[TECH: Needs a major overhaul to reflect changes I've introduced with the new Trinian website. Forthcoming.]
|The Trinian Empire|
|Conventional short name:|
|Data codes:||TR, TRI|
|Others:||Aigadorenec, Moranguese, Angliyaan, Aḱănji|
|Other:||Cordãma, Melaker, Zotêa|
|Government type:||Constitutional & Elective Monarchy|
|Established:||Gained independence 299AP|
Trinia, officially the Empire of Trinia, is a country located in the south-west of the Longerath continent, neighbouring St. Samuel to the north-west, Angliyaa to the north, Solanchatka to the south and Ensolelhada to the east.
Trinia is located in what it own people refer to as Avacia, an area that the rest of the world would call southern Longerath. It is bordered by the nations of Solelhada, Solanchatka, Samuelonia, and Angliya. It has a short coastline on what is known internationally as the Dark Sea, on the opposite side of which are the nations of Bowdani and Davenport.
Trinia is in the southern hemisphere. Its capital is about twenty-four degrees south of the equator, placing it just outside the tropical zone.
Trinia is an irregularly shaped country. Its borders mostly follow lines established hundreds of years ago by treaty and warfare, generally independent of geographical features such as mountain ranges and rivers. There are no straight-line borders.
Trinia is mostly landlocked. The exception is a short coastline to the west, where Trinia reaches the Dark Sea. This is a major centre of population for Trinia, and is the site of the country's capital city, Kurin.
The climate of Trinia varies between different part of the country. On the whole, however, it is likely to be warm but not fully tropical. The northern parts of the country are, naturally, the warmest. As the prevailing winds are northwesterly, the rain shadow of the central mountain range means that the northern regions are also the driest, although no part of Trinia is a desert. The southern parts of the country are somewhat cooler and experience more rain.
The central feature of the country's topography is the Velamnoćul mountain range, which divides Trinia from east to west. Also signifcant are the smaller Jul and Gorŏlu ranges, as well as the southern reaches of the Black Mountains. Historically significant is the Torlon Gap, between the Velamnoćul and Jul ranges — this has traditionally been the main corridor between western and eastern Trinia.
Most of Trinia's population lives in or around the basins of the Vulni, Laţin, Isŭl, and Źelena rivers — the first flows to the sea in the west, with its delta being Trinia's only coastline, while the other three flow out of Trinian territory to the east.
The rivers provide fertile soil for agriculture, and most of the land around them is used for crop-growing. Further away from the main rivers, in the hills and on the Aḱănji plains, the land is more suitable for pastoralism — a large amount of land is used for grazing cattle, sheep, and sometimes goats.
In the central regions of Trinia, on the slopes of the Velamnoćul mountains and in the Torlon Gap, there are areas of dense forest. The largest of these are named the Merenŏlun, Ţuridin, Ućandis, and Ĕlarivin forests. Other significant forested area are in the Black Mountains and in the south of Armenar. The highest valleys and plateaus of the mountains are largely bare of vegetation except for a few hardy species of tussock grass, and the peaks are permantently snow-covered.
A certain amount of land is set aside for national parks, covering a wide range of terrain types. The largest such parks are on the slopes of the Velamnoćul mountains.
Trinia is divided into several provinces. In their traditional order, they are: Vulni, Armenar, Melaţin, Eźuăna, Velamneşĭr, Aḱănja, and Arkay. They largely correspond to the traditional cultural regions of Trinia, with each province having its own distinctive customs, styles, and qualities. The provinces do not have their own governments, but agencies of the central government, such as the Office of Education and the Office of Health, will usually be divided into departments for each province.
The number of provinces has varied over time. In the distant past, for example, Aḱănja and parts of Eźuăna were considered to be part of Armenar. More recently, both Vulni and Melaţin have been split — the former losing Upper Vulni to short-lived provinces named Lior and Torlon, after the two cities, and the latter losing the region of Mianćir, the region of Diŭsa, and for a brief time the city of Rŏtoţara. The current arrangement is intended to be more permanent, having been fixed by referendum.
