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by The Most Serene Republic of Montevento. . 38 reads.

HISTORY | Most Serene Republic of Montevento

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Dipartimento di
Informazione Pubblica

Department of Public Information of Montevento
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>> THORNTON'S EXPEDITIONS TO MONTEVENTO (1608 - 1611)

Ferdinando I of Tuscany
    ⠀• Historical context of the expeditions

    Ferdinando I de' Medici succeeded as grand duke of Tuscany at the age of 38 in 1587, after the death of his older brother Francesco I. Approachable and generous, he set out to rule mildly. He re-established the justice system and was genuinely concerned about the welfare of his subjects. Particularly during his government, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany pursued a policy aimed at guaranteeing its independence from other powers while also seeking expansion, both economic and territorial.

    Ferdinando went on to foster commerce and gain great wealth through the Medici banks, which were established in all the major cities of Europe. One of the most memorable and exemplary actions of Ferdinando de' Medici's government was the development and construction of the city of Livorno (Leghorn), which was at the time only a small village, with just 700 inhabitants in 1591.

    At the death of the Grand Duke Ferdinando, Livorno was a city with almost 6,000 inhabitants, one of the major ports in Italy and a cosmopolitan, multi-religious city. This was in part thanks to the leggi livornine, a series of laws which guaranteed protection and refuge to those who accepted to live in Livorno, attracting Jewish merchants, but also Englishmen fleeing political and religious persecutions, as well as Dutch, Greek and French people.

    The Grand Duchy was at the time of the expeditions enjoying a period of great prosperity, being considered by many as a political, and above all, an economic power in Europe thanks to its extensive network of merchants spread throughout the continent, with Florence, the capital of the Grand Duchy, as a financial center of primary importance. At the same time, The Iberian Union, born from the personal union of the crowns of Spain and Portugal after the death of the Portuguese King Enrico I and the war of the Portuguese succession, was now an extraordinary commercial and military power, holding a monopoly over the South American colonies.

    This was a great problem for the Florentines, because the Spanish commercial policy now extended to what was the Portuguese Empire. The Italian merchants in Lisbon lost the privileges granted to them by the Portuguese sovereigns, and were soon excluded from trade with Brazil, a very rich zone where pernambuco or pau brasil abounded, an extremely precious tree from which a very valued red dye was obtained.

    Robert Dudley's drawing of a ship
    ⠀• First expedition to South America (1608-1609)

    It didn't take long before ideas to install a colony in northern Brazil started to tempt Ferdinando, as it was becoming clear that it would present many advantages for the Tuscans. The area was rich in precious woods, exotic plants, animals, and many resources that could be exploited for great profits. In addition, it would serve as an operational base and port for the Grand Duchy's trade in South America, allowing it to evade the restrictions imposed in Lisbon.

    The Portuguese and the Spaniards had always avoided the Guyanese area, mainly because it was too hot and difficult to colonize, meaning that it was a region not yet explored, which the Tuscans could occupy without having to fight other European powers, making it a perfect place to start Tuscany's colonial ambitions. To make sure Spain would not interfere with the plans of Tuscany, the Grand Duke promised to provide military aid to the Spaniards in the wars against the Turks, eventually convincing Philip III to approve the Tuscan plan.

    With the approval of Spain, Ferdinando commissioned an expedition to the north of Brazil in 1608. The expedition sailed from Livorno on 8 September 1608 and was composed of a galleon and a small tartane (a small ship used both as a fishing ship and for coastal trading in the Mediterranean). The expedition was meant to visit the lands around the Amazon River and the north of Brazil, in search of an area to colonize. Once this was done, the ships would return to Tuscany, where colonists from Lucca and Livorno would embark towards the explored areas, and then the actual colonization would begin.

    In command of the galleon, the Santa Lucia Buonaventura was Robert Thornton, an Englishman who took refuge in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany in Livorno and with a past as a privateer. Leading the tartane was his younger brother, Giles Thornton. The organization of the expedition was however entrusted to another Englishman: Robert Dudley (italianized as Roberto Dudleo), Count of Warwick, an engineer, navigator and also a first-rate cartographer of the Livorno cartographic school, who took refuge in 1606 in Tuscany, and worked for the Grand Duke. Dudley supervised the entire project, advising Thornton to travel to the banks of the Amazon and Orinoco River, a mission for which his maps proved to be of extreme importance.

    Robert Dudley's Orinoco River map, used during the expedition

    Robert Dudley's map of Guayana

    Depiction of an Arawak native

    The journey towards their destination was not an easy one, as their only means of finding the mouth of the Amazon River was to sail south until the color of the water changed and began to grow less salty. Unfortunately, after several weeks of navigation, the expedition faced a big setback, as the two ships lost sight of each other, and followed two completely different routes. The galleon led by Robert Thornton continued its journey to Brazil, and eventually managed to arrive to its destination towards the end of June, 1609. Giles Thornton would eventually also find its way towards Brazil, arriving a few weeks later.

    Having reached their destination, the expedition now focused on studying the lands between the Amazon and the Orinoco River, sailing along the coast and occasionally stopping to explore the land. During these expeditions to the mainland, Thornton came across some South American natives, most likely of Arawak origin. Figuring that these people would be better able to attest to the quality of the region than he could, five or six natives were persuaded to accompany the Italian expedition back to Florence, becoming the first amerindians to visit Italy.

    The voyage was a resounding success and confirmed that the area explored clearly showed potential to become the first Tuscan colony in South America. The climate, while not as comfortable as the temperate one of Tuscany, was certainly conducive to growing things, while the river connections allowed for easy access to inland areas and facilitated in commerce.

    After exploring the area, Captain Thornton returned to Tuscany with a report that listed the abundance of rosewood, wild sugar cane, white pepper, balsam, cotton and other valuable export items. Moreover, the voyage was made from Italy to South America and back without the loss of a single man, however, all but one of the natives brought back soon died of smallpox which they had never been exposed to. The natives did though attest to how rich and fertile the land was, making it sound as they were trying to encourage colonization, even reporting that it was quite rich in silver and gold deposits.

    ⠀• Second expedition to South America (1610)

    However, regardless of the fact the expedition was a resounding success, the situation in Tuscany when Thornton returned to the Grand Duchy had changed dramatically. The Grand Duke Ferdinando I, who had promoted and maintained great interest in the project, had passed away, and his successor, his son Cosimo II, which assumed the government being just 19 years old, was disinterested in the project.

    Cosimo II de' Medici

    Cosimo II was hard to persuade to allow a second expedition towards the newly explored lands, as he was more interested in continuing trade with Morocco and other states, rather than trying to expand his Grand Duchy towards markets in the new world. However, the multiple tales told by the natives brought from the Guayanas to Italy eventually managed to convince him to allow Thornton to perform a second expedition.

    Thornton began planning his second expedition as soon as the approval of Cosimo II was achieved. Following the original plan that was conceived during the reign of Ferdinando I, Thornton started the process of recruiting settlers from the cities of Livorno and Lucca for his project, most of whom decided to join the expedition with the illusion of starting a new and prosperous life in the supposedly wealthy new South American territories, as the stories told by the native Arawak in Italy had quickly spread throughout Tuscany. Among the recruited settlers was Amadeo Trevisani, a Florentine engineer which was tasked with the creation of a plan for the building of a city in the new territories.

