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The Independent State of San Javier (Spanish: Estado Independiente de San Javier) more commonly known as San Javier or the Opium Republic, is a military junta in the Southern Sea of the Western Isles. The geography of San Javier is dominated by its three major islands, Isla San Martin, Mujeres, and San Javier, the latter of which is dominated by the stark disparity between vast mountains and the Javierian Steppe in the center of the nation. It shares no international borders, though it is relatively close to Remodio and Wellsia. San Javier covers an area of only around 20,000 square kilometers, making it physically one of the smallest nations in all the region while boasting one of the highest population densities with a population in the low three million. At present, San Javier is a unitary state under a provisional government, as such, it has no real sub-national territories, although Isla San Martin and Isla Mujeres exercises autonomy from the central government in Castillo Verde as it attempts to assert their power.
San Javier is a minor nation in Isles affairs and is even regarded as incapable of maintaining state cohesion as significant swaths of territory are in the hands of the various cartels that have grown in the wake of the Javierian Conflict.
San Javier is named for the Navarrese saint of the same name, as the majority of the initial Spanish colonists to the islands originated from Navarre. Meanwhile, San Martin is named for José de San Martín of Argentina, who was considered to be one of the main inspirations for the anti-Spanish and Republican uprising in 1811. Isla Mujeres, literally Island of Women, was originally named for Saint Mary de Cervellione but was renamed alongside Isla San Martin in 1811 by radicals to detach the new nation from its colonial past. While the name has stuck among foreigners, within San Javier, Isla Mujeres is more commonly referred to as Isla Santa Mary or as Isla Mercč.
As a nation, it is customary to refer to the people of San Javier as Javierian.
Human settlement in San Javier has been dated back as far as the early 100s C.E. as indicated by records in both Town Beside the Sea and Mirik Szil, though historians suggest that the islands could have been settled as early as the 400s B.C.E by proto-Eastern Argean peoples. In either case, civilization in San Javier didn't properly develop until the establishment of the Izacan Hangate in 689. The Izacan Hangate settled Isla Mejures and Isla San Martin throughout the early 700s, establishing what are now the villages of Gaudalupano, Sarragossa, and San Juniper. From then and until the 1300s, the Hangate operated autonomously from the rest of the growing Khas-Kiriat Empire, interacting closely with the Hangates of Chhantyal, Tastzl, and Yakkhalen. However, in 1313, the Hangate was conquered by the First Gharti Hangate, which reformed the Izacan state into a vassal under its rule. It would be during this time under the servitude of Chhantyal that San Javier would experience its first major wave of migrants from modern Townside, introducing the Ipachi people to the islands.
Ferdinand Magellan would be the first European to discover San Javier in 1521, weeks following his discovery of Corindia and declaring he had found the Spice Islands just prior to his death that April. It would be Juan Sebastián Elcano, who subsequently completed the circumnavigation, that would return to Spain with news about the existence of the Western Isles and vast extent of civilizations that lived right under everybody's noses. From there, Spain would send multiple expeditions to further verify the state of the Isles and establish their presence, opening up multiple trading stations across the region at the end of the 1570s. An official Spanish colony in San Javier would be established at Castillo Verde (named so as it was additionally the site of an old Izacan temple and castle complex) in 1625 under Captain-General Modesto Adolfo Narváez Agustin.
Spanish rule in San Javier would see the islands transformed into a model Spanish plantation colony, producing cash crops such as sugar, poppies, tea, and tobacco through extensive use of slave labor, both in the form of native islanders and African imports. All the while, the ruling Spanish class pocketed vast wealth from involving themselves not only in trade with Spain but trade across the entire Isles, driving the creation of the towns of Agustin and Puerto Polo. Meanwhile, Spanish Missionaries were quick to work on converting the Iza population and established the missions of Santa Ana and Pueblo Ignacio.
When the Viceroyalty of New Spain fell in 1821, Captain-General Raul Eugęnio Modesto Adolfo Narváez Agustin, a descendant of the original Captain-General Agustin, managed to maintain control over San Javier thanks to its relatively small size, securing it from the nearby Corindi Revolution and the broad decolonization of the Western Isles. Agustin would rule until his death in 1847, where the line of succession for San Javier's Captains-General end in a thirty-year-long interregnum. During this time, an emergency government was formed among the leaders of San Javier's various towns and villages in order to maintain the continuity of government, but this would be complicated by the assassination of the Caudillo of Castillo Verde and the ensuing power struggle. Simultaneous to this collapse, anti-monarchist elements in San Javier, stoked by international intervention, revolted against the government and insisted on establishing a democratic republic for San Javier. After a bloody revolution in Castillo Verde, revolution leaders proclaimed the Republic of San Javier on 11 February 1873, simultaneous to the proclamation of the Spanish Republic back in Europe. The Spanish Republic would recognize San Javier's independence later that year, paving the way for a new government to be established.
