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The Federal Kingdom of Lower Columbia

“Omnia in modo, fide excepta”

Category: Inoffensive Centrist Democracy
Civil Rights:
Some
Economy:
Frightening
Political Freedoms:
Good

Regional Influence: Minnow

Location: 10000 Islands

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1

History of Lower Columbia

The history of Lower Columbia begins with the arrival of the first European settlers in the mid-16th century, which predates the founding of the nation itself by a century and a half.

European discovery and settlement

Beginning about 150 years before the proclamation of Lower Columbian self-rule, in the mid-16th century, the Pacifc Northwest experienced an influx of persecuted Christians, mostly from Europe and East Asia, who sought safety in the area. These early immigrants were mostly converts to the new Protestant churches who were fleeing the Counter-Reformation, although there were also some Eastern Orthodox migrants; those who ultimately came from Europe arrived by way of East Asia, where they had begun making converts. These migrants escaped from their home countries by sea, via the Ottoman Empire, India, Okatabawashi and Japan. From these nations in the Far East, they followed the Kuroshio and North Pacific currents eastward, first landing in and around the Columbia River estuary in the 1560s. Later settlers eventually spread upriver and along the coastline. Some of them eventually discovered the islands that now make up Kingston and Boyce, and they began settling those islands as well. The first city that these settlers founded was Astoria, when the first ship carrying them arrived in 1560. They increased the populations of native villages, but more commonly founded many settlements of their own, including the country's current largest city, Nyhaven (in 1580).

Formation of the kingdom

From settlements to commonwealths

This wave of immigration continued for decades; as it continued, the need for regional governance became more and more apparent. Between 1648 and 1719, a series of early states styled as "Believers' Commonwealths" were organized along regional lines. In all, seven such commonwealths were established, from Willamette in the south to Fraser in the north. Their governments were councils of civic and ecclesiastical leaders with an elected governor as the chief executive. These commonwealths would become the basis for the states of Lower Columbia and the provinces of Gudland.

Birth of the monarchy

During the 1700s, Great Britain, France and Spain were all jockeying for power in North America, claiming different parts of the continent. The settlers of the Pacific Northwest, however, wanted nothing to do with any of these colonial powers, whom they viewed as their ancestors' oppressors. In 1712, the approximately 500,000 inhabitants of the commonwealths agreed that it was time to form a larger nation, a confederation. Although the commonwealths were already republics, the people of Pacifica, Willamette, and Rainier decided to establish a monarchy instead, motivated by a desire to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth. Nevertheless, it was necessary to begin this monarchy by electing the founder of the first royal house. They chose a strong, seemingly natural-born leader, named Edward du Loup, to be their first king. Edward accepted, although he disliked the concept of wielding absolute power. The other commonwealths extant at the time, however, disdained the new monarchy and rejected Edward as their king.

Constitution and first elections

Soon after his coronation at Nyhaven, the new King Edward sought individuals across the region who were willing to assist him in the fledgling government. After two years, they convened in Nyhaven with the intent of drafting a complete constitution. Over the summer and autumn of 1714, they developed what is now the current form of Lower Columbian national government, with King Edward wielding limited, though still considerable, power and presiding over the upper house of the national Parliament. They also agreed that no existing city should be chosen as the new national capital, and selected a low-lying plain several miles west of Nyhaven as the site for the new capital of Kendall. For the first fifteen years of the city's construction, they agreed that Parliament and the king would rule from Nyhaven, and then move to Kendall.

The convention presented the populace with their final draft of the constitution on January 7, 1715. After a period of four weeks, during which the people could review the document, the constitution was ratified in a referendum held on February 4 by a nearly 4/5 majority, more than the required 3/4 vote. Once the constitution was ratified, the convention delegates and several volunteers worked to prepare the country for the upcoming first parliamentary elections. Candidates were given one month to declare their candidacy and about seven months to campaign within their respective districts. On September 30, 1715, those elections were held nationwide; the following day, the results were announced and the first national government was proclaimed. Since then, October 1 has been celebrated as Proclamation Day, the effective date of independence for Lower Columbia, and parliamentary elections have been held on the last Monday of September. With no easy way to counter the new nation's territorial claims, the European colonial powers formally recognized Lower Columbia's sovereignty within a few years of these elections, as did the remaining independent commonwealths.

