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by The Impeccably Arranged Snark of The West Pacific Master Dispatch. . 452 reads.

The Western Post - October 2021

Announcements!

  • October 15th is Shawarma Day, so in honor of the world famous Dalimbar Shawarma Shack at South Lebanon we invite people to share their best shawarma recipes, with pictures included if possible, for a feature in the November 2021 edition.

  • Octwperfest has started, and there are many events ongoing! Old Man Bran's Pumpkin Patch has opened its doors once more for jack-o-lantern orders until October 14 for both LinkDiscord and gameside, while the Trick-or-Treat event is happening on Discord all month long, in which one can collect, buy, eat, and even steal candy from others.

WAR Update
By Aluminum Oxynitride, Deputy Minister of World Assembly Recruitment

WA membership has gone up, and Dilber has over 500 endorsements! Thank you for your continued support of Delegate Supremacy. Remember, there is only power and those too weak to seek it.

In other news, Giovanniland is working on not one, but two Condemnations on the Security Council forums. Please check out and support Condemn Dalimbar and Condemn Wickedly Evil People, and be sure to leave any comments you may have.

Finally, we wish to extend our most heartfelt congratulations to the students of UTWP upon their graduation!

Card Club Update
By Giovanniland, Card Czar of the West

The Card Club updates are back! After a two-month hiatus, there's lot to say here.

Firstly, Punday Monday rewards! They have been consistently awarded ever since the award was created, and the two last months weren't different. A post on the Regional Message Board was made for August and September respectively, with rewards including a Season 1 Kingdom of Space given to Aluminum Oxynitride (ALON) for the awesome feat of reaching ten Punday Monday wins. Of course, if you want to try your luck and get some cards, the key is to participate in upcoming Punday Mondays! Your pun will be added to our Big Book of Puns and you will win a legendary card if Dilber chooses it as the winner.

Secondly, Collection Contests! In the start August, the Happiness Card Contest was launched and happened for a month. Two people decided to enter, ALON and Blue Bubble. The three judges Fuentana, Giovanniland and Recuecn decided that ALON won the contest, and then the Season 2 Xoriet legendary card was gifted to them. Two months after the previous contest announcement, the N-Day & Z-Day Card Contest has been announced and will last until the 31st of October. In this contest, participants must collect cards that pertain to either of the yearly events of N-Day (nukes) and Z-Day (zombies), or both if they want! If you are interested, check the linked post and start building your collection. Legendary cards possibly await, so good luck in your collecting journey.

Thirdly, some miscellaneous news! Due to the efforts of Giovanniland (and its puppets GiovanniCards & Purpura Heart), Fhaengshia, Elegarth, Varanius, Mediobogdum and many others, the West Pacific temporarily reached the top 1 percentile for International Artwork among all other regions. This is a very hard feat for a feeder, considering the fact that the thousands of nations that have little to no cards push the average down. Nevertheless, this was achieved and maintained for a few days, as you can see in this LinkWayback Machine snapshot. However, a surge of new nations was caused by a YouTube video in early September, meaning that the average was pushed down and the region now ranks 356th as I write, about 100 places below top 1%, though perhaps it will be reachieved in the future.

These are all the major card-related news in TWP for now, but stay tuned for more announcements and another update in the next edition of the Western Post! Furthermore, check the second edition of the TWP Card Collection Spotlight later in this edition.

Questions & Branswers
By Bran Astor

This installment’s subject is best described as TWP’s obnoxious little brother. We’re clearly stuck with him, his incessant questions, and experimental concoctions, but you won’t find anyone else held so near and dear to our collective heart. So let's learn more about Varanius, the kid who will be king once he hits a growth spurt and passes the minimum height requirement.


What is the best sandwich?
LinkRoast beef and cheddar, I’ll be taking no questions.

Not even about horseradish or type of bread?
Nope. Coincidentally though, sourdough.

What is one region you really want to purge?
Jesus that’s a long list…let’s start with the Institute of Cellulose.

