|Godrealm of Vespia, the Empire of Tears|
Xâu'Mâr No-Veskoyâno Tâzeno Voyâšono
"Fear is for the weak"
and largest city
|Government||Theocratic absolute monarchy|
|c. 5000 BCE|
|7 December 1758 BCE|
|11 March 132 AD|
|18 November 1837|
• Member of the
|19 August 1954|
|7,931,165 km2 (3,062,240 sq mi) (1st)|
• Water (%)
• 2030 estimate
• 2025 census
|94.8/km2 (245.5/sq mi)|
|GDP (PPP)||2030 estimate|
• Per capita
|GDP (nominal)||2030 estimate|
• Per capita
|Currency||Akzun (₳) (AKZ)|
|Time zone||Vespian Standard Time (UTC+5 to +8)|
dd mm cC yyy AZ
|Drives on the||right|
|ISO 3166 code||VS|
Vespia (Vespian: , Veskoya), officially known as the Godrealm of Vespia, the Empire of Tears (Vespian: , Xâu'Mâr No-Veskoyâno Tâzeno Voyâšono), is a sovereign state located in northern Punth. Vespia is a theocratic absolute monarchy, with its seat of power located in the capital city of Zanza. The country is a member of the supranational union known as the Veskosphere, a political and economic union of Vespian-majority nations. The government exercises its authority over twelve zharukdoms, all of which are under the direct control of the Vespian imperial government. The official language of Vespia is Vespian. The nation has a total land area of 7,931,165 km2 (3,062,240 sq mi), making it the largest sovereign state in Ixnay. Furthermore, Vespia also had a population of some 752.1 million people as of 2030, making it one of the most populous nations in the world. The capital city, Zanza, is the largest city and metropolis in Vespia, and the largest urban center in Punth. Vespia boasts the world's oldest continuously reigning and unbroken monarchical dynasty, with the Imperial Family of Vespia having ruled for some nearly four thousand years in all, with different branches of the imperial family overthrowing the previous ruling branch of the household. There has thus always remained a direct connection between the first Tazen of Vespia to its current Tazen.
Nearly bisecting across the northern half of Punth, Vespia is the largest nation on the continent, spanning four time zones, and sharing borders with multiple countries in the region. The nation's history is firmly rooted in the history of the Vespian people who originated in the central Zhona Basin of the country more than five hundred thousand years ago. Rising up from a powerful tribe of nomadic conquerors into settlers and builders, the Vespians spread across the many portions of the region within the early years of their history. Tenuously united into a series of petty kingdoms and client states, the Vespians fought one another for centuries until their unification at the hands of Tazen Aynad in the 18th century BCE. From that point onward, Vespia fought the local kingdoms in a serious of violent conquests known as the Black Harvests, which destroyed hundreds of cultures and societies in northern Punth. It is estimated that more than three hundred different cultures and civilization were destroyed by the Vespians during all recorded black harvests, and more than fifty million people killed during the course of those wars. This was followed by a great migration from Vespia into the surrounding regions, and the spread of the Vespian people throughout northern Punth.
The most defining aspect of Vespian culture, Zheaniism, drove much of Vespian history and society, with the Vespians sharing a national goal of uniting the whole world under their divinely-given rule by God. Dominating every aspect of their society, Zheaniism came to define the Vespians as a people, and became intertwine with the people of Vespia, making the two completely inseparable. This phenomenon resulted in the formation of the idea known as the "church-state", where the church and the state are one in the same, a theocracy without walls, and all subjects members of the church from birth to death. By the 13th century BCE, most of central regions of northern Punth laid within the grasp of the Veskoyan Empire. Several civil wars and internal struggles for control over the throne, deeply rooted in who was best equipped to fulfill the divine goal of the Vespian people, rocked the nation to its core. The collapse of the first empire, and replacement by the far more brutal and isolationist Uvokaya Empire after the Vakuraya Era, marked a major turning point in Vespian history. Extermination of non-Vespian tribes laid at the heart of the new empire's politics, and the expansion of Zheaniism itself a priority under the new imperial leadership.
During this time, Vespian culture witnessed a golden age, during which much art, music, poetry, scientific knowledge, and literature expanded under the patronage of the state. Contact with other societies during Vespia's later expansionist era, gave way to trade and financial opportunity, as the Vespians sought to exploit the knowledge of the far younger cultures to its advantage. However, as was the way of the Vespian people, as period without war was a period wasted, with many believing the empire had lost its way an accepted the customs of the heathens. A civil war broke out in the early-1800s, directly leading to the rise of the current imperial government in 1837. This brought about a new series of political reforms aimed at restricting the internal conflicts of the empire with ritualized warfare between zharuks, without damaging the empire as a whole. Furthermore, the empire would maintain a foreign policy that treated all foreign powers as future targets of conquest, while maintaining diplomatic relations with them. Major leaps and bounds in the realm of science and technology under the modern imperial government as a crucial part of Vespian culture have helped to maintain the nation's role as a powerful force in the globe militarily, economically, and scientifically.
In the years since then, Vespia has grown to become arguably one of the most powerful nations in global history, serving as a major economic and political juggernaut, and being a highly-developed country which wields one of the world's largest economies. The nation continues to wield power highly appropriate for its size, and is an active supporter of foreign interventionism. Vespia is also a recognized nuclear weapons state, with an estimated 500–1,000 nuclear warheads as of 2030, and boasts one of the world's largest military forces. In spite of these, Vespia is largely isolated from global affairs given its regressive cultural beliefs and practices, though given its size, few can afford to ignore the nation's influence. The current monarch is Tazen Jadek IV, who recently took to the throne in 2024. It has been under Jadek IV's rule that Vespia has begun allowing a greater level of personal freedoms and economic independence in the empire. However, Vespia still practices slavery, and more than 30% of the population is believed to be in bondage. Polygamy, incest, rape, and even legalized murder in the way of "consensual homicide", remain widespread in Vespia, and serve as the biggest barriers to acceptance of Vespia as a member of the international community.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography and climate
- 4 Politics
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Economy
- 7 Culture
The name Vespia is derived from the name Veskoya (), which is believed to have come from two possible sources according to Vespian history. The first source is that of Veskan (), the first man to have walked the earth in accordance with Vespian religion. The name Veskoya has traditionally been attributed to Veskan for the majority of Vespian history as part of their reverence for the man whom the believe created the human race and established the Vespian civilization in Punth. The name "Veskan" itself translates into "He Who Walks With Shadows", in reference to Veskan having walked in the shadow of God during his lifetime, and the shade of the many mountains of Vespia. The second source comes from the more secular veskīyamâra, meaning "shadow lands". This term has its links in the years immediately after the first recorded documents in Vespia were written, some time around 15,000 BCE. Like the origin of Veskan's name, veskīyamâra has its origin in the numerous mountainous locations throughout the country, which historically cast their shadows against the plains of Vespia. Additionally, the name has its roots in the heavily-forested countryside which traditionally provided shade for the Vespian natives.
