|Motto: Werk. Bid. En Bewonder.|
|Anthem: Den Stem der Bataven|
|Largest city||Jonkersberghe, Stuyven|
|Official language(s)||Official language: |
Batavian (Dutch), Jingdaoese, Shirerithian (English)
|Official religion(s)||de facto: Bataafsche Nationale Kerk|
|- Vryheer||August Baerdemans|
|- Kanselier der Republiek(Head of the Lagerhuis)||Thomas Huiten|
|- Legislature||Lagerhuis and Hogerhuis|
|National animal||Regis batavius leo|
The Transbatavian Free State (Batavian: Transbataafsche Vrystaat) is a country located on the Benacian continent. It's one of the few landlocked countries on Micras and claims, just like the Kasterburger Republic a certain Batavian heritage. While parts of its lands are located in the former Batavian provinces of Hoorne and Ashkenatza Minor, its eastern areas were formerly part of Ashkenatza and Minarboria.
While the country covers both former Minarborian and Batavian lands, the nation is effectively ruled by Batavian settlers and it follows a harsh policy of Apartheid towards non-Batavians and Batavians with mixed blood.
Batavian Era (... - 1615)
The early beginnings of the history of the Vrystaat can be traced back to 1615 AN, when the last in a whole succession of Batavian cabinets collapsed. By then, Batavia had been divided between a Benacian-oriented kingdom - supported by the Jingdaoese, who saw the protection of their former Batavian brethren and overlords as a divine task - and a so-called free state, which owned some of the remaining oversea territories and was supported by the Republic of Flanders.
Final reconciliation attempts in 1615 failed miserably and widened the gap of distrust between the several communities. Social unrest, incompetence of both governments and economical crises in both Flanders and Jingdao ended the influx of much needed funds. Batavia as a whole collapsed, while the Jingdaoese sent in troops to establish order in a few of the coastal territories, including the capital of 's Koningenwaarde.
The latter days of the Kingdom saw the rise of several patriotic groups, like the Free Batavians, led by former Batavian Prime Minister Joachim Mackay. Those groups received mixed responses among the population, whom were now forced to fence for themselves. Especially the name 'Free Batavians' was met with scepticism among the people who saw it as a (by then also collapsed) facade for the restoration of a Flemish puppet state.
With time passing by, most communities started to focus on survival. The ideals of the Free Batavians seemed to fade away into obscurity, until the first Shirerithian settlers reached the Batavian lands.
Minarborian Era (1615 - 1648)
After the collapse of a national government, the people where forced to fence for themselves. While certain regions eventually came under the influence of Shireroth, some were put under custody of a new major power in the region: the Minarborians, who had come to rule over large swaths of former Ashkenatzan lands, had moved in the former province of Hoorne and Ashkenatza Minor.
In both occupied territories the Batavian peoples were often left to themselves: isolated from the rest of either nation, living in their hometowns as they always had. Life more or less saw some improvements in the form of minor building projects. Increased need for food, as the population steadily grew in those thirty years, led to an increase in revenue and wealth among the hundreds of Batavian farmers, who till then had owned large swaps of undeveloped land.
The Batavians were mostly left alone by the Minarborian elite, who seemed to view them as a decent defence buffer against possible expansionism from either the Shirerithians or Jingdaoese. The agrarian society which came into existence, flourished as never before. Towns like Jonkersberghe saw their population rise, while the former Ashkenatzan capital of Nackholm saw itself restored to some of its former glory, which even led to the first large emigration of around 658 Batavians to the east.
In 1648 the Minarborian Realm was on the brink of collapse. Its swift expansion seemed to have exhausted several of its resources and the necrarchs were forced to leave the region all together and move to the safety in the mountains that would become Kalgachia.
The 'Periode van Groei' (1648 - 1659)
The Era of Growth, or Periode van Groei, took place between 1648 and 1659. For ten years, the Batavian settlements in Hoorne saw looters seek for easy opportunity and the consequent unchecked spread of the dreaded Tee-al, whom ravaged the land. The city of Caesterburgh saw destruction (according to the few sources remaining) and would only be recovered by Batavian colonists like Reginald de Montfort in 1655, whose actions gave the Batavian peoples new inspiration.
