Questers

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The Questarian Commonwealth
Questers
Flag Flag of the Questarian Communist Party
Motto: Commune Bonum
Anthem: Solidarity Forever
Questers in Maredoratica.
Relief map of Questers
Capital
and largest city
Jesselton
Official languages English, Dansk (official)
Varnian, Sondsteadish, Gallan (regional accepted)
Ethnic groups (2012) 92.7% Questarian
71.7% Gallosaxon
21% Danske
Demonym Questarian
Government Commonwealth
 •  Chairman Peter Baker
Establishment
 •  Kingdom of Questers 877 
Area
 •  Total 679,800 km2
262,472 sq mi
 •  Water (%) 1.2
Population
 •  2016 estimate 117.4 million
117,439,583
 •  Density 163/km2
422/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2016 estimate
 •  Total $2,866 billion
 •  Per capita $24,500
Gini0.166
low
HDI 0.811
very high
Currency Questarian Pound (QPS) (£/)
Time zone Jesselton Mean Time
Date format dd-mm-yyyy
Drives on the left
Calling code 72
Internet TLD .ke

The Questarian Commonwealth, commonly known as Questers (pronounced: /kɛstəs/, KEST-ers), is a federal Commonwealth in Alisna. With a population of 117 million, it is the second most populated Alisnan country, and also the fourth largest economy in Alisna. Questers borders Sondstead over the Rytuic sea, Alanko and Varnia to the north, Jumieges and Schaumburg to the west and Pollona to the south. Questers covers an area of 262,472 square miles.

Jesselton is the capital city of Questers, and one of the largest cities in Alisna. In antiquity, it was the centre of cross-Maredoratic trade, and has influenced the rest of the country accordingly. The Questarian people and Gallo-saxon, their language, are a result of millenia of migration between the peoples of Styria, Sondstead, Varnia, Galla and other south-western Alisnan states. Migration across the Maredoratic Sea through and from Questers cemented cultural and linguistic ties with Brigantia and Cockaygne. Today, Questers exerts significant global cultural influence via the international use of its language. It played a leading role in historical events, such as the Christianisation of Alisna, the Age of Exploration, the Industrial revolution and the Great Maredoratic War. Throughout history it has been a major trading state.

Since antiquity Questers was ruled by a royal family, but this family was deposed in 1991 in the Questarian Revolution. In 1992, Stephen IV was discovered to be leading a plot to overthrow the Government, and he was exiled to Galla. He was replaced with a directly-elected head of state. After a period of military rule between 2009 and 2014, the Questarian Congress seized the powers of the independent head of state, and now choose that position internally. Questers has been called a single party state by foreign observers since only members of the Questarian Communist Party can sit in government. Questers does not possess any overseas territories or non-metropolitan districts, and is de-jure a unitary republic, with two official languages; Anglo-saxon and Danske.

Questers maintains cordial relations with its neighbours, but travel into and out of the Commonwealth is controlled by a strict visa system, including exit visas. Questers has been criticised for reported human rights abuses, including administrative detention and executions, although Questers imposed a death penalty moratorium in 2011, partially due to international pressure. The Questarian state is reported to employ a mass surveillance system to control political dissent. Questers spends the most per-capita on foreign aid in Maredoratica, and directly supports developing countries in Alqosia and Wilassia, as well as financially backing left wing political parties in those countries. Questarian troops have been active in Karaman and in 2015, mutinied and fought a three-week conflict with Prekonate.

Etymology

The current name Questers is a modern form of Quaster, a word which loosely translates to 'bident' in Old Questarian, after the delta of the river Beam. The Quastrian Empire had its capital on this delta and dominated the region until its collapse in 720 AD, but the old Quastrian institutions remained, and so did the name. The bident held symbolic power in the Quastrian court, and has maintained its place as a Questarian national symbol - modern, socialist interpretations identify it as a pitchfork.

Questers is pronounced: /kɛstəs/, (KEST-ers). The name is a Pollonification as Pollonan was the academic language of the country in antiquity, and the spelling has not changed.

History

Evidence of human ancestors in Questers has been found in a number of locations - Cardigan man, until 1992 the oldest example of homo erectus, was discovered in the Cardigan valleys in 1973. Prehistoric settlement began before 3500 BCE, with tribes along the Questarian coast and even further inland. These tribes practiced the Fleckenwalder culture, but polities did not begin to form until well into the iron age, around 350 BCE: the discovery of plentiful iron deposits formed the basis of economic and military expansion.

Map of the Quastrian & Questarian Empire and Kingdom, years in BCE.

Following a period of continuous warfare, the largest and oldest of the polities based around the fertile southeastern region eventually formed into the Quastrian Empire in 30 BCE. This state was one of the first large polities in Alisna to adopt Christianity and by conquest spread that religion across the entire eastern coast of Questers.

