History of Ariddia

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This article lays out an overview of the history of the Ariddian Isles, from early Wymgani colonisation to the present, including the era of Wymgani exploration, colonisation in the seventeenth century, the proclamation of the People's Democratic Social Republic in 1985, and the secessionist movements which split the nation in three in the early twenty-first century.

Indigenous Ariddia


The Ariddian Isles are thought to have been first settled over 3,000 years ago by Pacific Islanders of indeterminate (though possibly Polynesian) origin. The oldest known trace of their presence is the Ieoa burial site, a cemetary on the island of Ocea, thought to be about 2,850 years old. Coastal middens, on Ocea and several smaller islands, have been tentatively dated as being two centuries older or more. As the Ieoa site is deep inland, it is believed that the coast had been inhabited for several generations before the first Indigenous Ariddians (Wymgani) ventured that far into the thick forests.

By 2,400 years ago, Wymgani had definitely spread to almost all of the country's twenty islands, and had formed a variety of distinct, but culturally very similar communities. Relations between communities are thought to have been, for the most part, peaceful, although sporadic warfare did exist. Communities in coastal areas remained in close contact with those further inland, exchanging ressources. Almost all communities used agriculture at least to some degree, and also hunted, fished, forraged and ate fruit and plants. They held a deep respect for nature, and practiced careful conservationist policies, not wanting to over-exploit ressources.


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an artist's rendering of a fleet of late thirteenth century Wymgani ships

About 2,000 years ago, Wymgani were still sailing the oceans around the Ariddian Isles, and it is highly probable they discovered continental Uhuhland around this time, although they did not settle there, and did not return there, except on rare occasions, for over fifteen hundred years. Around 1,900 years ago, Wymgani settlers reached the island of Lwellsl, and remained there, with no contact with the outside world, until the twenty-first century.

By the fourteenth century, Wymgani explorers (including the legendary Wa We) were navigating the far oceans of the Earth, seeking knowledge of foreign peoples. In 1478, they had reached the Arctic, in small but astonishingly sturdy vessels, and some settled in what would later become the Ariddian Arctic Islands. The voyages of Indigenous Ariddians in pre-colonial times have amazed later, non-Indigenous scholars, and have been the topic of much research, as well as works of fiction. Most notable, perhaps, are Ellen Diamond's Worlds Beyond the Seas: Wymgani Explorers through the Centuries, Jacques Plomb's Les Wymgani à la découverte du monde: les meilleurs navigateurs de l'Histoire, Cynthia Ashe's & Paolo Benetti's 1365: The Discovery of Europe, and the film Beyond the Horizon, relating the Wymgani fifteenth century trek to the astonishingly distant Arctic.

It was around this time, in the early fifteenth century, that Wymgani philosopher and artist Sho Ea lived and worked.

17th century

By the early seventeenth century, the attention of Wymgani explorers had been drawn once more to lands much closer to home: the Uhuhland continent. They began charting its coasts and exploring its inland, encountering its inhabitants. By this time, Europeans had settled in parts of Uhuhland, but were unaware of the Ariddian Isles to the south of the continent, and the first ever contact between Wymgani and Europeans were therefore due to Wymgani explorers discovering European settlers. In 1639, Wymgani discovered the partly abandoned village of San Adriano in Uhuhland, and, with the villagers still residing there, rebuilt a living community. In 1641, the joint Wymgani and European villagers proclaimed San Adriano a sovereign micro-State; that notion of sovereignty was later to inspire Wymgani back in the Ariddian Isles.

In 1662, Europeans discovered Ariddia in turn. The first European vessel to have reached the Islands was the Aridd, a French ship named, allegedly, after a now-forgotten, semi-mythical hero admired by its captain, Auguste Luthier. The Aridd reached the island of Vertelande and established contact with its inhabitants, then went on to chart the rest of the country. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the French, the English vessel Courageous had also discovered Ariddia, reaching Ocea nine days after the Aridd found Vertelande. Having established peaceful contact with the Indigenous Ariddians, both ships sailed home without ever crossing path or being aware of each other, and the French and British laid simultaneous claims to the islands.

Neither claim was originally acted upon. In the early 1670s, European traders, from both Europe and Uhuhland, began to sail to Ariddia for trade, and a small number of people settled in the islands, either founding their own settlements or being accepted into Wymgani communities. Most Wymgani were willing to accomodate these small numbers of foreigners, especially since they found their customs, clothing and technology intriguing. The only major incident occured in 1673, on Ocea, when members of a small British settlement, Sunlight Coast, antagonised their Wymgani neighbours and murdered four natives, an act which led to bloody revenge. The Wymgani Auhewi community called upon alliances and stormed the settlement. Most male settlers and some female were killed and eaten, and the children taken and raised by the Wymgani.

