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Motto: Ko te arataki o te tangata kaha he painga ki te hunga koreutu
("The guidance of the brave is to the benefit of the free")
and largest city
• Chief of State
• Paramount Councilor
• Charter effective
|10 March 2017|
• Republic established
|13 February 2030|
• 2030 estimate
|GDP (nominal)||2030 estimate|
• Per capita
Housatonic, officially the Housatonic Republic, is a country in Cusinaut. The city of Housatonic is one of the oldest in Cusinaut, and was long a member of the Northern Confederation prior to its destruction in the 21st century. It was briefly subjugated by Algoquona, and subsequently established its semi-independence under an international charter agreement with Urcea as part of The Deluge, becoming a client as the Housatonic Free City. Prior to the Final War of the Deluge, Housatonic was nominally part of Algoquona's territorial sovereignty, and following the conflict it became nominally part of the Chenango Confederacy. In the late 2020s, the city-state reformed into a fully fledged sovereign state, becoming the Housatonic Republic following a proclamation in February 2030. As part of the transition to sovereignty, Urcea ceded the territory of the Unnuaq Chain to the new state.
Housatonic is a member of the Nysdra Sea Treaty Association. Despite its independence, many analysts believe Urcea still exhibits significant influence over the affairs of state.
The country's name is derived from the Algosh phrase "usi-a-di-en-uk", translated as "beyond the mountain place" or "river of the mountain place". This Latinization has its roots in the earliest Occidental explorers of the region, though in earlier renditions "Ousetonack".
Housatonic is located in the far northeastern portion of Cusinaut and is comprised of a mainland area as well as a chain of small islands known as the Unnuaq Chain. The country sits astride the polar circle, and accordingly its climate is very cold. Housatonic is divided into two government established regions known as the "Urban Geography" and the "Insular Geography", with the Urban Geography being all lands south of the Polar Circle and the Insular Geography sitting to the north of it. Both regions embrace the Unnuaq Bay, an inlet of the Nysdra Sea.
The Urban Geography comprises all pre-2030 territory of Housatonic and sits on mainland Cusinaut and sits on elevated land overlooking the Nysdra Sea. Prior to the establishment of unitary administration, 89% of the territory was part of the City of Housatonic itself, making the area relatively urbanized. Due to the climate, this urbanization is relatively limited in its population impact, but nonetheless the city itself is fairly spread out. Although elevated, the Urban Geography is largely flat, and beyond the urbanized portions is a small taiga region. The Urban Geography is classified as subarctic and sits on the commonly agreed upon border between that climate type and tundra.
The Insular Geography comprises the Unnuaq Chain, which prior to 2030 was an overseas territory of Urcea. The Chain is comprised of three islands which sit immediately to the north of the polar circle and Urban Geography. The Insular Geography is almost entirely comprised of tundra and is otherwise unremarkable in terms of climate and topography; the three islands are all somewhat elevated off of sea level with sheer rock faces on most sides and a few gradual sloping regions where historic human settlement occurred.
The non-urbanized parts of the Urban Geography are dominated by typical far northern subarctic fauna and flora, such as this tamarack forest.
Early history and confederation
Housatonic is among the oldest cities in northwestern Crona, with historical evidence tracing its existence back to 200 BC. The city most likely formed as a stopping off point to the Unnuaq Chain, as the inconsistent freezing patterns of the Unnuaq Bay made the city the easiest location to cross over to the Unnuaq Chain by either boat or over ice. During the ancient period, the Unnuaq Chain was excellent fishing ground and consequently sustained a much larger population than the present day. Consequently, the city has a long-attested history as the "gateway to the Unnuaqs", as fishermen from the island would often cross to the mainland to sell their excess fish to mainland tribes in or around Housatonic, which became a preferred trading destination between the mainland and island tribes. Despite its long history and relatively permanent economic activity, the city has never grown larger than 75,000 at its peak in the 1300s, and many scholars attribute this to the poor climate for agriculture to support the residents of the city. Like Pachaug, Housatonic enjoyed a minor power position in Crona as Occidental goods began to flow into its ports, but an increasingly menacing posture from Occidental traders lead to the city joining the Northern Confederation in 1728.
