|Maritime Republic of South Jute
Juta Daaliva (South Jutean)
|Official languages||South Jutean|
|Recognized minority languages||Sgen language|
|Other common languages||Coastal Jutean, Neviran, Gfiewish, Mermelian languages|
|-||Theoretical total||135,709 km2
52,398 sq mi
|Currency||Mermelian Sila (STS)|
South Jute (South Jutean: Jute Daaliva, IPA: /jʊtɜ dä:liʋä/), officially the Maritime Republic of South Jute is a coastal country in central northern Ystel, consisting mostly of land surrounding the Daaliwan Bay and Ersaj River. It borders Gfiewistan in the southeast, Mermelia in the north and south and the Saru Sea in the west.
Like Lufasa, it was settled by refugees fleeing Jute, however, it has kept a much closer cultural connection to its homeland over almost 2,000 years, despite occupation by the Saruan Empire in the 18th and 19th century. After it ended in 1889, a customs and passport union was set up with Jute in 1912. A long-standing conflict with Mermelia that had upheld historic claims over the entirety of South Jute, was ended with a legal settlement in the 1970s. Since then, the land outside of the capital of Laina and its harbor has been under the shared sovereignty of both Mermelia and South Jute, with local residents free to submit to the courts and government of either polity. In 1976 South Jute was also a founding member of the Ystelian Community, and accordingly later became also a founding member of the Asuranesian Economic International Oceanic Union (AEIOU).
Due to its strategically important location, a policy geared towards encouraging and aiding development and trade as well as past and present foreign investment, South Jute’s biggest town of Laina has become one of Ystel’s biggest international trade hubs, accounting for a large deal of intercontinental trade in the region. While Laina’s harbor is mostly a transshipment port, where goods are processed for further be transported via ship or railway to other ports and towns, the city also produces and exports a number of industrial and consumer goods.
Outside of Laina, South Jutean settlements are far less economically developed and still largely traditional agrarian villages, while Mermelian settlers have founded several modern towns and engage in more industrialized agriculture, as well as work in other sectors.
Settlement by Coastal Juteans
The history of modern South Jute begins when in about 100 AD roughly half of the Coastal Jutean population on the island of Jute flee their homeland to escape raids and subjugation by Klambari people from the southeast of the island that had been attacking their settlements. After a long journey on the sea into the unknown, passing by several islands where supplies were restocked, before landing in what is now known as the Bay of Daalivan and settled down a few kilometers upstream of the Ersaj River.
According to oral history, the first settlers had to face cold winds and chilling rain upon arrival. Nonetheless, anxious to get on land after spending so many days on sea and with supplies running low, they entered a protected bay and then debarked near a small, secluded valley. The first provisional housing was then built with the help of some tools brought from their old home and repurposed weapons. A simple shed made from local lumber, it is said to barely have been able to keep out the rain and wind, and dark inside, but it was necessary to build some shelter as quickly as possible to protect supplies and other belongings as well as themselves from exposure to the elements and create a place where fires could be lit. Around those it was possible to continue the tradition of telling stories, now with new ones based on recent events added, thus ensuring that their past would not be forgotten. Aside from being a form of oral history, detailing the story of arrival and settlement of Ystel, many stories were also dedicated to those that had decided to stay behind, and what might have happened to them. Speculations about future returns were also a common subject.
Foundation of Laina
The same oral history details how the first Jutean village on Ystel emerged, which is still widely claimed to be the predecessor of the single bigger town of South Jute, Laina. The shed became the cornerstone of the community, being expanded into a proper storehouse and community center, then additional new buildings were constructed as homes to live in and for work, while further resources and foods were being gathered. The first fields were prepared and the first fishing trips undertaken. A small workshop for the production of new and more effective tools was set up, and slowly, the legend goes, the first South Juteans started to understand some of the basics of metal working, too, starting with copper, after they had made contact with Maponic cultures living somewhat further inland. This encounter is said to have reinvigorated the curiosity of the inhabitants, and metal and the results of metalworking became the subject of much study and deliberation.