Modeled on the very emergency government that the Caudillos established after the death of Raul Agustin, the new Republic of San Javier was designed to be a federal state composed of 11 city-states and five Federal States. Political power within the Republic was divided into a two-headed executive, with an executive President and an equal State Council, of which the President and the various Governors and Mayors of the federal subjects were apart. For legislation, the Republic settled on a unicameral Popular Assembly, which would propose, write, and vote on legislation to be sent to the State Council, which exercised the executive's power of legislative assent. An independent Judiciary, which aside from the Supreme Court, which appointed its own members, formed the third and final branch of San Javier's republican government, which quickly went to work on removing any sign of Spanish monarchism from the state, most importantly by renaming Isla Mercč to Isla Mujeres.
For the subsequent hundred years, interrupted only by participation as a Free Power in the end stages of the First Imperial War, San Javier enjoyed peace and stability, its population exploding past a million in 1900 thanks to advances in medical care and industrialization. This peace, however, was not destined to last. Ever since the 1910s, growing socialist elements within San Javier finally grew to the point of gaining political weight, with the first openly socialist members of the Popular Assembly being elected in the 1915 elections. They would increasingly push for the socialist agenda within San Javier, introducing a minimum wage in 1916, and then legalizing unions in 1920, but most importantly of all, chartered the first state-owned business in the form of the Javierian National Petroleum Company in 1925, nationalizing all oil reserves accessible to San Javier.
There would be some pushback against the expansion of San Javier's socialism, especially by the conservative class of Castillo Verde and Agustin, who by this point wielded disproportionate power by also having a hand in the governments of Isla San Javier's States, allowing them to resist socialism by constantly threatening secession from the Republic. These tensions would come to a head in the 1968 election of Rodrigo Emmanuel Cajillo as the first Socialist President of the Republic, fomenting the conditions for the eventual San Javier Conflict.
The San Javier Conflict has its origins in 1973, as President Rodrigo Emmanuel Cajillo faced the legal end of his term. His rule had been marked by increasingly socialist and subsequently communist reforms, and on 05 April of that year, he called a meeting of the Congress of San Javier in order to push Constitutional reforms that would eliminate his primary political rivals in the San Javier Union Party and abolish presidential term limits, allowing him to rule for the rest of his life.
During the vote on declaring the Union Party illegal, the leadership of the Union Party fled from the Congress chamber and out of Castillo Verde for fear of imminent reprisal by Cajillo. With the opposition now scattered across San Javier, the process to solidify Cajillo’s dictatorship was completed. Simultaneous with these events, elements of the San Javier National Army and police forces across the nation splintered into pro-and anti-Cajillo factions, initiating the first phase of the Conflict. It would be in this immediate period of destabilization that foreign attention would be drawn to the islands, each seeking to use this as an opportunity to gain access to San Javier’s natural wealth.
Backed by foreign governments, the San Javier Union Party rebranded itself as the Presidential Republic of San Javier, gathered power, and began to wage a guerrilla war against the Communist government. As central authority began to deteriorate and the government took increasingly draconian measures to control the conflict, during which drug cartels began to gather power, taking control of much of the nation's poppy fields and increasing in force into paramilitary units.
In 1979, the conflict reached a head as the Anliana Cartel, then the most powerful of the Cartels of the Javierian Steppe marched into the capital and overthrew the entrenched government forces there, supposedly with foreign backing. However, as soon as the capital was secured and Cajillo was dead, Anliana forces withdrew to Agustin, their center of operations. As Castillo Verde burned under the sudden power vacuum, foreign interest dried up as the situation further deteriorated both in San Javier and internationally. In the presence of the power vacuum, the formerly united Communist and Socialist elements of San Javier splintered as they retreated eastwards.
The Presidential Republic took control of the capitol in 1981 with assistance from [FOREIGN POWER HERE], but their diminished forces from the previous years of war were unable to consolidate power in the rest of the country, and conflict continued over the next several decades as cartels, communists and paramilitary forces battled for control of resources and population centers around the country. San Javier has been described as "governmentless" or "a Wild West analogue in the modern-day" since then. While the Presidential Republic, under the command of Presidente Pablo Hernandez, claimed to be the central government of the nation, their influence did not stretch far from the capitol. Meanwhile, Communist forces mostly controlled the mountainous regions of the east and the two satellite islands; the rest of the country was controlled by warring cartels.
The balance of power that was established in 1981 shifted towards the Government with the entry of various international forces into the country in 2016. As the Second Imperial War raged across the Southern Sea, the two warring factions between Aizcona and Aprosia fought a parallel proxy war in San Javier, with Aprosia intending to secure the islands as a staging ground for attacks into Aizcona while the bulk of their forces were still tied up in Charbagnia. However, thanks to a League-sanctioned international intervention by Vancouvia, Ostehaar, Corindia, and Athara Magarat, Aprosian-backed communist forces would be broken at the Battle of Santa Ana. After various political maneuvers subsequent to the battle, Pablo Hernandez was removed from office after it was revealed he was intentionally extending the conflict for personal gain. His successor, President Flores, was killed in an assassination soon thereafter.
