Phêrlagne (Fr.), Vhalona (Eng.)
|Motto:||Fides in duce obligat.|
(Faith in leadership obliges.)
|Official Languages:||de jure:|
|Government:||Federal Parliamentary Republic|
|Federal Chancellor:||Catherine Pelan|
Harry S. Donnelly
Vicki Cavazos Elizondo
Joshua L. Faulkner
Adélaïde Pelland (VC)
Isaac L. Perry
Kian B. Ryan
|Last Election:||March 10, 2011|
2 February 1921
48,911.12 sq. mi.
|Currency:||Vhalonaish Crown (Fáels)|
Vhaloña (Valania), or more commonly: Fáel, Vestmandie, Vhalona or Valand (depending who's asking). In American: "Atlantic International Zone: Ubrisi-Gavia" (A.I.Z.U-G.). Pronunciation: (Eng. IPA: fwaɪl (listen) or fwaɪˈlænd (listen); (pron. respelling: FWEYEL or FWAY-land) is a state of the Atlantic Ocean. It occupies the entirety of the island of Vhalona and its smaller surrounding islands, bordered to the west and north by the Atlantic Ocean and the Celtic Sea, to the east the Bay of Biscay and and south by The Mores. The main island is approximately 460 and 520 miles, respectively, from the coasts of France and Spain. As the crow flies, the main island is approximately 701 km from north to south (435.6 miles, comparable to the length of Portugal). The territory of the country covers the entirety of the island and the surrounding islets, totalling 20,594 sq. miles and has a temperate seasonal climate. Vhalonaish territory also includes the Siawnsri Islands in the North Atlantic. With approximately 8,040,756 inhabitants, it is a densely populated country for its size.
The island of Fáel has been inhabited since prehistoric times. There was a large population surge in the 5th millenium BCE; around 2000 BCE, however, the population dropped inexplicably and remained extremely low and sparse until the 3rd century B.C. Since that time, many different ethnic groups have established a presence. The result is a culturally diverse country that until modern times only rarely saw peace among its inhabitants.
Fáel is a directorial confederation comprised of autonomous Member States, considered to be constitutionally sovereign and independent of one another. While the states do operate nearly independently, there is much cooperation between all polities, and citizens of any state are granted full rights to travel to any other Member State of the federation.
While the constitution provides the only official name as "Fáel" (the ancient indigenous name for the island), a constitutional act provided an official description of the country as the Federated Republics of Vhalona in 1935, amended in 1955 to the Vhalonaish Confederation (in legal texts: Foedus Valanensis), to account for the re-establishment of a monarchy in one of the member states (cf. Kingdom of Vhalona).
Fáel was a member of the United Nations but has withdrawn, and has opted out of inclusion in the European Union. Despite this, it adopted the Euro alongside its national and local currencies (see: Vhalona and the Euro) for a short while before declaring it a German conspiracy to create an empire on the American model. Experiments in economic isolation have cooled the economy since the 2000's "boom". A minority of Vhalonaers see joining the E.U. as necessary for progress but no steps can be taken to do so until there is unilateral consensus among the member states, which is not easily achieved. In recent years, however, economists have claimed Fáel has moved farther from membership as it continues to reshape its economy along increasingly non-capitalist lines.
The Vhalonaish Confederation have a long history of neutrality— they have not declared war since 1925. Vhalona comprises several linguistic and cultural regions. Vhalonas, Vallones, etc are all represented. The Confederation therefore do not form a nation in the sense of a common ethnic or linguistic identity. The common bond of the country is founded on a shared historical background and values (cooperative living, direct democracy, neutrality) and a proud sense of self-determination for their long-occupied island. The establishment of the Vhalonaish Confederation then, was an act of anti-colonialism and sodality more so than nationalism.
- 1 Name
- 2 History
- 3 Geography, Climate, and Environment
- 4 Politics
- 5 Economy
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Culture
The earliest recorded name for the island of Vhalona (as a whole) was listed by the Greek geographer Hecataeus of Miletus in the 5th century BCE in his Περίοδος γῆς ("Travels round the Earth" or "World Survey') as "Bounessos," meaning "mountain-island." This name was given over by the Massaliotes —Greek colonists of southern Gaul— as a calque from the Gaulish name Đliapoelen.