The period between antiquity and the middle ages saw the collapse of the Quastrian Empire in 719 CE following sectarian conflict between Arians and Catholics; Gallan raiders began to settle in 720 CE and were defeated in 877 CE by King Jessel, who founded Jesselton and the Kingdom of Questers. These Gallan settlers had a permanent impact on Questarian language and culture.

The House of Jessel controlled the country until the War of the Rose and the Poppy, when the House of Beaufort wrested control in a six year conflict; during the Middle Ages, successive Kings conquered more and more of the country, settling large cities in the west and north: dozens of castles were built to secure the new land and the population quickly rose. A war with Pollona in 1489 cost the country the three southern counties.

During the Early Modern Period a period of religious strife began in which the Arian church was eventually made the state religion. The mountainous interior was brought under control, and the population continued to boom. The Monarchy asserted its absolute control by crushing the Noble's Rebellion in 1652. During the late 18th and early 19th century, Questers took control of leftover polities along the route which had enabled Varnian-Sondsteadish migration; these cultures were assimilated. Despite centuries of mass migration, elements of their culture remain. A period of relative liberalisation emerged out of the economic prosperity of the early 19th century, and foreign religions were finally legalised and the government of the country became more centralised.

Questarian Hussars mount a charge in the Battle of Dalworth's Ford, 1879.

In the Modern Period demands for the abolition of serfdom were answered with the Charter of the Person in 1849; two wars with Pollona in 1879 and 1886 to retake the three counties ended in failure. Questers was a major player in the Maredoratic Great War, which began in 1914 and ended in 1919 and in which it was defeated; territory was ceded to Varnia. The political atmosphere of the early 20th century was dominated by clashes between the Franchists, who advocated for universal suffrage, and the Unionists, who supported the status quo and were backed by the Church. Franchism as a political force was defeated by a combination of Church power and their eventual proscription in 1933.

In 1942, Questers invaded Varnia and despite a Maredoratic League embargo, Varnia was defeated and the territory that Questers had lost in 1919 was regained. Nonetheless it was seen as a phyrric victory, with casualties vastly exceeding the benefit of the gains. The war provided further impetus to the rapidly organising Communist organisations in Questarian society, many of which consisted of old Franchists: the Questarian Communist Party was founded in 1921, but had not seen wide growth until 40,000 repatriated prisoners of war joined it in 1945. It was proscribed in 1951, and membership fell to only 4,500.

Troops observe revolutionaries in the 1991 Revolution.

Large scale industrialisation began in the 1930s, and the Monarchy expanded its political power by founding the Royal Committee for Security and Intelligence which hunted members of the Communist Party (KCP), membership of which dwindled into the 1960s. As the economy began to rapidly industrialise in the 1960s and 1970s, membership of the Communist Party grew. The return of exiled Communists, having learned methods of organisation in Morieux and Rochehaut, also helped the Party to grow. By 1971 it had 3 million members and RCSI was reporting itself unable to contain the growth of the KCP.

An economic recession followed by a sovereign debt crisis pushed Questers to severe depression in the 1980s. Between 1980 and 1989, real national income fell by almost 30% and unemployment grew from 1.2 million in 1979 to almost 14 million in 1990. On December 1st 1990, the Trades Union Congress called a general strike. Throughout December, members of the Communist Party's armed People's Battalions stormed municipal and government offices, taking the House of Commons on the 11th of December. In January, King Stephen IV abdicated. From that time onwards, the Questarian Communist Party has been attempting to create a Communist state in Questers. Its ability to rule has since been challenged by the mutiny of General Alexander Stafford and his troops in the 2015 Karaman War.

Geography

A relief map of Questers

Questers is located in the northern hemisphere of Maredoratica, in Alisna, underneath the Rytuic Sea and at the Northern end of the Fleckenwalder mountain range. It borders Varnia to the north, Schaumburg and Jumieges to the west and Pollona to the south, and shares a water border with Sondstead in the north. The total land area of Questers is 679,800 square kilometres, and its highest point is Pike's Peak at 3,251m.

The Questarian Valleys.
The heartland of Questers is moutainous, with the end of the Fleckenwalder mountains, the range that forms the geographic spine of southern Alisna, finishing in Questers. These mountains drain into the seas around Questers and result in the country's high number of rivers. Geographically, this region is known as The Valleys for its many ridges and deep valleys.

Spreading out to the coast, the terrain becomes more hilly, with heavily wooded valleys and dales, eventually reaching to flatlands. Generally speaking, most commercial and demographic movement has been along the coastlines. Along the Northern coast the draining mountains create a great deal of rivers, backing out onto the highly fertile Northeastern coast; this land, and the eastern coast, essentially sustained the Questarian people in their earlier stages of development.

