|Union of Algazi Cities
hidhar guvaydhini algazin
|Recognised regional languages||Azri, Lonish|
|Ethnic groups||Algazi (67%), Azri (10%), Lonish (8%), Hemeshi (5%), Other (10%)|
|-||Formation of Algazi League||1503|
|-||Formation of Algazi Union||1724|
594,509 sq mi
|-||Total||829.7 billion USD|
|Currency||Algazi Wadh, Ekuo (AGW)|
|Drives on the||left|
The Algazi Union (Algaz: Hidhar Algazi, IPA: /hi'ðar alga'zi/), officially the Union of Algazi Cities, is a country located in northwest Baredina, bordering Lons, Azerin, Letzia, Zhinayak, Dhweran Ekuosia, and Hemesh. The Union consists of several former city-states engaged in trade across Northern Baredina which allied in 1503 and formally united in 1724. Though once a major economic power, the Algazi Union entered a period of decline beginning in the early 19th century, compounded by a series of wars through the middle of the 20th century.
The emergence of cities occurred relatively late among the Algazi, a predominantly pastoral and agrarian group living in the desert plateau and the foothills of the Koklates mountains. Advances in irrigation techniques, however, led to the formation of some early urban centers in the vicinity of Lake Wadan between 200 BCE and 100 CE. By 250, these had largely come under the control of the city of Hafsigh. The Hafsighi Kingdom became a tributary kingdom of the Adzamasi Empire as a result of its expansion into northwestern Baredina after 300. With Adzamasi backing, the Hafsighi Kingdom expanded southwards, establishing several new ports along the coasts. Maritime trade, however, remained largely limited, as most of the kingdom's agricultural produce was sold overland to the western regions of the Adzamasi Empire.
As a result of its economic dependency, Hafsighi power declined substantially following the destabilization and eventual disintegration of the Adzamasi Empire's western territories beginning in the early 7th century. The kingdom nonetheless survived in a weakened, unstable state until a succession crisis precipitated by the death of the childless king Aransagh III in 1078. The civil war that followed largely destroyed the core of the kingdom, including the city of Hafsigh itself, and ultimately led to its dissolution. The increasingly powerful port cities had already begun to assert a great deal of autonomy during the waning years of the kingdom, and became functionally independent over the course of the conflict. Largely removed from the violence in the Hafsighi heartland, the political and cultural center of the Algaz-speaking world shifted towards the urbanizing coasts.
The regional economy had largely recovered from the fall of the Hafsighi Kingdom by the mid-13th century. It began to grow rapidly over the following two centuries with the expansion of trade, largely as a result of overland proximity between the Algazi coasts and the Ekuos River. The river and the Gulf of Ishenar became the central zones of Algazi economic activity, encompassing extensive networks of trading posts and serving as a base for extended presence in coastal and interior Baredina.
Algazi League and Commercial Expansion
Following the expansion of the Neviran Empire into the region, the Algazi League, a military and commercial alliance, was formed at the 1503 Congress of Yazurum by seven cities that resisted or or broken away from Neviran rule. A major victory against Neviran forces near Lake Heshov in 1509 cemented the League's regional power and expanded its sphere of influence into the highland regions. During the period of stability that followed, the League cities grew rapidly as they established an economic presence throughout the western empire, exploiting it's relative lack of foreign trade to secure the region's resources for sale at Algazi and overseas ports. During this period, Algazi merchant communities assumed control of the two Azri cities of Tagra and Sedim, which subsequently joined the Algazi League.
The easing of inter-city competition by the formation of the Algazi League led to high economic growth in the Algazi homeland, prompting further extension of trade networks and increased investment in foreign trading posts. Many ports on the northern and western coasts of Baredina, along the Ekuos River, and, to a lesser extent, in Šarkunen and southern Miraria, housed substantial Algazi populations, mostly centered around various mercantile and financial operations. Many trading families established what would become some of the world's first banks; the Nayuz family of Yazurum was particularly successful in banking, doing business throughout the Algazi League and in what are now Lons, New Asmal, Letzia, Azerin, Barradiwa, Tabiqa, Vadesia, Yorudbynbad, Amerhan, and Yerlan.