Which TWP personalities influenced you the most?
Probably yourself and Dilber. Though I’d likely never have looked at the Security Council if Bhang Bhang Duc wasn’t there, despite our uhhhh, different styles of interaction.

Apples or oranges?
Apples all day.

Have you ever asked someone for their autograph?
Never seen anyone worth asking yet. Not like I get out a ton.

Ever been tempted to hang out outside a casino or convention hall and ask random passersby for an autograph?
Don’t go to many of those, but I’m definitely tempted now.

What do you think happens when we CTE?
I heard there’s a Linkfarm upstate for that…

Favorite action hero?
The answer to that would have to be LinkHazmat, after I was introduced due to Madjack saying I reminded him of them since they had toxic radiation.

You catch quite a bit of hell from all over NS. When did you realize you have a natural resilience to the collective bullsh*t?
Uhhh siblings?

Do you have a favorite smell?
Gonna have to go with LinkRosemary. Also the name of my new cat, who, while adorable, is not my favorite smell. But back to the actual questions.

What were the actual questions?
You tell me. Or well, ask me.

Ask you what?
Why are you asking me?

Because the readers want to know if you have a least favorite smell.
Have you ever been pooped on by a lizard?

No. Have you?
Repeatedly in fact.

Perhaps this is the real reason the aforementioned bullsh*t has no effect on you?
We must clearly look deeper into the intricacies of lizard sh*t to find if it can truly create an immunity to bullsh*t, or if the two are completely unrelated.

Would you be surprised to learn GPers are primarily Linklizardmen?
Depends on the GPer, some of them seem too human to reach such scaly heights.

Jarlic: Does it pizza?
Yes, but not pineapple.

Flat or sparkling?
Flat.

Most used app on your phone?
Discord.

You get one never-ending pasta bowl for the rest of your life, what is it?
LinkFettuccine Alfredo, call me basic.

What number am I thinking of?
Infinity and beyond!

Describe your TWP experience in the most Vara way possible.
Right so, first off! Uhhh, where was I going with this…anyway yeah. So, N-Day at first was fun, then I became the all powerful dictator of the LinkHoN (speaker). And since I could read and write, everything was easy. I did great and now I own the world. No but seriously, I do enjoy being here, and have since I started! Even if I’m a bit of a…cosmo.


No hags were harmed in the making of this interview.

Local Yokel Oversleeps, Ruins Post-Apocalyptic Fun For Everyone
By A. Paula Gee of Podium

300 billion human lives ended on September 26th, 2021, and the Poduminian survivors of the nuclear fire called this war, “N-Day”. They lived not to face the nightmare of a war against the Machines, but instead, the frustration with the sheer incompetence of the one man who had so cruelly denied them their dreams of righteous wasteland warriorhood. Max Obermayr, Bossman of Activating WMDs (BAW) for Podium, had previously been tasked with ensuring total launch preparedness for both itself and the autonomous Rostrumian territories in light of national commitments made to the Crabs Of The Apocalypse alliance just days before. Despite having coordinated full communication integration with fellow COTA launch coordinators not long after the announcement of cooperation had been sent throughout the West Pacific, what has since been confirmed as a strenuous late-night bug fixing session caused Obermayr to fall asleep at his desk, not waking up again until after the last of the warheads had fallen everywhere but Poduminian soil.

"I made a severe and continuous lapse in my judgement, and I don’t expect to be forgiven. I’m simply here to apologise. What happened in my room that night was obviously unplanned," said Obermayr in a prepared statement through an associate as he remains hidden from public backlash, "The results you saw are more than apparent; skin-tight-leather-suit-wearing maniacs wielding flamethrower guitars were completely off the menu. I still don’t really know how to react or how to feel. I should have never tried coding with C. I should have shut the compiler down and paid full attention to the doomsday clock as it ticked towards spectacular radioactive oblivion, my finger hovering right over the enticingly pressable big red button."

While Prime Minister Michael Talberg should theoretically have full and immediate access to Podium's awesome tools of complete and utter destruction, a restrictive law passed in a time where the apocalypse wasn't nearly as cool means that the PM and the Poduminian BAW need to initialise the system simultaneously for any missiles to start flying, a system which was predicted for some time to have the potential to reduce the total explosive tonnage expunged in a given nuclear exchange.

