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The Gardic Realm
Anthem:  Hymn
|1,959,625 km2 (756,615 sq mi)|
• 2017 estimate census
|$ 3.624 trillion|
• Per capita
|Currency||Gardic Rikisdalur (TRD)|
Gardarike (Gardic: Garðaríki), officially the Gardic Realm is a sovereign state located in central Artemia. It borders Svenskt and Samotkhe to the south; Marressaly to the south-west; Sannlibo to the north-west; Thuyiquakliq to the north and Aloea to the north-east. Gardarike's northern coast follows the Bolungar Gulf which faces the Boreal Sea. It is the largest sovereign state on the Artemian mainland by area, and one of the most populated, with 158 million inhabitants. It is a upper-middle income state with a developed industrial economy. Gardarike is an old state in Artemian history, existing largely uninterrupted with a similar system of government since the medieval period. The name Gardarike literally translates to English as "The state of walled cities" referring to the multiple settlements that formed along the Silfra river in Gardarike in the early days of its existence.
Archaeological excavation has revealed that human settlement in Gardarike began as early as 40,000 years ago in what is now modern day Southern Gardarike. As the Ice sheet that covered Northern Artemia during the Ice Age receded, early people of central Artemia migrated north and continued their hunter-gatherer lifestyle for approximately 10,000 years.
Little is known about the culture of these hunter gatherers until the turn of the first millennium, when Boreal Tribes appeared in the area.
Arrival of Norse settlers
The written history of Gardarike begins in the early 9th century AD with the testimony of the Ringeriker explorer Fafnir Steinsson in the Saga of Fafnir Wolftooth. The Saga describes the initial discovery of the Silfra river, the second voyage in which he made contact with native finnic peoples and documented the banks of the Silfra river, and the third voyage and subsequent waves of Norse settlement to the region. A combination of factors in the Norse homeland of what is now modern day Ringerike and a recent calamity among the Slavic peoples meant that large numbers of Norse settlers could occupy relatively depopulated land along the fertile banks of the river Silfra and its navigable tributaries. The surviving Slavic and Finnic tribes were assimilated or displaced, the latter migrating westward to form what is now modern-day Veikaia.
Gardarike goes all Mongol in Artemia, wrecking shit and then going home.
City state-era and Civil war
The Gardic Empire
Starting in the 1500's Gardarike expanded from the Heartland to include a massive area including what is now the modern states of Sterndal, Svenskt, Kironia and the eastern parts of Modrovia.
At its peak during the 1850's, the Gardic Empire stretched from the Boreal Sea to the Eurybian sea and covered an area approximately twice the size of modern-day Yarova. This large empire proved short lived however. Republicanism and nationalism was an ideology growing in popularity in Gardarike proper. The cost of maintaining the empire, large parts of which were relatively unproductive, was growing and resulting in economic stagnation.
The final nail in the coffin was the Modrovian war of unification. The ocean access and fertile farmland in Gardic Modrovia was of great importance to the Gardic Empire, the region was commonly referred to as the "Jewel of the Gardic Empire". Due to the extreme strategic importance of the area, the Gardic government sent a substantial force of cavalry and infantry to Modrovia to retain its colonial possession.
The Intervention quickly evolved into a colossal military disaster as Modrovian militias and insurgents closed off mountain passes between the two nations, battling and starving an estimated 100,000 Gardic troops into submission, approximately 60% of the entire Gardic Army.
The loss of more than half the Gardic Army and the productive Modrovian regions proved to be a fatal blow to the Empire. The economy fell into a deep depression, Republican insurgency activity skyrocketed during the 1860's, a time during which several Western Artemian analysts referred to the Gardic Empire as a "walking ghost". During the 1870s several parts of the Empire seceded with little resistance from the central Government, at this point in dire straits.
Collapse of the Gardic Empire and second civil war
In the power vaccuum of the 1870's, the increasingly popular National Republican movement called for a Republican government and the abolition of the Monarchy. The growing strength of the movement culminated in the Republican revolution of 1887, in which the Gardic Monarchy went into exile and Republican Nationalists took control of the Gardic Heartland. Shortly after the revolution, a policy of forced assimilation was implemented in which the remaining princely states of the Gardic Empire were to be "Gardicised", with the goal of preventing further fracture of the former Gardic Empire.
1870's to 1920's
In the 1920's, Samotkhe launched a surprise invasion of Gardarike in the Samot-Gardic War. Gardarike takes heavy losses in the first autumn and the front extends far into central Gardarike. Winter sets in, cold, logistical issues and crop failures result in famine and heavy losses on both sides. Springtime offensive around Holmgard with the assistance of Modrovia turns the tide of the war and a large encirclement causes the Samotkhe front to collapse. Samotkhe forces get pushed back to the Central Artemian Range. Some fighting continues there for a year (?) before a peace treaty is established. Samotkhe concedes some areas north of the Central Artemian range to Gardarike.
