|Commonwealth of the Grisham Islands|
|Territory anthem: "Grisham March"|
|Settlement||18 February 1829|
|Seratofian Possession||1 January 1880|
|Self-Rule||1 January 2010|
and largest settlement
|Official languages||Seratofian Grisham|
|Government||Devolved locally governing dependency|
|Legislature||Grisham People's Communion Hall|
|41 km2 (16 sq mi)|
• Water (%)
|Highest elevation||1,005 m (3,297 ft)|
|2.56/km2 (6.6/sq mi)|
The Grisham Islands (Seratofian: Grišam Zeli), officially the Commonwealth of the Grisham Islands, is a group of islands in the South Tethys ocean that collectively form the sole overseas territory of Seratof. The three main islands have a combined land area of 41 km², although Grisham Island comprises 90% of the total land area, and is the only inhabited island. The other islands, being Lezi Island and Hurma Island, are uninhabited. The nearest locale from the islands are at least 3,000 km away in South Kesh.
The commonwealth is one of the least populated places in the world, with only 105 permanent residents as of 2019, most of them being the descendants of the 1829 shipwreck of the BS Čezterek. Grisham is also the smallest Democracy in Anterra, with only 94 eligible voters.
Little to nothing is known about the Austronesians that first settled in the Grisham Islands. From archaeological evidence scattered throughout Grisham Island, scholars conclude that the islands were not inhabited for long, with more evidence of abandonment from these original settlers coming from a broken canoe near Veraja. It is unclear whether the other islands were also inhabited, although it is possible that the islanders may have used these islands to forage and gather resources, allowing them to survive for hundreds of years before finally abandoning them. There have been no recorded human remains on the island before the arrival of the Seratofians in the 19th century.
The islands were uninhabited when Seratofians first permanently inhabited the islands.
The islands were previously unknown to Artemian discoverers and explorers. During a routine trip to the Eastern Ramayan colonies, the BS Čezterek was blown off course, with its masts and sails broken. For months, the crew hanged onto the ship, until on the 17th of February 1829, the island was spotted by the ship's captain B.V. Tüze, who led the crew to the island the next day, comprised of 18 men and 7 women. News about the BS Čezterek being lost would not have reached Seratof until the year after, in which the Samot-Seratofian Empire commanded a search in the South Tethys ocean for possible rescue.
In 1836, seven years after the shipwrecked crew first settled on the island, a Samot-Seratofian vessel spotted the shiprweck of the BS Čezterek stranded on Grisham island, and immediately approached the island. The settlers, who have not seen any other humans for seven years, greeted the vessel and helped them disembark. The captain of the ship informed to the settlers that they have been rescued per order of the Samot-Seratofian Empire, and were instructed to return to the mainland. Some agreed to return to the mainland, however, twelve people refused to join on their voyage back, and chose to settle on the island.
News about the return of the stranded crew reached Seratof prior to their arrival in Azxara. The mayor of Azxara greeted the crew that agreed to return, and brought them straight to the governor of Seratof proper to consult on possible claims on the islands as Seratofians are already settled in the island with no competing claims whatsoever. The governor agreed to an audience a year after their return, and consulted options ranging from a Seratofian base in the island to possible increased settlement in the island to cement Seratofian claims to the island, however, none of this was eventually realized. Instead, the high chancellor in Seratof spoke to the Samot-Seratofian empire in private for possible claims of the island under Samot-Seratofian rule.
The Emperor officially proclaimed the island as a Samot-Seratofian possession on the 17th of May 1839, and ordered a proper settlement to be built on the island the following year. In 1840, two ships carrying settlers from eastern Seratof set sailed from Azxara, and reached the islands in early 1841, bringing the islanders which now number around sixteen according to the captain's journals beef, biscuits, cheese, and potatoes, foods the settlers haven't eaten in at least ten years. The new settlers from the ship which numbered around fifty people were greeted by the old settlers. They eventually built the first proper homes and amenities as instructed by the emperor himself, and by 1843, the town of Veraja was officially incorporated as the posession's first and only town. From 1844 onward, the islands recieved two yearly visits from Samot-Seratofian ships to deliver goods and to transmit messages.