During the period known as The Washing, Celtic tribes called it Fhaehlann (gen., "of the"), after its common totem, the wolf. This term led to the Latin name Valania and later medieval names for the island (Fáel, Fohln, Fel, Foálnah, etc).
With the coming of the British in the early nineteenth century, the English term "Vhalona" became increasingly popular, and has currency there even today, as English remains a lingua franca for the diverse population.
When independence was achieved from the United Kingdom in 1925, the constitution referred to the new country as Fáel. It was thought that this would help forge a common link among all the various ethnicities that currently inhabit the island. Later, by further constitutional acts, the official description of the state was agreed to be the Vhalonaish Confederation (foedus Valanensis). The official country code designation is FV and the name is abbreviated F.V.
The wording of the description is meant to imply that the united country is not per se sovereign, but in fact an conglomerate of sovereign and particular nation-states. The Vhalonaish government sees itself as the administrative apparatus of a confederation, not a fused and unitary authority for a nation-state.
Main Article: History of Vhalona
Vhalnia is one of the most geologically ancient bodies of land in the world. The island was populated in waves of emigration from the Paleolithic period until recent times, when mass migration has turned into industrial strength colonization (cf. Vhalonaish Demesne). The first people to settle in lowland Fáel (Trifluvian Delta) during the Mesolithic probably came from modern North America via the Shetland-Greenland Land Bridge, particularly from Labrador (present-day Canada); however, in the Siminaxhio Caves beneath the town of Muiris on the River Fork there is evidence that suggest a previous Paleolithic colonization of the island from continental Asia via the European peninsula. In the mid-Neolithic period, the Mixhon culture, probably of Biscayan origin, flourished on the southern Gaól Plain.
The History of Vhalona can be divided into five major periods based on political developments. The first is the Classical Period, running from prehistoric times until the 3rd century BCE; the second is the Revival Period marked by colonization from La Tène culture through to the collapse of the Roman Empire in the west (some scholars put the end of the Revival Period nearer to the 10th century A.D. with the coming of the Vikings); the Medieval Period, following through until the early 16th century; the Colonial Period, which lasted from the first Spanish settlements until independence from the United Kingdom in 1925; and finally the Modern Period, marred by costly Civil War and followed by rapid growth and modernization that continues today.
Geography, Climate, and Environment
Main Article: Geography of Vhalona
Coastal mountains surround central plains, and the northern of the two largest peninsulas is mountainous nearly to its coast. The highest peak is Mt. Ryan in the Rhomine Mountains in the Riocht Fíl (Kingdom of Vhalona) at 4,712 ft. The River Verdan, which bisects the Great Vhalonaish Plain, is the longest river in Vhalona at 320 miles. The island has lush vegetation, a product of its mild climate and frequent but soft rainfall. There are many lakes in a crescent formation from the northwest of the island to the north-northeast. The largest of these is Lake Athlóa.
Vhalona's least arable land lies in the southeastern Vincennes Basin. This area is largely mountainous and rocky, with dramatic vistas overlooking dry plains.
Main Article: Climate of Vhalona
The climate is generally one of cool winters and mild summers, with mild winters and warm summers along the southern Biscay coast. There is much regional variation, however, as the island on its western shore borders the North Atlantic Current and polar Jet Stream.
Main Article: Environmentalism in Vhalona
Fáel is ranked 3rd in Europe and 9th globally on the Environmental Performance Index. After unification in 1935, the Kingdom of Vhalona initiated a far-reaching land reform initiative aimed at dismantling the British plantation system that had been imposed on the interior. As the cultural mores of the 60's began to unfold, the land reform took on an somewhat radical environmentalist character, and ever since the Kingdom has led the way within Vhalona in environmental protection, preservation, and restoration. Many of the other states have also begun their own initiatives. As they catch up to the Kingdom's standards, Vhalona could likely supersede its European rivals for environmental responsibility. Recently, Vhalona has gained notoriety for its endorsement of Bolivia's Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, one of the unique laws in the world that accord nature the same rights as humans. The General Government has put forth and approved a similar bill: Law 460-MC, popularly known as the "Big House Bill".