The coastal areas, especially Hareshire and the southern border with Pollona host the country's main arable land: these fertile areas are mainly irrigated by the largest concentrations of draining water: in the south, the river Beam, which splits into three tributaries; two of which host the capital Jesselton, and the in the North, dividing Hareshire, the river Rythe.

Farbyshire, the southern border with Pollona.
Only towards the centre of the country do the large coniferous forests appear, including Sherwood Forest and Cardigan Forest. The centre of the country, as well as being host to mountains, also features these very dense forests. The end of the Fleckenwalder descent in the Western country results in extremely hilly terrain with expansive forests, forming two national parks, Borders and Strout County. These forests are principally pine forests and conifer forests, while in the east and north of the country forests are typically more deciduous.

Questers does not have official regions, but geographical and cultural differences are pronounced as one travels across the country, principally in dialect but also in other areas such as sport and cuisine. Economic development is broadly aligned with the coastal cities, with the interior being much poorer until the post revolution period, when centrally and indicatively planned industries began to grow in the centre, especially with regards to mining, logging and hydroelectric power.

Most of the population is centred around the East and North coast. A large amount of the population are not urbanised, but are becoming increasingly so as industries begin to locate inwards to take advantage of transport distances between natural resources.

Questers is temperate with heavy rainfall all year round; the temperature rarely drops below -10°C or above 32°C.

Climate data for Questers
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °C (°F) −1
(30)
0.2
(32.4)
3.8
(38.8)
12.2
(54)
18.7
(65.7)
21.5
(70.7)
23.6
(74.5)
22.8
(73)
16.7
(62.1)
10.2
(50.4)
2.9
(37.2)
−1.2
(29.8)
10.8
(51.4)
Average precipitation cm (inches) 17.5
(6.89)
12.3
(4.84)
13.8
(5.43)
8.6
(3.39)
7.9
(3.11)
8.5
(3.35)
9.2
(3.62)
10.7
(4.21)
13.9
(5.47)
16.2
(6.38)
16.5
(6.5)
16.9
(6.65)
152
(59.8)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 3.6
(1.42)
3.4
(1.34)
0.7
(0.28)
0.3
(0.12)
1.1
(0.43)
3.2
(1.26)
4.5
(1.77)
16.8
(6.61)
Source: Maredoratic Meteorological Society

Politics

Peter Baker, current Chairman of Questers (left).

Questers has a unicameral legislature, the Congress of the Questarian Counties, or Congress for short, from which the head of state and head of government are chosen. Counties send members, known as Aldermen, to the Congress every five years, and each County has its own manner of appointing or electing its Aldermen. The Congress is responsible for making laws, approving government plans, and approving the appointment officials to high office. Before the period of military rule, republican Questers had an independently elected General-Secretary as head of state, and a Prime Minister as head of government, but the Congress abolished these positions in 2014.

Since 2014, the Congress has appointed its own Chairman, who fulfills the role of head of government and head of state. The Chairman selects a cabinet and this cabinet forms the government of Questers. There are currently 24 Questarian government departments, each with their own Minister. To be a member of the government or the Congress a person must be a member of the Questarian Communist Party. In those counties where Aldermen are elected, the age of suffrage is set universally at 25. Human rights groups have criticised Questers for its high rate of disenfranchisement, its lack of franchise in certain counties, and the lack of democratic elections; fewer than half of Questarian counties elect their Aldermen directly, although the local government bodies of all counties are elected.

Local government

Counties of Questers

While the task of formulating national plans and administering national policy via bureaus and ministries is the task of the central government, administration and management of local services is devolved to local government. Questers is made up of 29 Counties and Ridings, which are further subdivided into Boroughs in rural areas and Metropolitan Areas in urban areas, and both are further subdivided into Wards: local government bodies are known as Ridingthings, composed of Borough Reeves and Metropolitan Reeves. Wards are run by Wardthings. Although local government has no inherent constitutional right to make legislation, they may make byelaws in areas specified by Act of Law, a form of delegated legislation. Although Questers before 1991 was described as a unitary state, following the Local Government Act 1992 and the Powers of the Regions, Ridings and Counties Act 1993, analysts have typically labeled Questers as a federal state, due to the amount of power these acts delegated Ridingthings to make in byelaws.

There are 842 principal authorities, either Boroughs or Metropolitan Areas. Local government Reeves are elected, but as in the national government, must be members of the Communist Party. The Communist Party puts forwards members for election every five years: some Boroughs and Metropolitan Areas elect more than one Reeve each, and some elect only one, so the multiple non-transferable vote is used; the number of Reeves in each County varies, with Hareshire having the most at 91, and Fernbyshire having the fewest, at 15. Other legal left-wing parties, absorbed by the KCP after the Revolution, can also stand for elections. At present, the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP) controls the most County Reeves, with the Communist Party itself second; since 1992 the People's Green Party (PGP) and Socialist and Christian Alliance (SCA) have gained at least ten percent of the total number of Reeves in the country. Other, more minor left wing parties also have Reeves.

