The Kingdom of San Joaquin, often simply referred too as "Visalia", is a nation-state in the Southern San Joaquin Valley of California, a ways north of the ruins of Los Angeles and southeast of the California Republic. It is primarily run by people, often from Mexico and points south, who once worked fields in the area, their descendants, and other Hispanic people from the area.
The Spanish were reluctant to settle in this area because of climate and the danger they perceived from the local native American population, the Yokuts. Comandante Pedro Fages, while hunting for deserters in 1772, discovered a great lake surrounded by marshes and filled with rushes which he named Los Tules. It is from this lake that the county derives its name. Following the discovery of gold in California in 1848, settlers flooded into the San Joaquin Valley and carried out a campaign to drive the Yokuts off their land.
When California achieved statehood in 1850, Tulare County did not exist. The land that became Tulare County and Visalia was part of the huge Mariposa County. In 1852 some adventuresome pioneers settled in this area. They petitioned the state legislature for county status and on July 10 of that same year Tulare County became a reality. In 1853, Visalia became the county seat of Tulare County, then an extensive County encompassing parts or all of what became Inyo, Fresno, Kings and Kern Counties in 1866, 1856, 1893, and 1866, respectively.
In 1858 Visalia was added to the Overland Stage route from St. Louis to San Francisco. Many saloons and hotels sprouted up around the stage stop downtown and commerce was brisk if a bit risky. The next memorable event was the arrival of the telegraph in 1860. Visalians then could get timely information of the events taking place on the East Coast which would ultimately develop into the American Civil War. During the American Civil War many of citizens of Visalia couldn't decide whether Visalia should stand on the side of the North or the South, so they simply had a Mini Civil War of their own on Main Street. No one really knows the outcome of the war, but apparently it was concluded to the satisfaction of the participants and life returned to normal.
The federal government however, was not so easily convinced and reacting to concern about sedition banned Visalia’s pro-south Equal Rights Expositor newspaper and established a military garrison. On June 24, 1862, Camp Babbit was established by two companies of the 2nd California Cavalry, one mile from the town of Visalia. It was intended to maintain order in the area, where pro Confederate partisans were creating unrest, and in putting down Indian uprisings in the Owens River Valley. During these Civil War years, Visalia was incorporated which gave the town new rights. The second incorporation in 1874 moved Visalia into city status with a common council and an ex-officio Mayor and President. Later on, Japanese Americans would be interned in the area.
The immediate area around the city did not suffer a direct hit on Doomsday - the nearest strike was on Lemoore Naval Air Station, about 28 miles west of the city. Other strikes in the south of the valley included the cities of Fresno and Bakersfield, as well as China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station. Small amounts of fallout would also hit the valley through mountains from the east and west, from what is now believed to have been strikes on Camp Roberts, Fort Hunter Liggett, San Luis Obispo, and Vandenburg Air Force Base to the west and strikes on the Las Vegas region and the fabled Area 51 to the east. The mountains on either side, however, along with the wind patterns, meant that fallout in the area was very limited and was only of danger or anything close to it was in areas near and upwind from the small strike at Lemoore.
In the immediate aftermath of Doomsday, survivors from the area strikes began to arrive in the region. The locals, however, did not take likely to this. Most managed to force the refugees off, and the farms closed in upon themselves for the most part, in many cases removing their workers, many of them illegals from Mexico and elsewhere, from the land as well.
One of the ones that did not kick out their workers was the dairy farms belonging to Adriano Nunes and his family, descendants of Portuguese immigrants. Along with his extended family, they took in as many of these workers and the refugees as they could. These people were pathetically grateful for the assistance, and since so many more mouths had to be fed, Adriano used the opportunity, and the situation, to expand his holdings, and those belonging to to his family. Several nearby farms were taken over by his impromptu militia, which began to grow and grow in number, thus making it necessary to take over more and more of the farmland. These forces continued their normal work, as well as defending the region.
The city of Tulare, having managed to keep out both the refugees and workers, became alarmed at this development, and sent a detachment of citizens and police to remove the militia from the farms. Upon encountering the militia forces, this detachment, having vastly underestimated the size of the militia, was thrashed and forced back to the city.
Obviously, this angered the membership of the militia, who were only trying to survive. Adriano and his deputies quickly organized a counterattack, with the goal of securing their safety. This attack met dogged resistance, and by the time it ended and the Nunes' militia had taken control in February of 1984, it had destroyed much of the city to various degrees.
To the north, the county seat of Visalia had not fared as well. Refugees from Fresno and Lemoore had caused some disruption, but the police and surviving troops from Lemoore managed to keep some measure of control. The fallout from Lemoore, however, caused a large loss of life and a collapse in order for the most part in the city itself.