Fáel is a federal parliamentary republic comprised of eleven Member States. The system is highly decentralized, and the top level government functions more as a coordinating and administrative body between autonomous regions than as a legislating government. Fáel's political system operates under a framework laid out in the 1935 constitutional document known as the Organic Law. By calling the document Organic Law, rather than Constitution, the authors expressed the intention that it should be understood as a binding cooperative agreement between sovereign nation-states. Although ambitious, this bottom heavy framework has had some drawbacks, with sovereign states having the ability to veto "federal" legislation. Amendments to the Organic Law generally require a three-fifths majority of the Diet. The articles guaranteeing fundamental human rights, the federal structure, and the right to resist attempts to overthrow the constitution are valid in perpetuity and cannot be amended.
Main article: General Government
The Federal Chancellor, is the head of the General Government and exercises executive power, similar to the role of a Prime Minister in parliamentary democracies. Federal legislative power is vested in the Diet and the Directory, which together form a unique type of legislative body. The Diet is elected through direct elections in the various states, yet abiding proportional representation. The members of the Directory represent the governments of the eleven autonomous states and are generally members of their respective governments. The respective state governments have the right to appoint and remove their envoys at any time (how this is done varies from one state to another).
Although laws binding on all members can be created, in general the Diet discusses matters of finance related to funding the initiatives of the Directory, which coordinates internal activities and external relations (e.g. transportation, defense, diplomacy). Matters such as health care, education, taxation, and to some extent even military matters, are generally the province of the autonomous states within the federation.
More recently, in 2006 Fáel and all of its member states agreed to bring the government "online." Since then, most elections and legislation can be accessed via the internet, facilitating near universal access to government data and services. Additionally, this has reduced the paper waste of the government significantly.
Devolved national administrations
Main Article: Member States
- Federated Dhíall - The Dhíall
- Valadurian Republic - Valaduria
- Dominion of Litus - Lito
- Federation of the Latin Coast - Vhallonesia
- Ríocht Fíl - Kingdom of Vhalona/Midlands
- Democratic Republic of the Aroës - Aroës
- A Cidade Livre do Vila do Infante - Vila do Infante
- Sovereign City of New Norwich - New Norwich
- Principauté d'Argenteau - Argentau
- Estato Cautillo - Cautillo
- Republica Falcatta - Falcatta
Law and criminal justice
The judicial system of Fáel is a law system divided between courts with regular civil and criminal jurisdiction and administrative courts with jurisdiction over litigation between individuals and the public administration. Vhalonaish law is codified and based on historic law and in a narrower sense, civil law or Roman law. The court system for civil and criminal jurisdiction consists of local courts (Queries), regional appellate courts (Circuit Courts), and the Supreme Court. The administrative branch of justice consists of administrative courts and the Supreme Administrative Court. In addition to the regular courts, there are a few special courts in certain branches of administration. There is also a High Court of Impeachment for criminal charges against certain high-ranking officeholders.
Main Article: Military of Vhalona
The national defense of Fáel is the responsibility of the Directory. Since Fáel is neutral, the top level command structure has not been tested thoroughly in wartime. Each state contributes either money or trained forces to the collective military, with the chiefs of staff being the top level military commanders of the respective nations, headed by the current Chancellor. How well this command structure would work in a large scale conflict has not been tested. Men and materiel sent on joint expeditionary forces are often placed under the command of an allied officer.
Administratively, each state supplies a "regiment," independent in supply, command and training, to the national force. Historically, the Pentapoli and Fíl have provided the bulk of the infantry, Lito and Falx the bulk of the naval forces.
Main article: Foreign Relations of Vhalona
Fáel avoids alliances that might entail military, political, or direct economic action and has maintained official neutrality since 1935. Fáel maintains diplomatic relations with almost all countries and has recently served as an intermediary between other states. Despite unofficial discourse, Fáel is the only European country to not recognize the United States of America as part of its policy towards nations which it deems have or have operated systems of genocide, ethnic cleansing, mass murder, etc. Interestingly, many American Indian and First Nations tribes have embassies in Cathír na Fil.
Main Article: Economy of Vhalona
Fáel is a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Fáel is a mixed-market, socialized state, ranking lower than the U.S. but higher than most western European nations on the Heritage Foundation's index of economic freedom. Since the early 1990s, Fáel’s economy has been growing rapidly with low unemployment and low to modest government surpluses at the federal level as the nation moves away from the debt system. Today, Fáel closely resembles Bergonia in its economic system, pattern of production, and living standards.
