|6, -19.114, 144.382|
|The Khelic Republic of El'Haadi|
'Rabah Kheli'i el'Haadi'
|Capital||Alhmarkha'ad (also largest city)|
|• Regional languages||Buraga, Osmulok, Whabihk, Alh'ma, Karolian, Románš, Aratar|
|Ethnic Groups||Elhadi, Buraga, Osmulok, Whabihk, Karolians, Aratarans|
|• Estimate (2014)||4,400,000|
|• Total||$23 billion|
|• Per capita||$1,450|
|• Per capita||$|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.47|
|Currency||Elhadia Kupla (EKU)|
|Drives on the||right|
The area was settled some 20,000 years ago.
For most of the period between 3000BC and 1500AD life in Elhadia hardly changed; the traditional tribal system of territories was maintained and the people hunted and farmed using ancient techniques. The first contact with the outside world is recorded as being in 1504 when an Inglish ship visited the coast. The ship's crew reported that the natives, who had never seen a vessel of such size, nor the guns, clothes and mechanical instruments shown to them by the foreigners, were peaceful and traded trinkets for supplies of meat and fruits. The captain, Sir James Broadmere, claimed the land for Ingland but concluded that "it being of a verry fewe profitable vittals ('vitals' ie extraditable resources), I fansie it would be of littel vertue to transporte so maney arm'd men to this cornere of the worlde so as to make a tunne." However the Inglish did found a settlement twenty years later, naming it Peterstown and recording the first birth in the new colony. The main export was lumber and precious stones, which initially fostered interest in the new lands, but the length of the voyage and the easier availability of these resources closer to home meant that the colony was under-funded and did not develop much.
The Karolians who arrived in 1590 were after a different good: spices which could be traded from the fabled kingdom of Arataran, stories of which had been circulating since the Karolian acquisition of the Rau in the modern Ardisphere. They sent three well-armed ships in 1604 and established a settlement in a large bay which they named Uudaraanta ('New Coast'). Having made peace offerings to the native inhabitants, they hit upon a stroke of good fortune when they discovered a trade route which led to a gold seam only thirty kilometers and which deposited nuggets in watercourses. This naturally attracted the attention of the Ingrish who sent a vessel back home to deliver news of the potentially lucrative resource and to ask for reinforcements to secure it. However, the Karolian Commander Janos Siiranyi, an experienced Paliiso navy caption, decided to strike first and sailed along the coast to blockade the Inglish harbour. Siiranyi sent his first mate, Maartin Palii, and seven men ashore to deliver an ultimatum to the commander of Peterstown, stating that a surrender to his superior forces would ensure the safety of the colonists and that they were free to continue living under Karolian rule. After debating with the town council for three hours, the Inglish guard decided to fight 'for the honour of King and Country' and tried to arrest Palii and his men as foreign troops. Palii ordered his men to draw their pistols, at which point he was shot by a nervous Inglish soldier, who was then in turn killed by a Karolian musket. The exchange of fire was heard in the harbour and Siiranyi ordered his vessels, which had already loaded and aimed their cannons, to fire upon the garrison and the town. After five minutes of bombardment, the ships' longboats were sent ashore with fifty troops to subdue the Inglish soldiers, some of whom had started to fire upon the ships with muskets and a small cannon. The Inglish troops were outnumbered and surrendered after a fifteen minutes, followed by the appearance of a white tablecloth above the town hall, at which point Siiranyi ordered a ceasefire and went ashore himself to accept the surrender. Thus ended the twenty-minute Battle of Peterstown. Only two Karolians died, in comparison with twenty-one Inglish and three civilians.
Siiranyi learned that the Inglish had asked for reinforcements and quickly sent one of his own ships back to Paliiso asking the Elector to do the same. The voyage was half the month-long route the Inglish had to take, and in any case the Inglish ship had already been wrecked in a storm in the Asperic Ocean and never delivered the request for help.
Elhadia was a colony of Karolia between 1607 and 1878, and subsequently a Commonwealth of Karolia until 1956. The colonial government built railways, roads and port facilities, and were by the standards of the time fairly benevolent to the native peoples, allowing them their traditional culture and some token participation in the administration of the territory. The change to a Commonwealth in 1878 was initially little more than a legal note, but gradually laid the groundwork for self-governance. The country was still forced to buy Karolian goods and trade its agricultural produce with the ruling power.