This section is missing the following: Epidemic around 475 AD and its consequences for Laina
However, generally the South Juteans remained isolated now, apparently having become more cautious after their last bad encounter. They didn't make much contact with other people for a long time, with only occasional trading and exchange with neighboring people, remaining mostly isolated from the world at large. Eschewing contact with other people and the traditional pastime of exploring the forests and countryside around them gradually disappearing, in part also due to more time being needed for agriculture and other tasks, resulted in a lack of impulses and new ideas from outside. South Jute remained a collection of simple agrarian communities, with none ever having managed to get to more advanced metalworking due to the absence of tin and iron.
This was in contrast to some other cultures on Ystel that had already built up proto-industries, huge ships and war machinery, however, South Jute was small and secluded enough in the bay valley, far away from the population centers of the time to avoid another invasion. According to archeological evidence, records made after writing reached Ystel at around 1300 and oral history South Juteans did make some advances in their knowledge of local geography, astronomy and medicine, but lacked any kind of production on a larger scale over the entirety of the first millennium AD. The population did grow in that time, but Laina did not as much, with many people once again periodically splitting from existing communities and leaving to find other places to settle down when food resources were running out or conflict developed in one way or another.
Already before that, in the 11th century, many of the descendants of the original population had moved back to the island of Jute after hearing in that the period of Klambari domination in their homeland was over and with that serfdom had been abolished again. South Jute remained in relative obscurity, with occasional encounters with Maponic populations that attempted to collect taxes and establish trading relationships, until in the 18th century Neviran military leaders and colonizers of the Saruan Empire reached Ystel. Laina and its harbor were seen as being of strategic importance for military and trade purposes, and so many Juteans from the island of Jute were forcibly brought to Ystel to work in the massive construction efforts to turn Laina into a naval base and trade hub, and South Jute was made into a separate polity for the first time.
When the Saruan Empire collapsed in 1889, Nevira withdraws its colonial officials and military personnel from Ystel, but continued to give South Jute a guarantee of independence, to retain access to Laina as a trading port and possible base in order to not have to enter into negotiations with the also now fully independent Mermelia. As a result, trade continues to grow, especially with industrialization gradually reaching Ystel, and spurs development. This is aided by Balak foreign investment that seeks above all to drive out the remaining Neviran influence from Ystel.
Mermelia continued to uphold historic claims over the entirety of South Jute, leading to a long-standing conflict with Mermelia that is only settled in the early 1970s, creating the modern arrangement of an fully independent Laina (including port) and co-sovereignty, where control of the remainder of South Jute is shared between Laina and Mermelia. This paves the way for diplomatic recognition of South Jute by all other countries on Ystel and allows for the founding of the Ystelian Community, the intergovernmental economic and cultural organization of the continent. Since then, the land outside of Laina and the harbor of Laina has been under the shared sovereignty of both Mermelia and South Jute, with local residents free to submit to the courts and government of either polity.
During pre-colonial times, South Jute was according to oral tradition governed similarly to pre-colonial Jute, with neighborhood or village community meetings deliberating weekly on issues, and larger scale assemblies happening more rarely. This meant that even in the town of Laina the different neighborhoods were largely independent, and only agreed to have common policies when needed. Any kind of centralized institution, much less a central government simply did not exist at all.
This extremely decentralized form of early direct democracy was then suppressed and ended by the begin of the colonial era, and self-government was only restored at the end of the 19th century. However, Laina had by that point become a modern town and a major trading hub that could no longer be governed by neighborhood assemblies alone.