The town would occasionally be visited by those making the voyage from Kesh or Artemia into Avalonia via the Tethys Ocean, and the community steadily grew from initially sixty people into two hundred by 1870. During the same period, the Lezi and Hurma islands were also claimed by the settlers to be part of the Grisham possession, sending letters back to the mainland about a possible inclusion of these uninhabited islands into the Grisham Islands possession for future settlement. The settlers, who were overwhelmingly Seratofian, also asked for the colony to be placed under direct rule of Seratof proper whilst still being part of the larger Samot-Seratofian Empire.
On the pretext of better fiscal and colony management, the emperor agreed to delegate the powers of the central government to Seratof proper on the 1st of January 1880 whilst also accepting the settlers' request of the formal recognition of the two other islands near Grisham island to be part of the Grisham Island possession.
Post Grand Campaigns
After the dissolution of the Samot-Seratofian Empire, no clear status on the island could be inferred from the treaties and laws marking the formal end of the Samot-Seratofian Empire as the Grisham Island posession was entirely forgotten in the treaty of Holmgard. Between 1925 and 1929, no ships came to the island, sparking outrage and confusion among the islanders. Seratof, undergoing a civil war, did not pay attention to these islands. Only after the republican victory in 1929 did government officials realize of the existence of such island. In 1930, a steamboat visited the island in five years, only to find the settlers enraged.
The settlers did not know of the empire's collapse until five years after its demise. Hearing about the fact, two hundred people decided to leave the island, leaving only 87 people left as per Seratofian records. Grisham Islanders that remained also agreed to be part of the newly-formed Republic of Seratof in exchange for a continued ship visit to the islands once every three months. All islanders immediately recieved Seratofian citizenship, and were eligible to vote in elections in Seratof. Their ballots arrive two months before election day to ensure they could be counted on time when they return in Seratof.
In 1949, during the communist period, Grisham Island was given special status to retain its customs and political identity. The same was done during the rule of the Seratofian People's Party between 1971 and 2006, where the posession was not affected by the stringent rules back in mainland Seratof.
In 2010, the new federal government of Seratof granted Grisham Island its own government and legislature, creating the world's tiniest democracy. The devolution act granted the Grisham Islands its own 10 member parliament and its own mayor popularly elected once every three years. It also delegated all fishing rights towards the island council and the mayor. The first elections were conducted in 2011. The current mayor is Džon Grišam, elected in 2020.
The Grisham Islands are located in the most isolated place in the south Tethys Ocean, with the nearest settlement being that in South Kesh at least 3,000 km away. The islands are not part of any archipelago group, and was born due to volcanic hot spots before the last ice age. The Grisham islands comprises of three main islands countless of smaller rocks, with the three named ones being Grisham Island, Lezi Island, and Hurma Island. Grisham Island comprises the bulk of the land area and contains the islands' only inland body of water. Hurma island is located 75 km south of Grisham Island, whereas Lezi Island is located 35 km east of Grisham Island. Both islands are permanently uninhabited, and only recieve monthly visits from the mayor.
The islands are only accessible by boat. Only Grisham Island supports vessels landing to the island.
|Grisham Island−||36.8 km²||105|
|Hurma Island||3.6 km²||0|
|Lezi Island||1.7 km²||0|
|Grisham Islands||41.1 km²||105|
Located south of the tropic of capricorn, the Grisham Islands enjoy cool to mild weather year round, with wet summers and dry winters. The rainy season runs from October to March, where temperatures stay constant between 24°C − 35°C year round. Humidity may exceed 90%, greatly affected by the surrounding wind patterns and masses in the atmosphere. The lowest recorded temperature on the islands was recorded to be 15°C in 1967.
There are a variety of flora that can only be found in the Grisham Islands. Some examples include the great grisham timber, an important source of wood for the islanders, and hautiza, an endemic flower species which only blooms once a year.
Being very isolated from the rest of the world, the fauna in the Grisham Islands do not number as much as other islands in the Tethys ocean, however, some species which are endemic to the island could still be found. Various migratory birds and other reptiles could be found in Grisham island itself. Fauna in the island was thought to have been more diverse in the past which included a wider array of birds, however, was thought to have been hunted to extinction by the settlers upon settling on the island in the 19th centuries. Many reptiles make Grisham island a habitat for breeding visible on the beaches of Grisham during mating season. The variety of fish observed on the islands is very abundant, and is still the current staple of the islanders. Various fish which inhabit the South Tethy Ocean in general could be found near the waters of all three islands.