A more grizzly source for Vespia's name comes from the violent and sadistic behavior of the Vespian people. The brutality of the population in the past and the present, led to many foreigners claiming the Vespians were the scion of demons, and the very personification of darkness and everything evil and cruel. The use of black in Vespian culture for its religious significance as the color of purity in Vespian society, helped to solidify the persona given to the Vespians. Overtime, the term Jâ'Mâr No'Xâ'Veskīya, or "The Land of Great Shadows" or "Land of Great Darkness", came to represent the Vespians as a whole overseas and home, both for their violent mentality and the dark culture of the people. At the time when the Vespians opened up their capital city of Zanza via the Zhona River, Vespia was officially know as "Veskoya" overseas, using the name which the locals used themselves to describe their homeland. However, as trade with the rest of the world continued to grow, an Anglicized version of the name appeared as "Vespya", and was later standardized as "Vespia" by the far western traders.
|History of Vespia|
Archaeological evidence indicates that early hominids inhabited Vespia about 500,000 years ago, much later than in other regions of the globe. The fossils of the hominid Zanza Man were recovered from the region of the Zhona Basin. The fossils were not removed from a cave but an ancient grave, filled with all manners of precious gems, foods, and skeletons of what appeared to be child slaves, indicating the Zanza Man had been very well off for a prehistorical hominid of his era. The fossils themselves were dated to around the same period the first hominids appeared in Vespia, approximately 500,000 years ago. However, scientists have yet to determine the exact origins of those early hominids, though all current evidence points to the ancestors of modern Vespians having migrated from another region of Punth. The proto-Vespian originated sometime around 15,000 BCE within the Zhona Basin, during which time the first written records in Vespia were produced.
Geography and climate
Vespia is the largest country in the world, with its total land area being 7,931,165 square kilometers (3,062,240 sq mi). The country is surrounded by numerous tribal regions, with Quetzenkelistan, the Southern Tribes, Hikara, and the West Punth Territories to Vespia's north; Telonaticolan and the Eastern Reaches to the east; and Kelekona and Ehemo to the south. The Levantine Ocean occupies the entire region to Vespia's west. All of Vespia's territory sits above the equator, though it is completely bisected by the TBD parallel. Aside from its mainland territories, Vespia also consists of two major islands to the west—Ta'Kon and Sa'Kon—which are the only two regions of the country not directly connected to Vespia proper.
The topography of Vespia is a mixture of flatlands and mountainous regions, with the latter making up the overwhelming majority of the country outside of Vespia's southern and far western regions. The rich plains of southern Vespia, known as the Wheatlands, make up the largest stretch of flat terrain in the country unbroken by mountains. It is divided into five sub-regions by five major rivers which flow into the Levantine Ocean from the interior sections of Vespia. More than 30% of Vespia's arable land is located within the Wheatlands. To the northwest is Shevakama, or the "Stormlands", which are hemmed in by the Izhono Mountains along its western extremities. Shevakama is, as the name suggests, heavily frequented by powerful thunderstorms in an already heavily overcast and waterlogged country. Several large rivers have formed in this region of Vespia as a result of the torrential downpour, and Shevakama receive the fewest hours of daylight in Vespia.
Moving deeper into the interior of Vespia, or Inner Vespia, is the Izhon Valley. The valley lays between the Izhono Mountains to the west and the Zhona Mountains to the east. Running through its center is the Zaka River, which is the third-longest river in Vespia. Within the northern half of the valley itself is the Kharan Basin, which sits at the intersection of the Izhon and Dejan Valleys. The area serves as a major chokepoint for all traffic moving into and out of the northern area of Inner Vespia, with there only being a single point of transit between the two regions. In the south is the Voyano Basin, where another series of chokepoints are located, preventing immediate access to the core regions of Vespia. Just north of the Voyano Basin is the Zhona Basin, which the capital city of Zanza is located along with the holiest city of the country Ravaza.
Located in the far eastern sections of Vespia are the Veskimarin, named so due to the perpetual shadow cast down by the Myst Mountains and Rudan Mountains, which is the longest mountain chain in Vespia and northern Punth. This region is the largest basin in Vespia and the longest river in the country as well, the Zhona River. Veskimarin is home to 20% of Vespia's arable land and about a fourth of its total population. Pollution was a major threat to both the region and the main river, though the focus on quality and efficiency in the industries of Vespia have helped to reduce the impact pollution has in Veskimarin. Vespia is separated from the rest of the region by the aforementioned Myst Mountains, which completely surround the country to its north, east, and south, with the exception of two coastal mountain passes which connect Vespia to its northern and southern neighbors.
Vespia's unique geographical layout and environment has lent to the country having what many climatologists have classified as a bizarre weather pattern. Officially, Vespia is classified as having a subpolar oceanic climate, with temperate rainforests. However, this is simply the closest classification for the country's strange weather patterns. Vespia is perpetually overcast and suffers from downpour, as well as high humidity rates from the coastline in the west to the interior regions to the east. Owing to this fact, there is no dry season in Vespia. There are only two seasons in Vespia—spring and winter—with only brief pauses between rain and snowfall in the nation. Flooding is a frequent danger throughout the rural and urban centers of Vespia, though this has been a boon to the nation's many hydroelectric schemes.
Vespia has a very stable temperature thanks to the high humidity rates and overcast, trapping heat within the environment and helping to regulate the country's climate. The average temperature in Vespia is about 4.27°C (39.6°F), with the aforementioned cloud cover serving as an important check in the country's heat regulation. As a result, the daily mean temperature for Vespia has historically never risen above 15°C (59°F). In only a few rare cases has the temperature for the country risen beyond 15°C, such as in 1818, when the highest temperature in Vespian history 28.8°C (83.9°F) was recorded by Vespian climatologists. Though given its northern hemispheric location, Vespia's winters are generally warmer than average, at −1.83°C (28.7°F) during the colder periods in the country.
The country as a whole receives some of the fewest sunshine hours in the world at 1,566 hours of sunlight, or about four and a half hours of sunlight a day. Practically all of Vespia is blanket by a thick layer of fog and horizon to horizon cloud cover. Vespia holds the record for foggiest country in the world, as well as the record for most rainfall in a developed country in world. Thunderstorms are common throughout the nation, and mudslides continue to persist as a major threat to communities in Vespia's countryside. The presence of mountains do not seem to have impacted the presence of rainfall in other regions of Vespia, and seem to have caused more harm than good, by serving to funnel rainfall into the many valleys of Vespia and increase the impact of flooding downstream where Vespia's major cities are located.
|Climate data for Vespia|
|Record high °C (°F)||12.4
|Average high °C (°F)||2.5
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−3.4
|Average low °C (°F)||−11.4
|Record low °C (°F)||−30.7
|Precipitation mm (inches)||168
|Avg. precipitation days||20||21||22||23||26||29||28||26||25||23||20||19||282|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||94||117||131||137||160||164||166||142||139||125||104||87||1,566|
Biodiversity and environment
Vespia is an theocratic absolute monarchy, in which the Tazen serves as both the head of state and government with no limitations on his power, and rules as the paramount religious authority in the empire. The Tazen controls the country with absolute power and impunity, answering to no other power or authority within the borders of Vespia. Politically, the Tazen is the single most-powerful individual in Vespia, and by most metrics, the continent of Punth as a whole. The current holder of the title is Jadek IV, who has held the throne since TBD. His dynasty, the House of Zharanokan, has continuously governed Vespia in one way or another since about 1758 BCE, when the Veskoyan Empire was established by Tazen Aynad, the founder of the Zharanokan dynasty. This would make the Vespia the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world.
