Democratic Republic of the Aroës
|Demokratiske-Republikken af Aroëse|
|(Democratic Republic of the Aroës)|
|Last Election:||July 13, 2008|
## sq. mi.
The Aroës, officially the Democratic Republic of the Aroës (Arsk: Demokratiske-Republikken af Aroëse) is a sovereign country (Member State) of the Valanian Federate, consisting of several islands and islets that form an archipelago. It is located in the Atlantic Ocean west of the main island of Faeland. Its total area is roughly 300 km² with an estimated population of 30,000. The Aroës borders both the Aroëse Gulf and the Álta Sea. The archipelago's strategic importance has produced a long history of seafaring. The last great migration came with the Norse, who settled down to control the western approaches of the island.
The D.R.A. is a federal democratic republic wherein much authority lies with the administrative subdivisions. The D.R. has secondary-level government divisions known as Ørj (lit. island, pl. Øry) and local governments in 9 municipalities. The federal government is a nationally elected council of representatives (the Sing) from each of the Øry. There is no formal constitution, but the Sing is responsible for and to all of the Øry by way of their representatives. A vestige of pre-unification still exists: each Sing elects a Hertij or Duke, to act as head of state.
The D.R.A. has been a member of the V.F. since its inception.
The D.R.A. boasts a high level of income equality, although these are generally low. The greater segment of the economy is given over to fishing and tourism, but the capital Hekajt has a brisk shipping industry. It is estimated that in Faeland City alone, 98% of shipping is financed or controlled by Aroëse corporations. The relatively low population factors into the general well-being of the population. The I.T. sector has grown significantly in the new millenium, and a national initiative has brought internet access to every island in the archipelago.
The national language, Arsk, is a distant dialect or descendant of Norwegian.
Main article: Geography of the Aroës
The islands were sparsely inhabited when they were first settled by Viking explorers, mostly by small fishing communities. There is some evidence that Basque communities or fishing outposts may have been established.
Early Viking Settlement
See also: History of the Norse in Faeland
There is some dispute about which Viking first set foot on the islands. The islands appear on numerous Norman maps beginning in the 900s. The adventurer xx, is recorded as having visited the islands in 1002. He was separated from the coast of what is now southern Faeland by a severe storm and landed on the islands. For a time the islands were known as "xxx Land". Many give the credit to xxxx, a Geat, who created the first earldom in ####.
The first known permanent Norse settler was , who built his homestead in Hekjt in the year 904. He was followed by many other emigrant settlers, largely Norse nobles and their Irish slaves. By 930, most arable land had been claimed and the Sing, a legislative and judiciary parliament, was founded as the political hub of the various earldoms. The Sing lasted until 1308 when the political system devised by the original settlers proved unable to cope with the increasing power of chieftains independent of the transplanted noble peerage.
The internal struggles and civil strife of the era led to the signing of the ___ in ###, which brought the Aroës under a single crown. Possession of the islands passed to the royal crown from the earls around ###, after a civil war which brought dissenting nobles into line. In the ensuing centuries, it became one of the poorest countries in the Atlantic. Infertile soil and a wet climate made for harsh life in a society whose subsistence depended almost entirely on fishing.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Britain imposed harsh trade restrictions on the Aroes, while pirates from several countries raided its coasts. A great smallpox epidemic in the 18th century killed around a third of the population.