"What we saw last week was an unacceptable breach in procedure, which unjustly stopped ICBMs from leaving and entering the country as they saw fit, and it's something this administration will always strive to never repeat," Talberg stated at a press conference less than an hour ago, where he was seen whipping an already incensed crowd into a frothing frenzy as he promised painful retribution against Obermayr and his entire family for his misdeeds. "The right of every Poduminian citizen to partake in hellish, over-the-top action sequences in which the main characters look inexplicably clean and well-groomed, despite having lived their lives since the big kaboom without functioning plumbing or even a hairbrush, should always be enforced no matter the makeup of the administration, and no matter the level of sacrifice needed to maintain it."

While the disgraced BAW is busy being hunted to the ends of the now-irradiated Earth, a brief spate of luck appears to have struck Podium yet in the form of a competent replacement, Mayr Obermax, who looks a lot like Obermayr now that we think about it, but he has a big, bushy moustache which doesn't match his hair colour, a comically thick and rubbery nose, and a set of glasses with seemingly no lenses in them, so it obviously can't be him. Over here at the Western Post, our Journalistic Analysis Wing has pledged its full investigative powers towards tracking this dangerous criminal down, with the express hope that our JAW will have the BAW in its possession as soon as possible, in order to achieve a fundamentally less safe Podium for all.


The Apocalypse of Rock Lobster the Crustaceologist & Apocalypse, Now Redux

As told to Fuentana, Poet Laureate of Haiku


Crabs of the Apocalypse artwork by Bran Astor.

Editor’s Preface:

The oft-misunderstood ancient genre of Linkapocalyptic is a literary style that addresses the “now” time of the reader or listener by using symbolic language and imagery. It is often “dualist,” emphasizing a sharp distinction between forces of good and evil, light and darkness, truth and lies. Finally, though it communicates visions that have to do with the future in a general way, it is less a means of predicting “the end times” and more a means of judging current situations and speaking of a future that will dawn. Thus, famous religious apocalyptic texts such as the Book of Revelation (not Revelations) are not literal and sequential predictions of the future but deeply symbolic and charged critiques of the present—it’s a real beast of a job to study, but quite fun. Let the reader understand this apocalypse, for wisdom is needed here: crab.

In the days since the fallout cleared, we also discovered another scroll. We are pleased to also publish the Sasquatch Apocalypse by our favorite artist Bran Astor.

The Apocalypse of Rock Lobster the Crustaceologist

1 I, the Rock Lobster, was deep in my research of all things crab when one day I saw a vision before me of a woman with the appearance of an old hag. She was carrying a jar filled with rotted garlic. Her face was that of an ocelot, and her eyes burned with radiation imposed on the day of a previous nuclear apocalypse.

“Son of crab,” she said, “Go to the NationStates region of Hell, and there, open up the scroll that you will find on the ground.” And so I scuttled across the realm of NationStates, leaving the West Pacific Crab Sanctuary, trekking through The Rejected Realms. I took a brief respite in Karma and decided not to stay in Edlhus on account of a founder who wants to butter me up. Eventually, I arrived on the shores of Hell full of trepidation. This is not normally how apocalypses work.

2 But upon arrival, I saw before my left claw an unopened scroll. Suddenly a voice cried out from somewhere that said, “If you are worthy, open the scroll.” With no small irritation, I replied, “Crustaceans don’t have thumbs, you ninny. How shall I open this scroll?” Then suddenly, one looking like a perpetual zygote appeared to me. He wore on his arm the mark of a question mark, and on his forehead was written, “The West is Best.” He said to me, “I can open this for you, but first you must answer my question.” With curiosity, I said, “Open, and I will answer.” So this zygote opened the scroll and let me read. But then, silence. “Don’t you have a question for me?” After a pause, he replied, “I have so many questions that I don’t know where to start, so just keep going with your quest thing.”