There currently exists no written constitution for Vespia, instead the monarch reigning by tradition and decree, and under the guidelines set out though the holy texts of the dominant religion of Zheaniism. There are no political parties in Vespia, and no elections have ever taken place within the empire. Commoner politicians are appointed to their posts by the nobility of Vespia, and as such, are freely selected and replaced at the leisure of the noble who governs the territory the commoner hails from. The realm of politics is generally reserved for the Vespian aristocracy, the military, and the wealthy merchants and businessmen who have gained a seat within Vespian government. The empire is divided into multiple lands which are governed by nobles known as zharuks loyal to the Tazen, and further divided into minor lords and ladies known as aureks beneath them. The decision and law-making processes within the Vespian government are not reported by the Vespian media, though major political events do receive their attention with the permission of the state.
Historically, Vespia has been governed by the concept known as kraterocracy, popularly known as "might makes right". Prior to 1837, the thrones of the Tazens and their lords switched hands routinely as the holder of the title was killed in battle, assassinated, or "disappeared". Following the modernization of the Vespian government in 1837, the imperial government introduced harsh measures for those who took positions of power by force, though allowed for certain outlets for those seeking to express their will aggressively. Legally, feuding zharuks may appeal to the Tazen to take their disputes to the field of battle, where their forces may combat one another militarily. Another method is the use of a gladiatorial duel between warriors from both parties, or even the zharuks themselves. Regardless of foreign perceptions, these somewhat tribal and feudalistic processes have greatly reduced the internal conflict within Vespia, and granting it a somewhat warped form of stability.
Because of the naturally violent state of affairs in Vespia, it is the role of every imperial government serving the Tazen to keep the state and its people in line. Threats to the stability of the government and opposition to its authority are not tolerated by the state. Historically, these threats have come from three main sources: slaves seeking emancipation, non-Vespian diaspora living in the country, and heads of the powerful akzukiyon conglomerates. Open protests, strikes, and political ultimatums are immediately identified and swiftly crushed by the state. Slave uprisings are a regular occurrence throughout Vespia, happening at least once or twice a year, and are violently put down by the imperial government. Business leaders on the other hand often find their profits cut into by the state through punitive taxes, or their shareholders dismembered by security forces as a grim warning to the others. In Vespia, the government of the Tazen makes it poignantly clear who rules in the land, and what the cost of opposition to their rule will mean to the insubordinate party.
The Tazen is the absolute power and authority in Vespia, his will boundless and all-encompassing, wielding political influence matched by few other heads of state in sheer scope and magnitude. The Tazen has no limitations and knows no law above his own, with his right to rule reinforced by the enforcement of Vespia's religious laws and edicts, which hold the Tazen as the mortal avatar of Zhautan. All power flows from the Tazen, and he may appoint and dismiss any government officials at will or contest any laws he may find issue with, and only holds the power of veto in all legislative functions. As such, the Tazen can best be described as the head of state and the head of government in his empire, though by necessity delegates these tasks to his subordinates in the imperial government, as the empire is simply to vast for any one individual to rule alone. Despite this, executive, legislative, and judicial powers are all invested in the powers of the Tazen, who may act freely according to his whims, and by law, is regarded as the sole owner of all state property in the empire, making the Tazen the single wealthiest individual on the planet.
The foremost of the Tazen's subordinates is the Hazazhan, who heads the imperial government in the name of the Tazen, and serves as the Vespian equivalent of a chancellor or grand vizier. The current Hazazhan is Rakono Tekaruja, a veteran politician appointed by the Tazen in 2020. The Hazazhan is directly appointed by the Tazen, who may freely remove and appoint a new Hazazhan at his leisure. It is the responsibility of the Hazazhan to manage the day-to-day affairs of the state for the Tazen, as well as put together governments that will assist him in these tasks. Traditionally, the Tazen grants the Hazazhan a five-year period to run the government before replacing him, and if he is satisfied with his work, the Tazen may allow the Hazazhan to remain in his or her office for another five years before making the same decision as to whether or not he wishes to keep or dismiss the official. As the head of the legislative body known as the Imperial Hazakiyon, the Hazazhan is also responsible for bringing bills before the legislature for a vote, informing the Tazen of legislative decisions, and appointing individuals to the Imperial Advisory Council.
The Imperial Hazakiyon is Vespia's legislative body, consisting of 311 members drawn from throughout the empire's 303 aurekdoms, three members from Ravaza, and five from Zanza. The Imperial Hazakiyon is responsible for voicing the concerns of the citizenry of the empire to the Hazazhan and his or her government, though the representatives are not elected, but are instead appointed by the nobility of their region based on their own understanding of their subjects' concerns and desires. Though the Tazen may appoint, block, or dismiss any individuals to or from the Imperial Hazakiyon, it has been customary to respect the will of the imperial nobility of Vespia, and allow their representatives to stand in the legislature. The power and method of member to the Imperial Hazakiyon has varied throughout the centuries, from a rubber-stamp committee made up of handpicked politicians, to an all-powerful body of aristocrats, business moguls, and populist leaders. Currently, the body consists of nobles appointed to the Imperial Hazakiyon by the Tazen on the advice of his zharuks, and appointed officials from the various nobility of the empire. Traditionally, for the last century, the Imperial Hazakiyon has consisted of one-third nobility, two-thirds commoners, and an assortment of military officers and clergy members, maintaining a tenuous balance of power in the legislature.
It should be noted that there are no official political parties in Vespia, the concept of mainstream political division never having gained a foothold in the empire. Rather, all Vespians in government believe they are operating in the best interests of the Tazen, and generally share the same views and ideologies, but differ as to the best way of carrying them out. As such, the government is divided into two camps; the Supremacists and the Traditionalists. The Supremacists believe that it is the will of Zhautan and the gods to continue pressing Vespian domination at home in Punth, and abroad in the rest of the world. The Traditionalists, on the otherhand, believe that Vespia should maintain its grip on power within the confines of Punth, and maintain a bulwark against the influences and interventions of the "Global Henthenry" from abroad. Regardless of their individual views, neither faction necessarily opposes the other, as both sides believe in the same ideologies: Vespia is the sole power in the world and the Tazen its sole master, it is the right of the Vespians to dominate and subjugate all other peoples of the globe, and that the empire shall soon rule over all. This uniformity of ideals has thus allowed the imperial government to reach decisions at an astonishing speed without the direct intervention of the Tazen.
Vespia is divided twelve zharukdoms and two imperial districts, the latter two governed directly by the Tazen of Vespia and the TBD. These zharukdoms and imperial aurekdoms are further divided into kovakdoms, all of which have the same administrative and legislative structure. Each subdivision is governed by a zharuk and an aurek, the Vespian equivalent of a king and duke respectively, for the administrative regions. Likewise, the zharukdoms are subdivided into aurekdoms, of which there are currently 303 in total, each consisting of a main city and its urban sprawl. Because of Vespia's vast size, the absolute authority of the Tazen, and the neo-feudalistic operation of the government in the empire, imperial power is delegated to these zharuks and aureks, who are empowered to govern their regions as they see fit, so long as they adhere to the policies of the Tazen and the laws of the land. Naturally, because of the semi-autonomous nature of the zharuks and their subordinate aureks and the psychology of the Vespians, political strife and armed conflict is commonplace within Vespia, though nowhere near the levels before the 1837 reorganization of the imperial government.