Seeking to avoid another era of power struggles, the remaining military forces of the country, the paramilitaries, and the League of the Western Isles made a deal, forming a provisional government under a military junta referred to as the People's Freedom Coalition Government of San Javier. The current Chairman of the Coalition is General Fresia, who has ruled since 2016 and saw San Javier out of the Second Imperial War. However, his leadership has been called into question multiple times both domestically and internationally, most especially in the wake of the Doraltic raid on Agustin went unanswered by the Coalition.
Regardless of current tensions, the Conflict has shifted entirely into a low-intensity one, as Communist forces were driven entirely from Isla San Javier in 2019 and are now isolated on Isla San Martin and Isla Mujeres. In addition, the People’s Freedom Coalition has made a variety of deals with the Cartels, promising an end to major opposition in exchange for access to the Javierian Steppe and its resources, promoting both peace and economic growth for the first time since 1970.
The reasons for fighting vary from group to group. The communists and other associated guerrilla movements claimed to be fighting for the rights of the poor in San Javier and to restore what they saw as the legitimate and legal government of the country. The Presidential Republic government claimed to be fighting for order and stability and seeking to protect the rights and interests of its citizens, as well as re-establishment of the constitution that existed before Cajillo's rework. The paramilitary groups claimed to be reacting to perceived threats by oppressive groups, both Communist and anti-Communist. The Cartels are fighting to continue the unrestricted trade and growth of the narcotics sector and to protect their foothold in the Javierian Steppe. All sides of the conflict have been criticized for numerous human rights violations and committing acts of terrorism throughout the Conflict. By the end of the conflict in 2016, more than 250,000 people had died, most of them civilians (estimates suggest civilian casualties over 160,000), and more than 1.5 million civilians were forced from their homes between 1985 – 2012. 54% of the population in San Javier has been a direct victim of the war.
Several foreign nations and nationals are alleged or have been confirmed to have connections to the conflict, either directly or indirectly and both before and after 2016. These include Ostehaar, Vancouvia, Corindia, Dormill and Stiura, Balnik, Aizcona, Aprosia, Wellsia, and Doravo.
Since the 1980s and most especially after 2016, rumors about Ostehaar's involvement in the conflict reached regional media. According to some sources, the Oster government played a significant part in training and arming of mostly anti-communist forces in San Javier, using illegally obtained funds. In 1997, Luis Manuel Moreno, a San Javieran resident who claimed to be an informant for the Osters, publicly testified on the alleged Oster operations in the island and expressed his intention to publish a book about it. Moreno was found dead in his car several months later, presumably after committing suicide but allegedly an Oster hit.
The largest city, Castillo Verde, houses the majority of the population, drawn by the relative stability offered within the martial law of the city during the conflict. The majority of this population are unemployed, work on shared urban farms for subsistence, or work in the textile factories housed in Castillo Verde. Castillo Verde, as a result, has evolved into a sprawling city of urban slums, which are called favelas after the Brazilian fashion. New policies enforced by the central government have seen employment increase, but unemployment is still rampant and the densely populated city’s infrastructure has been strained by the influx of population.
Without a central government maintaining law, order, education and infrastructure over the conflict, these areas vary wildly in quality and coverage across the nation. While cell phone use has become ubiquitous due to relatively low cost and decent coverage across the nation, infrastructure like landline telephony, roads, electricity, and water are spotty across the nation.
Larger population centers, like Castillo Verde and major towns and villages, are often connected to some form of the electrical grid, usually produced either by the relatively few remaining hydroelectric dams or, in the case of many smaller towns and villages, gas generators that provide power to major buildings. Roads in many parts of the country are unpaved, organic, and ill-maintained.
Only one major highway exists, and it has been highly damaged by combat and is dangerous to travel. Hospitals and schools are rare, with most of the nation serviced by the two hospitals in Castillo Verde, and medical coverage otherwise being provided by lone doctors. Education has no central regulation or curriculum and is mostly provided in one-room schoolhouses in larger towns. Sewer systems are non-existent in many areas of the country, and indoor water is a luxury aside from in Castillo Verde and areas serviced by infrastructure developed by the original paramilitary groups.
A key facet of the PFC Government's policy has been developing weak services and infrastructure, so many areas closer to the capital are starting to see significant increases in service, but it is still slow going to develop due to lack of expertise.
While the nation is extremely Catholocized and Spanish, an existing minority of Javieran ethnic natives, or Iza, exist throughout the nation. A local pidgin language of Spanish and Iza has come into being due to the prevalence of the Iza people, and ruins of the old Izaca nation dot the landscape. Historically, the Iza faced extreme prejudice from Spanish colonists, a racist gene in the nation's culture that can still be found to this day. However, ironically, the collapse of the government and the chaos since the 70s has ensured that a certain level of pragmatism has entered the cultural landscape, and the Iza have faced far decreased prejudice since, especially with the Azul Naturaleza cartel, who claim to defend traditional Iza values and their way of life, and have therefore been lauded by the Iza community as defenders of the race.