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The capital is Frankfurt and the population is six million.
Franconia is an ethnically homogeneous country, almost all inhabitants consider themselves ethnic Franks. Immigration is almost non-existent. Throughout history, Franks have emigrated in larger numbers to the wealthier Celtic and Roman Empires; this emigration has stopped with rising living standards in the last two centuries. Population rates are therefore relatively stable (birth rate 1.6, 89 % natural births). Life expectancy is 75 years.
The territority presently occupied by Franconia has been populated for over 500,000 years. For more than 100,000 years, it was the habitat of the Homo Neanderthalensis. In the Bronze Age, Indoeuropeans settled in the region, mixed with the indigenous populations, but preserved their Indoeuropean languages.
In the Iron Age, the land presently known as Franconia was inhabited by Celts. In the last centuries BC, as the Roman Empire formed and gained control over the Mediterranean, Germanic tribes moved in from the North and pushed the Celts west- and southward across the Rhine and Danube. The Western part of present-day Franconia was settled by tribes speaking Istvaeonic Germanic varieties, the Eastern part by tribes speaking Herminonic Germanic varieties.
With the Roman conquest of the Celtic territories to the West of the Rhine and South of the Danube during the 1st century BC, the Roman Empire became the neighbour of these various Germanic tribes. Rome attempted to expand its influence into Germania in many ways: through direct military action, resettlement campaigns and a deliberately divisive policy. Beyond these conscious strategies, Rome`s vicinity influenced its Germanic neighbours in other ways, too (hostages from the Germanic nobility returning from the empire with many new ideas as well as common Germanic peasants overwhelmed by the buildings and luxuries their new imperial neighbours espoused).
During the Roman-Germanic war and the later conflict between the Cherusk Arminius and the Markomann Marbod, the tribes who would later become the gens Francorum fought on all three sides. Considerable parts of what is now Franconia temporarily became the Roman province of Germania Superior until Roman control over these Agri Decumates crumbled during the 3rd century. During the 3rd and 4th century AD, the tribes of the Salians, Chattuari, Chamavi, Tubantes, Sugambri, Bructeri, Tencteri, Usipetri, Ampsivari and Chauki merged to some extent to become the "gens Francorum", as their southern neighbours called them, developed the common Istvaeonic language of Frankish and formed kingdoms. Attracted by the luxurious loot awaiting them across the Rhine, Frankish invasions frequently devastated Rome`s north-western provinces and contributed to the secession of the Celtic Empire from Rome.
After repeated Frankish invasions, the new Celtic emperors finally fortified the Rhine border effectively and put an end to Frankish attacks. This changed the course of Frankish history. Instead of moving south-westwards and intruding, occupying and blending in in the Gallo-Roman territories (and finally dominating them and from them much of central Europe), the Franks stayed where they were and formed a confederacy like their Southern, Alemannic neighbours.
During the chaotic migrations following the invasion of the Huns, Franks under High King Lothar invade the Gallo-Roman Empire, but they are defeated and pushed back across the Rhine. From the 370s on, Gallo-Roman military presence East of the Rhine is increased in order to pacify the Franks. Frankish kings and high kings are effectively dependent on the Gallo-Roman Empire.
Frankish society and economy are influenced by their Gallo-Roman neighbours. When the empire, which now calls itself "Celtic Empire", undergoes a severe fiscal, political and military crisis during the 550s, social unrest broods in Franconia, too. In 564, a peasant rebellion under the Lausai Mark the Just sweeps the kings and aristocrats out of their offices and castles and installs the first peasant republic on Germanic soil.
