by Max Barry

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Overview (Ret-conned)

The State of Las Palmeras
El Estado de Las Palmeras

The State of Las Palmeras



Motto: Unión de Mar y Tierra


Anthem: Link Name of Anthem



Tohorin/Las Palmeras in blue


Population:

32,667,563 (1982)

Capital

New Cádiz

Largest City

New Cádiz



Official Language

None

National Language

Spanish, Tohorinese,
English (lingua franca
at ports)



Ethnic Groups

Neko (12.6%)
Neko-Human mix(76.4%)
Humans, mostly Spaniards (11%)



Religion

Folk Catholicism (64%)
Animism (35%)
Other (1%)



Government

Semi-Constitutional Monarchy

Monarch

Kaorin I

Premier

Name

Legislature

National Parliament

Upper House

House of Shattered Swords

Lower House

House of Commons



Currency

Keiban– K₾



Time Zone

UTC -5 to -4

The State of Las Palmeras is a parliamentary monarchy and de-facto Dominant-Party State governed by the Conservative Party since 1902, located in an alternate Earth's version of the Atlantic Ocean. The Palmeran Isle covers about 400 thousand square kilometers in land area. It is known for it's neko and mixed race neko-human populace. Once home to the Tohorinese Empire ("Cat Empire"), the only Pre-Colombian power to breifly contact Europe between the 1st and 5th Centuries. The Tohorinese Empire was also the only non-Western power to negotiate vassalage to Spain after decades of war and after rebuffing Portuguese advances. The Palmeran Isles' history is that of an intertwined social, political and racial dynamics between its original inhabitants, a large mixed Hispano-Tohorinese component, and the minority represented by Spanish newcomers.

For centuries it was an unsinkable fortress, indirectly ruled as a vassal of the Spanish Empire, a colonial master it outgrew. Following partially unexpected independence in 1906 due to the fallout from the Spanish-American War, the local military aristocracy and civilian power-brokers have made it a sovereign state and were ceremonially re-instilled the revered native figurehead. Las Palmeras has used it's new-founded independence to seek to continue to profit as a trans-Atlantic trade node and a trade partner to India after integrating itself within the Entente Powers following the Anglo-French and Nazi War (1939-1942).

History


The history of the Palmeran isles is long and varied, it can range as back as 10,000 BCE when the neko began to populate these islands. However it is best to divide our history in time periods. Please click on them to see their pages in more detail.

Archaic and First Contact with Europe (10,000 BC to 480s DC):
From the ancient settlement of the island shortly before the last Ice Age and the Early Holocene Sea Level Riseo, to the development of the once "mythical" archaic kingdoms (2000s BC) and the millennia-spanning Dark Age. The latter half of this time period culminates with our desperate expansion to Mishka-hama (the Azores) and Macaronesian isle of Madeira in the 1st Century BC, in search of wood and fish, when we contacted humanity. Annual trade with pagan Europe in the "Roman Convoy" led to mass social and technological transformations within the Home Island and also to a fair degree of foreign awareness of our isle, albeit still buffered by 2600km of ocean. This era ends with the simultaneous fall of the Roman Empire and our spiraling into seven centuries of civil war.

In hindsight, the historical annals of this age, written by Classical historians and naturalists, left behind notions about our degree of civilization within the written memory Medieval Europe, and probably made the Spanish go easy on us in comparison to their conquests in Mesoamerica and the Andes though arguably the Tohorinese putting up a fight also opened a path to diplomacy.

Age of Conquest (1460s to 1560s)
A century of Pyrrhic victories and struggle against the maritime powers of Europe -Spain and Portugal- and their ships which had the ability to threaten the Home Island, a decrepit and beaten shell of its once glorious self. It ends with the thoroughly negotiated surrender to the invading Spaniards in 1569, in which the remnants of the Tohorinese Empire pledged vassalage to Castille and adopted Catholicism, assuring the continued existence of the Imperial Figure that coexisted with a unique form of indirect rule.

Colonial Era (1569 to 1906):
The time period in which the Home Island fell under the de-facto rule of the Spanish Empire, albeit under the hands of advisers and colonial bureaucrats that appropriated and adapted the local institutions. It is a period of economic growth and drastic but gradual social and demographic changes under the backdrop of intense cooperation and competition with the Crown and authorities of Madrid.

The "birth" of Modern Las Palmeras began here: the eventual degree of Westernization (cultural and even racial) of the old Tohorinese cat-people with Spanish migrants, the mixing of old institutions with new ones, and the re-framing of political concepts became vital in forming a new nationality and sense of belonging. However, the cultural patterns of the old Cat Empire did not end, and many remain to the day.

Contemporary Era (1906 to Present)
The Palmeran State as an independent nation and people set to make it on their own in the interconnected global village called Modernity...

Climate and Geography


The climate is semi-desertic, somewhat similar to that of the Canary Islands. According to the Köppen climate classification,the majority of Las Palmeras has a mild Mediterranean-like desert climate barely ranked as BWh, daily mean temperature year-round is about 21.5° Celsius. There also exists a warmer subtropical humid climate which is very influenced by the ocean condensation in the southern edge of Borokien. The isle's climate is somewhat moderated by the sea and in summer by the trade winds when the humidity isn't totally absorbed by the sand of coastal deserts. The mean surface temperature of the ocean around the isle ranges from 15° Celsius in the northeast to 20° Celsius in it's southwest, though it is generally rated as being pleasant.

Despite the desertic climate of the majority of the island, the existence of small shield volcanoes and extinct stratovolcanoes in it's Western and Central parts have led to the existence of patches of mineral-rich ashes which permit some agricultural output if properly irrigated or extracted. The ubiquitous presence of palm trees has given Las Palmeras it's name.