Elsewhere, however, all was peaceful. A British settler, Paul Cobbles, wrote in 1674 that

The Natives are most courteous and approach us with insatiable curiosity, asking many questions about the land we have come from and its customs, and offering us agricultural and medical assistance! They are for the most clean and healthy, although they are Pagan and uncivilised, and have no concept of modest clothing.

Efforts by missionaries to Christianise and "civilise" Indigenous Ariddians met with mixed, but often disappointing, results. Missionaries were shocked - and scholars fascinated - to discover that Wymgani had no concept of spirituality whatsoever; Cobbles' statement that they were "Pagans" was obviously in error. Some Wymgani were curious enough to experiment with Christianity, but most were uninterested. Likewise, they expressed distaste at European notions of commerce, and declared they wanted no part of it, although they did occasionally barter when it appeared European settlers were not accustomed to the notion of free sharing between neighbours.

In 1683, an envoy of the French authorities invited British officials and representatives of several Wymgani communities to sign the Treaty of Espérence, which established Franco-British sovereignty over the Islands but guarenteed certain inalianable rights to the Wymgani. The legality of the Treaty has often been disputed, since there existed no national Wymgani government able to sign it, and most Wymgani remained unaware of it even decades later. Nonetheless, in 1684, an Anglo-French Condominium was proclaimed over the twenty islands of Ariddia, and the country's first European Governor, Théophile Jardin, was designated head of the Condominium, along with Assistant Governor Jonathan Earl. It was agreed that, after five years, a British Governor would replace the French one, and so on on a rotational basus every five years. Wymgani themselves were offered no part in government, but most of the country remained effectively under Wymgani control.

The colonial era


A theoretically unified Ariddia was thus born in 1684, and the provision for a rotational governorship was applied as intended. There was occasional friction between British and French, but for the most part the Governor and his Assistant worked together amicably, and most French settlers never saw their British counterparts (or vice-versa) in any case. Ariddia was still a country of dispersed, unconnected settlements, and some Wymgani living deep within the virgin forest of Ocea, Wehosh, Illiw'ae, Vertelande and the other largest islands remained unaware that there were even Europeans living on the coasts of their island.

By 1700, Espérence, Cité-Belle, Wavecrest, Aqeyr and Haven had all been founded, although they remained small towns rather than the cities they are today. Espérence was the original capital, until Governor Jardin moved it to Cité-Belle in 1705, laying the bases for it to become of of Ariddia's major cities. New Hope was not founded until 1741, and Rêvane in 1758.

The land question

As long as the number of settlers remained small, Wymgani were contact to accept and even assist them. They considered the settlements to be autonomous areas within a loose Wymgani sphere of influence, and mostly ignored the Condominium's claims to nationwide sovereignty. The first major point of friction grew from the settlers' desire for land. Some settlers, mostly from the 1710s, began to encroach beyond the agricultural outskirts of the European settlements, and were roughly repelled by Wymgani, much to their displeasure. Skirmishes erupted when settlers refused to acknowledge Indigenous customary ownership of land, and used force - namely firearms - to drive Wymgani off their own lands. For the first time, Wymgani began systematic appeals to colonial courts, citing their rights as established in custom and in the Treaty of Espérence. The results of such legal action were varied.

Courts often found in favour of the Wymgani plaintifs, much to the anger of some settlers. However, some courts cited the Treaty clause which vested sovereignty in the Condominium, itself a representative of colonial authority, and interpreted it as meaning that all Wymgani land rightly belonged to the French and British States. The matter was taken to the colonial Prime Court in 1747, which rendered an ambiguous and controversial ruling. The judges found that the Treaty of Espérence was "a nullity" due to their having been no united Ariddian nation prior to the proclamation of the Condominium. However, they stated that the Treaty had to be considered source of law until it could be replaced, and interpreted it to mean that Wymgani ownership of lands had been conferred upon Wymgani by the Condominium. Hence, land was owned by Wymgani by default, but could by expropriated unilaterally by the colonial government, if due compension was granted to its Wymgani owners. The ruling was, on the whole, a victory for the settlers, and was not overturned until 1911, when Prime Minister Hugh Vale's Liberal government spoke up in favour of the Treaty, and the judiciary re-instated it fully.

