Ambara is a continent lying between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It is a diverse region where religous and ethnic tensions have always run very high.
Plate tectonics recognizes the vast majority of Ambara as being the surface of the Ambaran Plate.
Ambara can be divided into four main regions: the fertile and green lands to the northwest, which include Pantocratorian Ambara and all of the Confederal Members north of that nation but west of the Estaia Mountains; the beautiful but cold and rocky mountains of Adoki; the rugged mountainous area of Western Sahor; and the great plains of Eastern Sahor.
For most of modern history, Marlund and Adoki were the only two inhabited areas of Ambara and both were separate nations. Marlund was generally the dominant power in Ambara. Until the Second Ambaran War, the Marlund government brutally persecuted Jews, Catholics, dissenters, and homosexuals, as well as keeping people of colour in chattel slavery. This racist attitude, matched by strong xenophobic attitudes on the part of Adoki, led to the great hostility between Ambara's two nations. Marlund remained the dominant of the two powers although she was never able to conquer Adoki. Because most Adoki involved in conflicts with Marlund preferred death to captivity, very few persons of Adoki descent are found among Marlunder freedmen.
In 2005, Marlund supported terrorists who launched a massive attack on the city of Armonvale in the Resurgent Dream. However, many of the terrorists involved in the attack were actually Pantocratorians. Related terrorists purchased Pantocratorian Princess Theodora from Veganan forces who had kidnapped her from her home. Princess Theodora was raped and tortured by her captors.
These two terrorist actions prompted the invasion of Marlund by the Danaan High Kingdom, the liberation of the slaves and the prompt establishment of a constitutional monarchy under King Hermann, the heir of the ancient kings before the fascist revolution. The constitutional government swiftly invited Pantocratorian and Adoki forces to join Danaan and local forces in suppressing terrorism and the remnants of the old regime.
Prince Hermann married Ygraine ni Cunedda, the dowager Duchess of Tasat in order to bring about a dynastic union between the Marlunder and Danaan thrones. When the King was forced to abdicate because of his resistance to a political solution to continued violence, he was succeeded by the High King, bringing about a unified throne for both the Danaan High Kingdom and Marlund.
The rise of agriculture and the domestication of animals
The earliest inhabitants of Ambara are believed to have been Vasconian Indians who travelled south into Ambara around 6125 BCE. There are very few living descendants of the first Ambarans. Most of them are believed to have been absorbed into the African-Ambaran population. The first evidence of agriculture in Ambara dates to 1254 BCE when natives domesticated pearl and finger millet, cowpea, groundnut, cotton, watermelon, bottle gourds, lintel, flax, coffee and teff. Natives also domesticated the elephant and the boar for transportation and meat.
In addition to agriculture, many ancient Ambaran communities continued to rely upon hunting, gathering and fishing up until the time of European conquest and beyond.
Almost nothing is known of human societies in Ambara prior to the settlement of Marlund and Adoki. Very few archaeological sites have been found, mostly in Sahor, Jagiella and Gandara. These include statues of the so-called Ambaran Amazons, aboriginal Ambaran women depicted in military endeavors. Largely on the basis of these remains, many anthropologists have theorized that the the aboriginal Ambarans had a radically different view of gender roles from many other aboriginal cultures. Others, however, have maintained that the statues likely represent non-normative figures, either goddesses or other semi-mythical figures comparable to the Amazons in ancient Greek mythology. Still others hold that the statues are not the work of aboriginal Ambarans at all but of now forgotten efforts at Hipolitan colonization of Sahor.
The Japanese colonization of Adoki began some five centuries ago when settlers left Japan to seek a new life. They were led by Prince Shoko(1498-1548), an unrecognized son of Emperor Go-Tsuchimikado who resented being denied a throne he considered rightfully his. The settlers founded their first colony in the city of Aaharo, which remains an important Adoki port city and the site of an important imperial palace to this day.
Over the next five centuries, the settlers expanded throughout present day Adoki. Prince Shoko and his immediate heirs styled themselves Emperors of Japan until 1806, when Emperor Ogimachi (reigned 1797-1808) began to style himself Emperor of Adoki. This change in title marked a recognition both that the line of Shoko would never sit on the throne of Japan and that Adoki had now become a viable nation in its own right.