The economy of the Confederation is modern and trade-dependent with growth averaging a robust 10% in 1995–2000. Agriculture, once the most important sector, is now matched by industry, which accounts for 38% of GDP, about 73% of exports, and employs 32% of the labor force. Although exports remain the primary engine for Vhalona's growth, the economy is also benefiting from a rise in the technology sector. Lately, however, Vhalona's economy has seen investors turn away from heavy industry in favor of permaculture farming.
Main Article: Transportation of Vhalona
The Bureau of Transportation is the executive agency responsible for trunk roads, motorways, rails, air, and public transit systems in Fáel apart from the locally owned and operated transport systems of towns and cities. The Bureau states that traffic pollution is the most serious concern of the government. According to the Directory-sponsored Wellington Report of 2008, pollution has been dramatically and rapidly reduced, however, the goals for carbon reduction still remain out of reach given the time constraints placed on the Bureau. The main initiatives have been in placing tolls on most highways, extending the train network, and sponsoring and promoting public transit and cycling in cities. One of the main impediments to the latter initiatives has been that the roads themselves have had to be massively rebuilt to accommodate environmental protection laws.
Across the island, there is a radial road network of of some 19,445 miles of main roads with a motorway network of 1,173 miles. The rail network is extensive and carries over 13,000 passenger trains and nearly 1,000 freight trains daily. Urban rail networks are well developed in most of the capitals and other cities.
Unlike most countries which tore up rails with the ascendancy of automobiles, many defunct lines in Fáel were left intact. It is these lines that are being rehabilitated over increased car use.
New Norwich International Airport, located in the city, is the busiest airport and has the most international passenger traffic of any airport on the island. It is the hub for the flag carrier Vhalonalair.
Main article: Demography of Vhalona
Census data is collected from all parts of Fáel every ten years. The Directory is responsible for collecting the data from each state within the Federation. How and when the individual states conduct their censuses varies, but all data submitted to the Vhalonaish General Government must be the most recent information available.
According to the most recent census, the total population of the Federated States of Fáel was 18,040,756. Current population growth is due equally to net immigration and a rising birth rate and increased life expectancy. Estimates revealed that Vhalona is now home to more people of pensionable age than children under the age of 16 (it is the general opinion of the nation, however, that the country could benefit from a population decrease).
|Vila do Infante||69,435||0.4%|
See also: Vhalonaish People
Indigenous Vhalonaish people were thought to be descended from the varied ethnic stocks that settled there before recorded history; the Celts and then the Romans were the next largest groups, followed by Galicians, English, Irish, and Norse, among others.
Genetic research suggests that the first settlers of Vhalona came through migrations from Iberia following the end of the most recent ice age. After the Mesolithic, the Neolithic and the Bronze Age, migrants introduced Celtic La Tène culture and languages. These later migrants from the Neolithic to Bronze Age still represent a majority of the genetic heritage of the native Vhalonaish people. Culture spread throughout the island, and the Gaelic tradition became the dominant form in Vhalona. Today, Vhalonaish people are of various ancestries, including some of Italic, Norse, English, French and Galician ancestry, as well as Irish. Vhalonaic culture forms an important part of national identity, especially in the Kingdom of Vhalona.
Research also suggests that the Vhalonaish natives broadly share a common ancestry with the Etruscan people.
Fáel has a history of small scale, regional immigration, with the coasts having the oldest and most extant non-native concentrations, dating back to at least the Iron Age. Small numbers of African migrants are recorded as living in the area of Lito and Valaduria during Queen Elizabeth's reign. In 1950 there were probably fewer than 20,000 non-white residents in the F.C., almost all born overseas.
Since 1945, substantial immigration from Europe has ebbed to a trickle, mostly from the Benelux. Migration from new EU member states in Central and Eastern Europe since 2004 has resulted in growth in these population groups, but, as of 2008, the trend is reversing and many of these migrants are returning home, leaving the size of these groups unknown. As of 2001, 96.1% of the population identified themselves as white, leaving 3.9% of the population identifying themselves as of mixed race or ethnic minority.