As the move from traditional, personal proto-statehood to modern territorial statehood was completed not only in Franconia, but among its Germanic neighbours, too, border conflicts with Alemannia over Chassia, which was rich in coal and ore, broke out. Franconia and Alemannia fought dozens of wars from the 10th to the 14th century, bringing forth three major outcomes:
- Both Frankish and Alemannic mercenaries formed guilds with self-imposed codes of military conduct and considerably improved collective bargaining powers. The Frankish government could no longer dispose of its army as it saw fit. As a result, the wars of this and the following centuries were relatively civilised, when compared to the bloodbaths e.g. in India, much more expensive for the Frankish state and, as a logical result, not quite as frequent as in OTL´s Early Modern Age. After the height of industrialisation, Southern and Western Germany have developed rather peacefully and form the core of a movement for Germanic unification.
- The Frankish-Southern Wars brought the beginning of indebted Frankish governments, who had to take out loans, mostly from Gotlandish and Frisian banks, to finance the war. Franconia never got rid of these debts, their interest payments and the sleazy habit of deficit spending, which provided such an apparently easy solution to socio-economic conflicts. Frankish dependence on its mostly foreign creditors is one major factor which has prevented an independent economic policy aimed at developing Franconia in the interest of its own citizens.
- Since Franconia nevertheless prevailed more or less militarily in the 14th century, Chassia and the lands along the Moenus have been Frankish ever since.
From the 12th century on, Franconia began to industrialise in earnest and started its intense symbiosis with the Celtic Empire, which it provided with cheap coal and ore in exchange for a few advanced industrial goods produced by Celts. This economic symbiosis came with mixed results for many Franks, who left behind their subsistence farming and became industrial proletarians, or who had to be relocated when their villages had to make way for borecole daylight mines. For the Celts, it was such an important source of their wealth that they even sponsored an ample network of railroad connections linking industrially relevant Frankish towns with each other and with Celtic cities.
Celtic influence on Franconia was neither indirect nor subtle during the centuries of industrial revolutions. Celtic governments forced Frankish parliaments to provide ample "legal security" for Celtic investors and pressurised them into prohibiting the coal miners and steel workers from syndicalisation. "Unruly" Frankish governments and parliamentary majorities, who tried to channel some of the industrial profits towards Frankish workers, were regularly punished with financial boycotts, which drove the Frankish state into insolvency and made financial aids necessary - strings attached, of course...
All of this provided the ground for the first socialist parliamentary majority and government, which lasted from 1314 to 1334. It legalised workers` unions and strikes and nationalised key industries, which had often been owned by Celtic corporations, and thus incurred the wrath of the empire, which reacted with trade sanctions, closed borders and a sea blockade. These were the early decades of the electronic revolution, and the socialist government tried everything it could to ensure Frankish participation in it (e.g. via improved public technical education), but being domestically sabotaged by the guilds, and cut off from external trade, Franconia missed important innovations and access to new markets.
The alteration between socialist governments, which try to modernise and equalise the country against resistance from Frankish guilds and the Celtic empire, and other (first national liberal, then social democratic) governments, which try to reassert the guild structure and clean up the mess in foreign relations, has continued ever since, although the amplitude has somewhat decreased with time.
In the 15th century, a national liberal Frankish government sent the country on a short colonial adventure in the quest after Caribian gold, which was meant to address the government`s smothering debt problem, but proved an utter military desaster, with Frankish mercenaries slaughtered in great numbers by Tawantinsuyun armies.
Franconia was prominently absent from the global conferences aimed at solving the global warming crisis in the late 15th and 16th century, and when the country finally joined in, its initiatives found only few supporters. Thus Franconia had to reconvert its economy in a drastic way without much help from the World Council. Its energy production had to be switched from borecole and stone coal to hydrodynamic and wind power at a pace which overstrained the guilds´ innovative capabilities and induced yet another dependency on foreign investors and technology; its industrial base had to move on from energy-intensive steel production to something else, which took Franconia several decades in which the country faced dire poverty. During these decades, populist anti-climate protocol governments came to power several times and refused to oblige with carbon dioxide emission caps. The Celtic Empire seized this opportunity to occupy Franconia with an international mandate, overthrow the government and install a climate- and Celtic-friendly one (although the Celtic Empire wasn`t exactly a forerunner in climate-friendly economic conversion at that time, either - but alas, it was powerful...).