3 And so I read the scroll myself.

“Avenged, St. Xoriet will be.
Soon, the crabs will roam free.
Behold, horsemen will ride
With five million nukes to provide.”

4 Then I saw a vision of one like a platypus and a man crossed together. He held in his left hand a famous herb. In his right, he held a book of deeply symbolic artwork. I immediately flung my tail to retreat three feet, but he said, “You have no reason to fear. For the future is crab.” Then the one like an old hag reappeared next to him and said to me, “Nuclear war leads to the peace of total elimination. Prepare for the end.”

5 Then I saw the vision of a hundred gamers playing an antiquated simulator. By day and by night, without end, they clicked mouses and button mashed with hot keys and containers and obsolete extensions. They were gathering their shields and nuclear weapons by the millions as they awaited the great day of wrath. Some fainted from lack of sleep and water, while others squirmed because they were on watch but needed desperately to use the bathroom. Others raved like crabs.

6 Then I saw a pot of water simmering. I heard from elsewhere a voice saying, “Son of crab, do you understand what you see?” And I said back, “What are you smoking?” He replied, “Pain medicine.” I said back, “Well, how can I understand it? You suck at symbolism and setting the scene like they usually do in apocalyptic literature.” That said, I feared that this vision could portend doom. The sight of a pot of boiling water triggered memories of the day when my father was taken from me, only to be lowered into a vat of boiling water, never to be seen again. I thought of all of my people, unfairly subjected to hammers, knives, and scalding water. I thought of the great LinkAngry Clam, revered by mollusks everywhere. But the voice said, “Draw closer, and the pot will become transparent.” So I approached ever so carefully, and with every crustacean step, the walls of the pot grew increasingly transparent. Soon, I was so close that I could feel the heat starting to cook my claw flesh. Then the pot revealed its contents. Boiling inside were dozens of potatoes.

Then I saw a masher appear from the sky to crush the potatoes. I asked, “What does this mean?” Then the voice said back, “Wisdom is needed here. Let the reader understand.”

I replied, “OK. But I haven’t written this text yet, so how can the reader understand?”

7 Then there was silence. Then I saw missiles flying in the air in numbers too great to count. On one side were crabs and crab-horse hybrids, which courageously flung shields up to protect themselves. A few hundred crabs were stomped and swept away, but the majority remained. Then I saw the crabs launch salvo upon salvo of missiles at the rest of the world. Decimation and destruction soon surrounded me. Then I saw the crabs toy with their meals, negating the launches of others with massive iron claws.

Then I saw the head of a Linkbald man declare, “It is finished.” Then he disappeared to write another book. I looked around, and all I saw was carcinization. Then the world was at peace.

Then I saw the woman I first saw. She was now radiant with light and no longer an old hag. In her hand was a jar of correctly pickled garlic. Next to her appeared the apocalyptic horsemen (and horsewomen), and then the one with questions. Every question was answered, and the questioner was at peace. But I did not see Dilber, because he has ascended to the most high. Then I saw a DJ booth, with my maker happily queuing songs of victory and writing haiku on the side.

8 Then I saw a multitude of undead in the billions. They smelled of sulfur and rotted salmon and brought terror with their fiery undead eyes. I immediately retreated, only to find this multitude pursue me until I found a crevice to hide in. Then I saw a great crab decked in haz-mat armor approach laterally. He had in his claw the divine flamethrower. And then I understood what I had to write.

I, the Rock Lobster, am the recipient of this apocalypse. I saw, I heard, and like many other crustaceans, I conquered. I bear a message unto all of you, a message that is true, and because it is true, it is something you must do. Let those who do good persevere in doing good. Let the fash be bashed. Let the farmers farm. Let the world know that all evolves unto crab. Know crab, know peace. But when the hordes appear, the crabs shall not bring peace, but the final death.

The Sasquatch Apocalypse

Then all the crabs said, "Amen."

