That's right, and based on the original Medieval America source material, the PNW maritime republics are capable, when they get together, of completely blockading California and controlling its trade. But that's almost entirely by sea. For one thing, they're maritime republics, after all. For another, the northern end of California is guarded by its own rather imposing mountains - and those are thick with forests.So remind me, what's to the North again? My recollection was that the Pacific Northwest was fairly populous and developed.
True. And even given that most trade is by sea, the overland passes to LA are going to see much more traffic than the dangerous route to Utah. That's convinced me 50% is coming down. For land forces, now I'm thinking about 35% to the south, 25% to the east, 15% to the north, 25% in the center at the capital. And, of course, the navy. Sound good?Also, with respect to the Free Zone, even states that have structural reasons for gettin along fairly well usually maintain large military establishments sitting there looking at each other.
The threat really only comes when there's a breakdown in central authority. Maybe I need to revise some of my writing in this part, too - the central authorities fear not just the possibility of being usurped, but also feudal fragmentation. If the border GUardians get too much autonomy, some of the tight central control that keeps the Republic running would be lost.Now, perhaps you're right, and the low number of troops needed to maintain a defense along the Sierras is still 50% because of the low number of troops over-all. But if that's the case, it seems implausible that the Guardian is really a significant military threat to usurp rule. Because if there isn't a lot of force needed to maintain the frontier, then it should be fairly easy for the dynasty to maintain a central reserve of troops that significantly outclasses what's available to the Guardian. By the same token, I doubt that barbarians are much of a threat to decapitate the dynasty either, simply for lack of numbers.
That was the idea, yes. California can provide more luxuries than Utah, and do a much better job of it. Certainly enough of a comparative advantage that it might be the source of luxuries for an even wider area, kind of how Chinese silks were consumed so far away that they became, for example, the standard costume for saints in Western Christian icons. California wines, and other specialties, are probably highly prized in very faraway places.On the fruit, you may be right about the wine. The thing here is that California just has way more productive land of all types than the Great Basin, so there should be luxuries available simply because California can afford to sustain a critical mass of a number of niche products and specializations that the Great Basin can't.