Each province has a flag and a ceremonial capital. In addition, each province incorporates a number of subdivisions called wards — there are ninety-six in total, with Vulni having the most and Arkay having the fewest. The boundaries of the wards are based on a number of factors, including physical terrain, accessability, population density, and ethno-linguistic balance. Unlike provinces, wards possess their own governments — these are equivalent to city, district, or county authorities in other countries. Each ward is governed by a council elected directly by the public, with the number of seats on each council varying from ward to ward. Ward populations range from somewhat over a million to around 100,000. Larger cities can have an urban area which spreads across multiple wards.
The Trinian system of government can be described as an elected constitutional monarchy. Originally, Trinia was a monarchy in which the various noble families elevated one of their own to the imperial throne, but as times have changed, this system evolved. In most democratic countries that retain a monarchy, democratisation was achieved by transferring substantive power to elected politicians while retaining the monarch as a ceremonial figurehead, but Trinia took a somewhat more direct path — the monarchy itself has been transformed into a democratic institution. This was possible due to the unusual nature of the Trinian monarchy to begin with — as the monarch was elected by the aristocracy, the principle of election was well-established, and all that needed to be introduced was the idea that the person elevated to the throne should ultimately have the direct support of the people. Today, the Emperor is still elected by the lords of the various Houses, but the lords themselves are elected representatives of the people rather than hereditary aristocrats. This means that in many ways, the Emperor of Trinia is similar to an executive president in a republic, despite the formalities and traditions which continue to surround the office.
House of LordsEdit
All Trinians belong to a House, the historic clans into which Trinian society is divided. Each of the Houses has a Lord — this position was once hereditary, but in modern times, is elected. Together, the Lords are responsible for chosing an Emperor and five Ministers from amongst themselves. The voting strength of each House is weighted according to its population. There are no declared candidates, so a House may vote for whoever it likes, including itself. It is also possible for a House to split its vote, although few do. Because an absolute majority is needed for victory, it is rare for a victor to emerge immediately — an election can last for some weeks as negotiations continue. At any time, a House may shift not only its own voting strength but also any votes given to it by other Houses — that is, House A may vote for House B, which gives both its own support and that received from House A to House C. In general, the eventual outcome will be the result of a compromise rather than simply an outright race.
As noted, the Emperor of Trinia is the head of the Trinian government, and is elected by the Lords of the thirty-seven Houses. In ancient times, the position of Lord was hereditary, or at least kept within a certain family. Today, however, the Lords are elected by the members of the House in question, meaning that the Emperor is chosen by representatives of the people. He is then confirmed by public vote. The Emperor is responsible for appointing the Seneschal and assigning roles to the five Ministers, and for directing the operations of the government in general — it is his policies which set the country's course.
In addition to chosing the Emperor, the House Lords also chose five of their number to serve as Ministers. Officially, the five people chosen are simply the five who came closest to being elected Emperor, although as previously noted, there is seldom an actual race for the throne — rather, the selection for ministerial posts will be part of the same negotiated compromise which elects the Emperor, ensuring that nobody need by completely shut out of office. Once five people have been named Ministers, it is the responsibility of the Emperor to assign each one to a specific Ministry.
Besides the five Ministers, the Emperor is assisted by an official known in Trinian as the larisman. The standard translation of the this word is "Seneschal", although "Steward", "Chamberlain", and "Majordomo" are occasionally employed. The origin of the word suggests that he or she runs the Emperor's household, and in traditional Trinian protocol the Seneschal still officially ranks only as a senior servant. In practice, however, the Seneschal has a major role in the administration of government — he or she is responsible for helping the Emperor implement his policies, and undertakes much of the behind-the-scenes administrative work which allows this to happen. In particular, the Seneschal is responsible for coordinating the five Ministers and keeping them appraised of the Emperor's directives, and also for facilitating the deliberations of the Gathering of Monitors.