    The second expedition left the port of Livorno with a total of 150 people, which would become the first Italian settlers in South America, and the first inhabitants of the soon to be formed colony. Shortly before arriving to land, the expedition was caught in a strong storm which threatened to capsize the ships and end the Tuscan dream of a colony in South America, as can be seen in Thornton's logs:

      "Una tempesta di grandi dimensioni e forti venti era su di noi, e molte delle persone che sono venute con noi in queste nuove terre avevano giเ iniziato a temere che Dio si fosse dimenticato di noi, ma improvvisamente la speranza era proprio di fronte a noi, un piccolo monte poteva essere visto da lontano"

      "A storm of great dimensions and strong winds was upon us, and many of the people that came with us to these new lands had already started to fear that God had forgotten about us, but suddenly hope was just in front of us, a small hill could be seen by far"

    The Tuscan ships finally reached land on July 3, 1610 at the Caienna River (Cayenne) and the first stone of a new city, which would be named as Borgo Medici, was immediately laid, officially beginning the Tuscan dominance in the area. While Amadeo Trevisani focused on the development of Borgo Medici, Thornton, together with 25 men started the exploration of the inner lands near the city, eventually reaching the hill which could be seen when they were arriving to land, making first contact with a local tribe, which proved to be friendly, and bought the hill from him, founding Forte Thorntoria (Fort Thorntoria), which soon expanded to become the biggest settlement in the region.


>> COLONY OF MONTEVENTO (1610-1831)

    ⠀• Formation and expansion

    The Prime Minister of the Grand Duchy, the skilful progressive Belisario Vinta, friend of Galileo Galilei, establishes the Tuscan West Indies Company in December 1610. Vinta was able to juggle the great powers of the area to secure the integrity of the colony by relying on Spain against France, which had showed interests on the region (as seen in 1604, when King Henry IV attempted the colonization of the area). In addition, Vinta also found support in England, which was interested in excluding the French from the region, but it was Pope Paul V (partly due to Spanish pressure) who put the last word to secure the Tuscan colony by recognizing the right for Tuscany to have a colony in South America "in order to convert the natives to the True Faith."

    On October 21st, 1611, with its capital located in Thorntoria, the Colony of Montevento was officially born, named in honour of the hill where Thorntoria was located, which received the nickname "Il Monte del Vento". The Colony of Montevento quickly started receiving hundreds of new Italian colonists, which arrived from different parts of Italy seeking to start a new life in America, setting multiple new settlements around the newly claimed lands.

    The first years of the colony proved to be lucrative enough to keep its development strong, and eventually, it expanded to control large areas of the coastal territories and even some of the inner rainforest in the current Province of Terra Nuova, from where large amounts of rosewood were obtained, which granted an immediate return on investment just as the Grand Duke of Tuscany hoped. The prosperity of the newly founded colony and the arrival of more and more settlers from the old world forced the colonial authorities in Montevento to seek to expand the land controlled by the colony to the west, reason for which the construction of a small fort on the banks of the Rovasenda River (Coppename River) was commissioned to Field Marshal Giustiniano Santangelo, who finished the construction of Forte Giovanni in 1620, which would go on to become San Giovanni and the biggest city in the Guyanas, replacing Thorntoria as the colonial capital.


    Old painting of San Giovanni around the year 1700

    Not long after Forte Giovanni, another big settlement was created over the ruins of a small old guard post installed by Giles Thornton in 1615 which was eventually abandoned in 1625 after being constantly attacked by natives from the Carib tribes that lived nearby the area. With the economic support of several Florentine merchants eager to consolidate their businesses in South America, in 1628, Nuova Firenze was founded. The city would eventually become Montevento's second largest city, and host the busiest port in the country, usually rivaling the authority of San Giovanni.

    Already around the 1660s, the Colony of Montevento effectively controlled the entire Guyanese coast, having around 4,000 inhabitants in total and a strong economy based on the plantation of sugar, pepper, coffee, cocoa and wood, which were exported to Italy, giving great economic benefits to the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. To increase the power of the Colony, the authorities did not take long to begin a slow expansion towards the southern jungle, through the installation of various checkpoints along the rivers that were navigable and that led into the depths of the nature, although their progress would be slow and demand more than 100 years to complete, as disease and the difficult terrain of the area proved to be lethal, claiming the lives of hundreds of men.

    ⠀• Cultural assimilation and Miscegenation

    A mixed couple
    The rapid development of the Colony of Montevento brought as a consequence an incessant need for new labor and people willing to increase the economic exploitation in the region, but, nevertheless, the Tuscans under Medici rule refused to use slaves in the colony and preferred free peasants. Therefore, taking advantage of the goodwill and apparent cooperation of the natives with the colonists, the governors of Montevento undertook extensive campaigns of cultural assimilation to include the native Arawak and Carib to the colony.

    Quickly, a large number of churches and educational centers began to be installed throughout the territory, in which the conversion of the natives to Catholicism was sought, in addition to "Italianizing" them through the teaching of Italian and other Tuscan customs. In general, the Monteventani and Tuscan approach with the natives was much friendlier than in other areas of South America, avoiding large massacres and loss of life, although it is well known that indigenous communities that resisted the Italian advance suffered great segregation and persecution, which many times led to their flight from their native territories and skirmishes with the colonial military.

    It did not take long for these "new Italians" to begin to form relationships with newcomers from Europe, leading to a high degree of racial mixing between the two groups, slowly leading to the extinction of the local culture over the years, which can explain the current situation of Montevento, in which the number of indigenous people is less than 1% of the total population.

    Marriage between Italian men and indigenous women became a relatively common event, especially since most European settlers were men, and very few women. The fact that an Italian man married an indigenous woman implied a great social advance for the woman, while for the man it did not bring any consequence. If on the contrary, it was an Italian woman who married an indigenous man, her reputation was likely to be heavily damaged, and thus, it was very uncommon.

    The children that were product of these mixed marriages received the name of "Italo-indians", which, unlike what happened with their equivalents in the Spanish colonies, were well accepted by pure Europeans, and had the same rights and social status than the Europeans themselves. This was probably due to the continued need of the colony to increase its population, as it is important to bear in mind that Tuscany suffered from having a low population in Europe, and therefore, the ability to supply new settlers would always be limited, something of which the Governors of the colony seemed to be fully aware of.

    ⠀• End of the Medici rule

    The death of Gian Gastone de' Medici in 1737, ending more than 300 years of Medici rule over Tuscany, and the ascension of Francesco Stefano di Lorena as Grand Duke brought big changes to the Colony of Montevento. With the Medicis gone, the refusal to use slaves vanished, and in 1740 the shipment of African slaves to Montevento began, which served mainly to support the cultivation of sugar, allowing levels of growth never seen before thanks to the forced labor provided by the slaves.

    The treatment of slaves in Montevento was thought to be less harsh compared to other parts where slaves were held captive. Individual slaves could over the time rise to a certain stature that could allow them to become free. However, the treatment of slaves differed with each slave owner, even though some laws protected slaves. The slave owners’ control was dependent on the notion that slaves would be harmful to their interests if they had more rights. It was also important to Monteventani slave-owners that their slaves adopt Italian names and accept Christianity as their religion. Monteventani slaves who converted to Christianity were often treated less harshly, and had better opportunities to gain freedom.

    The introduction of slaves was not the only change that the colony suffered during this time, as the new Grand Duke also designated some parts of the territory as penal colony, despite the fact that the idea was strongly resisted by the colonists in San Giovanni and Nuova Firenze, even leading to a small revolt that was quickly suppressed by forces loyal to the Grand Duke. The prisoners who were sent to Montevento could have two different destinations. The first was to be sent to one of the most remote farms in the colony, where they had to serve a certain number of years of forced labor to pay their sentences, while the second, and much more feared, was to be sent to the Isola del Diavolo (Devil's Island).


    Drawing of the Isola del Diavolo

    The Isola del Diavolo was notorious for being used for the internal exile of Italian political prisoners, but also for many revolutionary or progressive people, as well as accepting international prisoners in exchange for large sums of money from their native countries. The Island had a reputation for harshness and brutality. Prisoner-on-prisoner violence was common and the sanitary conditions were very limited. The region was also mosquito-infested, with endemic tropical diseases. The only exit from the island prisons was by water, and few convicts ever escaped. Only a small minority of broken survivors returned to Italy to tell how horrible it was and many times their stories scared other potential criminals, persuading them to go straight. It is calculated that around 75% of all deteinees in the island ended up dead before completing their sentences, with the remaining 25% mostly staying in Montevento instead of returning to their places of origin.