First dynasty, the House of du Loup: 1715-1799

First Purification

The first priority of many citizens of the new nation was reshaping its demographics according to their own preferences. By this time, most of the population was both Christian and conservative; the more liberal denizens were then ill-liked. Several people took it upon themselves to travel the nation recommending a rather revolutionary course of action: purify the land in the name of God and the King. To do that, they advocated expelling those who were considered "impure," which generally included indigenous people who rejected the Christian gospel, atheists, those practicing any sort of sexual immorality and persons espousing liberal beliefs. Their message did not fall on deaf ears; in fact, they garnered widespread support for the concept of "purification". Indeed, this proposal even gained interest among members of the new government, including King Edward himself. He went so far as to encourage Parliament to let the people decide whether or not to carry out what would become known as the First Purification.

In 1719, in a national referendum, an overwhelming majority of the population voted in favor of a ten-year program to expel liberals and other so-called "undesirables" from Lower Columbia. This was no blank slate for widespread terror and genocide, however; rather than engage in a liberal witch-hunt, the members of Parliament who drafted the referendum placed strict limits on who could be considered for expulsion from the country and when the use of force was permissible. The greatest use of force committed in the course of the First Purification campaign was the razing of the native settlement of Multnomah; it was widely agreed that the city had been irreparably tainted by all the evil done in it, so once all willing citizens had departed, the fledgling military and a number of volunteers destroyed the old settlement in the summer of 1722. Those former residents who were not expelled from the kingdom moved to the city of Portland, not far down the Willamette River from the former site of Multnomah. While little news of the Purification reached the outside world, reactions to it were rarely negative.

First territorial expansion campaigns

The campaign was concluded in 1729 - just in time for the national government to move to Kendall. The remainder of King Edward's rule was uneventful. He was, however, widely mourned following his death in 1736. His son was then crowned in the new National Cathedral, making him King John I. John sought to improve Lower Columbia's infrastructure, ordering the construction of many postal roads and improving port facilities in Nyhaven, Astoria and Aberdeen. Unfortunately, John I, who came to the throne at an advanced age, died before he could realize all of his "grand plan" for the kingdom. His efforts, however, proved highly valuable during the reign of his son, David I, which began in 1748. The main focus of David's reign was territorial expansion: until that time, Lower Columbia's territory only covered little more than the Columbia River valley from the start of the Gorge westward and the Willamette River Valley. He twice led campaigns to extend the borders of the country, first up the Snake River (1751-57) and subsequently along the Pacific coast and into the interior as far as the crest of the Cascade Range, as far as the present-day Californian border (1762-68). Unfortunately, at the conclusion of the Pacific Coast Campaign, the king, who led the military forces in person, suffered from a wound which proved fatal.

Michael the Terrible and the constitutional crisis of 1799

David I's successor, King Nicholas, was quite content to maintain the status quo during his 25 years in power. His main achievement was granting citizenship to all indigenous peoples of the kingdom; until his reign, only descendants of Old World settlers could be citizens. His son Michael I, however, is much more widely remembered, though not as fondly. Following his accession in 1793, little was seen of him. He rarely ventured outside the royal palace in Kendall, while delegating many of his royal responsibilities to his staff. Furthermore, he strongarmed the weak Parliament of 1795 into passing laws that placed much of the country's economy under his control. Those laws are infamous for creating Lower Columbia's first economic crisis with their rise in taxes and government control over banking and transportation. The people became alarmed when news of this crisis was first publicized, in the summer of 1798. However, when people began criticizing Michael I's actions, he issued a decree criminalizing lèse majesté. This decree only infuriated the public more; they then saw the king as a tyrant. Some radicals called for a revolt, but most people simply wanted to replace the ruling government peacefully. They overwhelmingly voted against incumbents in the next parliamentary election, held the next year. That Parliament exiled Michael I, elected a native Salemite named Brandon Bodker to replace him as king, and repealed his laws and decrees, all in the same year. The new Parliament also drafted a charter of rights to prevent future abuses of power similar to Michael I's; this charter was ratified as an amendment to the constitution known as Article IX.