Land wars

Wymgani did not react kindly to expropriation. Although it was not systematic, it occured often enough for Wymgani resistance movements to form. In 1769, expropriated Iowil Wymgani on Limea refused to vacate their lands, and a spontaneous militia formed in Aqeyr and marched in to drive them out. In response, 850 Wymgani gathered, marched on Dajas-sur-Ruisseau, a village near Aqeyr, and, in a replica of the 1673 Sunlight Coast Massacre, slaughtered most of the inhabitants, allegedly cannibalising some, and kidnapped 26 children. Several other violent conflicts marked the following decades, although in some parts of the country White Ariddians did co-exist peacefully with Wymgani communities, and there was no expropriation of land.

1810: a sovereign republic


By the beginning of the nineteenth century, such conflicts had become merely sporadic, and there was, moreover, greater ethno-linguistic mixity in the country's villages, towns and cities. Anglophone and francophone communities were merging, a small number of Whites still lived in Wymgani communities, and some Wymgani had settled in White rural or urban areas. The French and British authorities, petitioned by (White) Ariddians, agreed to grant sovereignty to the Islands, the Condominium was dissolved, and an independent republic was proclaimed in 1810. The capital was moved to Rêvane.

The Governor at the time was James Knight, and it was decided he would complete his mandate, which was due to expire in 1814. That meant that Ariddia would not truly be independent for another four years, but it also meant that time could be devoted to thinking through the new nation's political institutions.

Elections were held in 1814, and suffrage was granted to all sufficiently wealthy, property-owning males born in Ariddia or naturalised at least two years prior to the election, and aged 25 or above. This included Wymgani males aged 30 or above living within the boundaries of an electoral constituency - that is, an area with a large majority of Whites. Indigenous collective ownership of land was recognised for suffrage purposes, but suffrage was granted only to one member of any communal land ownership, in effect drastically decreasing the scope of the potential Wymgani electorate.

There were still no political parties, but most non-Indigenous politicians were essentially conservative in outlook, heralding a conservative domination of Ariddian politics for the next 171 years. The first Ariddian Prime Minister was Cédric Pierre.

Party politics

Party politics appeared in 1833, with the birth of Ariddia's first political party, the Land Party. The latter was avowedly conservative, and drew most of its support from rural areas; its stance towards Wymgani was most often ambiguous, but occasionally hostile. The following year, the Land Party's candidate, Joseph Richards, was elected Prime Minister, and retained that function until he died in office in 1848, having been re-elected in 1839 and 1844.

The Land Party remained the only political party, competiting against independents from loosely structured organisations, until some members split away to form the Conservative Party in 1854. That same year witnessed the first election disputed by two organised parties, and was won by the Land Party's Ugolin Lami. The Conservatives had to wait until 1864 for one of their own, John Miles, to become Prime Minister. Overall, however, the two parties agreed on more issues than they disagreed over.

1879 witnessed the birth of the Liberal Party, also essentially conservative, but more openly capitalist than its two rivals. Its first man in power was Serge Marchand, in 1884. Ten years later, Marchand, seeking a third term in office and facing an uphill struggle in the opinion polls, was the first Prime Minister to target the Wymgani electorate, extending suffrage to all eligible male Wymgani within the scope of communal ownership, and to those outside previously established constituencies. With the support of Wymgani voters, Marchand and the Liberals were carried in for a third term. By then, the Ariddian electorate looked very different to that of 1814. Naturalised citizens no longer had to wait two years before voting, property and monetary requirements had been lowered (they would be dropped altogether in 1909 and 1919 respectively), and all Ariddian men could vote at the age of 21, whatever their ethnicity.

The emergence of the left

Despite these measures, Ariddian politics remained overwhelmingly right-wing, and opponents to this domination were about to make their voice heard. Socialist novellist Annabelle Laurier had been an isolated voice of the left in the nineteenth century, but the poltical field had remained a conservative preserve. In 1898 the Wymgani Party was formed to defend the interests of Indigenous Ariddians, and was followed shortly thereafter by the Socialist Party, the country's first left-wing political party. The two fused into a single Socialist Party in 1904, but the movement was split again two years later as members broke away to form the Radical Party. Left-wing movements, in any case, remained a clear minority.

In 1919, Liberal Prime Minister Hugh Vale oversaw the extension of suffrage to women, Wymgani included, aged 26 or above. The new voters showed their appreciation by renewing their confidence in the Liberals in the 1924 elections, and seemed even less inclined than heir male counterparts to vote for the left.