In Tulare, Adriano and his deputies readily acknowledged that the city, while repairable, was no place to establish a headquarters, and neither would be the family farm - later the major farming settlement of Nunes - because of its isolation. Hearing of the situation to the north, they decided to take the city, which given its infighting would have a better chance of being intact, and the area farms would be a welcome addition to their supplies and mean a growth in their numbers. To this end, they turned out to be right - outside of a few stubborn pockets, the city was not terribly hard to secure. The troops and city government, holed up near city hall and several areas nearby, were given a choice: surrender, join the militia, or die. The majority chose to join them, and the remainder mostly surrendered, though Nunes' militia would spend a few days hunting down the stragglers.
Taking advantage of the regional power void, and his total control of the militia, Adriano declared himself King of the region, calling it the Kingdom of San Joaquin, under himself, Adriano the First. His biggest supporters received large tracts of land, and most got some to call their own. Those who did not support his declaration - and there was quite a few, though not near a majority - were "removed" from the picture. Adriano and his family took up residence in what had once been the Visalia city hall, establishing it as their primary residence and their farm as a secondary one.
Early Years of the Kingdom
Obviously, there was dissent to the declaration of the Kingdom, being in the territory of what had been a republic. While his movement and militia mostly backed him, liking having stability and one of their own in charge, a fair number of the residents of the cities did not. As Adriano strengthened his control, and took over more farmland, this dissent organized itself.
While this was going on, the farms, many of which had belonged to various companies, most of which were destroyed on Doomsday, were divided up and given to loyal subjects to farm. With power out, and an end to replacement parts, many of the refugees, still arriving even by 1988, as well as many of the former laborers from the old farms, became instrumental in taking water from the canals and rivers to the farms to water the crops, as well as constructing primitive windmills to pump the water where possible. By 1990, however, this had largely ceased, as increased rainfall had enabled the crops to survive without being watered.
In 1991, the dissenters finally launched their move. An attempt was made on the life of the King, wounding him, and an insurrection was launched in Hanford, where prisoners who were being forced to attempt to scavenge the remains of Lemoore Naval Air Station for equipment were held. Being without any significant amount of semi-modern weaponry, however, the rebels were put down by the army in a matter of days - the surviving rebels would be forced at gunpoint into the remains of the base, hauling out much equipment, until they died. The King would survive his wounds, though they would no doubt aid in his death in August of 1995. His son, Devin, would ascend to the throne as Devin I. It was also around this time that the first encounters with raiders near what had once been Edwards Air Force Base occurred, and the construction of flood controls around the reborn Lake Tulare began.
In 1993, Adriano sent a team of explorers to the southwest, over former state roads 41 and 46, to get an idea of how alone they were in the region. These explorers would encounter scouts from the Chumash Republic north of the radioactive remains of San Luis Obispo in late summer, and get a glimpse of what had happened in the state since the event had occurred. Other explorers were sent to the north and south, finding little but devastation.
Reign of King Devin
Following his ascension to the throne in August of 1995, the King has kept a very heavy hand on dissent, in what is likely a reaction to what happened to his father. He did, however, establish a formal advisory council, though it did not, and still lacks, any real power over him.
Continued efforts into the remains of Lemoore finally paid off in 2002, when radiation levels had fallen enough for the northern runways to be thoroughly investigated. A pair of aircraft, having apparently crashed on takeoff - likely when the airburst over the southern runway went off - were discovered in poor condition. While the aircraft are obviously are not usable themselves, the technology and weaponry found on the planes has proved useful to the Kingdom in years since. It is believed that the buildings on the base, or what remains of them, will be explorable sometime around 2017, along with the ruins of China Lake and the more central areas of Fresno and Bakersfield.
Efforts into Fresno and Bakersfield yield what usually amounts to household products, and small amounts of tools and machinery. It is through exploring the burned-out suburbs of Fresno that teams from the towns that are today the California Republic were first encountered in 1998.
Prisoners began being left to die on newly formed islands in Lake Tulare in 2005. It was also during this year that it began to flood the Lemoore site, leaving much of it in four feet or so of water, and prisoners began to be forced to dredge the Kings River and a canal from Hanford to the lake, making the town, still rebuilding from the rebellion, a port for boats there. Canals connecting the capital and Tulare to this system, and dredging the rivers somewhat, are also being planned.
Currently, most effort of the Kingdom is being made in the northeast, into what was once Sequoia National Park, forcing out any outlaws present in the area, and establishing some measure of authority, through several logging settlements, which will cut up dead and fallen trees. Living trees are to be left alone, given the attitudes held by the locals towards the majestic trees, and especially since they are even on one side of the local currency, made from fallen sequoias.
Government and Politics
The Kingdom is a near-absolute monarchy. Essentially, this means that the King controls all aspects of the government, and is advised by a group of ministers, usually from areas all over the kingdom, who he appoints to advise him, headed up by Chief Minister, currently Connie Conway of Tulare. The monarch is under no obligation to listen to them, it is not unusual for him to do so. A certain degree of what is essentially serfdom also is present in the Kingdom, in the form of debt bondage, as well.