    The prisons in the island would continue to function in this way until Francis' second surviving son Pietro Leopoldo I became grand duke of Tuscany in 1765. On 30 November 1786, after having de facto blocked capital executions (the last was in 1769), Leopold promulgated the reform of the Tuscan penal code that abolished the death penalty and ordered the destruction of all the instruments for capital execution in his land, making it the first nation in modern history to do so. Torture was also banned and the Isola del Diavolo was closed and reformed a few years later as institution for the rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents which was in no way as infamous as its previous predecesor.

    Although Leopold's reforms in Tuscany positively affected the colony, he was never a popular monarch, and the population of Montevento had no affection for him: Leopold attempted to secularize the property of the religious houses and put the clergy entirely under the control of the government, which disturbed the deeply rooted convictions of his people and brought him into collision with the pope. In addition Leopold also approved and collaborated on the development of a political constitution which afected the government of the colony directly. Leopold's concept of this was based on respect for the political rights of citizens and on a harmony of power between the executive and the legislative. However, the constitution was so radically new that it garnered opposition even from those who might have benefited from it.

    ⠀• End of the colonial era

    Treaty of Fontainebleau signed between the
    French Emperor Napoleon and
    King of Spain Charles IV
    Leopold was succeeded by Ferdinand III. Ferdinand was the son of the incumbent Grand Duke, and Grand Duchess Maria Louisa. He was forced out by the French during the French Revolutionary Wars, first in 1799, and then after the Treaty of Aranjuez (1801), becoming instead Elector of Salzburg, ruling the territory of the former archbishopric. The Grand Duchy was then dissolved, and replaced by the Kingdom of Etruria under the house of Bourbon-Parma, in compensation for their loss of Duchy of Parma. In 1803, the first King of Etruria, Louis I, died and was succeeded by his infant son, Charles Louis, under the regency of his mother, Queen Marํa Luisa.

    Etruria lasted less than a decade. By the Treaty of Fontainebleau (27 October 1807), Etruria was to be annexed by France, while the Colony of Montevento was to be annexed by Spain and incorporated into the Viceroyalty of New Granada. The negotiations had been between Spain and France, and the Etrurian regent was kept entirely in the dark, only being informed that she would have to leave her young son's kingdom on 23 November 1807.

    The Napoleonic system collapsed in 1814, and the following territorial settlement, the Congress of Vienna, restored Tuscany, but Montevento was never restored as a Tuscan colony, instead remaining under Spanish rule. Italian nationalism exploded in the post-Napoleonic years, leading to the establishment of secret societies bent on a unified Italy, with many thinking that an unified Italy should include Montevento as on overseas territory.

    Nonetheless, Montevento would not be under Spanish rule for long, as the territories of the viceroyalty gained full de facto independence from Spain between 1819 and 1822 after a series of military and political struggles, uniting in a Federal Republic known as Gran Colombia, which eventually was dissolved in 1831 due to the political differences that existed between supporters of federalism and centralism in the nation, as well as regional tensions among the peoples that made up the republic. It broke into the successor states of Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Montevento, who was for the first time in more than 200 years owner of its own future.

    General Aronne Bertolotti
    Now free from all Spanish domination, the first decision to be made by the Monteventani people was about their form of government, and the possible reincorporation of the now ex-colony to Tuscany, or to ratify their destiny as an independent nation and embark on a separate path from Italy permanently. This question divided the inhabitants of Montevento among those who remained loyal to the Tuscans, and patriots who supported Monteventani independence.

    This split materialized in the separation of two sides: the Bianchi (the Whites), led by General Aronne Bertolotti who supported the idea of ​​an independent and republican Montevento, and the Azzurri (the Blues), who supported the idea of ​​the establishment of a monarchy in the country and the possible future reincorporation to Tuscany or an unified Italy. With the support of the country's military, Aronne Bertolotti quickly seized power, established himself as "Protector of the Republic" and proclaimed the creation of the Most Serene Republic of Montevento, starting the only civil war in the history of Montevento, known as the War of Independence.

    Forces loyal to the Republic took possession of both San Giovanni and Nuova Firenze, giving them not only direct control over the two largest and most prosperous cities in the territory, but also the ability to rule over practically half of the country's population, which at that time was about 180,000 people in total. The Azzurri, for their part, took possession of the other areas of the country.

    The Azzurri troops, despite having control of most of the country's territory at their disposal, had low morale and were composed mainly of men inexperienced in everything related to the military, since the vast majority of men with some kind of warlike formation had chosen the Bianchi side. It was not long before the Azzurri found themselves at a great disadvantage against the experienced army led by Bertolotti, which soon began to take city by city, recording a very small number of casualties. Finally, on August 7, 1832, a ceasefire was concluded between the parties, making Bertolotti's victory official and definitively establishing Montevento as an independent republic with the proclamation of of the first Monteventani Constitution.


>> FIRST REPUBLIC OF MONTEVENTO (1831-1860)

    ⠀• First democratic elections & government of Aronne Bertolotti

    The first elections celebrated in Montevento during 1832 saw Aronne Bertolotti achieving a sufficient number of representatives in the National Council to be appointed as the first Constitutional Doge of the Republic, after obtaining 72% of the votes cast. Although Bertolotti was an avid defender of democracy and popular participation, the electoral system that elected him was far from fair and representative. Only men could vote, and, in addition, voters had to either own land, be a high-ranking member of the military or be an intellectual to have the right to vote. Voting was also carried out in public, meaning that everyone present at the voting centers could easily find out who each person voted for.

    This voting system remained in use for a long period of time, unleashing a large number of irregularities, such as the buying of votes, the persecution of those who opposed voting for certain candidates and even the registration of votes of people who had died, as there was no reliable and effective method for the correct identification of voters. There were also multiple cases of identity theft, where a person claimed to be someone else, casting votes in their name, usually leading to situations were one person ended up casting multiple votes.

    Finally, the Monteventani electoral system also suffered from another major flaw: bipartisanship. During the first years of the Monteventani republic, and for much of its history, power was always divided between two political parties, the Partito Rosso, liberal and focused mainly on the large cities of Montevento, and the Partito Nazionale di Montevento, more conservative and centered around rural areas. Both political parties were at odds in most aspects, generating strong divisions in the population, which increasingly voted more by tradition than by convenience. There were entire families of Partito Rosso and Partito Nazionale voters who saw it as treason for one of their relatives to change sides in an election, which, considering that it was very easy to find out the votes of each person, usually led to huge family disputes and personal pressures, preventing the change of the status quo and the rising of new political figures that had ideas not represented in the two main political parties.


    Elections of 1832 in San Giovanni

    During this first period of government, Bertolotti faced the serious problems of a nascent state. The first problem he had to face was that the State lacked effectiveness at the level of the Public Administration; there were organizations to create, functions to be assigned and responsibilities to delegate, added to the lack of trained people to manage government tasks. Second, the new state had to pay preferential attention to its international relations, in order to secure its security and continuity. Lastly, it was necessary to create taxes, to meet the most immediate needs of the State.

    The policies carried out by Bertolotti's government were liberal and supported free trade, oriented to favor the interests of the port of Nuova Firenze, commerce and the farmers of the Republic, in order to be able to collect taxes. His government rebuilt the port of San Giovanni, which was heavily damaged during the War of Independence by an Azzurri attack, issued the country's first currency (the Monteventani Lira), approved the current flag of Montevento, sold public lands in large quantities, founded many public schools across the Monteventani territory and most importantly, founded the Public University of Montevento in 1844, which remains functioning until today, becoming the biggest and most prestigious university in Montevento. His ministers achieved a good management of public goods, and the Doge of the Republic himself contributed to public funds.

    Regarding more social aspects, Bertolotti and the governments of the following Doges, also of the Partito Rosso, focused primarily on the progressive liberation of the slaves that were in the Republic, in order to comply with the prohibition of slavery that was approved immediately at the time of the declaration of independence, offering compensation to their owners in exchange for their freedom to avoid conflicts, although many were sold in neighbouring Brazil, as Brazilian ranchers usually offered better pay than the Monteventani government.

