|Kingdom of Meriad
|Motto: "Til Gud, Til Gull, Til Herlighet!"
"For God, for Gold, for Glory"
De Nord Husker
"The North Remembers"
Royal anthem: Royal Suite in E Flat
The Kingdom of Meriad (green) in Escar (dark grey).
|Recognised regional languages||Innefødt, Statchundi|
|Ethnic groups (2013)||
|Government||Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|-||Prime Minister||Jans Nordvich|
|-||Supreme Justice||Arits Kristiansen|
|Legislature||Hall of Jarls|
151,586.81 sq mi
|GDP (nominal)||2015 estimate|
|-||Total||$1.084 trillion (8th)|
|-||Per capita||$90,618 (1st)|
low · 3rd
|HDI (2016)|| 0.937
very high · 1st
|Currency||Standard Mark (SMK)|
|Time zone||Ordic Common Time|
|Date format||mm-dd-yyyy AD|
|Drives on the||right|
Meriad (i//, MER-ee-ad, Meriadni: //), officially the Kingdom of Meriad, is a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy whose territory is composed of the northern shore of the Nordellic Peninsula of Orda. Meriad has a total land area of 392,607 square kilometres (151,586 sq mi) and a population of 11.971 million (2014). Meriad shares an extensive land border with Zossia to the south. The country administers serval overseas territories, with varying levels of autonomy. Meriad has an extensive coastline, facing the North Sea and the Tartaric Ocean.
Queen Crica is the current monarch, having ascended to the throne following the abdication of her father, King Sketli. The next in the line of succession is Crown Prince Martin Sommerfeldt. Jans Nordvich became Prime Minister in 2012, replacing former eight-year Prime Minister Franzan Istlaskotr. A constitutional monarchy, Meriad divides state power between the Hall of Jarls, the reigning monarch, and the Court of Justice in a system defined by the 1763 constitution and revised by the Constitutional Convention of 1821. The Hall of Jarls is a unicameral legislative branch, with representatives elected via a system of party-list proportional representation according to region. The Hall of Jarls nominates a candidate for the office of Prime Minister, usually the leader of the majority party or governing coalition, who the monarch then appoints.
Meriad has both administrative and political subdivisions on two levels: regions (rymder) and counties (kommuner). The Innefødt and Statchund peoples are accorded a certain amount of influence and self-determination over traditional territories through fixed representation in the Hall of Jarls and the Störkinfjyk Act. Meriad is a founding member of the Nordic Congress and the Ordic League, and the country maintains close economic ties with Shirakawa, Gran Altiplano, and Zossia. Meriad is a signatory to the Fyrtárn Accords, and is the smallest developed nation in the world by population. Its capital city is Járnfjördur, the northernmost national capital in the world.
Meriad has historical roots tracing back to widespread raiding during the viking age and its status as a global colonial trade power, and traditionally holds to comparative neutrality and multilateral diplomacy with regards to world conflicts. The development of the government according to the Constitution of 1763 made the country the first functioning unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy in the world. Meriad currently has the highest HDI and nominal GDP per capita in the world, and third-lowest Gini coefficient in the world.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Politics and government
- 5 Economy
- 6 Demographics
- 7 Culture
The name Meriad comes from the Old Norse word mjeräðsten, roughly meaning 'raider's rock', which the early Meriadni named the area around modern-day Karelstad. The term appears to have been used for the first time as a name for a much larger region of the peninsula in the mid-900s, most notably in a 10th-century fragment of a saga unearthed from a ship burial site in Skrøpeligehjem.
The entire region gradually came to be known by the name of mjeräðstenover a period of roughly one hundred years, and changed form through language variations into mjeräden. When the peninsula's northern coast was unified by the Conquest of 1282, the word came to refer to the entire northern half of modern-day Meriad. Between the early 1300's and 1480, when trade with foreign nations became firmly established, the name transformed into Meräd, from which it has evolved to the modern-day name of Meriad.
Meriad's mountainous topography was formed during the last Ordic ice age, which lasted until around 11,400 BC. During this time period, massive glaciers covered the southern region of the country. Evidence of early human civilization can be traced back to southern Meriad around 8100 BC, during the stone age, who gradually moved northwards over a period of several thousand years. The recent discovery of numerous rock carvings and pottery shards in Sydilströp point to the possibility of southern Meriad's glacial lakes and waterways as being home to some of the earliest-known examples of systematic agriculture yet discovered.
While many other areas on the northern coast of Escar were populated during the bronze age, the harsh climate and bitter winters of the northern Nordellic Peninsula mostly prevented major human settlements from being established. Familial tribes of humans made semi-permanent residences in the region's numerous fjords and valleys, cultivating crops and defending territory and possessions from rival groups, but these groups rarely maintained contact with the outside world and were very limited in their capacity to coexist with other tribes. This was not the case in the far north of the peninsula, where the Innefødt people formed much larger and more structured patriarchal communities.
Several examples of written languages, both carved in stone and written on clay tablets, have been uncovered in Sydilströp from the 9th century BC, primarily related to crop yields and the flood cycles of the Yurgen River. Archeological records also point to systematic agriculture becoming a much more widespread practice during the Iron Age, as iron farming tools can be found throughout southern Meriad dating to that time period.
The beginning of modern Meriadni culture and demographics can be definitively traced to the viking age, when viking longships began to land along modern-day Meriad's northern coastline. At first, these 'long-bearded savages,' as described in indigenous records, landed solely to loot established centers of civilization, mainly in Sydilströp, but soon began to weather the harsh winters in well-built and semi-permanent long-halls in the northern region of the country, due to similarities to their point of origin. Burial ships and similar grave and religious sites and artifacts can be found all along the coast from the time period, and written records of the Innefødt people from northern Meriad indicate extensive contact with the vikings.