Law and justice
The primary source of law hails from the Zheanic Tayohun, the religious teachings of the Zhantana. The secondary source of law are the decrees and edicts passed down by the Tazen of Vespia, who has free reign to dictate whatever laws he wishes based on his status as the avatar of Zhautan. However, his decrees are deemed secondary sources as they are ultimately subordinate to Tayohun law. The total sum of Vespian law, religious and imperial, is known as the Peace of Zhautan, as they serve to enforce the peace of the Vespians' paramount god upon their society. Because of the somewhat decentralized nature of Vespia's government, judges are granted considerable leeway in their decisions, though they are ultimately held liable to the Tazen of Vespia. There is no right of appeal in Vespia, and all decisions are deemed final. Only the most important of cases may be passed along to the Imperial High Court for judgement, granting one an audience with the high judges of Vespia.
Though often derided as a violent and unstable nation, Vespia's laws are quite ingenious in both their simplicity and methodology. No one is above the jurisdiction of the courts, with the sole exception being the Tazen. Zhadaks, zharuks, aureks, oyo and oya, warriors and imperial citizenry, are all deemed subject to the laws of the land, and those who violate the law are shown little mercy by court enforcers. The courts are divided into two tiers: local imperial courts, which are headed by a judge selected by the local zharuk and aurek, and approved by the Imperial Ministry of Justice; and the Imperial High Court of Vespia, which consists of a panel of thirteen judges appointed by the Tazen, each from one of the twelve zharukdoms of Vespia and one from the capital of Zanza. The Imperial High Court is headed by the Ta'Yonajan of Vespia, who serves as the highest judicial figure in Vespia in the name of the Tazen. The Ta'Yonajan reports to the head of the Tazen as both judge and head of the Imperial Ministry of Justice, and is responsible for managing the law enforcement agencies under his or her jurisdiction.
One such law enforcement body consists of the imperial agents known as the ovazhani, or the "lords of sight", who serve as judges and executioners of the Tazen's will and the religious edicts of the land. An ovazhan wields the exclusive right to judge in the name of the law, and serve the primary purpose of serving as Vespia's army of adjudicators. As agents of the Tazen's legal power, an ovazhan's word is law, and cannot be appealed once judgement has been passed. Ovazhani resolve disputes between various parties, pass judgement on subjects, and often serve as executioner when and wherever they are needed. Any freeborn Vespian citizen may argue their case before an ovazhan, though this is often dangerous as many members of the ovazhani are fickle and tend to deal harshly with individuals who they believe are wasting their time and energy on trivial affairs. Though Vespia does not recognize the right of appeal, some individuals, such as zharuks, may push for a second hearing of their case with the Ta'Yonajan. The Ta'Yonajan will never directly overrule the judgements of the ovazhani as it would infringe upon their integrity as agents of the Tazen, and the tenuous rule of law in Vespia. However, the Ta'Yonajan holds the right to remove any ovazhani whom are deemed in violation of the law in terms of the judgments they have passed.
Capital punishment can be issued for a variety of offenses throughout Vespia, and typically range from being skinned alive, boiled in oil, baked to death, impalement, feed to animals, sawed in half, and immolation. However, more grisly methods exist that are often preferred by those passing judgement on the condemned. These include being raped to death by members of the offended party or community; "packing", where cavities in the body are packed with explosives and set to detonate and destroy the condemned, typically in an elaborate fashion and with considerable care to ensure a successful execution. Public executions are highly popular throughout Vespia, and there exist an entire show devoted to broadcasting them to Vespians throughout the empire. The worst form of execution is to be handed over to a torturer known as a painmaster, many of whom go to extreme lengths to ensure the condemned suffer extensively before succumbing to their injuries. Many of the most talented painmasters have been able to have their subjects suffer for months and even years without skin and limbs, and are often paid to provide their skillset to punish those who have been condemned to death.
As the largest and most populous nation in Punth, and the most powerful nation in the Eastern Hemisphere, Vespia maintains a vast diplomatic network both on the continent and abroad. Vespia is a member of the League of Nations, the Maritime League, and the Order of the Unbidden, and has diplomatic relations with a total of TBD nations while maintaining embassies in TBD nations. In spite of its vast network of diplomatic staff and personnel, the country is greatly hampered by its status as a pariah state, due largely in part to the culture and religious beliefs of the Vespian people, and the widespread practice of chattel slavery within its borders. Many of its foreign policies are established with the explicit intent of protecting or expanding slavery within Vespia's sphere of influence, as well as preventing other foreign powers from interfering in Punth, which is considered by the Vespian government to be its regional backyard.
Diplomatic relations with the rest of the world was established on an official basis in 1837, when the modern government of Vespia was formally established following the Second Tribulation War. The need to reach out to other nations to maintain foreign ties on an equal basis came about as a direct result of the Punthite Quasi-Wars, between Vespia, Burgundie, and Pukhtunkhwa, over who would reign as hegemon over Punth and control the lucrative trade on the continent. Since then, Vespia has gained a major foothold in global affairs, though its isolationist and xenophobic behavior have led to many labeling the empire a "rogue state" at times. As part of its unique foreign policy, which is radically different from the mainstream goals of other nations, Vespia typically aligns itself with other pariah states and authoritarian regimes, which it often funds and provides military support and equipment too, much to the ire of the international community.
With the exception of Akai and the nations of the Veskosphere, Vespia has no strategic allies, a notable result of its centuries' long isolationist policies. Within the Veskosphere, Vespia maintains its purported right to protect and defend the four Vespian-majority nations of Pankara, the Eastern Reaches, Ehemo, and Kelekona, where it stations troops, warships, and military bases, and actively prevents foreign players from interfering. Likewise, Vespia maintains an iron grip on the policies of other Punthite nations, predominately in northern Punth, where fears of a Vespian invasion loom darkly. Attempts to counteract Burgundian influence in southern Punth have remained major aspects of regional policies by the Vespian government, which has on more than one occasion, sent naval forces to actively defy the national sovereignty of South Punthite nations, such as Khatosthan, Xingkia'pei, and Pursat, leading to dangerous confrontations between Vespia and the local militaries of the southern continent.
Naturally, because of its size and influence in the Eastern Hemisphere, Vespia uses the threat of force to push its needs and political interests into the global stage. With a stranglehold in northern Punth, and the constant threat of Vespian intervention in southern Punth, Vespia is well-positioned to expand its influence overseas in the future. Despite this, many foreign experts do not view Vespia as a superpower, preferring to defer to the power of Kirav, Heku, and Kuhlfros instead. However, some do believe that Vespia may be a regional power or even a great power, given the nation's ability to be anywhere at anytime in the Eastern Hemisphere, and project its power and influence overseas when required. Its strategic military alliance with Akai, a recognized great power on the world stage, has also aided Vespia's growing image as a military power, as Vespian forces typically perform combat drills and exercises with their Akai counterparts. Recently, Vespia has been seeking to begin talks with the Akai for the possibility of establishing a major military base on the southern end of Zaidao, granting Vespia the ability to intervene on the continent of Crona if the world events ever call for it.