Gathering of monitorsEdit
Trinia does not have a parliament, congress, or other legislative body — laws are passed directly by the Emperor and the five Ministers. However, the Gathering of Monitors has a number of similarities to such assemblies. It is directly elected by the people, with seats allocated to each House based on population. Most of the elected representatives are members of loose political parties, although this affiliation is not formally recognised. The role of the Gathering is essentially one of oversight — it is responsible for supervising the activities of the government as a whole, and for ensuring that all other branches of government remain within their assigned duties. In the event of problems, the Gathering has the ability to impose certain measures to correct matters — including, if necessary, the calling of an early election. In some respects, the Gathering can be seen more as a constitutional court than a legislature, despite superficially resembling the latter.
The Trinian economy is organised along lines unique to this country. The objective of its economic policy is to ensure that ownership of important economic infrastructure remains in the hands of ordinary Trinians, rather than in the hands of a wealthy elite. For this reason, Trinian law and policy gives strong incentives to companies in which employees are part-owners (analogous to the so-called "co-operative movement" in certain other countries). Ownership of Trinian companies and assets by individuals is limited, as is ownership by foreign interests.
In years past, the Trinian government has described its economic system using the word "kŏmiunismu" — this literally translates to "communist", although in fact, Trinia has never implemented true communism as it is internationally understood. (For example, Trinia does not seek to institute a command economy, or state ownership, or forced collectivisation.) Even in the context of the Trinian language, this label is increasingly being abandoned due to the large gap between formal definitions and actual Trinian practice.
Patterns of WealthEdit
Although Trinia has experienced solid economic growth since regaining its independence, it is unfortunately true that some areas have benefited more than others. In particular, Trinia's urban areas have outpaced rural areas, adding to the already significant trend of migration into the cities. Although the government is supportive of development in the cities, some of the more remote parts of the country still do not enjoy the standard of life expected of in modern country, and efforts are being made to promote rural development.
Trinia's economy is less centred on farming today than at any other point in its history, but even so, the agricultural sector still makes an important contribution. Vulni and Eźuăna are the most important areas of agricultural production, with Melaţin and Armenar also being quite significant. A fairly wide range of crops are grown in Trinia, and in certain regions, farming of sheep and cattle is also important. The eastern provinces, Eźuăna and Armenar, are home to a large orchard industry — the latter is particularly known for its citrus fruit. Overall, Trinia is a net exporter of food, with dairy products, fruit, and vegetables making up the bulk of this trade.
Trinia's forests are extensive, particularly in Melaţin and on the slopes of the Velamnoćul mountains. These forests have traditionally provided a large amount of lumber, and although the creation of an extensive national park system has almost ended the felling of old-growth forests, significant amounts of Trinia's interior is today devoted to forestry plantations. Much of the land used for forestry would not be productive farmland even if cleared, and its use for forestry allows Trinia to maintain a strong lumber industry without sacrificing useful cropland. Melaţin and the Torlon Gap are currently the country's largest centres of forestry.
The Velamnoćul mountain range, which separates Trinia's northern and southern provinces, has a number of valuable resources that can be extracted through mining, including coal, bauxite, nickel, and gold. Velamneşĭr, upper Vulni, and the more mountainous regions of Melaţin are the centre of Trinia's growing mining economy. There has also been a recent mining boom in Aḱănja province, which has a significant amount of copper. Diamond mining on a small scale occurs in Mianćir, in western Melaţin, although there are doubts as to whether there are sufficient diamonds there for the industry to be viable in the long term.
Although Trinia's manufacturing sector is modest compared to that of some countries, it nevertheless forms an important part of the Trinian economy. Vulni, Armenar, and Eźuăna are the largest centres of manufacturing in Trinia, with the primary products being household appliances, furniture, and machine parts.
The Velamnoćul mountains contain numerous sites suitable for hydroelectric dams, and Trinia generates more electricity than it uses. The surplus energy can be sold to other nearby countries and territories, many of which have higher populations but less opportunity for cheap energy. The surplus electricity is also used to smelt aluminium from bauxite ore mined in the Velamnoćul mountains — this is an energy-expensive process, making cheap electricity an advantage.
