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Apostolic Kingdom of Urcea
Rìognum Urciona Abostolo (Ábciwidar)
Motto: Ad majorem Dei gloriam
("For the greater glory of God")
Anthem: Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory
Location of the Apostolic Kingdom of Urcea
|Official languages||Aenglish, Latin, Ábciwidar|
|King Riordan VIII|
|James Fallshade (NP)|
|James Cossus Reed (NSU)|
|6,089,476 km2 (2,351,160 sq mi)|
• 2034 estimate
• 2030 census
|233/km2 (603.5/sq mi)|
|GDP (nominal)||2034 estimate|
• Per capita
|Time zone||UTC0 (Urceopolitan Mean Time)|
|ISO 3166 code||URC|
|Internet TLD||.urc, .com|
The Apostolic Kingdom of Urcea, also more simply known as Urcea, is a Constitutional Monarchy in Levantia. It occupies a position in the southern half of Levantia, and it neighbors, among others, Kuhlfros to the north. The Kingdom's historic borders have largely sat between the Ionian Mountains and the Odoneru Ocean, though its modern borders includes territories beyond both of its "natural borders", a concept that developed in the 17th century. Urcea has the world's largest population, and the world's largest metropole depending upon one's definition of that term. Urcea's economy is either the largest or second largest in the world, with a nominal gross domestic product exceeding $64 billion.
Although Urcea's roots as a semi-Latinic nation stretch back to the early foundation of Adonerii settlements in the Urce river valley, a recognizable Urcean civilization came into being in the chaotic period following the collapse of Great Levantia and the coalescence of cities and areas into early medieval polities. It was during this period that the earliest roots of modern Urcean culture was established as a fusion between the settled Latins and native Celts, a duality that defines Urcean national identity. It was a major part of the Holy Levantine Empire from its foundation, and its history is shaped by that institution, and has its historical origins as unions of several of the Empire's constituent parts. At times, Urcea came to dominate the Empire, but ultimately played a major role in its downfall throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Catholic faith has proved to be a major factor in the development of the Urcean state, and the Apostolic Kingdom played a pivotal role in the Great Confessional War and the entrenchment of Catholicism in Levantia. Urcea's closeness with Catholicism is one of its best known characteristics worldwide, and the Papacy resides in Urceopolis under Urcean temporal protection. The nation and its government are officially Catholic, and much of the nation's policy decision-making revolves around distributist and Catholic social principles, including subsidiarity. The Catholic faith proves to be one of the defining characteristics of the country; the great Kiravian scholar P. G. W. Gelema once stated that "if Caphiria is an army with a state, than it should very much be said Urcea is a Church with a state".
A very highly developed and influential Occidental nation, the Apostolic Kingdom rates highly in Human Development Index (HDI) and gross domestic product per capita. Urceans enjoy one of the world's largest and healthiest economies, with a per capita income of approximately $45,000 annually and with burgeoning middle and upper classes. The arms manufacturing and energy sectors are among the nation's largest, but the Urcean export economy is perhaps best known for its large scale grain production, earning it the moniker of "breadbasket of the Odoneru". With involvement from Burgundian and Caphirian mercantile interest, many scholars have argued that the Urcean-Odoneru grain trade was the birthplace of capitalism, though there is a significant minority view that questions this assertion.
Urcea's foreign policy focus primarily relies on maintaining balanced hegemony over Levantia and growing its colonial empire abroad, but historically had a focus on involvement in the affairs of the Empire. While a major participant in the Great War and subsequent Occidental Cold War, Urcea's relationship with its powerful neighbor Caphiria has been improving in recent years as shown by the formal end to the Cold War with the Assumption Accords. Both as a consequence and a cause of the end of the Cold War, Urcea's overseas focus has shifted from Sarpedon to Crona, where it maintains an active union and relationship with New Yustona, which many critics have labeled as a Urcean colony. Urcea's involvement in Crona has been growing by the year as a greater number of Levantines move west in search of new opportunities, a phenomenon actively supported by the Urcean government.
- 1 Etymology and Nomenclature
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Government and Politics
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Culture and Society
- 7 Education
- 8 Infrastructure
- 9 Economy
- 10 Military and National Defense
Etymology and Nomenclature
The word Urcea is derived from the name of the river Urce, whose origins remain a subject of scholarly debate - many suggest the name is a derivative of a much earlier Latinic term, originating perhaps as early as circa 1000 BC. Regardless, the city of Urceopolis, or the city of the river Urce, was established roughly 887 BC, establishing prevalent use of the river's name by that period. By the late seventh century and early eighth century AD, the term "Urcean" ("Urciona", natively), describing somebody living near the Urce river, was well established in the local lexicon, and was oftentimes used as an epithet, i.e. "Julius the Urcean", regarding someone who lived in the geographical proximity of the river. The term eventually evolved from someone living on the river to somebody living in the southern portions of the Holy Levantine Empire.
Given the Latinic origin of the term, "Urce", "Urcea", and "Urcean" was originally pronounced with a "hard c", [k], and a "short-u". As the Gaelic natives of Levantia began to more heavily mix with the Adonerii settlers, the modern soft ⟨c⟩ and "long-u" became more prevalent.
Though the nation is usually referred to simply as "Urcea", several other naming conventions have arisen since the nation's founding that are in use in specific circumstances. "The Apostolic Kingdom" is typically used by the Government of Urcea to refer to itself and the nation. Less common, the term "the 34 Provinces" will be used to refer to Urcea as a whole, although this term is somewhat erroneous given that there are 29 provinces, with the remainder being royal holds or states.
