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The Republic of Gemeo (Portuguese: República de Gêmeo) is a country occupying the two Twin Islands, or Ilhos Gêmeos, in the Macaronesia region of the North Atlantic Ocean; as well as nearby Ram Rock and Shankly Island.
The Republic occupies both of the Twin Islands, which form most of its land area. These islands are a part of the Macaronesia region - a large group of several archipelagos in the North Atlantic Ocean. The Ilhos Gêmeos lie Southwest of Madeira, and Northwest of Canary Islands - roughly equidistant between the two. The smaller of the Twin Islands, Refúgia, is to the Northwest, and is home to the capital city (also called Refúgio) - which occupies a large part of the island. The terrain of Refúgia island is predominantly forested, though warm beaches ring the coast, and the rocky Mount Ferreira dominates the Southeast.
Estoril, the larger island, is to the Southwest, separated from Refúgia by the very narrow Strait of Estoril. There have been many suggestions put forward about bridging this strait, usually involving either a Suspension bridge or a man-made sandbank. Estoril itself is more desolate than Refúgia. The Northeast coast, close to Refúgia, has broad beaches, while the south and west of the island have steep, rocky cliffs. Despite the comparatively heavy rain that Gemeo receives, a large part of Estoril remains a semi-desert. Because of this, Estoril's population centers mainly sit along the coast.
The Republic of Gemeo also controls Shankly Island, a much smaller island to the south of the Gêmeos. Shankly Island is roughly circular, with the majority of the coastline comprising of beaches, but the Western part ends in a cliff-face (which is actually a part of Mount Paisley, a major feature of the island). The interior of Shankly Island is forested, with the forest getting thicker and thicker towards the West. The capital of Shankly Island is Anfield, and it has 2 smaller villages, Dalglish and Liverpool.
The only other island of significance is Ram Rock, a tiny outcrop rising almost 20 metres above sea level. Though it is completely uninhabited, Ram Rock is home to a large colony of seabirds, including the rare Gemeo Tern. Ram Rock is currently the country's only national park.
- Main Article: History of Gemeo
Early History (14th - 19th Centuries)
First sighted in the 14th Century by Moroccan explorer Mahmoud ibn-Rabat, on his Voyage of Discovery which allegedly reached the Americas; Gemeo wasn't permanently inhabited until Joao Ferreira claimed the islands for Portugal in 1441, and founded the Capital city, Refúgio. For the next 300 years, Gemeo remained a Portuguese colony, but was considered fairly worthless by the Portuguese government. Because of this, little effort was made to keep order on the islands, and they quickly became a hot-spot of Pirate activity - used by countless Buccaneers as a safe stopping-off point between Europe, North Africa and the Caribbean. Gemean governors were typically very corrupt figures, and the ones who weren't usually 'disappeared' before a year of service.
However, in 1739, the British Empire purchased the islands as a colony for a comparatively small amount; and clamped down hard on Piracy in the area. At first, the locals were grateful to the British for ridding them of the rampant crime which the Pirates had brought; but soon they realized that their economy relied almost entirely on the trade generated by the Criminal Seafarers. The British attempted to fix the situation by emphasizing the islands' agriculture; but the effects of this were limited. However, fishing and aquaculture quickly became popular occupations, and were soon integral to the local economy.
At this time, the majority of Gemeans were of Portuguese or African origin, and at first, very few British immigrants arrived. It wasn't until the mid-19th Century that many upper-class Britons began using the islands as a location for an exotic holiday. Shortly, the richer socialites began purchasing Summer Houses in Gemeo, and a few moved over permanently - bringing with them lower-class British employees. One thing led to another, and by the year 1900, British immigrants made up an estimated 10% of the population. Moroccans, too, began arriving at the very end of the 19th Century, but their numbers were nowhere near as large as the British.
Modern History (20th Century - Present)
World War I was the first time Gemeo fielded its own troops in battle. While Gemeans had fought in several earlier wars (most notably the Boer War), they had had to travel to Britain itself (or some other country), and enlist in the local army; as Gemeo itself had no armed forces. By 1914, this had changed, and 320 Gemean infantrymen formed into a single battalion led by Col. Winchester Holt, which was attached to a Canadian regiment in the Trenches of France. Though this battalion saw little action during the war, and suffered minimal casualties, its men were greeted as heroes upon their return to Gemeo; and every veteran was offered a newly-built house, completely free, by the Colonial Government.
During the inter-war period, Gemeo entered a Tranquil Period, during which the country suffered no major disasters, and its economy and society began to develop quickly. In 1924, the islands were made into a Protectorate of the British Empire, and the Gemean people were granted increased Home Rule, and the power to elect their own government - though the Colonial Governor was still selected by the British Monarch.
At the outbreak of WWII, many Gemeans expressed a desire to remain neutral, but as they were a part of the British Empire, they entered the war as a member of the Allies. In late 1939, for the first time in history, a full Gemean 'army' was mustered - over 3,000 men (around 4.3% of the country's entire population at that time). Following basic training, all but 500 of the Gemean troops were stationed in Egypt, and fought in the Western Desert Campaign until the end of 1942, when they were reassigned to the Tunisia campaign. After victory in Tunisia in 1943, the Gemean troops remained in North Africa as 'peacekeepers' until late 1944, when they were all shipped back to Gemeo.
Gemean Governor Reginald Walker took ill and died in early 1940, and due to the hectic nature of Wartime society, King George VI appointed the elected head of the local Gemean government, Esteban Rolando as Governor. Rolando went on to lead the Colony until its independence in 1974, at which point he became its first president, serving until 1976, at which point he retired. Because of his leadership through the War, and his instrumental role in earning independence for the country, Rolando is widely considered a National Hero and Founding Father of the Republic.
However, the best-known aspect of Gemeo during the Second World War was its role as a safe harbour for refugees from the Vichy French, German and Italian regimes. The Gemeans themselves ran frequent boats between their islands and the North African coast (Morocco in particular); as well as less-frequent runs all the way to France; and even used the Refúgio Airstrip (which later became the Gemeo International Airport) to fly refugees from places as far-flung as Amsterdam and Greece. Though several of these "Anjo Runners" were captured or killed during their missions; they continued with them nonetheless. Many of the people brought to Gemeo during this period moved on to the USA or Canada; and many more returned to their home countries after the war; but some stayed in the islands, and had significant effects on the local culture. In 1970, the Governments of Morocco and France funded large Memorials to the Anjo Runners in Lyons, Casablanca and Refúgio; and the surviving Runners were awarded a collective Legion of Honour award.
The country currently has around 203,000 people.
Race and Ethnicity
- White (61%)
- Portuguese (29%)
- English (13%)
- Irish (9%)
- French (5%)
- Scottish (4%)
- Others (1%)
- Black (30%)
- African (29%)
- Afro-Caribbean & Others (1%)
- Asian (9%)
- Arabic (9%)
- Christianity (88%)
- Roman Catholicism (44%)
- Presbyterianism (30%)
- Anglican & other Christian (14%)
- Islam (10%)
- Other faiths, especially Judaism (2%)