|Free State of Hervenbosch
|Official languages||Dutch, Afrikaans|
|•||Eerste Minister||Klaas-Jan de Vries|
|•||Act of Settlement||1852|
|•||Declaration of Independence (from Van Luxemburg||1867|
|GDP (PPP)||2009 estimate|
|GDP (nominal)||2009 estimate|
|Currency||Hervenbosch Guilder (HGD)|
|Time zone||Central Alqosian Time (CMT) (UTC+1)|
|•||Summer (DST)||Central Alqosian Summer Time (UTC+2)|
|Drives on the||right|
The Free State of Hervenbosch (Dutch: Vrijstaat Hervenbosch) is a parliamentary republic in the central Alqosian region of Maredoratica. It is bordered by Laitra to the south and Côte d'Or to the east. Furthermore, it also shares a naval border with Kuqoboqobo to the east. Hervenbosch can be broadly divided into two zones; a desert zone in the north, and a fertile Savannah in the south. The two are divided by an arid strip of approximately 100 km wide. The lifeblood of the country is the Bloedrivier (or Kwembezi river) which flows across the Savannah, supplying it with much-needed water.
Even though it has a population of approximately 8.9 million, its society is highly segregated and most of the black and Bedouin population, a slight majority, lives in the northern desert and mountainous areas that are de-facto independent as they remain outside the reach of the white government in its capital city of Hermansburg. As the white descendants of Annabeeker farmers mostly control the most fertile areas of the country such as the savannah plains of the Bloedrivier, frequent skirmishes occur between black and bedouin rebels and the majority-white government. The government of the Hervenbosch Free State has frequently been criticized by the international community over its combat operations against the northern rebels, especially as proof of genocide and forced displacement of the black and bedouin population in the north exists.
Nevertheless, the southern part of the country, despite its high militarization, has managed to maintain some of its pre-1930's appeal as a 'postcard paradise', whilst also working to establish industries to exploit its reserves of platinum, copper, gold and oil, however international sanctions placed on the Free State regime have made it increasingly difficult to successfully fund these ventures and find good export markets. The sanctions have resulted in extensive smuggling operations over the poorly-guarded borders with Laitra and Côte d'Or.
Originally, Hervenbosch was inhabited by the XXX peoples that typically resided in the region, who mainly lived around the Kwembezi river as as hunter-gatherers and farmers, especially keeping livestock on the lush savannah plains.
The origins of the Hervenbosch Free State come from the Van Luxemburger Vereenigde Agricultureele Compagnie (VAC), which originally contracted the farmers that spread across the Mideast. Displaced by foreign colonisation attempts in present-day Côte d’Or, Badouma, Gaenkharibia, and Kuqoboqobo, these were forced inland to find other suitable agricultural lands, eventually reaching the southern half of Hervenbosch in 1852. Having received very little supplies and support from the VAC since the late 18th century, the contracted farmers were only supported by a regiment-sized element of former VAC troops who had no choice but to stay with their brethren as Van Luxemburg crumbled under a civil war and their employer (the VAC) folded.
Settling occured because of the fertile Savannah plains around the Kwembezi river (or Bloedrivier). Activity focused around the newly founded market town of Hervenbosch as the heart of trading in the area. As the former VAC workers were often armed (with firearms) and in many cases protected by the remainders of trained regiments of VAC colonial troops, the Van Luxemburgers effectively managed to subdue the indigenous population and take control of the fertile plains around the river. Having driven the XXX people towards the northern desert areas, the VAC regiments often felt no need to pursue them further, having already secured the most fertile lands and fearing for their lives and supply chain when faced with the prospect of chasing their opponents into the dry, sandy and rocky terrain.
Over the following years, the indigenous population of the former Savannah terrain and Bedouins from the desert areas formed a somewhat uneasy alliance that would mount attacks on contract farmers around the Bloedrivier, attempting to take back swathes of land. Meanwhile, mixed-race soldiers were often hired by the contract farmers in the area to provide permanent protection, along with the remaining VAC troops. The isolation of the Boers in Hervenbosch forced them to become more self-sufficient and diversify their production to support the ongoing clashes with the land’s former inhabitants in the north. This lead to the city of Hervenbosch growing in size, as well as other settlements being founded on the banks of the Bloedrivier, providing more services and industries related to the agricultural background of the Hervenbosch colony. As refugees from Van Luxemburg came to Hervenbosch during the One-Hundred Year War, having survived trekking across large areas of the Mideast in search of their former brothers and the mystical promised land of stability and ample supplies, their knowledge about modern industrial technologies and warfare became instrumental in setting up early industries in the south, where the cities of Hervenbosch and Willemstad were located.