Second dynasty, the House of Bodker: 1799-1881


Lower Columbia's kings gradually expanded
their realm.

More territorial expansion and first contact with the United States

Like David I before him, King Brandon I focused on expanding Lower Columbia's borders, this time pushing eastwards to the Continental Divide in the 1800s and southwards to the edge of the deserts of the Great Basin in the 1810s. The new land, rich in resources, helped the economy recover some of the energy it had lost under King Michael I. Brandon I would later sign the first treaty establishing real borders for the kingdom when he sent his Minister of Foreign Relations to take part in the negotiations that produced the Adams-Onís Treaty in 1819. Brandon is best remembered, however, for opening Lower Columbia to foreign nations; previous kings starting with Edward had adopted an isolationist policy in order to safeguard the country in its early years, but King Brandon I judged this to no longer be necessary. His first diplomatic and trade missions to other Pacific nations were conducted in the early 1800s, before the start of his military campaigns.

After his death in 1835, his son John was crowned. King John II presided over a second progressivization period, much like that which Michael I had encouraged. John, however, sought to stop or at least slow the process; unfortunately, Parliament often disregarded his admonitions. After the nation's economy underwent its worst panic ever, though, citizens recognized what he had been warning about and voted for a moderate coalition government in the 1847 elections. Within two years, the economy was well on its way to unprecedented levels of prosperity. Sadly, King John II did not live to see those prosperous times; he met an untimely death in 1848, after a mere 13 years on the throne.

Columbia War: Michael I's legacy undone

While John II did much to improve Lower Columbia's fiscal condition, he did so at the expense of the country's safety. After Michael I was exiled in 1799, he established the rival kingdom of Upper Columbia outside his former realm's sphere of influence and plotted his revenge. He and his successors built a new power base in the mountains and waited for their opportunity to strike back at Lower Columbia. With the old realm's forces cut to sizes not seen in decades due to John II's austerity measures, King William of Upper Columbia knew that the time had come for retribution. Within a few years after David II took his father John's place in Kendall, Upper Columbia was ready to mount a full-scale invasion. That invasion began in earnest in 1852, when King William sent his troops pouring over the border into Nicholasia, beginning what soon came to be known as the Columbia War.

News of the Upper Columbian invasion took David II and his government by surprise. The young king had been content to keep pursuing his father's policies of minimizing Lower Columbia's government expenditures; indeed, by the time that news of the invasion reached Kendall, he and Parliament had succeeded in shrinking the government bureaucracy to its smallest size since the House of Bodker came to the throne. However, the new war required rebuilding some of that bureaucracy, as well as many millions of crowns' worth of new spending to build up the military. To aid in winning the public's support for this abrupt change in policy, King David II enlisted the help of the kingdom's best-loved artists and orators to create a pro-war propaganda campaign, the likes of which would not be seen again in Lower Columbian history for nearly half a century. This battle for the hearts of his subjects won David II the support he needed to turn the tide of the war in Lower Columbia's favor.

By the summer of 1854, the kingdom fnally had enough soldiers to start mounting a formidable opposition to Upper Columbia's previously unopposed armies. The three years that followed saw the two kingdoms' fortunes reverse on the battlefield, with Lower Columbia reclaiming all of the territory it had lost since 1852. In addition, news of the war had turned foreign powers against Upper Columbia, resulting in that kingdom losing access to many of the essential resources it needed to continue its war effort. Finally, in 1857, David II knew it was time to take the war to the enemy. Much as his namesake had done a century earlier, he led the Lower Columbian military in person over the border into Upper Columbia, by the banks of the Columbia River, thus beginning the invasion of Upper Columbia. After another five years, in 1862, Upper Columbia was no more, its territory absorbed into Lower Columbia. Although the kingdom now contained the entire course of the Columbia River, its name remained the same.