Economy

Main article: -- Economy of Questers

Headquarters of the Board for Planning the Economy, Jesselton.

Questers has the fifth largest economy in the world, with gross domestic product estimated at $2.86 trillion in 2016. The Questarian economy is characterised by central planning, high levels of income equality, high per-hour productivity and price controls. Economic planning in Questers is administrated by the Board for Planning the Economy (BfPE) and the Ministry of Trade, Research and Industry (Minitre). The BfPE sets government economic goals and regularly appears in front of The Commons to discuss these goals in public. Questers is one of the least corrupt countries in Maredoratica by public perception[1].

The BfPE, via the use of a cybernetic neural network running a series of large supercomputers, plans the economy in terms of consumer goods and capital goods output, determining raw material, labour and transport requirements. This neural network is decentralised, with control and operations units for every borough and county council. The BfPE, in concert with Minitre, determines how much and of what type of both consumer and capital goods are for export and for domestic consumption, and sets prices accordingly. The National Reserve Bank acts a central bank which determines the money supply in accordance with what is required by the BfPE and Minitre. All state enterprises are self-managed by workers, and although they are given budgets and directions by the BfPE and Minitre, they determine their own working standards, health and safety practices, wages, holidays, and other benefits.

Questers lacks any domestic source of petroleum, and natural gas was almost completely depleted in the 20th century. In addition, much of the land in Questers is unsuitable for agriculture. Questers has therefore long suffered a balance of payments problem, despite heavy state investment in synthetic petroleum and electrification by hydro-electric and nuclear power. The Questarian economy depends on the import of raw materials and their conversion to finished goods, and their subsequent export to the world market.

Economic policy

Stamburgh Port is one of the largest container ports in Questers.

Industrial policy in Questers is designed to modernise traditional heavy industry and to encourage the development of high tech industry, complemented by high investment in education, infrastructure, and communications. Since 2001 the Questarian economy has followed a export-oriented industrialisation plan. Planners from the Board for Planning the Economy have attempted to strategically invest in emerging, high-tech industries. Industries like chemicals, computer engineering and information technology, pharmaceuticals and precision medical and optical tools which made up only 3% of the economy in 2000 now constitute 24% of Questarian industrial GDP. By 2007, three Questarian enterprises had entered Maredoratica's list of top 20 microchip producers. In 2013, Questers exported $89 billion worth of consumer electronics.

Science and technology

In addition to investment in industry, the education system was revamped with heavy focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics with the intent to produce a highly educated workforce. Per-capita spending on education quintupled between 1995 and 2015. Two government programmes, the Developing Technological Literacy (DETEL) and the Skilled Labour Education and Training Scheme (SLETS), provide financial support for students and adults respectively to increase their labour skills. GDP per hour worked has increased 47% since 1999.

Social provision

At present, the Questarian economic program prioritises guaranteed provision for all citizens for food, housing, and energy. All citizens are issued with a ration card which guarantees daily calorie requirements for an active lifestyle. At present the state guarantees every adult male 3,200 calories and every adult female 2,400. The ration card functions as a debit card in state supermarkets. The ration card is provided to every citizen regardless of employment status or income, and is joined by other guaranteed standard of living measures: since 1991 Questers has embarked on an "ambitious" program of house construction, and every married couple can request social housing immediately after the wedding has been registered; since 1999 single parents and pensioners without married children have been able to request, and receive priority for, social housing; and each household has a monthly free gas and electricity cap, after which punitive charges are imposed.

Since all workers are paid by the state, and all goods sold by the state, Questers has no taxation. Private enterprises exists in the form of small family businesses and agricultural communes. These enterprises pay no tax, may trade with each other, and are subject to virtually no regulation. Questers is therefore the only country in Maredoratica not to levy any kind of tax whatsoever.

Transport

Questarian high speed rail train.

Transport policy in Questers is run by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, although it is subject to broad direction from the Board for Planning the Economy. The Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC) manages and runs the roads, railways, canals, public transport companies, airports and airlines in Questers.

Between 1992 and 2015 the state invested nearly $700 billion in overhauling transport infrastructure. Railway lines were more than doubled from 18,150 km in 1989 to 41,250 km in 2009 and further expanded to 57,500km in 2015. The number of billion passengers per kilometres increased from 112 in 1995 to 611 in 2015, making rail the most used form of transport outside of cities.