Las Palmeras is known for it's Mediterranean-like scenery.

Demographics


Population

The majority of the populace of 32 million people -86.4% of them- are the result of centuries' worth of race-mixing between human males and the native neko, whom at one point had a 1:6 male-to-female sex ratio; the latter's somatic features have a tendency to predominate over the former's.

Neko, (literally "cat", named after the nekomimi/cat girls in Japanese pop culture) are typically short in height -1.39m to 1.63m- and light in weight by human standards, with pitch black hair -though recessive red tones can also occur; with facial features which somewhat resemble Native Americans and East Asians. The most common eye color is brown, though a minority have green and reddish tones- mixing with humans prop up the recessives. Skin color ranges from light tanned to "cream milk white". Tautologically, the neko are human...save for the excessive cartilage that forms cat-like ears and also an appendage resembling a tail.

Nobody knows where the neko precisely came from or why they show up on the fossil record after about 12,000 BC seemingly out of the blue in Las Palmeras and in the island of Honshu in Japan exclusively. It is puzzling to verify how they went to 2 different points (going from Japan to the Americas and then setting sail towards the Atlantic, or vice-versa, presumably) more than 11,000 km away from each-other in pre-industrial times. The similarities between the extinct "Old Cat" language and the Japanese-Ryukuan family are well known and proven, however the exact role of the neko in pre-Japanese prehistoric culture has not been understood. The term AC (Ancestral Culture) has been used to describe a hypothetical cultural ancestor or intermediary between the neko in both islands and the human populations of Japan.

Religion

The neko had a form of State-sponsored animism which emphasized ancestor worship and veneration of nature, the Imperial figurehead was at one point considered a living deity that personified the whole of the islands and the living beings within it as well as being the head of the family of subjects. Due to the abundance of anthropomorphic ghosts and personifications of spirits, the Spanish unwittingly payed no attention to neko religious texts at first. Centuries of religious conversion and inter-marriage placed Roman Catholicism on the spotlight, but it also mixed with local customs, sometimes even contradictory to the dogma of Christianity. In the eyes of the general populace these heterodox beliefs were taken for granted and syncretism became the norm. Because the natives were out of the Holy Inquisition's jurisdiction, and there was a vauge definition of who was considered native, many animistic customs continue to the day.
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Government


Foreign Relations

- Las Palmeras maintains a "Special Relationship" with Spain, the "Father" nation, literally and figuratively: Spain was the colonial metropole we were linked to and much of the European blood that many Palmerans have comes from the paternal side. As we were their vassals from 1568 to the 1600s, a colony of theirs from 1600 to 1821 and a semi-autonomous province of theirs from 1822 to 1902, it is an understatement to say that Spain has left a permanent mark here.

Economy


The Palmeran/Tohorinese Isle has been at growth since the 16th Century, though it has been a growth hindered by the logistical limitations of living in an insular realm while also unsurprisingly being molded by life at sea. The Spaniards co-occupied and expanded upon several pre-existing cities, and with it, population booms and inter-mixing that favored industry in urban hubs and agriculture in some more rural areas. Though normally Spain's colonial economic policies discouraged the creation of overseas manufacturing industries in favor of resource extraction and agriculture, the opposite was true of Las Palmeras. The Island Fortress needed to be armed to the teeth to resist British and French invasion attempts, so an arms manufacturing and metallurgy industry took hold since the 17th Century. On the other hand, this was balanced by the importation of foodstuffs to implicitly ensure the local populace and elites' loyalty.

Palmerans consider themselves to be natural-born sailors, a trait inherited from our Tohorinese ancestors whom worshiped the sea and saw it as a second home. In prehispanic times, fishing was a man's job and the cat-people had multiple wives as they traveled from port to port. That hasn't changed much. We anecdotally believe that one Palmeran is worth five Spaniards whenever he steps inside a boat. It comes to no surprise that the bulk of the Spanish Empire's Navy at its height was ethnically Tohorinese and that many prominent and young ambitious officers fared much better against the United States in 1898 were our countrymen. Quite simply, we believe the Spanish Navy is full of inept geriatrics and that as a people they are best suited for land in this day and age.

*Ahem* Rant aside, many military and merchant sailors of Las Palmeras are ethnically Tohorinese, either fully or by their mothers' side as that is common. Most operators of large pelagic factory ships are also male. Though there is a gender divide as small home-based villagers and littoral fishers are mainly female, as are the workers of fisheries and aquaculture sites.

By the mid-19th Century, the island was second only to Barcelona in it's industrial output and was a major trade node in the Atlantic Ocean. It should come to no surprise that one in 12 Palmeran women work in the Shipyard industry that builds, maintains, overhauls and repairs seafaring vessels -both wooden ones and steel ships; they have become so adept at it that even foreign men with superstitions over women and ships have recognized our skill. A specialized market dealing with oceanographic supplies has surged and with it a niche intelligentsia of marine scientists. A substancial but informal sector surrounding the travel patterns of foreign and domestic sailors on leave also takes shape with many inn-keepers, bartenders, street peddlers and food vendors.

More embarrassingly, but something that came naturally as a site for trade ports, is that several coastal cities and the capital were known for their "cathouses". And with its norms that tolerate male philandery, it is a part of life that must be accepted with resignation...1 in 100 citizens were formally employed as prostitutes, though independent workers made the ratio rise to 2 in 100 between 1860 and 1920.

Other lesser exports are also iron ore and limited coal. An agricultural sector that mostly makes up wheat production, aquacultural production and fishing follow in importance to mining and manufacturing. Also a strange metal known as Carolinium is common in the desert.

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