MotF 218: I'm Not Like Other States

MotF 218: I'm Not Like Other States

The Challenge

Make a map of a country with a unique form of government.

The Restrictions

There are no restrictions on when the PoD of your map should be. Fantasy, sci-fi, and future maps are allowed.

If you're not sure whether your idea meets the criteria of this challenge, please feel free to PM me or comment in the main thread.
Entries will end for this round when the voting thread is posted on Monday, June 22nd, 2020.
Any discussion must take place in the main thread. If you post anything other than a map entry (or a description accompanying a map entry) in this thread then you will be asked to delete the post.​

The Republic of Escadia - My Entry
Imagine if Escadia have direct cyberocratic parliamentary democracy instead of actual parliamentary democratic republic with a president whose taking cermonial role but represents the country in dealing with foreign treaties. Let's just somehow learn from the PoD that the island was raised by sudden rise of seamounts that lifts above high than the OTL as well as accompanied by volcanic eruptions that have much more energy enough to enlarge the island into present day. By the age of colonialism, England/Britain, Spain, and France had rushed in to compete their dominance until a big war erupted and in the end the British had won the war, taking the entire control of the island where the country had long transformed into a unique dominion until the time that the idea of president is replaced by unique "Executive General" after accepted proposal.

Ruled By The Dead - The Mysterious Thanatocracy of Nelos

“There is an island in the west known as Nelos, whose inhabitants have a most peculiar method of choosing their rulers. It is said that in ancient times, the Nelogians received an oracle which told them their land would remain rich and prosperous as long as none among the living were to rule it. After much thought, their priests gathered all the people of the island together and chose six men by lot. It was declared that these men were now dead - their property was given to their heirs, and their wives were free to remarry. The men were then swathed in gray robes, given masks to hide their faces, and shoes with very thick soles, the purpose of this being to completely disguise their identity. Then they were led away. Three of the six were chosen to be rulers of the island for the next three years, serving as judges and generals, and deciding all laws between them, while the other three were hidden away, only to be brought forth if one of the ruling three were to truly die and need replacement. For if any of the dead men were to reveal his face in public, he would be put to death at once. At the end of the three years, the six men were released, and could not be held to account for anything they had done while dead. Then a new lot of six were chosen to rule for the next three years. This is why Nelos is known as the thanatocracy, for it is ruled by the dead.”

This is what Herodotus wrote, but it is not the only reference to Nelos among the Greeks. Many have drawn a connection between the strange customs of the Nelogians and Odysseus’s visit to the Land of the Dead, also said to lie in the west. There is also a play by Aristophanes, The Nelogians, of which unfortunately only a few fragments survive - it seems to involve a Greek visiting the island who is chosen as one of the thanatocrats, and the absurd schemes he concocts in his efforts to escape Nelos. The Roman writer Cicero of the late Republican period seems to have been familiar with the story told by Herodotus - in one of his speeches, he mentions the “Nelossians” who “being averse to the accumulation of power by any one man, and thus choosing their rulers for a term of service accord them no honors while they reign, nor recognition for their deeds afterwards.” Nor were the ancients the only ones to take the Nelogians as an example - in one of his letters, expressing frustration about the inaction of the Continental Congress, John Adams wrote “I cannot help but be reminded of the Inhabitants of ancient Nelos, who went to such Great Lengths to avoid being placed in Positions of Responsibility that they were ruled by a Jury of Dead Men.”

But despite the many references to its peculiar government, there has been much scholarly debate over where Nelos was located, or if it even existed. Some have proposed Sardinia or Corsica, one or more of the Balearic Isles, the Canaries, or even Britain, West Africa, or the Americas. However, in recent years, attention has been focused on Malta. Between the fourth and the first millennium BC, the island was home to a unique megalith-building culture, and at some of the later megalith sites, archeologists have discovered depictions of robed and veiled figures that call to mind Herodotus’s descriptions. The culture seems to have been on the decline when the Phoenicians arrived around 700 BC, possibly due to an extended period of drought. Any survivors may have been assimilated by the newcomers. Phoenician records are sparse, but a recent discovery at an excavation in Tyre appears to describe a ship having reached “MLTH in NLJ.” This suggests a possible link between Nelos and the island that would one day be called Malta, whose name comes from the Phoenician word meleth, meaning “safe haven.”