The first evidence of semi-permanent habitation by the viking raiders comes from the middle of the 10th century, specifically in the form of numerous trading goods and the remains of a viking settlement at Strakkalafjördur in Eyjanfjalla. Evidence of permanent habitation as early as around 1030 has been found in Francifjord, on the island of Eyjanfjalla. Archeological evidence from around the island points to the fact that the vikings drove the small number of native people off of the island, and then used the relatively calm fjords as winter quarters. Permanent settlements also sprung up to cater to returning longships, which consistently raided coastal Kolintha during the spring and early summer.
The main source of food appears to have been fish, with limited agriculture, until around 1080, when low-lying coastal areas of the island were clear-cut to facilitate larger-scale agriculture. The norsemen cultivated a variety of crops, from native strains of barley and rye to imported potatoes and wheat. The small apples native to Eyjanfjalla also appear to have formed an important part of the nordic diet.
The vikings gradually spread from Eyjanfjalla to what is now Skipelande, where intermarriage with Innefødt people started to become more common. Archeologists estimate from the proclivity of viking trade goods in Sydilströp that the Norse had spread their influence over the whole of the Nordellic Peninsula by no later than 1140, with permanent habitations throughout the peninsula becoming relatively common by 1230. For the most part, the Norse colonists remained grouped into small villages, usually ruled by a jarl or similar leader. These villages generally included several family groups, although they lived primarily in small groups of longhouses. Diets ranged between villages, with northern settlements being much more seafood-oriented, whereas settlements in the south had much more expansive agriculture. Most of these villages were entirely independent, and raiding of settlements around the Nordeaic Sea by sea was relatively common during the early summer, when crops had been planted and the men were more readily able to leave their farms for extended periods of time.
While initially the viking colonists appear to have maintained cordial relations with the native people groups, archaeological evidence indicates that the vikings executed an extensive campaign against native peoples in the mid-1300s, both driving the native peoples away from their ancestral homes and, in limited cases, conducting genocide. This period of large-scale conflict ended by 1390, by which time the majority of the native people groups had either been driven away, killed, or intermarried into the viking civilizations.
Conquest of 1282
In the year 1282, archeological evidence in the northern coast of the country points to massive increases in the development of production of forged iron weapons. This is theorized to be as a result of the military advances of a king from the Kjelmoen coats referred to in Old Meriadni texts as Isgjäll, which roughly translates to Ice Crow. According to these text, the ice crow led a fleet of several hundred longships into battle all along the coastline, and united an area over one hundred in miles in length, from Duvnafjördur in the south to Fjördlande in the north. This unification represented the first large-scale example of the Norsemen grouping around a single individual or banner. Despite this, the king's influence faded away after his death around 1297, when his gains were torn apart by a feud between his five sons.
The time period immediately following the collapse of the Kjelmoen dominion also saw a massive purge of Escari native peoples, particularly in the central coastal regions of the country. While no specific statistics are known, it is estimated that around five hundred thousand ethnic Escari were slaughtered during a two-year period. This annihilated the majority of the civilizations who had existed in the region prior to the arrival of the norsemen, and almost all archeological sites of the culture appear to have been defaced and desecrated. Most of the people groups living in what is now Fjordlande survived this purge, however, and archeological records show continued signs of widespread subsistence agriculture, indicating relative isolation from the large-scale genocides further south.
Meriad's mountainous topography and harsh lifestyle highly restricted incursions by foreign civilizations until the early 14th century, which allowed Meriadni culture to develop independently of foreign influence. While items from foreign civilizations are by no means uncommon among grave sites from the time period, their singularly small size and ease of transportation indicates that they had been attained through the new inhabitants' continuing raiding of coastlines all around the region. The seizing of goods and women from other areas also gave rise to the uniquely Meriadni demographic group, which is a combination of the Kolish, indigenous, and Norse people groups.
Throughout the 12th and 13th centuries, there is archeological evidence of numerous attempts of individuals and groups of villages attempting to unify, whether by force or by treaty. This led to the rise of a large number of petty kingdoms, which were typically centered around a single large settlement which had influence over the surrounding area. Germanic writings and runic carvings point to the development of several systems of government throughout Meriad, from absolute monarchy to several instances of direct democracy. These petty kingdoms commonly warred against each other, and gave rise to much larger civilizational structures. These conflicts coincided with a sharp drop in raiding by Meriadnir, marking the formal end of the viking age. Despite the increasing ability of the Meriadnir to exert influence over large areas of the coast, the vast majority of the interior of the peninsula remained entirely untouched.
Around the beginning of the 13th century, the increasing presence of a wealthy Meriadni upper class of royalty and craftsmen began to increasingly fund exploration of both the Unikaret Mountains and the Nordellic Peninsula, neither of which had been extensively surveyed. By 1450, this exploration had brought about the end of the period of Meriadni isolation, and voyages by both Meriadni sailors and foreign seamen led to the opening of interregional trade routes. The seafaring knowledge acquired during the viking age brought about a massive surge in Meriadni trade power, and massive numbers of vessels from Meriad began to travel the globe in search of valuable trade goods and potentially colonizable islands and coastlines. Numerous major trading settlements were either established or leased from foreign powers, a number of which remain Meriadni overseas territories to this day. The seafaring knowledge and superior shipbuilding techniques of many Meriadni petty monarchies made Meriad the dominant power in term of global trade, and brought considerable wealth to the numerous political entities that then controlled the sea lanes around Meriad.