A new royal crisis

In 1873, David II's son Brandon II came to the throne. He was a highly reclusive king, and many feared he would be similar to Michael I. However, this turned out not to be the case; like his father and grandfather, King Brandon II favored the free-market capitalism that had made Lower Columbia wealthy. He also began a major beautification program in Kendall, widening major streets, constructing new civic buildings, and landscaping the Royal Promenade. Eight years later, however, everyone was at a loss to explain King Brandon II's sudden disappearance. Rumors abounded as to his whereabouts; many claimed that the unmarried king had gone to South America to find a wife, although this was pure speculation. Nevertheless, Brandon II never returned to Lower Columbia. With no better option, after a few months Parliament voted to replace him with King Tristan, thus beginning the third and current royal dynasty.

Third dynasty, the House of Hart: 1881-present

Annexation of Gudland and the Puget Sound War

Tristan was somewhat more fanatical than his predecessors; this, coupled with his desire to bring "greater glory" to the nation, led him to invade and conquer the previously-ignored Federal Republic of Gudland between 1884 and 1888. Around the same time, and for similar reasons, King Tristan married his son, the future King Michael II, to Princess Elena of the Principality of Saint Catherine, paving the way for Lower Columbia's personal union with that state. One province of Gudland, that of Mainland, was untouched by the war raging in continental Gudland, and retained its independence even after the Gudlander government surrendered in 1887. However, Mainland's independence did not go unchallenged for very long; by the spring of 1889, Lower Columbia was ready to invade the former province. With parliamentary support for an invasion secured, King Tristan signed a declaration of war on May 2 of that year, and the Puget Sound War began.

Preparations for the invasion went smoothly, and by the end of May, the Royal Lower Columbian Navy had imposed a blockade on Mainland. Several weeks later, the invasion force left Lower Columbia and headed for the planned landing site near Port Hope. However, a hidden Mainlander naval force ambushed the Lower Columbian ships, leading to a protracted, pitched battle, in which much of the blockade and invasion flotillas were destroyed. The remaining ships were forced to retreat, having lost the battle.

Soon after this disastrous turn of events, King Tristan and Mainland Governor Michael Yannis agreed to a ceasefire, which gave both sides time to meet peacefully and negotiate a formal end to the war. In the resulting Treaty of Port Ruppert, which was signed on July 26, Lower Columbia officially recognized Mainland as an independent country, while Mainland recognized the Lower Columbian annexation of continental Gudland. Both sides agreed to a policy of non-interference in the other country's domestic and foreign affairs, allowing for a lasting, if uneasy, peace.

There were many progressives in the former Gudlander provinces, some descendants of those who had been expelled during the First Purification over a century and a half earlier. Many of them joined the nascent Progressive Party and gained seats in Parliament, leading to a series of unpopular reforms nationwide. As such, a second purification campaign was needed and implemented in the new territories, beginning in 1892. However, this second campaign was less radical than the first, and no cities were destroyed in the process.

Michael the Great: the people's hero

King Tristan's successor, Michael II, was crowned in 1901 and is, by far, the most famous and beloved king in Lower Columbia's history. In fact, Michael II is the only Lower Columbian monarch to be posthumously called "the Great." For much of his reign, he led a major campaign to improve the nation's cultural facilities and bolster a sense of a national culture and identity. He often spoke of Lower Columbia as a chosen nation, situated in the Pacific Northwest by God for a special purpose. In pursuit of this purpose, he expanded international relations, both within and beyond North America. He also made the first international arms purchases, beginning trade relations with several major arms dealers. Furthermore, in the early 1910s he used some of those weapons to expand into the Great Plains which belonged to Alberta.

King Michael the Great is also partly responsible for healing the mutual animosity between Lower Columbia and Kingston in the mid-1920s, earning him the nickname "the Great Reconciler". After the Puget Sound War, the people of both countries remained hostile toward each other; Kingstonaise thought of Lower Columbians as intolerant and uncultured, while Lower Columbians considered the Kingstonaise meddlesome apostates. The prairie campaign only added to these feelings, although Lower Columbia honored the terms of the Treaty of Port Ruppert and did not conduct another mass banishment program in the conquered region. This was partly due to Michael II's desire not to further anger Kingston and Boyce and partly to the lower number of liberals residing in the plains territories, making any potential purification more costly than beneficial in the government's eyes.

