Due to its port, Zenith has many industries such as pharmaceutical, software, jewelry, liquor, canned food, shoes, perfumes and tobacco, electronics, as well as tourism.
It was founded in 1650 by the Trading Company of the Overseas (COU) in Rugen Island, at the time a part of the Swedish Pomerania, in a territory purchased from the King of Sweden, Gustav IV Adolf.
Since then, it was invaded in 1810 by Napoleon, retaken in 1813, and invaded by the Germans in both World Wars.
Unlike the Cadiz, Zenith is not a point of conflict in the Brazilian-German relations which are, actually, extremely friendly. In a survey in 2010, it was certified that 83% of Germans consider the Brazilian sovereignty over Zenith lawful. Many see the city like any other micro-nation of Europe.
The Zenitian standards of living are extremely high and its economy is wealthy and developed. If Zenith was a sovereign country, it would have the 4th highest nominal GDP per capita in Europe (the 5th in the world) and the 31st nominal total GDP (85th in the world), and it would have the second highest standard of living in the continent by HDI (0.941).
Its motto is "Stella Altissimia ex Constellatio" (Latin: The constellation's highest star). This makes allegory of a 19th century saying, which put Brazil as a constellation, and Zenith as its highest (most northern) star.
Zenith, is in astronomy the technical term for the point (imaginary) intercepted by a vertical axis (imaginary) drawn from the head of an observer (located on the earth's surface) and extending to the celestial sphere.
The word zenith comes from an wrong reading of the Arabic expression سمت الرأس (samt air-ra's), meaning "toward the head" or "way above the head." This translation or transliteration to medieval Latin, was made by medieval scribes during the 14th century. The expression was incorrectly reduced to 'samt' ('direction') and written as senit/zenith.
In Brazil, it was called "Zenith" by the astronomer Carlos Vaz Castronelli in 1582. The spelling became popular in Brazil and Europe in a few decades.
Zenith is sometimes used as a given name, most commonly for males. Its meaning, "highest point," evokes success and power.
With the foundation of Zenith, the name was chosen in honor of the astronomer even present among the founders.
Since long, the COU longed for a permanent base on the Baltic Sea. Although it possessed some ports, a city, a fortress, was needed to maintain COU's influence in the region.
With the Thirty Years War, the COU began negotiations with the king of Sweden, over whom COU had great influence. The island of Rugen was a strategic and well located region. In 1630, the entire northern population of the island had been decimated by the Swedes, and the area was unpopulated.
In 1650, the COU bought the north of the island, the peninsulas Wittow and Jasmund and Schaabe spit. With the intention of maintaining a permanent post on the Baltic for the trade of wheat, amber and wood, the COU founded the city that would be called "the Empire's highest point" (metaphorically, the further northern point), Zenith. Despite the constant tense atmosphere in the region, the area of COU about Zenith colony hava almost never been shaken, thanks to the COU's policy of encouraging the constant conflict between the Baltic powers and to maintain secret relationships with all of them.
Mainly populated by Germans and Brazilians, Zenith has grown as one of the most important ports in Northern Europe. Between 1670 and 1780, all the Baltic trade shifted from Zenith.
Friendly relations and influence on all Baltic nation and the Holy Roman Empire, allowed the COU to maintain its grip on Zenith, even if the rest of the island changed its owner.
The COU's sovereignty over Zenith was only militarily contested in the early 19th century. With the Napoleon's "Great Plan". France invaded the city in 1808, just after imposing the Treaty of Tilst on Prussia and garrisoning its troops in the country.
After Napoleon's defeat, the Congress of Vienna gave back Zenith to the COU. However, after the French occupation the city entered a period of decline that only ended with the independence of Brazil. Pedro I, was concerned about the strategic and commercial importance of Zenith in Europe. Its location in the middle of the continent would be of vital importance for the Brazilian trade and goods could get more easily and without middlemen in both the Baltic region and the distant Russian Empire. In exchange for financial aid, the COU gave the Brazilian government several concessions in its colonies, like Zenith, as well as influence over the COU's policy. In addition to the commercial importance, Zenith had at time great military importance. For Brazil, both Zenith and Cadiz should be examples of the Brazilian military power in Europe. As said by the current Minister of Foreign Relations, they are "the Brazilian stone inside the European left shoe", a form to intimidate any European power of the time which would dare challenge the Brazilian power. In 1835, with the COU's dissolution, Zenith become a Brazilian colony.
Zenith's Brazilian population, as well as its loyalty to Brazil and economic development, allowed it to become a Imperial Realm in 1876. Zenith becomes the Grand Duchy of Zenith, with the Brazilian monarch as its monarch (Grand Duke of Zenith).
During the First World War, Zenith is invaded by Germany, which allowed it to destroy the Brazilian fleet in the Baltic Sea and led Brazil to declare war against the Triple Alliance.
Again, now at the Second World War, Zenith was bombed and invaded by Germany. The Germans deported many Brazilian Jews from Zenith to Poland and Austria.
