The Flag of the Sovereign State of Southland
Despite the efforts of Emperor Joshua I of Excalbia to integrate the Highlanders, Lowlanders and North American settlers, tensions remained for several decades. In 1817, a mixed group of American settlers and Lowlanders began equating their grievances against the Highlanders with the Imperial Government. This loose grouping of disparate groups began demanding a republican government. In order to avoid violence, the Emperor extended a land grant to the republicans east of the Borodea Mountains and a patent to establish an autonomous republican government. The republicans accepted the grant and established the Autonomous State of New Virginia.
In 1826, a second group of disenters, who were opposed to the official state church - the Church of Excalbia, petitioned the Emperor for a patent to establish a new settlement in the east. In 1828, the Emperor granted a patent to the devout Christians to establish a second colony, known as Southland. Another settlement, known as Deandra, had been founded by a group of Freedmen on an island south of Excalbia.
Despite lingering racial prejudices, New Virginia, Southland and Deandra, along with the Lowland settlement of Saxmere and the Highland settlements of Alud and Trondgard, declared themselves independent states and immediately formed a Confederation of Soveriegn States in 1829. The C.S.S. adopted a Constitution based on a modified version of the U.S. Constitution that created a weak central government with strong guarantees for personal liberty.
In the first few decades after its founding, the Confederation operated more as a coalition of nations than as a single country. This led to great disparities between the sovereign States of the C.S.S. and rising civil tensions. The State of New Virginia quickly emerged as the most prosperous and most advanced of the States. This fueled a number of disputes between New Virginia and its neighbors.
In 1856, Peter Courtland, commander of the New Virginia State Militia, used his troops to surrounded the Governor's Mansion in Jefferson, in attempt to seize power. The President of the Confederation called for the other States to send their militia's to put down the revolt. The other States , including Southland, were more than happy to respond to the President's request.
The turmoil that had inspired Courtland's failed coup attempt eventually prompted a second Constitutional Conference in 1865. While the Confederation's Constitution remained relatively unchanged, a new understanding of the respective roles of the Confederation and State government emerged from the conference, putting an end to many of the interstate disputes.
In the 20th century, Southland remained the Confederation's most conservative state. The economy remains largely based on agriculture and agroindustries. It has the highest percentage of rural inhabitants in the Confederation and the largest number of churches per capita. Early in the 21st century, the political and religious leaders of Southland, together with their counterparts in Saxmere, became the most vocal critics of recently elected Confederation President Thomas Caine, his alliance with Knootoss and spread of the Order of the Invisible Hand.