|State Motto||Saevis tranquillus in pelagis|
|• Ingliz||Tranquil amid the storm-tossed seas|
|State Anthem||Fair Ardea / Realm of Peace, Realm of Plenty|
• President of the Commonwealth
|Administrative Divisions|| 12 provinces|
• % water
• Growth Rate
• Growth Rate
Thaeling (pl. Thaelingas) (þ)
|Time Zones|| EXT (Eastern Xianbian Time)|
The Commonwealth of Ardea [ar-DAY-uh] is a sovereign republic located in northwestern Kijana Hian. Ardea occupies the northern extremity of the continent, encompassing a wide variety of climes and natural resources. As one of Aurora’s leading democratic nations, it enjoys a high standard of political freedom and despite the relative obscurity of much of its short history under Antaran rule, the nation currently strives for an increased impact on world affairs. The present administration of Hembold Colrendis has identified the modernization of the Commonwealth’s security forces, vocal opposition to the spread of Communalism, and vigorous multi-lateral diplomatic engagement as cornerstones of Ardea’s emerging presence on the world stage. Ardea is also a founding member and the permanent administrative host of AFNA.
- Main article: History of Ardea
In the early 18th century, Barbii incursions into Antaran border territories in northern Danetia increased significantly, as drastic climate changes combined with a string of defeats at the hands of the Persii left the northerners nowhere else to go. In a series of border skirmishes, the newly reformed Antaran Dominion subdued and secured the allegiance of the desperate invaders. After the surrender of the most belligerent of these tribes, the Antarans, finding the alternatives (deportation back to the desolate north, massacre, assimilation) unpalatable and perceiving an opportunity to bolster their minimal presence in Kijana Hian, initiated an ambitious relocation plan. In a series of convoys, Antara dispatched several thousand of these northerners to an isolated Antaran Imperial penal colony on the remote tip of Kijana Hian, which had been established decades earlier as an inexpensive means of gaining a foothold on the Maloumban-dominated continent. The journey, accomplished despite contrary winds and difficult currents, was accompanied by heavy losses in men and materiel.
Once settled in their new home, the rough colonists were ruled by an Antaran governor, though free to settle as they wished throughout the fertile forests and fields of the territory. In exchange for this freedom they were required to give their allegiance to the Dominion and pledge to defend its interests in the region.
In subsequent decades they were joined by increasing numbers of other northern tribespeople, driven out of northern Danetia by worsening conditions, as well as thousands of adventurous Antaran pioneers. By the late 20th century, the population of the territory had grown five-fold. With the end of the threat posed by Maloumban expansionism and increasing colonial opposition to the hefty taxes long imposed by the Dominion, it was not long before diplomatic negotiations led to the amicable dissolution of Antaran rule. The Antaran government saw fit to recall its governor and administrative personnel in peaceful assent to the pioneers’ request for home-rule, and Ardea gained full independence in 2026.
- Main article: Government of Ardea
- Main article: Politics of Ardea
Founded on democratic principles, Ardea’s political system is a mix of both delegated and direct citizen participation.
Ardea's national legislature is the 208-seat, unicameral Idalian Assembly, elected every three years by eligible citizens. It is responsible for federal legislation, the appointment of the State Cabinet, and the ratification of certain acts of the President (including treaties and declarations of war).
In each province, the People's Gyld (elected every five years) functions as a bicameral legislature, comprised of a Delegation House and a House of Thanes. The Burghs are governed by local councils called Burghal Reddings and are supervised by Reeves. All officials at the municipal level are directly elected by the city's populace.
The executive branch of government is composed of the State Cabinet, a council of 13 ministers, the President, and the Censors. Cabinet members are elected by the Idalian Assembly from its own ranks every three years. The President is directly elected by the people of Ardea, and he assigns each Cabinet member a portfolio and appoints the Censors, officials who are tasked with keeping order in the Assembly and upholding ethical standards among Ardean legislators. At the provincial level, an Ealdorman serves as the President's executive counterpart. Each of Ardea's vast interior territories is entrusted to the oversight of a Governor appointed by the President.
The highest court in Ardea is the Raedmot, which oversees a system of lower provincial and burghal courts.
