The Republic of Heptanesa - the Republic of the Seven Islands - as the Ionian Islands are often called by the local population, is a major state within the Greek Federation. It is usually referred to by outsiders as the Ionian Republic.
The islands were settled by Greeks at an early date, possibly as early as 1200 BC, and certainly by the 9th century BC. By the 4th century BC, most of the islands, ware absorbed into the empire of Macedon. Some remained under the control of the Macedonian Kingdom and until 146 BC, when the Greek peninsula was gradually annexed by Rome. After 400 years of peaceful Roman rule the islands passed to the Eastern Roman Empire, and remained part of the Byzantine Empire for another 900 years, until the destruction of Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade by marauding Western Europeans and Venetians in 1204.From 1204 the Republic of Venice controlled Corfu and slowly all the Ionian islands fell under Venetian rule. In the 15th century, the Ottomans occupied most of Greece, but the islands remained Christian thanks to the Venetians.
In 1797, however, Napoléon Bonaparte conquered Venice, and the islanders found themselves under French rule. In 1798 the Russian Admiral Ushakov evicted the French, and established the Septinsular Republic under joint Russo-Ottoman protection. In 1807, however, they would be returned to the French. The British, however, conquered most of the islands in 1809-1810, and the last island in 1814. The Treaty of Paris in 1815 turned the islands into the "United States of the Ionian Islands" under British protection, which would last until 1862, when they were given to the Greek Kingdom.
In 1941, most of the Ionian islands were handed over to the Italians after the invasion of Greece, who in their three years of rule attempted to Italianize the population; they were replaced in 1943 by the Germans. By 1944 most of the islands were under the control of the EAM/ELAS resistance movement. The islands were struck by an especially powerful earthquake on August 12, 1953. Building damage was extensive and the southern islands of Kefalonia and Zakynthos were practically levelled. The islands were reconstructed from the ground up over the following years.
While the area was able to escape direct nuclear attacks on Doomsday, There were several nearby strikes that caused damage to the region, however, from fallout. The worst of this was from the strikes on the Italian naval base of Taranto, and the Greek naval base at Patra. The strike on the Albanian capital city of Tirana would also effect the islands.
Refugees also began to quickly appear in the islands, from Greece, Albania, and southeastern Italy. The Greek refugees also included several of the surviving units of the Ionian Fleet, fleeing from the area around Patra, and elements of the 8th Infantry Division, moving to the security of the islands from the chaos of Ioannina and its environs.
With the aid of these military vessels, local leaders were able to establish some measure of authority over the islands. Due to the position of the islands, and a lack of boats, many refugees could not get to them. The military vessels tried to help, shuttling small groups of refugees, as possible, from the Greek mainland - and even from Albania as well. They also intervened against those who sought to seek personal gain and profit from the misery of others in that time of troubles, though however valiantly they worked, many of these brutes operated unpunished, and many refugees still drowned trying to arrive at the safety promised by the islands.
Initially, they grappled with how to feed all of the people. They ended up scavenging along the coastline, hunting for food left behind, and towing what fishing boats which could be found back to the islands, where the EMP damage was repaired if possible, and outfitted with sails as possible. In the end, almost no one starved to death, but those who survived the winter remained a little hungry, and definitely sick of fish.
A provisional government was formed in December of 1983, with the intention of holding office until the Greek government itself was contacted, or could be re-established. Contact with the Greek government on meaningful levels did not happen again until the spring of 1984, when a party of officials arrived from the government on Crete. However, after approving of the actions of the government set up in the islands, the officials were soon called back to Crete, to help deal with the increasingly chaotic mainland.
The situation on the mainland quickly became quite obvious to the government of the Ionian Islands. The Greek government was holding less and less authority by the day, especially in the Peloponnese Peninsula, where rebels had established a government, called the "Despotate of Morea." As a result of this, the provisional government of the Ionian Islands declared its government official, and "temporary" independence, as the Republic of Heptanesa, or the Republic of the Seven Islands, with the promise to reunify with the government on Crete was they became secure again. Although they may not have liked it, the Greek government went along with it, satisfied that they would eventually reunify.
With the political situation solved, the Heptanese government was left with another quandary - what to do with all the refugees. The refugees from Italy, believing and insisting that there was nothing to go back to, refused to go home. The Greeks and Albanians, however, both expressed a desire to try and reclaim their lands.
Many of the Greek refugees, as well as a fair number of the ones from Italy, went to the Greek coastline opposite the islands, over the next few years, reclaiming abandoned villages along the coast. At a much slower pace, more of the Greek refugees, and most of the Albanian ones, began to settle in what had once been the southernmost tip of Albania.
While the area of the Greek mainland under its control slowly grew, eventually encompassing much of western Greece, the area of Albania under the control of the republic did not. Greeks resident in that area of Albania had set up a government after Doomsday eliminated the Albanian government, in and around the city of Sarande. It was here that the Albanians and Greeks settled, as a series of tiny Albanian successor states prevented anything much further from being easily practical, though they still worked on it, and are likely to expand further in the region in the future.