Following the return to status quo of Van Luxemburg, the new government and Grand Duke, having inherited the remains of the VAC, decided not to assert control of their former colonies or what remained of them. Instead, they motivated the then-governor to declare independence as the Free State of Hervenbosch. Initially, the state displayed great promise as it began to implement modern standards of agriculture with the significant assistance of Van Luxemburger government funds and advice. Production rose to such significant levels that, in 1910, 85% of the produce was exported abroad. With the discovery of resources such as platinum, copper and gold, mining also began to take an increasingly important role in the free state. With the significant returns of both agriculture and mining, Hervenbosch was able to fund the construction of a highly modern capital city, Hermansburg, in 1930. With the support of Van Luxemburg, the Free State of Hervenbosch appeared like a postcard paradise.
However, Hervenbosch had never fully eradicated the black population that the VAC had driven out of their homeland and into the northern desert. There, the XXX peoples had formed a pact with the Bedouin people who travelled across the dry and barren landscape to find oases suitable for their lifestock and agriculture. As they picked up on their lifestyle, the Northern Alliance managed to create significant settlements around the scarce sources of water that existed in the Northern Desert, and with the farming of select crops, particularly opium poppies, could afford to equip its warriors with increasingly modern weaponry, either captured from the white minority or acquired from Laitra. With their improved organisation, the black majority was able to manifest itself more and more from the beginning of the 1930’s. With the black majority fighting a hit-and-run war and mostly attacking settlements along the Bloedrivier, the northernmost Savannah districts of the Free State became almost inaccessible to the farmers and their suppliers, thanks to frequently occurring strikes against traffic on the roads in the area, as well as the frequent attacks on farms and their subsequent torching.
Meanwhile, explorers of the Van Luxemburger Grand Ducal Petroleum Company, surveyed the southern edge of the Northern Desert in small, heavily guarded expeditions. The prospect of oil being located in this strip of desert was already sufficient for the Hervenbosch Free State to drive operations into the Northern Desert whilst also becoming more and more brutal in its actions to secure the fertile plains. Throughout the 1950’s, troops of the Free State Military conducted a bloody campaign to secure some of the oil-rich peripheral desert regions, frequently genociding entire oases of Bedouins in the process, at heavy losses to their own forces. Other villages were convinced or intimidated to join the Free States’ Tirailleur regiments, of which the members received particular advantages from collaborating with the majority white Hervenbosch Free State.
With more and more colonies around Hervenbosch receiving independence and instating black majority rule, the Free State found itself increasingly isolated. Whilst it did not specifically have policies of racial segregation or apartheid, the public opinion of whites was firmly against the ‘rebellious northerners’, a catch-all name for blacks and Bedouins who had remained in the south or had joined forces with the Hervenbosch state later. It was also weakened further by the loss of public support from the Grand Duchy of Van Luxemburg in 1964, as more and more information about the Hervenbosch’ Northern campaigns came out and independent neighbouring states began to petition international governments to end support to the Free State. Even though the public opinion against blacks and Bedouins in Hervenbosch has improved somewhat in recent years and non-whites were never considered as inferior by law, casual discrimination and racism by whites continues to this day, partly out of fear for the Northern Alliance. Nevertheless, the Free State Government elected its first black Member of Parliament in 2003, followed by a first Bedouin member in 2009 and the economic position of these minorities in southern Hervenbosch has shown great improvement in recent years.