With all the wealth and opportunities this was bringing in, there was no desire to revert this and return to the pre-colonial lifestyle generally associated with hardship and poverty. So there was a need to have unified trade, economic and labor policies to enable trading to continue smoothly and avoid exploitation of any workers or the country as a whole. Additionally, the fast-paced nature of the economy meant there was a need for institutions that could react quickly to new developments, making the workings of a direct democracy where every citizen needed to be able to give input and vote on all issues increasingly seem infeasible.
After re-establishing independence, constitutional assemblies implemented a representative democracy incorporating both traditional Jutic elements and those of presidential republics such as Lufasa and Gfiewistan. In this system, the neighborhood meetings remain, but have no power to make their own laws, and have to elect representatives to a county or district assembly dealing with non-local issues every year. Inhabitants of every county also elect representatives for the Parliament of the Republic using instant-runoff voting. It has 106 members, one for every county and district, that exclusively and has exclusive legislative powers. Nine members are elected by it to an executive council that collectively leads the country.
Citizens of South Jute are organized in mudasi, which refers to both urban neighborhoods in Laina (usually consisting of one or a few city blocks), or to one of the 12 villages in the countryside with their own assembly and courthouse that also covers the inhabitants of all other nearby settlements (dakea). The mudasi form a mudasa pe together, an urban district, of which there are 100, or one of three counties, Pukani County in the northwest, Tepuka County in the southwest, and Auta County in the east.
South Jute has a unique court system, due to the sovereignty of most of the land outside of Laina being shared by the South Jutean administration in Laina and the Mermelian government.
According to the treaty that in the early 1970s settled the long historical conflict between Mermelia and South Jute, any person living in those lands is free to choose which court system to submit to, and can later change this allegiance with the same ease as getting a new passport.
However, that doesn’t mean that people can escape court dates simply by switching citizenship. On one side, the bureaucratic procession and the issuing of a new passport takes at least a month, during which the old citizenship remains provisionally.
On the other, if a person is accused of a crime that both administrations recognize as a crime, then they still have to show up in the court linked to the administration they had an allegiance to at the time of the crime even if they now have switched allegiance. Private law, such as divorce proceedings or contract disputes, are handled similarly, as are rights and obligations of witnesses, to not undermine the autonomy and authority of both systems of law.
Problems can arise if e.g. a crime is only recognized as a crime by one administration. In these cases the procedure is usually still the same to not cause undue legal uncertainty and instability, however, defendants and administrations have the right to claim that a particular accusation, threatened or given sentence is a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the founding treaty of the bi-sovereignty of most of South Jute.
In those cases the third court system comes into play, and Bilateral Arbitration Trials (BATs) are held. These are led by a group of three or more consisting of at least a Mermelian judge, a South Jutean judge, and a third independent judge, deciding whether to uphold the law or accusation in question, or whether to drop it and establish a new precedent that can declare a law unenforceable in all of South Jute for both administrations.
After the formation of the Ystelian Community, this responsibility was taken over by the Committee of Unified Rights and Treaties (CoURT) of the Ystelian Community that decides on legal questions regarding all treaties between Ystelian countries.
Foreign relations are generally conducted with the aim of ensuring national security and advancing trade. As such, South Jute was a founding member of the Ystelian Community and advanced the formation of the AEIOU free trade bloc.
Important economic sectors
South Jute has a modern, highly competitive market economy. Trade is the biggest sector, and as a member of the Ystelian Market Common Area (YMCA) and the Asuran Economic International Oceanic Union (AEIOU), the largest free trade organization of Sahar, South Jute enjoys mostly unhindered trade with a large number of countries all over the world.
The port of Laina is mostly used as a trading hub, from where transport of cargo can continue to other countries and continents, e.g. coming from or going to Gfiewistan or Lufasa, using the Ersaj River or the railway. But South Jute also produces and exports a number of goods itself, such as electronics, chemicals or polymers. Services, such as banking and insurances, also make up a major sector.
Foreign investors tend to be attracted by relatively low wages, taxes and low corruption, while workers enjoy protections against exploitation such as a right to collective bargaining, co-determination through worker councils and public occupational accident and disability insurance.