    ⠀• Assassination of Rodrigo Serafine and end of the first Republic

    Portrait of Rodrigo Serafine
    Rodrigo Serafine acceded to the Dogeship of Montevento after particularly tense elections in 1857, in which both Serafine and Dante Maraldo, a prominent politician at the time, faced each other in the polls. They both belonged to the very dominant Partito Rosso, but were part of opposing groups within the party. During these elections, to the surprise of no one and due to the shortcomings of the Monteventani electoral system, multiple irregularities were found. Previously, although this situation occurred in practically all elections, there were never greater conflicts, as the winning candidate always had broad popular support and the illicit votes were not able to change the general outcome of the election.

    However, the 1857 elections were extremely even between the two candidates of the Partito Rosso, which led them to being delayed for a total of 21 days between votings and harsh debates, until finally Rodrigo Serafine was awarded the victory with a difference of very few votes. Maraldo immediately contested the results, making a firm and severe accusation, qualifying Serafine as "the greatest manipulator of all the scandalous frauds that have been committed in this country."

    Once in power, Rodrigo Serafine demonstrated little ability to maneuver and reach agreements with other political personalities, leading to a government that was not transparent and was characterized for being closed to the opinion of the opposition, usually discarding opposing opinions without even considering them. These characteristics of his government contributed to unleashing a bitter controversy around him, as he was accused of allowing and even favouring electoral fraud and seeking to install a "heavy-handed" government with dictatorial pretensions.

    Beyond the controversies and the murky issues generated during his stay in power, it should be noted that despite the political and economic difficulties, Serafine held a government that was far from innocuous; he began the construction of an ambitious program of public works, founded the Banca Popolare di Montevento which subsequently became the main bank in the country, created the Western Railway Line and carried out a general census.

    Serafine continued with his policy of governing alone and dismissing all interference from other politicians, slowly becoming more and more intransigent and stubborn. Popular support for his government was extremely low and the political class started to plot his removal as Doge. A request for his dismissal was presented at the National Council by Dante Maraldo by mid-1860, but the motion eventually failed, allowing him to continue governing the nation.

    In July 1860, when Serafine was getting out of his carriage in front of his residence, he was attacked by a young man named Umfredo Lettiere, who put a revolver to his neck, but did not fire the weapon. The attack was widely covered by the newspapers of the time, but the newspaper Observatore, akin to Maraldo, changed the name of the attacker to Anselmo Altera, a well-known supporter of Maraldo's cause. Serafine's family was quick to interpret the name change as a warning from Maraldo, and immediately suggested Serafine to resign from office, or at the very least, be more vigilant.

    Serafine ignored the warnings of his relatives, sure that nothing bad would happen to him after having obtained the support of the National Council weeks before. However, on August 12 of 1860, at the exit of a religious ceremony in the Central Cathedral of San Giovanni while on his way to the Palazzo Ducale, the carriage in which he was travelling was intercepted by a group of men, who forced the Doge to get out of the carriage and, after a little struggle, proceeded to stab him multiple times, resulting in the death of Serafine. In command of the assassins was Anselmo Altera, who was captured minutes later by officers of the Corpo dei Carabinieri (Montevento's Carabineers). The death of Rodrigo Serafine is the only case of magnicide in the history of Montevento to this date.


    A priest praying over Rodrigo Serafine's body

    While Serafine's assassination was taking place, Maraldo, along with a small militia, broke into the National Council and announced that the Doge had died (probably several minutes before he actually died), demanding to be elected as the new Doge of the Republic. Faced with the threat posed by Maraldo's armed men within the Council, the members unanimously approved Maraldo's demand, who immediately dissolved the National Council and took total control over the nation after the Armed Forces of Montevento declared their neutrality after being promised a series of benefits by Maraldo. Ironically, the fears that Serafine would install a dictatorship in Montevento gave rise to the country's first dictator effectively taking over the country, ending the existence of the first Monteventani Republic.


>> MARALDO DICTATORSHIP (1860-1872)

    Portrait of Dante Maraldo
    The arrival of Maraldo to power was greeted with certain happiness by the inhabitants of Montevento, who saw in him a strong leader who at all times opposed the unpopular Serafine. However, his coup was not welcomed at all by the Partito Nazionale nor by the Partito Rosso, from which he was expelled a week after assuming power. In response, Maraldo banned both parties and created the Unione Civica party, which became the only authorized political party in the country. However, this was only a symbolic gesture, since Unione Civica would never participate in any election of any kind, as they were not held during his dictatorship.

    After seizing power, Maraldo visited Anselmo Altera at the San Giovanni Central Prison, where he was held after Serafine's murder. There, Maraldo ordered his immediate release and later granted him a pardon that left him free of all guilt. As a reward, Maraldo renamed one of the main streets of San Giovanni as "Vํa Altera", a decision that curiously was never reversed by any subsequent government.

    Maraldo's government followed its own ideology, named as Maraldism by the people who supported it. His government meant, from a political point of view, the replacement of the traditional factions (Partito Nazionale and Partito Rosso), for a government of two pressure groups: the Army (which during his coup decided not to intervene, allowing him to seize power unopposed) and foreign investors (which were crucial to give him the funds necessary to be able to make his policies a reality). His government was, in every sense, a typical militaristic and traditionalist government.

    He continually used a rhetoric of historical memory and exaltation of the past. Throughout his dictatorship, a large number of monuments to various past personalities were erected, holidays were established commemorating the arrival of the first Italian settlers to Montevento, and the construction of Robert Thornton's Mausoleum in the Piazza Maggiore di San Giovanni (the city's main square) was ordered, which demanded a total of 5 years to complete. During this dictatorship, LinkLa Fedelissima was also made official as the country's anthem (which remains unchanged to this day) and great public events were held in honor of Montevento's declaration of independence. Military parades were also a very common occurrence.

    Maraldo's first decisions once in power focused on investing in the Army, through the purchase of Mauser and Remington rifles with which he equipped the soldiers to modernize the army and make them capable of easily dealing with possible rebellions. In addition, he extended the use of the telegraph throughout Montevento, allowing him to maintain fast communications with the most remote locations of the country, in order to exercise more effective control over those areas, accompanied by the extension of the railroad tracks which allowed a rapid transfer of troops to quell rebellions. He also established mandatory draft laws for men and created the National School of the Army, in which knowledge about the handling of firearms, combat tactics, history of war and general training for the military was taught. The School also had a division of Military Medicine, which taught, mainly to women, how to treat common wounds during battles.


    A military parade headed by Dante Maraldo at San Giovanni's Piazza Maggiore in 1868, in front of Robert Thornton's Mausoleum

    Uniform of the Guardia d'Onore
    Another important novelty introduced by Maraldo to the Armed Forces was the creation of the Guardia d'Onore, made up of many soldiers with extensive training, which became part of the Corpo dei Carabinieri. This guard's main function was to protect the Doge at all times, probably motivated by the ease with which he managed to orchestrate Serafine's assassination. In turn, the Guardia d'Onore was also in charge of the protection of various public buildings in the country, important squares and of patrolling the vicinity of these places. Maraldo himself participated in the design of the uniform of these soldiers, inspired in part by the characteristic hats of the Bersaglieri of Italy. Currently the Guardia d'Onore continues to exist, although it was reformed many times and only retains a symbolic role.

    Such was the importance given by Maraldo to the military that he even appointed numerous high ranking military officials as members of his government, who pushed for the continuous modernization and development of the armed forces. Despite being a dictatorship, Maraldo continuously tried to generate a feeling of institutionality and legality, although he was authoritarian and usually ignored the legal guarantees of citizens and their rights in case it was necessary to maintain peace and stability in the country.

    Most of his policies in support of the armed forces were gradually reversed over the years and his contributions to the economy forgotten, however, Maraldo began with an important process that in part defines the current Monteventani republic: the secularization of society. One of his main contributions to this cause was the gradual removal of power from the church, and the inclusion of various clauses that prevented the participation of clergy in certain affairs of the state. In addition, he created the "Civil Union Law" in 1870, that decreed the obligation to register all marriages before the State, removing the need for a religious marriage for the State to recognize the union between a man and a woman.