In 1518, a series of assassinations of Skallic royalty and military commanders sparked a conflict between Skallia and Sudurfjyk, two of the three dominant kingdoms in what is now Meriad. Although there is little tangible evidence supporting this theory, most modern historians agree that the assassinations were probably carried out by individuals connected with Mjeräden. Both Sudurfjyk and Skallia attempted to form alliances with then-neutral Mjeräden, led by King Alfgren Strongarm. Alfgren entertained envoys from both sides simultaneously, and after several months of negotiations executed the Skallic envoy and signed an alliance with the Fjykish representative. With the help of the Fjykish army in the south, the two kingdoms crushed the opposing Skallic forces, and took the monarch captive.
In the spring of 1520, however, the Mjerädni army turned on its Fjykish allies, crushing the vast majority of the larger kingdom's forces before major casualties were taken in the Mjerädni ranks. The Mjerädni army then moved south, led by King Alfgren himself, eventually crushing the opposing military forces entirely. Following his victory, Alfgren Strongarm proclaimed himself the king of all of Meriad, and systematically executed every individual with any connection to either kingdom's royal line who could be found.
In 1759, a civil war broke out within the kingdom, which lasted four years of near-constant and exceptionally brutal combat. This war culminated in a truce in the summer of 1763, during which emissaries from the two sides met on neutral ground and created a government based around a constitution and a monarchy with limited power. This document, the Constitution of 1763, was ratified by both sides, thus ending the war and establishing the current system of government.
The transition from absolute monarchy to the new government, which was a completely new concept on the world stage, was by no means simple. A number of loyalist factions emerged, who supported the return of the monarch to a position of complete authority both through attempting to deadlock the new parliament, the Hall of Jarls, and by executing limited guerilla warfare against the supporters of the new system of government. The Prime Minister, Hallstein Tastad, successfully managed to limit loss of life and appease many parties of the revolting loyalists by granting the monarch a wide range of state responsibilities not granted by the constitution, including the responsibility of appointing the Prime Minister and other high executive branch officials. These revolts came to a complete close in 1768, when the monarch, King Pietr II, stepped down and publicly requested that the revolts end.
Industrial Revolution and Nationalism
During the industrial revolution, which in Meriad stretched from around 1779 to 1828, huge swaths of forest were cut down in order to to make way for farmland and for timber. These large-scale logging operations sparked massive protests, led in part by native people groups, and formed the beginning of the country's prominent environmentalist movement. In 1831, following a major power shift in the Hall of Jarls the previous year, the government passed an act which formally created the first of the country's expansive national parks.
The First Endwar and Faldarunic Civil War
The First Endwar marked the first extensive usage of Meriadni Ski Troops as a means of controlling border crossings. While Meriad remained neutral throughout the war, a draft was instituted in order to protect against invasion. The increased size and operating budget of the armed forces throughout the war led to massive improvements in military technology, such as the development of rudimentary snowmobiles that could carry up to 15 soldiers.
Immediately following the conclusion of the First Endwar in 1917, a civil war began in Faldarun, a major Meriadni cultural and economic ally. While none of the numerous factions truly represented Meriadni governmental beliefs, the Royal Navy dispatched a destroyer to the country in order to observe the conflict and, if necessary, serve as an intermediary between the factions. The destroyer was accompanied by a contingent of army soldiers, many of whom had served in special forces units during the First Endwar. These soldiers assisted in gauging the political, military, and economic climate of the region by executing brief forays towards the interior of the country. While Meriad never formally issued a declaration supporting any of the factions, in several cases the military detachment did on several occasions provide advice and limited assistance to the confederal faction.
The Second Endwar
In the wake of the First Endwar the Kolish steadily began to become more militaristic, reequipping their armed forces and conducting mass deportation of religious and ethnic minorities including Christians and Nordics. This raised tensions between the Kolish and Meriadni governments, especially following the Chester Affair in 1935. Following the de facto annexation of Palaska in early 1936, tensions between Meriad and Kolintha heightened greatly, and continued state-sponsored discrimination against Meriadni citizens in Kolintha further exasperated the Meriadni government. On July 16th of 1936, the Kolish government issued an ultimatum claiming sovereignty over most of Sydilströp. King Fredrik of Meriad unconditionally rejected this offer, leading to a massive ground offensive by the Kolish army on August 1st, 1936. Two amphibious landings followed in the next three days, leading to the Kolish occupation of the Meriadni capital of Járnfjördur and largest city of Duvnafjördur.
Despite the overwhelming Kolish military advantage, the Meriadni government refused to surrender, and encouraged armed resistance by surviving military units. What remained of the Meriadni government, including much of the Royal Navy, relocated to Eyjanfjalla, from which the continued to operate throughout the war as the government in exile. Meriandi forces successfully resisted Kolish ground offensives against the military establishments at Berknafjördur and Sköntafell, and held the cities despite extensive blockading of port cities by Kolish naval vessels.
The Kolish occupation forces handed control of the occupied country over to the General Government, led in part by Meriadni collaborator Mikkel Borsheim. The General Government continued the Kolish policies of ethnic cleansing, and sponsored the mass deportation, internment, and execution of minorities and Meriadni nationals. Resistance forces, bolstered by propaganda and training dispersed by the Meriadni resistance strongholds of Sköntafell and Høstenpunkt, exercised near-constant guerilla warfare against General Government forces and Kolish occupation troops and assets. The Meriadni Royal Navy and Army also contributed to resistance efforts, conducting periodic raids on Kolish supply lines and even blockading Duvnafjördur Sound for a one-month period, preventing General Government forces from being resupplied and boosting morale of Meriadni partisans through defeating attempts by the Kolish navy to break the blockade.