Further Information: Early History
The Urcean nation's origins lay in the establishment of the Adonerii colonies in Levantia, but its direct antecedent is Great Levantia, an empire that stretched from the southern coast of modern day Urcea to the northern coast of modern day Kuhlfros. It was during this time that Latinic people began to rule over, and eventually intermix with, the native Celtic population of Levantia. Following the collapse of Great Levantia, several Latin-speaking polities formed, the Duchy of Urceopolis being chief among them. Following a period of feuding with other Latin states states, Hištanšahr, and Gallawa, Urceopolis was subsumed into the emerging Levantine Empire and elevated into an Archduchy under the rule of St. Julius I, and his brother Aedanicus was granted the Grand Duchy of Yustona. St. Julius and his descendants laid the groundwork for continued Latino-Gaelic integration and official recognition of their shared vulgar languages.
Further Information: Archducal Period
As an Archduchy, Urceopolis sometimes feuded with the Emperor, and found itself a part of the Southern Kingdom of the Levantines following the division of the Empire in 917. During the period of the divided Empire, the main line of St. Julius died out and was inherited by descendants of his brother Aedanicus, the Grand Dukes of Yustona, who merged the lines together by marrying a female descendant of the Urceopolitan line. This established the House of Julio-Yustona which ruled both realms, and eventually the unified Kingdom, until 1153. During this period, the Eastern King of the Levantines conquered the Southern Kingdom, reforging the Holy Levantine Empire, and soon after it became an elective monarchy, with the first Urceopolitan Emperor elected in 1014.
Early Kingdom Period
Further Information: Early Kingdom Period
During the first decades of the Kingdom's existence, the Julio-Yustonas reigned in relative peace and prosperity, and King Niall I managed to acquire the long-sought Electorate of Canaery, becoming the first King-Elector of Urcea. However, Niall's two surviving sons both ascended to the throne and both reigned for a combined seven years before the second, Niall II, died as a boy, throwing the country into a succession crisis. Seán Aleckán, a descendant from St. Julius I in the female line who had no ancestors who were King, dispatched several other claimants and became King Seán I, founding the Aleckán dynasty. Seán I's reign mostly involved strengthening his own regime by marginalizing other claimants, and he was succeeded by his son Seán II without incident. The following King, Niall III, was the first King of Urcea elected as Emperor of the Levantines. Niall's death lead to a revolt of the magnates, installing Cónn of Holmfilth, who descended distantly from one of the Julio-Yustonan Kings, as King Constantine I. Emperor Niall's son, meanwhile, was passed over, beginning the Saint's War.
Saint's War Period
Further Information: Saint's War Period
The House of Cónn ruled for a peaceful forty years and encouraged construction before being overthrown by Emperor Niall's long-exiled son, Donnchad of the Aleckán dynasty, in a bloodless coup in 1253. The Cónn Crown Prince swore loyalty to the new King, appearing to end the dynastic struggle, but Donnchad's son relied on Cónn loyalists against his enemies and eventually named the Cónn Prince, James, as his heir. King James I ruled for a long time, but the Crown reverted to the Aleckán dynasty. A Cónn claimant next took the throne, but died childless, plunging the Kingdom into a sixty three year period of military anarchy from 1339 to 1402 known as the Great Interregnum, leaving the country divided and Urceopolis under the control of the Pope. A scion of the de Weluta family, heirs of the Aleckán line, eventually emerged victorious, and the new King Louis II married the Cónn heiress, ending the centuries-long dynastic turmoil.
Further Information: Reformation Period
The first reign of the de Welutas saw a focus on rebuilding the international reputation and internal infrastructure of the Kingdom. Ruling for a century over a period of remarkable national unity, the unity came to an end during the reign of James III as the Protestant Reformation began, creating a small but problematic Protestant minority in the Kingdom. A minor succession crisis allowed the Protestant, Riordan V of the House of Julio-Angloise, seized the throne in 1546. During his reign, a period of Catholic persecution began, sparking the Urcean War of Religion, a major theater of what became known as the Great Confessional War. Riordan's son, Donnchad was an accomplished commander but was ultimately defeated and killed in 1565, leading to a restoration of the House de Weluta. His successor, King Leo II, lead the Kingdom on the Catholic side for the remaining period of the Great Confessional War, eventually being elected Emperor and leading Dragonnades against Levantine Protestants. As a consequence of the war, Urcea saw major territorial aggrandizement at the expense of Angla and Gassavelia was firmly entrenched as the preeminent power in the Holy Levantine Empire.
Further Information: Imperial Period
Following the conclusion of the Great Confessional War, Urcea saw a period of growth and prosperity that coincided with greater integration of the former estates in Gassavelia. In 1702, King Riordan VII was elected Emperor Riordan I of the Holy Levantine Empire, beginning more than a century of Urcean control over the Empire. During this period, dramatic changes were occurring in Urcea with the dawn of the Industrial Revolution and the continued decline of the power of the nobility, who had suffered a major blow in the Dragonnades and were continuing to weaken relative to the Crown. King Leo IV was denied the Imperial Crown, but won it on the battlefield during the War of the Caroline Succession, acquiring the Grand Duchy of Carolina in the process and ensuring hereditary succession for House de Weluta. After several decades, the Princes of the Empire eventually won back both Carolina and the right of the Collegial Electorate to select the Emperor during the Second Caroline War. Throughout this entire period, the Constitution of Urcea began to emerge and take form. Urcea acquired part of Ecinis and the Kingdom of Dorhaven during this period.
Further Information: Reform Period
Following its loss of territory and the Imperial Crown following the Second Caroline War, Urcea implemented a series of liberalizing reforms in line with King Niall V's philosophy of Crown Liberalism, which greatly enhanced the power of the Concilium Daoni while also implementing important reforms of the Royal Army. By fully engaging the Urcean population in the affairs of the state, Niall reasoned that he could unleash the full power of the population and economy in a truly national effort in any war the country would face. During this period, Urcea became openly antagonistic with respect to its relation to the rest of the Holy Levantine Empire, ushering in decades of the slow decline of the Empire. Urcea utilized its reforms under King Aedanicus VIII, who won the Third Caroline War in the 1840s, setting Urcea at odds with its Imperial neighbors permanently and reconquering the Grand Duchy of Carolina. Aedanicus's reign would feature continue reforms to the Constitution of Urcea which brought it close to its present form. Following his death in 1889, Procurator and army general Gréagóir FitzRex seized power in a brief period that became known as the Red Interregnum.