Paved roads were also expanded, increasing from 381,950 km in 1989 to 632,109 in 2014. Private ownership of cars, however, decreased, whereas bus and freight vehicle use increased. Questers has one of the lowest rates of private automobile ownership in Maredoratica, a consequence of punitively high taxes on automobile ownership. Cars accounted for only 3% of journeys not made on foot in 2015, including taxis.

Energy Policy

'Farside A' pressurised water reactor in Pembrokeshire.

In 2009 Questers was Maredoratica's third-largest energy consumer[2], but ranked only eighth in overall energy production[3], and Questers has only limited sources of natural gas, coal, and oil. In 2016, 55% of Questers' electricity was produced by nuclear power, 16% by hydro-electric, 15% by natural gas and 16% by coal. State research into solar power was cancelled in 2009, although there is still limited research and development in the wind power sector. The Department of Energy continues research into renewable energy sources as a matter of contingency planning.

Since 1994, the Government embarked on a project known as Energy 2020 which aims to make Questers energy independent by 2025. The plan aims for 1,150 billion kWh production by 2020, met 70% by 31 nuclear power stations and 14 separate hydro-electric complexes, supported by a number of tidal installations. In 2010, Questers finished production of the Richard Elliot Hydro-electric Dam, the largest dam in the world. The total budgeted cost for the entire programme of designing, producing and bringing online 31 nuclear power stations with 48 reactors is approximately $23 billion per year, within the 20 year timeframe. Work on power stations is on-schedule.

Demographics

The first Questarian census was in 1092; census records have been taken every 20, 10, and even 5 years in some cases; the most recent Questarian census was 2011; the National Registration Office is responsible for conducting censuses, and throughout history has been responsible for maintenance of identity cards.

Since 2001, the population has increased at an average of 1.9% per year; comparatively, the population only grew 1.2% between 1991 and 2001, and 0.5% between 1981 and 1991. The population of the country 0-14 has increased dramatically; and the proportion of the population over 65 has decreased significantly.

Overall, the total population recorded in the 2016 census was 117,439,583.The average total fertility rate is 2.1.

The 2011 census recorded that slightly more than half of the country's population are women (51%), 92.7% are of Alisnan descent, and there are 4.6 million homosexuals (4%). The state does not recognise the existence of transsexuals or religions, so these are not counted on the census.

Danske people

Rugbrod, or ryebread, a symbol of the Danske people in Questers.

Danske people (Dansk: Danskere) make up slightly more than a third of Questers demography, although less than a third speak Danske as a first language, and are considered to be ethnically Questarian. Historically they are derived from settlers who stayed in Questers rather than move to Varnia or Sondstead and were later absolved by the Questarian Empire. Danske was only recognised as an official language in 2001; before that, it was considered a foreign language.

The Danske people mainly live in the west and northwest of the country, and constitute approximately 24.5 million of the country's 117 million people. Their culture is closely entwined with that of the Gallo-saxon Questarian culture, but in certain counties such as Ingolmshire, they form a majority, and signs in their language are commonly found. Danske is an optional language in the country's education system; though only 83% of Danske people speak Danske as a first language, 98% of them speak it as a second language.

Their influence on the country's culture is present principally in art and literature, as some famous Danske artists came to prominence in certain historical periods, and some of the country's most popular childrens's literature and folk literature has been written by Danske authors, in Danske including Lars Anker Rasmussen and Christoffer Jorn, who is especially celebrated in the modern era for his connection to the Communist Party. Jorn's book The Fishermen was voted the nation's most loved piece of literature in 2007 and 2009.

Race and ethnicity

A Karamish immigrant prepares kebabs in Jesselton.

The Questarian people can be considered a mix of many Alisnan ethnicities from all neighbouring countries; principally, however, they share DNA mainly with Gallans, Varnians, Styrians and Sondsteaders. As of 2001, the Government no longer recognises the existence of specific ethnicities. The National Statistics Office and the National Registration Office consider only four races to exist (as well as mixes:) white, black, brown and yellow. Racial discrimination is a crime in Questers.

A large number of Questarians trace their ancestry to Varnia, Sondstead or Galla, and in 2009, 47% of Questarians claimed a "Nordic ancestry." This is either reflected in names, especially surnames, language spoken at home, and cultural practices that may differ to Anglo-saxon Questarians. Some consider Questers a Nordic country for this reason.

Questers has historically had extremely low levels of immigration from outside Alisna; poor economic performance and strict immigration laws kept immigration low. Since 1991, Questers has run a policy of nearly open borders. The Maredoratic Organisation for Human Rights, Refugees and Development has named Questers as the "easiest country to migrate to" in Maredoratica; conversely it has also been lamed "the hardest country to emigrate from" in Maredoratica. Questers does not allow dual nationality and operates a strict system of exit controls. Nonetheless, immigrants have arrived, especially from Alqosian countries and refugees from Karaman and other places.

