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The Duchy of Geneva, Geneva, is a small constitutional monarchy in South-Central Europe. It is bordered to the North by Burgundy, to the West by Arles, to the South by Milan and to the East by the Swiss Confederation. The capital is Geneva and the population is around 880,000.
The Head of State is Duchess Adelais.
The official language is French, though Milanese Italian is also spoken in the south-east border regions.
It uses the Genevan Mark (GVM).
Once part of the Kingdom of Arles, the Duchy of Geneva gained its independence as Arles and Burgundy fought each other to a standstill during their Swabian wars. It slowly built up a league of small republican towns, bishoprics and estates which had either tired of being misruled by distant Italian bishops and German landowners or were simply wary of the predatory actions of their larger neighbours. The Swiss Confederation, which was also expanding in this period, offered Geneva association. Geneva refused outright, unwilling to be drawn into wars against Austria, but the two states co-operated peacefully for a century or so.Geneva joined the Schmalkaldic League in 1538 enjoying several victories over its Catholic adversaries and being confident enough to confiscate church lands, however its increasingly Calvinist leanings made it fall out with the League which was intensely Lutheran and ready to purge any other Protestant creed from its ranks. An intense period of warfare followed as the Papacy, Burgundy and Milan saw it as an easy target for the Counter-Reformation. That it did not succumb to their repeated attacks was largely due to superior tactics and superb new defenses blocking the passes. This period (1551-1567), known as the Genevan Stand, united the country, entrenched Calvinism, and allowed the Dukes to expand their narrow power base to incorporate the entire Genevan League.
Geneva would once again be a target during the Fifty Years War (1618-1668) during which the defenses failed and it was devastated by Luxembourg, French and Aragonese troops moving from Arles to the Rhine. Austria meanwhile fostered the defeated nation as an ally, turning a blind eye to Calvinism there as long as it distracted their enemies. It would side again with Austria during the Austro-Luxembourg Wars but, stung by defeat, it retreated into armed neutrality.
It is the only member state of the Holy Roman Empire that has Calvinism as the official state religion.
GovernmentMuch like its neighbour the Swiss Confederation, Geneva is a patchwork of various cantons, historically either ecclesiastical, republican or ducal, with different sets of laws and rights. An overarching constitution was brought in, at great time and effort, in 1849, but in practice the individual cantons have a great deal of freedom to set their own taxes and local laws. Elections are held as and when the canton's laws or politics demand, however the election for the united Diet is held every three years.
Duchess Adelais is the current head of state. The role of the ducal family is much diminished since its high point in the early 19th century but the Duchess takes great interest in politics and often sits in on debates in the Diet. The current Prime Minister is Sebastien Botta.