Most scholars believe the Unnuaq Chain was settled in ca. 600 BC by a people thought to be from the region of Shenendehowa Bay pursuing better fishing opportunities. Since its initial settlement, fishing has been the primary means of survival - and only primary trade good - produced by the islands. Favorable climate conditions lead to a population explosion in approximately 250 BC, and some historians believe the islands may have supported a population close to 50,000 people at the high end around 1 AD. Throughout much of its history, most major settlements on the Chain have occurred near the coast on or near the few slopes into the islands' interiors; the island's steep cliffs were largely avoided by settlers throughout the ages. The "dense period" lead to the establishment of population centers adjacent to the islands, including Housatonic, which most scholars think was established to facilitate trade with the islands. Global cooling facilitated a mass depopulation of the islands by 300 AD, with a minority of scholars believing the ancestors of the Algosh were among the residents who left in the subsequent migrations. Population levels stabilized at a few thousand by the medieval period. The islands, which consisted of several dozen villages, were not formally part of a polity until the 17th century, when it was put under the influence and protection of the Northern Confederation.
During the next two centuries, Housatonic underwent considerable changes and also, notably, caused political turmoil within the Northern Confederation. The city adopted a system of government influenced by Urcean traders in the region, dividing the city into ten wards which would elect a Chief for their ward; the body of ten Ward-Chiefs would then select a Paramount Chief to serve as ruler of the city for ten years, although the power and prestige of the Paramount Chief declined such that, by 1900, it was viewed less as a "ruler" and more of an executive office. During this period, known as the Reform Epoch, Housatonic began to assert its power inside the Northern Confederation. With a population of around 50,000 in 1908, the city took advantage of the 1908 war between the Confederation and Urcea and attempted to conquer the Unnuaq Chain in order to establish itself as a preeminent member of the Confederation. By June of 1909, Housatonic successfully overran Whenui - the largest of the Unnuaq islands - but was unable to project its power to the remaining two islands of the Chain. The war with Urcea ended in 1910 and the powers of the confederation, especially the neighboring Algoquona, threatened intervention, ending the war and Housatonic's aspirations of expansion. This defeat ended the Reform Epoch and sent the city into decline, as the loss of trade with the Unnuaq severely undermined the city's raison d'etre. This was combined with the general economic decline the Northern Confederation experienced during the 1930s-1950s with the end of Occidental investment as a consequence of the Second Great War. Increasingly, the city - though still independent - came under the political and economic influence of the Algosh people, and between the 1950s and 2000s the defining political issue in Housatonic was its relationship with the Algosh, with wealthy minorities supporting union or integration into Algoquona and the majority supporting independence.
Conquest and independence
During the end of the War of the Northern Confederation, Algosh ethnic forces launched a military takeover of the remnants of the Northern Confederation in an event known as the Algosh coup. Unlike nearby Pachaug and other cities whose Algosh garrisons quickly established control, Housatonic did not submit. After a militia ejected the Algosh garrison, the city was besieged on 9 Sepmteber and was seized by force on 29 September of 2009. Thousands were killed and the city was looted; in an ironic twist, the area hardest impacted were the wealthier quarters, whom supported closer relations with the Algosh for generations. The city was integrated into Algoquona, but the siege had the dual effect of hardening the city's resolve and destroying what pro-Algosh elements existed. 2012 and early 2013 saw a cycle of violence between radicals and the Algoquonan government, though Algoquona eventually afforded the city peace at the expense of autonomy, which some welcomed. Regardless, the city's leaders joined with others - especially the leaders of Pachaug - to agitate for autonomy within Algoquona and, eventually, the right of appeal to Urcea. The enmity between Housatonic and its Algoquonan overlords not only lay in resentment of domination but in relatively obscure religious issues; though both Algoquona and Housatonic adhered to the M'acunist faith tradition, Housatonicers mostly adhered to the Man School and constructed physical temples, structures largely viewed as abominations by the Nature School-adhering Algoquona. The city was targeted for reprisals in November and December 2016, but Operation Mission Shield and Operation Western Blizzard thoroughly destroyed the ability of Algoquona to project power or police its territories. Housatonic joined with Pachaug to form the Tokorua nga taone nui ("two cities force"), eventually besieging Kaigwa and forcing Algoquona to enter into peace talks arbitrated by Urcea. Housatonic readily agreed to the 2017 Treaty of Electorsbourg and entered into negotiations with Urcea to establish the charter agreement under which it would be governed. Housatonic retained more autonomy under its agreement with Urcea than Pachaug, though Housatonic's agreement included greater authority for Catholic missions given the larger Catholic minority and influence within the city.