Unification and Decline
Throughout this period of prosperity, the role of the League expanded from mutual defense and unrestricted internal trade. The northward and eastward growth of Algazi trade networks encouraged League construction of new roads to facilitate overland travel between cities. Water projects, particularly new aqueducts and irrigation networks, were also built and managed by the League itself. Regional instability following the decline of the Neviran Empire also encouraged a more strongly unified military. These moves towards integration culminated in the 1724 Congress of Eyadhan, in which the cities of the Algazi League formally united as a loose federation, the Algazi Union. The new state was ruled by the National Council, composed of fifteen delegates, elected by elites from each one of the Union's cities. The National Council would manage foreign relations and military operations, as well as coordinate nationwide economic affairs, such as infrastructure and the new common currency, the wadh.
In the following years, however, Algazi economic strength increasingly began to falter. At the beginning of the 19th century the Union's power began to sharply decline. Slow to industrialize, the Union fell behind its increasingly-wealthier competitors at sea. Algazi shipping on the Ekuos River, however, flourished with the introduction of steam power, becoming an important mode of transportation in the region until the mid-20th century; this, however, was not enough to sustain the Union's economy.
Taking advantage of the Algazi Union's decline, the neighboring kingdom of Letzia invaded the Algazi Union in 1857, occupying the cities of Beghım, Daridje, and Veyski, as well as a substantial portion of the surrounding regions. Exploiting the conflict, Dhweran forces invaded and annexed the Algazi city of Letpahat. Though Algazi forces were able to gradually push Letzian forces back and regain most of the occupied territory following the unsuccessful seige of Yazurum in 1859, the war proved to be economically and demographically devastating. The Union was ultimately unable to retake Letpahat, Daridje, or Veyski, but refused to concede them during peace negotiations in 1864. The Algazi Union still lays claim to these cities, symbolically represented at the National Council by three empty chairs.
Amid the post-war instability, a rural revolt took place from 1882-1885 demanding federal representation for rural areas and small towns, as well as improvement of rural infrastructure and living standards. This led to the drafting of a new constitution, the Charter of Union, in 1885, which expanded suffrage and created a new national assembly to serve as the legislative branch of the government. Representation in Parliament was determined by population, but with disproportionate representation for the countryside. This was accompanied by a campaign of investment in the rural economy and services, including the creation of a national public school system, aimed at better integrating the country's urban and rural areas.
At the end of the 1930s, difficult labor conditions and rising inflation prompted massive labor unrest, culminating in a failed uprising in March of 1938. However, the violent repression of this revolutionary movement, coupled with ongoing labor strikes and an unsuccessful reactionary coup in November, weakened government control nationwide. The old guard of the National Council, which had become ideologically entrenched in the years after the new constitution, was ousted the following year, replaced by a number of new political figures who responded to the growing social democratic tendencies in the country. During the following decade, the basis of the present-day Algazi welfare state was established and several key sectors, notably health and transportation, were nationalized.
The instability following the uprising was only compounded by the Union's entry into the Great Ekuosian War in 1946. Fearing the expansionism of Veridian leader Jol Giradz and the possibility of Lestzi invasion, the Algazi National Council voted to declare war on the two countries and ally with Azerin and Barradiwa. Algazi campaigns primarily took place in Azerin and southern Letzia; though little combat took place on Algazi territory, the war nonetheless proved to be a massive drain on the government's budget, causing a financial crisis in 1952 that led to three years of recession and decades of economic stagnation.
The Algazi Union is situated in northwestern Baredina, stretching from inner Argeyaz Bay north to the Ekuos River. In addition to its mainland territories, the Algazi Union includes six larger islands: Khabit in Argeyaz Bay, and Genuz, Gemin), Yetikuz, Sahadif, and Tharum in the Gulf of Ishenar.
Most of the Algazi Union's terrain is characterized by an undulating landscape of low hills and shallow valleys. Notable exceptions are the Koklates (Kahlat) Mountains, which extend into the country from the north, and the central plateau between the mountains and the coast.
The Algazi Union has a warm, mostly dry climate, with milder temperatures located along the coasts. The country's central plateau is primarily desert, as are parts of the north, particularly around the city of Sedim. The Koklates Mountains are wetter and colder than other areas, and snow often falls on the highest peaks. Other areas of the western Algazi Union also receive more rainfall, particularly in years with strong monsoons.