As Comintern and Thelassic Sphere forces began to force Kolish forces into retreat over the fall of 1942, Meriadni forces stepped up large-scale attacks, and successfully liberated the capital city of Járnfjördur in March of 1944 after blocking the flow of supplies into the city over a period of three months. Coordinated attacks by surviving naval and air units in the north of the country, coordinated by near-legendary resistance general Asben Bakken, brought about the end of the blockade on the northern half of the country, allowing it to be resupplied by several allied states. Using newly-arrived military assets, the Meriadni army successfully pushed Kolish forces as far south as Duvnafjördur before the General Government ordered a systematic retreat of its units.
The occupation by and subsequent defeat of the Kolish during the Second Endwar caused a resurgence in Meriadni nationalism, as well as a general public will to be more involved in international affairs in order to prevent future conflicts. This movement was spearheaded by the formation of several new political parties dedicated to rebuilding the country. The long propaganda campaign conducted by the government-in-exile had a definitively negative effect in the post-war country, as it speared hate crimes against Kolish nationals living in Meriad. The government, however, swiftly cracked down on these hate crimes, and meted out long prison terms to those found guilty.
In 1949, war hero and former general Asben Bakken was appointed prime minister as a reconstructionist. As prime minister, Bakken established positive relations with the post-war government of Kolintha despite overwhelmingly negative public opinion of the Kolish government, and served an instrumental role in the proposal of the Ordic League. Using his influence in the Hall of Jarls and in Meriadni society alike, Bakken enacted major changes to the structure of the armed forces, and was instrumental in the passage of a law granting all ex-service members lifetime pensions. He served for the maximum legal term of eight consecutive years as Prime Minister, and declined to stand for reelection in his constituency during the 1957 elections.
This general distaste of the isolationism that protected the country during the First Endwar brought about major changes in Meriadni foreign policy, which caused the nation to gradually move away from its long-held stance of total neutrality in world conflict. The country is a founding member of the Nordic Congress, which facilitates dialogue and cooperation between the Nordic states of Meriad and Faldarun, and the Ordic League, which strives to promote multilateral international cooperation. The Meriadni capital of Járnfjördur also hosts the headquarters of the Ordic League.
Situated in Northern Escar, Meriad lies to the west of the Yurganian Sea on the north-east of the Nordellic Peninsula. The southern border of the country is formed almost entirely by the Uinkaret mountain chain. The Yurgen River, the third-largest river in Escar, forms the short south-east border. Meriad is bounded in the north and west by the Tartaric Ocean.
Meriad is divided into three distinct regions based on geography. The northern portion of the country, from the western coastal border to Duvnafjördur Sound, is known as the Nordkysten region (literally northern coast), and is characterized by its rugged coastline of massive fjords, hundreds of islands and skerries, and numerous small glaciers. Permafrost can be found year-round in the higher mountainous areas, especially in the interior of Islagskogen. The Tartaric Jetstream which sweeps along the northern Meriadni coastline causes higher temperatures and more precipitation year-round, and contributes to the presence of four distinct seasons. The Uinkaret Mountains block the warmer air from moving inland, and consistently lower temperatures and levels of precipitation are found within several dozen miles of the coast. The interior of the region is mainly coniferous taiga forest, and the mountains frequently extend to the coast. The mountainous areas close to the southern border have the lowest mean population density in the country, and are home to numerous species of wildlife that are unique to the region.
The central geographic region is known as Skallia in reference to the eponymous kingdom that existed in the region until the country's unification. The Skallic coast ranges from Duvnafjördur Sound south to Varelsaend, and is characterized as a transition zone from the tall fjords of Nordkysten to the much flatter coastal region of Innsjørd that continues southwards. Mountains and fjords are common as far south as Gröstavik, where the Uinkaret Mountains begin to gradually recede from the coastline. Just north of Húsavik, the Varik Spur extends to the ocean and divides the country into two distinct sections to the north and south, as well as forming the southern border of Skallia.
The southernmost geographic region of Innsjørd encompasses Varelsaend and Ulvaskogen, as well as all land to the southern border of the country. South of the Varik Spur, the land becomes considerably flatter, and glacial features become more apparent. The region is characterized by an abundance of lakes and eskers formed during a period of major glaciation that ended around 11,400 BC. The Innsjørd region is home to nearly 14,000 lakes (larger than 500 m2 or 0.12 acres), as well as thousands of islands and numerous waterways. In addition to the abundant lakes, the landscape is covered mostly by coniferous taiga forests and fens, with little cultivated land. In low-lying areas with poor drainage, peat bogs are common.
In addition to the thousands of coastal islands the dot the southern coast, there are also two large groups of islands off the coast of Meriad. The larger archipelago, Eyjanfjalla, is home to the fifth-largest city in the country. The smaller group of islands, Alvenskjærgård, is situated in the Bay of Sydilströp and is administered by Steinhjem. The islands have very few permanent inhabitants, being mostly known for their high-quality wool and fisheries.