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TWP Card Collection Spotlight: Part 2
By Giovanniland, Card Czar of the West

In the October 2020 edition of the Western Post, I wrote about notable card collections in the West Pacific. Collections are groups of cards pertaining to a certain theme, and they come in all types and sizes in the card universe, many of which are certainly deserving recognition. For those not in the know, I also maintain the Collection Collection v2 thread in the NationStates forums, meaning that I often look at collections to see if they're worthy of inclusion.

After a year since the previous spotlight for collections made by TWPers, I've decided to write a second edition. This article will not only feature some of the collectors already listed in the first edition and that have had significant updates to their decks since then, but also notable new collectors in the region. Furthermore, the nation doesn't need to have a high deck value, as I have also stumbled upon collections of lower-ranked residents, some of which are certainly worth noting. Another change was the addition of screenshots for certain collections I found interesting.

Giovanniland

In the previous spotlight, I talked about my Season 1 and Season 2 regional collections of every nation in the West Pacific. The Season 1 one had already been completed by then, but only in March 2021 the Season 2 counterpart achieved all 6,839 cards—I even wrote an article about that. However, the regional collections are not the main focus of this self-spotlight. Instead, I also own multiple other collections with cards about various themes, including seven hundred related to the Himalayas, nearly four hundred Brazilian-like flags, two hundred about George Orwell's 1984, and even some related to chess. In addition to those collections held in puppets, my main also hosts a few other collections, for example TWP-themed ones and a large display of cards featuring wreaths.


A screenshot of the Brazilian flags collection by myself.

Fhaengshia

Meanwhile, Fhaengshia is a newer collector to the scene, considering that their collections were all built after the first spotlight. But they have already been mentioned in other recent card-related articles, such as an interview of the TWP residents that completed a legendary collection. Besides this golden feat, though, Fhaengshia also collects many other cards. Most notable of them all is probably the complete collection of every Season 2 Delegate, which is currently being transferred from Fhaengshia to their puppet Naughty Catboys. But there are other collections worth mentioning as well, such as Fhaeng's complete set of every nation that has had a commendation or condemnation repealed, and more recently a list of collectors that have achieved the first-place position in the deck value leaderboard.

Elegarth

Elegarth, mentioned in the first spotlight as the only TWPer to have a complete set of Season 1 legendaries, is also included again since some of their collections have received notable updates. One example is their Season 2 legendary collection, completed between the two spotlights. This makes Elegarth one of the few nations to own every existing legendary card, and of course the only in the West Pacific to have reached this feat so far. Furthermore, Elegarth also owns a Rick and Morty-themed collection in their puppet A King who Waits for the End, featuring over fifty cards, and of course their complete collection of their over two hundred puppets.

Mediobogdum

Next up we have Mediobogdum, who also makes a returning appearance in the spotlight. The first edition mentioned their notable collection of every Season 2 epic card, which was the first one to be completed, as well as a few other collections featuring puppet series with interesting card. Some of their more recent collections are their complete Season 2 legendary set, also mentioned in the interview of TWPers with complete legendary collections, and other sets of cards pertaining to holidays, such as their Halloween and Christmas collections. It is worth noting that Medio's Halloween collection was also an entry to one of the OcTWPerfest card contests that happened last year, summed up in this article.


A screenshot of the Christmas collection by Mediobogdum.

ALON

Aluminum Oxynitride (ALON) was previously mentioned as a casual collector—military gameplay is more of a passion to them than trading cards—but that doesn't mean they don't have interesting collections. Since the publishing of the first spotlight, ALON has built collections about various themes such as Harry Potter, STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and others. Some of them have also been entries to regional card contests, such as the winning TWPride submission. Furthermore, ALON's great wordplay has meant that they often receive card prizes as part of Punday Monday, as seen by the Big Book of Puns that has registered a total of 10 wins for them as I write.

Kisovec

While perhaps less known to the active community of the West, the collections owned by the resident nation of Kisovec must not be overlooked. One example is their owl-themed collection, featuring a small but significant amount of cards, and also the interesting title of "A message of hope for those who choose to hear it and a warning for those who do not" that cites song lyrics. There is also an almost complete set of cards whose nations had a first-place badge in one or more censuses at the time of the Season 2 snapshot, with 47 of 48 available cards, and lastly a self-collection featuring their animated flag.


