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- Note: This is not to be confused with a free trade area, which is comprised of multiple sovereign states.
Early Years (1983-1985)
Immediately after Doomsday, the provincial leader of Castellón, Francisco Solsona Garbí, began rationing food throughout the province. Using the police force, he cracked down on for even petty crimes such as stealing bread from markets. Due to these measures, the food found in supermarkets and food-processing facilities plus the small amount of citrus fruits in the countryside were planned to hold for about a month. After Doomsday, Solsona began communicating with the small fishing community on the coast of Castellón. Fishermen were granted special government privileges, and were required to teach the skill of fishing at various adult learning institutions and secondary schools. Fish was expected to become the staple food of Castellón, and could also be used for fertilizer.
Solsona's set up trade with nearby areas. Castellón was essentially isolated on three sides by radioactive wasteland, so he took advantage of this situation to open up to the Mediterranean. By sending the city's remaining fleet into the sea, he made contact with various other surviving communities, such as Algeria, Cartagena (in the present-day Republic of Spain), and various cities on the Moroccan coast. Through trade, Castellón was able to secure a scant but steady supply of grain and even start its own wheat production in the countryside.
Solsona's initial plan was successful in avoiding starvation for a few months. However, a few problems for the plan became apparent when pirates began raiding Castellón and its fishing fleets. Castellón's fish population was in decline around Castellón de la Plana, and fish eventually became a rare commodity. Fishermen were forced to fish further and further offshore, leading to many deaths from drowning on incompetent fishing boats. In addition to the logistical failures, disorganized riots in the city of Castellón de la Plana threatened to overthrow the government. Police officers clashed with protestors, resulting in the destruction of many sectors of the city. On 18 January, 1984, a starving mob numbering in the thousands stormed Castellón's government building, killing or capturing almost all of those inside, including Solsona.
The opposition successfully rid Castellón of the original Spanish government but failed to set up an effective replacement. Because of this, Castellón fell into anarchy. While many small towns in the countryside sustained moderate losses and managed to survive off the little food they were able to grow, Castellón de la Plana suffered enormously. Without an effective communication or transportation system, many of those that did not starve dispersed to the countryside, where they either found suitable land or starved there. A few were able to make contacts with the Balearic Islands and gain aid in that way, but those in the Balearic Islands were still straightening out affairs, and could not provide organized assistance. What prevented Castellón from collapsing completely was the remnant of its fishing industry. Solsona's fishing education programs had turned fishing into a way of life, leading to the creation of a thriving fishing community on the Columbretes Islands.
Founding of the Castellonenc Republic (1986)
In 1986, members of the Fabra family, who had been an important part of the Castellonense government for over a century, managed to secure a few city blocks along the Mediterranean coast, providing enough food to the residents to support them. They declared the República Castellonenc and held democratic elections where anyone with proof of residence in Castellón Province since 1983 could vote. The republic established contact with various countries located around the Mediterranean, and assembled a police force to quell protests. The plan gained enough support for thousands of Castellonenses to allow their residences to be annexed. In addition, the Republic acquired several sq km of land inland to grow durum wheat and citrus for the population.
Autonomous City (1987-1996)
In 1987, the Fabra family requested aid from the País del Oro which would allow it to maintain a degree of sovereignty as the Autonomous City of Castelló (Ciudad Autónoma de Castelló). The Balearic Island-based government began a series of economic and social reforms over a series of years. PdOr's money was invested due to the attractiveness of profit from the tax-free trade. During this time period, the economy showed steady improvement and re-industrialization. However, various protesters questioned the government, claiming that Castellón should remain an independent state. The Castellonense government remained in the hands of Fabra family, who established a temporary oligarchy before elections could take place. However, the government had to recognize the superiority of the government of Laayoune.
Free Trade Zone (1996-2005)
As the País del Oro began to open up to the world in 1992, it decided that many calls for greater autonomy for Castellón and liberalization of the Spanish economy could be answered by the creation of a large Free Trade Zone spanning the entire Castellón territory.
The declaration of a free trade zone would result in foreign investment over the course of ten years. The País del Oro's petition for investment was answered by members of the Andean Union who wanted a strong ally on the Iberian Peninsula. Hundreds flocked to establish businesses based in Castellón's friendly economic atmosphere. Corporations from these countries upgraded local facilities and employed the local labor force which would ultimately lower prices back home, but immediately increasing the profit margin.
Companies became interested in tapping the countryside's soil's potential for citrus, grapes, and wheat and thus funded irrigation projects. As a result increased produce could be sold to Castellonenses and other nearby famished areas on the Peninsula in exchange for employment. Although it was not a highly profitable plan among many corporations, the Andean Union saw it as a valuable opportunity to open up trading ventures with Spain as well as well as the rest of Europe.
Meanwhile, the administration of Castellón worked with the Western Saharan government to redistrict Castellón in the most efficient way possible. El Grao de Castellón, the Serrallo Industrial Polygon, and the surrounding area were renamed "Distribution Centre" (Centro de la Distribución) and outfitted with port facilities through dock building and land reclamation. Castellón de la Plana is metaphorically described as the "castle" of Castellón party due to the similarity of the word "Castellón" to the Spanish word castillo and the Catalan word castell, both meaning "castle."