While also not entirely left untouched by disaster, the smaller farming communities in what makes up the current day western provinces of the Vrystaat, the farms had been watching each others' back for generations. Not entirely taken by surprise (as preachers had been spreading the news of the inevitable collapse of the Realm of the Dead for several years), a group of men - including August Baerdemans, Pieter Wijns and Paul Duit - gathered into militia and established the Vrije Weermacht in the latter days of 1648.
Keeping the farming villages secure, guarding the vital roads and maintaining a certain level of justice among the peoples, helped to pave the way for a more integrated government. The communities, however, had very mixed reaction to any kind of unification beyond shared protection. Fearing a loss of autonomy, and hardly pressured to act as one front, the autonomists successfully stopped any attempt of uniting under one banner.
Grootu Trek Oostwaarts (1655 - 1659)
With the outbreak of the War of Lost Brothers (1653 - 1657) things started to change on the Benacian continent. The all-out and cruel war even led to the outbreak of hostilities on former Batavian soil. Many Batavians, fearing either that war would once more destroy their peaceful life, or fearing enlistment to fight on a far-away front war for an empire which some could hardly call home.
Under the leadership of Reginald de Montfort a first group of brave Batavian and Shirerithian settlers left the Shirerithian lands, moving eastwards and colonising Caesterburgh, which was baptised Kasterburg. The newly declared republic inspired many Batavians to follow the example of de Montfort, who was suddenly seen as a 'Volksheld' (People's Hero) among many.
The first arrival of a large group of immigrants in 1656 pressured the Transbatavian settlers into sharing some of their untouched lands. While those new settlers were welcomed with open arms, several autonomists (under the leadership of general Pieter Wijns) pointed out that there was a lot of untouched land further eastwards. Pieter Wijns, who was a drinking buddy of August Baerdemans and son of a rich farmer, was an enthusiast believer in Batavian-supremacy and dreamed of a continent filled with Batavian communities which would trade together. However, the thought of sharing power and wealth with the new colonists went too far. He therefore convinced a majority of them, against Baerdemans' and Paul Duit's to cross the Hoornse border eastwards.
An ill-prepared militia, with over 5,000 colonists left Jockersberghe, under the leadership of general Wijns. Several new communities were established across the road the caravan was taking. Fights with the locals was kept at a minimum and the eastern campaign was viewed as a huge success.
On 15.09.1657 Wijns made the fatal mistake to anger local Ashkenatzan survivors by burning down their synagogue (according to sources, because he couldn't stanfd the ugly architecture in the middle of a forest). Thereafter, an army of around 10,000 Ashkenatzim besieged the caravan which consisted of around a remaining 2,100 men, women and children. Wijns, who - after ten days of fighting - was confronted with a shortage of both food, water and ammunition, gathered around him the settlers and let them vow a solemn oath:
"We stand here before the Great Cato, to make a vow to Him that, if He will protect us - His servants and followers - and give our enemy into our hand, we shall keep this day and date every year as a day of thanksgiving, and that we shall build a house and city to His honour on this place where He shined His light the brightest, and that we will also tell our children that they should share in that with us in memory for future generations. For the honour of His name will be glorified by giving Cato the fame and honour for the victory."—Pieter Wijns, General of the Vrije Weermacht
That same evening, Wijns attempted an all-out attack on the enemy line. Unbeknown to him, the Ashkenatzim had seen the praying Batavians and had interpreted that as the start of the Sabbath. Thinking that any violent actions would not happen on a day like that, the Ashkenatzim themselves had started their own sabbath as well. The few soldiers on watch were overran and Wijns successfully broke through into the enemy's camp, burning down the meagre tents they had set up.
Wijns' victory led to a chaotic retreat, while several of the enemy soldiers where imprisoned. Honouring his oath to Cato, he proclaimed the establishment of the town of Stuyven (after his last words before going into battle: "Het zal hier gaan stuiven!"). The general, now lauded as a hero for the colonists, would not return to the west. Not long after his attack, he fell heavily ill. In a last letter that he wrote to Baerdemans, he asked him to keep up the good work.
The Birth of the Vrystaat
The Vrystaat was established in the aftermath of the Grootu Trek Oostwaarts (1655 - 1659), a process in which Batavian refugees left the occupied (either by Jingdao or Shireroth) western lands to build their homes in the eastern lands, which were still free from influence of either side. These emigrations played an important role in the increase of farmers in the western parts of current-day Transbatavia.