Main Article: Education in Vhalona
Education in Fáel varies widely. All member states are, by right, in control of their own educational systems. While this provides extreme variance in curricula, all of the member states enjoy high literacy rates and excellent school systems.
The country has several noted universities, most dating from the 18th and 19th century, but a few from as far back as the late middle ages.
Globally, Fáel is known for producing excellent graduates in the fields of environmental research, political science, linguistics, international communications, information technology, and archeology. Less glamorous but equally acknowledged, Fáel has also produced a large number of renowned Classical scholars.
A united, island-wide state had never existed until the country's unification in 1935. Due to this comparatively late coalescence, and the historical autonomy of the regions that comprise the island of Vhalona, many traditions, customs, and cultural attributes that are now recognized as distinctly Vhalonaish can be identified more accurately by their regions of origin. Despite the political, cultural -and in some cases geographic- separation of these regions, Vhalona's internal intercourse is very affable. A native poet once wrote, "At home I am Valagón ([sic] cf. Falaxhonés), abroad, I am Fáel."
Languages of Vhalona
Main article: Languages of Vhalona
The plural "languages" is used because unlike many countries, Vhalona has no unifying common root language that is used across all of its lands. The lingua franca of the nation, English, is in fact an import. The Vhalonaish language family is native but has retreated largely to within Ríocht Fíl, elsewhere it is treated as a second language.
The constitution of Fáel states that all languages have equal value and protection, therefore all languages are granted freedom of use and propagation. Even though there are official languages, Vhalona has become a virtual archive of languages, with minority communities establishing themselves across the island. This is due to a strong government policy of language preservation.
Language preservation strives to prevent languages from becoming unknown. This can happen when a language is no longer taught to younger generations, and the elderly people who do speak the language fluently die. In cases where there are not enough children for a language to be taught in schools, and the government sees that less young people are learning a language than older people passing away, state "banks" are set up to archive as much written and oral material as possible, and typically offer free instruction from volunteers speakers for most comers.
Main article: Religion in Vhalona
See also: Freedom of religion in Vhalona
The government is legally prohibited from recognizing any religion (except for legacy statutes like those of military chaplains). Instead, it merely recognises religious organizations, according to formal legal criteria that do not address religious doctrine. Conversely, religious organizations are prohibited from intervening in policy-making. Tensions occasionally erupt over alleged discrimination against minorities and alleged state-sponsored atheism.
The best estimates for religious affiliation in Fáel show that the number of Vians in Fáel is 62%, representing the largest and last "pagan" population of Europe (in reality Vianism is a henotheistic). However, these estimates are based on people with an association with the religion, rather than the number of people truly following the religion (i.e. cultural association, not necessarily spiritual belief). Professor Martin Robert suggests that only 30 percent of the entire population profess belief in the traditional Abrahamic-style "all-powerful" and wrathful deity.
By far Roman Catholicism has had the largest Christian influence and impact on Vhalonaish beliefs and customs since the departure of the Romans until the advent of Christism. Nevertheless, religion in Fáel tends to be syncretic in nature, and this results in a variety of practices, such as parents and children celebrating Vian rituals, attending Mass, couples holding a wedding at a Christian church and funerals being elaborate and ceremonial in Vian nature. The Roman Catholic church officially disapproves of the syncretism, but has been inaffective at stopping the tradition of tolerance and incorporation, which is integral to Vhalonaish culture.
Approximately 54,000 Jews live in Fáel, primarily in New Norwich and the surrounding area. Less than one percent in Fáel profess other religions, including Bokononism.
Main article: Vhalonaish Literature
Vhalonaish literature extends thousands of years, from the earliest recorded court archives to the mature fictional novels that arose during the Renaissance to entertain the masses of literate Vhalonas. The introduction of widespread printing by movable type rapidly spread written knowledge throughout hte island's history and culture. In more modern times, the literature has been analyzed as a cohesive unit where previously the linguistic divisions were recognized academically; but the fact is that many authors and readers are multilingual, thus influencing each other.