After the war, in 1947, Zenith choose to maintain itself as a Brazilian territory, and became the Autonomous City of Zenith. A mercantile city until then, Zenith industrialized quickly, becoming at the 1960s one of the most developed regions in Europe.
In 2005, Zenith, alongside with Cadiz, became was inserted in the European Economic Area (the EU's single market) by bilateral agreement between Brazil and the European Union.
Zenith is a Brazilian Autonomous City. It is, in practice, similar to any other Brazilian province in rights and duties. It means that it is an autonomous sub-national entity, having government (self-government, self-legislation and self-tax collecting) and its own constitution (Constitution of the Autonomous City of Zenith), that is federated to other federal units of the country to form the Kingdom of the United Provinces of Brazil. As all of the Brazilian subnational entities, its government works as a presidential republic. The Executive Power is exercised by a Governor elected by universal suffrage for four years and the Judiciary by provincial courts of first and second instance that take care of common justice. Its legislature is an unicameral Legislative Assembly with elected deputies (representatives). The Legislative Assembly oversees the activities of the executive branch in the province. Differently from the Provinces, and similar to the Insular Territories, Zenith is divided into non-autonomous districts. The current governor is Marilia Bosco.
Although the Metropolitan Government have authority over all the Peninsulas of Jasmund and Wittow and the Schaabe spit, the city of Zenith properly covers most of Wittow, and only it. Jasmund is mostly covered by farms and the Jasmund National Park.
The Autonomous City of Zenith is divided into six districts:
- Southern Zenith
- Northern Zenith
- Northern Jasmund
- Southern Jasmund
The total population in the general census of 2015 was of 699,000 inhabitants. In the 2015 census, 99% of the population (692,000 inhabitants) lived in the city of Zenith, while 1% (6,990 inhabitants) lived in the rural area at the Jasmund Peninsula. By ethnicity, Zenith's population are divided in two ways. By national origins, 78% of the population descends from Brazilians, 20% from Germans and 2% from other nationalities. By the other way, 64% are White, 20% are Mixed, 14,5% are Black 4% are Asian and 0,5% are Polynesian.
In 2015, 80% of people living in Zenith was born in Zenith, 14% were born in the rest of Brazil, 6% were born in foreign countries, mainly from Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Poland.
Christianity is the main religion in Zenith: the majority (64%) belongs to various Protestant churches and a large minority (24%) are Roman Catholics. The largest congregation is the Lutheran Church. In addition, 12% of the population is agnostic or irreligious.
Zenith's stable and high-income market economy features moderate growth, low inflation, and a high level of innovation. Unemployment is traditionally low, although it had risen to 5.1% by May 2012, due largely to the effect of the 2008 global financial crisis. Zenith is known for having one of Europe's highest quality of life. If it was a sovereign country, it would have the 4th highest nominal GDP per capita in Europe and the 31st total nominal GDP, and it would have the second highest standard of living in the continent by HDI.
The industrial sector, which was dominated by steel until the 1960s, has since diversified to include chemicals, rubber, and other products. Nowadays, Zenith's industry is based in pharmaceuticals, electronics and food. During the past decades, growth in the financial sector has more than compensated for the decline in steel production. Services, especially banking and finance, account for a big amount of economic output. In 2015, Zenith was one of the major European financial centers.
Agriculture is based on small, family-owned farms. As is common in all Brazilian regions, in Zenith, farmers have access to high technology equipment and techniques. Zenith produces large amounts of fruits and legumes using the same high productivity techniques created by the Cozumelans.
Fishing is also quite important in Zenith, as well as its trade port. The port of Zenith is very active and the main link between Brazil and the European Union.
Tourism is quite important to Zenith's economy. Zenith is known as one of Europe's capitals of culture. With a bustling cultural life, beautiful architecture, the Jasmund National Park, as well as the Brazilian cultural events, the region receives annually about one million tourists.
Zenith among the Euro nations
Zenith has especially close trade and financial ties to Germany, Denmark and Sweden. As a part of the European Economic Area since 2005, Zenith enjoys the advantages of being in the EU's single market, with which Zenith has seen a large integration. As goods, services and people from Zenith are free to move throughout Europe, Zenith has much capital spread in the continent.
The currency of Zenith is the Brazilian Real. Zenith is in the unusual position of being surrounded by countries that use the Euro. As a result, the Euro is de facto accepted in many places. Brazilian Royal Railways in Zenith accept Euros, both at ticket counters and in automatic ticket machines. Also many public phones, vending machines or ticket machines accept Euro coins. Many shops and smaller businesses that accept Euros take notes only, and give change in Brazilian Real, usually at a less favourable exchange rate than banks. Many bank cash machines issue Euros at the traded exchange rate as well as Brazilian Real.
Zenith has one international airport and two merchant and two passenger ports. Rail transport, based on the Zenith's SpeedRail Station, are very important to connect the city to the whole Europe. The Astra Airlines, one of the biggest Brazilian carriers, are based in Zenith.
Within the city, Zenith has a complex system of integrated subway, monorail and tram systems.