Local companies tend to be co-operatives, however other types of companies are legal and taxed at equal levels, although their finances, behavior and business connections are closely audited. Government bureaucracy can therefore be extensive, although efforts are made to retain its transparency and keep taxation and licensing simple and straightforward to keep trade and the economy running smoothly in general.
In recent years, a small, growing sector of eco-tourism has established itself offering guided tours throughout the bay and up the river Ersaj. City tourism exists in Laina as well, with its numerous museums and colonial-era historic quarters.
Ships and trains are generally the preferred method of transport, as with the prominent presence of the Daalivan Bay and the Ersaj River most parts of the country can be reached the fastest via water, and The Ries-Hatariew railway, constructed between 1937 and 1949, connects Laina with the capitals of Mermelia, Ries, and of Gfiewistan, Hatariew. Additional stops exist at Kosami Railway Station and Nonahe Railway Station. Construction was led by a Mermelian-Gfiewish consortium consisting of the Mermelian Transport Ministry and various private Gfiewish railway companies.
As most other South Jutean settlements, especially the administrative centers in the countryside, are located on rivers or the coast of the bay, and tend to be insular and engage little with the world at large, there is for the most part not even a real road network in the country, only a number of trails for walking and riding mounts. Many secluded communities lack this, too, and are dependent on ferry and boat trips, usually done by modern hydrofoils that are able to cross large distances fast. Small villages may not have their own ferry service, however, and usually resort to private boats, often fishing boats, instead.
Mermelian settlements, for the most part built near the border with Mermelia rather than the bay, are the only ones to have streets connecting them to the outside world, however due to their location they largely do not pass South Jutean villages. but may be connected to the railway.
See also: Boat and bridge mills
Until the 19th century, South Jute predominantly used manual and animal power, as windmills were unknown and watermills were only known at the river Ersaj and especially in Laina, places that regular contact with Gfiewish towns, where a type of undershot watermill had been invented in the 9th century. In the 19th century, after contact with Loheta had been established, boat mills came into use across South Jute. In Laina and some other riverside communities bridge mills, an innovation based on river mills, came to be used instead.
Science and technology
The population has been steadily growing since the 19th century, after being relatively stable for centuries before, currently numbering at 1,089,000 according to the latest (2020) census. Age distribution is balanced, making stable growth in the future likely.
Of those who have South Jutean citizenship, 90 % identify as ethnically South Jutean. The remaining 10 % are mostly various Mermelian ethnicities, descendants of Balak settlers or recent immigrants from Balakia, Lufasan, Gfiewish people as well as Coastal Juteans, and smaller communities from other countries.
South Jute is extraordinarily urbanized, with 90 % of the population living in the capital of Laina, the sole town of the republic.
The official language of Jute is South Jutean, a Jutic language descending from Middle Jutean, a predecessor of modern Coastal Jutean. Sgen is a recognized minority language. Coastal Jutean, as well as various Mermelian languages, Balak, Gfiewish and Neviran languages are spoken by various minorities or in certain diplomatic or commercial contexts.
The main religion is the local variety of Saandism, which is characterized by having adapted itself to the more urban environment that almost all South Juteans live in. The core tenet of living in harmony with nature manifests itself as a strong emphasis on the importance of public green spaces and gardens that also serve as meeting places and phrontisteries for Saandists. As this includes Saandist monks and with there not being any dedicated clergy monumental sacred buildings such as temples can not be found in the country, except for those built by Neviran colonizers or Balak investors, however, those are either used as community centers in the present day or retain their original use as Qurosist or Zarasaist temples, as small communities of those religion remain. Due to the presence of Gfiewish merchants, a small community of Iovists exists as well.