Trinia has not traditionally been a major tourist destination, but in recent years, the number of visitor arrivals has been increasing steadily. This boom began in the period immediately after Trinia regained its independence, reflecting the increased awareness that Trinia receives as an independent country. Tourism has also been boosted by increased interconnection with the outside world - the number of flights in and out of Kurin has increased markedly over the last decade, and the introduction of the Occidental Express high-speed passenger train has made it easier for foreign citizens to visit the country. Kurin, Cordăma, and Zotĕa are all popular destinations for those interested in Trinian culture and arts, while the Torlon Gap and the Velamnoćul mountains are popular for their scenery. The old Tiŕănese ruins in Melaţin are also increasingly recognised as a potential tourist attraction.
The Trinian Empire's official currency is known as the nuren. This name derives from an old Trinian word roughly meaning "certified" or "approved". The modern nuren was introduced in 299 AP, when Trinia regained its independence, but the first appearance of the name was in the Principality of Kurin over a thousand years ago. Unlike many currencies, the nuren is not subdivided into a secondary unit. In times past, there have been coins representing fractional values of the nuren (half-nurens, quarter-nurens, etc), but these are no longer issued.
At present, the value of the nuren is fixed against a weighted basket of major currencies - the primary currencies used are the Cruisanan crown, the Burovian zaster, the Lendosan coronalo, and the Armatirian huygens. The fact that three of these four currencies are ultimately fixed to a gold standard means that the value of the nuren does not often change relative to the world's major currencies, however - roughly, there are fifteen nurens to the Cruisanan crown (thus making a nuren worth six or seven Cruisanan cents). There exist proposals to float the nuren, but these have not yet progressed beyond an initial exploratory stage.
There are coins worth 1, 2, 3, 5, and 10 nurens. The first three are coloured bronze, the 5 nuren coin is coloured silver, and the 10 nuren coin is coloured gold. One side of each coin displays an image deemed to be significant to Trinia, while the other side displays a portrait of the reigning monarch. In order, the images on the five coins are a trading ship, a bow and arrow, a religious scroll, a traditional Trinian tiara, and the Trinian national symbol (the three horizontal bars).
There are notes worth 25, 50, 75, 100, 200, 300, and 500 nurens. (The latter three are quite rare in practice). The design of each note depicts an important scene in Trinia on the front, and two portraits on the reverse - one portrait is of the reigning Emperor, while the other is of a famous Emperor from Trinia's history. The scenes depicted on the notes are of Kurin's historic harbour, the Korentĭnur Palace, Armenar's vast orchards, the tomb of Dalana, the forests of Melaţin, the market of Zotĕa, and the Velamnian mountains. The historic emperors depicted are Kelus, Lanţinu, Loricos, Aurendon, Velserend, Olmăris, and Elumiral.
There are numerous sports played in Trinia, including some which are not found elsewhere. A large number of Trinian citizens are in some way engaged with sport, whether as participants or spectators.
The official national sport of Trinia is archery, which has a prominent place in the country's tradition. For centuries, it was the favoured sport of the aristocracy, and competence at archery was considered an important part of being a noble. Archery competitions were an important feature of historic Trinia, both for the aristocracy and for others. Archery no longer holds the dominant position in society it once did, but remains the most prestigious sport in Trinian tradition.
In terms of numbers, however, the most popular sport today would be soccer/football (called gosul in Trinian). It is played throughout the country by both professional and amateur teams, and the Trinian national team has a strong popular following. Other team sports played in Trinia include rugby, volleyball, treleţen (a local version of basketball or netball), and ćalen (an adaptation of baseball or cricket). Individual sports with significant following include tennis and traditional Trinian combat sports (mostly using knives).
On the whole, Trinian sport tends to be based around the thirty-seven Houses, with each House taking the role that might be filled by a province, city, or club in other countries. For example, each of the Houses maintains a soccer/football team, with the competition between the Houses being Trinia's most followed sports league. The larger Houses will often have internal leagues as well.
The official colours of each House carry over to their sports teams. Each House adopts a particular arrangement of its colours which is applied to all sports. The Trinian Football Association is the governing body for football in Trinia.