First Junta (1933-1945)
Second Junta (1957-1969)
Democratization and reconciliation
Gardarike is a relatively flat country with limited diversity in terms of terrain. However, the southern parts of the country along the border with Modrovia, Svenskt and Samotkhe are mountainous and make up the source of the river Silfra. The northern parts of the country are predominantly dense taiga with limited human habitation other than the port city of Bolungavik and factory towns built around the Logging, paper-making and natural gas industries. Central Gardarike is dominated by flat plains under heavy cultivation and numerous towns and cities concentrated along the Silfra. Further to the south and east, Gardarike becomes more arid and more mountainous with steppes and temperate savannas between mountain ranges.
The Bedrock of Gardarike is diverse in composition and age. The northernmost area of Gardarike contains Kerogen deposits at great depth dating back to the Silurian era, generating the enormous Natural Gas deposits in the country. Much of the Gardic steppes is rich in fertile mollisol-type soil, the key to the country's productive agricultural sector.
Gardarike can be roughly separated into three climate zones. Northernmost Gardarike has a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc), with short but warm summers; and long but very cold winters. Central Gardarike has a hemiboreal climate (Köppen Dfb)gradually giving way to a Hot Summer Continental climate (Dfa) further south with long and warm or hot summers while the winters are cold but short. It is within this climate belt that the productive Gardic grain belt is located. Immediately south of the grain belt and further east the climate becomes Semi-arid and even more continental (Köppen Bsk), with rather hot summers and very cold winters. Some parts are adequately dry to meet the criteria for a cold desert climate (Köppen Bwk).
|Climate data for Holmgard (1981–2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||−6.3
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−9.3
|Average low °C (°F)||−12.3
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||45
|Average rainy days||11||9||11||13||18||19||18||15||18||18||17||13||180|
|Average snowy days||24||21||15||4||0.3||0||0||0||0.04||3||13||22||102|
|Average relative humidity (%)||86||83||77||67||66||70||71||72||79||82||88||88||77|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||44||66||134||181||257||273||269||242||165||97||36||27||1,790|
|Percent possible sunshine||18||24||37||43||52||54||53||53||43||30||14||12||40|
Gardarike is predominantly located in the Hemiboreal zone, the area where the boreal zone and the temperate zone meet. This gives Gardarike rather diverse native forests combining temperate zone trees such as maples, beeches, oaks and elms with boreal trees such as pines, larches, spruces, birches and aspens. One thousand years of human habitation has left little of the original forests intact however. Most of the formerly forested areas, particularly in central Gardarike, have been turned into farmland. The majority of Gardarike is nevertheless unforested grasslands. The Central Artemian Steppe Extends through the length of Gardarike from its western fringes to the north-east corner of the country, covering approximately a million square kilometers and just over 2000 km in length.
East of the Central Artemian Steppe is where the Gardic Desert is found. In response to low rainfall and high fire hazard, the vegetation is defined predominantly by shrubs as well as hardy conifers at higher elevation.
Regions and divisions
As a Federacy, Gardarike is predominantly a unitary state. However certain areas of the country have substantial local autonomy, a remnant of the old princely states under the former Gardic Empire of the 19th century. The substates within Gardarike enjoy substantial autonomy in domestic civil matters, such as education, criminal justice and culture. However, they are economically united with the rest of the country and do not set their own foreign policy.
The Gardic Realm has a system of government that has developed over more than 1000 years and combines both local and historical as well as more recent and international political traditions.
The Gardic Realm has a formal constitution, first implemented after the 1974 reforms. Officially, the Gardic Realm is a constitutional monarchy where an emperor exercises formal authority over the Gardic Realm and whose authority is legitimised according to a divine mandate as prescribed by the Gardic Godatru tradition. The Emperor is not democratically elected but is appointed for life by a panel of Godatru clergymen known as the Overgothic council (Gardic: *Yfirgoðaráð*). Tradition dictates that family members may not be appointed, resulting in what is in essence a non-hereditary Empire.
Despite having formally unlimited power, in practice the Gardic Presider does not participate in everyday management of the Realm, having vested his or her power in a chief executive known as the Realm Commissioner, an office comparable to a Prime Minister. The Realm Commissioner appoints ministers to head different ministries with their own area of responsibility. Traditionally, the Commissioner is the member of the legislature who is the chairman of the largest faction in the legislature
The legislature is democratically elected in a First-Past-the-post voting system where each member of the legislature represents a constituency. The borders of each constituency are largely based on former chiefdoms dating to the commonwealth era.