Significant economic development occurred in Housatonic during the charter city period. The city's economy was significantly deregulated and banks were established in an effort to become a tax haven to Occidental countries; Urcean administrators purposefully studied the history of New Archduchy's economic success in this regard during the 20th century as a pattern for Housatonic's development. In 2019, construction began on a major international airport in Housatonic, the world's northernmost large airport. The airport not only provided additional military logistical capability for the Armed Forces of Urcea but also allowed for the easy arrival of foreign business interests. The airport remains in place and serves as a major northern hub for air travel. With the Final War of the Deluge beginning in 2020, economic growth slowed slightly due to fears of invasion from Algoquona, but fears abated once most of Algoquona's offensive capability was destroyed in the Tepetlcali campaign by early 2021; following the campaign, a minor offensive by the Royal and Imperial Army and Royal Marine Corps created a security buffer for Housatonic within Algoquona's territory, ending the threat. By late 2021, interest in the city abroad recovered and economic development resumed. The city received significant foreign attention as its airport was a vital link for international forces arriving to fight against Varshan under League of Nations Command following the beginning of hostilities with that country. The war had the effect of greatly increasing Housatonic's name recognition abroad, and local leaders used the transitory presence of military forces to create and enforce a strong brand for the city in conjunction with Occidental marketing experts. Following the war, economic development interest grew signifiantly. The city became an outlet for companies to begin doing business and manufacturing within the Nysdra Sea Treaty Association's trade exclusion zone. By 2027, the GDP PC of the city had doubled to roughly $18,000 after just a decade of charter status, gaining it the nickname of the "Northern Miracle" to the foreign business press.
Following the Final War of the Deluge and destruction of Algoquona, the charter agreement between Urcea and Housatonic was renegotiated, with both Housatonic and Pachaug becoming de jure part of the territorial sovereignty of the Chenango Confederacy while retaining its de facto independence. The destruction of Algoquona meant that the emergency and threat to the Housatonic way of life had passed, and by 2029 there was political appetite in both Housatonic and Urcea for a change to the charter city's permanent status.
Charter terms and governance
Under the terms of the international charter which governed Housatonic from 2017-30, Housatonic was an international charter city under Urcean administration. There were two levels of government within Housatonic, the territorial government - which was heavily influenced by Urcea - and the local, city government, which was largely run by the native population. The governing apparatus of the territory was administered through the President-Supervisor, who was a native Housatoner under the terms of the charter. In order to select the President-Supervisor, the Government of Urcea selected fifteen different eligible candidates to serve in the role, and the people of Housatonic votd to elect the President-Supervisor from the pool of candidates. The Territorial Government, organized by the President-Supervisor, featured various ministries and a trade board, both of which were under the direct oversight of the Government of Urcea, especially the Ministry of Commerce and Office for Territorial Management. The Territorial Government primarily exercised trade and foreign policy, though it also was empowered by the charter agreement to provide for Catholic missions within the territory.
The city of Housatonic itself retained its traditional governing structure, with a City Council made up of ten Ward-Chiefs who elected a Paramount Chief, who served as the equivalent of Mayor for a ten year period. The Council retained authority over most of the domestic affairs of the city and retains considerable influence within the Territorial Government, though their powers are unwritten and deferential rather than codified within the trade charter agreement.