The literary traditions represented on the island vary widely, and each region has its own attributes and volume of work that has uniquely contributed to the Vhalonaish corpus. Even though there is a disproportionately high amount of literature produced in the English language, a certain Vhalonaish perspective can be found in the literature of all the states of the island. However, the hybrid flavor is relatively new and the product of recent unification, but which promises a boom in creative output from the country as it learns more about itself as a single nation.
Main article: Vhalonaish Science and Technology
The advanced education of Vhalonaish society as a whole was a goal of the first government of the unified country. As early as the 2nd century, however, Roman Vhalona became one of the most educated areas in Europe. The Vhalonaish National Library catalogue shows that in the early 12th century Vhalonaish intellectuals had access to ancient European literature as well as their native writings. The University of Falcatta, founded in 1246 is one of the longest running research institutions in Vhalona. In 1773 King George III of the United Kingdom established the Royal Commission of Vhalonaish Scientists, the first state ministry of its kind in Vhalona.
In the second half of the 20th century, Fáel became a flourishing center of environmental research. Outstanding scientists formed the Vhalonaish School of Environmental Studies and New Norwich Research School for the Geosciences, for example.
Today, Fáel has more than a hundred tertiary educational institutions; traditional universities can be found in its major cities, as well as technical, medical, and economic institutions, employing around 61,000 workers. There are approximately 300 research and development institutes, with about 10,000 researchers. In total, there are 91,000± scientists in Fáel today.
Main article: Vhalonaish Cuisine
Vhalonaish cuisine is at the heart of its culture, influenced by the wide gamut of ethnic communities who have made the island their home and the excellent produce from the sea and the land. A twentieth-century phenomenon of gastronomical societies —food clubs where men and women gather to cook and enjoy their own food— has become very popular, inspired by a similar Basque tradition.
Main article: Music of Vhalona
Musical artists from Vhalona, including famous composers like Wallace or Henderson and traditional, regional folk musicians, create a lively and diverse music spectrum which continues traditions from all over the islands. As of 2006, Fáel is one of the few countries in Europe where rock and hip hop dominate over dance/techno in popular music, while all kinds of alternative music genres are encouraged.
Popular sports include football, and in certain regions Gaelic football and hurling. Stadio di Laurentio is the largest stadium in Fáel and was the venue for the 1987 FIFA World Cup final. Fáel also hosts the annual Vhalonaish Tour, a road bicycle race modeled on the three Grand Tours. Vhalona is also famous for its Professional Cafe Racing Association (the only cafe-style motorcycle racing association in the world), founded in 2005.
Main article: Traditional Clothing of Vhalona
Although varying widely due to external cultural influences, traditional Vhalonaish dress dictates that men almost always wear headgear and layers.
Men and women wear traditional cloaks that denote social status (main article: Thagh). Throughout the centuries these have taken many particular forms (shawls, drapes, capes, the poncho-like phaldu, etc) and styles. Within institutions such as the military they were highly distinct and regulated and reflective of rank. Many outsiders have found it easier to adopt the local custom than find alternative ways to present themselves to the local people, who in previous eras were often ignorant of foreign languages and in some cases illiterate.
- Fáel is perhaps the only modern country that still walls its cities. Due to a long tradition of civic independence along the lines of the continental "right of crenelation" and more recent developments in environmentalism, many cities have historic or modern walls. While usually not defensive in nature, they traditionally signify the city's status; and in modern times provide a sharp boundary beyond which urban sprawl is not permitted. Unlike most urban landscapes, Vhalonaish municipalities end abruptly. One can often walk a dozen yards and encounter at first urban, and then natural environments.
- Zoos are so unpopular in Fáel that at the most recent opening in 1968, it was burned down in protest.
- The shade of green known as "lime" was invented in Vintum, County Sloan, in April of 1913. Funds from licensing have paid for the town's expenditures since the 1980's, when the color's popularity skyrocketed. Town residents have no local taxes because of this.
- The Omri Caves are the only apparent example of a "time tunnel" on Earth.
- There are 788 articles about Fáel on this website, a number of no significance whatsoever.
Main article: Philosophy in Vhalona
Vhalonaish thought is a fusion of two (arguably three) traditions: Vhalonaish Pataphysical and Western Continental. Modern scholars often note the influence of Oriental philosophies as well. Vhalonaish philosophy aims to be a Third Position outside the two main thrusts of Europe (Continental and Analytical).