Sudharka

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République de Saint-Thomas (Republic of St. Thomas)
Capital
and largest city
St. Thomas (city)
Ethnic Groupswhite (87%), black (6%), mixed (7%)
GovernmentRepublic
LegislatureAssemblée Nationale
Area
 • TotalTBD km2
TBD sq mi
Population
 • Estimate (2020)105 623
GDP (PPP)2020
 • Total1 679 088 831 $
 • Per capita15 897 $
GDP (nominal)2020
 • Total699 620 346 ST£
 • Per capita6 623, 75 ST£
HDI (2020)Increase 0.819
very high
CurrencySt. Thomas Pound (STH)
Drives on theright
Internet TLD.st
St. Thomas is a small country in the north coast of Tarephia. 


History

Franquese buccaneers first established a settlement in what was then a small valley occupied by indigenous tribes around 1625. The place was theoretically claimed by the Castellanese, who owned the neighboring colony of Garània but they could not exert any actual control over this remote valley, thus enabling the pirates to settle there. At first they survived by pirating ships, eating wild cattle and hogs, and selling hides to traders of all nations. Although the Castellanese tried to destroy the buccaneers' settlement in 1628 and then in 1630, they returned due to an abundance of natural resources: hardwood trees, wild hogs and cattle, and fresh water. The settlement began to serve as an outpost for franquese-speaking merchants in the Uthyran Sea, and was so valuable to them that the government of Franqueterre was soon willing to establish it in a more official manner, in order to gain a better control over this fairly lawless place. Besides, around the middle of the 17th century, in Franqueterre as well as in Brocéliande and other franquese-speaking countries, laws undermining the freedom of Apostolicists had been put in place. For this reason, N..., an Apostolicist merchant, together with some of his fellow-believers, proposed to form a company that would colonize Sudharka on behalf of the franquese government, and create there a colonial government that would protect the franquese trade, while allowing religious freedom.

This was eventually accepted by king N..., whom, in 1665, granted to the Compagnie de la baie de Saint-Thomas (Company of the Bay of St. Thomas), a charter allowing them to colonize the valley, and giving some sort of constitution for the settlement. This first constitution was particularly liberal, as it allowed the new colony to make its own laws, as long as they were not contrary to the laws of Franqueterre. As for the government of the colony itself, a governor was appointed by the Franquese king, but the legislative power was in the hands of the Assemblée Générale, an assembly of elected citizens, who had a certain control over the Conseil de Governement (Government Council), formed by the assistants of the governor, and sharing the executive power with him (At first, the power of this council was very limited, but over time, the governors tended to focus mainly on their main duty, viz. the protection of franquese interests in the region, therefore leaving almost all the purely internal businesses to the Conseil de Gouvernement. Apart from the establishment of this government, the charter also provided for the preservation of the existing land ownership, so as not to create trouble with the former buccaneers and inhabitants of indigenous descent who already lived there. The same charter also forbade slavery, in accordance with the opinions of the Apostolicists settlers, but this aspect was rather weakly enforced until the end of the 18th century. Nonetheless, work was mainly provided by indentured laborers (some of them being former slaves emancipated in neighboring colonies and left without money), thus making Sudharka a country of relatively small landowners, as the indentured laborers received only between 25 to 50 acres of land at the end of their indenture. It is considered that this division of the land into small estates is at the origin of the long-lasting economical importance of coffee, cocoa and other crops of the same kind, such as spices, that can be profitable even on a small plot of land.

The Franquese colonization of the valley was officially recognized by the Castellanese in 1723, and during most of the 18th century, the colony experienced an important economic growth, mainly driven by the trade of cocoa, coffee and tropical wood. This increasing wealth, together with the great freedom enjoyed in the colony, attracted many educated people, influenced by the new ideas of the Enlightenment.

At the end of the century, however, the franquese government, both willing to avoid sheltering intellectuals opposed to its rule in one of its colonies, and desiring to increase the taxes levied on a colony that was getting wealthier, wanted to reassert its power.