Republic and territorial growth
In January 2029, the sitting President-Supervisor of the Free City, Kono Bilagana, received permission from the Government of Urcea to convene a constitutional convention. This permission authorized the Free City to proclaim its independence once a constitution was in place and a government was elected under the terms of that constitution. The convention was convened on 3 March 2029 and was comprised of the ten Ward-Chiefs of the Housatonic City Council as well as fifteen popularly elected delegates. After eight months of work, the convention adopted the Basic Republican Charter on 15 November 2029. The Basic Republican Charter adopted a form of government similar to Urcea's, instituting a Julian republic as the basis for the new state. Additionally, the convention decided to dissolve the City Council and city government of Housatonic, with the new state being directly administered as a unitary republic. Given the end of Urcean administrative authority, it was determined a local government which constituted the majority of the state's population was no longer necessary. The Urcean Ministry of Administration of the Realm accepted the Basic Republican Charter on 17 November 2029. The Chenango Confederacy accepted the constitution and issued a statement indicating its intention to recognize the new state's independence upon proclamation. Elections for the new state were held on 15 January 2030. Kono Bilagana was elected the first President of Housatonic.
Housatonic had long desired the Unnuaq Chain as part of any negotiations with Urcea for its sovereign status. The islands, under Urcean control since Operation Mission Shield, had been necessary to Urcea to protect the Unnuaq Mission State against Algoquona, but with the destruction of the latter at the end of the Final War of the Deluge, the Urcean government had been unsure of their long term status as a Urcean territory. Although the new government had not yet taken office, the government of Urcea nonetheless opened negotiations with President Bilagana and the government-elect for the transfer of the islands. An agreement was reached on 29 January 2030 that the islands would be ceded immediately upon the proclamation of the Republic. The addition of the Unnuaq Chain doubled the soon-to-be republic in size and increased its population by 12,000, more than a quarter of the pre-cession population. The relatively poor islanders decreased the new nation's GDP PC somewhat, but even with the addition the city's economic growth since 2017 more than made up for the cession; with a GDP PC of $21,242 made it one of the richest in Cusinaut and the Nysdra region by 2030.
On 13 February 2030, Housatonic issued a declaration of independence and proclamation of the Republic, formally dissolving its charter agreement with Urcea and becoming legally independent from the Chenango Confederacy. Its independence was immediately recognized by all Nysdra Sea Treaty Association members, who voted on the same day to recognize the Republic as the successor of the Free City, thus continuing its NSTA membership.
The Housatonic Republic is a unitary Julian republic governed by the Basic Republican Charter, a constitution drafted in 2029 that took effect in February 2030. Under this system, directly inspired by the Government of Urcea, the President of Housatonic serves as the head of state, an office with limited authority but important symbolic responsibility as the leader of the country. The President of Housatonic also has a number of unenumerated powers of influence over the government, and can break deadlocks between the various cabinet and government officials. The chief executive of the Republic is the Chief of State. The Chief of State directs government policy and has direct oversight over the government's cabinet departments. The Chief of State also directs the Republic's small military forces and conducts the nation's foreign affairs. The Paramount Councilor is the head of government, serving as the leader of the nation's legislature, the Common Council, while also appointing the members of the cabinet. The President and Chief of State serve five year terms, with elections in years ending with "0" and "5", while the Paramount Councilor serves at the pleasure of a majority of the Common Council. All three primary offices of state are open to any Republic citizen over the age of twenty four.
Under the direction of the Chief of State and appointed by the Paramount Councilor is the executive cabinet, a grouping of eight Executive Agencies which oversee the major policy and administrative areas of the state. In the event of a formal dispute between an Agency Director and the Chief of State, the President may arbitrate the dispute in favor of either party. The Agency Directors serve as the pleasure of the Paramount Councilor. As the republic is a unitary state and there are no administrative divisions, the Executive Agencies are also responsible for provision of basic public services to the republic's residents, ranging from plumbing to law enforcement.
The Common Council is the legislative branch of the Republic's government. Its members serve five year terms conterminous with the President and Chief of State. The Common Council is comprised of forty six Councilors elected in a nationwide first past the post electoral system. There is no constitutional age requirement for serving on the Common Council, and there are no term limits. The Common Council is also the nation's highest court of appeals.