Did a few traces of the lost megalithic culture survive to inspire Herodotus and Aristophanes? Or were they drawing on tales passed down from Homeric-era contacts with the island that remain unsubstantiated by the archeological record? Or was Nelos as fictional as Plato’s Atlantis? No one can say for sure, but perhaps future discoveries will shed more light on this enigmatic civilization.
I'll (Probably) think of a story later, but here's the Freeman's Republic of Superior, a nation build around Freedom, Liberty, and Being Paranoid
The island of Nollop
a nation of letter-writers


The people of Nollop, Nollopians, are a very proud folk. Their island nation might not be very large, with all its 63 square miles, 21 miles to the southeast of Charleston, but they certainly feel a deep national pride for their petite nation, one marked especially in comparison to their American kin, just across the shore. Your average Nollopian will look at the American people with contempt; they are loud, obnoxious and ill-mannered, and worst of all uncultured and illiterate, a great sin for the islanders who pride themselves on, above all things, their literary renown. After all, it was in literature that came what, until very recently, was seen as their greatest (and only) achievement. But more on that later.

In the eloquent words of native Nollopian Tassie Warren (née Purcy), "Nollop is still to enter the twentieth century". And this is certainly something that can sometimes be felt in the island, where at times the two existing settlements can be isolated from each other and the rest of the world due to weather conditions leaving the roads tarnished, the sparsity of postal services (with the fastest services being carried by the sewage teams on their way around towns), the poor quality of their phone lines, on which Nollopians simply don't trust enough to rely on, preferring to commit themselves still to letter-writing to carry messages across, even between neighbours, the spotty electrical grid, whose failures don't surprise anyone, and the simple inexistance of any digital technology within the island.

The economy of Nollop is equally... rustic. A good number of the citizens are employed in State maintenance, as officers or civilian auxiliaries for the Law Enforcement Brigade or for the various levels of bureaucracy of the island, as teachers for the children, or otherwise work the land or practice a handcraft trade. Among the family which hosted me during my stay, there was a wood-carving craftsman whose main source of income came from speciality deliveries to American stores, a laundress, a school teacher and a teacher auxiliary. Most industries are organised in guilds and a single business monopolises each of them. A WalMart supply boat arrives at the island each day with produce, and generally much of the resources are imported from the American mainland.

The relationship between Nollop and its titanic neighbour is relatively calm, the islanders having always minded themselves and not caring for the outside world, being aware of their own troubles surviving in the outside world. They find American life alien, and Americans themselves generally feel Nollopians to be queer people, with strange accents and too uptight. The recent events showed many of the Nollopian refugees just how precious their tiny island is to them, as many found themselves simply incapable of surviving in American society. Their skills, their tastes and their ways are often incompatible with the way our own country works. That being said, the ties that bind Nollop and the continent are great, both familial and cultural, run deep, and most in the island have family members in the States, who they'll visit ever so often. The cultural resemblance itself is quite noticeable in many of the island's dishes, such as their adored hushpuppies and buttered corn-on-cob, and in their tradition of Gullah folk songs, which immediately betray their Southern heritage, not that different from their neighbouring states.

This ties in to the history of the island: settled in the 1840s by disposessed Southern Americans, of both white and African heritage, who established a communal society they called Utopianna, seeking to live peacefully, away from the corrupting influence of mainstream society, and cultivate their arts, naming their colony Utopianna. In 1870, they peacefully declared themselves indepedent from the United States, something which frankly the federal government never bothered to look into, and established their own government, based on a High Council of five elected Members, with a Constitution that, beyond giving the people their fundamental rights and freedoms, gave to the Council full powers for government, not bothering to think too much about how it would be handled or in a true system of checks and balances.

The island History would, until recently, then tell of its most glorious day, when Nevin Nollop put the island on the map by his genius, crafting the shortest possible sentence using only 35 letters to write a coherent sentence using all letters of the alphabet: "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog". To honour this genius discovery, the High Council would, in 1904, build a cenotaph to Nollop in the centre square of the town, which would henceforth be known as Nollopton, while the Village would be known as Nollopville. The island itself would be named Nollop, its largest beach Nevin Beach, its main road Nollop Pass and even its currency would be the Nollopian Nevin. With time, Nollop would go from man to god for many in the island, who truly believed the genius of Nollop guided them after death, and the High Council went from a truly democratic institution to a priesthood to Nevin Nollop, acting by interpretation of His will.