Elements of direct democracy are enshrined in the Initiative and Referendum institutions. An Initiative is a draft law originating with the public and supported by at least 100,000 citizens; it is referred to the Assembly for advice and modification, and a final version is referred back to the people for approval. A Referendum is a policy question posed to the public by either the legislative or executive branch of government, the results of which may or may not be binding. In this manner, Ardeans frequently participate directly in their government on a variety of issues.
Southeastern Ardea is home to two indigenous people groups of Afran origin, the Mbawi and the Isiluzu. Each has a unique cultural heritage, and though both groups have in the past reacted violently against the expansion of Ardean territory and fought with each other, they are currently in a state of peace and cooperation with one another and with Ardea.
With the signing of the Treaty of Sulmo (2077), to which the Mbawi Elders, the King of the Isiluzu, and the Idalian Assembly are parties, the independent Protectorates of Mbambo-Weka and Izulwa were created as semi-autonomous states. The external defence of the two Protectorates is guaranteed by the Idalian Assembly through the Ardean Security Forces, and the Protectorates have no separate foreign relations with any nation other than Ardea; all relations between the Protectorates and the international community are conducted through Ardea’s Foreign Ministry.
This relationship is a relatively amicable one. Trade links between the Protectorates and Ardea proper are mutually beneficial, as the southern areas export large quantities of fruit and some precious metals (mined by local tribes) to Ardea and reinvest the profits in the expansion of indigenous industries and plantations. Despite a legacy of bitterness in some quarters due to the memory of the Settler Wars, mutual prejudice between the native peoples and Ardeans has mostly faded with the passage of time.
Various forms of Arkanism predominate in Ardea, as historical and cultural ties with Antara have provided a ready base of support for the Ecclesiarchy. Nordism also enjoys a significant presence in Ardea, particularly among descendents of Norric and Barbi groups (see Demographics below). In addition, a number of other religious traditions have recently been introduced into Ardea through immigration, though the percentage of the population claimed by these newer faiths remains small.
Among the many types of Arkanism in Ardea, the Ecclesiarchy has begun to decline of late, as cultural ties to Antara are subject to a new, emerging national identity. The Ecclesiarchs’ main rival in Ardea is Keleuthism, which has spread rapidly by means of a concerted missionary drive arising from the efforts of Heloan emigres. Signs of Keleuthist inroads in urban centres have galvanized the efforts of Ecclesiarchs to shore up eroding inner-city congregations.
- Ecclesiarch: 34%
- Keleuthist: 20%
- Other Arkanist: 18%
- Nordist: 12%
- Agamite: 6%
- Other: 5%
No religion: 5%
The Mbawi and Isiluzu indigenous communities are predominately Agamite and syncretistic, and attempts of Ardean settlers to promote Arkanism have met with little success and considerable hostility. There is also a small secularist movement which has gained momentum particularly in Ardea’s largest universities, although the average Ardean stubbornly retains his traditional beliefs.
Ardeans are proud of their independent, pioneer heritage as well as their considerable ethnic and cultural roots in northern Danetia. They believe firmly in the value of self-reliance and economic development, such that participation in international trade is a source of both optimism and anxiety; Ardeans dream of a richer nation, but at the same time are inclined to be nervous about even bilateral commitments, fearing dependence on the resources of other countries. Though the Colrendis administration has taken bold steps to expose Ardea to the influence of world affaris, this does not sit well with all segments of the population, particularly the older generation, which is slow to let go of the isolationism of yesteryear.
The people of Ardea, especially traditional farmers and recent immigrants, are tied firmly to their land and their old ways of life. As city populations burgeon, tensions with aboriginal groups simmer, and the economy rewards greater and greater specialization, the life of these landholders - the old backbone of the country - becomes more uncertain. Ardean culture is in a state of flux, as the nation stands at a crossroads of self-definition.
