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The Province of Terre Napoleon, commonly called Terre Napoleon, is an autonomous province of the French Empire. It originated in the early nineteenth century as a colony of France, but with the Reforms of 1920, became an integral part of the empire. Since 1931, Terre Napoleon has enjoyed home rule, and a much higher degree of autonomy than the other provinces of the French Empire.
Terre Napoleon is bordered to the north by Aboriginal Australia and the Republic of New South Wales.
The coast of Australia was always of interest to France. During the eighteenth century, expeditions under Bouganville, la Perouse, and many others were sent to explore and map the coastline. In 1801, Napoleon sent Nicolas Baudin to map the south of the continent. He named the coast 'Terre Napoleon", in honour of the then first consul. The French government entertained hopes of establishing a colony there, but with the British firmly established in Sydney, those hopes were put to rest. That is, until 1804. In that year, a convict uprising in New South Wales threw out the British and established a republic. The new nation, seeing France as an ally, sent a ship to Mauritius asking for troops to protect their country.
The French government saw this as a perfect opportunity to establish a foothold in Terre Napoleon. A small fleet full of soldiers and settlers was dispatched to Sydney. Leaving a garrison there, the rest of the fleet continued south and established the town of Bonaparte in Gulphe Bonaparte, claiming the entire Southern coast for the French Empire.
Throughout the rest of the century, the colony expanded across the southern coast. Immigrants from Europe arrived in the "virgin land" to farm the rich soil and fish in the bountiful Southern Ocean. In the 1850s, the discovery of gold in Ballarat sparked a massive gold rush. The colony was swamped with immigrants from all over the world, Russian prospectors, the rich and poor of Europe and the starving of China all tried their luck digging in the "Golden Country". The massive influx of migrants stimulated the colony's economy. The millions of new workers built railways, telegraphs and entire towns.
The colony achieved provincial status in 1920, along with the other colonies of the French Empire. A prosperous decade of growth and a growing sense of identity culminated in 1931 with the achievement of home rule within the French Empire.
Despite the woes of the Asia-Pacific War and the subsequent depression, the Province has continued to grow and develop. A thriving tourism industry as well as free trade agreements with New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land mean that Terre Napoleon today is the wealthiest of the non-European provinces of the empire.
As a part of the French Empire, the highest level of government in Terre Napoleon is the Imperial French
Government in Paris. Terre Napoleon sends elected representatives to the Imperial Senate and Corps Legislative. The Imperial Government in Paris is responsible for the defence and foreign affairs of Terre Napoleon. Outside of those two issues, the Provincial Government of Terre Napoleon is responsible.
The Provincial government in Terre Napoleon exercises home rule over the Province. The government consists of the unicameral Corps Legislative de Terre Napoleon, and the Governeur, appointed by the Corps to represent the Emperor. Members of the Corps are elected by preferential vote. The Premier of Terre Napoleon is the leader of the majority party, and therefore, the head of government.
There is a push amongst many Terre Napoleons to secede from the French Empire and become a independent country, while keeping the emperor as head of state. The movement has slowly grown in popularity since the 1970s with the Secessionist Party consistently winning a few seats in the Corps Legislative. However, an independence referendum in 1999 was defeated by a margin of 64 to 36 percent.