Federal Republic of the Visayas Federal Capital: Iloilo City Largest City: Cebu City Government: Federal parliamentary constitutional republic BACKGROUND HISTORY (OTL) Much of known Visayan history dates back to the 13th century. It was said in legend that 10 datus from Borneo fled the declining empire of Sri Vijaya, ruled by a despotic Rajah Makatunaw, and reached the island of Panay. After their encounter and lease agreement with the antedating Ati people for the said island, the newly-settling Borneans latter developed a divergent Visayan identity which once rooted from its Sri Vijayan form taking a foothold within the Panay up to its maritime peripheries and flourished. After generations, Visayans developed a distinct yet still familiar mould. Presumably influenced greatly by Hindu (-Buddhist) formation, Visayan culture is a varying degree of synonymity among the inhabitants of what is present-day Visayas. To a lesser extent, the people of Masbate are included in this pan-identity. During the late 13th up to the early 14th centuries saw the emergence of a brooding Visayan identity and civilization which branched out from its Sri Vijayan-Bornean predecessor. As the thalassocratic empire of Sri Vijaya declined due to constant wars with nearby kingdoms and territories, 10 lesser princes out of mainly political and economic woes decided to escape the clutches of their empire's rather tyrranical ruler, Rajah Makatunaw. Using the revered ships called balangay, the datus along with their wives and a few men sailed northwards and soon reached the shores of what would be today called Panay. Headed by Datu Puti, the Borneans were greeted by a group of Ati settlers ruled by the chieftain Datu Marikudo alongside his wife, Maniwantiwan. As a sign of peace and to purchase a new territory to settle on, the datus presented a golden tiara (speculated to be a salakot to the patriarch and the pearl necklace of Datu Puti's wife, Pinagpangan, after a sword was initially rejected out of conspicuousness. The very first Visayan territories or sakup would be Hamtik (Antique), Aklan and Irong-Irong (Iloilo). Subsequently, the Sri Vijayan origins of the presumably genetic ancestors of present-day Visayans would become the basis for the overarching ethnolinguistic name of all lowland peoples within the Visayas and those (particularly migrants to Metro Manila and Mindanao) who consider ancestry from any of the islands. Sri Vijaya = [sriːvidʒajə] -> Bisaya [bɪ'səja] / [bɪsaja'] CLASSICAL PERIOD Precolonial history of the Visayas is brimming with rich traditions, trade and warfare. Starting from the Ten Bornean Datus, the hypothesized Confederation of Madya-as was formed which could have supposedly occupied much of Panay until the island of Negros which was then called Buglas. It was also said in folklore that the cantons of Aklan and Capiz have been named after, eponymously Aklan (Akean) and Kapid, the twin daughters of Datu Bangkaya -- one of the migrating Bornean datus. A few kilometers to the other end of Negros would be the Rajahnate of Sugbo which was said, according to folklore called Aginid, to have been established by a fleeing lesser Chola prince from Sumatra. Despite the geographic and ethnic distance of the assumed Bornean datus to that of the Cholan prince, a common theme would be escape from Sri Vijaya and resettlement into the proximities of today's Visayas. This could be speculated that the said Chola prince could have been among the Bornean datus or that the said ten datus were in fact from Sumatra who en routed to Borneo initially. According to numerous accounts from various European explorers and scholars, the Visayans had a similar but likewise distinct culture to that of their neighbors. It was easy to identify a Visayan through their grooming and body tattoos. Based on Pigafetta's records, the Visayans had a hygienic practice far different and complex to that of Europeans. This practice involved one or even two baths a day complemented with applications of special resin-based shampoo and scrubbing loofah. After bathing, Visayans would religiously apply a certain mixture to their hair to prevent damage. Their dental traditions were also peculiar as they continuously chewed on betel nut to develop a brownish coloring of the teeth. This is in line with their beliefs that in order to show one's civility and humanness, one must not have white teeth which only animals have. The Visayans were often equally named as the Pintados by European explorers (thus, the Visayas as Islas de Pintados) due to their strong tattooing culture. The eccentricity and meticulousness of the designs depended on the social status of a person. This is also linked to his warfare experience and nobility. Notably, Westerners have pertained to those from the islands of Bohol, Samar and Leyte as to profess this tradition strongly. Also, those of the warrior class are also known to have more tattoos which to an extreme would cover even the face of the person particularly a male after the victory of killing an enemy during war. The social stratification of Classical Visayans were different to that of pervading systems in the West and India. While most of the systems of the latter were strictly vertical and sometimes mobility is met with difficulty, Visayans' social class is horizontal and fluid. This "class" is usually dependent on an individual's indebtedness to another person or institution and how he or she is able to reciprocate it at a coequal degree. In essence, a person from the nobility or warrior class (or even a royalty), could fall as a peon due to failure to fulfill or violation of specific social or economic responsibilities and rules. Among the social classes is the datu or royal who belong to the kadatuan (royalty). This class is strictly for politico-economic leaders of a pungsod or loosely a rajahnate. The next is the timawa/tumao or the free class. People with this status usually involve in trade and warfare and are not subjugated to any House. Thus, the last one is the uripon or the peon class. People under this classification are serving a certain family or individual of freer status. They are usually held to stay within the residence of a person they are indebted to as a handmaid or servant. However, contrary to what many assume, the uripon are not precisely slaves as in other cultural contexts since they have the opportunity to emerge to a better social status if they could overturn their social verdict through repayment or any deed that equals such feat. ALTERNATE TIMELINE As a consequence to their losses in the Spanish-American War of 1898, regional and ethnic lines within the Spanish East Indies soon balkanized as political hold of the colony weakened. After the series of revolutions, several political entities were established within the Spanish East Indies. Before the ascend of the Malolos Republic of the Luzon in January 23, 1899, the Visayan contingents soon began establishing the Federal Republic of Visayas which initially comprised of the Cantonal Republics of Bohol and Negros and revolutionary towns of Panay and Cebu. This was based upon the signing of the Acta de Capitulacion or the formal surrender document of the islands' Spanish Governor-General, Don Diego de los Rios back from November 6, 1898. Such document signifies legal recognition of the Spanish Empire to the sovereign rights of the rightful successors of the Visayan homeland. Setting afoot back into the indies, General Emilio Aguinaldo, President of the Republic of Malolos, demanded on April 27, 1899 the allegiance of the Visayan cantons to his government. His confidence grew due to connivance with the Americans led by Admiral George Dewey whom he met after voluntary exile and purchase of military arms in Hong Kong. Taking advantage of the politico-legal independence and resistance of Visayan revolutionary leaders to stoop down to Aguinaldo, Vice-Admiral Otto von Diederichs of the German Empire sailed from Manila Bay southwards to counter American hegemonic forces and gain momentum to acquire Mindanao and Sultanate of Sulu, their initial areas of interest in the Spanish colonial sphere. Before the Treaty of Paris on 10 December 1898, Germany had set up a provisional "observer" delegation [Vorläufige Beobachterdelegation in Fernost] that would steward Visayan state-building into its maturest structure and function. This was also a political move by the Kaiserreich to cement its hold onto a portion of territory in the East which would provide backdoor access to its real colonial intentions further south. Such exercise of slyness by the Germans angered the docked Americans in which bolstered a significant Pacific theater of World War I. This would also shake the already-volatile China -- tender from the recent European scramble for partition -- into a war zone.