    During Maraldo's dictatorship, intellectual life developed with few obstacles. However, this did not make intellectuals and politicians to forget that they were living under a dictatorial regime, and they usually tried to return to legality from the very beginning of Maraldo's government, even going as far as to organize attacks and full scale rebellions. All plans were eventually discovered or unsuccessful due to the strong military presence of Maraldo.

    His dictatorship came to an end as abruptly as it started. On October 7, 1872, he suffered a sudden cardiac arrest during a dinner at the Palazzo Ducale with several of his ministers of state, who tried to help the dying dictator. However, little could be done for the life of Maraldo, who was presumed dead by the doctors who came to his aid around midnight. There are multiple theories about possible poisonings during the dinner, as several ministers reported feeling ill shortly after leaving the palace, but, nevertheless, there is no conclusive evidence on these theories, nor did anyone confess to having assassinated the dictator. His sudden death generated a strong political uncertainty, leaving Montevento without a head of state for three full days until a group of 200 politicians, military officers and intellectuals, who identified themselves with the Partito Rosso and Partito Nazionale, created an Emergency Commission that elected Alessandro Zorzi as Interim Governor of State.


>> SECOND REPUBLIC OF MONTEVENTO (1872-1908)

    The history of the second Monteventani Republic can be divided into three sections: the restorative stage, comprised by the governments of Alessandro Zorzi and Isidoro Lo Sacco (1872-1884), the hinge stage, comprised by the government of Marcello Lepera (1884-1896) and the final stage, comprised by the governments of Sebastiano Zappa and Beato Fare (1896-1908). It consists of a period of relative political, economic and social stability, which occurred in the international context of the Second Industrial Revolution and First Globalization.

    Portrait of Alessandro Zorzi
    ⠀• Restorative stage (1872-1884)

    The restorative era began with the arrival of Alessandro Zorzi to power, a Monteventani militarist and important General of the Armed Forces, with a political affinity for the Partito Nazionale di Montevento. His government was described multiple times as a hybrid between the Maraldist ideas of the dictatorship and the republican and democratic ideas of the first republic. Zorzi considered that, although the Armed Forces had to continue playing an important role in the State, his government should not be legitimized by military control, but rather by popular decision, embarking on a series of reforms to return to democracy to Montevento.

    He quickly reversed the ban on political parties and ordered the dissolution of the Unione Civica, at the same time that he began to imprison a large number of members of Maraldo's government who were opposed to the return of democracy, labeling them as "traitors to the fatherland". He was also responsible for the establishment of a new electoral system, which was used to carry out the first elections of this new era in 1872, in which Zorzi comfortably won, granting the first electoral victory to the Partito Nazionale di Montevento in the history of the country.

    With this new electoral system, Zorzi attempted to solve many of the shortcomings of the system used during the first republic. Great steps were taken towards universal suffrage, eliminating any economic or intellectual requirement to have the right to vote, although the restrictions on the participation of women were maintained. This new electoral system also made use of the modernization of the state carried out during the dictatorship, allowing the development of efficient mecanisms to determine who were entitled to vote and those who were not through updated records of births and deaths, in addition to having a better capacity for the identification of people.

    During Zorzi's government, most of the military traditions were maintained, as well as their support and influence. However, in the 1876 elections, Isidoro Lo Sacco, also from the Partito Nazionale, assumes the position of Doge of the Republic. Being much less akin to militaristic ideas, Lo Sacco began the progressive dismantling of the most ostensible signs of Monteventani militarism, although due to pressure from his party, this process was limited. A notable fact of Lo Sacco's administration is that the electoral distance between the Partito Nazionale and the Partito Rosso was shortened considerably, allowing the return to power of the Partito Rosso in 1884.

    ⠀• Hinge stage (1884-1896)

    Marcello Lapera, a politician from the Partito Rosso, assumed power in 1884 after winning the elections of that year. His government lasted a total of 12 years after being reelected in both 1888 and 1892. It was characterized for being a period where the elimination of the militaristic aspects that still survived from the time of Maraldo continued and even deepened. The disarmament of the population was actively promoted through the passage of various laws that sought to limit the possession of weapons, and a large part of the economic funds directed to the maintenance of the armed forces ware withdrawn. Among other things, pensions and benefits for retired military personnel were reduced and the mandatory draft laws for men over 18 that had been passed during Maraldo's dictatorship were abolished.

    His mandate is remembered by its great economic, political and social stability, where no major significant event occurred, being an administration where little happened. His greatest contributions were the restructuring of the judiciary and the generation of a program for the construction and improvement of public buildings, among which the remodeling and refurbishment of the Palazzo Ducale (seat of government) and Palazzo Bertolotti (seat of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) stand out. During his government, the construction of the Simeone Cerreta Theater (1884) also began, which would take more than a decade to fully build, but which would become one of the most important and prestigious theaters in the country.

    ⠀• Final stage (1896-1907)

    In 1896 the Partito Nazionale returned to power after the electoral victory of Sebastiano Zappa, an economist who managed to increase Montevento's exports considerably, allowing an enormous growth in the country's economy. Years later, in 1904, Beato Fare took over as Doge of the Republic, who, unlike Zappa, would establish a conservative and authoritarian government, which soon raised the discontent of the population.

    Some of his most criticized policies were the decision to suspend all public workers who arrived late to their jobs, firing all those who showed "apathy and detachment" with the state's work, something that was clrearly illegal due to the regulations of protection to state workers that were in force in the country. In addition, a series of financial mismanagements resulted in a small economic crisis in the city of Nuova Firenze and San Giovanni, which left many people without work.

    On November 28, 1907, a large demonstration organized by the leadership of the Partito Rosso brought together 50.000 people in San Giovanni to protest some of the policies passed during Fare's administration; however, when the crowd gathered infront of Fare's house, someone fired a shot and killed one of the protesters, a young man named Alfredo Massini. This provoked great popular indignation, and the word spread that the attack came from Beato Fare himself. Whether or not that was actually true mattered little for the furious Monteventani population, who called for the dissolution of the National Council, the impeachment of Fare and for new elections to be held.


    Protests against Beato Fare

    In a climate of growing political turmoil, Fare began to move on the edge of illegality; he immediately approved and signed a decree to expell the leaders of the Partito Rosso from Montevento and ordered the closure and censorship of various newspappers which supported the Partito Rosso. Such an act of authoritarianism was widely criticized even by members of the Partito Nazionale, causing a general strike throughout the national territory, which was only resolved when days later Fare decided to back down and annul his decree.

    However, the damage had already been done, and both the population, the Partito Rosso and the Partito Nazionale had lost all confidence in the Doge. Without political allies of any kind, and while the Partito Rosso was already talking about a possible "Revolution", Beato Fare was forced to dissolve his government, decreeing the cessation of the functions of all his ministers, dissolving the National Council and handing over power to a Council of State chaired by Lisandro Bartone, who was an independent politician who did not respond to either the Partito Rosso or the Partito Nazionale.


>> BARTONE DICTATORSHIP (1907-1921)

    ⠀• The good dictatorship

    Portrait of Lisandro Bartone
    The Council of State that took over the country after Beato Fare's resignation was designed so that the executive power would be exercised by a collegiate body made up of nine people, who would exercise the leadership of the Council for alternating periods of one month each until October 1908, when national elections would be held to elect a new Doge. Lisandro Bartone, a prestigious lawyer and former rector of the law school of the Public University of Montevento, assumed the leadership of the Council of State first.

    However, the Council of State was the victim of internal enmity, as it was composed, in addition to Bartone, of four members of the Partito Nazionale and four others of the Partito Rosso, who rarely agreed on anything. This quickly rendered the Council slow and inefficient, which was unable to meet the needs of the country. As a result, Bartone took action on his own account and began to ignore the participation of the other members of the Council, concentrating more and more power on himself.