Language





Circle frame.svg

First Language Distribution

  English (69.5%)
  Danske (19.5%)
  Varnian (6%)
  Gallan (3.5%)
  Sondsteadish (0.5%)
  Other (0.5%)

There are three types of language in Questers; "official" languages," "accepted languages" and "foreign languages."

The official languages of Questers are English, which is spoken by 63.5% of Questarians as their first language, and Danske, which is spoken by 19% of Questarians as a first language. Danske suffered from linguistic repression until 2001, when it was recognised as an official language. A further 10% of the population speak one of the three accepted languages as a first language;Varnian (6%), Gallan (3.5%) and Sondsteadish (0.5%). Since nearly all these people are individual, more than half of Questers is bilingual.

Since a Modern Foreign Language has been mandatory for all students aged 4-25 since 1995, approximately 10% of Questers is bilingual or trilingual in a Foreign Language; before 2001 few Questarians learned or spoke a foreign language. Nonetheless, foreign language training is academic in nature, and few Questarians get a chance to use their language skills. Through the Enseigner nos amis en Questerre! (French: Teach our friends in Questers!) programme, some foreign teachers from Morieux have been recruited, but less than 1% of Questarian language classrooms are led by a foreign teacher.

Questarian English is heavily influenced by Gallan, Sondsteadish, Varnian, French and German, via the various migrations that Questers was subject to throguhout history. The language is therefore very diverse, with vocabulary and grammatical structures from a variety of languages. Spelling and pronunciation are particularly irregular.

Questers has many varied accents and regional dialects. Before 1991, Received Pronunciation was the preferred mode of formal communication in English, but since 2001, regional accents and dialects have been given more prominence in media; many Questarian politicians speak with recognisable accents. Unlike other languages, Questers does not legally regulate its language. A variety of dictionaries are published and none are accepted as de jure.

Religion

Many Questarian Churches were expropriated by the state and converted to secular administrative buildings.

The National Registration Office, as a Government office, does not recognise the existence of religion, and so does not keep records on the number of believers in the country. The Organisation pour la liberté religieuse, based in Berry, has estimated that 25.5% of Questarians visit a Church at least once per month.

Christianity in Questers spread quickly, and its influence was never waned by brief interruptions of Gallan religions and Islam. The country was the source of a number of conflicts between Arian Christianity and Catholicism, but by the early 15th century, the country was mainly Arian. The majority of Questarians became Presbyterian or Calvinist following the Reformation. The Church was an integral part of the State and via the Parish System, had legislative, executive and judicial powers. Religion was traditionally a major force in Questarian society. Atheism first entered the country in the 19th century, but early atheists were persecuted. The powers of the Church were expanded in the 1980s.

Since 1997, the Questarian government has refused to recognise the existence of any religions under a system known as Religious Blindness, or Blindity. Local Churches were converted to secular municipal buildings; larger religious buildings have been made into museums or public spaces. Government employees may not wear religious clothing. Public advertising may not mention religion, and students (not their parents) in Questarian schools must specifically request to receive religious education. According to the Questarian government, the country has the highest level of freedom from religion in Alisna; the Maredoratic Organisation for Human Rights, Refugees and Development claims that Questers has the lowest level of religious freedom in the same continent.

The original Questarians were pagans, practicing a polytheistic religion somewhat common to all of Alisna. A small but growing quantity of Questarians practice these beliefs and the Questarian courts have ruled that they do not constitute a religion and are therefore exempt from the Blindity policy.

Education

Main article: - Education in Questers

Howlester School was called the "most prestigious school" in the country by The Times. It prepares students for "national leadership positions in politics, economics, national administration, and the armed forces."

Education in Questers is the responsibility of the Department of Education and Skills and the Secretary of State for Education and, in 2015, had a budget of $179 billion, or 6.25% of GDP.

All forms of private education are prohibited in Questers, and the state education system is the only avenue of education, although private tuition exists. Questers is the only country in Maredoratica to include the intelligence quotient as part of its official standardised testing. The school leaving age is 16. All levels of education are free at the point of the use, and the state offers means tested grants and loans to students. Students above the age of 16 are rewarded by the education system for working.

Questers has a literacy rate of 96%. In 2014, 14% of Questarians aged 16 (56% female and 44% male), proceeded to Sixth Form, which is the stage of education for 16-18 year olds. All subjects in Sixth Form are elective, and all Sixth Form colleges are boarding schools. Most are highly specialised and unique to the college. A sport is mandatory, but untested. There are 223 Sixth Form Colleges in Questers.

89% of students who finished Sixth Form proceeded to University. Consequently, 12.45% of the population received a university education. Questers has 119 institutions capable of awarding degrees or equivalent qualifications, but only four have a reputation internationally:

Health

Alcohol, which is subsidised by the state, is apparently a leading cause of death in Questers.