In 1930, the radically left-wing Democratic Party (which became the Democratic Communist Party six years later, was born. Few could have imagined at the time that it would gain growing support over the following fifty years, especially since it had to compete still against the Socialists and the Radicals. In 1937, the Radicals fused back into the Socialist Party, but, in 1969, the Green Party formed, splitting the left once again. By then, the left had become increasingly popular, although the Conservatives had gained momentum in reaction against the rise of the left. The Liberal Party remained strong, while the Land Party had dwindled to a shadow of its former self. Never had such active political diversity been witnessed in the country; politics animated countless debates.

The 1969 elections brought the Conservative Terrence Edgegeare to power, partly on the basis of anti-leftist sentiment. By 1974, the Conservatives had been in power for twenty consecutive years, and the country was ready for a change. The left vote was still fragmented, and change came in the form of the Liberal candidate Sarah Jones, who became Ariddia's first ever woman Prime Minister. Jones lowered the voting age to 18, continuing a long string of measures widening the suffrage basis throughout the twentieth century. That same year the Land Party, now considered obsolete, disbanded.

Jones was re-elected in 1974, but the following elections, in 1984, brought a wing back in favour of the Conservatives, and Martin Grazer became Prime Minister. Little was he to know that he would be the last ever Conservative leader of Ariddia, or that he would be the last person but one to be titled 'Prime Minister'. Within just over a year, the country was in the grips of a political crisis that would bring about unprecedented change.

The Social Republic

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a red flag flown during a peaceful protest march, 1985

In 1985, there were several mass demonstrations against a variety of Grazer's right-wing politics, and the Liberals, in opposition, joined the Socialists, Communists and Greens to form a majority Opposition in Parliament, refusing to cooperate with the government and thus forcing new elections. The polls indicated that the election would be close, but, so soon after the 1984 elections, it was expected Grazer would still have the support of the electorate. The second round of the vote took place on November 2nd, and when the results were announced millions were stunned to hear Ariddia now had its first ever left-wing government. Xavier Gris, of the Democratic Communist Party, had been elected.

The event was momentous, and sent shockwaves throughout Uhuhland; Ariddia had just become the continent's first communist nation. Millions of Ariddians went to bed that night uncertain what the future would hold, but aware they had just been participants in a historic turning point in their nation's history. Grazer, grim-faced, stated he could not believe that "our strong, proud nation now runs the risk of sinking to the level of a communist dictatorship". Gris, by contrast, promised that Ariddia would remain democratic, and that elections would again be held as scheduled five years later. "Communism is, in its very essence, democratic. True communism is incompatible with dictatorship. It's a contradiction in terms."

Gris rapidly brought about the full nationalisation of the economy, and implemented measures to ensure housing, food, water, education and healthcare for all Ariddians. Thousands fled the country, but gradually increased numbers of immigrants began to settle in the Islands, despite a slump in the economy. Gris enforced strict environmental legislation, began policies to grant greater self-government to Indigenous Ariddians, and promised a gradual phasing out of monetary economy.

Over the following years, Wymgani massively supported the Democratic Communist Party, and joined it in greater numbers, bringing their traditional knowledge to help shape government policies. Prior to the 1989 election, the Socialist Party fused into the DCP, helping ensure Gris' re-election. The Democratic Communist Party has continuously been re-elected ever since.

Fragmentation of the Isles

Limean secession

In 2011, with communism apparently in Ariddia to stay, the Liberal Party became the Movement for a Democratic Alternative, and campaigned vigorously for a return to a capitalist economy. It was clearly a minority party, however, and no great threat. The first major challenge to the government came the following year, when the island of Limea unilaterally proclaimed its independence, seceding as the Sovereign State of West Ariddia and embracing capitalism.

The event caused consternation in Rêvane. Prime Secretary Audrey Valclair - the second woman head of State in Ariddian history, elected in 2009 - called the move "illegal", "a throwback to less civilised times", and refused to recognise the new State. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people began migrating both ways, pro-capitalists flocking to Limea and pro-communists fleeing the new capitalist country. That massive flux of population was abruptly ended when both sides suddenly closed their borders to each other, a decision which was much criticised. It would be several years before the borders would be cautiously re-opened to a mere trickle of migrants, with the creation of Fraternity Sealines in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Rêvane government faced further dissent from its own former supporters. The People's Party and the Ariddian Communist League, founded in 2017 and 2019 respectively, each advocated communist policies distinct from those of the DCP, and fielded their own candidates in elections. They never succeeded in garnering much support, however, and the domination of the Democratic Communist Party was later further entrenched when the Conservative Party disbanded itself in 2031.