Vespia's primary armed security forces are known as the Zhautakar, under the administration the Imperial Ministry of Malice. Vespia maintains one of the largest military forces in the world, with more than five million active personnel and eight million reservists, all spread across five branches of the military. The force is divided into the Imperial Vespian Army (TVV), the Imperial Vespian Navy (TVI), the Imperial Vespian Air Force (TVS), and the Vespian Imperial Guard (VIG). Also included as a branch of the military is the Vespian Home Guard (VHG), which consists of the reservist personnel of the Zhautakar, and responsible for protecting the empire to free up contract soldiers for foreign combat operations. The combined active and reserve forces in total represent 1.75% of the Vespian population under arms, and is tasked with the responsibility of projecting Vespian power abroad as well as waging war in the name of the Vespian monarch wherever he wills it. Under the current administration, the Zhautakar had a budget of $770.346 billion (₳1.479 trillion), which is used for the procurement of weapons, training, and personnel, as well as the research and development of new equipment and vehicles. The Zhautakar consists entirely of trained volunteers and professional contract soldiers.
Vespia is unique in the world given the vastly different requirements for military service with regards to gender. Because of their scarcity in the general population, Vespian men are exempt from military service and may join voluntarily, though there exist many barriers to their service in the military. Vespian women who outnumber men 4-to-1, on the otherhand, are required to serve in the Zhautakar on pain of death. All Vespians aspiring to join the Zhautakar must complete the hunītan, the final stage of the dukori, the rigorous martial education all freeborn Vespians are required to undergo from the age of seven to the age of twenty-five. This grants the Vespian military a far more experienced combat force with a long history survivalist and combat training that will be supplemented with the more advanced courses provided by the Zhautakar. The dukori also gives Vespia a vast pool of competent and experienced fighters it can draw from during wartime to quickly replace losses without extensive training, and field large paramilitary units when needed. All Vespians are required to serve in the military at some point in their lives, and a strong military culture is prevalent within Vespian culture as a result of this mandatory service by the state.
The Vespian military boasts a number of traits that grant it the capability to project Vespian power and influence overseas. Vespia possesses one of the few blue-water navies in the world, with fourteen aircraft carriers and twenty-eight ballistic missile submarines. The nation's power project capabilities are enhanced by its nearly quarter of a million strong force, the Imperial Vespian Marines, and 46 amphibious assault ships, which allow Vespia to send combat personnel to nearly any region of the globe if required. The empire also maintains several military bases in other neighboring countries as part of its regional conflict management policies, actively preventing conflicts within its sphere of influence and preventing foreign intervention in Punthite nations Vespia views as its protectorates. As part of its foreign policy, Vespia maintains a large stock of nuclear weapons as a deterrent to foreign invasion and interference within its lands. Vespia possesses somewhere between 500 and 1,000 nuclear warheads, though the exact number remains unknown as the total stockpile is a imperial state secret.
The latest estimation for the population of Vespia as of 2030 was 752,144,212 inhabitants throughout the country. Seventy percent of the population belongs to the Vespian ethnic group, the largest group of the Vespoid race. The population was growing rapidly with the increased survival rate of newborn babies in Vespia and lowering mortality rates in some regions of the nation as more and more Vespians survive their first two decades of life in the country's grueling martial educational system. With the vast natural resources of the country fueling internal economic group, the Vespian population maintains a generally high standard of living at the expense of a third of its total population. The overwhelming majority of Vespia's population reside in the urban regions, with the urban population almost on par with the percentage of freeborn Vespians in the nation. Currently, 73% of the total population, about 549 million people, live in the cities and metropolitan areas of Vespia, while the remaining 27% live in the rural regions and mainly consists of slaves, their masters and families, and the overseers responsible for managing them. There is gross economic disparity between the two groups, with the largely freeborn urban population controlling virtually all of the wealth, while the mostly enslaved rural population lives in complete destitution.
Vespia boasts earliest known reproducing age and highest reproductive rate in the world, with the average Vespian woman having her first child around the ages of 10 and 11, and the average birth rate for the nation being 6.72 children per woman. As a result, the country has experienced population booms throughout its entire history, though balanced out by the high death rate within the population. The life expectancy for Vespians is 73.4 years for men and 66.5 years for women, odd given the usually high lifespan for men compared to women, which is typically reserved in other countries. Likewise, the sex balance ratio in Vespia is somewhat famous and infamous for its uniquely female-dominated population. Females outnumber males by a ratio of 4-to-1, a factor linked to the dysfunctional sex-determining region Y (SRY) protein in men, which is responsible for the activation of the Y chromosome during pregnancy. As a result, females dominate the general workforce and military personnel, though men are still represented within both, though in positions of safety and authority. Female Vespians are unique in that they are almost on par with their male counterparts in terms of physical strength, considered and evolutionary trait by foreign biologists who have visited the country in the past.
Traditionally, the Vespians have been an urban culture, with a majority of the population centered around megacities, even by the standards of the past civilizations, with a single major city supported by the resources of the lands around it. This concentrated the wealth and population of a large area into a single populated center, a system which has survived into the modern day. With the exception of a handful of rural settlements set aside for the slave population and their masters, the Vespian population is divided into some three hundred districts, each home to millions of Vespians residing in a single urban area and virtually no other cities for hundreds of kilometers. Because of the Vespians wise use of urban planning, there exists enormous growth potential in the country, with each square kilometer utilized by the Vespians put to good use as an apartment complex, skyscraper, industrial zone, or commercial district. Thus, by the standards of the international community, the Vespians do not have small towns or villages, but large, densely-populated city centers and small agricultural or mineral extraction facilities to support them, and empty land from hundreds of kilometers around them filled with forests and mountains.
|Largest cities of Vespia |
Imperial Bureau of Statistics (2030)
|Rank||City name||Zharukdom||Pop.||Rank||City name||Zharukdom||Pop.|
The official language of Vespia is Vespian, which is the first language of nearly 95% of the nation's inhabitants. An estimated 714.5 million people speak the language within the borders of Vespia, while the rest of the population speaks Vespian as their second language, composed almost entirely of foreign students and slaves. More than 1.1 billion people speak the language natively throughout Punth, with more than half of them living in Vespia. The long history of centralized education throughout Vespian civilization was responsible for the low level of divergent languages and dialects in the nation, as well as in the neighboring Vespian countries of the Veskosphere. The Vespian language itself is a language isolate, with no linguistic ties to any of the neighboring language families of the region. With the growth of the Vespian diaspora overseas on the continents of Ixnay, Crona, and Levantia, the Vespian language has been growing in terms of its international profile and presence in art and media.
Among the slave population, where Vespian is typically not the first language of the workforce, other languages are commonplace within the day-to-day speech of the enslaved. Because of the aggressive nature of Vespia stamping out non-Vespian ties in the empire, many of the languages once spoken by the slaves, typically of North Punthite origin, have disappeared. However, in other instances, many once thought dead languages still existing with the lexicon of Vespia's older slaves, who have somehow managed to defy their masters and keep the language of their ancestors alive, albeit in small numbers. Overall, younger slaves, the overwhelming majority of whom are the produce of Vespian breeding factories, speak Vespian as their first language, and as they overshadow the older slave population brought in from outside of Vespia in terms of population, all non-Vespian languages spoken within the nation are expected to disappear in time.