Health in Questers is managed by the Secretary of State for Health and is a regional responsibility with central funding. The Questarian National Health System is a single payer system with no private alternatives, although co-operatives are allowed to open their own medical centres. Government spending on healthcare in 2015 was 220 billion USD, or 7.7% of GDP.

As of 2013, the average life expectancy in Questers was 75. This low life expectancy is mainly a result of preventable causes such as alcoholism and smoking; Questers has a higher rate of cigarette consumption per capita than any other industrialised Maredoratican country, at nearly 80% of all adult males. Questarians consume more than 18 litres of alcohol per person per year; again the highest rate in industrialised Maredoratica. Both of these two factors have been stated by the Maredoratic Health Organization to be the principal cause of Questers low life expectancy.

Suicide is also amongst the highest in Maredoratica. In 2013, 85,000 Questarians took their own lives.

Culture

See also: - Questarian people
Questarian culture evolved out of Fleckenwalder culture, a common Alisnan culture, and was made distinct by a mix of migration from other various Alisnan peoples such as Gallans and Alpinians, as well as other religious, political, geographical and social factors. Nonetheless, Questarian culture is still broadly similar in foundation to the culture of its neighbouring countries, a result of a history of close economic and social interaction. Northern Questers has a high level of cultural similarity to neighbourign Varnia and Sondstead, whereas southern Questers is more closely linked to its cultural ancestors in Galla and Pollona.

Nordic influence and presence

See also: - Nordic countries in Maredoratica
Around 47% of Questarians believe their ancestry to be nordic; that is, stemming originally from either the Dansk, Varnia, Galla or Sondstead. 26% of the population speak Dansk; 10% speak a language from the other three nordic countries. Official forms must be offered in these four nordic languages, and there are newspapers, television to cater for those who prefer to use them. Questarian culture has been influenced by these three foreign nordic groups and by the Dansk people of Questers.

Roadsign in Danske in rural Questers.

Though the state is not obliged to produce signs in any other language than English, local authorities often do if the number of Dansk speakers is high. Some border regions with Varnia also have roadsigns in that language. Compulsory military training is in English, even in the Danske regiments. All schools and universities in Questers are in English, although examinations must also be offered in Danske, and Danske students have the right to be receive Danske language education. ATMs and public voting machines offer three language selections; English, Dansk, or "Other," of which there are three subselections for the other nordic languages. Co-operatives can register as being a Dansk or other accepted language place of work", in which case employees can not be penalised for speaking those languages. By law all public employees must speak English at work and when dealing with the public. All courts are in English, although translators are of course provided.

For television, Stations 4 and 5 (Dansk) 7 (Varnian), 9 (Sondsteadish) and 11 (Gallan) serve these minority groups and FM radio stations 89.30 FM and 88.70 FM (Dansk) 89.80 FM (Varnian), 91.90 FM (Sondsteadish) 92.90 FM (Gallan) provide services not in English. It should be noted that since these languages are heavily mutually intelligible, these media outlets are somewhat interchangeable. It is common for speakers of one language to listen to programming they prefer in another language they find understand. CommonText provides Dansk, Gallan, Varnian and Sondsteadish services.

Sport

Questarian rules football.
The two major sports in Questers are rugby football and Questarian rules football. Questarians also play football, cricket, tennis, hockey, snooker and many others; other sports such boxing, fencing, shooting and athletics are also extremely popular. Virtually every sport can be found somewhere in Questers. Nearly 82% of Questarians listed sport as a major hobby in a recent survey. Racing of all types; cars, dogs and horses, is also popular. The gambling industry is mainly based around these sports.

Sport culture is pronounced, especially in team sports, and famous Questarian clubs for these sports are supported throughout the country; sports are played throughout the year in various seasons. Both rugby and cricket were invented in Questers and Questers participates in all major sporting events in Maredoratica and Alisna; it is the Maredoratica champion for rugby and came second in the 2014 Maredoratica Cup.

Cricket owns.

The Government has embarked on a programme to encourage sports; it sponsors the production of sports areas all over the country, mandates sports in school, and created two national holidays specifically for playing sports. It believes that sports, as part of exercise, are part of preventative medicine and a healthy population would reduce the need for health expenditure. Through the People's Sports Initiative groups of individuals can apply for state grants to turn "disused" areas into sports fields.

Cuisine

See also: Questarian cuisine

A typical Questarian breakfast.
Questarian cuisine is varied, and uses all of the main cooking methods. The staple foodstuffs of Questers are potatoes and wheat, as well as cereal - in the 20th century meat became widely available. The most commonly consumed meats are lamb, pork and chicken, and Questers has unusually high per-capita consumption of rabbit and hare. Beef is not commonly eaten. At special occasions moose and elk are often served. These meats are usually roasted or used in stews. Fish, specifically haddock, kippers, cod and mackerel are commonly consumed, often fried in batter. Sandwiches were invented in Questers.