Political parties are strictly prohibited within Housatonic. However, there are two broad factions which analysts suggest can be sorted into "pro-Occidental" and "anti-Occidental" factions, with the pro-Occidental faction presently having a clear majority of the Common Council and all three primary offices of state.
The Housatonic Republic has two primary cultural groups; the majority Housatoners and the minority Unnuaqers, although native scholars and cultural observers have long argued that the modern people of the Unnuaq Chain (the Unnuaqers) are genetically related to and culturally descended from the Housatoners. Accordingly, both cultures share significant similarities including shared use of the Housatonish language.
Due to the prevalence of fish and the historic connection of Housatonic to the fishing industry, fish is the primary protein in Housatoner cuisine and most dishes served in the country are either fish-based or include some type of fish-based side.
Housatoners are the primary speakers of the Housatonish language, whose wide use led to it being considered the lingua franca of the northernmost parts of the former Northern Confederation. Housatonish is spoken by both mainland Housatoners as well as Unnuaqers. It is spoken primarily in the Unnuaq Mission State as well. It is similar to the Algosh language but not descended from it, and most scholars believe they instead share a common ancestor. Housatonish is spoken by virtually the entire population of the Housatonic Republic, with Julian Ænglish used sparingly in diplomatic and business contexts as the new lingua franca of the NSTAsphere.
The majority of Housatoners adhere to the traditional native M'acunist believe system, and within Housatonic the majority of M'acunists are members of the Man School. Housatoners are unique among M'acunists for their use of temples rather than committing sacrifices in open spaces, and have the second most M'acunist temples of any city in Crona second only to Shenendehowa Bay.
A large minority of Housatoners are adherents of the Catholic faith due to its proximity to the Unnuaq Mission State and additionally due a small population of Occidentals living in the city for business reasons. The proportion of Catholics in the city tripled between 2015 and 2030.
A small number of Housatoners, particularly in the Unnuaq Chain, are adherents of the Venua Faith, the native religion of Venua'tino.
Housatonic has developed a robust economy since its creation as an international charter city in the 2010s; the favorable economic climate created by the charter and supported by the local government lead to good conditions for Occidental firms to begin establishing offices in Housatonic. The influx of foreign capital enhanced the service economy in the charter city, and the increased demand for food has lead to major expansion of the fishing industry. It houses the world's northernmost major international airport, and despite temperatures it has become a premier air hub and layover destination for travel between Levantia and Alshar, as well as other destinations in Crona.
Prior to its independence, Housatonic had no armed forces beyond its participation within the Nysdra Sea Guard (NSG). Accordingly, the Armed Forces of the Apostolic Kingdom of Urcea provided for the primary air and ground defenses of the city during the charter period. With the creation of the Republic, the Republican Army and Republican Air Forces were created under the civilian control of the Chief of State and Defense Agency. The military is still in the active phase of organization, although it has already received significant shipments of surplus equipment from Urcea, which has become standardized within the Republican Army and Air Forces. Both the Army and Air Force are undergoing training from the Urcean Royal and Imperial Army and Royal Air Force, respectively, and both the Army and Air Force signed contracts with Urcean arms manufacturers to provide them with repairs and replacement parts for equipped Urcean surplus for the foreseeable future. When fully trained and equipped, the Republican Army is envisioned to have a single combined arms battalion sized formation and the Air Force will have a single mixed use air wing. The Republican Army is intended to serve in defense of the country within the context of a greater NSTA response, and accordingly the Republican Army battalion would be integrated into a larger allied formation in the event of war as part of NSTA's Defense Coordination Initiative. The authorizing statute which created the Republican Army also allows it to be used in peacekeeping missions and security applications throughout the Nysdra Sea region.
The Nysdra Sea Guard continues to serve as Housatonic's primary naval and coast guard force. Like Pachaug, Housatoners make up a disproportionate presence within the NSG relative to their overall population share of NSTA due to the nation's historic connection to the sea.