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The Duchy of Sorbia, Sorbia, Luzica, is a small constitutional monarchy in Central Europe. To the North lies Brandenburg, to the West Electoral Saxony and to the East and South is Austria-Bohemia. The capital is Chósebuz and the population is around 637,000.
The Head of State is Duke Czimislav VI.
The official language is Sorbian although German is also widely used. It is the only fully sovereign Slavic member of the Holy Roman Empire.
It uses the Bohemian Crown but as Austria seeks to equalise it with the Austrian Mark, Sorbia will probably switch to either the Brandenburg Mark or the Imperial Mark in due course.
Settling in a wide area between the Wends/Pomersk to the North and the Czechs to the South, the Sorbs formed a broad barrier to the westward expansion of the Frankish empire. Repeatedly invaded by their neighbours they soon lost independence and fell under alternating periods of Saxon or Polish rule. However, this early foreign domination allowed them to escape the crusades directed against the pagan Slavic tribes to their North. As Denmark increased its grip on Pomerania, and came under increasing pressure from the Empire as a result, it fostered the remaining Sorbian nobility as a distraction. In 1203, with Polish support the soon to be crowned Duke Casimir II scored a victory against the Saxons and forced them to recognise their sovereignty. Sorbian troops formed a significant part of the Danish-Polish force that met the all-conquering Mongols in 1242 in Bohemia. Though the campaign failed to stop them the Sorbians were so well regarded that Duke Henry II of Silesia confirmed 'eternal friendship'. This alliance would, in time, help create a united Polish state and Sorbs were often used as mercenaries as the Poles moved Eastwards into Lithuania and Ruthenia.
Later as the Luxembourg family secured both the Bohemian and Brandenburg thrones Sorbia became an important route between the two, bypassing the Wettin Saxon lands. Its dukes eagerly married the minor Luxembourg princesses whenever given the chance. However its valuable position would often be fought over. During the Hussite Wars it was largely powerless to stop the Ultraquist armies marauding through its lands and converting a large slice of the population.
After the Hussites were defeated Sorbian returned wholly to the Catholic faith but attempted to stay aloof from the inter-faith fray consuming Germany at the time, drawing equal support from Catholic Poland and Lutheran Luxembourg. But nonetheless it became a key battleground for the opposing forces during the Fifty Years War, levelling cities and farmland. Some 60% of its population either died or fled during the course of the war.
Post Fifty Years War Sorbia settled into a period of quiet rebuilding. It welcomed German settlers, often escaping their own devastated lands on the Rhine to rebuild the towns, leading to some civil strife as the two cultures clashed, however in general the duchy became a much more rural and agrarian society than before. After Austria took over Bohemia Sorbia kept relations cordial but kept much closer to Brandenburg. It fought well against Electoral Saxony in the various engagements making up the Brandenburg Wars (1801-1815) though Chósebuz was repeatedly burnt. It was unable to avoid being press-ganged into Imperial service as Austria invaded Brandenburg during the 1st and 2nd Imperial-Kalmar Wars.
The bicameral Diet has largely sidelined the Ducal family through hard fought reforms and they only retain the merest hint of executive power. However they are popular, with both the Sorbs and the German minority, and various members lead celebrations around the country on independence day (August 12th). The current head of state is Duke Czimislav VI and his Chancellor is Jakub Kosyk. Elections are carried out every four years.