Vespia is one of the few nations in the world that does not guarantee religious freedom, and instead actively campaigns against the concept. The overwhelming majority of Vespia's population adheres to the religion of Zheaniism, which is the official state religion and a shaping force in Vespian politics and culture. The number of non-religious adherents in Vespia is unknown, as the majority of Vespians declare themselves devout followers of the state religion, while slaves are typically found to follow the same religion of their master or simply be non-religious rather than an outright atheist. As of 2030, more than 98% of the population identified themselves as adherents of Zheanism, while 2%, almost entirely members of the slave population, adhered to other religions. All data on religious observance is maintained by the Imperial Ministry of Faith for Vespia, which governs the practice of religion, maintenance of Zheanic zhekara, shrines, and cemeteries, as well pay and recruitment of new clergy members for the faith.
In the distant past, prior to the rise of imperial Vespia, the region was religiously diverse, with historians discovering numerous shrines, temples, and centers of devotion throughout what is now modern-day Vespia. However, following the formation of the Veskoyan Empire in 1758 BCE, the plurality of religious teachings and doctrines collapsed as the Zheanic forces of early Vespia destroyed countless centers of population and worship for the non-Vespian population, directly leading to the rise of modern Zheaniism as the largest religion on the continent of Punth. The concept of zakara, or "blood debt", is a driving force in the lives of hundreds of millions of Vespians, who believe that they owe their gods a debt from the moment of conception and that it is a debt which they must repay by any means necessary so as to find favor in the eyes of the gods in the afterlife. Considered a driving factor in Vespian politics, finance, industry, and culture, zakara is viewed as justifying the Vespians "by any means necessary" doctrines, leading to countless atrocities in their history.
As a people, the Vespians are deeply religious, a trend which has remained constant throughout the history of their civilization. Though virtually all Vespians adhere to Zheaniism, it is quite fashionable among the Vespian diaspora to adopt other religions for the experience and the "feel" that other religions provide, though they still remain active adherents of their old religion. Interestingly, though the Vespians enjoy "playing" with other religions, they have little to no respect for them, though their view on atheists is less flattering by comparison. Though the concept of the so-called "God spot" in the brain was debunked years ago, many neurologists and psychologists believe that the Vespians may in fact possess something on par with the concept itself. The zealous behavior on the part of the Vespians had for centuries intrigued foreigners who interacted with the population, and the dogmatic approach to all issues Vespians encountered gave rise to the idea that the Vespians' religiosity may be more psychological than environmental. Though this has yet to be proven scientifically, given the list of existing Vespian psychological traits, few have found reason to deny the possibility of such an occurrence.
All education in Vespia is centrally administered by the imperial government through the Imperial Ministry of Education, which oversees education through the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels of schooling. Vespia boasts one of the highest literacy rates in the world, even among its enslaved population, as well as a high degree of post-secondary educational attainment throughout the general population. Math and science scores in Vespia are consistently ranked as one of the overall highest in the world, and the nation's obsession with educational attainment often credited to the population's religious beliefs. The holy text known as the Zhantana instructs adherents to not allow "heathens" to overtake them in intellectual pursuits, so as to maintain the overall spiritual superiority of Zheaniism. Considered one of the "five pillars" of Vespian civilization, education is highly regarded in Vespian society and mandatory for all citizens of the empire. Likewise, Vespian youth have historically believed that by not being able to serve in the military, they must prove their worth in another productive manner, typically by attending college or university, thus resulting in the high level of post-secondary educational attainment in the general population. In spite of its religious views, Vespia is home to a large foreign student population, which is believed to number about 100,000–125,000 foreigners as of 2030.
The schooling system in Vespia is unique for it inclusion of the dukorī, the traditional education of the Vespians, as the primary schooling for the youth of the nation. The establishment of the dukorī is traditionally attributed to Aynad the Malevolent, nearly four thousand years ago, to help Vespian youth channel their anger and violent tendencies into discipline and obedience to the state, as well as preparing them to serve as warriors for his armies. The program in modern times is a lifestyle that the youth in the empire are required to undergo to attain citizenship and legal standing the country, and doubles as both a molding tool for the state as well as an academic institution maintained by the imperial government. The program lasts for a period of fourteen years, beginning at the age of seven and ending at the age of twenty-one. The rigorous educational system in Vespia has been praised and condemned throughout the globe, though all sides of the table agree that it does achieve the desired results. All education is paid for by the government at all levels of schooling, and employment for the freeborn population guaranteed for those graduate and enter the workforce rather than the military.
Higher education is one of the three routes Vespian youth may go for following their graduation from the dukorī, with the other two being to undergo the third stage of the dukorī and enter the military, and the other to go straight into the workforce, typically as a slave overseer or industrial worker. Because college-level education is paid for by the state as a reward for Vespians who pass the dukorī, most Vespians typically go on to attain a two-year or four-year college or university degree in one of the several academic institutions found throughout Vespia, and enter into the labor-force thereafter. As a result, about 52% of the freeborn population in Vespia between the ages of 25 to 64 has a tertiary degree. These statistics remain consistent in the Vespian diaspora population, members of which often sends their children to Vespia to take part in the dukorī and gain a tertiary degree after they have completed the program. This trend has allowed Vespia to maintain an economy which is largely scientific or technological in nature, with a vast pool of laborers capable or sustaining it.
The Vespia's economy is large, advanced, and heavily industrialized, with a national GDP of $15.406 trillion and GDP per capita of $20,484 as of 2030, and a low unemployment rate, with only 4.4% of the population out of work. The official currency, the Akzun, is one of the most stable in the world, with an exchange rate of $0.52 on the global market. The Vespian economy is dominated by the service and industrial sectors. The service sector accounts for 53.3% of the national GDP, and employs 49.6% of the population. The industrial sector of Vespia's economy makes up 41.3% of the GDP, and employs 47.8% of Vespia's working population. Agriculture makes up the other 5.4% of the national GDP, and only employs 2.6% of the national workforce. Economic growth for the last fiscal year was strong, with a growth rate of 6.7%. The private sector dominates the national economy, with the private sector constituting 84% of the economy and the public sector just 17%. This may have much to do with the fact that while the nobility own a considerable portion of Vespia's economy, they are not considered public servants by the imperial government, whereas the Tazen and imperial household own all government-run industries.
Though a post-industrial economy, Vespia is unique in that it is not heavily reliant on global market to perform well in order to ensure that the local market remains in a healthy state. Much of Vespia's resource and energy needs have been met locally, allowing the state to develop an independent foreign policy not reliant on energy needs. The Vespian Merchant Navy has a total capacity of 171,145,000 metric tons spread across 2,633 ships, and is dominated by the great shipping families of Vespia. They play a major role in maintaining international trade between Vespia and the world, and have been around for centuries. However, as a major industrial and economical power, Vespia maintains a certain level of self-sufficiency and independence from the world market thanks to the generally ample supply of healthy and educated workers within its borders, as well as a vast and diverse supply of raw minerals and energy sources. Most of these are tied up in the arms industry, automobile manufacturing, and retail. Shipbuilding has recently become a major player in the Vespian economy, with corporations such as the Zhevon Steelyards and Ovenako Heavy Industries, the two largest shipbuilders in Vespia. Together, they employ more than 1,850,000 workers, and have a net revenue of more than $215 billion.