The true scope of the rise in the cult of Nollop would rear its ugly head in 2004, when a sort of Nollopian apocalypse took place: the letter 'Z' from the legendary sentence, placed on the cenotaph, fell, leaving the sentence without a Z. The scientific explanation for this was later ascertained, by chemical analysis, to be a weakening of the glue used in 1904, after one hundred years of weather (which, in Nollop, will ever so often be hurricane). However, the High Council saw it in another light: they interpreted it as a sign of Nollop's displeasure, and as a call by him for the letter 'Z' to be thereby removed from all forms of communication.

In a very controversial move, which displeased many in the island, a crusade began against the letter Z. Suffice it to say it involved the burning or otherwise removal of all books, except those that happened not to have the letter 'Z' (so mostly image books), the extermination of the renowned bee colonies in the island, the changing of names and the institution of draconian policies to ensure the citizens would follow the law: each citizen was given three strikes to say or write the forbidden letter: upon the first, they'd be publically reprimanded, on the second they'd be either kept in a headstock through the night or be flogged, while on the third they'd be banished forever from the island, on the pain of execution. It took mere days for it to become clear the measures would be followed. The police agents were set to surveill the people, as were neighbours, who were encouraged to report on each other, and even the private mail was checked for illegal Z's. A situation that would only worsen as the glue from other letters would falter, leaving the island ever more reduced in their vocabulary, and in their population, as many of its citizens left voluntarily or were banished, becoming refugees in the United States, their property nationalised and divided among Council members. At the darkest hour, only five letters remained - LMNOP.

Now, this was not the first sign of the growing authoritarianism in the island, as other scholars had noticed. Already the High Council had forbbiden entrance to the island to American scholars and journalists, which forced myself to investigate in the island anonymous, with the help of the Purcy family, who recommended my visa application in the guise of a family friend. And their relationships with the United States were becoming tenser, as American cruise lines showed interest in the island, which the Council was very obtuse in negotiating. Among the Nollopians, it was common for people to avoid expressing their disagreement with Council policies too loudly, out of fear of being persecuted. And in fact, during the "extraconstitutional period" following the fall of letters, the LED police was particular vicious persecuting suspected leaders of citizen resistance groups, such as the Minnow Pea family. They were accused, by High Council and fellow citizens alike, of being blasphemous and enemies of Nollop.

Despite the omnipotence of the High Council, several grassroots organisations existed in Nollop that contributed to the resistance during the period, from the various guilds and general worker groups, who would often cooperate to elect a representative to be present at open Council meetings (which, until the extra-constitutional situation, were the norm), the Parents-Teachers Association in the schools, which would be often used as an open platform for expressing grievances, reading groups hosted at private residences, and even the occasional party or poker game, which during the crisis were essential in bringing together citizens to discuss strategies to resist.

The High Council has now fallen, its leaders resigned (and afterwards arrested) and a New Order installed. The agents of the LEB have also been arrested and await trial for their role in empowering the tyranny of the Council. The Constitution will be reformed entirely as well, to provide a true system of checks and balances. Many propose direct democracy even, inspired by the groups that helped them resist and in the possibilities modern communications offer. As to the nomenclature of the nation, after the unpleasant episode, the stuate of Nollop has been removed from the center square of the town and a part of the constitutional conference to be held will have to deal with the new name of... everything in the island, preferably one that won't create a similar situation a century forward.

But the people of Nollop can breathe easily again, and enjoy their Shangri-la. They are importing books from the American mainland, and bees as well, to restart their lives here. The prohibition on American journalists and academics is already rescinded, as are, obviously, all restrictions imposed on free speech. A lot has changed in Nollop. But the people remain the same. They still scorn modern technology, and prefer to write letters back and forward.
- Nathan Warren, editor-chief, Nollopiana

So, this was actually the third idea I worked on, but the one that I finally liked. The background story comes from the novel Ella Minnow Pea, in which the setting as described is set. I could only cover some of the strangeness of the island, so I can really recommend the book, as it is rather fun and does a good job at making its message across. It eerily reminded of the stories my parents and grandparents tell of their lives during and immediately after an authoritarian dictatorship: people whispering and looking out for which words they use, and prefering to simply not talk on some things out of fear of being persecuted. The fear of having someone listen to your conversations. Of wanting to resist but knowing resistance is futile. All in the context of a small island nation who guides its policy by what it believes are the wishes of a dead writer (if you can call him that) and stop using letters of the alphabet as they fall out of a monument. It's delightfully absurd.