With Wijns' death in 1657, the autonomists lost their most famous and fervent supporter. Many Batavians were now forced to see the changes that were happening in front of them: in the west the number of immigrants didn't only increase, but with the end of the War of Lost Brothers, the Shirerithian military apparatus started to put more pressure on the border.
Lieutenant-general August Baerdemans had used the momentum and gathered a group of influential nieuwen (newbies) and ouden (oldies) around him. Using the meagre funds of Jingdaoese-Batavian organisations, like Hereenug het Vaderlant (Unite the Fatherland), or patriotic societies like the Vrije Bataven (Free Batavians), he invested heavily in purchasing new guns and horses, which were less costly and more useful on the rough terrain than armoured tanks.
News of the death of his friend, general Wijns, made him the highest living military officer. Confronted with the sudden responsibility of not only protecting the western settlements, but also the new eastern ones, he kept pressuring the towns into uniting their resources and establishing a new government. His supporters, the nationalists, pressured him into launching a new military campaign into the east: both to revenge the siege of Stuyven, as to expand the influence of the Batavian settlers further southwards and eastwards.
1658 AN would see a series of rather successful campaigns against non-Batavian settlements, as well as the signing of treaties of cooperation with a certain number of them. In this time, the Weermacht de facto acted as a nation on its own, as it didn't have the mandate of any state backing it up. In the south, the Weermacht convinced the citizenry of Nackholm to start trade. This diplomatic victory, made easier thanks to the Batavian immigrants who had been living there already, would later bring them in indirect hostile actions with Shireroth during the Fall Schwartz-Tilman.
In 1659 AN, the Batavians in the free, green territory noticed how the Shirerithian Empire was slowly but steadily attempting to establish control over the region. Under the guise of combatting the tee-al, the Shirerithians launched a campaign into several parts of Green land. In theory, the attack would not bother any of the Batavian settlements, but it was clear that the claims would leave the newly established enclave at the mercy of Shireroth.
Several farmers rose up after hearing the news, joined a militia and fought back small groups of mercenaries whom had crossed the borders into the Green. After a minor victory at Jonkersberghe between 126 Batavian militiamen and 89 mercenaries, a free and independent republic was proclaimed by lieutenant-general August Baerdemans. A group of 212 militiamen also moved southwards, intercepted several convoys and supported uprisings in the occupied territories.
The destruction of the Iggud by the Shirerithian III Corps opened the way for the Jingdaoese backed Batavian settlers to enter the occupied territories and to - on their turn - occupy Nackholm. This paved the way for another wave of massed bomber raids on the battered settlements of the western pocket in retaliation by Imperial commanders furious at seeing dissident fighters slip into the territory under their noses.
Confronted with those hostilities, Baerdemans could convince the last autonomists of the importance of unity. In 1659, all towns of the Vrystaat united in the protection of their (for many new) homeland. While Stuyven had been declared the first capital, the sheer cultural and historical importance, made the parliament move southwards and proclaim Nackholm as the new capital of the republic.
The Siyacha Intervention
The successes of the Weermacht were short-lived. The strict regulations and suppression of non-Batavians provided the Shirerithians with a pretext to invade the territories surrounding Nackolom (Fall Grunwald-Ulrich). In 1660 the Transbatavians in Nackolom suffered heavy losses at Jonkersberghe in the District of Hoorne. A retreat was inevitable, and the government ordered the evacuation of Transbatavians further eastwards. Heavy resistance and the unpopularity of the war eventually avoided the total annexation of the Vrystaat. But the conflict had came at a heavy cost: with the most heavily urbanised parts of the country under occupation, Baerdemans was confronted with a mess he couldn't solve on his own.
Politics and government
When the Transbataafsche Vrystaat was established, the founders wanted to bring back the Batavian democratic traditions. The institutions of Hogerhuis and Lagerhuis were revived to honour its glorious past, in the hope to inspire the Transbatavians to do great deeds.
The Vryheer acts as the head of State of Transbatavia, but is (in theory) only called a temporary figurehead. The constitution claims to uphold the office of Vryheer until a reborn and independent monarchy is re-established to unite the Batavian peoples across the continent. In that sense, the Batavian settlers believe that the Vryheer plays the role of the regent and act as the representative of both the local Church and ancient traditions. Only someone from Batavian descent and with sufficient land (holding the title of Vryholder) is therefore eligible to run for the position. In the end it is the Hogerhuis which selects and votes for the Vryheer, who is in office for the next five AN years.
