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|6, -19.114, 144.382|
|Republic of Arataran|
|Capital||Mostrakago (also largest city)|
|• Regional languages||Karolian, Románš|
|Ethnic Groups||Aratarans, Karolians|
|• Estimate (2014)||6,809,000|
|• Total||$131 billion|
|• Per capita||$19,239|
|• Total||$126 billion|
|• Per capita||$18,504|
|HDI (2013)|| 0.71|
|Currency||Arataran Lec (ALL)|
|Drives on the||left|
Arataran is a state located in central northern Archanta. It is bordered by [] to the south, AR061 to the east and is land-locked.
The earliest evidence suggests that Arataran was a largely nomadic society until the iron ages, with a few moderate settlements on trade routes in the valleys. The main economic activity was sheep and cattle herding and fur trading. We know that by AD200 the area was administered by five tribes who shared similar languages and religion. As gold, coal and other minerals were discovered and extracted in the mountains, the population grew more settled and wealthier, although had no single ruler until Baqk'lara I was proclaimed king of all Aratarans in 1003. His dynasty lasted another 300 years.
Arataran was home to a flourishing culture in the the middle ages, centred around the monastic seats of learning and trade and the Hathetic Orthodox religion. It was a wealthy and intellectual culture which produced a large number of surviving manuscripts with texts on astronomy, mathematics, music, science and religion. Arataran artists and craftsmen produced highly prized and intricate objects including ceremonial weapons and armour, jewellery, books, figurines, and architecture. Trade overland flourished during the eighth to fourteenth centuries. Arataran was seldom involved in conflicts as the country was difficult to conquer due to being bordered by mountainous terrain.
The Karolian colonists who settled further south never made any attempt to formally conquer Arataran, but did have a significant effect on the country. Spices were the first goods the traders desired, but later oil and mineral mining led to trade deals, some of them unfairly weighted in favour of the colonists, and the introduction of roads, later railways and, most significantly, guns into the country.
By the nineteenth century the country began to industrialise and the extraction of coal and minerals expanded greatly. The period saw a large percentage of the population leave the country for the cities and often live in very poor slum conditions and be exploited by the factory owners. The inaction of successive governments, comprised of the capitalists, on social welfare came to a head when the People's Movement organised a general strike for four days in 1908, which was joined by 77% of the workforce and crippled the country's industrial output. The industries retaliated by imprisoning, kidnapping and even assassinating trade union leaders, which sparked protests and subsequent further strikes and riots. Eventually a group of hardline PM activists led an occupation of the Government Central Bank building in Mostrakago (which was viewed as symbolic of the collaboration of the state with the exploitative capitalists), hoisting a red flag on the roof and proclaiming the Arataran People's Republic. The protesters held out for two weeks, surrounded by barricades manned by other PM supporters before the army could recapture the building, damaging several other parts of the city centre and killing most of the occupiers. The government finally realised it could no longer ignore the demands of the workers and agreed to a charter of rights and regulations on working conditions, which initially pacified the PM and other unions until it became clear that they were not being implemented in practice. Furthermore the government had banned PM and the Arataran Labour Party meaning they could not achieve their aims democratically. Another year of strikes in 1910 finally led to a mutiny by parts of the army and police, the assassination of the President and on the 12th August, revolution as the army and Communist militia stormed the parliament building and the city halls in Mostrakago. The new regime declared all industries as national property and installed general Yevik Yushan'na as president.
The next twenty years saw Yushan'na as president for life and gradually become more tyrannous as he tightened his grip on power. Suspected rivals were executed or simply disappeared and although the people were better off in living standards, there were severe restrictions on freedoms. Arataran underwent more industrialisation during this period, leading to environmental destruction and oppression of traditional cultures.
In 1931 Yushan'na died suddenly leaving a power vacuum. A fragile democracy was reborn with a directly elected president, but still with much of the absolute power of the dictator. From the 1970s liberalisation was slowly introduced and the country began to modernise and saw political reforms, although the government was still secretive and still owned all the key industries. Arataran began a transition to a more modern democracy after this time along with more dramatic liberalisation that saw many industries bought up by oligarchs and cartels. Today Arataran is still a developing economy, despite having a number of very wealthy individuals.
The country is mostly mountainous with lower peaks in the south-east around the capital, Mostrakago.
The country is generally hot all year round, however it can be considerably cooler in the higher mountains. Rainfall is often scarce in the summer and the majority of watercourses are fed by meltwater from snowy peaks. The upland areas are some of the most arid in the continent and near-desert conditions are found in many areas.
Government and Politics
The country is a republic with the President as head of state and government, assisted by the Vice-President. The parliament consists of a 350-seat single house.
Arataran has embassies in most neighbouring countries and the world's main capitals.
Modern Arataran is economically considered a developing country. Nearly 20% of the population still work in agriculture-related industries and a further 35% in manufacturing. Of those in employment, 72% are male. The country's infrastructure is still being developed outside the capital and the service sector is in its infancy, although internet access stands at 86% in 2014. The main exports are beef and lamb meat, wool, coal, gas, minerals, machinery, textiles, automotive parts, steel and plastics. Mining in the mountain regions has been growing in the last 40 years.
Traditional goat herding is still practised in many rural areas, along with other herd animals.
Corruption is alleged by international observers to be a significant problem in the country, along with a black market and drugs trade that are estimated to be worth around $100 million a year. There is reputed to be a flourishing cottage industry trading in false passports, driving licences and counterfeiting as well as cases of foreign luxury cars being stolen to order and high-level cartels fixing prices and trade deals.
The official language is Aratar, an Archantan-family language which is written using a unique script. Due to the colonial legacy in nearby countries, around 7% of the population speak Románš and 3% Karolian.
Although officially banned by the Socialist regime, Hathetic Orthodoxy is still practised by around 90% of the population. Reformist churches also exist as does the traditional religion, almost wiped out in the past, in a few rural areas.
Arataran's national football team have occasionally caused upsets in tournaments: beating Karolia 3-2 in 2010 and reaching the quarter-finals of the OGFIFA World Cup in 1986. Skiing is also a source of some international success.
Arataran is one of the few countries that drives on the left, although quite a lot of the vehicles have the wheel on the 'wrong' left side due to being imported. The only motorways in Arataran are around the capital and the M1 link to the southern border. The rest of the country's road network is mainly single-carriageway highways and mountain pass roads. Arataran is one of the few countries that drives on the left, and carriageway interchanges are built at border crossings. Somewhat unconventionally, some areas in the mountains with narrow roads drive on the right with the idea being that the driver (sat on the right) is closest to the sheer edge of the mountain road in order to pass oncoming traffic more safely. A major project to upgrade roads in the country has been initiated, but the quality of rural highways leaves a lot to be desired as does the country's reputation for road safety. Many vehicles have been imported second-or third-hand from abroad with defects (or stolen) and it is still quite easy to obtain a licence illegally by bribing officials, whilst drinking and driving is common.
Long-distance buses are the main form of interurban transport, but can be delayed by landslips or crashes.
Railways are administered by the state rail company, Yerkat'ugh'h Aratar, which is mostly geared towards cargo, although 600km of passenger routes are operated. The network is limited in length due the terrain and is slower than roads, although offers spectacular views of the Taamras and handles cargo more efficiently than the road network. At present only around 90km of suburban lines around Mostrakago are electrified. The rail network is however much safer than road transport.
The main airport is located in Mostrakago. The national airline, JAT Arataran, flies to destinations in the region and some international hubs, whilst a private airline, Aratav, caters for the budget market. Other smaller airports are mostly served by private flights. Helicopters are widely used by the rich in the mountains to reach mines and other assets.