The judicial system in Gardarike is largely comparable, and based on, the Common Law tradition found in several Anterran states.
Informally, power is however more contested in Gardarike than the formal constitution would suggest. In rural regions of Gardarike, the ancient Clan system is still de facto in effect. Furthermore, although the Gardic government has succeeded in concentrating power over the past few decades as the economy has developed, several Gardic institutions retain a degree of independence not commonly seen in Artemia. These include the Military and the Foreign Security Service.
Gardarike is a founding member of the Northern Coregnancy and the Pan-Artemian Coalition and has historically concerned itself predominantly with the Boreal region and Central Artemia. In the last 50 years, with the discovery of massive gas deposits in the north of Gardarike, the country's foreign policy is now also concerned with securing the distribution of natural gas. Gardarike has historically had a worldview defined by long term outlook and ensuring a relative balance of power in Artemia and reducing the risk of war while simultaneously ensuring its own long-term survival as a state. Gardarike is one of Anterra's nuclear armed states, possessing several hundred nuclear weapons and having a policy of no first-use against countries that do not possess or host nuclear weapons themselves.
The Gardic Economy and Military is closely linked to its PAC allies. The PAC military forces have a joint command structure centred in Holmgard. Economically, Gardarike shares multiple supply chains with her allies in the PAC. The Gardic labour market is also closely linked with the labour markets of its neighbours.
Gardarike maintains a Hyperbolic Radio Navigation System in the Boreal Sea along with its Northern Coregnancy allies and has several military bases abroad in countries such as Thuyiquakliq.
Human rights in Gardarike are generally respected and the process of parliamentary elections is considered by international observers to be fair and free. Criticism towards human rights issues in Gardarike is mainly directed at the alleged limited ability of the central government to implement its constitutional duties towards its citizens in more remote areas of the country, where clan allegiances and codes of honour still dictate behaviour to a large extent.
Compared to other Anterran multi-ethnic states, Gardarike has historically had a hands-off approach when it comes to minority groups within her borders, allowing the existence of princely states and later on autonomous regions, permitting substantial autonomy in issues related to civil matters.
However, the government of Gardarike has been criticised for disregarding the rights of indigenous nations when the interests of the central government and the regional authorities conflict, such as by using measures like eminent domain to secure land for extraction facilities for the state-owned natural gas company. These conflicts have on occasion turned violent.
The military forces of Gardarike are complicated as hell.
Gardarike has the largest known natural gas reserves in Anterra, with an estimated 42,000 cubic kilometres of fossil gas found in total in several regions. Shale gas is commonly found in Central Gardarike, while conventional natural gas is predominantly found in Eastern Gardarike.
Gardarike has historically been, and continues to be, a major producer and exporter of agricultural goods. Farming has been a cornerstone of Gardic culture, the flag of Gardarike represents the silfra river running through fields of grain.
Cereals are the predominant crop in Gardarike, particularly Rye, which is used to make Gardic Whiskey. Other agricultural products widely produced include root vegetables like potatoes and turnips; oilseeds such as flaxseed, sunflower seeds and rapeseed; fibres such as hemp and wool; fruits including apples, raspberries, peaches and cherries; meats like pork, poultry, lamb and beef; and dairy products such as cheese and milk.
In addition, Gardarike is a major producer of lumber and wood pulp.
The Bolungar Bay and the Boreal Sea North of Gardarike compose the most productive fisheries in Anterra. The fisheries are managed in cooperation with Thuyiquakliq under the xxx Agreement of 19xx. Predominant species include Herring, Capelin, Boreal Prawn and Boreal Cod. Other marine life harvested includes various species of seal, whale and shellfish such as mussels.
Gardarike's history as a major manufacturing market is fairly short. Until the 1970's Gardarike was relatively backwards and underdeveloped compared to its peers in western Artemia. Manufacturing has been an important part of the Gardic economy, but mostly in the form of cottage industries of high-value, low-output products like small arms, clocks, furniture and glassware.
The rise of heavy industry was the result of the discovery of large gas deposits in northern Gardarike in the 1960's. Realising by then that fossil fuels were finite, officials in Gardarike founded the state-run Gardic Industrial Development Bank and funneled profits of the newly established national gas company, GarGas, into the development bank.
The development bank would fund large Export-oriented industrialization industrial projects with the goal of diversifying and modernising the Gardic economy.