In 1783, the franquese government decided to pass laws forbidding the trade between St. Thomas and countries other than Franqueterre, allowing the franquese government to take advantage of the colony’s wealth. New takes were also levied in 1785. Of course, the governor of the colony, N..., agreed with these measures, thus lowering his reputation among Thomassian citizens and assembly members. In the following years, as the consequences upon thomassian economy went more dire, people began to form riots, soon tamed by the new franquese garrison established in St. Thomas in 1787. In January 1790, an new governor, M... was appointed, and soon decided to increase his powers in order to tame the increasing troubles. Two weeks after his arrival, he cancelled the assembly’s meetings, in order to re-establish this assembly a few days later, after the passing of a new law greatly reducing the number of citizens allowed to vote for the election of assembly members. On February 18th, the crowd unsuccessfully attempted to assault the government house, and 13 people died, thus fueling new protests, and, almost paradoxically, reinforcing the governor’s will to act strongly. During the following months, the opposition between the two conflicting sides in this formerly united country grew tremendously quickly, until, on April 25th, while the riots seemed to be fading, about two hundreds citizens loyal to the franquese crown decided to attack the houses of the revolutionaries, causing a great fire and killing 56 people. The revolutionaries soon stroke back, killing 23 people whose only fault was to be known as in favor of the existing rule or even, for a slight majority of them, in favor of a more graduate reform, sharing the goals of the revolutionaries but unwilling to risk to enter in a war with Franqueterre. They were, however, stopped by O..., one of the leaders of the revolutionary side, who made a still famous plea for unity among Thomassian citizens, and respect by the revolutionaries of the freedom they claimed to fight for, thus increasing greatly the already strong support fir the revolution. It is since then, and under the leadership of O..., that the revolution began to organize itself as a movement, that managed a successful attack of Government House on May 12th, leading to the imprisonment of governor M... On the same day a provisional government, formed by the assembly that had been cancelled in the beginning of February, together with the Conseil de Gouvernement, whose members were all in favor of the revolution, as the few who were not had resign when the revolutionaries took power, to act collegially as the executive branch of the new government. This Conseil decided to elect O..., the former head of the revolutionary party, as its chairman, and Thomassian Head of State. Negotiations with Franqueterre immediately began, and, as the new power was willing to retain peaceful relations with Franqueterre, were quite peaceful. On June 3rd, Franqueterre agreed to recognize the independence of St. Thomas, under the condition that an alliance treaty was to be signed in the following year. In addition, St. Thomas’ former governor N... was to be handed back to the franquese government, and a sum of ... should be paid by St. Thomas.

Meanwhile, some intellectuals had been suggesting that this revolution could be a good opportunity to improve the constitution established in the 1665 charter. The main modifications proposed included a new voting system, made to avoid the polarization that had caused what are by far the most violent events of the revolution, a reinforcement of the anti-slavery legislation which was almost not enforced anymore, together with the drafting of citizen’s rights, whose preservation or establishment in reality was to become the aim of the newly established government. After lengthy debates, this new constitution was approved on July 12th, 1790, and still remains today.

Political system

Legislative Power

The legislative power is held by the Assemblée Nationale (« National Assembly »), a monocameral parliament, formed by 4 députés elected by the town of St. Thomas, and 2 députés elected by each of the other towns of the country. The députés are elected every 4 years (they can be re-elected until they turn 75), under the Borda voting system.

The 'Assemblée is the main element of the thomassian political system. It votes the laws, and controls the executive power by electing the members of the Conseil de Gouvernement, who do not have the possibility to dissolve the Assemblée.

Petitions can be addressed by the population to the Assemblée and if a proposal for a new bill or a constitution amendment has been approved by more than 5000 people, it must be either submitted to vote by the Assemblée, or to referendum, respectively. Furthermore, anyone (even non-citizens) can attend parliamentary sessions, and ask questions directly to the speaker after every speech.

Executive Power

The Conseil de Gouvernement (« Government Council ») is the collegial government of the country and wields the executive power. It is composed of 5 Conseillers, that are appointed by the National Assembly at the beginning of the legislature. It is interesting to notice that the 5 Conseillers are elected separately, tough all on the same day, thus allowing the Assembly to choose people of various political opinions, and preventing the raise of an unduly powerful executive power. They are generally re-elected until they themselves resign.

The Conseil de Gouvernement elects the Président du Conseil, often chosen among the members of the Assembly, or among the Council members themselves, even if the only constitutional rule is to elect a Thomassian citizen. This Président du Conseil , who as no power on his own, is, as the name implies, the president of the Conseil de Gouvernement, but also serves as a de facto Head of State.

Each Conseiller is in charge of one of the 5 Bureaux (ministries) defined in the constitution :

- Bureau des Affaires Intérieures (Home Affairs). In charge of the police force, the administration, etc. It is also in charge of the environmental policy.

- Bureau des Affaires Étrangères & de la Défense (Foreign Affairs). In charge of the relations with neighboring countries, and also in charge of the military.

- Bureau des Contributions Publiques (Ministry of Treasure).