In the uninhabted islands of Hurma and Lezi, several endemic species to those islands are still intact and abundant with steady numbers observed. Several bird watching sites in those islands have been set up by the government to accomodate travelers wishing to sightsee. Hurma and Lezi islands have been designated as nature reserves in 2014.
There are no known native mammal species on the island before the arrival of humans.
The Grisham Islands constitute as the singular overseas territory of Seratof. Within Seratof, it is granted its own local government with its own legislature and directly-elected mayor. The president of Seratof appoints a governor to the island which acts as the sole representative from Seratof. The islanders also elect a non-voting high representative to represent them in the Seratofian People's Communion. As a result of the 2010 devolution, the Grisham Islands have control over most affairs regarding the island, similar to that of provinces in mainland Seratof. THis includes all matters regarding fisheries, island communications and transport, politics, and social policies.
In practice, the mayor is the most powerful person in the Grisham Islands, being the sole executive branch of the Grisham Islands as there are no appointed ministers and advisors to the mayor. Previous to the devolution act, the post of mayor was filled by a magistrate appointed by the ministry of homeland affairs in Seratof. The current mayor must work together with the legislative branch in order to keep the political scheme running. While in theory the mayor could be removed from office by a supermajority of the legislative council, this has yet to happen on the islands.
The legislative branch of the Grisham Islands is the Grisham People's Communion Hall, with ten elected members. The candidate with the most votes becomes the speaker of the legislature. The legislature meets once every month to discuss the state of the island and discuss future legislation. The candidates are chosen once every three years through direct popular vote. Each voter recieves four votes in favor of whichever candidate they support. As a result of the small size of the legislature and the infrequent meetings of the island council, a common practice for the legislature is to convene at the mayor's place of residence. Although so, it has been common practice long before the arrival of the legislature for the island's entire population to gather together to discuss matters of importance and other crucial practice. Whenever a session is in place, the entire island is unofficially invited to sit together and voice their aspirations.
As of 2020, there are no formal administrative divisions of the island.
Parties and elections
There are no political parties on the island, and all government positions are filled by independents. There is also no formal opposition on the island council.
Elections for mayor and all seats in the legislative chamber happen once every three years. The first election in the island occured in 2011 when the first mayoral and legislative elections were held on 15 June 2011. The mayor is elected through a simple majority system via a two round system, and the legislative chamber is elected through an island-wide constituency with ten members. Each voter is allowed up to four votes for any candidate.
The Grisham Islands are still subject to all penal codes applicable in mainland Seratof, but not all private laws are instantly applicable on the islands without approval of the island council. This gives the commonwealth a special status in Seratof to legalize some activities illegal in Seratof and add on laws that cater to the needs and requirements of the community at large. For example, in 2016, the island council formally legalized the consumption of cannabis and formally legalized gay marriage although there are no known couples on the island that are engaged in such.
There are no formal courts and police officers on the island. Disputes are usually settled by the elders through thorough discussion about the problem. There have been no instances of violations of the penal code during the islands' 200 year history, and is one of the safest regions in Seratof. In theory, if a court must be set up to accomodate a case on the island, judges, lawyers, and other essential positions will be sent to the island along with other representatives from Seratof. Such a move requires a plea letter from one of the islanders to a law firm in Seratof which can then proceed to request a trial be conducted on the island.
As an overseas territory of Seratof, the defense of the islands lie on the hands of the Seratofian national military. There are no bases nor stationed officials on the island as of 2018.
The fertile volcanic soils that surround the volcanic peak are a prime location for the cultivation of various fruit-bearing plants and vegetation. Some islanders have dedicated their lives in producing these fruits and other agricultural based goods for the other islanders to enjoy. As of 2015, it was reported that bananas, watermelons, potatoes, mangoes, pineapples, coconuts, avocados, and papaya were being grown by at least two families living on the outskirts of Veraja. Vegetables are also grown on these soils, and many types of vegetables found elsewhere have been imported into the island. The island now supports the growth of cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, yam, and beans among the list of vegetables grown on the island. It has been approximated that 30% of the food the islanders consume originate from the island. Tropical spices are also grown on the island.