The government has in several cases imprisoned those who demand reforms, or the like. This has included representatives from CRUSA, who haughtily demanded that the king step down and return power to the people. These prisoners are kept in the old county jail for several months, until their muscles weaken, and then they are taken to islands in the lake and left there to rot.
The city of Visalia itself, after suffering a decline in population as its residents spread outwards into the countryside to work on the farms in the aftermath of Doomsday, today has rebounded and even managed to increase beyond that, to a population of 85,000 or so, though many of these people continue to work in the fields scattered in and around the city. It is governed, like other cities and large towns in the Kingdom, by a Mayor appointed by the King - usually a member of his family, or a long-time supporter.
Many of the nobility in the Kingdom were once illegal, or temporary, Hispanic farm workers, in the region. As a result, despite there being a fair number of non-Hispanic nobility, there is a certain amount of discrimination towards Anglos in the Kingdom, though they do form the majority of the population and are guaranteed rights.
The King is married to Elizabeth of Tulare, daughter of an early supporter of his father, since 1991. The couple has two daughters, Crown Princess Eva Rosa and Princess Julia Leandra.
The military of the kingdom only consists of an army, which has attached to it a small boat flotilla on the lake and a few surviving aircraft, which are at present non-functional.
It is larger than a nation of the kingdom would normally have - the presence of the various bandit and slaver groups to the south assures this, as does the fact that there is still those who would wish to dispose of the king.
However, that need does not mean that the army will not take Anglos. While much of the command structure consists even today of the leadership from the early militias, they are not usually in operational command, and there is a fair smattering of surviving personnel from Lemoore throughout it. In fact, the commanding general, General Michael MacNicholl, Duke of Lemoore, is even the son of an officer at the base that died on Doomsday.
As it was prior to Doomsday, the area is very largely agricultural in its economic practices. While this is under the control of individual farms, most of these farms outside of the major landowners, who were among the leaders of the old militia and are thus exempt, must sell their extra produce to the farming operations, at a fair price, owned by the King in the town of Nunes around his alternate residence.
Past that, most are employed in logging, or various forms of construction. Logging generally occurs in the mountains on either side of the valley, as well as somewhat in what was once Sequoia National Park, where fallen or dead trees are collected, with a large portion of the wood of the trees going to construction and the heartwood of collected trees going to the local currency, first introduced in 1994. Construction is largely projects having to do with the expanding lake in some fashion.
Like many other areas of the former United States, the southern San Joaquin Valley started to receive amounts of rainfall not seen for many decades with in a few years of Doomsday. When combined with the degradation of the irrigation system over time, this has led to the area that was once Tulare Lake, drained completely since the early 20th century unless there was flooding, to begin to refill, and the countryside to bloom. The lake has hit a size not seen since the 1870s, and is expected to end up around the same size as it was back in the 1840s when settlement first began in the area. A system of dams and dikes currently under construction will work to ensure that it gets no bigger than that except during floods. The new lake has already flooded the former town of Stratford, and covers a fair amount of the radiated site of the Lemoore strike as well.
The Kingdom controls the entire shoreline of the lake at this time, though settlement is sparse on the western edges, where the authority of the King barely stretches and will extend as it increases in size.
The Kingdom first made contact with the Chumash natives and the halfways-united California Republic in the 1990s, going over the mountains in 1993, and around the ruins of Fresno in 1998, respectively. The slavers in Santa Cruz and the raiders in Ventura would eventually follow, largely through the other states, but soldiers have occasionally encountered Venturan raider parties in the safe areas around the irradiated remains of Edwards Air Force Base in the past. Other nation-states would eventually follow.
Relations with the government in Placerville claiming to be the descendant of the state government are bad - Placerville continues to decline to deal with the Kingdom, viewing it as little better than the slavers and raiders from Santa Cruz and Ventura. Their claims on the state, including the valley, do not help matters, either.
Chumash, however, is another story. Relations between the two have long been good, and there is talk about some sort of railway or the like being built through one of the nearby mountain passes.
Following a meeting between the King and the Chumash ambassador during a party celebrating the anniversary of the King gaining the throne on August 18th, 2011, a series of meetings followed between the two, as well as, in Chumash, the King's ambassador and the Chumash President. On October 1st, joint with King Devin's birthday celebrations, a formal alliance between the two was announced. Joint operations against Ventura are expected sometime in the next year.
Elsewhere, the Kingdom really only is in contact with the state of Sierra Nevada, though they have talked to representatives from the LoN, USA, and ANZC. However, this has only been sparingly, given the difficulties of getting to the Kingdom, and their position on the United States. They would consider joining the NAU, however, should its borders expand to those belonging to the Kingdom. With regards to Sierra Nevada, the Kingdom will likely expand further into the mountains to their east at some point in the future to gain easy land access to them as well as regular contact.