Further Information: Restoration Period
Further Information: Modern Period
Magnag, the largest lake in Urcea, as viewed from its western coast.
The Ionian Highlands in the east, a popular vacation destination.
The sprawling tropical jungles of Gassavelia sits in stark contrast to the rest of the country.
Urcea occupies a position roughly constituting the southwestern third of Levantia displays a broad array of geographical and geological diversity owing to the more than thousand-mile length between the Northern and Southern ends of the country, ranging from the largely flat temperate riverine areas that dominate the majority of the country to the Ionian highlands in the east, to the jungles of Gassavelia in the south. Urcea proper, that is, the territory of the Apostolic Kingdom on the Levantine mainland as well as Halfway but not including Dorhaven, Medimeria, or its Crona possessions, has a total area of more than two million square miles, all of which is divided into either a Province, Royal Hold, or State. This figure does not include any overseas territories the Kingdom may possess.
The demographic and political center of the country is in the northern half of the country, particularly in the Urce River Valley, culminating with the political, cultural, and economic capital of the country, Urceopolis, though significant economic weight exists elsewhere, particularly on the coast of the Odoneru Ocean extending from the city of Beldra to the border with Kistan. This region is sometimes called the "Odoneru Megalopolis" and is, along with Urceopolis and Burgundie, one of the primary ways in which imports via maritime trade enter Levantia. The modern industrial manufacturing heartland of Urcea has emerged in the Ionia-Novaterra-Glenfort region, referred to as the "Upper Urce Valley" as the old manufacturing center around Urceopolis and in the "Lower Valley" has switched to primarily to a service economy.
The fastest growing region in the country is the Cape Aedan and Callan area which was historically border swamp lands of Urcea proper, though due to developments in agricultural technology these previously difficult areas have increased their share of agriculture, making them largely the new agricultural heart of the country beginning in the mid-20th century. The eastern highlands have shifted to a largely urbanized economy based on large deposits of recently discovered shale oil and natural gas beneath the ground, creating a large hydrofracking sector in the area. The Bay of Cana, which embraces the provinces of Cape Aedan and Callan as well as the Electorate of Canaery has also yielded large offshore oil deposits discovered at the end of the 20th century.
The Ioni mountains generally serve to denote the delineation between Urcea proper and the rest of Levantia, while the Cana Bay and North Callan River divide the country into the commonly understood "North" and "South".
The first major ecological area of Urcea is the Urcean Plain, the central part of the country surrounded by the Ionian Highlands and the southern mountains. Historically, Urcea's position near the Tropic of Cancer and wide open plains allowed for megafauna and megaflora to thrive before the growth of civilization, though their decline was acutely felt and early historians noted the consistently shifting and unstable ecological conditions as many animals without natural predators grew without consequence while species without a food supply died out. According to many environmental historians, the ecosystem of the Urcean plain finally settled around the end of the first millennium, though by that period most of the Urcean plain was covered in farmland and most of the animals in it domesticated. Today, this area is heavily populated, but environmental preserves dot the plain allowing some of the natural, temperate flora and fauna to restore themselves. There is a serious white-tailed deer problem in the Urcean plain as natural predators are largely absent from the region.
The second region notable for its ecology is the expansive jungles of Gassavelia in the south of the country. Due to its lesser population density, much of the ecology of the area has been largely undisturbed. Being a near-tropical jungle and rainforest, over a million different types of insects and an estimated 35,000 different kinds of plant. The Urcean government, through the Ministry of the Environment and Energy, actively works to preserve wildlife and natural splendor of the area.
The third major ecological area of the country is the Ionian Highlands that runs the length of the country's eastern border, which has a similar kind of flora and fauna as the Urcean plain.
Climate and environment
A great majority of Urcea has a very temperate and mild climate, with temperatures ranging from 74 °F to 95 °F in the summer and 35 °F to 50 °F in the winter. The exceptions to this are in the Gassavelian and Ionian areas, with the former experiencing tropical temperatures exceeding 100 °F in the summer, and the latter experiencing fairly cold mountains due primarily to its elevation. Very little of the country sees large amounts of snowfall during the winter besides the Ionian Highlands, which can experience up to sixty inches of snow seasonally.
Urcea's southern coasts, primarily from Canaery to its eastern coastal border, are known for it's lush and beautiful environment, and in that way are similar to the Caphirian northern coast. The country is primarily powered by clean nuclear energy, though renewables, particularly wind energy due to the large availability of coastal land, also provide a large amount of power regionally. The Ministry of Energy and the Environment strictly enforces environmental regulations, and efforts are continuously underway to protect the country's environment in the face of its large population and continued economic growth.
Government and Politics
Main Article: Government of Urcea
Urcea is a constitutional monarchy, with the Apostolic King of Urcea serving as the head of state and central constitutional organizing principle of the nation, with Urceans being "subjects" as well as "citizens", though his sovereignty is shared with the national legislature. Under the King is the Procurator, who is elected nationwide and the Cabinet, called the Concilium Purpaidá. The Purpaidá's members are appointed by the Chancellor and Temporary President of the Concilium Daoni, who leads the national legislature. Below them are a series of royal holds, provinces, and states with varying degrees of home rule within Urcea's federal system.