As a result of the relatively large north-south distance, the climate of Meriad is very fragmented dependent upon region. This is especially evidenced by the southern regions of the country, which are significantly flatter and more temperate in climate than the northern regions. Because of the Tartaro-Neptic Confluence, where warm air from the equatorial regions of the planet meet much colder air fronts from the Tartaric Ocean, the western coast of Meriad experiences higher average temperatures and greater precipitation than would be expected for its latitude. This also means that the north-western area of the country are exposed to Tartaric storm fronts, contributing to the high amounts of precipitation. The Innsjørd region of the country, especially Sydilströp, has an oceanic climate characterized by very few extreme temperatures throughout the year, but rather cool summers and cool (but not cold) winters. This makes the region superb for agriculture, and the southern portion of the country is widely farmland where elevation and topography allow.
|Climate data for Sorknes Royal Observatory (1993–2013), Meriad|
|Average high °C (°F)||−7.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||−11.2
|Average low °C (°F)||−15.6
|Precipitation mm (inches)||70
|Source: Meriadni Royal Geographic Society Commission on Climate Data|
Stunning natural scenery and landscape is found throughout Meriad. The northern fjords of the country have been ranked as one of the most visually beautiful sites in the world, and the country's stringent environmental standards ensure the protection of Meriad's natural resources. A significant portion of the country is reserved as a part of the Meriadni National Park System, and there are several Wilderness Areas in which human entrance in totally forbidden. The National Park System, which is overseen by the Ministry of the Interior, maintains some of the strictest national park regulations in the world, and entrance into most national parks by motor vehicle is prohibited except by special permit. The majority of all traffic in national parks is by foot, although aircraft overflight above a certain altitude and in certain areas is legal. Meriad is also home to Heartland National Park, the second-largest national park in Escar by total area (and fifth in the world), which takes up much of Islagskogen and Stälaronen.
Saint Claire Island
Saint Claire Island, one of Meriad's two overseas territories, is situated in the Tartaric Ocean, and has access to the extensive Baker oil field. The climate of the island is heavily affected by the Tartaro-Neptic Confluence, which brings a large amount of precipitation to the island. Saint Claire is volcanic in nature, although the three volcanoes that form the exposed part of the island are all extinct. Due to the volcanic nature of the soil, moisture is absorbed and evaporates very easily amid the sheltered mountain valleys and peaks. Cloud banks thus form when the weather is moderate and when wind speeds are relatively low. These clouds regulate the temperature of the island's interior extremely well, as well as serving to nourish the plants that live amid the rocks. The climate of the island is cold, windy and humid maritime. Rainfall is common roughly half of the year, averaging around 22 inches in the administrative capital of Saint Claire, and sporadic light snowfall occurs throughout the winter months, and occasionally throughout the fall and late summer. The temperature is generally between 64.0 and 36.0 °F in Saint Claire, but can vary to 47 °F early in the year and 36 °F in July and early August. Strong westerly winds and cloudy skies are common along the coast, although the interior of the island is usually sheltered from the wind.
Politics and government
This article is part of the series:
Politics in Meriad operate under a framework laid out in the Constitution of Meriad. First adopted on March 16th, 1763, it establishes a sovereign state in the form of a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy, with a representative parliamentary system. The Monarch officially retains executive power and presides over the Royal Cabinet, the supreme executive organ. In practice, the duties of the Monarch are strictly representative and ceremonial, such as the formal appointment and dismissal of the Prime Minister and other Government ministers. The Monarch is not answerable for his or her actions, and their person is sacrosanct. Hereditary monarch Queen Crica has been head of state since 1 January, 2017, when her father and former monarch King Sketli formally abdicated the throne. Her son Crown Prince Martin Sommerfeldt is the heir apparent to the Meriadni throne.
In practice, the Prime Minister of Meriad exercises executive power within the government. The Prime Minister, currently Jans Nordvich, is nominated to the reigning monarch by a majority vote within the Hall of Jarls, usually resulting in the leader of the governing coalition becoming Prime Minister Elect. The nominated individual is then presented to the monarch for formal appointment. The Prime Minister exercises authority over the executive branch of the government, including de facto command of the military and all of the government's Ministries. The Prime Minister is advised in decisions of national importance by the Royal Cabinet, a group of the highest-level government officials that serve as the heads of the government's various departments and branches, as well as a number of appointed advisors to the monarch and Prime Minister on matters of state.
The separate Judicial branch of government, the Court of Justice of Meriad interprets and applies laws passed by the Hall of Jarls and the Royal Cabinet, as well as creating and interpreting constitutional law. The Court of Justice is headed by the High Court, which is the country's supreme court of appeals, and is made up of eleven High Justices.
Legislative power is vested in the Hall of Jarls, a unicameral parliamentary body elected based on proportional representation of political parties based on population within each region, with an electoral threshold of 3%. Parliamentary elections are held every other year, with approximately one third of the sitting representatives up for election every year, although it is within the powers of the Prime Minister to ask the monarch to call for an election within a given administrative division before a sitting representative's term has elapsed. Through a vote of no confidence, the Hall of Jarls can force the Prime Minister, a government minister, or the entire government to resign.
The Hall of Jarls, as a parliamentary body within a multi-party system, is made up of numerous political parties. As of the 2016 parliamentary election, there are six major political parties, two minority parties, and four independent representatives. The government coalition is made up of the Social Democratic, Labour, and Communist parties.
|Political Party Name||Alignment||Representation in the Parliament||Ideological Tenets|
|Social Democrats||Government||Social democracy|
|Communists||Government||Communism, socialism, socialist reformism|
Meriad, a unitary state, is divided into twenty-one first-level and 381 second-level divisions, as well as two overseas territories. The first-level divisions, regions (or rymder) are administered through directly elected regional assemblies who elect the Regional Chairperson. Additionally, the King and government are represented in every region by a governor, who makes executive decisions relating to the national government. As such, the national government is directly represented at a local level through the Royal Governors' offices. The counties are then subdivided into 381 second-level municipalities (counties, or kommuner), which in turn are administrated by directly elected municipal councils, although specific forms of county governments vary by region. Representation in the Hall of Jarls is determined by voting within each region. In addition to this important role, the regions also serve as military and economic divisions of the country.