Since 2001, major foreign fast food chains have been banned from operating in the country, and Questarian fast food chains usually provide traditional dishes such as fish and chips and sandwiches; they compete alongside purpose-specific shops chip shops and delis. Questers does not import major foreign brands of cola. Harry Cola is the domestic cola brand and has had enjoyed limited export success.

Although Questarians drink the most tea in Maredoratica, both per capita and nominally, alcohol is also widely consumed - many famous alcohol brands in Maredoratica are Questarian. Beer is commonly drunk, and ale constitutes 93% of all beer consumed in Questers. Gin is also consumed in extremely large quantities. According to the Maredoratic Health Organization, alcoholism is a serious health problem in Questers. The MHO blamed subsidised costs of alcohol and a prevalent drinking culture, as well as a lack of a legal age for alcohol purchase or consumption. Per capita, Questarians consume 73 litres of beer and 8.4 litres of spirits per year. Questarians use imperial measurements for drinks; attempts to decimalise were widely ignored.

Literature

Literature has a strong tradition in Questers and began as part of the performing arts, including poetry. The first well-known authors in English began writing in the 14th century, and in Dansk in the 15th century. In the 19th century, romantic authors wrote of Merry Questers, while social realists and naturalists began to write prose, much of which was satirical and political, on the social conditions in Questers, which were rapidly beginning to change. Works such as Elizabeth Fillmore's Pride and Prejudice and Grundtvig's Northern Mythology are examples of the former, whereas Alan Pecking's David Copperfield and Henrik Pontoppidan's Nattevagt are examples of the latter.

In the 20th century, Questarian literature produced a wide variety of authors, including Jake Barnes, whose A Farewell to Arms characterised the war with Varnia, Winston Smith who wrote widely-read descriptions of life in Questers, such as The Road to Wigan Pier, and other famous authors such as Anthony Burgess and Graham Greene. Questarian literature continues today with works widely-read across Maredoratica, including J. K. Rowling's Barry Potter series. Some Questarian chilren's classics such as Thomas the Tank Engine are still popular all over Maredoratica.

Music

There are not many famous Questarian composers; in previous times the nobility preferred foreign composition and there were few schools or specialists inside the country. Modern music has taken on something of an independent development. Urban Questers is a centre of Indie rock in Maredoratica, and electronic music is also very popular in Questers. Electronic Dance Music was pioneered in Galla and Questers and is very popular in both countries. Aside from these two genres, folk and country music is still very popular across Questers, as well as jazz.

Art, Film & Theatre

The Blue Expanse by Arthur Ruler, 1918.
After the medieval era, in which Questarian artists followed a standard Alisnan pattern Questarian artists, like other Alisnan artists, developed into - and out of - the fine art era, in which technical competence was the most highly rated skill. Questarian artists followed with a particularly realist style, heavily influenced by romanticism; the Questarian Ruralist school made many famous paintings of the Questarian countryside in a romantic, realist style. Questarian artists were heavily influenced by impressionism, and out of that developed social realist styles. During the 50s and 60s, abstract art emerged. Social realism has come to dominate the Questarian art scene, emerging into a full blown socialist realism style that is so recognisable today. Art commissioned by the state is almost always in a social realist or socialist realist style.

Film in Questers did not arrive until later than the rest of Maredoratica, and films were usually important; the Questarian film community, which finally made international sales in the 50s and 60s produced mainly epic dramas based on myths. The first Questarian films did not provide social commentary, and used simple production techniques. Since 2001, the Department of Culture and the Arts has provided subsidies to domestic film producers, setting up the National Film Agency to promote Questarian films at home and abroad. Most films produced in Questers have some level of state funding. The Department of Culture and the Arts has been accused by the Maredoratic Organization for Culture, Education and Science of widespread censorship of foreign and domestic films.

The National Opera and Theatre House, formerly the Royal Opera House.
Theatre and the performing arts have a long history in Questers; the ancient Quastrians placed a high value on performing arts. Throughout the ages, plays and performances were the main form of entertainment for Questarians, in both high and low culture. Questers has inherited a rich history of theatre, and many plays produced during the "Golden Era" of Questarian theatre, the 16th-17th century, are still performed, either in their original form or modern adaptations. The Department of Culture and the Arts actively promotes theatres and performing arts with subsidies through the National Theatre Association.

National symbols

The national animals of Questers are the Ermine (the stoat) and the Alsatian. Non animal symbols include the bident.

See also

  1. 'World Factbook, Panorama des statistiques mondial
  2. 'World Factbook, Panorama des statistiques mondial
  3. 'World Factbook, Panorama des statistiques mondial