The Ardean population is primarily of Anadilian descent, though significant minorities have continued to grow annually with the continuous influx of immigrants which Ardea enjoys. The largest group is the Danetio-Antarans, who trace their ancestry back to the commingling of the original Danetian settlers with Antaran pioneers (a slow process that was resisted at first by traditionally-minded Antaran colonists) in the late 19th century. Ardea’s ethnic diversity may be summarized as follows:
- Danetio-Antaran: 39%
- Barbi: 14%
- Norric: 11%
- Chiv: 11%
- Antaran: 9%
Other ethnicities: 16%
- Heloan: 8%
- Shayesa: 3%
- Kubu: 3%
- Chamba: 1%
- Osmani: 1%
In recent years the largest influx of immigrants has come from Miotus, as the unrest in the Communality of Sinoptikon and the DRI insurgency have forced many families to flee, many of whom in turn have been attracted to the relative stability and prosperity offerred by Ardean society. Other groups of recent refugees have arrived from Pravnicka and Fernandina, seeking an alternative to the Communalist regimes of those nations.
Ardea's immigration rate is one of the highest in Aurora. In 2114, for example, immigration accounted for 44% of the country's net population growth.
The Commonwealth's open, invitational immigration policy is largely responsible for this steady influx of migrants. Large tracts of arable land in the southern grasslands, sold cheaply by the government to encourage settlement, attract thousands of immigrants from all over Aurora every year, such that the country is sometimes characterized by its government as “a home for every nation.” In addition, the Ardean labour market encourages the filling of highly skilled labour and specialty education niches by immigrant workers.
Nevertheless, Ardean society, though relatively tolerant of the resulting diversity and pleased to harness the economic productivity of thousands of newcomers, has shown signs of strain as change accelerates. Government planners hope that emphases on technological innovation (both civilian and military), a high level of civic participation, and a new role on the international stage will help to unite Ardea’s increasingly disparate ethnic groups through shared patriotism.
Ardea lies at the northern extremity of the continent Kijana Hian, reaching into the northern seas with two very large promontories. The larger, more easterly of these two is home to most of the country’s population, and it was this area that was first colonized by Antara in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. An extremely long and variegated coastline, giving the nation access to three oceans, both poses unique security challenges and confers many benefits (particularly on Ardea’s fisheries). Generally the height of the land rises from the shores inward to the south-central alpine region, the Daunian Range.
Below the promontories, which are covered by vast expanses of deciduous forest (extensively cleared in places for settlement and farmland), stretches a wide belt of rich grassland, which may be said to be the nation’s dominant biome. This grassland holds great promise for future intensive farming, as the deep black topsoil has proven ideal for most crops, especially wheat, corn and barley. As the rural population increasingly encroaches on these southern expanses, Ardea’s grain output is expected to grow exponentially.
Large tracts of chaparral sweep across the country’s southern extremities, particularly in the southwest and around the alpine region on the southern border. Tropical shrublands characterize the lower reaches of the two proctectorate states and the southwestern coast in general.
The Commonwealth is subdivided into 12 provinces, 11 burghs (or cities), and 3 territories. The two protectorates, Mbambo-Weka and Izulwa, are not technically in political union with Ardea, though the ties between them are very close and Ardea guarantees their territorial integrity.
The provinces (#1-12 on map) represent the most densely populated regions of the country. They are home to all of the burghs, and are governed by People’s Gylds and Ealdormen.
The burghs (red areas on map) are Ardea’s incorporated cities; they are governed by Burghal Reddings and Reeves.
The territories (letters A-C on map) represent the vast, largely uninhabited southern regions of the country, many of which are targeted for federally-sponsored settlement programs. They sustain an extensive network of various resource-harvesting activities.
The bulk of Ardea’s land-based oil reserves is drawn from the territories, and they are therefore a top security priority for the ASF as well as a great source of national pride. Wealthy urbanites are fuelling new developments throughout the territories, where natural beauty and open space are more or less free for the exploiting.
Foreign investment interests are beginning to grow in the territories, and the Ardean government continues to look for ways to enhance the profitability of what some have called Ardea’s “national treasure” – the southern expanses.
Ardea is a first-world nation, with a high standard of living and a steadily growing economy. The economy was strengthened by the discovery of large offshore and inland oil deposits in the mid twenty-first century, and Ardea's lucrative trading relationships with Aurora's other first and second-world nations have brought added prosperity.
However, the climbing immigration rate and rapid expansion of Ardean cities and agricultural communities have placed an increasing strain on the nation's resources in recent years. Infrastructure is struggling to keep up with the expansion and diffusion of the population into new areas.