    The very ineptitude and slowness of the Council of State allowed Bartone to place himself in a position of power that could not be contested by the rest of the members, who presented an ultimatum to Bartone on January 17, 1908, in which they demanded him to withdraw from the Council within 24 hours, or they would immediately resign. To no one's surprise, Bartone refused, and the Council was dissolved after the resignation of the 8 members, starting Bartone's Dictatorship.

    Despite being a Dictator, Bartone dedicated himself to reestablishing the rights of workers that were eliminated during the constitutional government of Beato Fare and to reverting most of the restrictive policies on personal liberties that said government had imposed. He led a government concerned with the well-being of the population and the nation and promoted numerous reforms to improve the quality of life of Monteventani citizens. Because of this, his dictatorship is known in Montevento as "La buona dittatura" ("the good dictatorship").

    Bartone saw himself as some kind of moderator who had to maintain the peace, integrity and prosperity of the nation, but had no intention of ruling alone. Strangely for a dictatorial regime, he allowed democratic elections to be held to choose the representatives of the National Council, which officiated as a deliberative and advisory assembly. Among its tasks, the Council elected a Minister of Government, who basically co-governed the nation together with Bartone, although the latter had the capacity to expel the Minister for any reason and at any time, as well as to appoint or remove members to the National Council directly without the need of elections.

    The Bartone government saw a huge boom in the country's academic and cultural activity, with the creation of the Ministry of Education and Culture, the opening of multiple schools and high schools around Montevento and the creation of the University of Labor, which would go on to train students in various professions such as carpentry, mechanics, plumbing, gardening, cooking, pastry, hairdressing and many others. The Public University of Montevento also saw a dramatic increase in the amount of economic funds allocated to it, and the participation of women in the university was encouraged, as well as in research and scientific work. The country's literacy rate reached the highest point in decades, and the number of professionals graduated from University reached record numbers for Montevento and South America.

    During this period, important advances were made in terms of public health, improving access to hospitals by the population, with the construction of several hospital centers in the largest cities of the country and the opening of clinics for the mentally ill. Multiple awareness campaigns about various diseases were carried out and the development of free vaccination programs for the entire population against various diseases, such as rabies and smallpox, achieved great levels of success. Public works to improve access to drinking water in the country began to be carried out, at the same time as greater controls began to be imposes regarding the use of substances harmful to health in food and other objects. At the end of the dictatorship, life expectancy in Montevento was among the highest in South America, and even equaled and surpassed some European countries.


    A newly built hospital in Nuova Firenze - 1912

    ⠀• First World War

    Monteventani volunteers
    With the eruption of the First World War in Europe, the Monteventani government was quick to declare its neutrality in the conflict. However, there was a strong campaign by journalists and newspapers of the time in favor of the Allies, calling for the breaking of relations with Germany and Austria-Hungary, especially once Italy entered the war in favor of the Allies. After the entry of the United States into the conflict on the side of the Allies, in April 1917, the aforementioned campaign was joined by diplomatic pressure on the Latin American countries to cut ties with Germany's allies.

    In September 1917 an American squadron commanded by Admiral James Caperton visited San Giovanni on a courtesy visit, where it was enthusiastically received. Lisandro Bartone, on behalf of the government, welcomed the squadron, and from that moment on events rushed towards the end of Monteventani neutrality in the war.

    Weeks later, in October 1917, eight German ships that were transporting nitrates and other components for the manufacture of explosives bound for Germany, and that were temporally in the port of Nuova Firenze, were requisitioned by the Monteventani government, and were later handed over to the Allies. At the same time, the government of Bartone officially broke diplomatic relations with Germany.

    This fact shows, among other things, the traditional diplomatic orientation of Bartone towards the United States, which came from the concept held by his Minister of Foreign Affairs: the future of humanity belonged to "young nations" such as the American one, in opposition to the "despotisms" and "old nations" like the Germany of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Montevento, according to him, should follow the path of the former.

    After the diplomatic relations between Montevento and Germany broke down, several Monteventanis volunteered for humanitarian and military service for Allied nations. They volunteered as ambulance and truck drivers, as hospital workers, as flyers, as doctors and nurses. Of special relevance was a small group of 100 soldiers belonging to the Monteventani Armed Forces who volunteered to fight on the front lines together with the Italian army, forming the so-called "Legione del Nuovo Mondo"

    Montevento also offered economic aid to the Allied countries, for example, by lending money to France and selling large quantities of food to them at preferential prices, as well as to Great Britain and the United States. The economic and commercial aid given by Montevento to the Allies helped foster a friendly relationship between the South American country and the European powers, which remained loyal trading partners even after the war ended.

    ⠀• Mauro Spalla as Minister of Government

    In January 1920 the National Council elects Mauro Spalla as the new Minister of Government. Spalla, who was relatively new to politics, had managed to convince the National Council to occupy the position due, in part, to his young age (he was just 27 years old), his great willingness to work for the good of the country and his excellent charisma and ability to convince people. He had extensive experience in the economic field, because due to his father's work, he had made multiple trips to Europe, where he learned a large number of economic concepts when managing his father's companies. At 24 years of age, he already had a university degree in economics, issued by the Public University of Montevento.

    More importantly, Spalla was a great thinker and had modern ideas that he was eager to put to the test. In addition, Spalla turned out to be very popular with Bartone, who confessed to admiring some of the young politician's ideas. As time passed, Spalla gained the trust of Bartone more and more, who by this time was 71 years old and was beginning to wear out from the work of leading a country.

    Spalla, after multiple attempts and meetings, managed to convince Bartone to leave his position as Doge, and for the first time since the formation of the Council of State in 1907, the date was set for new elections, whose main mission was to find a replacement for Bartone. Montevento thus began its passage to be a full democracy once again, leaving behind its second dictatorship after 14 years.


>> MODERN MONTEVENTANI REPUBLIC (1921-CURRENTLY)

    ⠀• Spallanist Era (1921-1933)

    Photo of Mauro Spalla
    With the support of Bartone, Mauro Spalla ran for the Partito Rosso in the 1921 elections, facing the candidate of the Partito Nazionale, Tommaso Scalzitti. The elections were closer than expected, but finally, Mauro Spalla was named as the winner of the elections and became the 10th Doge of the Republic. He is considered as the father of the modern Monteventani Republic due to his efforts to modernise the State and strengthen the democratic institutions of the Republic

    His first term as Doge (1921 - 1925) was dedicated to the reestablishment of the democratic institutions of the Republic after the end of the dictatorship, the empowerment of the National Council as the only institution capable of creating laws, the creation of the Supreme Court of Justice as the maximum judiciary authority and a total electoral reform, enabling universal suffrage allowing all of the citizens of the country, regardless of their sex, race, education or economic position, to exercise the right –and the obligation– to vote.

    His electoral reform also made the vote of every individual a secret, finally ending the tradition held by the Republic prior to Bartone's coup of making public who each citizen voted for, and establishing a second round of voting to be held if no candidate managed to achieve more than 50% of the public vote during a first round, in order to ensure that all Monteventani Doges ascended to the power with a majority of the population choosing them.

    During his second term (1925 - 1929) he focused on social reforms, among which secularization became a major political issue. Spalla's decision to expropriate all catholic cemeteries and place them under state supervision in 1925 resumed the Monteventani path towards secularization that was started during the dictatorship of Danta Maraldo. He effectively ended the influence of the catholic church over the State, dissolving the Ministry of Cult and establishing taxes for religious institutions. He also banned crucifixes in hospitals by 1929, and eliminated references to God and the Gospel in public oaths and official documents of the Republic, going as far as renaming religious public holidays to re-brand them as a secular festivity (for example, Christmas is still officially named as "Family Day" in Montevento due to his policies).

    It is clearly accepted today that Spalla did not plan to stop with the secular state that he had achieved through his reforms, but instead intended to go one step further, and establish an atheistic state where religion would be a mere memory of the past, as evidenced by his multiple anti-religious policies. To some degree, he has succeeded; Montevento consistently ranks as the country with most atheists in South America and among the first places in the world.