A screenshot of the Owls collection by Kisovec.

Varanius

Moving on to other new additions to the spotlight, we have Varanius. Although they don't card farm often, the bank that results from using hundreds of puppets has certainly aided in funding their self-collection, which is also the largest in their deck. Another interesting collection in Vara's deck is a set of cards whose nation names contain the world "old", which is ironic considering the player's known young age—although there's not much to be said about Vara's deck.

Belililou

Last but not least, I bring this article to a perfect end by bringing to the spotlight another less known nation, namely Belililou. They have a collection called Surrounding Seas, which features many aquatic animals, marine scenery photos, and several other cards. Furthermore, the collection is also related to the nation's overall theme, which seems to reference Linka state of Palau, a small real-life nation composed of many islands in the Pacific Ocean—a detail that makes the collection more interesting.


A screenshot of the Surrounding Seas collection by Belililou.

Anyways, that's it for this article! I recommend checking all collections I have mentioned in this article if you haven't already, and of course other collections curated by TWPers that I may not have mentioned here. If you wish to build a collection and need help with that, be sure to join our regional Discord server and ask questions at #twp-card-central: the home of every TWP card collector. Thanks for reading the article, and stay tuned for more card-related articles in the future.

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Monthly Radio Retrospective
By Giovanniland


The West on The Waves logo designed by Bran Astor.

In the previous edition of the Western Post, one of the main people behind our growing radio program called The West on The Waves, Wymondham, sat down and wrote about the history behind the creation of our regional radio, and also talked about its first few shows. After this article, several more shows happened in September, with many residents of the West or from afar tuning in to listen. Therefore, as a spectator present in most of these shows, I've decided to write a summary of those that happened until I started writing this, so that hopefully more people get interested in the shows, or perhaps even decide to participate in the future. Without further ado, let's start!

The month started with the third edition of What's a vibe anyway? by Blue Bubble, a show in which the host prepares sets of 10 songs for people to listen and guess the vibe. Blue then selects the vibe description she likes the most, and then the winner can select the first song, artist, or genre that will be played in the next week. As for Linkthe third set, the winning description was "like a turn your lights off and just vibe a little vibe" by Evil Mother (Icarus). There were later editions throughout the month, namely LinkShow 4, LinkShow 5 (with United Adaikes describing it as "just got out of work at night, just driving chill, but not wanting to go home yet as i feel like i want to chill more outside..."), LinkShow 6, and LinkThe Lost Vibes, the last one featuring songs from everyone who helped create the first 6 shows.

Three days later, the Linkfirst episode of In The Mines with Zoran happened, featuring host Zoran and guests Teralyon and Varanius. Current events in the region were discussed at first, such as the elections for the Speaker of the Hall and HoN Guardian positions that resulted in Zoran and United Adaikes being re-elected to their respective positions, and happenings in the Foreign Affairs and World Assembly Recruitment ministries that could be publicly discussed. Later discussions featured Security Council proposal drafts such as Condemn Dalimbar, with the joke suggestions to Commend, Declare and Liberate Dalimbar as well.

Then, in the 11th of October, the Wym Show returned with Linkits third episode, which featured several former Delegates: TWP's The Holy Principality of Saint Mark, TNP's Francois Isidore, a guest appearance from TWP's Bran Astor, and technically also the host Wymondham, as the nation was temporarily Delegate of Osiris for 12 hours. The perils and perks of GCR delegacies were the initial theme, with later topics being, for example, people's guesses as to who the next TWP Delegate will be.

The Wym Show later had its fourth episode on the 19th of October, this time featuring Kavagrad and Greylyn from The Leftist Assembly. The history of that region was the initial theme, with later topics being current happenings in both TWP and TLA, the real life countries of NationStates players, and real world politics from several countries. This episode is not available yet on Spotify as of now, but stay tuned since it will appear soon.