- Bureau des Travaux Publics, du Commerce et des Secours Publics (Ministry of Public Works, Trade and Public Assistance). This ministry is one of this most important, as it manages the competition rules and dole out State benefits and schooling vouchers.

- Chancellerie (Ministry of Justice). The Chancelier does not receive the title of Conseiller, even if he belongs to the Conseil de Gouvernement.

Judiciary Power

The Judiciary Power is held by the Chancelier (litt. « Chancellor », or minister of Justice). There is a Justice of the Peace in every town, and a court and a court of appeal for the country as a whole.

Geography

Climate

St. Thomas have a tropical monsoon climate. The wet season occurs from december to may, with a precipitation totals close to 300 mm, and the dry season is during the rest of the year, with like 100 mm of precipitations. The temperature is always between 18°C (64.4°F) and 33°C (91.4°F). The prevailing winds are from N-W.

Natural Resources

There are a few mines of antimony, and a silver mine. A few quarries are exploited for the use of the inhabitants.

The main resource is crops, mainly cacao and coffee, but also bananas, oranges, pepper, vanilla, avocados, pineapples, guava, coconut, breadfruit, cassava (almost not exported), and a very good wine. Wood (teck and brazil wood, mainly, but also mahogany wood and ironwood) is also an important resource.

Fishing is important for the inhabitant's consumption, but this production is almost not exported. There is also a small production of seafood, sold in the neighbouring countries.

Infrastructure

Rail

St. Thomas is linked with its neighbour countries by a train line. Created in 1890, it has always been extensively used by the inhabitants. The line itself is owned for 55% by the government and for 45% by small stockholders who, under the particular status of the company, must be thomassian citizens, while the transportation service itself is operated by private (and foreign) companies.

Aerial Transportation

The population generally prefers the cheaper rail transportation, but, for overseas destinations, an airfield has been built in 1932. Its building had been decided by the government, buts, as it was not thought that an airfield was a natural monopoly, the government decided not to keep ownership of the airfield. Therefore, when the company was founded, the government already owned merely 55% of the shares, enough to have the necessary decision power about the building of the airfield, while the other 45% were owned by various stockholders (who, under the status of the company, could only resell their shares to thomassian citizens), and the government gradually sold its shares in the following years, keeping only about 10%.

Energy & water supply

The electricity supplier is Régie de Distribution d‘Électricité, a public service owning the electricity distribution network and buying the electricity it provides from various private companies. R.D.E., as all the other companies created by the government, is owned only by 55% by the State, while the other 45% are owned by thomassian citizens.

Thanks to Sudharka natural opportunities, the vast majority of the energy supply can be provided by reneweable means.

The water supply is operated by a similar company.

Social system & Education

Education System

In the early 19th century, the government felt a need to provide instruction for its citizens, and therefore built at least a primary school in each city. In addition, some private primary schools also existed, and others have been created since. As for the other kinds of schools (secondary & tertiary education), they are all privately-owned but almost all are ruled under an agreement with the State, allowing the government a certain control over these schools in exchange for a little funding.

Since 1880, the thomassian government allows school vouchers. They are of 1600 ST£ (3840$) a year in primary education, 3500 ST£ (8400$) in secondary education, and 5800 ST£ in higher education (13920$). These vouchers can only be used to pay for a school following a curricula accepted by the government.

Health System and Social Assistance

Friendly societies, I.O.O.F.s and similar organisms have existed since the 18th century. Since 1910, however, belonging to one of such societies have been made compulsory, thus leading to important reforms in their structure.

St. Thomas policies often take into account the need for some form of subsidiarity. Therefore, the social policy concerning only workers themselves, it is generally admitted in St. Thomas that it should be implemented at the worker level, that is, at the level of the company, or the economic sector, or the trade union, or any similar level, and that it is not best managed by state-appointed bureaucrats. For this reason, social policy is mainly operated through private mutual insurance companies. However, even if the benefits is best provided by mutual societies, these societies, the government felt, should be regulated at a government level. And these regulations are indeed very strong, and strongly enforced. For instance, it is the business of the state to ensure that every worker is provided the needed benefits by a society of his or her choice, and that no-workers are provided benefits too, by the state itself. The state also makes sure that none of the societies involved in the official scheme of social policy is a profit-seeking company, and allows only mutual societies. However, even if the official social system to which everyone must be affiliated includes only mutual societies, it is not forbidden to supplement this benefits by a private insurance company. Another regulation of great importance states that the fee to be paid to the mutual society to which one belongs, even tough determined by the mutual society itself, and differing greatly between the different societies, must take either the form of a fixed sum of money to be paid at regular time interval, or of a fixed share of one’s income, identical for all the members of the mutual society.

