by Max Barry

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General History

Songhan is a nation in an alternate universe which has its capital located on the southeastern part of what is referred to in our world as the Baja California peninsula, Mexico. The capital, Longdong, is a rich city which runs the nation with little difficulty. Not originally being very large, the early leaders of Songhan led the nation to conquest against it's neighbors, starting in 1836, in order to bring the neighboring peoples of similar culture in line. Eventually they were assimilated. By 1845, this world's industrial revolution began as Huangcheng scientists unlocked the secrets to machinery and parts to construct larger machines. One of the first factories in Songhan was the Longdong cement factory. By 1847, the Longdong machine parts factory was one of the largest in the world. By 1855, Songhan stretched from south of Yucatan to mid-California, controlling most of modern Mexico and having a puppet in charge of the east. With virtually no competitors in either America, Songhan had no trouble dominating this area, and with the strongest industry in the world as well as one of the only industries, it set out for colonization of the Pacific, bringing peace to Hawaii in 1864. At this time, a very large revolt occurred. The rebels wanted more political freedoms, which after a siege at Longdong, they got. During this revolt a war broke out in Europe in 1874 between the URO in Siberia and their competitors in Shaanxi and the CES. The URO had no fleet as their only port was in Arkhangelsk, and was quickly occupied by the CES. The URO, having a huge population, was flinging large amounts of people and weapons at their enemies. The Songhan economy returned to pre-revolt state but they were dragged in once Shaanxi-allied Nippon started searching Songhanian ships for weapons which were being sold to the URO. Fighting from Songhan led the nation to a startling realization: no one wanted to trade with a nation who was fighting in order to defend the widely unpopular URO. URO and Songhan coalition forces reached Shaanxi's capital and a peace offer was struck up- URO would release a buffer state between them and Shaanxi would demilitarize their entire border, and the fighting would stop completely on November 11, 1891. At this point, the Songhanian economy flattened out and widespread poverty struck the nation. The Songhanian Empire received nothing out of the war and the general public did not approve of having to fight something for no gain. Because of widespread poverty and newfound civil rights and political freedom, they revolted across the entire empire, and the nation collapsed. As a reminder of how important the Songhanian industry was, the world's economy also stuttered before slamming into the same area Songhan was in- bankruptcy. The rest of the world saw governments fall and rise during the depression, but nowhere was really felt as hard as Songhan. The Huangcheng people feeling freer than ever established small states to rule over what was left of the Songhanian Empire, commonly fighting over borders with each other. By 1913, a decent amount of the land bordering neighboring nations was being grabbed up with the excuse of "protection of the peoples living there." In Longdong, a movement arose known as MSGA, or Make Songhan Great Again. The Song dynasty, having held major economic influence in the nation since the 1840s, put Milton Song at the front of their movement. One of his first actions was to lower civil rights and political freedom, and actively changed his policies in order to try and bring some economic success back to the nation. He settled with a middle-right wing approach. No longer an empire or trying to act like one, all Milton wanted to do was reunite continental Songhan. Due to Longdong's large population and potential for economic ability, he quickly secured the southern part of the Longdong peninsula. Change in political viewpoints changed more during this time, and the economy slightly bumped up after annexation of the surrounding territories only for it to go back down to where it was. To make an already long story slightly shorter, similar movements rose out of the northwestern parts of the old empire, northeastern parts of the old empire, and southeastern parts of the old empire. The largest neighbor state besides the old Songhanian nations was in the east, known as Mogiep. Mogiep long suffered defeat at the hands of the Songhanian Empire and found revenge in taking over the easternmost provinces of the empire once it collapsed. Seizing on this common enemy, the MSGA State, as it was known, reached an agreement with the 3 neighboring pre-empire states. They would unite into a single entity- The Jingoistic States of Songhan. The new nation adopted the original dual color flag but added a small circle in the middle which had an O on it. The O stood for One State. The Jingoistic States had one goal- retake all Songhan land. Its weaker neighbors to the north and south conceded to the demands quickly, and claimed they were "just protecting the land and the people for when the Songhanian Empire returned." Milton Song was quick to remind them that they were no empire, just the new Songhan. The stage was set for a battle with Mogiep. Songhan's economy as well as its world-famous industry was regaining strength. On September 1, 1939, Mogiep made the mistake of requesting Songhan move its troops away from its border, as they were beginning to cross over. Milton replied that they were moving eastwards to secure the border. The only problem is that Milton said the border was the original border of the Empire, and Mogiep owned that land. The Songhanian Army proved to be overwhelming to Mogiep, and by June 1940 Milton paid the capital of Mogiep a visit. He declared that the Mogiep were incapable of resisting Songhan, and that they had surrendered unconditionally. He said that the cultural similarities of the 2 nations were so close that Mogiep would have its border readjusted to where it should be (the Louisiana River), and the rest of it brought into Songhan as the fifth Jingoistic State. In 1945, Huangcheng scientists split the atom and tested an atomic bomb in the Nevada desert. The government kept everything quiet and kept from the rest of the world, with very few people knowing what was really created. November 1 1955 saw a left-wing authoritarian URO aiming at world conquest finally put down the Shaanxi government. It turned its attention westward and destroyed the CES in a matter of years. On March 8, 1965, Songhan declared that the URO had gone too far as it now stretched its borders from Istanbul to Stockholm to Pyongyang. On that same day, a surprise attack was launched south of Pyongyang. Fighting would continue to April 30 1975 when the atomic bomb was used for the first, second, and third time, and the URO surrendered. The URO was forced to release all of the smaller states that made it up, limiting the URO to just inner Siberia and nothing more. In order to prevent the URO from coming back like Songhan did from its civil war, the United Nations was created. Songhan's economy was the best in the world and it felt global dominance. Milton was ancient by this point, and before he died he increased the amount of freedom given to everyone in hopes of turning the Jingoistic States into a republic. When he passed on December 31, 2000, his grandson Leray Song competed against candidates from the other states in the nation. However, the popularity of his grandfather helped him win. Once he won, he proved to be an extreme right wing dictator who took away rights his grandfather willingly gave to everyone and declared elections would not happen again. He increased the military and police budget, sometimes making it hard to tell the difference between the two, and formed a cult of personality around himself. By 2012, he added the purple lightning bolt to the O on the middle of the flag showing that the "One State had the Power of Lightning." Largely ignoring the World Assembly, which is what the UN transformed into, Songhan has ruled itself with greed for more monetary gains and some even believe it aims to recreate the Empire. Leray has said he wishes to maintain the Jingoistic State system of governing, but he never said he was against creating the Jingoistic Empire of Songhan. Tensions with the world mount as the World Assembly passes regulation after regulation that Leray doesn't entirely like. Only once did it ever culminate in national debate on leaving the World Assembly, with cries of the national motto of "Songhan are the strongest!" from those who wanted to leave. Leray said they would stay. On March 2nd, 2017, Songhan stands at a crossroads. It could easily reform into a republic, as it's already made of states, and give the people freedom, or it could transform into a new empire and abandon the World Assembly. Maybe Songhan could take a completely different approach if the opposition becomes too powerful to Leray. What will happen to the Jingoistic State of Songhan? Only time will tell, and only the ruler in Longdong knows.