Finally, the latest show as I write was the crossover episode between Europeia's Europeian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) Radio and The West on The Waves, that took place during the 3rd of October at 3:30 PM UTC. It featured Blue Bubble and Wymondham from TWP, while President of Europeia Lime82 and Minister of Radio Poulton-with-Fearnhead (also known as Nate) represented Europeia. Planned topics were current happenings in Europeia and TWP, the recent N-Day event, and the German elections in real life, with other topics later discussed. This episode went smoothly, and both participant regions hope for the potential of this partnership to become a more regular occurrence. Just like the 4th episode of the Wym Show, the recording is not available as it still needs to be edited, but it will of course be made available soon.

That is all for this month's radio retrospective, although fret not! Many shows are happening during October, so join Linkour regional Discord server if you want to listen to future broadcasts. This article should also turn into a regular feature of future newspaper editions so that everyone can see what happened within The West on The Waves each month. See you until the next edition!

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Culture in Focus
By Giovanniland

Introduction: Hello there, dear reader! Culture in Focus is a column inaugurated by me on the May edition of the Western Post, focusing on various real-life cultures that one or more members of this region experience in their daily lives. Five editions have been written already, namely about Brazil, Peru, Australia, England, and Hong Kong. Sadly, there was no volunteer for this month, so I decided to fill in for this edition and write not about my country (since it has already been featured in the 1st edition), but the state where I live.

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So, for those not in the know, I come from the South American nation of Brazil, a country with 26 states and one federal district. I live in the southernmost of these states, named Rio Grande do Sul (Portuguese for great southern river), which really doesn't fit with the usual international stereotype people have of Brazil as a tropical, hot country with lots of beaches. In fact, it has snowed here in the past, and even the temperatures in the summer aren't as hot as the rest of country. But anyways, this is a state that borders Argentina to the west and Uruguay to the south, with a history and culture greatly intertwined with those of our Spanish neighbors. In this piece I'll talk about history, demographics, and culture itself.

A map of Rio Grande do Sul.

History and Demographics

Just like the rest of the Americas, this area was inhabited by native peoples before the Age of Discovery. However, unlike northeast Brazil that was immediately occupied in the dawn of the 16th century, the importance of what is now Rio Grande do Sul would only come much later. In fact, if the first treaty between Spain and Portugal (the Treaty of Tordesillas) continued until today, this area would speak Spanish. But the Spanish were uninterested in here at the time, with their Pacific coast colonies providing gold, silver, and gems, and their main focus in the Atlantic coast being the seaport of Buenos Aires on the River Plate. The first actual European settlers were Jesuit missionary priests who had the goal of converting the local native peoples, the Guaranis, to Christianity.

However, during the Iberian Union between Spain and Portugal, Portuguese settlers advanced west of the initial treaty line and built several settlements, which caused Brazil to achieve more or less the shape it stands today. Some of these settlers, called bandeirantes, stumbled upon the Spanish missions in the 1630s, and decided to destroy them in order to enslave the Guarani inhabitants. Seven Jesuit reductions were later refounded (the Misiones Orientales), but in the Guarani Wars of 1756 the resistance was crushed by force. Luckily, some of the buildings founded in that period still stand today and were recently declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site (see photo). The Badajoz treaty of 1801 handed over definite control of the area to the Portuguese, and more or less at the same time, immigrants from countries such as Germany and Italy started to arrive and found many cities; the culture they brought still influencing the state's culture to this day.

The Jesuit reduction of São Miguel das Missões.

Brazilian independence from Portugal happened in 1822, with a monarchy then ruling the country until 1889. However, during a period of 10 years from 1835 to 1845, the state was temporarily a republic under control of the Farroupilha rebels who sought to establish an independent state, and to protest the uneven market competition between their beef products and the imports from neighboring countries. The revolt was eventually defeated, although the Brazilian government conceded some of the rebels' demands; this was also the only conflict in the region in which there was no victory imposed on the battlefield, but rather agreed upon in a treaty. The state has been part of Brazil ever since, with modern history not much different from the rest of the country. Of course, this history helped shape its modern culture, which is the main topic of this article.