Convinced that it was the kingdom's duty to show brotherhood to its neighbors, Michael II set up a meeting with his counterpart in Kingston, at which the two heads of state were able to overcome their differences and reopen formal relations between their nations. Following this meeting, he helped organize the Pacific Exposition, held in Vancouver in 1926 to celebrate the cultures of the two nations. As a result of this exhibition, Lower Columbians and Kingstonaise began to see each other in a more positive light, and from then on, mutual trust gradually built between them until the present day.

While these events had already made Michael II extraordinarily popular, there was more to come. When the Japanese attacked the United States' naval base at Pearl Harbor in 1941, the king recognized that, as a nation on the Pacific Rim, Lower Columbia was in danger of being the next target of the rapidly expanding empire. He realized that a Japanese invasion of Lower Columbia would open the door for them to directly attack the US and Canadian mainland. With the approval of Parliament, the king signed an agreement with the United States in early 1942, pledging supplies and medical personnel to aid the Allied war effort. Throughout the rest of the war, his inspiring radio broadcasts kept the people's spirits high and ensured their continued support for the war effort. Finally, shortly before his death in 1949, Michael II abolished the progressive national income tax rates that Parliament had created during the reign of King John, cementing his reputation as Lower Columbia's greatest king. Since then, the federal income tax rate has been 10% for all income levels above 125% of the poverty line, with no tax on lower income levels.

Contemporary era

Bolstered by the recognition his father earned for his contributions to the Allied war effort, Michael II's son, Michael III, pledged to strengthen Lower Columbia's armed forces to allow the kingdom to lend more substantial support to the United States, Canada, and Kingston in future conflicts. As part of these promises, he signed several defense agreements with the United States as a response to the Cold War, energizing the domestic defense industry and bringing its military technology up to date. However, the king decided against seeking nuclear weapons from the United States, choosing instead to participate in the early warning programs shared among the North American powers. He did, however, approve the construction of Lower Columbia's first nuclear power plants, beginning the country's move away from coal power. Besides this, Michael III focused on humanitarian and philanthropic efforts, continuing the tradition of royally-funded public housing that Michael II had begun late in his reign. By the time of his death in 1960, Michael III had already dramatically expanded the stock of public housing in Pacifica's major cities, as well as in Portland and Vancouver. In addition, his expansion of the domestic defense industry transformed Spokane, once a relatively small state capital, into the heart of Lower Columbia's military-industrial complex.

In light of the condition of non-renewable resources, Michael III's successors have made moves toward minimizing or eliminating Lower Columbia's consumption of those goods. While the nation had long taken advantage of its immense capacity for hydroelectric power, King David III was not satisfied with the status quo. In 1982, near the end of his reign, he authorized the switch to completely clean energy sources for the nation, focusing on safer, thorium-based versions of conventional nuclear power plants, and funding research into geothermal and fusion energy production. David also approved the construction of the kingdom's first wind farms, in the early 1970s. Besides energy policy, King David III worked to expand Lower Columbia's influence on global markets, paving the way for many Lower Columbian corporations to expand into developing markets. In addition, it was during David III's reign that Lower Columbia captured the world's attention by hosting the Simlympics, in Nyhaven.

More recently, the current king, Zachary, signed a law requiring the country's extensive automotive industry to replace all internal-combustion engines in its vehicles with electric or fuel-cell engines over the course of 20 years. This move is expected to be completed in 2027. Like his father and grandfather before him, Zachary has also built public housing in the kingdom's major cities and donated to charities and the more philanthropy-oriented churches. In addition, Zachary used some of the immense royal fortune to finance the construction of Lower Columbia's tallest building, which was consequently named after him. King Zachary has also expanded Lower Columbia's presence on the world stage. While King Michael III was more isolationist in nature, Zachary has ordered the Minister of Foreign Relations to reach out to many foreign countries, and he has even signed the country onto new and preexisting alliances.

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