European colonization of Ambara, which began in 1542, largely took place in what is now the nation of Marlund, although settlers originally founded many different colonies each with its own distinctive government. The early settlers were mostly religious dissidents who were fleeing from Europe in order to establish their own ideal religious communities. However, few of these communities embraced the principle of religious freedom in any abstract sense. Even as they complained of persecutions in Europe, most of them conducted their own affairs according to theocratic principles of government.
Marlund is one of the few places in the Western hemisphere where European colonists considered themselves completely independent of their homelands from the moment they landed. The colonists in Marlund set out not merely to set up their own religious communities but to set up completely independent polities. It was for this reason that, at great expense and danger, they set up their colonies on the Pacific, rather than the Atlantic, coast of Ambara. They believed that this would make it essentially impossible for any European power to gain effective authority over them. This practice made most of the early settlers criminals according to the established authorities in their homelands and their self-proclaimed republics, kingdoms, commonwealths and city-states were not formally recognized by any European state until 1754, centuries after colonization begun.
The early settlers of Marlund came mostly from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. However, settlers from nearly every European power were included. The early settlers differed not only in nationality and language but also in religion and politics. While all were Protestants, they advocated many different specific sects and forms of government, ranging from austere Calvinists to celebratory Charismatics and from absolute monarchies to democratic republics with universal white suffrage.
The first settlers found some natives already living in Ambara. The early Marlunders were somewhat divided in their approach to the natives. Some regarded them as less than human, capable only of serving as lowly servants to the settlers or even as requiring extermination. Others regarded them as merely uncivilized and sought to Christianize and assimilate them on unequal terms. However, no group of settlers was willing to treat with the natives as equals. The natives were often enslaved and forced to labour for the colonists. As the native population was decimated by overwork, European diseases and frequent massacres, the Europeans turned to the importation of African slaves for labor purposes. The remaining natives were soon absorbed into this new African-Ambaran population.
Slavery expanded rapidly in suceeding centuries, so much so that by the time it was finally destroyed during the Second Ambaran War, African-Ambaran former slaves made up 41% of Marlund's people. While white Marlunders attempted to maintain a myth of strict racial separation throughout the period of slavery, white men had unacknowledged but generally accepted sexual access to their female slaves, willing and unwilling. Most experts estimate that this unequal sexual contact, essentially amounting to serial rape, was so widespread that the average African-Ambaran today is 21% European in heritage.
In 1916, Marlund, while still far behind nearly every other nation on earth, was beginning to embrace reform. Slavery had been restricted, abuses curtailed and many slaves freed and even made full citizens. Complete abolition seemed to be imminent. Property restrictions on suffrage had been eliminated. Married women's property and contract rights had been recognized and the first divorce laws were being introduced. A serious movement for women's suffrage was underway. Religious toleration for Catholics and Jews had been achieved, at least as far as the law was concerned. While behind, the nation seemed poised to move into the 20th century. However, these very reforms produced a backlash in the form of a fascist, fundamentalist revolution led by Dirk Fable. Upon taking power, Fable not only began to attack African-Ambarans, Catholics, Jews, women and homosexuals within his own country but also began to make hostile moves against Adoki. Adoki, for its part, responded by moving towards a more militaristic, more autocratic style of government.
For nearly the whole of the 20th century, Marlund and Adoki were fighting one another. During the First World War, Adoki was an Allied Power and Marlund a Central Power. After the war in Europe ended, the two nations kept up low-level fighting until the Second World War, during which they were both Axis powers. After the end of the Second World War, Adoki and Marlund each blamed the other for the defeat of the Axis, waging the truly vicious First Ambaran War.
The situation remained much the same until the Second Ambaran War, which saw the restoration of constitutional monarchy and the introduction of the rule of law in Marlund, the democratization and introduction of the rule of law in Adoki and the abolition of slavery and overt racial oppression throughout the continent.