On a final note: I was a bit unsure of whether this is a weird government or a weird religion, but I suppose it falls under the non-separation of Church and State, since the people enforcing the religious mandate are State officers. And the ridiculous comes from the police going after people for speaking certain letters and putting someone going through mail to search for particular letters. And the fact that, beyond all the religious veneer, it is clear that most of the Council Members are doing it for all that nationalised property and not because they are true believers is really that universal constant for the leadership of authoritarian states.
WWIII is often seen as the beginning of the end for Empires otherwise unbroken through other methods. The United States in particular, given it's central role in the events and circumstances that would make August 3rd, 2026 live forever in infamy, has been working in the 150 years since then to right it's historical wrongs. Though Eastern Samoa, Puerto Rico, and The Northern Marianas Islands would legally separate from the United States during the Ciudad Colon Trials, Hawaii's re-independence with the end of the UNMP administration in 2041 is seen as a watershed moment, with the United Nations having recognized the Hawaiian Islands as a sovereign entity having been occupied by the USA since 1893 and , and seeking the consent and approval of kanaka maoli organizations over those of haole administration. While some who worked towards the Independence are remembered (The Belmont Malihini district, named for Judy Belmont, one of the leading lawyers from the mainland advocating within the US, Caribbean, and West Africa for support of Hawaiian independence), it was through grassroots efforts within Hawaii, the US, and larger global community which ensured it's independence, with particular support from American Indian, Black, and anti-Imperial factions within the United States.

There came a significant problem, however in the formation of this new gov't. The Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement was split among those favoring the restoration of the monarchy and those who did not, particularly given the climate of the American Winter (1968-2032) and the violent months of post-war dictatorship that preceded the UN Mandate Gov't. Even the Monarchists had trouble establishing a throughline from 1893 to 2026, as Queen Liliʻuokalani had made a formal abdication, anyone who could claim the throne and the US recognized no authority to speak on behalf of the kanaka maoli. In 2027, The Hawaiian Sovereignty Movement coalesced around surviving legal scholars from the University of Hawaii Mānoa and activists who had been spurred into greater action following events in the latter days of Winter, like construction on Mauna Kea. From the collective minds came a more traditional Hawaiian participatory framework of democracy, while drawing on American and Asian labor movements as well in terms of rights and self-direction for labor. While kanaka maoli were given the lands of the Hawaiian island back, malihini were not forcibly evicted except in cases where crimes had been proven against the islands, her people, or humanity as a whole (The Ciudad Colon trials featured a lot of officers from Hawaii, as their crimes were not only the best documented, but they were caught quickly and had fewer places to run/hide), and efforts were made to reconcile Western and Hawaiian legal traditions to ensure smooth transition during the UNMP. By 2035 the governance of the Mokupuni o Hawai‘i resembled what it would on March 26th, 2041, when the islands would gain their independence as a sovereign nation once more.

Divided by ahupua'a or district, the wao kanaka (realm of people, a term including malihini as well as maoli) organizes by profession to elect the authorities who direct their local production, from sugar cane workers and librarians to sailors and postmen. Any elected authority could convene meetings with the public, or with other authorities from other ahupua'a, to collaborate on trans-ahupua'a issues. There is no true executive, but generally, the Port Authority of Kahului's Chief executives are the predominant face of the state abroad, as they and their workers are the ones who direct and assist international travel to the islands. Hawaiian culture, particularly education values consensus and reconciliation, and as such, issues of law enforcement tend to be handled locally, with a single jail on the islands (mostly used for period pieces, but occasionally used when serious criminals poke their heads up). Western style judges who remain tend to be arbitrators in cases of personal property and ills. In more isolated places like Eastern Maui and Southern Hawaii, homesteads with a handful of families tend to dominate, with some strange customs, like the Kaupo cowpoke and their summer cattle festivals. Hawaii has not been averse to immigration with Kauai, Niihau, and Lanai seeing significant growth from pre-war days, but the post-war malihini are newcomers in a different realm, and must attend a ceremony similar to infeftment. This ceremony legally binds them to the land not as transaction, but through granting one responsibility. Settlement is restricted on Kahoolawe and much of Oahu to most malihini to restore the ecology of the two ruined islands, and Niihau and Lanai, both previously owned under US occupation by private entities exclusively use the Hawaiian language in official capacity until 2089.

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