    Divorce laws were also established during this time, making them available at the sole wish of any of the two involved parties. He also changed marriage laws, establishing that only the ones performed by the State would be recognised. While he did not make same-sex marriages or civil-unions legal, he made the first steps towards them, abolishing several laws that could be used to block them in a future.

    In addition to his religious reforms, he pursued an educative reform, which was also marked by his anti-clericalism. During an interview in his newspaper "La Repubblica", Spalla declared: "The school is the base of the Republic, and education is an indispensable condition of the Monteventani citizen. All the great needs of democracy and all the demands of the Republic only have one possible way of realization: to educate; educate; and always educate...", to which he later added "The education of the people is the only true engine of progress." These reforms were proposed as a continuation of the educational reforms that Bartone had carried out during his dictatorship, with him even acting as an advisor for the government on these issues.

    Spalla, based on the proposals of the French positivist philosopher Auguste Comte, raised the need to replace the classical scheme of religion, for a dogmatic scheme that sought to make science an institution, thus basically replacing the church with science. Both Comte and Spalla considered that social classes were something natural in society, and that the key to solving all conflicts between individuals and society was the teaching of science to all men (science should be in charge of telling them men what to do). As result, Spalla created the Common Education Law, which was approved on November 12, 1925. It established three basic principles: education must be free, compulsory and secular. Through this Law, Spalla effectively prohibited all types of religious education in Monteventani schools, high schools and universities, forced all children of the nation to assist to basic classes and made education available to everyone in the Republic completely for free.


    A school during the Spallanist Era

    Free and compulsory education generated an exponential growth in the number of students in the Monteventani schools. In August 1926 a tax was created to finance the educational reform and the massive expansion of schools in Montevento. During Spalla's Governments, a total of 400 to 500 schools were opened, schools were created for people with disabilities and the National School of Teaching was inaugurated, whose main objective was to train Monteventani teachers with the highest quality standards and the most innovative pedagogical techniques.

    During his second term, Spalla also decided to delve into the health policies that had been in place during Bartone's time. This was reflected in the creation, in 1927, of the National Institute of Public Health (INSP) (Italian: Istituto Nazionale di Sanitเ Pubblica), which brought together all public hospitals and healthcare services in the country under a central administration. With this, he managed to standardize the treatments and extend a uniform service throughout Montevento. Spalla also ordered that the INSP would have the obligation to provide its services to any person, regardless of their economic situation.

    After initially rejecting the offer for a third term, Spalla ran for the 1929 election, winning with landslide. His third term (1929 - 1933) focused on the economy of the Republic. During this time he fought for things as unemployment compensation (1930), eight-hour workdays (1929), the right to strike (1931) and the prohibition of work of minors under the age of 13 (1932). During all his first dogeship, and specially during his third term, state interventionism in the economy was common, usually creating state-controlled monopolies in the areas of essential services (running water, telephone, electricity, etc), as he, despite being a firm believer of capitalism, feared that private investors would not be adequate for those kinds of business, as they would be more interested in generating profits than ensuring the well-being of the people. Some of those monopolies are still functioning today.

    ⠀• The "South American Tuscany" (1933-1957)

    Poster supporting the Partito Rosso
    "The South American Tuscany,
    Everything thanks to the Partito Rosso"
    According to the laws enacted by himself during his first term, Spalla was unable to present himself as a candidate for re-election for a fourth consecutive term, as he limited the amount of times a person could be consecutively elected as Doge to three (or a period of 12 consecutive years) in order to prevent someone from perpetuating into power for too long. He nonetheless accepted being the First Councillor of the Republic (leader of the Legislative Power) after Cristaldo Corra was elected as Doge in 1933 to ensure the continuation of his policies. This would become a common event during the following Partito Rosso governments, in which Spalla would maintain various positions in the government, keeping his political and ideological movement alive, completely transforming the Partito Rosso and ensuring its political dominance. All governments from 1933 to 1957 were known as the "Spallanist Governments", as Spalla's ideas were practiced continuously.

    The Spallanist governments were extremely successful in maintaining the peace and stability of the country, as well as improving the Monteventani economy. The country consolidated its democracy and reached high levels of well-being, comparable to European countries. This gave Montevento the nickname "The South American Tuscany" due to its colonial past, cultural similarity to Italy, and high levels of development.

    The governments of the time made extensive use of this curious nickname given to the country to justify their policies and demonstrate that the path that Montevento had taken was superior to that of other South American countries, which were usually plagued by various political, economic and social problems, convincing the population to place their hopes and trust in Partito Rosso and Mauro Spalla.

    Monteventani foreign policy also reflected this, as the country continually sought to generate deep ties of friendship with European powers, neglecting the diplomatic front in South America. During this time, it was also very common for Montevento to organize different international events to sell itself as a modern country and a South American power, where democracy, culture, education and well-being were a fundamental part of the country's daily life.

    Montevento remained neutral for most of World War II, but, much like during the first world war, the policy of Doges Cristiano Cirincione and Giuseppe Bucca, leading the Partito Rosso, was to support the Allied cause, but from a neutral base. However, in January 1942, Bucca terminated diplomatic relations with the Axis powers, with the exception of Italy, country with which Montevento maintained cordial relations throughout the war. In February 1945, having signed the Declaration by United Nations, Bucca declared war on Germany and Japan, although it was just a symbolic act to secure Montevento's admission to the UN. After the Second World War ended, there was a considerable rise in European demand for Montevento's key products.

    In 1953 Spalla returned to present himself in the national elections, and without much difficulty managed to be elected for the fourth time to occupy the post of Doge of the Republic. Some minor laws were also created during this period, such as the prohibition of bullfights and other forms of animal abuse, several laws against discrimination of minorities by the state and various austerity measures. However, the most relevant aspect of this period was the complete reorganization of the government, in which the figure of the Doge as head of state and government was replaced by a collegiate government named as Triumvirate made up of 3 people, all with exactly the same powers.

    ⠀• The Triumvirates and discovery of oil (1957-1981)

    The era of the triumvirates was marked by the continuity of the Spallanist policies. However, over time the dominance of the Partito Rosso began to waver due to the rise in popularity of the left-wing party Nuova Unione Alternativa, which had already become established as the main alternative to the Partito Rosso after surpassing the traditional Partito Nazionale in popularity. The Nuova Unione Alternativa brought together all the Monteventani left-wing parties, from moderate socialists to convinced communists, who had set themselves the goal of reaching power through a multisectoral agreement that would allow them to reach the number of votes necessary to establish a left-wing coalition and end the egemony of Partito Rosso.

    The rise in popularity of the Nuova Unione Alternativa brought as a direct consequence the political rapprochement of the Partito Rosso and the Partito Nazionale, which for the first time in history had a common enemy, since the left-wing policies proposed by the NUA candidates were disliked by both citizens loyal to the Spallanist model as well as its detractors, who often used the phrase "a known evil is better than an unknown good" to justify their choice to oppose the Nuova Unione Alternativa. This new alliance that was beginning to emerge between the traditional Monteventani parties allowed the Partito Rosso to maintain comfortable majorities within the different triumvirates, which were usually made up of two members of the Partito Rosso and one member of the Nuova Unione Alternativa, which was relegated and ignored by the other members.

    The Triumvirat governments stand out for the start of oil exploitation in Montevento. In 1967 the Monteventani government allowed the start of the exploration on the coasts of the Fiume D'Oro in search of oil after being approached by various private companies who believed that the place could contain important oil deposits, which could be exploited for the benefit of the country. For the exploitation tasks, the state created the National Fuel and Gas Administration, which was put in charge of granting licences to companies interested in the project. By January 1968, 22 production licences were awarded, covering 78 geographically delimited areas.

    The licences granted an exclusive right to explore, drill and extract oil and gas in the areas to which they applied. The first exploration well was drilled in summer 1968, but proved to be dry. The first oil discovery on the Monteventani shelf was in 1969. However, it was not considered to be economically viable at the time. Just before Christmas in 1969, the Monteventani government was informed of the discovery of field Giorgio-2, which turned out to be a very large offshore oil field. Production from the field started on 17 June 1971 and Montevento became a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). A series of major discoveries was made in the next few years.