Prior to the Sicilian takeover of the region, a pair of attempts were made to establish an outpost in the former Italian province of Lecce, though they all failed completely. This has led to a sympathy in the inhabitants of the region towards Heptanesa, which will likely be acted on in the event of war with Sicily.
The Islands held good relations with the former government of Greece since their movement away, but a feeling of independence had grown since then in the islands, so a simple reunification became unlikely.
Easily convinced by diplomats from the Delian League to participate in talks aimed at ending the fighting between the surviving government of the Hellenic Republic and the Despotate of Morea, delegates from Heptanesa signed the 1994 Treaty of Skyros, establishing the Greek Confederation. While this meant that the Republic lost some control over its military and foreign relations, this allowed it to "rejoin" Greece, but keep its independence. As time went on, this organization, with its capital at Skyros, would become more and more centralized.
When the members of the Confederation were asked to help out their neighbors by the Delian League, Mount Athos, and the Dodecanese Republic, Heptanesa, while sympathetic, was forced to decline. With their prior commitments in Albania and the mainland, they could not help elsewhere. This was acknowledged and accepted by the other members, and it was agree to support it on the same level as the expeditions to Thrace and Cyprus.
By the time an expedition to Egypt was organized in 2003, the Republic had rebuilt enough that they could provide it more than merely verbal support, and they sent teams, who primarily engaged in rebuilding the area around Lake Burullus, along the Mediterranean coastline, east of Alexandria.
As the Confederation slowly became more centralized, the question of what would happen from there became a constant question in everyone's minds. Eventually, it was decided that, after numerous "People's Assemblies" in 2008 and 2009, a vote would be held in December of 2009, about whether or not to reform the Confederation into a unified federal state, like the United States had been, though with each part having slightly more power than those states had held.
The referendum in Heptanesa went by without a hitch, with the government supporting a "Yes" vote, as their powers would be relatively unharmed by such a loose state. In the end, the referendum passed, 62% to 38%. As a result, Heptanesa became a member state of the newly-founded Greek Federation. The members states held a conference in March of 2010, where they ratified a Constitution, except the sticking point of whether to have a monarch or not, as the states of Morea and Cyrenaica demand. The government of Heptanesa has gone on record saying that while they personally oppose the measure, they will support it, and encourage the population to do the same, if only to prevent any fissures from appearing in the Federation over the issue.
All other things aside, the Federation has set one thing in stone - Heptanesa will gain more of Central Greece, as it is reclaimed. They have also been promised that barring a change in the situation, they will be able to take more of Albania in the future as well.
Heptanesa, due to their proximity to Italy, stood to be both the member of the Federation that benefits both the most - and the least - from the Second Sicily War. This was proven true when Sicily began to bombard the Ionians, and invaded. The battles across the islands would last several months, resulting in much destruction, even though the civilians and fishing fleet had been evacuated to the mainland. The islands would also be the main base for the invasions of Lecce during the war. Afterwards, Heptanesa gained some measure of control over the civilians left in the Greek-controlled areas of Lecce Province, although they still have to follow the wishes of the military in that region, and it will be submitted to a referendum in the future.
The destruction on the islands will take several years to recover, though the capital on Corfu does remain largely intact.
Government and Politics
Heptanesa is governed by a council of ministers, with one elected by the local government on each of the main islands, as well as each province from the mainland territories. This council is headed by the First Minister - first among equals - who has usually been the eldest, though not always.
The First Minister, with the approval of the council, appoints one person to be the Doge - the head of state. As of yet, they have all been former members of the council.
At the present time, there are six island provinces - Corfu, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Paxos, and Zakynthos - and seven mainland ones - Acarnania, Arta, Evrytania, Ioannina, Preveza, Sarandë, and Thesprotia - as well as one territorial administration - Karditsa - and a shadow one set up for the island of Kythira.
Heptanesa has, as a result of refugees after Doomsday, become very multicultural, especially in their politics.
They are one of the biggest supporters of the Federation, and are very moderate politically - they are usually willing to compromise - as seen in their opinion on the monarchy - on most issues. This has made Heptanesa more in favor of being neutral in the foreign relations of first the Confederation, and now the Federation, but they are at the same time the most vocal in defending "Greek" interests, whoever they may be held by.
One of their biggest goals from the Federation is to reclaim the seventh Ionian Island, Kythira, from Hellas. Negotiations are underway in Morea over the matter, but it is expected that some sort of agreement, with Hellas trading the island for territorial concessions of some sort in Thessaly, will come about eventually.
Today, much of the economy of Heptanesa is based upon both fishing, and shipping. Their status as being a series of stable, fairly neutral, ports at the entrance to the Adriatic has led to them being a common stopping place for ships plying their trade between Venice and the Alpine Confederation, and the outside world.
Although it is a minor industry at this time, tourism, primarily from the Alpine Confederation, has also begun to pick up as of late, reviving the resorts on the islands.
Exports of meat from the mainland have also begun in large amounts, though the industry is largely negated by the need to import food from elsewhere to supply the mainland territories effectively.