Shortly after the Second Ambaran War, the other Confederal Members in Ambara were founded. The Commonwealth of Peoples was formed and afterwards its Members were incorporated into the Confederated Peoples, a new polity which included most of Ambara. In addition to the Confederated Peoples, Pantocratorian Ambara and Abt were founded at this time.
Ambara is an economically developed region where every nation enjoys a "First World" standard of living. The only area of significant economic underdevelopment is the Confederal Member of Marlund which is still in the process of reconstructing itself after the abolition of its previous institutions of slavery, dictatorship, theocracy and a racial caste system. Marlund's economic problems create steady population pressures along its border with Pantocratorian Ambara and even stronger pressures on other Confederal Members which cannot, by law, limit population movements within the Confederated Peoples. However, Marlund's increasing economic integration with the rest of the Confederated Peoples and her Ambaran neighbors is creating a steady upward trend in Marlund's economy.
Regional and political divisions
The eastern half of Ambara is sometimes referred to as Sahor, although this has fallen out of use as a broad regional term ever since the name was adopted by a group of Confederal Members taking up only a fourth of the area traditionally referred to as Sahor.
In the far North, where, despite the proximity to the equator, high altitudes keep most of the land colder than many southern locations, the Resurgent Dream lays claim to seven Members: Selinia, Thorlund, Zutern, Alekthos, Amalad, Amory and Carasia.
Just south of this northern region, Marlund, a Confederal Member, is one of Ambara's oldest settlements. Now a fully democratic and multicultural constitutional monarchy, Marlund has a long history of racial and religious bigotry and oppression. The northern part of Marlund is occuppied primarily by the previously dominant European-Ambarans while southern Marlund is occuppied in large part by African-Ambarans.
Pantocratorian Ambara, just to the south of Marlund, is an essentially independent nation populated by settlers from Pantocratoria, with Emperor Andreus of Pantocratoria as their head of state, but their own democratically choosen Premier as their head of government.
A large bay lies between Pantocratorian Ambara and Adoki, the southernmost land in western Ambara. Adoki is a culturally and ethnically Japanese Confederal Member whose people are sometimes considered insular and hostile to outsiders.
Ambara is culturally, ethnically, religiously and linguistically diverse. The continent possesses eight major languages, four broad racial groups and dozens of sometimes overlapping religious and cultural identities.
The different Confederal Members display considerable diversity among themselves with regard to religion although they also each individually have a reasonable degree of internal diversity. Lutheranism is the predominant religion the Kingdom of Marlund and in the Principality of Thorlund. Shinto and Buddhism are the major religions in the Empire of Adoki. The Church of Amory is established in the Principality of Amory. The National Protestant Church dominates the religious scene in Zutern. Alekthos and Amalad both have Islamic majorities. Selinia has a majority Jewish population and Carasia is mostly Oriental Orthodox. Gandara is a largely secular state but its two largest religious bodies are the Gandaran Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends and the Gandaran Union for Reform Judaism. Jagiella is overwhelmingly Catholic. A little more than two thirds of Sahori consider themselves Christians and a majority of those belong to the Catholic Church, the Church of Amory, the Church of Excalbia or the Christian Union Church.
Pantocratorian Ambara, while not so diverse as the Confederated Peoples, is a religiously diverse nation containing Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Lutheran populations. Abt, on the other hand, is almost entirely Orthodox.
Pantocratorian Ambara has two official languages: French and Greek. Abt's official language is Russian. The de facto official language of the Confederated Peoples is English. The various Confederal Members in Ambara recognize a number of other languages as official within their own borders, including Amharic, Arabic, French, Hebrew and Polish.
Ethnic groups in Ambara include:
Only three nations possess territory in Ambara: Abt, Pantocratorian Ambara and the Confederated Peoples. The various Confederal Members which currently represent located in Ambara make up a majority of the continent in terms of geographical size. These Members are themselves part of a larger polity which includes a great deal of territory outside of Ambara. Abt, although it has historic ties to both the Resurgent Dream and Taraskovya, is a completely sovereign and independent state. Pantocratorian Ambara is a self-governing part of the Pantocratorian Empire, sharing a sovereign with Pantocratoria proper.