Results of the efforts were generally positive. The Gardic steel industry proved to be competitive and lucrative, and the Gardic Nuclear industry not only succeeded in making Gardarike a nuclear armed state but also made the country a major exporter of MOX fuel and medical isotopes, the low electricity prices that followed also supported energy intensive industries like aluminium smelting. Another success story was the Gardic heavy machinery sector, which grew substantially and became a global leader in the manufacturing of trucks and tractors. Finally, with the assistance of engineers from Austrasien, Gardarike developed for the first time an integrated circuits production capability, which would evolve into one of the largest electronics industries in Anterra.
Not all projects were successful however, foreign competition with Kironia and Mero-Curgovina in the shipbuilding sector proved too much for Gardic shipbuilders to handle. The Gardic aircraft industry initially flourished, and developed the advanced for its time Smyrill and Fálki jet fighters, but limited foreign sales brought the company that made the Aircraft to bankruptcy and nationalisation. Software development was another attempt which initially succeeded, but the sector eventually stagnated and is internationally a fairly small player.
In general however, the development efforts were very successful. GDP per capita, adjusted for purchasing power and adjusted for inflation to 2017 international dollars, rose from $7000 in 1970 to $21000 in 2015, a tripling of income in real terms in 45 years. This period of rapid economic growth has been termed the "Miracle on the Silfra river" by economic journalists. Economic growth has slowed down to a more modest rate in recent years but has remained at a healthy 3-4% annual rate between 2015 and 2018.
A crucial factor in the rapid economic development of Gardarike has been the gradual increase in economic and diplomatic cooperation with its neighbours in the Pan-Artemian Coalition and the Northern Coregnancy over the latter half of the 20th century, with fewer trade barriers and increased cross-border economic activity.
Electricity by source in 2016:
Natural Gas: 56% Hydroelectricity: 14% Nuclear power: 22% Peat, wood and other biomass: 6% Other: 2%
Historically, Gardarike has been a difficult country to traverse due to mountain ranges along the country's outer regions and the very expansive and relatively featureless Central Artemian Steppe. The primary method of long-distance transportation used by the people of Gardarike for most of the country's history has been via waterways such as the rivers of Silfra and Afl. Starting in the 1600's, canals gradually expanded the waterway network and became crucial to the industrialisation of the country. The Gardic canal system remains to this day an important method of freight transport within the country.
Starting in the late 19th century, Gardarike rapidly grew its system of railroads, opening up hundreds of thousands of kilometers of land to cultivation, providing industry with raw materials for growth and causing a great migration of Gardic people from the country's heartlands to the outer regions of the country. Gardarike today has among the longest railway networks in Anterra. The combined length of the state-run Realm Railways is approximately 29,000 kilometers. An additional 20,000 kilometers of narrow-gauge railroads are operated by a combination of various municipal governments and private industries.
Car ownership in Gardarike remained uncommon for much of the 20th century and the Gardic road network has lagged behind the country's railway network. Although the rate of car ownership in Gardarike currently remains relatively low when compared to other countries in Artemia, at 312 vehicles per 1000 inhabitants as of 2020, the ownership rate of cars in the country has risen sharply. There were a total of 10,600 kilometers of motorways in Gardarike in 2019, up from a total of 380 kilometers in 1983.
Widespread binge drinking, a salty diet high in saturated fat, high rates of tobacco smoking, and a culture of machismo, has left Gardarike with unusually poor health for a country of its level of economic development. Life expectancy is low compared to many Artemians states, currently standing at 75 years on average for both sexes. The difference is particularly pronounced for Gardic men which die on average at age 70.4, which is 10 years before their female counterparts in Gardarike and males of some Western Artemian states. Untreated hypertension is widespread, and stroke is the leading cause of death in the country.
However, Gardic people tend to have a relatively active lifestyle as car ownership in the country is lower than of many Western Artemian states. Gardic people walk considerably further distances on average than most Western Artemians, and rates of physical exercise are above the Artemian average.
Gardic cuisine is defined by Gardarike's location in Artemia. Historically the country had relatively limited trade routes with the rest of Artemia and was kept relatively isolated by mountain ranges, oceans and great distances. The harsh winters of the country also limited certain less hardy food crops. Furthermore, Gardarike historically lagged behind Western Artemian states in terms of economic conditions. For these reasons, Gardarike's cuisine has been described as relatively "bland" by Artemian standards, utilizing ingredients that would be called "peasant food" today. The Gardic diet is heavy in grains, hardy vegetables such as carrots and cabbages, and the most popular animal products are mostly defined by more frugal sources like Pork, cheese, fish and eggs. One exception to this is Gardic Antelope, which is a semi-domesticated ungulate species native to northern and central Gardarike and is very popular as game food.