More than 2,000 km away from Sheba`s mainland lies the Sabaean city of Mombasa, the last of more than a dozen Saban colonies on Africa`s Eastern shore, which has remained part of the kingdom.
The population is 6 million, and the capital is Ma´rib.
Arabia has been populated for roughly 20,000 years. Due to its harsh climate, it remained at the periphery of the great early historic civilizations (Egypt, Sumer etc.). Important early polities were Dilmun and Magan in the East, the Nabataeans in the West and Sheba, Himjar, Awsan, Qataban, and Maīin in the South.
Following the Roman-Jewish wars in the 1st century CE and the Decian persecutions of Jews and Christians in the 3rd century CE, many Christians and Jews fled to Arabia. They contributed to the conversion of the King of Sheba in 258. With the help of its well-educated immigrants, Sheba conquered its neighbouring kingdoms and controlled all of Southern Arabia from the 4th century onwards.
From the 5th to the early 8th century, the Kings and Queens of Sheba and their miaphysitic Christian bishops pursued cautious and successful strategies of Christianisation of alliance-building with Western, Central, Eastern and Northern Arabian tribes, the strongest of which were the Quraish, the Taghlib, the Lakhmids, the Jafnids and the Azd. One by one, these tribes became allied, baptised, vassalised and integrated into the Kingdom of Sheba. Wars were seldom necessary for this expansion, the exceptions being Sheba`s implication in the Jafnid-Lakhmid wars and in the crushing of the rebellion of the Muslims, which ended with a final Sheban victory in the Fire of Yathrib in 627.
From the 8th century on, Sheba controlled all of Arabia, and towards the end of the 9th century, Christianisation was completed. Traditional polytheistic religions were wiped out, while the significant Jewish minority continued to be tolerated (partly because they had powerful Ostrogothic and Roman protectors), but was excluded from political power over the next centuries.
Sheba controlled both of the important sea routes which linked the Mediterranean with Greater India and East Africa, which was a source of power and wealth and contributed to the development of a strong Sabaean merchant network. Sheba maintained several emporia, concessions and small colonies on Africa`s East Coast, on the island of Masdagarstan (OTL Madagascar) and India`s West Coast, from which Christian Arabian influences spread into African Kirinyaga and Masdagarstan, and Indian Kerala.
During the industrial revolution, Sheba acquired enormous wealth through its abundance of oil. Apart from petrochemicals, Sheba never had to develop its own industry, yet it became the world`s wealthiest country in the 14th and 15th centuries. Naturally, Sheba led the coalition of nations who were opposed to an international treaty which capped carbon dioxide emissions, even when the catastrophic effects of the global climate change had already become palpable and were felt by hundreds of millions of people. In this context, Sheba was invaded by World Council forces led by China and the Union of Atlantic Nations. It regained its sovereignty after twelve years when the queen signed the Tlacopan International Protocol.
Sheba managed to convert its economy in the 17th century, and it has been the world`s no. 1 provider of photovoltaic energy ever since - not regaining its former world leadership in living standards, but certainly ranking among the wealthy countries. Throughout the last centuries, Sheba has shown great political and social stability.
Constitution and politics
Sheba is a hereditary monarchy with a parliamentary constitution.
Current head of state is Queen Sahar VII. For more than a hundred years now, the monarchs come from the Banu Adi dynasty, which is only the second Quraish dynasty in Sheba`s three milennia-long royal history.
The queen has mostly representative functions, although formally, she appoints the Prime Minister and the supreme judges and signs laws; powers which no monarch has made political use of for more than four centuries.
The parliament (Majlis) has 160 seats and resides in Ma`rib. Parliamentarians are elected for three years according to proportional representation on six regional lists.
Four to five major parties dominate the Majlis, and coalition governments are formed most of the time.
Sheba has a middle-sized professional army with a powerful navy.
In foreign affairs, Sabaean governments have formed flexible alliances and sought to balance the powers of Rome, Persia, Aksum, Celts and Indians in their wider sphere of influence.
Sheba`s population levels are stable. Although historically shaped by immigration from Persia and Africa, 93 % of all Sabaeans consider themselves ethnically "Arabian". Non-Arabian minorities are mostly of African origin. They make up 29 % of Mombasa`s population.
Arabic is Sheba`s only official language and spoken by everyone. Historically, Sabaean Arabic is based on Southern Arabian varieties.
EconomySheba`s considerable wealth has always been based on energy resources and profits from global trade and its surrounding services (including financial services). While oil was much more important in earlier centuries, today Saba draws most of its excess exports from its gigantic photovoltaic power plants in the Arabic desert, which provide European, West Asian and East African countries with solar electricity. Sheba still exports oil, too.
|GDP||56,470 DN p.c.p.a.|
|unemployment rate||5.4 %|
|trade balance||excess export 9.6 % of GDP|
|tertiary education||71.6 %|
|agriculture||0.3 % of GDP (0.9 % of workforce)|
|industry||64.6 % of GDP (21.9 % of workforce)|
|services||35.1 % of GDP (77.2 % of workforce)|
Sheba`s modern, but small-sized agriculture only produces a fraction of what Sabaeans consume; more than 80 % of food and beverages are imported.
One of the world`s most encompassing welfare systems provide free healthcare and education, comfortable pensions and child alllowances, as well as unemployment, reintegration, invalidity and other benefits.
Sheba is a Christian country. Every Sabaean, unless they declare themselves otherwise (which is currently done by around 10 % of the population), is a member of the Sabaean Church by birth. The queen or king of Sheba is the nominal head of the church and appoints the Sabaean arch-bishop, which for several centuries is in fact elected by representatives from local parishes.
In comparison to Aksum, the other great Christian country, the Church of Sheba has always been oriented in a stricter way at scripture and has taken more orthodox stances (e.g. against homosexuality or Buddhist syncretisms).
The majority of the population today, though, cannot be characterised as orthodox believers. Rituals and festivities are respected, but only one in three Sabaeans attends mass every Sunday, and less than half of the population declares in anonymous polls to pray regularly. The above-mentioned sins (homosexuality and Buddhist syncretisms, not to speak of extra-marital sex, which has become so normal that even the Church of Sheba has stopped condemning it, without condoning it openly either) can be openly observed in Sabaean society, too.
Sabaean Christianity has enriched popular global culture with such rituals as the White Wedding or the celebration of Christmas with the exchange of gifts and copious feasts, both of which have spread across the globe to Christian and non-Christian societies alike.
Elementary and secondary schooling is compulsory, and literacy levels range above 98 %. Tertiary education is enjoyed by over 70 % of the population. All education is provided by the state and free of charge. Schools and universities have relative curricular freedom. The two universities (in Ma´rib and Mecca) have a good global reputation, while several professional academies provide excellent training not only for Sheba`s workforce. Sabaean schools fare slightly better than their Roman and Celtic counterparts in international comparative studies.