Operations to secure the northern Bloedrivier districts and the southern edge of the Northern Desert however continue to this day, even though the Hervenbosch Free State’s majority white government has been weakened by international sanctions placed against its racist and genocidal tendencies. The white minority and their collaborating black and bedouin minority however continues to live comfortably as both legal and illegal exports of rare metals and ores continue to bring in significant funds to allow the continuation of the campaigns against the black majority in the less accessible areas of Hervenbosch. Oil exports from the highly militarised Frederiksberg facility also present a significant source of income; the Van Luxemburger Grand-Ducal Petroleum has previously invested in this facility and it is thought that mercenaries hired by this very company assist the Hervenbosch military in securing the oil-rich areas surrounding it.
Meanwhile, the Bedouin majority that did not choose to collaborate with the Free State remains mostly confined to the deserts and mountains, where they are able to conduct agriculture. Attempts to locate oil by the Bedouins have proven somewhat successful, but the means to exploit these sources, or safe transit routes out of Northern Hervenbosch are almost non-existant. The groups usually have very little property and wealth, as they are continuously forced to relocate due to water and food shortages or military operations. In recent years, the Hervenbosch operations against the Bedouins have forced them to fight a guerrilla war in some areas, whereas other more northerly territories are fully under Bedouin control.
This has today led to a state with an extremely noticeable schism between black/Bedouin and white. Whilst both groups are armed to the teeth and willing to go to extreme ends to defend their territory, the 34% of the population that is white (and mainly of Van Luxemburger – Annabeeker descent) is able to live reasonably well, even though life in the northern savanna districts is often dangerous and difficult. A collection of mixed race and collaborating black citizens ((14% of the total population) live a privileged life compared to the majority of the population (52%), which usually only have their own oase agriculture and livestock to live from, and are at the same time required to supply the extensive rebel forces in their areas.
Geography, Climate and Environment
Hot, hot, hotter in the north, somewhat better in the south. If only they could extend that river up north..
Hervenbosch is recognised as one of the few states in Alqosia that has held free and fair elections in the last decade; the moderate right-wing Party for the Free State (Dutch: Partij voor de Vrije Staat) of Klaas-Jan De Vries was re-elected for another four-year term in 2014 following what the Maredoratic League observers identified as “largely free elections. […] without any disruptions”. The De Vries cabinet is notable in Hervenbosch because it also includes a naturalised Bedouin secretary and 2 coloured ministers, one of which is a woman.
The state is a parliamentary republic, in which the president is effectively non-executive. Three parties have shared parliamentary power in the 60-seat parliament in the last decades;
- The governing Partij voor de Vrije Staat (Party for the Free State); a moderate-right party with 33 seats that strives for national unity and improvement of general conditions in the Free State, cancellation of international trade embargoes whilst maintaining territiorial integrity and control over the Northern Desert
- The Linkse Partij (Left Party), a moderate left party with 10 seats that is in favour of implementation of a national welfare system, nationalized healthcare and further efforts to increase Hervenbosser standing on the international scene, even if this means giving up parts of the Northern Desert.
- The Partij voor de Boer (Party for the Farmer), an extreme-right party with 17 seats that mainly serves as the voice of those living outside the major cities, which are also most likely to suffer from Bedouin harassment. It has a pro-defence, pro-interventionist stance on the Northern Desert issue and favours support for the many agrarian communities in rural Hervenbosch.
As the inhabitants of the Northern Desert are not considered Hervenbosser nationals, and do not hold any proof of nationality, they are unable to vote in elections. This has resulted in criticism from international observers, saying that those inhabitants should be recognised as eligible voters and citizens based on their long-lasting residence in Hervenbosser territory. The Hervenbosch government however claims that they cannot grant citizenship as the inhabitants are unable to provide proof of identity, given that there are no birth certificates given out by the Bedouins. This is further compounded by the fact that Hervenbosser citizenship policies only recognise Jus Sanguinis, effectively leaving the Bedouins as stateless aliens.
The Hervenbosch Self Defence Forces (Hervenbosser Zelfverdedigingsmacht) are the armed forces of the Free State of Hervenbosch. Having been involved in fighting with the Northern Alliance for most of the 20th and the entire 21st century, the force is experienced, however due to an extended arms embargo has had to make do with older weaponry and improvised modernization. Supported by Styrian and Prekovi military advisors and Van Luxemburger mercenaries however, the HZV has made significant improvements over the last decades, also thanks to threats from Maalukhir.