Culture and society
Main article: South Jutean cultural values
South Jutean culture is despite two thousand years of separation still in many ways closely tied to Jutean culture on the island of Jute, being characterized by environmentalist, communitarian and egalitarian attitudes in society. Nonetheless, the different climate, geography and history and the many foreign influences of Mermelian, Balak, Lufasan and Gfiewish cultures has led to the development of a distinct culture. The biggest local differences can be found between the inhabitants of the capital and sole town of Laina and the inhabitants of the countryside. Village life is often more influenced by Mermelia, due to sovereignty over the countryside being shared between South Jute and Mermelia. In Laina, minor distinctions exist between districts, but overall the culture is fairly monolithic.
Main article: Mythologies of South Jute
Owing to its maritime culture, water sports, such as swimming, windsurfing and boat racing are the most popular. Clubs dedicated to them exist all over the land, and it is especially for people in the countryside common to be part of at least one such club and train and compete regularly. But there are also many among inhabitants of Laina who participate in trainings and competitions.
While many view it as a hobby, there are also many serious, professional competitors who alone or in teams organize themselves in leagues and during a season hold many large-scale events to determine the best. These tend to draw large crowds, especially the highlight of the boat racing leagues, the Laina Race that starts in the harbor of Laina and have depending on the type of boat various lengths. The longest cross the entire bay and return then to the starting point, and often see competitors from other countries, such as Lufasa or Gfiewistan as well.
The availability of media in South Jute is very dependent on the region. While a great deal of newspapers, magazines, radio stations and some TV stations are headquartered in the capital of Laina, their reach largely does not extend to the entire country.
Most South Jutean villages in the countryside have at most a single local newspaper and one or two AM radio stations as well as shortwave radio, although a number may receive Mermelian stations as well. Of Neviran newspapers, which were the first to exist in the country, only a single one still is published in the capital.
Some particularly remote settlements may locally have no print media at all and only have access to shortwave broadcasts. Typically, news is brought in from the county seat, where media could also be collected or purchased. In the past, this mostly meant newspapers, and later cassettes with news and music, in modern times this often also includes USB drives with a larger variety of radio shows and sometimes video reports. These are often shared between households or used at a public community center.
Satellite phones have more recently also begun to be increasingly commonly used in such locations, but while they allowed for information to spread faster, they provide no full media service.
The cultural importance of the sea is also noticeable in writing. Both traditional and modern stories and literature tend to have the sea as a focal point, where the action mostly takes place, or at least feature sea voyages prominently, such as Tremendous Troubling Task to Take Temple Treasure, an account of a journey to Loheta of various Ystelians from South Jute, Gfiewistan and Lufasa, who unsuccessfully search a remote part of Loheta for a lost sacred relic. The book was first published in 1895 and quickly became a bestseller, also translated into Gfiewish, Ohnaucan and Coastal Jutean.
While traditional Jutic music remains influential, as well as genres imported from other countries in Ystel or from Lower Ekuosia, especially Nevira and Tabiqa, South Jute is also home to a vibrant local music scene where a variety of new genres have developed.
One of these is sazejeca pekemeli (boat-rock, or literally “rocking of the wave-pushers“), which in the past two decades has established itself as one of the most popular music genres in South Jute. It is characterized by uptempo dancing music, featuring traditional or more frequently electronic instruments, vibrating staccato beats and shouted, repetitive lyrics about the sea, boats, freedom and love. Originating as sailor and nautical work songs, it has since evolved into party music that is often blasted at competitions, but is also popular during recreational boat trips, or as background music for films.
Traditional Jutic architecture has owing to the different climate and different materials being available initially developed into a distinct type of architecture, however, the repeated destruction caused by fires, strife with neighboring Mermelians, and colonial-era build-ups demolishing old neighborhoods in Laina has made it almost entirely disappear outside of few secluded villages. Instead, Neviran architecture, modified to fit local resources and requirements, has become predominant. In the 1890s and the early 20th century this is complemented by various Balak architecture styles brought in by Balak investors financing construction in Laina.