    Giorgio-2 in 1980

    In the early days, foreign companies dominated exploration activities, and they were responsible for developing the first oil and gas fields. Monteventani participation gradually increased after the creation of the public company Monteoil in 1972. In that same year Montevento also established the principle that the state was to have a 50 per cent ownership interest in every production licence. Today, there is a great deal of diversity and competition on the Monteventani shelf, and more than 40 Monteventani and foreign companies are active. The Triumvitates set Montevento's oil production and economic development plans on long-term benefits, occasionally sacrificing production and price to meet this end.

    In 1977 the Nuova Unione Alternativa finally managed to obtain two of the three members of the triumvirate and seize power, which marked the end point to the Triumvirat system, since the left-wing alliance considered that this system was detrimental to them in order to achieve power, reverting to the old system where the executive power was presided over by a single person: the Doge.

    ⠀• Government of Gennaro Scrivani (1981-1989)

    Photo of Gennaro Scrivani
    The 1981 elections were of particular importance, since not only was a Doge going to be elected with them, which would put an end to several years of collegiate governments of the Triumvirates, but because their winner made history for being the first left-wing candidate who succesfully won an election, giving the first electoral victory to the Nuova Unione Alternativa. The winning candidate was Gennaro Scrivani, who had become a politician after a long and successful career as a neurologist. It represented the more moderate wing of the Nuova Unione Alternativa, which allowed him to gather votes from centrist people. He ensured that his reforms would not be as extreme as that of some of the other members of his party proposed.

    The central axis of Scrivani's government was the management of the country's public health system, completely reforming the National Institute of Health, making all its services completely free of charge to any citizen of the republic. In addition, he was also responsible for the creation of the National Health Insurance (ASN - Assicurazione Sanitaria Nazionale), which seeked to unify the services of both the public and private health systems in order to ensure universal access to all quality treatments. Through the ASN, a citizen could have access, in addition to the INSP, to any of the private health providers, allowing them to switch between the different providers according to the treatment they need or to their personal preferences.

    The ASN was made available to all legally registered employees who worked at least 13 days a month or more than 104 hours per month, all employees of the State regardless of how many days or hours they worked per month, including members of the Armed Forces and the Government, all registered students who attended classes regularly and showed progress in their educative careers, all those who received a state pension in Montevento and the family members of anyone covered by the ASN who were under the age of 18.

    During his government, heavy taxes were also created to be applied to alcoholic beverages, in order to combat alcoholism. The money collected from these taxes was exclusively intended to pay for awareness programs informing its citizens of the possible consequences of excessive alcohol consumption. Monteventani schools also started include the topic in their educational program. Tobacco also had a similar fate. Various taxes were imposed on it, in addition to the total ban on smoking in closed spaces such as restaurants, hospitals, educational centers and any state building.

    In 1985, after being reelected for a second term as the Doge of the Republic, Scrivani began with a full reform of Montevento's welfare programs, creating for this reason the Ministry of Social Development. Through this Ministry, Scrivani focused on creating programs to support Montevento's less advantaged people. The Ministry provided citizens living in extreme poverty and indigence, a monetary pension called "Reddito di Emergenza" (Emergency Income) and a set of promoted work programs, socio-cultural insertion workshops, health care, housing improvement, shelters for the homeless, as well as a food plan that guaranteed access to food for children, adolescents, and pregnant women. During this government, the Monteventani public schools began to provide free lunches to all their students.

    To avoid a possible dependence on the oil that had recently been discovered in Montevento, Scrivani and his government, the Partito Rosso and the Partito Nazionale, came together to create a state policy that would seek to promote the greatest possible diversification of the Monteventani economy. This project was greatly supported by the creation of the Fondo di Investimento Monteventani (Monteventani Investment Fund), which aimed to use the surplus generated by the oil industry to promote other industries, reducing the taxes that were applied to these and doing multiple investments in different sectors, both national and international. The Fund also aimed to reduce the the possible impact that fluctuations in oil prices could have.

    The Fund gave the initial kick to the creation of multiple large companies in the country, such as Radiotelevisione Montevento (the main radio and television network in the country, controlled by the state), Agrigroup (agricultural agglomerate) and Nuova Firenze Farmici (producer of medicines and chemical products). One of the greatest beneficiaries of this project was the tourism industry, which saw a massive increase in the number of people travelling to Montevento thanks to the advertising campaigns promoted by the fund, as well as the investments made in the area. On the other hand, part of the money that was produced through oil exploitation became part of the Emergency Fund of the Republic, whose primary objective was to generate a reserve fund that could be used in the event of natural catastrophes or future economic crises. Part of the money was also used to pay and ensure the future of the pensions and benefits that the state provided to its citizens.

    ⠀• The Coalizione Multicolore (1989-Present)

    After the failure of the Partito Rosso to win the elections both in 1981 and 1985, it became apparent that in order for them to achieve a victory again, deeper cooperation was going to be needed with the Partito Nazionale. This cooperation would materialize in the elections of 1889, in which the Partito Rosso and the Partito Nazionale formalized an electoral alliance to confront the Nuova Unione Alternativa. The strategy was a success, with the Partito Rosso again winning the elections and returning to power after Erardo Morabito defeated Nuova Unione Alternativa's candidate in the second round of voting thanks to the support of the Partito Nazionale. This resulted in the creation of the first coalition government in the history of the country, which was called the Coalizione Multicolore.

    ⠀⠀⠀⠀○ Government of Natalia Aloia (1998-2006)

    Photo of Natalia Aloia
    Fiandanca was elected as Doge of the Republic in 1993, and re-elected during the elections of 1997, however, only one year later, he died while in office due to a hear attack. As result, Natalia Aloia, who was the First Councillor of the Republic at the time, assumed the leadership of the nation until new elections could be held in 1998. She presented herself as a candidate for these elections, achieving electoral victory in the second round after obtaining 56% of the votes, compared to 44% for the Nuova Unione Alternativa. Natalia Aloia became the first Dogaressa of Montevento. For the first time in the history of the country, a woman assumed as the Head of State, causing celebrations by many feminist groups.

    During her government, the installation of new international companies in the vast territories of Montevento has also been promoted, eliminating obstacles and restrictions when it comes to attracting foreign capital. A total of 4 new free zones were created, in which companies that decided to establish themselves in them were exempted from all taxes, in exchange for employing a considerable majority of citizens of Montevento.

    Aloia has also undertaken a policy of privatization of companies, in which she sold to privates a large number of state companies that did not report the expected profits for their business area. In addition, in 1998, a few months after assuming her role as Dogaressa, she undertook a total restructuring of the state companies, in which she ordered the dismissal of all their directors, raised the salaries of these positions by more than 200% and undertook a search for what she called "excellence in leadership", offering the positions of Director of these companies to leading and successful national and international entrepreneurs, in order to ensure the competitiveness and profitability of the companies.

    Between 1999 and 2003, there were numerous advances regarding social and human rights in Montevento thanks to the policies of Aloia. In 1999 the Law of Union of Concubinage was created, which guaranteed both heterosexual and homosexual couples, who lived together for more than 5 years, a series of rights similar to those of marriage if they requested it, and a year later, in 2000 the Law of Adoption in Concubinage was passed, which allowed these couples to adopt children.

    On February 5, 2001, Aloia sent the Equal Marriage Law to the National Council as a "law of urgent consideration." The law was finally approved 15 days later with the support of the Nuova Unione Alternativa and parts of the Coalizione Multicolore. With this, Montevento became one of the first countries in the world to fully legalize homosexual marriage, also guaranteeing the right to adopt children, since the law did not offer any distinction between a heterosexual marriage and an homosexual one, and traditionally, marriage automatically conferred the right to adoption (assuming other economic and social requirements are met)

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Republic of Montevento | ฉ 2021
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