In the Executive Branch, the Apostolic King of Urcea maintains a mostly nominal but important role, directly appointing judges and military officers. The King can also intervene in disputes between the Procurator and Concilium Purpdaidá, typically when the Procurator and Chancellor and Temporary President are of different parties. The Procurator, elected by the nation at large, determines the government's policy program and directs the Concilium Purpaidá to implement it. The Procurator also has functional command and control of the Armed Forces of the Apostolic Kingdom of Urcea and proposes the Royal Budget. In the 21st Century, the National Pact has typically controlled the office of Procurator.
The Concilium Purpaidá is the nation's Cabinet and has broad powers to implement policies via regulation where statutorily authorized. Members of the Purpaidá nominally follow the Procurator's policies, but are appointed by the Chancellor and Temporary President, who is the leader of the Concilium Daoni.
The office of Censor also falls under the executive branch, and the two Censors are responsible for the maintenance of morality and public virtue as well as for the national decennial census. The Censors have authority to issue media content standards, and can issue formal objections to morally harmful pieces of legislation that come before the Concilium Daoni. The Censors are elected nationwide but the pool of candidates are selected by the Apostolic King of Urcea and Urcean Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The Concilium Daoni is the Kingdom's national legislature, and it is led by the Chancellor and Temporary President who serves as majority leader within the Daoni. The Chancellor nominates the members of the Concilium Purpaidá, although they are formally appointed by the King via constitutional advice. Members of the Daoni, called Delegates, are elected from 500 single-member constituencies using first past the post voting. Made up of committees that mirror the structure of the Concilium Purpaidá, the Daoni considers legislation as well as treaties and Royal budgets. In the 21st Century, the National Social Union has typically controlled the Concilium Daoni.
Provinces, Holds, and States
See Also: Provinces, Holds, and States
Federalism is a key element of the construction of the Government of Urcea, and home rule is considered a necessary provision of the philosophy of subsidiarity. Accordingly, there are three federal subdivisions in Urcea. Royal Holds are the first kind and the most prestigious, consisting of the Archduchy of Urceopolis, the Grand Duchy of Yustona, and the Electorate of Canaery. These are areas that the King directly holds title to through his own personal right, and not through his position as King. In royal holds, a unicameral parliament serves as the local legislature under the direction of an appointed Governor-General. The second and most common kind are Provinces, which are general lands bound to the Kingdom as a legal entity. In provinces, an elected bicameral legislature and elected Governor serve as the government. The third kind are "States", which are semi-autonomous entities designed for ethnic enclaves. States are governed in the same way as provinces except that the elected executive is called Secretary-General. The primary difference between the three forms of government are differences in tax rates and the types of taxes levied.
Counties and Local Governments
See Also: Counties and Local Governments
Local governments in royal holds are called "counties", which have elected county executives and county legislatures. Counties are made up of towns and cities. In the provinces and in states, local governments are organized through "diocese" which function in the same way as counties, though they may have a Board of Supervisors rather than a legislative and executive. Until recently, dioceses were coterminous with Catholic dioceses, but reforms in 2028 decoupled the two divisions.
See Also: Politics of Urcea
As a consequence of the division of power between the King, the Procurator, and the Chancellor and Temporary President, there are four distinct political power structures that can take form. In a situation where the Procurator and Chancellor are of the same party, members of the Concilium Purpaidá are all from the leadership's party and that party's platform become the government's program. When a Procurator and Chancellor come from a different party but reach an agreement called a "Purpaidá Coalition", whereby a minority of members of the Purpaidá are appointees of the Procurator's party in exchange for a mutually agreed upon policy program being established by the Procurator. In a situation where a hung Daoni exists, the Procurator can help broker a majority coalition in the Daoni, whereby a mix of the Procurator and Chancellor's parties sit on the Purpaidá in a roughly even split between parties. In the final form, the Procurator and Chancellor are of different parties and do not reach an agreement, typically leading to "Royal Rule", where the King can intervene in government affairs in order to solve policy divisions between the Chancellor's appointees on the Purpaidá and the Procurator.
There are two major political parties in Urcea, the National Pact, which is the largest party, and the National Social Union, which is the second largest party. The Julian Party and the Democratic Labor Party are the third and fourth largest parties, respectively, and sometimes play important roles in deciding majorities in the Concilium Daoni in addition to holding local offices.
Urcea is a fairly culturally homogeneous country, forming a single Urcean identity after many centuries of admixture between Latinic and Gaelic peoples that coexisted in Levantia since ca. 1000 BC, though some other smaller cultrual groups, such as Yustonese (a cultural group of more pure Latinic heritage) were integrated as well. As such, some 78% of people in Urcea are ethnically Urcean. Sizable minorities of other ethnicities exist in Urcea, mostly within territory that was traditionally an ethnic homeland, such as the areas of Gassavelia and Canaery, though these exhibit a great deal of "Urceanity" and most consider themselves to be Urceans before their particular subnationality.
Urcea has had a somewhat diverse linguistic history, beginning with the earliest Latin-speaking peoples spreading throughout the land in the period beginning ca. 950 BC. Latin was the sole official language of state in Great Levantia. Gradually, the Latin of the ruling class began to mix with the language of the conquering Celts and Gaels, resulting in Urcea's first native language, Ábciwidar (roughly meaning "of the city", as in "language of the city", referring to Urceopolis), developed, and was the primary vulgar language for nearly a thousand years. It was eventually adopted alongside Latin as language of government in the 900s, though it replaced Latin even in government documents. Latin remained prevalent, however, in the Church and in learning (as it was controlled by the Church).