Many Castellonenses were forced to work at low wages in fields in the countryside, but nevertheless were thankful at being employed and relatively well-fed. Farmers as a whole were richer than their counterparts in the city, but far poorer than foreign entrepreneurs. The port had become increasingly prosperous, with new jetties and docks appearing occasionally. An international district formed in the city along the newly named Fabra Avenue (formerly Vila-real Avenue), becoming one of the international hubs of trade on the Iberian Peninsula.
Castellón was very fortunate to be directly on the Prime Meridian, leading to the Castellonense administration declaring itself the "New Greenwich." A small airport was constructed near the city in 1999, with an elaborate water clock which has become a local standard since then as well as a tourist attraction. Since "Greenwich Mean Time" was an obsolete term with the loss of London, the use of the term "Castellón Mean Time" began to be used by promoters of the city as an international hub.
In 2003, under Castellonense pressure, the Western Saharan government passed a controversial Equal Opportunity Declaration (Declaración de Igualidad de Oportunidades) that provided scholarships and job bonuses to Castellonenses and refugees to Castellón from various defined places around the Mediterranean that were affected by Doomsday. In 2006, the Distribution Centre was enlarged with the building of a new commercial complex, which became the location of the headquarters of many newly-formed Castellón-based businesses.
Castellón Today (2005-)
Today, Castellón is a rapidly developing port with much wealth that is distributed unevenly. Many docks along the coast provide fish as a major source of food, while on the coast of the Distribution Centre, jetties and trading docks are common. Although it has become an important international hub on the Iberian Peninsula, its success has been limited because of its small population. With the formation of the Republic of Spain in 2010, a whole new field of vision opened up to Castellón Free Trade Zone. That year, the name of the free trade zone was changed from Valencian/Catalan Castelló to Castilian Spanish Castellón as a gesture of friendship between the País del Oro and the Spanish Republic. However, this was partially justified by the fact that most Spanish-language publications on the Iberian Peninsula and in the SAC used the spelling "Castellón."
Despite the progress Castellón has made in its economy, the majority of Castellonenses live in a state of need. There is a 23% poverty rate in Castellón de la Plana, and although 85% of Castellonenses are ethnic Valencian, they control less than 30% of the wealth. The much smaller population of Castellón led to a lower population density, and consequently slums never took form. Many Castellonenses were able to keep land, which had become extremely cheap due to the large quantity of houses whose tenants died during the years of collapse. Very few Castellonenses are homeless, although many resort to begging and street performances as a way of life. Nevertheless, Spanish efforts to alleviate the problem have had a degree of success, and helped to create large fisheries off the coast to create jobs.
In the countryside, Castellonense farmers have gained a degree of prestige, and very few of them are in poverty. Irrigation and fertilizers furnished by the Republic of Spain allow crops to be produced in a surplus. However, as a port city, the largest commercial produce is fish, which is exported variously around the Mediterranean.
Castellón has become an important hub of trade and industry. Castellón's factories are exempt from most of the Republic of Spain's taxes, and are located in many polígonos around the main city. Industries include machinery, processed foods, light industries, and chemicals as well as pharmaceuticals, textiles, and consumer goods. Efficient transportation systems allow goods to be transported throughout the countryside for export.
Despite efforts by foreign investors to exploit the local farms, Castellón's agricultural community has provided a living to many farmers in the countryside. While successfully producing such crops as durum wheat, grapes, citrus, and vegetables, most of it is for local use. However, a small surplus is transported to the port to be distributed throughout the peninsula and elsewhere. Castellón's agricultural production is a result of positive irrigation developments by foreign investors and the País del Oro, as well as research to achieve more and more advanced fertilizers.
Castellón is one of the few offshore banking centres left in Europe. Small businesses have developed in the investment-friendly climate. Tourism is also an important part of the Castellonense economy. Castellón is well known for its beautiful beaches and beautiful countryside only a short distance from the city. The climate is favourable as a resort town, and there are many squares, monuments, parks, and churches in the city. A large monument in the city centre commemorates those who starved to death in Castellón's years of famine. Tourists often note the relative quietness of the city due to the small population. Castellón can be accessed via boat or airplane, flying into the airport which is located on the Prime Meridian. Castellón's main attraction is its elaborate water clock inside the airport, which is constantly monitored in order to remain as accurate as almost any clock in the rest of the world. Though not well known outside the Iberian Peninsula, the fact that Castellón had officially changed to UTC+0 (much closer to sunlight time) at the founding of the republic in 1986 is being used, at least locally, to promote the adoption of its clock as the standard for international commerce and travel.
The culture of Castellón is a combination of Castellonense and Castilian culture, with cosmopolitan influence. Under the República Castellonenc, the culture was almost exclusively Castellonense, combining Catalan and Valencian traditions brought by refugees. The País del Oro supported local culture, but immigrants from different parts of the country came from the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, and Western Sahara. Foreign culture also began to abound with the formation of the Free Trade Zone. An international district appeared in the city, featuring many cultures, notably Peruvian, Australian, and Singaporean. Many have criticized this cultural diffusion as a threat to Valencian culture in general, but others have embraced it as taking Castellón to a new level on the world stage.
The free trade zone is administered much as any other Spanish subdivision, sometimes as part of the Balearic Islands due to its former administration under the País del Oro. It is subdivided into 15 districts (distritos). All administration takes place in the primate city of Castellón de la Plana.
- Centro de la Distribución
- San Juan de Moró
- Distrito Municipal de Castellón de la Plana (capital)
- Vall de Uxó