In the topic of demographics, in contrast with the country's nearly equal numbers of European-ancestry whites (49%) and people with mixed indigenous, black and white ancestry (43%), the Rio Grande do Sul state has a clear majority of white at 83.22%. The main minorities are mixed-race people (10.64%) and people with full black ancestry (5.5%), although there is also a small number of inhabitants with Asian (0.33%) and Indigenous (0.31%) ancestry. As for religion, over half of the state is catholic (68.8%), although there is also a significant number of protestants (18.3%), spiritists (0.8%), irreligious (5.3%), and followers of native faiths (4.4%). Finally, about language, the Portuguese language is spoken by most inhabitants, although there is a fair minority of German and Italian immigrants who brought their own languages, that have now developed into regional dialects with the influence of Portuguese and indigenous languages: the Riograndenser Hunsrückisch and the Talian languages respectively.

Culture

The regional drink, called chimarrão.

One of the most important parts of culture, in my opinion, is the cuisine. Due to region's history of being a place where many livestock were raised to be sent to other places of Brazil (such as the gold mines in the Southeast), one of the most iconic meals is the churrasco (barbecue), which features several types of meat. Meanwhile, the regional drink could probably be said to be the chimarrão, a local version of the mate drunk in neighbouring Uruguay and Argentina, which is made by soaking dried leaves of Ilex paraguariensis (commonly known as erva-mate, or yerba-mate in Spanish countries) in hot water.

In areas inhabited by Italian immigrants, there are several famous wineries and even a festival called Festa da Uva (grape festival) to celebrate this piece of culture brought from Italy, which is commonly served with other typical Italian meals such as cheese, pasta, and salami. The same happens with meals and drinks brought by German immigrants, such as beer, kuchen, sauerkraut, eisbein, and others. Some cities celebrate their own versions of the Oktoberfest, a famous German event, with influence from other cultures. Therefore, for this very interesting mix of culture, the state of Rio Grande do Sul is renowned as one of the most culturally rich states of Brazil.

In regards to tourism, the state receives over 3 to 4 million people from outside Brazil every year, and many more from within the country. While the local beaches aren't often as good as the ones in the more northern part of the country, mainly because it can be too cold, for this same reason the inland parts of the state often attract many people wishing to experience a different weather while also keeping in touch with Brazilian culture. The ruins of the Jesuit reductions, mentioned earlier, are visited by many people, while the cities in the highlands of the country and their culture brought by immigrants have also created many unique events. One particularly interesting event that I have chosen to mention is the Natal Luz (Christmas of Lights) event in the city of Gramado, which is a Christmas celebration gathering around a million people yearly and one of the longest Christmas festivals in the world, running from mid-November to mid-January. Meanwhile, in the southern part of the country, the often untouched nature of the Taim ecological reserve and the southwestern pampas are also worth seeing.

The regional music is a blend of many styles, such as the chamamé, milonga, polka and chacarera that are also common across the border in Argentina and Uruguay; while regarding sports, football is the most common one just like in the rest of the country: famous teams from Rio Grande do Sul are Grêmio and Internacional. Finally, one thing I must not forget to mention while talking about Rio Grande do Sul culture is the concept of the gaúcho. While the word is commonly used as a demonym for any inhabitant of the state nowadays, it originally referred to the migratory horseman that were skilled in cattle work present in Argentina, Uruguay, and Rio Grande do Sul. Perhaps it could be said as a Brazilian version of a cowboy, but the specific concept is quite unique, and today a common activity during the state's official holiday (20th of September, also the start of the Farroupilha revolution) is to dress with this outfit often featuring ponchos, lassoes, and a type of trousers called bombacha.

There are of course many more details, but in order to keep this article succinct I will finish it here. I hope you learned something new about my country by reading this article, and if you are interested in this topic feel free to telegram me or search about it in the internet. Furthermore, before closing this article, for the next edition of Culture in Focus I'd like to make you all an invite for a special feature—as part of our halloween-themed activities, we are planning to have a special feature on scary folklore from different cultures! If interested, please contact me (Giovanniland) by telegram or by Discord (Giovanniland#8272), and see you all in the next edition.

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