Ábciwidar is still considered to be the cultural language of Urcea despite its widespread use in some areas of the historical Holy Levantine Empire, so much so that some foreign scholars occasionally incorrectly refer to it as "Urcean". It has since been primarily replaced by Aenglish, which came to Urcea especially during the Saint's War through the influence of the neighboring Kingdom of Angla. In time, the Aenglish language became something of a common language for traders to use, particularly in regards to commerce between different states of the Empire. After the destruction of the Kingdom of Angla through a series of bloody wars waged by the Empire, Anglan refugees flooded into parts of the Empire, particularly Urcea, and largely settled where those had been killed or banished had lived, making Aenglish predominant in eastern Urcea. These immigrants were soon dispersed by Ionian Highlands clans, spreading Aenglish-speakers throughout Urcea, even among non-traders. Although this is the primary reason for the commonality of Aenglish, it should be noted that the earlier reign of the House of Julio-Angloise had already set Aenglish as present within Urcea, as it had established Aenglish as the court language. Many historians argue this acted as a foundation for the later influx. As the language of commerce, it became well known and is the primary language spoken today, though some pockets of Ábciwidar still remain.
In the southeast is the region of Gassavelia, a semi-autonomous part of the Apostolic Kingdom, wherein a type of Romance Vulgar Persianid, the Gassavelian language, is spoken, which is the third most spoken language in the Kingdom.
See Also: Estates of Urcea
The family in Urcea is usually group consisting of a married pair of a woman and a man (adults) and their children (one or more). These so-called "Nuclear families" typically center on the married couple; the nuclear family may have any number of children. The familial definition in Urcea includes blood children, adopted children and step-children in certain circumstances; for tax purposes, the reason for the annulment of the previous marriage or if it was a separation via death is considered. The family structure of a married couple and their children were present since the 6th century, influenced by church and Royal governments. Outside of the nuclear families exist bonds with extended family, including those within the Estate system. Divorce, bigamy, polygamy and gay marriage are illegal and are considered serious crimes.
Urcean families with a lineage in the country typically older than fifty years are part of the Estates of Urcea, a system of kinship ties descending, supposedly, from the period of Great Levantia. These Estates are descended from 25 Latinic families and their wards from Urceopolis and its hinterlands as well as 25 Gaelic families integrated during the Great Levantine period. In antiquity, this served a function similar to the Caphirian tribal system, where groups of individuals were divided for voting purposes. From the 50 estates is derived the Medieval landed gentry class of Urcea, and each estate has a so-called "great house" at its head, with the head of household holding the title of "Guardian (Ábciwidar: Custóir) of the Estate". Legal estate distinctions were largely abolished by the 18th century, but to this day one's Estate is an important source of identity.
In the Ionian Highlands, a similar but separate loose clan structure is in use. While Highlanders live as nuclear families, it is often in close proximity to others, and typically first and second cousins are raised together. These smaller clan units retain loyalty to their kinsmen even outside of the direct mini-clan unit, and even in the 21st century a single, distantly-related clan can make up a plurality of dioceses within the Highlands. Accordingly, consanguinity laws (within four degrees) are strictly enforced. Highland clans are known to form local sports teams and leagues with other clans, and though ancient rivalries have mostly subsided, sometimes these matches can result in violence by hooliganism.
As noted, divorce is illegal; as such, only 1-2% of adults over 18 report having been divorced. A secular physical "separation" of couples is legal as necessary and granted judicially with a low standard of scrutiny. 77% of adults over the age of 18 are married, 10% were widowed, and the remaining eleven percent report never having been married.
A vast majority of Urceans are Catholics, which is the official religion of the state. Aside from being a major factor in Urcea's geopolitical dealings, the Catholic Church also proves to be, in many ways, the central organizing structure and focal point in Urcean society. Celebrations of baptisms are usually town-wide, and mass attendance far exceeds most other Catholic countries. Urcea also produces more Catholic priests than any other nation, many of which are then sent to minister overseas in countries with clerical shortages, particularly in Sarpedon but elsewhere as well. Religious toleration is the law and discrimination against other religious groups is forbidden, but is common in everyday elements of society.
The Catholic Church's influence in Urcea is well known around the world, and it has been said that unifying element of the Urcean national culture - which includes many local cultural variation - is the Catholic faith. The Church is also responsible for organizing local governments in the Provinces through the Bishops and Dioceses. The Catholic Church is also headquartered in Urceopolis, and the Holy See resides there, making the Urcean capital the center point through which all Catholics share communion. Additionally, the Church, in the person of the Pope, holds the independent Papal State within Urceopolis. As such, the Pope serves as a key unofficial adviser to the Apostolic King of Urcea due to the close proximity of St. Peter's Basilica to the Julian Palace. Several Popes have come from the ranks of the Urcean Bishops over the ages, particularly considering the roots of the Papacy in Great Levantia and Urceopolis, though prelates from many other places in Levantia have sat in the Chair of St. Peter as well.
Outside of Urceopolis and other major cities, the Church will often be the center of small town living in Urcea, with the Priest as a key figure within the community and Sunday Mass as an important social gathering. Church attendance in Urcea is among the highest in the developed world and particularly in small municipalities and rural areas, where the figure approaches 80%; the national average is 66.54% of the population, which includes urban areas which can report as low as 45% to 50% in terms of weekly attendance.
Urcea is the world's largest exporter of Latin Rite Priests, which serve in both missionary capacities as well as in normal clerical duties in other countries with weaker faith engagement among other Catholic-majority states in Sarpedon and Crona. Recently, missionary activity from the Urcean Church has become more prevalent in Crona as well, particularly in the northern areas of the continent.
While post-Conciliar masses in Urcea were once popular in the 1970s and 80s, said in Aenglish as well as in Ábciwidar in some places, their popularity has diminished and have practically disappeared in Urcea since the end of the 20th century. Since then, the Tridentine Mass has become commonplace in Urcea and the Church has considered making it the Ordinary Form of the Mass within the Kingdom.