The Zanza Stock Exchange is the largest stock exchange in Vespia, with a market capitalization of $4.3 trillion, and capacity to trade at $8.5 trillion, also making it one of the largest stock exchanges in the world. Vespia is home to some of the largest corporations in the world, collectively known as akzukiyon, which are massive family-owned conglomerates which own significant portions of the Vespian economy. Some of these are, but aren't limited too Jivak, Tanova, Sarndaka Aeronautics, Daran Heavy Industries, Kazhena Dynamics, Turan Corporation, Shovik Motors, and Denahuno. These akzukiyon have traditionally been among the most profitable companies in Vespia, and have considerable political sway that has allowed the non-aristocratic corporate leaders to compete with their much despised rivals in the nobility. Vespia has traditionally adhered to free trade policies outside of its borders, though it has strict regulations on foreign access to the interior of the country, restricting multinational corporations to a handful of port cities along its western coastline. Though generally self-sufficient in many of its agricultural, industrial, and energy needs, Vespia has actively promoted trade with its foreign neighbors, though remains heavily protectionist when concerning its Punthi neighbors.
Vespia is one of the world's largest consumers of electricity, consuming a total of 8,989 TWh per year as of 2030. In spite of this, Vespia is a net exporter of energy, exporting 17% of the energy produced in the empire to neighboring lands and foreign buyers. More than half of the energy exported by Vespia is consumed by the neighboring nations of the Veskosphere, and the rest by nations with significant Vespian minorities, predominately in northern Punth. The majority of energy produced in Vespia comes from nuclear power and renewable sources of energy such as natural gas. There were a total of 83 nuclear power plants in the country, supplying the majority of the energy needs of Vespia annually. As of 2030, 47.8% of all electricity produced in the nation name from nuclear power plants, while 17.4% came from natural gas, 13.2% from hydroelectricity, 10.9% from oil, 6.6% from coal, and 4.1% from other sources of energy such as geothermal and biomass.
The use of renewable energy sources have been a major source of development in the country, with hydroelectricity plants constructed throughout Vespia to take advantage of the country's extensive hydroelectricity potential. Fusion power has been another area of growth in Vespia as a source of power. The construction of the Yavin Fusion Plant in TBD has been touted as the poster-child of Vespian fusion power investment, and is expected to produce TBD megawatts of electricity for Vespia. The Yavin Fusion Plant would be the first commercial fusion power plant in the world, and would be the first leap into a new world of power supply, in world where fossil fuels dominate the planet's largest countries as their main source of energy. The desire to develop fusion power as the main source of energy production in Vespia has been driven by both the public and private sectors of the economy, and so far, the combination of political will and popular support have allowed Vespia to come further in developing fusion as a realistic source of sustainable power than most other nations.
Vespia's imperial government has richly subsidized the development of the country's transportation network for decades, spending lavishly on canal development, railway construction, road maintenance, and airport expansion throughout the empire. Of note is that Vespia possess a vast highway system, with a total of highway length of 83,400 kilometres (51,800 mi) in 2030, making it one of the longest highway systems in the world. This is in addition to Vespia's 7,027,000 kilometres (4,366,000 mi) of roads, of which 5,621,600 kilometres (3,493,100 mi) are paved. The automotive market in Vespia is one of the largest in the developed world, with about 672 vehicles per 1,000 Vespians on the road. There were 20.5 million auto sales in 2030, a number which is expected to increase as the Vespian population increase and the cities expand in size. There were also 388 million bicycles and 300 million motorbikes in use throughout Vespia as alternative forms of transportation.
Vespia's railways are the most extensive in the world, with about 198,500 kilometres (123,300 mi) of rail transport throughout the empire as of 2030. In spite of the government's extensive subsidizing of public transportation expansion, the overwhelming majority of transport is privately-owned by major companies such as TBD, TBD, and TBD. However, the companies involved in the rail industry operate in a hybrid form, with the state regulating use of the trains, equipment, and job training, while companies are permitted to establish their own prices and services. The railway network receives enormous demand during the religious festivals of Vespia, when the longest and largest sustained period of human migration takes place. As of 2030, Vespian railways delivered 1.2 billion passenger trips and carried 3.2 billion tons of freight.
The high-speed rail network of Vespia, which began construction in 1966, consists of 45,000 kilometres (28,000 mi) of dedicated rail spread throughout the country. Vespia was one of the first nations to fully embrace the concept of state-funded and constructed HSR lines, beginning with the Zanza–Zhara High-Speed Railway opening as a fully commercially-viable rail line in 1971. The entire HSR network in the empire had a total ridership of 963 million as of 2030, making it the busiest high-speed railway in the world. The Vespian HSR network includes the single-longest HSR line in the world, the Zanza–TBD–TBD–Shokina High-Speed Railway, and the Zanza–TBD High-Speed Railway, which is the busiest HSR line in the world. The Vespian government is set on expanding the network further, with the network itself expected to reach a length of 60,000 kilometres (37,000 mi) by the next decade.
There a total of 2,076 airports in Vespia, of which 28 are classified as international airports. The majority of these airports are small to medium-sized, serving a vibrant aviation community in the country. There were 43 new commercial airports under construction in Vespia in 2030, with plans to expand up to thirty airports based on projected domestic demands. The commercial air fleet of Vespia has grown quickly over the years, from 1,183 in 2000 to 4,795 by 2030. Much of the increased traffic has been a result of the increasing economical and industrial footprint by Vespia in its region, and increased travel between the states of the Veskosphere. Vespia already boasts some of the largest airports in the world, such as the Tazen Aynad International Airport in Vespia, which serviced more than 90 million passengers in just 2029 alone.
Science and technology
Vespia is a leading nation in scientific research, in particular, in the field of biology, genetics, and engineering, though consistently lags behind in the fields of robotics and automation internationally. Vespia is ranked highly in innovation indexes, for its breakthroughs in genetic engineering, human cloning technologies, and neurological research. The imperial government of Vespia spends more than $164.4 billion (₳315.8 billion) on research and development through the Imperial Ministry of Science, a budget which is greatly augmented by private research organizations by nearly $533 billion (₳1.023 trillion) annually. The funding is shared throughout the nation by its more than 4.1 million researchers and engineers, who work in a series of scientific fields that have allowed Vespia and the surrounding Veskosphere to remain competitive on the international stage and global scientific community. The country is a world leader in fundamental scientific research, with many renown scientists having come from the Vespian population. Many have credited this vast pool of gifted minds to the traditional lack of restraints on experimentation and scientific ethics regarding the morality of certain fields of research, such as cloning, eugenics, and stem cell studies, and the Vespians overall divergent view on ethics and morality.
Internationally, Vespian scientists and engineers have contributed significantly to the advancement of electronics, chemicals, semiconductors, biology, and optics, and vast field of engineering. The educational system in Vespia itself, with a focus on fundamental sciences such as mathematics and engineering, is responsible for producing 17,800 PhD graduates, and more than 800,000 BSc graduates in 2029. More than 160,000 scientific papers were published the same year, with more than 15,000 published in Vespia's most popular scientific journals. The country is also home to a number of powerful technology companies, such as Jivak and Arkan, serving as world leaders in the technology industry. Domestically, because of the large and highly-educated freeborn population in the country, Vespia maintains a high-technology base for its population. More than 90% of the freeborn population possess a mobile phone, and all three hundred of Vespia's urban population centers have 4G coverage, with 5G in development with plans to roll out within the next five to ten years. Internet download speeds in Vespia are among the highest in the world, with an average download rate of 24.7 Mbit/s. The focus on providing quality living standards to the freeborn population, have resulted in the constant push for greater innovations in science and technology, and the country's population has significantly contributed to this development as a whole.