Meriad also exercises the foreign affairs of two overseas territories, Saint Claire Island in the Tartaric and Iriguchi in the Sea of Three Emperors. Both islands are responsible for their own domestic policy.
Despite the ongoing power struggle between the Arkadis Entente, the Commonwealth of Heavenly Kingdoms, and the League of Ordic Communists, Meriad has managed to remain relatively neutral, and maintains trading partnerships with nations from both alliances. While the country lies directly adjacent to the Commonwealth's largest member-state, Kolintha and borders Arkadis Entente member-state Allidron, the trade between Meriad and its direct neighbors and the lack of profoundly different foreign policy models has kept any open conflict from occurring. Recent international issues as the Virnessr Affair have put Meriad's delicate international position at stake, but the government has striven over the past several of years to built more positive relations with members of all three major alliances.
Meriad is a founding member of the Nordic Congress and the Ordic League, the headquarters of which is in Járnfjördur, Meriad. The country is also a co-signatory of the Fyrtárn Accords with Nerotysia, which set forth international standards with regards to environmental preservation in the North Neptic Ocean, labor and intellectual property rights, and governmental corruption.
Within Escar, Meriad generally has very positive relations with its proximate neighbors. Despite differing political systems, Meriad and Allidron maintain cordial relations, and their long land border is almost entirely undefended. Despite the terse relations between Allidron and Mingdai, Meriad also maintains positive relations with both states.
Judicial System and law enforcement
Meriad utilizes a civil law system in which laws are created and amended by the Hall of Jarls and interpreted by the Court of Justice of Meriad. The Court of Justice consists of the High Court of 11 permanent judges, apellate courts, regional courts, and city and district courts. The judiciary branch is entirely independent of the legislative and executive branches of government. While the Prime Minister nominates Supreme Court Justices for office, their nomination must be approved by the Parliament of Meriad and formally confirmed by the Monarch in the Small Council. Usually, judges attached to regular courts are formally appointed by the Monarch on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The Courts' strict and formal mission is to regulate the Meriadni judicial system, interpret the Constitution, and are therefore in charge of implementing the legislation adopted by the Hall of Jarls. In its judicial reviews, it monitors the legislative and executive branches to ensure that they comply with provisions of enacted legislation.
The law in Meriad is enforced by the 21 police services of the country's regions. The Civil Police Service is the national police service, and is charged with enforcing law transcending multiple regional boundaries and investigating organized crime, money laundering and terrorism, among other federal offenses.
Meriad abolished the death penalty for regular criminal acts in 1898, with the death penalty for high treason following in 1951. In place of the death penalty, Meriad offers life in prison or exile. Despite this, Meriadni prisons are exceptionally high-quality compared to prisons in many other nations.
Meriad has a small armed forces, currently numbering about 38,000 active personnel, including civilian employees. For the past twenty-six years it has received roughly 2.1% of Meriad's GDP as an operating budget, which last year was a total of $22.76 billion SMK. The Armed Forces is divided into four major branches: the Army, the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, and the Aerial Forces. The Military's small size is mainly a result of the country's strict neutrality and its harsh climate. The country's military budget is mainly allocated by the Meriadni Army, which is dedicated to a doctrine of superior firepower and training as opposed to superior numbers. The Navy is also emphasized in the military's budget, although it operates only a dozen large combat ships. The majority of the navy's vessels are small coastal patrol craft or icebreakers, which ensure safe passage for merchant shipping in the ice-choked water of the Tartaric Ocean during the winter months. The Aerial Forces and the Royal Marines generally operate in supporting roles, with the Royal Marines' de-facto primary role being in providing honor guards to the navy and at government events and the Aerial Forces primarily operating in a support function to the Meriadni Army and the Royal Navy. As the Royal Navy has no ability to operate ship-borne fixed-wing aircraft, the Aerial Forces provide air-superiority support for naval operations.
The Armed Forces are organized around a doctrine of defensive warfare in the event of invasion, whereby military units can retreat into the mountains and continue to operate in opposition to hostile forces. Military units employed by the Armed Forces, particularly the Aerial Forces, are generally highly mission-adaptable and user-friendly as a result of this doctrine, and are required to be able to operate with minimal maintenance out of unimproved facilities.
Meriad has in the past possessed both chemical and biological weapons, and has not confirmed the total destruction of its biological arsenal. As such, the country is considered a biological weapons-possessing state by the international community.
Meriad's economy operates under a mixed-economy Nordic model system of free-market capitalism, with a significant amount of influence over the means of production controlled by labor unions and trade guilds, and with state ownership in strategic sectors. The economy, which at $1.084 trillion Ordic standard dollars is the 8th-largest in the world by nominal GDP, is fueled by Meriad's abundance of natural resources, and is heavily supported by the extraction and production of petroleum, expansive fisheries, and large-scale hydro-electric power. Major exports include raw resources, manufactured goods, armaments, and transportation equipment, including aircraft, automobiles, and trains. Meriad currently has the highest nominal GDP per capita in the world, at $90,618 Ordic standard dollars.
Meriad has a dual income tax on net income, as well as significant taxes on the production of and income from petroleum. Major sources of government revenue include road and petroleum taxes, social security incomes paid by employers, and income taxes from individuals. Despite the large number of government programs funded by taxation, however, personal taxes are relatively low, as much of the government's taxation revenue comes from corporate and excise taxes.
Meriad's national currency is the Standard Mark, which is backed by the country expansive oil and gas reserves in the Tartaric. The Standard Mark is a valued currency for international banking as a result of its historical stability.