After a brief and generally peaceful independence movement in Elhadia and various pressures in Santjana, the country celebrated independence in 1956. Its post-colonial history was initially held up as a success and the country enjoyed a stable government and steady economic development until 1975 when a coup threw the country into a brief civil war followed by a dictatorship. The assassination of dictator General Osmanel Musla eleven years later and AN intervention brought some stability to the country, but its economy had been badly damaged and corruption had ruined the government. Around 50,000 Elhadians fled abroad to escape the Musla regime.
Elhadia was under AN supervision for several years until a stable democratic government could be re-established.
Elhadia is mostly scrub and savannah, although a little forest and cultivated land exists around the rivers. There are semi-desert areas in the interior and the north is more mountainous with the Aratar range creating the border with Arataran.
Elhadia has a tropical climate, with summer temperatures between 28-40 degrees C and winter between 18-25. Rainfall is limited and mostly occurs during the monsoon season. Because of this, droughts occur regularly.
The deserts in Elhadia are often assumed to be windswept dunes of sand, and these do exist, but most of the desert in the west is actually rocky and more mountainous, whilst the east is flatter scrub lands. The traditional tribal languages contain over 100 descriptions of the type of desert, from wolahobe (almost cultivatable land) to shiimel (the stereotypical rolling yellow dunes). There are oases at various locations, often growing into villages as the roads link the chain of water sources.
Many rivers in the interior are seasonal and may only contain flowing water for weeks or even days following rainfall in the Aratar mountains. When the water floods the channel, sometimes only for a few days, there is an explosion of flowers and plants within a very short time of this occuring. There are also seasonal lakes that greatly vary in size.
Flora and Fauna
The country is home to a surprisingly rich variety of life given its hostile climate. Many plants and animals have evolved survival mechanisms to allow them to become dormant during periods of drought.
Desert foxes, desert dogs and giraffes are the main mammals in the dry areas, hunted by hyenas, and desert lions. Various species of insect-catching birds hunt a myriad of flying and ground-dwelling invertebrates.
Elhadia was for most of its history a set of tribal lands and this is still largely true today. Perhaps because of their own federal system and set of distinct regions, the Karolians did not particularly suppress the tribal identities. Each tribe has a unique language and people in rural areas will not necessarily speak Hadi (although Karolian and Inglish may be understood).
Work and education
Elhadian society is very traditional and conservative, with the workforce almost entirely male, and acceptance of women into clerical and professional jobs only found in large cities. Due to the high infant mortality rate, the birth rate is high and the education level correspondingly low, with many children completing middle school aged fourteen and going straight to work. Fewer than 1% of Elhadians possess any kind of higher education qualification. The national literacy rate has climbed from just 55% in 1980 to over 70% in 2010, but the majority of women still have only a basic level of literacy.
The traditional culture of Elhadia is rich and varied. Stone and wood carvings have been prized since ancient times. Weaving of textiles into traditional patterns is still widely practiced.
Gold, abundant in watercourses, has been worked into elaborate designs since ancient times. Jet, opal, diamonds and other stones are also carved into jewellery.
Music is traditionally played on the drums, gourd xylophones and other instruments such as the bowed monochord. Skin drums are often joined by claves and other wooden percussion instruments in groups that perform music which culminates in highly complex rhythmic patterns.
Religious belief of some kind is professed by 97% of Elhadians at the last census. Around 62% follow the Reformist or Orthodoxic sects of the Christic faith introduced by the Karolians, with the remainder adherents of one of the many traditional tribal religions. Karolian propaganda from the nineteenth century about human sacrifice and black magic rituals led to the persecution of such practices, but it was difficult to enforce this in an endless desert and remote bush country. Many tribal religious belief overlap in some degree, particularly in the creation myths telling how the world was created by ants or termites, with other common themes being the ability of shamans to transmigrate into animals. Particularly venerated are the desert lion (associated with the power to decide life and death), the hawk (the presence of the sun spirit and the magical power of flight), and the ant (creation).