From the 17th century on, Frankish governments have attempted to gain a greater degree of economic and political independence by seeking stable and institutionalied alliances with other Germanic nations, but have only succeeded in knitting a close alliance with Burgundy so far.
Franconia has become a very active and well-reputed member of the World Council, often contributing to global alliances of peri-imperial middle powers. Although attempts at keeping up with the latest technological innovations from Rome, Lutetia, Ma´rib, Bharikucha or Chang´an are still a high priority of Frankish elites, there has been a growing self-confidence about the unique potentials of Franconia`s more artisan and more widely professionalised economic structure, and not every Roman or Celtic fad is inevitably imitated anymore (e.g. space travel and Mars mining).
Constitution and politics
Franconia is a federal republic. Most decisions concerning education, public order and infrastructure and economic policies concerning regulation issues (guild constitutions) are taken at least in part by the constituting units, i.e. the councils of the 49 member towns and six member counties. These councils also levy all indirect taxes. Only these town and city councils are directly elected by the population (on different dates, for different periods and by different electoral systems in each town or county).
The federal parliament (Bundsrat) consists of over 600 representatives sent for one year by these town and county councils. It decides about military and foreign affairs, social welfare policy and some economic issues, levies direct taxes and elects the (merely representative) head of state (Ratspresident) and the (powerful) head of government (Regierungspresident).
Ratspresident and Regierungspresident remain in office until the Bundsrat elects new candidates with a majority of its members.
Frankish political philosophy is strongly influenced by Roman and Celtic thinkers, but its practical policies are marked by typical domestic issues (especially the syndicalist guild system) and dominated by two big parties: the social democrats and the socialists.
The powerbase of the social democrats are the professional syndicates (guilds) and their members. They are most powerful in the 49 free towns. Social democratic policies favour a mixed economy with stronger market elements, they defend economic regulation on the local level and oppose central interference. Culturally, they are more conservative. They prefer dual vocational training over an expansion of tertiary education. In foreign affairs, social democrats favour a policy of détente vis-a-vis their powerful Celtic neighbour, although they defend economic protectionist measures.
The powerbase of the socialists are workers in the non-syndicalised industry. Socialists favour more elements of central planning and have repeatedly seized historical opportunities to nationalise key industries owned by foreign (mostly Celtic) or domestic (mostly Catholic dynasites) corporations. They favour the expansion of free public secondary and tertiary education and are culturally more liberal. In foreign affairs, they rhetorically espouse pacifist values, but practically often aggravate tensions with the strong Celtic neighbour.
Franconia has a middle-sized federal army consisting of professional soldiers (who have, of course, formed their own guild, too, and sometimes act more independently than the constitution allows).
Already since the common experience of powerlessness in the international climate negotiations of the 16th century, which then imposed painful economic restructuring on Franconia and its Germanic neighbours, Franconia has tried to forge a confederacy or other permanent alliance of sorts, comprising all Germanic nations. Their only staunch and firm ally in this cause throughout the last centuries is Burgundy, with which Franconia has signed free trade agreements, pacts of military assistance, unification of industrial norms, mutual acknowledgement of educational and vocational qualifications etc.
Towns and counties
The 49 member towns vary greatly in size - from the smallest member town, Nydensteyn, where only 3,000 people live, to Frankfurt with its 208,000 inhabitants.
The six counties and their capitals are: Salien (Utrekt), Westfalen (Bokheym), Rheynfranken (Mattiagen), Chassien (Tiuschen), Neckarfranken (Lopden) and Maynfranken (Babenberg).