As a result of the relatively low population density, narrow shape, and long coastlines of Meriad, public road transportation is less developed than in many other Ordic nations, especially outside of the major cities. The country has long had a tradition of water transport, utilizing the relatively sheltered fjords and skerry lines as a means of transportation, but road and air transport have recently become much more developed. One of the most-used forms of ground transportation in the country is the government-operated National Highway System, or NHS. The National Highway System was established by the Hall of Jarls in 1967 with the express purpose of facilitating vehicle transportation between major Meriadni cities. NHS roadways run between most major cities, as well as along the coast where allowed by topography and the locations of the national parks. The NHS also has a strategic purpose, and is designed to facilitate the movement of army during wartime.
The country's road tax, which is based on fuel consumption and estimated vehicle cost, contributes to the fact that many Meriadnir do not use personal vehicles to travel long distances, but instead use the country's extensive network of rail lines. Rail transportation, provided primarily by the National Rail Service, is highly developed throughout the country, particularly along the coastline. Low-speed rail lines run the length of the country, and stop frequently in settlements. High-speed rail lines have also been under construction since 2001, although they are mainly aimed at connecting major cities, and do not stop except at major rail terminals. The last high speed rail link between Súdurfjördur and Húsavik is expected to be completed in mid-2023, which will complete the government's planned expansion of the transportation system.
The vast majority of all rail transportation is electric, although some heritage railways operating in Sjoland, Ulvaskogen, and Varelsaend are steam-powered railways. Several dozen of these heritage railways operate regularly-scheduled routes of the National Rail Service's low-speed rail system. The country is also a significant contributor to the EscarRail project, which seeks to connect numerous Escaric states with an easily-accessible, high-speed, and environmentally-friendly rail network. Within Meriad, EscarRail trains connect Járnfjördur, Duvnafjördur, Gröstavik, Berknafjördur, and Húsavik on the NRS' high-speed rail lines, with a link to Súderfjördur planned by 2021.
In addition to extensive rail and road transport systems, Meriad also has a large network of ferry lines, which link most major cities. Most links are open to vehicle and cargo traffic alike, and ferry transport is the only regularly-scheduled way of traveling to the Alvenskjærgård islands in the Bay of Sudurfjördur. Ferries are generally operated by private companies, although with significant government oversight in order to ensure safety and environmental standards. Unlike most other forms of transportation, the operating costs of ferries are not subsidized by the government, but the relatively high usage of ferries as a mode of transportation between cities means that user-end costs are relatively low.
Energy generation in Meriadni is nationalized, and is overseen by the Ministry of Energy. In 2014, 62% of Meriad's energy was produced by hydroelectric plants, 15% by gas, 10% by nuclear, 5% by coal, and 8% by other renewable sources, including solar, wind, and tidal power. While the country extracted enough petroleum and natural gas to fulfill 80% of the country's energy requirements, the majority of it was exported or sold for usage in automobiles. The power produced by gas this year was the lowest production rate since 1998, whereas nuclear power production saw a 20% increase. Expansion and subsidization of renewable energy generation facilities, and the increased regulation of petroleum extraction in Meriadni territorial waters, is expected to further decrease the usage of gas as a major source of Meriadni energy. 90% of Meriad's power is expected to be produced by renewable sources by 2025, with the remaining 10% coming mainly from nuclear power.
In 2015, Meriad was a net exporter of energy by a margin of 8 TWh, whereas the country imported just over 2 TWh in 2014 as a result of record low amounts of snowfall, which limited the country's ability to produce energy from its network of hydroelectric dams. Electricity is distributed by the state-owned company Nordenergi, which by law also owns all of the country's nuclear power stations. Other sources of energy, excluding coal-fired plants, can be owned by private corporations with the proper licensing, although the energy must be sold to Nordenergi at a set rate, which is adjusted depending on the method of generation. As such, only a small portion of the country's power is generated by private entities, as the set price of power makes profitability difficult to attain.
Since 2002, Meriad has used a strategy of indirect taxation as an instrument of environmental policy, including taxes on energy consumption, petroleum extraction, vehicle usage, and carbon dioxide emissions. An opinion poll conducted in 2011 showed that over 70% of Meriadnir approved of these taxes.
The tourism sector is also a major contributor to the Meriandi economy, making up several billion SMK yearly. Most of the country's tourist revenue comes from environmental tourism, particularly in the extensive national park system. One of the best-known tourist attractions is the Heartland Trail, a 2,240 km trail that runs the length of the country, from the southernmost point in Sydilströp to the city of Lindefjord in Fjordlande. The trail was opened in 1974, and it is estimated that over half a million people hike sections of it every year. While some sections, particularly in the south, are easily accessible to even handicapped visitors, the 431 km section traversing Heartland National Park is rated as one of the most challenging hiking trails in the world, particularly because of the remote location and lack of access to emergency services in the event of an accident.
As a result of highly stringent environmental and labour policies, several key sectors of the Meriadni economy are dominated by state-owned corporations, primarily as a result of the comparative unprofitability of private corporations. Notable examples of industries with government monopolies include the energy sector, dominated by state-owned corporation Nordenergi, rail transportation, dominated by the National Rail Service, and the postal system, dominated by the Royal Mail Corporation. Although privately-owned corporations do exist in the rail and postal sectors, they are generally limited to geographically contiguous areas. Many petroleum extraction companies are also partially owned by the national government as a means of ensuring adherence to the country's strict environmental policies.
In these sectors, costs are typically subsidized by taxes in order to ensure user-end affordability. These taxes are levied by Meriad's extensive taxation system, which also funds the country's universal healthcare and welfare systems.