The Algazi Union was originally founded as a federation of fifteen cities; representatives from these cities make up the National Council, the government's executive branch. The current composition of the National Council is as follows:
|Member of Council||Joined Council||Party||City||Ministry|
|Hayan Tabiz esh-Amar||1 August 2004||National Party (leader)||Hafsigh||Defense|
|Abin Yargurut esh-Haym||1 October 2006||National Party||Mırad||Finance|
|Mijan Ikud am-Tanekh||1 January 2008||Merchants' Party (leader)||Farigh||Foreign Affairs|
|Thiwad Deygr Kemelesh||1 January 2008||Social Democratic Party||Adhar||Economic Development|
|Enin Udhun am-Bara||1 November 2009||Social Democratic Party (leader)||Yazurum||Health|
|Teyg İduj Revizam||1 November 2009||Merchants' Party||Varij||Culture|
|Fikha Minu' am-Daya||1 January 2010||Party of the North (leader)||Sedim||Justice|
|Suyan Keruth am-Adzu||1 January 2010||National Party||Letpahat Government in Exile||(non-voting representative)|
|Riyaf Gejin Panakesh||1 July 2012||Social Democratic Party||Eyadhan||Education|
|Amar Ye'in Jiresh||1 July 2012||Social Democratic Party||Tagra||Transport and Infrastructure|
|Sewagh İras esh-Sewagh||1 January 2014||National Party||Beghım||Environment|
|Panak Sudh esh-Arad||1 March 2016||Social Democratic Party||Nawaz||Labor|
|Ebek Bayz Yımaresh||1 March 2016||Party||Lashat||Rural and Minority Affairs|
|Jir Kajan esh-Tanekh||1 March 2016||Merchants' Party||Veyski and Daridje Governments in Exile||(non-voting representative)|
The Assembly, the country's legislative branch, is composed of ministers elected from districts across the country, with disproportionate representation for areas outside the twelve largest cities and their immediate surroundings.
|Composition of the Algazi Assembly|
Labor Party: 10 seats
Green Party: 7 seats
Social Democratic Party: 36 seats
Merchants' Party: 23 seats
Party of the North : 4 seats
National Party: 32 seats
Heritage Party: 8 seats
The mainstays of the Algaz economy are agriculture, shipping, manufacturing, and, increasingly, finance and solar power. The Algazi cities were historically major producers of cotton, silk, and wool textiles, a sector which has continued to play a dominant role in the country's economy. Other luxury goods, such as perfumes, liqueurs, and ivory products continue to make up a small but high-value sector, as foreign demand ensured their survival in the face of Algazi economic decline. Algazi cosmetics companies, in particular, have had great success in both the higher and lower ends of foreign markets. Shipbuilding is also a major industry, particularly in the cities of Yazurum and Adhar. The recent growth of solar power in the Union has also sparked rapid growth in the production of photo-voltaic panels, both for domestic production and export. The Algazi government has sought to use this as a basis to expand the country's technology sector, citing the combination of educated workers and relatively low wages as an advantage for foreign technology companies.
Despite the country's dry climate, sophisticated irrigation techniques have made much of the country arable. Wheat is grown primarily in the far north and along the Argeyaz coast, while rice is grown around Lake Wadan and at the base of the Koklates. Fruits and nuts, primarily almonds, pistachios, apricots, grapes, oranges, lemons, mulberries, figs, and olives, are also grown extensively on the coasts, particularly in the east. The desert has long supported goat and sheep herders (also found throughout the country), but irrigation projects over the last two centuries have expanded the area used to grow dates and cotton. Many of the foods grown in the Algazi Union are generally converted to a finished product before export, such as wine, olive oil, or cheese.
The Algazi rail network was nationalized in 1953 with the creation of Union Rail (Algaz: ), which provides both freight and passenger service between major cities and smaller regional hubs. Boats, including both public ferries and private craft, are also an important mode of passenger transportation in coastal regions, as they often provide the most direct route between points. Maritime shipping remains one of the mainstays of the economy of the Algazi Union, which has major ports at Eyadhan, Yazurum, Farigh, and Morad.
In the past decade, both the Algazi government and the private sector have invested heavily in large solar installations in the Algazi desert, often over the opposition of local herders. Solar power now accounts for 70% of the Union's electricity generation, though much of this is exported to neighboring countries which need to meet renewable energy quotas.
As a result of its mercantile history, the Algazi Union has a fairly high degree of ethnic diversity, particularly in cities. There is a substantial Azri population in the northern Union, particularly in the countryside, as well as Lonish communities along the East Coast; the resort city of Varij is a particularly popular destination for Lonish retirees due to its low cost of living and proximity to Lons.
Largest cities in the Algazi Union
Most Algazi continue to follow the traditional Algazi folk religion which, according to both oral histories and archaeological evidence, has been practiced in some form in the region since the Bronze Age Teset culture. It has, however, been subject to significant outside influence, particularly from Adzamism and Iovism.