Elhadia's business economy is primarily based around mineral and oil extraction, whilst for most people agriculture and animal husbandry are the main means of employment. Roughly 65% of the population rely on agriculture, mainly subsistence farming, for income, and the mineral industries sustain employment directly or indirectly for another 28%. Elhadia produces around 5% of the world's oil, 14% of iron ore, 12% copper and 7% gold. Most of the mines and wells are owned by foreign companies and although they employ local labour, most of the wealth generated leaves the country. Gemstones and semi-precious stones have been exported in moderate amounts since the colonial times as well.
The service sector is still in its infancy in Elhadia. Most workers employed in this sector are involved with government or healthcare and education.
The country has been gradually improving its economic production and standards of living in the last 20 years, although it remains one of the world's poorest. It is estimated that around 40% of the population subsist on less than 2USD per day. The infant mortality rate is still amongst the highest in the world and thus the average life expectancy is 42 for men and 46 for women. However, paved roads, internet connections and literacy rates are all becoming more common, as are mobile phones which are starting to reach even the remotest areas.
Corruption is an issue in the country's business and political systems, and there is a significant black economy. Human trafficking occurs from Elhadia to Mecyna, with migrants seeking better pay. Karolia still provides around USD14 million in aid per year to Elhadia. This has been the subject of attack from right-wing Karolian parties not so much for leaving the country as for allegedly being lost to corruption in the country.
The Karolians built a network of good-quality roads, but many fell into disrepair during the dictatorship. Road quality is now improving around the capital and on a few highways used by the mineral trade. In other parts of country the roads are often poor quality, or just dirt tracks or lines of flags across the semi-desert. Four-wheel drives are almost essential for any proper cross-country journey, but most of the vehicle stock is second-or third hand imported from other countries (mostly Mecyna or the Ardisphere). Buses, or trucks converted to buses, are used for inter-city travel, although have a reputation for crashing on the potholed roads or falling off bridges and turning over in fords into rivers when overloaded. In fact travel by road is quite dangerous, not just because of the road conditions and the questionable road worthiness of the cars and trucks, but also because the driving test in Elhadia is rudimentary and in any case actually possessing a license is rarely enforced. Added to all this, wild animals, animal-drawn carts, peddlers and pedestrians wander about the roads and often off them to avoid the potholes, and there have been reports of bandits in the countryside. Wealthy foreigners often drive large 4x4 trucks and SUVs at high-speed both on proper roads and off-roads, knowing they are immune to the police.
Another hazard is motor scooters which are popular in cities, as they are cheap to run and can be ridden down the narrow old streets (which is technically against the law but routinely ignored) often ludicrously overloaded with people, animals, goods and whatever else. Cars are still relatively rare and often only for the rich, but car ownership is increasing. Stolen cars from Mecyna and other Archantan countries often end up in Elhadia, or those supposed to be scrapped but sold on the black market and smuggled in. There is 'little attempt to enforce road-worthiness and many accidents occur from bald tyres, broken suspension and steering and parts falling off into the road'(1)
The Karolians built a network of railways at Karolian gauge (1544mm) between major cities and mining centres, which were maintained after independence. Today around 40% remains, although some sections are in poor condition and services are far less frequent. Rail operations are geared towards freight, but passenger services do exist, often combined with coal and oil trains. The track quality and fuel shortages mean that rail travel is often slow over long distances. However, rail travel is very cheap and much safer than by road. The famous 2-kilometer-long mineral trains that travel the length of the country are still an important freight artery, and are a supply line to rural areas. Passenger service is often unofficial, but Elhadian Railways has taken to usually attaching often semi-derelict passenger carriages, cabooses or covered wagons to goods trains to provide 'first class' whilst second class usually involves riding on the top of freight cars.
There is only one major airport in the country, at Alhmarkha'ad International. Bush airstrips and private runways operated by the mining industry also provide air transport, although it is an option only available to the wealthiest. The national airline is Hadifa
(1)An excellently vivid account of travel in Elhadia can be found in Paul Dunburgh's A Voyage of Sands