Slavery is a major part of the Vespian economy, contributing to a considerable portion of the empire's gross national product as a whole. With the exception of Akai and the majority Vespian nations in the Veskosphere, Vespia is one of the only nations in the world which still practices the act of slavery on a widescale. More than 30% of the national population is enslaved, varying from chattel slavery to indentured servitude, though the overwhelming majority of the slave population can rightly be described as chattel in every sense of the word. Slaves have no rights in Vespia, and are frequently culled, butchered, raped, and sacrificed to the Vespian gods on a daily basis, though their numbers are quickly replaced by the imperial breeding factories maintained throughout the empire. Slaves fill the role of cheap, unskilled labor, fulfilling roles in Vespia imperial subjects refuse to do themselves, such as serving as farmhands, janitorial staff, food servers, garbagemen, dishwashers, sewage cleaners, and ushers, among other low-level jobs and responsibilities throughout Vespia. Slaves fill the roles that Vespia needs to function as a modern nation, but which its freeborn imperial citizenry refuse to do themselves. The enslaved population as lacks numerous protections under the law, and are officially classified as personal property by the state.
Other unsavory work such as prostitution and pornography are also often the domain of slaves, though many freeborn Vespians are known to go into the latter as there is no cultural shame associated with it. Though Vespia pays its slaves for their work, this pay is based on a percentage of the total worth of the slave's overall work and productivity. 90% of the value of the work goes to the owner of the slave, and the other 10% to the slave. This means that if a slave only performed $1,000 worth of work, they would only see $100 total to pay for all of their needs. Because their masters are not required to pay for healthcare, clothing, or housing, all of where are typically owned by the state or the slavemasters themselves, the overwhelming majority of the slave population is perpetually locked in debt to their owners and the state, and have no legal outlets to freedom. The overall benefit to the Vespian economy has been that all freeborn Vespians have been given the freedom to pursue higher-end work without worrying about essential yet menial jobs, and the nation does not have to worry about filling vital but unpopular careers with the restless and volatile Vespian youth. Likewise, through the use of slave labor, Vespia has historically been able to produce quality goods for far less, thanks to cheap labor and heavily-enforced work quotas and quality assurance.
Overall, slaves contribute between $1-2 trillion into the national economy, and are a vital part of the imperial government's social policies. There obedience of the slaves has been maintained throughout the last seventeen thousand years since Vespia's formation as a distinct civilization, with the combined efforts of social conditioning, use of force, regular culling of dangerous elements within the slave population, and the even-present fact that no slave uprising has ever succeeded in the whole history of slave in Vespia. However, because of Vespia's reliance on slavery as a critical part of its economy, the nation has been outcast as an international pariah, and has few allies abroad as a result. Vespia's history of black harvests to replenish its stock of slaves, and the legalized rape and forced impregnation of slaves in the imperial breeding factories, have disgusted foreigners throughout history. Attempts to free Vespian slaves have been mounted on numerous occasions, most recently by the forces of Helvianir, sparking the short yet tumultuous Northern Cold War in Punth. Regardless, slavery is a fact of life in Vespia, and the empire cannot survive in its current state without it, making the protection and enforcement of slavery a vital state policy.
Vespian literature has evolved greatly over the last ten thousand years of recorded Vespian history, from simplistic religious texts to complex novels from a wide variety of genres and cultural influences. Well-known Vespian authors include Kovo Ekanzan, Rajena Azhijazha, Zozan Kizhaki, and Viyudo Akivera, who defined genres such as mystery, horror, suspense, and thrillers, and are credited as having been the source of cosmic horror and weird fiction, subgenres of speculative fiction. The violent and psychotic thoughts of the Vespian people has routinely been cited as the source of inspiration by the authors hailing from the country for their works, which have been widely banned throughout the world for their vivid brutality and sexual deviancy. The erotic novels of Vasha Karakazha introduced the concept of sadomasochism from a Vespian point of view to the rest of the world, defining much of Vespia's international character. Karakazha's work depicted in graphic detail sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, criminality, and pedophilia, and were but one of many of the pieces of literature to come out of Vespia that helped give the world a view of the taint "morality" of the Vespian people.
The Zhautana, arguably the most important text to come out of Vespia, is the holy book of one of the largest religions in the world, Zheaniism, and defined much of Vespian life and culture over the thousands of years of Vespia's existence. The most widely read book in the country, the Zhautana holds special status among all of Vespian literature, and no Vespian would be seen without a copy on hand wherever they may be found. Another text of interest are the Ebon Chronicles of Holy Veskoya, a compilation of Vespian history through the religious texts maintained over the last ten thousand years by Zheani priests. Considered the most comprehensive historical text on Vespian civilization, the Ebon Chronicles have served as the single most important reference guide to Vespian history on record. As a whole, Vespian literature is grim, dour, and horrific, with anti-heroes and cruel antagonist who exist in a fictional world where the concept of "good and evil" do not exist. A testament to the oddities of Vespian morality, their literature is a somewhat dark insight to the nature of the Vespians as a people, and the ofttimes alien inner-workings of their psyche.
Fashion and design
The Vespians boast one of the largest fashion industries in the world, with Vespian fashion having a long tradition in the empire for centuries. Zanza, TBD, and TBD, are considered among the greatest fashion capitals in the world. The overwhelming female population of Vespia has historically been pointed at as the main driving factor in Vespia's vast fashion and cosmetic industry. Vespians of all classes are renowned for their concern over their looks and clothing, putting great effort into improving their natural looks and choice of clothing. As Burgundian fashion designer, Ruellan Outfitters, pointed out in 1987: "Vespia is unique in that it is a highly feminized society with very distinct masculine undertones. The women as well as the men, wear only the best clothing in on market. Women judiciously maintain their beauty and studying the best uses of makeup, while the men are keen to extensively their groom facial hair and wear expensive perfumes. Indeed, the Vespians may have contributed what it means to have 'high culture', and are more than willing to brag about it, for the Vespians have embodied what it means to be 'chic.'"
Major Vespian fashion labels such as Zhovaka, Akivina, Vekanoya, Kazhasuna, Zheva & Zona, and Zevaza, are but a handful of the many fashion houses in Vespia, and considered among the finest in the world for their attention to detail and use of high quality fabrics and designs for their products. The fashion magazine Shidona is considered one of the most prestigious fashion magazines in the world, and has a large subscriber base, not just in Vespia, but internationally as well. The concept of "absolute perfection", often acknowledged as a result of the Vespians unique psychological profile, drives much of the fashion produced by the nation. This can best be witnessed in the use of colors by the Vespians. Black, gold, and silver are the main colors in the Vespian designs, and though this may appear a limited pallet of colors to choose from, the Vespians have traditionally managed to transform their limited options into works of art as a means of expressing both artistic and religious ideas and concepts in their fashion, and their personal beliefs regarding the superiority of their culture and civilization.