Three Ariddias

In 2021, the Ariddian Isles were further split as Nouvel Espoir, a city in the north of West Ariddia, not far from the capital Aqeyr, seceded in turn from the secessionist capitalist State, and became the City of North-West Ariddia. The North-West Ariddian authorities recognised the authority of Rêvane over the entirety of the twenty islands, and subordinated themselves to the Ariddian government. West Ariddia reacted by blocading the city. There were now three Ariddian States, and relations between them were particularly tense.

Only in 2055 did the three countries officially recognise one another's sovereignty, re-open their borders and establish diplomatic relations. Relations had eased slightly as early as the late 2030s, however, when the three Ariddias had presented a common football team to take part in the tenth edition of the World Cup founded by Ariddia.

Recent years

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Aj Ud remained Prime Secretary until the age of 87

In more recent years, the politics of each country have been dominated by their respective leaders. In Ariddia, Prime Secretary Aj Ud was in power an astonishing 45 consecutive years, from 2074 to 2119, and helped shape the political destiny of his country. In 2112, the 80 year-old Indigenous Ariddia suffered a heart-attack and was hospitalised; his duties were temporarily entrusted to Secretary Nuriyah Khadhim. In 2114, Ud was re-elected for a ninth consecutive five-year term, despite his worsening health, but most of the head of State's functions were carried out by Khadhim. In 2118, he announced he would not seek re-election the following year for a tenth term in office, and Khadhim was elected as his successor in May 2119. Khadhim was re-elected in 2124 and, a few months later, the last remaining Opposition parties disbanded.

Ariddia has become a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural country. In sharp contrast to West Ariddia, most of its surface is still covered in vast pristine forests, and well over half the country consists in national parks and nature reserves. Wymgani have significant levels of self-government. It seems unlikely that any drastic political change will affect Ariddia in the foreseable future.

The Rêvane government maintains amicable, albeit occasionally tense relations with Aqeyr and Nouvel Espoir. The stated policy of the Ariddian authorities remains to facilitate the eventual re-unification of the Isles.

In West Ariddia, President Luc Sands remained committed to a radically free market economy and to a decidedly minimalist government throughout his presidency (2107-2122). The country's economy flourished under his non-interventionist leadership, but the number of desperately poor also rose to highly alarming levels. West Ariddia was more detached than its larger, communist neighbour from international politics and alliances, and focused more on trade. Ea L'lew, a blind Indigenous woman and leader of the West Ariddian branch of the Democratic Communist Party, faced Sands in the 2117 elections, having received explicit support from the famous and extremely popular pop singer Ping, but Sands was re-elected by a narrow margin. Indigenous West Ariddians were among President Sands' most vocal opponents, and decried both the social and catastrophic environmental effects of his economic policies.

In 2122, amidst much controversy, L'lew was elected President, and began to implement radical socialist policies in West Ariddia.

In North-West Ariddia, Second Secretary Jasmina Wu caused frowns in Rêvane by deviating from the Ariddian socio-economic model and experimenting with private enterprise, albeit in a limited and highly regulated way. She became a controversial but mostly respected figure in her own country, and oversaw a noted improvement in North-West Ariddia's economy, while maintaining strong standards in terms of social rights and environmental policies. Also in contrast with her predecessors, she spoke up against full re-unification for the time being, arguing that North-West Ariddia should pursue its own, distinct socio-economic and political path as a sovereign nation. She was succeeded in 2121 by Eric Pétillon, a DCP candidate who had her full support and continued her policies. Pétillon was re-elected in 2126.

In 2141, however, Ariddia and North-West Ariddia (the latter under the leadership of Jeremy Cohen) began to take concrete steps towards re-unification, which were resisted by West Ariddian (capitalist) President Jean-Charles Paon.


Reunification of Ariddia and North-West Ariddia was achieved in 2144 on the basis of a Federation of two self-governing States with a shared head of State, Foreign Affairs Minister, Indigenous Parliament, and citizenship. West Ariddia opted out of the new Federation, retaining sovereignty.

In 2143, West Ariddia faced a political crisis when FDP President Thomas Brown attempted to dissolve the institutions of the State and declare pure capitalism. Four months later, communist supporters stormed the abandoned government buildings, along with many business facilities, and called Ea L'lew to power. Self-proclaimed President L'lew announced she would lead a five-year interim government, implement sweeping social reforms, and then hold fresh elections. However, bowing to foreign pressure and to tensions within the country, L'lew eventually agreed to step down, and political consensus was reached on the issue of organising new elections. These were won by DCP candidate Banita Sho, ushering in a new communist-led government. In 2144, West Ariddian citizens rejected reunification with the rest of the Ariddian Isles via referendum.

See also

The Ariddian Isles
Countries: Ariddia (PDSRA)West AriddiaNorth-West AriddiaESAT
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