The Algazi pantheon is centered on four major gods and goddesses (Algazi: aghan /ä'ɰan/): the sea godess Athir, the sky god Idjud, the goddess of plants Yena'a, and the goat-headed god of animals and livestock Rashun. Minor deities (Algazi: tayinan /tä.jin'an/), including the sun and moon, stars, and bodies of water, are each associated with an agha, to whom they are subordinate. Both the aghan and the tayinan are generally regarded as generous and protective, but easily angered by failure to show reverence and gratitude through offerings left at shrines and temples.
Traditionally, souls are believed to follow a fixed cycle of reincarnation, beginning as plant, followed by a "lower" animal (such as insects or shellfish), a "higher" animal (mammals, reptiles, and some fish), and finally as a human, before beginning again; therefore, all living things are considered to have souls, though that does not equate to sentience. The cycle of reincarnation is believed to be broken through certain actions seen as unnatural, such as murder, rape, and abuse. The soul is then forced to wander the earth indefinitely as a malicious spirit (mazur /mäzuɾ/). Mazuran are traditionally believed to be the cause of decay, illness, and blight, and more recently, are also associated with pain, accidents, and freak events. A variety of items and practices are believed to keep mazuran at bay, such as the salt used to protect both food and people.
Algazi religious practices have traditionally been fairly undefined, with extensive regional and variation. A tendency towards increased formalization began in the 16th century, leading to extensive consolidation of beliefs and practices in the late 18th and 19th centuries. There is still no central religious authority, however, with a loose association of temples comprising the religion's organization. These temples continue to maintain their position as centers of communities through public festivals and various rituals associated with the stages of life, particularly childbirth, adulthood, and death. As the traditional faith is the official religion of the Algazi Union, temples receive state funding. The government also includes shrines in many infrastructure projects, particularly aqueducts and irrigation canals, in order to express gratitude to the relevant deities.
The Algazi Union is also home to a sizable minority of Iovists, who account for 27% of the country's population and comprise the majority population in the cities of Tagra, Sedim, Adhar, and Varij. Although often associated with the country's Azri and Lonish populations, many ethnic Algazi also belong to the Iovist faith. Though freedom of religion is enshrined in the Union's constitution, the official status and pervasiveness of traditional religion has encouraged a tradition of insularity among ethnic Algazi Iovists, who typically attend Iovist schools and marry other Iovists. No single sect predominates on a national level; Orthodox Iovism is dominant in the North and among the Azri, Reform Iovism around the Argeyaz coasts, and Debayenism on the East Coast and among the Lonish community.
The Algazi are known for their literary tradition, stretching as far back as the middle ages. Hafsighi poet i-Barigha, dubbed the Father of Algazi Literature, remains one of the most widely read authors, and has historically been a major influence on writers throughout Ekuosia. i-Barigha is most known for his adoption of vernacular poetic forms and often playful use of language, establishing a tradition in Algazi literature of mixed and often contradictory emotional tones. Other key historical writers include Ebek, a sixteenth-century philosopher, historian, and scientist who pioneered the fields of archeology and anthropology, and Yımar Aredji, whose 1683 first-person work An Appeal to the Gods is regarded by many scholars as the first novel.
Though the Algazi Union is no longer a major center of global publishing, it maintains a position of literary prestige. As well as being home to many authors of critical and public success, the city of Morad also hosts the world's oldest literary and publishing festival, held every two years. The Sphinx Award, given at the end of the festival for one book in Algaz and one in a foreign language, is today one of the most prestigious literary prizes; the most recent winners, from 2015, are Senef by Enin Ganas am-Tıbudh, who previously won in 2005 for A Revelation, and, controversially, a Letzian author.
Algaz cuisine is typically heavy on grains and vegetables. The two staple grains are wheat, usually baked into flat or loaf breads, and rice, while common vegetables and legumes include chickpeas, lentils, tomatoes, peppers, spinach, and eggplant. Yogurt and cheese, typically made from sheep or goat milk, are very common as toppings or in sauces. Meat, particularly lamb, mutton, goat, and chicken, is fairly common, though eaten relatively sparingly. Seafood is generally avoided due to historic associations with poverty and famine.
Tea is by far the the most popular beverage in the Algazi Union, and is often served spiced or with mint. Coffee has gained in popularity in the past several decades; Terminian-style coffee in particular has been established as a popular drink for dessert or for festive occasions. Wine, largely produced around the city of Adhar near the Lonish border, is the most popular alcoholic beverage.