EconomyLike many other Germanic countries, Franconia has suffered from Celtic economic colonialism for many centuries. Its industrial profits (in earlier times from coal mining and steel smelting, for a while mostly from the production of electrical household devices like washing machines and computers) have often been reaped by Celtic enterprises and domestic capital accumulation has been very slow. Comparatively most successful in building up productive capital were Franconia`s Roman Catholic citizens, whose interest-free credit clubs have provided generations of previously poor people with access to investment loans. As a result, many Catholic families are among the richest in Franconia and own many middle-sized industrial enterprises.
|GDP||30,300 DN p.c.p.a.|
|trade balance||excess imports 0.8% of GDP|
|agriculture||10.7% of GDP (14.5% of workforce)|
|industry||40.5% of GDP (33.8% of workforce)|
|services||48.8% of GDP (51.7% of workforce)|
Franconia also shares a characteristic with its southern Germanic neighbour: strong guilds, who have provided stability throughout history, but also prevented innovation and a central, rational strategy for economic development.
Catholic wealth has sparked as much resentment among non-Christian Franks as Celtic corporations, and outbreaks of religion-based violence persist until today. Attempts at imitating their successful model have proved not to be able to bridge the gap - partly because of the millennium-long advance, partly because guilds are not easily compatible with mutual credit: inner-guild credit networks are unstable because they cannot protect their members against crises concerning their sector, and when investment is required, it is often required of all members at once. Inter-guild networks, on the other hand, have often lacked the necessary mutual trust and suffered from ancient rivalries.
After several land reforms, Frankish agriculture is mostly a less capital intensive peasant agriculture, aimed at providing the population with affordable produce and securing a good living for the rural population. Franconia exports smaller quantities of rye, wine, pork, beef and beer, and imports over the last centuries significant quantites of coffee, cocoa and tropical fruits, which have become relatively affordable treats for the ordinary Frank.
Frankish industry is split into large, non-syndicalised production units, which have often changed ownership over the last centuries between large Celtic enterprises and the Frankish state, and which produce machinery and other industrial goods, and small-sized syndicalised craft shops and multi-craft manufactures, which produce (not always extremely efficiently) a wide range of products for the (protected) domestic market.
The service sector, too, is tightly regulated by guilds, and so are the access to the labour market and external trade.
Presently, Franconia has a relatively low unemployment rate. Living standards in Franconia are not as advanced as in the Mediterranean empires, but they have reached acceptable levels in the last two centuries, especially since some traditional products manufactured by Frankish guilds, like clocks, have become expensive luxury goods sought after worldwide. Small but durable multi-guild manufactured battery-powered Frankish automobiles, too, sell well e.g. in Atlantis.
Social welfare is organised in a dual manner: those working in guilds or other syndicates are insured and taken care of by their respective associations in all situations from childbirth and childcare costs over healthcare and invalidity to pensions. The other half of the population is catered to by federal welfare institutions providing a roughly similar (some say, slightly lower) standard.
Among the Germanic nations, Franconia is considered to be culturally liberal and hedonistic.
Frankish, the only language spoken in Franconia, is a Western Germanic (Istvaeonic) language which has not undergone the second sound shift. Regional dialects (Salian, Ripuarian, Chattic, Neckarfrankish, Maynfrankish) are spoken especially by the rural population. Frankish is written in the Latin alphabet.
Since the disappearance of tribal affiliations, families have become the bedrock of Frankish society. Frankish families are larger than Roman or Celtic nuclear families and usually comprise three generations. In the countryside, such large families still live together in longhouses. In the (often crowded) towns, nuclear families live together, but wider family ties are maintained through festivities, mutual help and modern telecommunication. Children are raised within such families and often sent to kindergartens only at an age of 3 or 4.
Primary and secondary education is compulsory up to the age of 17.
Apart from this law, there is very little which all towns and counties, which are responsible for the educational system, have in common. County schools exist alongside schools run by teacher guilds, vocational schools run by one or several craft guilds, schools run by the Roman Catholic church and even by foreign governments. Primary and secondary general education up to the age of 17 is free of charge mostly, but not totally: in some counties, schools are financed through the public budget, in others, they are independent economic units who must apply for licenses in order to be eligible for school vouchers. International comparative studies have revealed below-average competency levels of Frankish pupils at the age of 15.
