Mangala rests on the northern shores of the Hellas Sea. The Hellas Sea, formerly the Hellas Basin, was created during the initial stages of the terraformation of Mars when the polar ice caps were melted and the atmosphere raised to a temperature high enough to allow liquid water on the surface. It is linked to the Northern Ocean (Oceanus Borealis) by the Grand Canal. The Co-Prosperity Sphere of Auman controls the southern coast. The western coast is currently held by the Star Empire of Valinon and the east is under the aegis of Aelosia.
Historically the Hellas Sea has been dominated by the Democratic Imperium of Mangala and the The Co-Prosperity Sphere of Auman. Mangala has long regarded the Hellas Sea as a sort of comfortable backyard, and has traditionally publically disclaimed any influence over the portion of the sea that falls outside their territorial waters, while unofficially maintaining a fiercely paternalistic policy (occasionally summarized by the blunter members of the Duma as "Mine, Mine, Mine!") Auman has also strongly resisted external intrusion into the sea. Mangala has repeatedly intervened to prevent military conflict between the Aumanii and various interlopers.
The Hellas Sea suffered from the biological and nuclear fallout from Operation: Roundhammer, the expulsion of Melkor Unchained from Mars. Several nations worked together to clean up the ecosystems, and today the effects of Melkor's depradations are virtually undetectable.
In recent years the balance of power in the Hellas Sea has shifted slightly as Valinon has taken over the Mizar territory on the western coast, and Aelosia has consolidated their control over the eastern coast.
The Pilonese Tunnel
Relations between Mangala (and, to a lesser extent, Auman) and the nation of Pilon have historically been severely strained by the existence of a tunnel between Pilonese territory and the open waters of the Hellas Sea. The tunnel's existence was revealed when Pilon moved troops through it without warning in response to a humanitarian crisis in what is now Valinor-controlled Mizar. The sudden revelation of the tunnel's existence provoked outrage from the Mangalan and Aumanii governments, and brought Mangala closer to war than it had come before or since, as forces within that country took advantage of the situation to make a bid for power using a war.
The Pilonese defended the tunnels existence, while Mangala considered it both a military threat and an economic one (competing against the Grand Canal). Ultimately, the crisis led to the creation of the Duma. Even the Duma, however, was never able to successfully mediate the disagreement between Pilon and Mangala. At one point Mangala was informed that the tunnel had been destroyed, however later investigation revealed that in fact it had only been temporarilly closed. This led to Mangala initiating a program of continuous survelliance of the tunnel, and an increase in Mangalan military assets in the previously demilitarized Hellas Sea.
More recently, relations between Mangala and Pilon have softened, and the Imperial Council of Mangala has reluctantly, urged by the Valinor in Mizar, backed away from demanding the tunnel's destruction. Currently the tunnel functions as an important avenue for trade, with the Hellas entrance jointly administered by Valinon and Pilon, along with continued Mangalan monitering.
The Co-Prosperity Sphere of Auman's sometimes insensetive foreign policy has resulted in tension along both the country's northwestern and northeastern borders. The Aumanii/Aelosian border in particular has been the subject of a series of border wars.