A great advantage of this non-centralised social system is that it allows people to decide how much they want to spend for their health and what are the exact benefits they want to receive, as long as they spend and receive at least what the government estimated to be the minimum to ensure a healthy life. It is particularly useful as different people have often very different jobs, and therefore may need a very different form of protection. However, in practice, only a few mutual associations exist in St. Thomas, and the Société Centrale de Secours Mutuels is the sole provider of welfare benefits for around three quarters of thomassian workers.

Environment Policy

Since 1973, the government began issuing pollution rights, shared equally between every citizens, that can then be sold among citizens, and used to buy polluting or resource-consuming goods, very much like an additional currency to be used in conjunction with the official currency.

Demographics

TO BE DONE

Culture and daily life

Media

Press

The only daily paper still published is La Feuille Nationale, also the first newspaper in St. Thomas, created in 1792. A few weeklies are also published.

Numerous monthly magazines about science, philosophy, art, automobile, sports, etc. are also published. Among these monthlies is Le Consommateur, published by the government and giving information about the products available on the market, and comparisons of these products.

Radio

There are 9 FM radio stations, and no AM stations. The most important of them is Radio Saint-Thomas, the government-owned station. There are among 60 000 radio receptors in Sudharka.

Television

Even if many foreign TV channels are available in Sudharka, there is no national TV. Plans had been by the government made to establish one since the 1990s (after another unsuccessful attempt in 1970), but it was only about to be actually implemented in 2005, when the government eventually felt that the increase of Internet use would probably make a TV channel useless within a few decades, while the use of radio, widely used by the government as a mean of communication, remained strong, again being an argument against the establishment of another state-owned media. The project was therfore cancelled.

Internet

Internet is very widespread in Sudharka. Indeed, according to the latest survey, there are roughly 89 000 internet users in the population.

Economy

Currency

Taxation and economic policy

Land Value Tax

Soon after the independence of the country, the government decided to establish a land value tax. The aim of this tax was to compensate for the fact that the land itself cannot be said to have been produced by mankind, but merely improved by the building of factories, farms, houses, etc. upon it. In addition, the government knew that the colony could only be prosperous and allow the distribution of wealth not to be too unequal if the price of land remained low, that is, if land speculation was prevented. In order to solve these problems while preserving property rights, it was decided to tax the ownership of land. In order to acheive this, the value of all pieces of land in the country was assessed in 1792, then the value of all buildings and improvements done to this land was also assessed, and removed from the previous figure, thus giving an estimate of the value of raw land, re-evaluated regularly. Then, once the land value of a property is obtained, a 2% tax is applied upon it. The tax can be paid either yearly, or let to accumulate and be paid only when the land changes hands.

As for the funds provided by this tax, they are used to provide for a 2500 ST£ ($6000) yearly allowance for the above 65, the lame and blind, and other disabled people, and the remaining money is divided equally among all the citizens who have turned 18 during the year (Each new adult generally get about 5000 ST£, or $12000, to give him or her a start in life.).

Negative Income Tax

In 1970, a negative income tax was established (while the former income tax, that served to fund for various state benefits, was discarded), in order to put an end to poverty. In practice, a sum of 2500 ST£ ($6000) per adult household member and half of this sum per child is substracted from the yearly income of the household, before applying an income tax with two brackets : a 20% bracket for the income between the substracted sum and the sum of 12500 ST£ ($30.000) per household member ; and a 75% bracket for the higher part of the income. When the first part of this calculation, the substraction, is enough to make the remaining income negative, the government gives as a benefit the difference between the substracted sum and the actual income. Therefore, the sum of 2500 ST£ per adult and 1250 per children is actually a guaranteed minimal income, a threshold under which no one can fall. It is also worth noticing that the benefits provided by the Land Value Tax (see paragraph above) are not considered part of the income when calculating the income tax, and therefore come in addition to the potential benefits provided by the negative income tax.

Other taxes

Co-operative companies (companies in which at least half of the capital belongs to people working in the company, and in which the voting rights are equal for every shareholder, and does not depend upon the number of shares owned), and other kinds of companies belonging mainly to people who work for this company, including almost every small business, are subject to a 10% tax on gross sales, while other companies pay 20%.

Legacies are...

The only other tax to this day is a 12.5% V.A.T. (The rate can be increased to 25% for products with consistent evidence of their unhealthiness).

Customs duties have existed in the past but have all been removed since 1983.