After compulsory general education, the majority of young Franks pursue dual vocational education (apprenticeship plus vocational schooling by the guild). Approximately 10% then pursue (tuition-fee intensive) master classes offered by most guilds (although not in every town). Less than 40% pursue academic studies. The dissemination of scientific knowledge is hampered by the limited skills many Franks have in Latin (less than 50% can read Latin texts beyond the most basic level) and Chinese (less than 5% of Franks even know how to decipher the Chinese alphabet), the world`s two most important languages of the scientific community.
Religion and festive culture
As in most other Germanic countries, traditional cult and mythology have undergone a slow, millennial transformation from deadly serious sacred rites to (mostly) blithe public rituals, which are only rarely connected with deeper meaning.
Franks are famous for turning everything into a party - and to this end, they have assimilated festive days of Celtic origin into their calender as well as Chinese new year celebrations and sports events of Roman and Greek origin. The Frankish festive year begins with a purification celebration in February, followed by a highly sexualised spring festivity modeled after Celtic Beltane and Mediterranean hierogamic festivities, then more than a month of mirth starting with festive fires at summer solstice, continuing with the conveniently timed continental / global football championships and the Olympic Games, which alternately take place in July, as well as countless weddings, ending in a festivity which marks the beginning of harvest. Copious feasts mark Thanksgiving around the autumn equinox. Dark rituals and rites of passage as well as solemn commemorations of the deceased are celebrated at the beginning of November, followed by a quiet and family-oriented festivity of lights at winter solstice, and finally new year`s eve, celebrated of course with another huge public party.
Town and county governments appoint priests, who not only close weddings, accompany burials and advise about the future, but also commit (televised and watched by large audiences) central ceremonies at traditional "sacred" places on festive days. While these ceremonies have clear-cut ritual contents, they also provide sufficient flexibility for artful priests to stage shows, which can transport social messages in more corporeal and performative ways than any philosophical or theological oration could. (One example of such a highly controversial and influential performance was the 1915 Beltane ritual in the Westerwald, where a priest had the unification of the "Maygraf" and the (first old, then young) Ostara played by three women for the first time.)
Beside the festivities, Franks consider woods to be special (some would still say: sacred) places, where they go to meditate and find peace, or to defy their fears of darkness in young people's rites of passage, or to bury the ashes of their deceased.
While the festivities and rituals merely structure the year and provide opportunities for all sorts of social enjoyment, rites of passage etc. (and occasionally a little thought) for most people, a small group of Franks still seeks deeper meanings in the rituals which are meant to connect them to nature and its elements and laws. In their quest, they usually no longer restrict themselves to Germanic or even European traditions, but also absorb Tengrist Asian, African, Atlantic and Caribbean animist thought and practice.
The Christian (mostly Catholic) minority does not participate in most of the above-mentioned festivities. Instead of spring festivities, they celebrate Easter, instead of summer solstice, Pentecost, and instead of the festivities of light, Christmas.
Sports are popular with Franks of all confessions, though, and especially football, at which Frankish teams excel in continental and even global competitions, plays an important role in most people`s leisure time. Inner-Frankish championships last from August to May; their weekly duels are ludic ways of dealing with historical tensions between cities, regions and former tribes, as some cultural philosophers think.
ArchitectureFranconia has much less of the (globally otherwise omnipresent) functional steel-enforced concrete buildings than other countries, especially the developed empires.
In the countryside, modern versions of the highly traditional Germanic longhouses, built with wood and clay, can be found.In Frankish towns, traditional building material has been replaced with stone after many dangerous fires. Town houses made of stone, some older than a thousand years, are frequent especially in the free towns and have made these towns and their narrow streets into landmarks, which attract hundreds of thousands of tourists from all over the world.