Kanselier der Republiek
The Chancellor of the Republic acts as president of the Lagerhuis and cabinet. When elected by the Lagerhuis, he presents the two chambers of parliament with a list of ministers and his plans for the next four AN years.
The Hogerhuis is the chamber of Vryholders. Each Batavian citizen who owns a large number of lands has the right to claim the title of Vryholder. The Hogerhuis decides upon issues like the appointment of the Vryheer, has to approve the yearly budget and approve the appointment of a new cabinet. It has a veto privilege on issues discussed in the Lagerhuis.
The Vryheer is the president of the Hogerhuis.
The Lagerhuis acts as the parliament of the Vrystaat. It has 20 seats and is elected by the Transbatavian peoples as a whole. However, during the voting process a Vryholder receives 2 votes, a normal Batavian voter receives 1 vote and a non-Batavian receives 1/2nd of a vote.
The institution passes laws, appoints the Kanselier van de Republiek (Chancellor of the Republic) who has to act as president of the Lagerhuis (but receives no extra vote) and government.
Transbatavia is divided into several Gewesten (provinces). The two original, Batavian territories make up Westland, while the newer territories (with a larger non-Batavian population) is often referred to Oostland.
|50px||Hoorne||Jonkersberghe||Westland||1659||Incorporates most of the territory that made up the Batavian province of northern Hoorne.|
|50px||Ashendal||Ashendorp||Westland||1659||Incorporates most of the southern that made up the Batavian province of Ashkenatza Minor.|
In contrast to its neighbours, the nation has a small population. From the 295,879 citizens in the census of 1659, around 121,587 were registered as 'pure Batavian blood'. Society is divided among strict ethnic lines, with pure Batavians as first-class citizens. Those people, whom are descendants of Batavian settlers, are called inlanders. Throughout time, the government started to introduce labour laws which improved the position of those inlanders on the work floor and assured them of a job, often at the cost of non-Batavians. These policies often lead to resentment of a part of the population, but were deemed as necessary to assure the survival of the Batavian people as a whole.
Inlander marriages are heavily supported by the State, and propaganda is often focused on the so-called perfect Batavian family. In contrast to the Kasterburgers, Shirerithians, mixed groups and not even the Jingdaoese who supported their cause, are not seen as equals.
Non-Batavians are seen as second-rate citizens and are called outlanders, which can roughly be translated as 'foreign residents'. While this group also has the ability to vote, they are restricted in movement, job possibilities and have no right of ownership in certain communities and provinces. To protect a strict form of apartheid, the outlanders are often denied education, the right to marry with Batavians and to enter public buildings through the same door as inlanders. The result of these restrictions led to the establishment of (often far poorer) schools within the more heavily populated outlander districts.
The Vrije Weermacht is the gendarmerie and military force of the Vrystaat. It was established as a loose militia under general Wijns and lieutenant-general Baerdemans in 1648 to combat the increasing number of bandits after the collapse of the Minarborian Empire. Through time, the Weermacht grew with the support of foreign interest groups. While called an army, its size is remarkably small, as it relies heavily on its fellow Transbatavians to increase the ranks in times of urgent need.
The military consists of following groups:
- The Schuttersbrigades (680 personnel): the main forces, responsible for protecting the country in times of need. It acts mainly as the gendermerie and assists local militias with its expertise.
- The Snelle Brigade (75 personnel): a group of cavalrymen, responsible for fast intervention. The group can be deployed anywhere in the country.
- The Vliegende Brigade (25 personnel): the air force, consisting of one training airplane, sometime used for reconnaissance).
For a long time (especially in the west), since the collapse of the Batavian Kingdom and the retreat from the Jingdaoese from the region, the local population was mostly dependent on its own farm lands to survive. In larger villages, people sometimes used foreign currencies, like the Jingdaoese Kala or - with the expansion of Shirerithian influence - Erb. More frequent was the use of the Batavian Kruys, in most cases with a simple stamp on the billets to show from which village the currency came from.
The first Transbataafsche Kruys follows that tradition: as the government has not yet streamlined the production of its own billets, nor did it start minting its own coins.