Culture and Society
See Also: Urcean people
The issue of Urcean cultural identity, sometimes referred to as "Urceanity", has long been a topic of discussion, especially among academics. Popular opinion, along with academic consensus, has established a few basic criteria of who Urceans are, especially including a joint Latinic and Celtic ethnic and linguistic heritage. Many Urceans view neither Adonerum nor Gallawa as their direct ancestral state, and many national historians view Great Levantia with skepticism, although the Royal Institution for National Heritage along with the majority of scholars at the Collegium Scientificum argue that the hybridization of Celtic and Latinic cultures began under the auspices of Great Levantia or earlier, and that the so-called "Latin invasion" of Adonerum and Great Levantia involved a great deal of cultural mixing.
As a consequence of their joint heritage, most Urceans view most Occidental nations, besides Cronans, as their cousins. In particular, Urceans view Kistanis, Kuhlfrosians, and especially Caphirians, despite the historical geopolitical animosity between the two countries, as "national cousins".
Mainstream Urcean cuisine is similar to that in other Levantine countries. Wheat is the primary cereal grain with about three-quarters of grain products made of wheat flour and many dishes use indigenous ingredients, such as turkey, venison, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, and maple syrup which were consumed by Levzeish and Gaels as well as early Latinic settlers.
Characteristic dishes such as apple pie, fried chicken, pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs derive from the recipes of various immigrants. French fries, Sarpedonian dishes such as burritos and tacos, and pasta dishes freely adapted from Latin sources are widely consumed. Urceans drink three times as much coffee as tea. Marketing by Urcean industries is largely responsible for making orange juice and milk ubiquitous breakfast beverages.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, Urceans developed many new foods. During the 20th century, food production and presentation became more industrialized. One characteristic of Urcean cooking is the fusion of multiple ethnic or regional approaches into completely new cooking styles. A wave of celebrity chefs began in the 1970s, with many more following after the rise of cable channels such as Stovetop Network.
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Urcea by a significant margin, and per capita consumption exceeds more than fifty liters annually. The most popular kind of beers are goldwheats and pilsners. Many of the most popular brands of beer are domestic with hops and wheat grown in the province of Goldvale and brewed elsewhere. Wine, especially wines from southern Urcea and particularly from Canaery, is growing in popularity, and the industry is a major source of economic growth in Canaery and parts of Gassavelia.
Literature and the Arts
The history of Urcean visual art is part of Levantine painting history. Levantine art was influenced by earlier Latinic civilization and can in part be taken as a descendant thereof. However, Levantine painting does have important unique characteristics. Such painting can be grouped into 4 main "styles" or periods, and may contain the first examples of trompe-l'œil, pseudo-perspective, and pure landscape.
Panel painting became more common during the Levanesque period, under the heavy influence of Orthodox icons. Towards the middle of the 13th century, Medieval art and Gothic painting became more realistic, with the beginnings of interest in the depiction of volume and perspective in Urcea. From then on, the treatment of composition by the best painters also became much more free and innovative.
Initially serving imperial, private, civic, and religious patronage, Urcean painting later found audiences in the aristocracy and the middle class. From the Middle Ages through the Renaissance painters worked for the church and a wealthy aristocracy. Beginning with the Baroque era, artists received private commissions from a more educated and prosperous middle class. The idea of "art for art's sake" began to find expression in the work of the Romantic painters. During the 19th century commercial galleries became established and continued to provide patronage in the 20th century.
Music and Entertainment
Urcean traditional music has remained vibrant, despite globalising cultural forces, and retains many of its cornerstone aspects, such as instrument choice and semi-nationalistic themes. It has influenced various music genres, such as country and roots music, and to some extent modern rock. It has occasionally been blended with styles such as rock and roll and punk rock. Urcea has also produced many internationally known artists in other genres, such as rock, pop, jazz, and blues.
The rhythmic and lyrical styles of traditional music have deeply influenced Urcean music at large, distinguishing it from Sarpedonian Latinic traditions. Elements from folk idioms such as the blues and what is now known as old-time music were adopted and transformed into popular genres with global audiences. Country music developed in the 1920s, and rhythm and blues in the 1940s. Since that point, a mix of rock and mainstream pop exists alongside country music as the most popular genres in the country, though some have noted rock music to be in decline since the end of the 20th century, particularly going in a more indie direction as country music has displaced it in many parts of society.
Baseball has been regarded as the Urcean national sport since the late 19th century, and is by several measures the most popular spectator sport. The Royal Baseball Association (RBA) has one of the highest average attendances of any sports league in the world, and the National Series is watched by millions globally. Gridiron Football and ice hockey are the country's next two leading professional team sports, with the top leagues being the Royal Football Confederation (RFC) and National Association of Hockey Leagues (NAHL). These three major sports, when played professionally, each occupy a season at different, but overlapping, times of the year. Collegiate-level football and basketball attract large audiences.
Eight Olympic Games have taken place in Urcea.
Urcea has a very broad and diverse architectural style, most of which cannot be simply classified by period. A major reason for this is the stark regional differences that occur depending upon where one studies, due to the consolidation of various polities into Urcea since its formation. This has created a highly diverse and eclectic range in architectural designs. The most popular kind of architecture, due to rapid growth during the early industrial revolution in the mid-18th century, is the so-called Caroline architecture and associated pseudo-Caroline and neo-Caroline designs. An offshoot of Neoclassical architecture, Caroline architecture typically uses plain surfaces with attenuated detail, usually isolated in panels, tablets, and friezes. It also had a flatter, smoother façade and rarely used pilasters. It was most influenced by the interpretation of the ancient architecture of Great Levantia, which was growing in popularity in the mid-18th century due to increasing interest in archaeology.
Despite its relative diversity, Urcea is known for its considerable architectural achievements, such as the construction of arches, domes and similar structures during ancient Great Levantia, achievements in the Renaissance architectural movement in the late-14th to 16th centuries, and being the homeland of Palladianism, a style of construction which inspired movements such as that of Neoclassical architecture, and influenced the designs which noblemen built their country houses all over the world. Urcean architecture has also widely influenced the architecture of the world. Additionally, Urceanate architecture, popular abroad since the 19th century, was used to describe foreign architecture which was built in a Urcean style, especially modeled on Renaissance architecture.
