Stewardship of Wintergen (government-in-exile)
Stewardship of Wintergen
|Steward||Nikoláus U.K.I. Fāragen|
|Prime Secretary||Sôren E.L.M. Írgevard|
|Official languages||High Coscivian|
The Stewardship of Wintergen (Kiravic: Ekþaliguv Vintergen, High Coscivian: Ecthaliocuv Vintergescuv) is the Kiravian government-in-exile of the island of Wintergen, which has operated from Valēka since the island's capture by Burgundie in 1823 AD during the Kiro-Burgundian Wars. The Kiravian Federacy funds the government-in-exile and appoints a Steward and other officials to this day in order to maintain the legitimacy of its continued claim to Wintergen, even though the island has remained securely under Burgundian administration for over two hundred years.
Wintergen is not known to have had a permanent population prior to the year 1000 anno Domini, though the Finnic peoples of Meridia were aware of its existence and visited it sporadically for fishing purposes. It became known to Coscivian civilisation when it was sighted by Kedhur Valēkas' flagship during the return voyage of his first expedition to Great Kirav. A subsequent Coscivian expedition established a small settlement on the islands.
By the 19th century AD (XXXth century CC), most of Wintergen's small population lived in a handful of timber camps harvesting wood, most of which was exported to Burgundie to supply its prolific shipyards. Supplementary economic activities included fishing and subsistence farming, though the island suffered from poor soils and weather and a scarcity of arable land. Though some Coscivian families had lived on Wintergen for generations and spoke a unique (and now extinct) Coscivian dialect, most of the population were transient workers from Meridia and the GreatKirav#Far Northeast who lived on the island as fishermen and woodcutters for three or four seasons at most.
The 1820s a devastating bark beetle blight that almost eliminated the remaining forests on Burgundie. Desperate for more wood as the demand from timber producing areas outstripped the locals ability to harvest it, some enterprising NordHallish shipwrights formed the Burgundian North Levantine Company (BNLC) in 1823 and occupied the timber camps of Wintergen.
In 1836 the Golden Council of Ten decreed the Act of Economic Union, claiming that Wintergen was forevermore an integral part of Burgundie.
Following the island's capture and formalization into the Viceregal Republic, the Kiravian government and population were expelled. The temporary workers returned to their homes in Meridia or elsewhere, and the island's permanent residents were resettled in the village of Gartaþorn, Farina, now a neighbourhood of Béyasar. The federal government, expecting to retake the island in the near-term, continued to recognise Wintergen as a federal subject and subsidised the salaries of its government officials, under the presumption that they would soon be returned to their duties. However, the conflicts with Burgundie bore on and [for so reason that I will maybe add here if applicable] were ultimately resolved in 1896 without settling the island's legal status.
Wintergen retained a seat in the Cambrium (to which it intermittently dispatched a delegate) until [YEAR] when the Federal Consistory ruled in Korlēdan v. Wintergen that Wintergen was not entitled to Cambrial representation as it had no voting population. Wintergen continues to hold a seat on the Council of States, but since [YEAR], after other states levelled accusations that its Councillor had sold his votes on various measures and the Governor of Vôtaska threatened to challenge Wintergen's status in court, the Board of Estimate adopted a standing resolution instructing all future Councillors to abstain from voting in most cases. The Councillor from Wintergen is still permitted to vote on internal measures related to the Council's rules and administration, measures with salient relevance to Wintergen and to regaining control of the island, and measures that are expected to pass unanimously.
Politics & Operations
Domestic Political Status
For the purposes of constitutional law, Wintergen is a sui iuris federal subject that predates the modern classifications of state/chartered colony, territory, federal district, dependency, insular area, and governorate. It is external to the federacy (subject to its sovereignty and jurisdiction but not an integral part of it like a state or territory), but due to complications arising from the legal continuity between the Coscivian Empire and Kiravian Federacy and the wording of earlier Kiravian legislation regarding the island, cannot be merged, divided, ceded, or abolished by the federal government like other external territories.
For judicial purposes, Wintergen remains within the jurisdiction of the Meridia Court Sector and the First Appellate Circuit, just as it did before the Burgundian annexation. Its two internal courts still exist on paper, but have not sat since 1817, six years before the island's annexation.
The postal abbreviation VRG remains in the Kiravian Post's General Manual should mail deliveries to the island ever resume.
Aside from the Kiravian Federacy itself, the Kiravian claim to Wintergen and the continued legitimacy of its government-in-exile are recognised by:
Organisation & Activities
The government-in-exile is based at Wintergen House, a four-story stone row building at 12 Wintergen Lane on Tandhurin Island in Valēka, Kiygrava. Wintergen House is technically extraterritorial to Kiygrava and subject to the laws of Wintergen, and although it does not pay Kiygravan payroll or property taxes, it does pay Valēka municipal service fees and accepts the jurisdiction of the local police and courts for all practical purposes. The Stewardship also owns the Wintergen Memorial Cemetery in Béyasar, which contains the graves of 12 of the 1822 expellees from the island and a small monument to its capture. Wintergen owns the land in fee simple and does not claim jurisdiction over it.
In addition to the Steward, Lieutenant Steward, Board of Estimate, and other constitutional officers, Wintergen employs a permanent civil service of three part-time employees, as well as a larger staff of interns and volunteers under the ægis of the non-governmental Wintergen Benevolent Society.
The government's most important activity is managing the Wintergen Permanent Fund, a sovereign wealth fund established by the federal government to help support the Wintergen refugee community. The funds assets are valued at over ◊20 million ($40 million), from which dividends are paid to Kiravian citizens holding Wintergen Refugee Status and to the government itself to support its operations.
Between 21162 and 21169, Wintergen exercised its right to maintain a state defence force composed of Wintergen Benevolent Society volunteers who conducted drills at Bay Barrier Island State Park in Niyasca twice annually. The standing army was disbanded in 21169 due to lack of interest but continues to formally exist as a ceremonial honour guard at state functions.
Wintergen issues its own licence plates and internal passports. Wintergen licence plates are used on official vehicles belonging to the Steward, Lieutenant Steward, and Prime Secretary, as well as many private vehicles belonging to descendants of Wintergen expellees who hold Wintergen Refugee Status. The registration fees for these licence plates are used to help finance the governmet-in-exile.
- Government-General of the Moon - A federal subject created after the Kiravian Moon Landing in [YEAR] to support the Federacy's claim to the Moon. Unlike Wintergen, the Government-General of the Moon is unfunded and does not conduct any business, and its Governorship is an unpaid ceremonial position.
- Continuity Government of Sydona - Kartika-based government-in-exile of the Sydona Islands that existed for several decades while the state was under foreign occupation. It resumed control over its territory after the Federacy liberated the islands in [YEAR].
- Court of Arbitration for Residual Jursidictions - A federal court created by an Act of the Cambrium in 21136 to hear cases from a handful of small disputed areas and no-state's-lands within the Federacy arising from survey errors or legal oversights.