Meriad's population was 11,969,938 in August of 2013. Meriadnir are an ethnic Migratory Germanic people group. Since the 1700s, Meriad has attracted immigrants from around the world, notably east Escar and Orda, and north Valaya and Osova. According to the 2013 Census, 91% of all Meriadni citizens have at least one parent who was born in Meriad.
The Innefødt and Statchund people groups are native to far north and far south Meriad, respectively, and are the largest native people groups in Meriad. As a result of the government's attempts at incorporating these people groups into Meriadni society, many now identify as ethnic Meriadnir.
As a result of its colonial origins, the Meriadni culture is primarily norse, although recent influxes of immigrants have made it decreasingly homogenous. There is a sizable Sierreño minority from the Puerto Sierra region of Gran Altiplano in Gröstavik, primarily concentrated in the city's Old Quarter. This Sierreño culture is primarily manifested through the city's exciting nightlife and music scenes, and makes the Old Quarter one of the city's chief tourist attractions.
|Largest cities of Meriad |
Meriadni Royal Census Office
Education is mandatory in Meriad through the age of 18. Public schools are funded by the national government, and are freely available to all citizens of school age. As of 2015, the national literacy rate was 99%, one of the highest literacy rates in Ordis. Around 88% of all Meriadnir graduating upper secondary schools attend some form of university program, with 76% graduating.
Immigration and Citizenship
Because Meriad does not directly base any statistics on ethnicity, it is difficult to accurately state the total number of immigrants in the country. According to the 2013 census, however, around 9% of the population was not born in Meriad. In 2016, a record high of 31,837 foreign nationals became citizens, an increase of 18% from the previous year's total.
Meriad is known throughout Ordis as a country with relatively attainable citizenship standards, requiring a minimum residence period of only three years as opposed to the five year minimum required by many other countries. Meriadni passports are also generally valued by businessmen and diplomatic officials worldwide because of the stability of the Meriandi economy and the favorable diplomatic relations that the country maintains with nearly every country in the world.
As a Nordic model welfare state, free public healthcare is available to all tax-paying citizens of Meriad. Healthcare is dominated by the government-funded National Health Service, which is generally very high-quality. Private healthcare is also present in the country, although seldom used and subject to special taxes and regulations by the government. According to 2015 figures from the Ordic League Social Council, the average life expectancy in Meriad is 82.3 for men, and 85.2 for women.
The official language of Meriad is Meriadni, a North Germanic language descended from the language that was brought to the country by viking colonists in the 11th century AD. Around 93% of the population speak Meriadni as their primary languages, with notable minority languages being Kolish and Innefødt.
The Innefødt language, spoken by the ethnic people group of the same name, stems from the language indigenous to the region prior to the norse colonization, and has developed little since the 13th century. The majority of Innefødt speakers reside in Fjordlande and Isafjalla, where government-sponsored media is by law broadcasted and dispersed in both languages, as nearly 40% the residents of certain municipalities speak Innefødt as their primary language.
The Statchund minority, who reside primarily in Sjoland, historically spoke the Statchundi language, which also stems from pre-colonial roots. According to the 2013 National Census, however, only 5% of ethnic Statchund citizens still speak Statchundi as their primary language. Despite this fact, Meriad officially recognizes Statchundi as a minority language.
Meriad has been consistently recognized by non-governmental actors worldwide as a global leader in human rights, and has received a rating of ten on the Ordic Liberty Index for the past four years. The country's total abolition of the death penalty in 1951 made it the first country to do so at a national level.
Meradi has historically been a leader in the recognition of human rights, and was the first country to adopt laws ensuring universal suffrage, equal pay, and other rights now recognized by the Ordic League and fundamental. The country currently has the harshest anti-discrimination legislation in the world.
While numerous cultural holidays are celebrated throughout the year, only five holidays are observed according to national law. Liberation Day celebrates the anniversary of the victory of Meriadni Army forces over Kolish forces in Sydilströp at the end of the Second Endwar, resulting in the complete liberation of Meriad from the Kachanist occupation.
|1 January||New Year's Day||National Holiday|
|18 June||Liberation Day||National Holiday|
|25 Sepember||Labor Day||National Holiday|
|17 November||Constitution Day||National Holiday|
|25 December||Christmas Day||National Holiday|
Music is one of the major expressions of Meriadni culture worldwide. Meriadni traditional music generally takes two forms: Åsensang (literally hill-song) and Ildstedsang (literally hearth-song). Åsensang is a primarily a capella form of music that originated from kulning, a form shepherding pasture-call, used throughout southern Meriad. Ildstedsang is the Meriadni culture's dance music, and is typically played by such instruments as the fiddle, the accordion, and the tinwhistle.
Western art music is also very popular in Meriad, particularly since the Romantic era immediately after the country's unification, when Meriadni composer Edvard Grieggen's music inspired a strong sense of Meriadni nationalism.
As as result of the maritime way of life that predominated in Meriad up until the industrial revolution, one of the key features of traditional Meriadni cuisine is seafood. The fertile nature of the southern regions also contribute to national cuisine with a variety of culturally unique grain dishes. Popular items of food include smoked salmon, trout, herring, and a variety of breads and grain-based alcohols. Dairy products are also common fare, especially sheep and goat cheeses.
Sport is one of the most central facets of Meriadni society, with popular sports including cross-country skiing, the biathlon, and Association football. Handball is also an increasingly popular sport, recently replacing football as the country's most popular indoor sport. Equestrian sports are also popular in southern Meriad, and the country's national equestrian team has consistently been one of the highest-ranked in the world. Meriad's national sport, as well as the one which has gained it the most international recognition, is cross-country skiing. Meriadni athletes have won a large number of major international titles in the sport since 1986, and the country is recognized as the home of some of the world's best skiing.