Holidays are a major part of Urcean cultural and religious life and are directly tied into the Catholic Church's liturgical calendar, although several non-religious holidays exist as well. 34 major holidays are observed on weekdays throughout the year, some of which are holy days of obligation and other feast days.
The most prominent non-religious holiday is the King's Birthday, celebrated on different days depending on the birthday of the reigning Apostolic King of Urcea. Celebrations typically mirror independence day festivities of other countries, as patriotic themes mingle with typical, seasonally appropriate relaxation activities, such as boating. The second most prominent non-religious holiday is that of Thanksgiving, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. The holiday, which recalls the historic event of Prince Niall's flight to the highlands during the Second Caroline War, is an occasion for the nation to give thanks to God for the deliverance of the nation, but also for the blessings given to families and the country as a whole. Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated as an extended family gathering.
The Feast Day of St. Julius on April 1st and is an important holiday celebrating national themes, though in recent decades the King's Birthday has supplanted it as the main "patriotic" holiday, and instead it has taken on a greater religious significance.
Urcean public education is operated jointly by provincial and local governments alongside the Church, regulated by the Collegium Scientificum, which issues annual guidelines on curriculum and performance standards. In most provinces, children are required to attend school from the age of six or seven (generally, kindergarten or first grade) until they turn 18 (generally bringing them through twelfth grade, the end of high school); some provinces allow students to leave school at 16 or 17.
Urcea has many competitive private and public institutions of higher education. Many of the world's top universities listed by different ranking organizations are in Urcea. There are also local community colleges with generally more open admission policies, shorter academic programs, and lower tuition. Of Urceans 25 and older, 84.6% graduated from high school, 52.6% attended some college, 27.2% earned a bachelor's degree, and 9.6% earned graduate degrees. The basic literacy rate is approximately 99%.
Personal transportation is dominated by automobiles, which operate on a network of public roads, including one of the world's longest highway systems. The world's second-largest automobile market, Urcea has one of the highest rates of per-capita vehicle ownership in the world, with 765 vehicles per 1,000 Urceans. About 40% of personal vehicles are vans, SUVs, or light trucks. The average Urcean adult (accounting for all drivers and non-drivers) spends 55 minutes driving every day, traveling 29 miles (47 km). Mass transit accounts for 9% of total Urcean work trips.
Urcea's transportation infrastructure is characterized by a large network of super-highways, called the "National Interprovincial Highway Service", and traditional railways in both the heavy and freight varieties for transporting people and goods, respectively. Air travel is also prevalent within the country.
The National Interprovincial Highway Service (NIHS) is owned by the Royal government under the Ministry of Commerce, which does not charge tolls with the exception of the immediate area around Urceopolis which has the roads with the highest use in the nation. The NIHS is largely paid for using general tax funds from the Royal Treasury, though the Ministry of Commerce does use these toll incomes to offset some of the costs that would otherwise be part of the budget.
The national railway infrastructure is also owned by the Ministry of Commerce as the National Interprovincial Railway Service, though the government owns nor operates any railway companies, and all users of the National Railway System are privately owned freight and passenger service corporations that use the rails free of charge. Transport of goods by rail is extensive, though relatively low numbers of passengers (approximately 150 million annually) use intercity rail to travel.
The Royal government owns Archducal International, the largest airport in the nation, which is located in Preserve County just outside of Urceopolis. All other airports are owned by provinces, local municipalities, or even in some cases, by private corporations. The civil airline industry is entirely privately owned and has been largely deregulated.
The National Interprovincial Highway and Railway Services, along with the nationally owned public airports, are managed and maintained by the Ministry of Commerce.
Historically, petroleum was the primary energy source in Urcea. In 2025, energy consumption per capita is 7.8 tons (7076 kg) of oil equivalent per year, among the highest in the world. In the same year, 31% of Urcea's energy came from petroleum, 27% from natural gas, and 23% from nuclear. The remainder was supplied by coal power and renewable energy sources. Urcea is among the world's largest consumers of petroleum. In the decade since, however, many new clean nuclear power plants have been constructed and some estimates have put Urcea's reduction of petroleum consumption at nearly half. Nuclear power is, as of 2034, the nation's largest energy source. A large part of the so-called "nuclear revolution" was the Urcean integration of New Yustona. During the War of the Northern Confederation, it was discovered that massive quantities of uranium ore lay under New Yustona, leading to widespread exploitation for energy use in Levantia.
For decades, coal power has played a limited role relative to many other developed countries, in part because of public perception in the wake of early industrial accidents. In 2024, several applications for new "clean coal" plants were filed. Urcea is the world's largest producer of natural gas due to a robustly developed hydrofracking sector and infrastructure.
See Also: Healthcare in Urcea
The Apostolic Kingdom of Urcea has capitalist mixed economy, owing to the origins of the country and the modern philosophical constitution of the country on semi-distributist and Catholic social principles. The country is generally appraised a strong economy, with a GDP per capita of roughly $43,000+ and a total national GDP of $80 trillion, which makes it one of the world's strongest economies. Industrial manufacturing, agriculture, and natural resource gathering (yielding uranium, among other resources) constitute the largest segments of the economy.
The Urcean economy experienced rapid growth in the late 20th century due to increasing economic modernization and technological innovations, allowing an average 3.1% growth rate between 1972 and 1999, after which point the economy began to slow down and "normalize" relative to potential growth in productivity.
Urcea's trade relations primarily involve countries in Levantia owing to the lack of tariffs within the continent, though trade agreements between Urcea and other countries, such as Kiravia, have been growing more prevalent in the 21st century. Urcean economic interests in Crona have lead to greater trade across the Levantine Ocean, with a particular emphasis on new markets in New Yustona, which serves as a hub for trade goods in the eastern hemisphere and a gateway for goods to flood back to Levantia.