Very large areas of Ardea's southern hinterland remain undeveloped. Many of these regions, rich in natural resources, have yet to be exploited, and the government faces considerable political pressure from some sectors to further explore and tap this natural wealth. The presence of large semi-autonomous aboriginal communities in the southern limits of these territories, however, suggests that this exploitation may come at a high price.
Oil obtained from several large fields (both offshore and in the southern plains) constitutes Ardea's most valuable resource as well as its chief export. Other major resources include coal, grain, and wool, which is derived from large-scale sheep husbandry.
Agriculture is an important focus of life on the southern ranges of low grassy hills, and is increasingly the province of less prosperous immigrants, particularly from home nations where agriculture was an economic mainstay. Sheep husbandry, however, is the traditional occupation of rural Ardeans descended from the first groups of settlers, though it has also recently gained popularity among more recent arrivals.
An abundance of coal, taken together with oil, has provided for rapid industrialization, especially in the northern peninsular region. Ardea produces enough steel to supply its own needs, with some room for modest export.
- Main article: Foreign Relations of Ardea
The Commonwealth of Ardea seeks peaceful and mutually profitable relationships with its neighbours. Since independence from Antara, Ardea has focused on developing stronger connections with regional markets, such as Catai and Kantonia, and the country’s vigorous support for free-market ideals is well-known throughout Aurora, particularly among the nations of the Communalist bloc.
Vocal opposition to the ideology and goals of the Communalist League, Aurora-Wide has characterized most of Ardea’s governments in recent decades, and the Ardean people remain decidedly suspicious of everything Communalist. This stance has contributed to the popularity of recent increases in military spending, particularly under the Colrendis administration, as Ardeans keep a wary eye on the advent of Communalism in Raipea; as the ideology’s first foothold in Kijana Banoga, the new government of Hera’i Mako is viewed with deep misgivings by most Ardean citizens. While not yet seen as an active threat to the Ardean way of life, Communalism and the ideals of Absolute Unionism have decidedly polarized Ardea’s foreign policy with regard to several nations in Aurora.
The formulation of foreign policy, as well as the maintenance of diplomatic and economic ties on the international stage are the responsibility of Ardea’s Foreign Ministry.
- Main article: Ardean Security Forces
Ardea’s defence is the responsibility of the Ministry of National Security, a civilian body which oversees the maintenance and activities of the Ardean Security Forces. The Security Minister, who is advised by the General Staff (made up of the senior commanders from the Ardean Home Guard, Maritime, and Aerospace Commands), reports directly to the President and briefs the Idalian Assembly.
The military of Ardea, originally consisting of three separate services (army, navy, and air force), was fully integrated by executive order of then-President Bengt Iluburon in 2098 in order to increase efficiency and simplify command processes. Since that time the Ministry has focused on enhancing the Forces’ ability to mount expeditionary missions, reflecting the recent shift in Ardean foreign policy to a more active interest and participation in world affairs.
Responding to the will of the Ardean people, the Ministry has also put increased emphasis of late on more aggressive enforcement of Ardean sovereignty within the nation’s territorial waters and airspace. The last twenty years have seen a consistent increase in military spending, the bulk of which has been devoted to the acquisition of more modern equipment (particularly for the Maritime and Aerospace Commands) and large-scale recruitment efforts.
A logistical shift towards emergency response capability has been a very recent development. Natural disasters such as the 2115 eruption of Mt. Minad in Kantonia have underlined the need for the ability to deliver aid in a timely fashion across the challenging terrain of the interior territories as well as on an international basis.
Ardeans enjoy a plethora of sports, but they love the robust game of rugubi above all others. Fielding a national team (colloquially known in Ardea as the All Blues for their ultramarine uniforms) composed of world-class players drawn from the ranks of provincial champions, Ardea is one of Aurora's leading rugubi powerhouses. A friendly rivalry with Monota on the pitch has produced a number of very exciting international tournaments in recent years.
The second most popular sport in Ardea is football (soccer), and the National League aspires to one day host a competition which would include teams from every interested nation in Aurora.
- Main article: Category:Ardea