to mark the beginning of the Gregorian calendar's new year. Traditions associated with New Year's Day include sea swimming at sunrise, fireworks, the consumption of oliebollen and family parties to welcome the new year.
- Easter (April 15th-16th)- marked to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Easter is primarily observed by the South Sea Islands' large Christian community. In addition to religious worship, traditional celebrations include the roasting of lamb and the painting of eggs. Unusually, the date of Easter is set by law in the islands and does not vary year-on-year.
- Discovery Day (May 31st)- commemorating the landing of the SS. Endeavour in Discovery Bay in 1501, the day includes a sailing race around the coast of Grand Wulfram, a sailing regatta off the coast of Joseph Town, and a wreath-laying ceremony on the site of Port Egmont. The celebrations culminate in a spectacular fireworks display around St Christopher's Tower.
- King's Day (July 28th)- celebrated to mark the anniversary of the establishment of Nova England, King's Day is marked with elaborate street parties and live music performances in Joseph Town and Zuid-Richel, as well as in smaller settlements throughout the islands. The festival takes place during the southern hemisphere's winter, and tradition contests associated with King's Day include an ice fishing competition, sled race and ice-tower building. A military parade and other formal celebrations take place at Government House in Joseph Town.
- Toothfish Day (September 4th)- the annual celebration of the end of the Toothfish breeding season, the day highlights the importance of the Toothfish to the economy of Trinity Island, and the South Sea Islands more generally. While the day has no specific celebrations associated with it, it is typically seen as a day of rest prior to the busy fishing season.
- Ilawid (November 14th)- inspired by the islands' Vedasist population, Ilawid is celebrated across the islands, and coincides approximately with the start of summer in the southern hemisphere. Fireworks, sky lanterns and paper boat lanterns are lit in the evening, and a nationally renowned nighttime parade takes place in Zuid-Richel.
- Sinterklaas (December 6th)- a clear reminder of the Batavian heritage of the former Britannic Home Islanders, Sinterklaas is celebrated each year on December 6th with the arrival of Sinterklaas by boat into Joseph Town. On the eve of Sinterklaas children leave their shoes outside their bedroom doors, to find them filled with candy and a large chocolate letter on Sinterklaas day. Tradition states that the gifts are distributed to good children by helpers known simply as Petes, while bad children are taken away by the Petes and sent to Babkha.
- Midsummer (December 20th)- marking the longest day of the year in the southern hemisphere, flowers are traditionally given as Midsummer gifts and islanders use the day to enjoy their natural environment. Typically, bonfires are lit in the evening and traditional dances take place at sunset.
- Christmas (December 25th-26th)- a two day festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. While the day holds religious significance for the islands' Christian population, traditions such as family gatherings, Christmas trees and light displays are universally enjoyed. Unusually, gifts in the South Sea Islands are given on the day of Epiphany (January 6th) rather than during the Christmas festivities.
The South Sea Islands Defence Force (SSIDF) are responsible for defending the people and the interests of the islands. Recognising the limitations presented by the islands' small population, the defence forces are trained and structured to operate effectively in the challenging environment of the South Sea Islands. In addition to defence, the SSIDF also participates in anti-piracy patrols, peacekeeping and fisheries protection.
The SSIDF has, in recent years, benefited from an equipment modernisation programme discretely brokered through the Euran offices of the Honourable Company.
A standing force of 480 commando light-infantrymen, organised in a four squadron Raid Response Group, supported by a 1,200 strong Combat Support Services Regiment and a forty-man GHQ Troop, forms the backbone of the SSIDF. Trained for guerrilla warfare in a polar environment, the land forces of the South Sea Islands also specialise in territorial defence, anti-piracy, parachute landings and mobile air defence. Headquartered in the highland areas of Grand Wulfram, a small garrison is also retained in Joseph Town for ceremonial purposes.
Ground-based force mobility is provided by the Trinity Island Motorised Detachment (x9 Snatch Land Rovers) and the Grand Wulfram Motorised Detachment (x4 Horjin CV56 IFVs, x16 Snatch Land Rovers) supplemented by the motorpool of the Signals & Courier Section (x1 radio equipped LandFara Command Vehicle, x20 off-road variant motorcycles).
Two CH-276 Camels and a CF-380 Atlas based at South Seas International Airport and operated by the Air Support Service allow land forces to be rapidly deployed elsewhere in the islands. Also located at South Seas International Airport is the Area Defence Detachment (x4 Rapier air-defence systems, x6 Blaecscúr MRLS).
The naval forces of the SSIDF are the most active military units in the South Sea Islands, providing constant deterrence against illegal fishing and marine pollution. The SSIDF operates six Seafox-class corvettes, each equipped with an NH-76 Dromosker helicopter. A further four helicopters are stationed at South Seas International Airport on Grand Wulfram.
At any one time, four patrol vessels are at sea.