The abundance of waters surrounding the island provide for a bountiful variation and number of fish, being the main source of protein for the islanders. The fisheries in the Grisham Islands constitute one of the most vital infrastrucutre present on the island. The Seratofian national government provides 100 thousand Zakkas every year for the maintenance of these facilities, managed by the mayor and accountable to the legislature. Besides fishing, other sources of protein are limited. There is no ranch nor meat producing facility on the island, and all meat-based foodstuff must be imported into the island.
The island's unique culture and society has led to craftwork unique to the island. These carvings, mostly done on locally grown wood, depict Seratofian-Grisham culture in wooden carvings such as statues, tablets, or wooden panels. Many of these carvings are exported or sold to tourists on the island, and is the main source of income for at least two families. The carvings are known to last very long due to the type of wood used in the carvings and the careful preservation process done to the wood carvings before they are finalized.
Tourism is steadily becoming the islands' main source of income. In 2019, the island recorded 1,200 visitors, mainly from Seratof, but also from Kesh nations. Several homestays and lodges have opened in recent years managed by locals to accomodate the growing number of visitors coming to the island. The island's only restaurant opened in 2016 serving both local cuisine and traditional Seratofian dishes. Entry to the island does not require a visa for all nationals, however, passport checks and stamps are still observed when arriving and departing the island.
There is only one scheduled passanger line to the island which leaves from Azxara and stops in Kodeshia once a month. The journey from Azxara takes two weeks. Revenue from the passanger lines is split between the company that operates it and the Grisham islands.
Cuisine found in the island is reminiscent of the traditional Seratofian dishes the original settlers brought to the island mixed in with the local plants and fauna as substitutes for ingredients unavailable in the islands. Grisham cuisine is generally spicier and contains more fish and vegetables than Seratofian cuisine. Islanders utilize fish and coconuts as substitutes for meat and milk respectively. Some of the most famous examples of Grisham cuisine include fish stew and coconut pot, favorite dishes for the islanders.
In 2014, islanders mostly led by women published a recipe book detailing Grisham cuisine in Seratof. The book has been one of the main sources of income for the publushers through royalty from sales.
A generator fueled by petrol and diesel provide the islands with electricity which runs for twelve hours from 09.00 to 21.00. In 2018, the Seratofian government pledged 500,000 Zakkas in the installment of solar panels in every strucutre to reduce the dependency on the generator which is becoming more fragile and old.
There is a small electricity grid on the island managed by the islands' only qualified electrician which will retire in 2022.
The bulk of the islands' export is with Seratof and in the form of traditional artwork and craft or fish found in the region. In 2019, the island exported a grand total of 40,000 Zakkas worth of exports whilst recieving more than 100,000 in imports.
Other sources of revenue for the island include the sale of novelty items such as postcards, stamps, and banknotes exclusively made for the islands. There is one printing house on the island responsible for the fabrication of these items. Most of these novelty items are sold to tourists and other visiting persons.
The islands' population is steadily increasing even without migration. Between 2000 and 2019, eleven people were born on the island, while seven people died, giving a net gain of four people. Migration to the island after the foundation of the Republic of Seratof is unheard of.
As a result of centuries of isolation, the Grisham islands have developed their own dialect of Seratofian unheard of elsewhere. Most Grisham Islanders speak Grisham Seratofian as a first langauge, and study standard Seratofian in the island's only school. Due to most people being educated in Seratof as early as the secondary level, virtuallye everyone in the islands are fluent in standard Seratofian. One linguist argues that the dialect of Grisham Seratofian is slowly fading with every coming generation.
As most of the settlers in the island are descendants from eastern Seratofians, the island is exclusively muslim. There is a mosque on the island built in 1937 which also serves as the islands' communal space for large events such as eid al fitr, the holy month of ramadhan, and Ashura. The mosque holds daily prayers, and the adzan could be heard five times a day. The mosque also holds a friday prayer every friday and holds qur'an recitation events every Sunday night.