Industries and Sectors
Arms manufacturing is one of the nation's largest industries, providing military equipment both for the Urcean military and militaries abroad.
Agriculture is a major industry in Urcea. Urcea's fair climate and sweeping plains are perfect for growing both wheat and maize, and the country exports both of these in large numbers, particularly to countries circling the Odoneru Ocean. As a consequence of the wheat surplus, the dairy industry became large in the 19th century and is another important sector in the economy today, with milk being another major export besides being consumed in most homes across the country. Another sector that benefits from the nation's agricultural strength is beer production, and in the province of Goldvale hops and wheat for brewing purposes are grown in large quantities. In the south of Urcea, and especially in Canaery, wine production is a major industry.
Further Information: Taler
The Taler, sometimes called the Dollar, is considered one of the world's strongest currencies, currently exchanging at U$1 for $1.95 USD. The currency itself is the common currency issued by the Levantine Union; nevertheless, it is coined in Urceopolis and much of its stability is attributable to the Royal Bank of Urcea. The Taler is often used as the "default currency" of business in Levantia and even in some parts of Crona and Sarpedon, as well as finding use in parts of Crona as a general currency of trade. It is a fiat currency, though in the past it was based on a gold standard. The Taler is one of the globally accepted hard currencies and is a primary reserve currency in Levantia and abroad.
Adoption of the Taler was not uniform in Urcea or within the Empire at first, but rather, continuous efforts through the centuries to adopt a common Imperial currency in place of local currencies found success, many times at the behest of Apostolic King for the purposes of enhancing Urcean commercial interests. Finding its origin in the thaler of the Kingdom of Ultmar and in some smaller mercantile states in Crona, the Taler eventually became the trade currency of the Empire as a whole, and after the Empire's collapse Urcea continued to use it..
Despite the relatively uniform economic nature of the Taler, it will still have some regional variety in the type of bills and coins themselves; Urcean bills, for example, tend to show scenes of the Holy Levantine Empire's history related to the Apostolic Kingdom's role within it, particularly the Battle of Drumfree and Emperor Leo III as well as other Urcean-born Emperors or other themes commonly relating the country and continent. Other adopting states have tended to display their own head of state or historic heads of state, though New Yustona and others continue to use the Urcean-printed version. As such, the Urcean variety of the Taler is the most commonly found variety due to the volume of currency required for the Urcean economy to function.
Military and National Defense
Further Information: Armed Forces of the Apostolic Kingdom of Urcea
Urcea's armed forces are divided into three branches:
- the Royal and Imperial Army
- the Royal Air Force
- the Royal Navy, which also includes the Royal Marine Corps
Historically, the Royal and Imperial Army saw the most action and was the primary focus of the nation's military efforts, but since the Great War the Navy has evolved into the branch of primary concern, given Urcea's maritime border with Caphiria. In modern times, Urcea's Armed Forces are primarily engaged in New Yustona and Crona, but prior to the Assumption Accords it was heavily deployed in Ecinis and in Dorhaven. The Urcean military's budget exceeds $3.6 trillion dollars, among the largest in the world during peacetime but trailing Caphiria.
The Royal and Imperial Army is the largest of the three branches with more than 4,000,000 active duty personnel and 4,000,000 personnel in reserves. The Army has some 5,000,000 combat and transportation vehicles of various age that can be called upon for active duty use, alongside more than 127,000 pieces of artillery and rocket artillery. The Army also has more than 78,000 aircraft for use, though the majority of these are transportation helicopters or fixed wing aircraft for transportation use.
The Royal Navy, between its primary service and its attached Royal Marine Corps, has the most active duty personnel of the three branches, with more than 4,700,000 active duty personnel (of these, more than 600,000 are marines) and 1,500,000 reservists (of which more than 354,000 are marines). The pride of the Urcean Armed Forces, the Navy has 1,557 combat vehicles including 54 aircraft carriers, and also maintains 178 amphibious assault and command vessels with 75 other miscellaneous vessels. The Navy, not including the Marine Corps, maintains 24,236 aircraft, including 8,258 fighter aircraft. The Royal Marine Corps maintain more than 124,000 various vehicles, including more than 1,100 tanks and 5,300 aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing capability.
The Royal Air Force is the smallest of the three branches, with more than 3,400,000 active duty personnel and more than 1,000,000 reservists. The Royal Air Force maintains some 47,108 pieces of equipment, including 10,578 fighters, 1,826 bombers, 2,938 ground attack aircraft, 11,132 cargo planes among other varieties of aircraft. The Royal Air Force was previously known as the Royal Air Fleet and was founded in 1905 for the purposes of coordinating all military airships. The Royal Air Force maintains the navy-based ranks from the Air Fleet era, making it similar to the Burgundian Royal Air Service in that respect.
In addition to its conventional armed forces, the Armed Forces of the Apostolic Kingdom of Urcea are estimated to have more than 7,500 warheads of various types, though it is surmised that not all of them are active. Given Urcea's 136 active ballistic missile submarines, it's estimated that of the 7,500, at least 3,264 are submarine-based, with the remainder being strategic bomber or intercontinental ballistic missile based.
Despite Urcea's powerful standing military, training of the populace is key. Basic military education (BME) is a nation-wide course mandatory in high schools governed jointly by the Armed Forces and the Collegium Scientificum. In BME, students are taught how to fire and service several types of weapons, how to camouflage themselves within their surroundings, how to form basic entrenchments, and how to properly enter a building in a combat scenario. All citizens of Urcea are encouraged to own a firearm; about 90% do. Unlike other major Occidental countries, Urcea has no organized militia or national defense reserve force. Instead, so-called "volunteer armies" are organized on the provincial level and then federalized during wartime, creating a separate part of the Royal and Imperial Army with a mostly breveted command structure.