Tárrases

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Sovereign Duchy of Tárrases
Ducado Soberano de Tárrases
Wekkadegottessy Atarrasetak
ዑዔቃጤጎጼስ ዓታራሤታክ
Bandera Tarrasense
FlagCoat of arms
Motto:
"Pues, se lo hizo"
"Well, it was done"
CapitalNuevo Tárrases
Official languagesCastellanese
 • National languagesCastellanese, Mahhalian, Ingerish
DemonymTarrasean (Tarrasenese)
GovernmentConstitutional Monarchy
 • DuchessCleopatra II (House of Carapreta)
 • PremierDimitrio Angelopoulos
LegislatureGeneral Assembly (Asamblea general)
Area
 • Total246.6 km2
95.2 sq mi
Population
 • Estimate (2014)390,100
 • Census (2009)403,555
 • Density1581.9/km2
4097.7/sq mi
GDP (PPP)
 • Total$10,587 million
 • Per capita$27,140
HDIDecrease 0.770
high
CurrencyTarrasean Dinar DT$ (DTD)
Drives on theleft
Internet TLD.dt

Tárrases, officially "The Sovereign Duchy of Tárrases" (Castellanese El Ducado Soberano de Tárrases, Mahhalian Wekkadegottessy Atarrasetak/ዑዔቃጤጎጼስ ዓታራሤታክ, Hellenese ταρράσεδες) is a very small island country that is a self-governing protectorate of the Mahhalian Alliance. It is located within the Ziy (ዟ) Archipelago off the north shore of the Mahhalian island of Puh. Its land area is 246.6 sq km, and its population (2014 estimate) is 390,100.

Historically, the Tarrasean economy was mostly focused on trade and arbitrage relative to the "closed" economy of its single, much larger neighbor, Mahhal. This was because of the island's unique status as a former Castellanese colony, which was culturally un-Mahhalian, that was nevertheless in a feudal relationship to one of the Mahhalian Monarchs. Thus it occupied positions both "inside" and "outside" of the Alliance. Now that Mahhal itself has "opened up" to the world, however, Tárrases has had to find other opportunities. Increasingly, the tiny nation has focused on international banking, tourism and cultural production as keys to continued prosperity. Recent decades have seen a decline in living standards as the Duchy struggled to adapt to its new political circumstances, and there has been a steadily growing movement for "reunification" with the Mahhalian mainland among some citizens. The main contravening issue is religious freedom, which is notably lacking within the Alliance, and would be a serious problem for the Messianists, Gautamists and Sunnians of Tárrases, who collectively outnumber those of the Mahhalian Derakassy faith within the duchy, and many of whom are descended from religious refugees from Mahhal. This is because each of those religions is proscribed to some degree within the Alliance.

The Mahhalians, too, have on occasion attempted to abrogate aspects of the free-association treaty that exists between the Duchy and the Alliance, and some nationalist groups in the Alliance periodically press for a resolution of what they call the "Tárrases Question." In each instance, however, the Purian Monarch (one of the seven monarchs who collectively rule the Mahhalian Alliance), in their titular role as feudal overlord to the Duchess of Tárrases, has taken their title of "Protector of Tárrases" seriously and has served as guarantor of the Duchy's continued self-governing status. Further, the presiding Duchess has herself proven adept at international politics, winning seats for the Duchy within international bodies such as the Assembly of Nations (making it a de facto equal of Mahhal despite its persisting de jure feudal relationship), and recently the Duchy signed a free-trade agreement with the Ardispheric Federation, drawing on their shared history as culturally diverse, liberal, Castallenese-speaking former colonies.

Etymology

The origin of the name of the country is not known. The earliest documentary evidence of a town or village on the island by the name of "Tarraset" dates from 642 AD, in a census of territories controlled by a Monarch at Mwrmi (to the southeast). Under the name Patwy (related to modern pacwi, "skunk") the island is actually mentioned in the oldest of Mahhalian epics, the deeds of Hhenkiwlur-dw, composed in about 100 BCE, but at some point as the village called Tarraset became the dominant village on the island, the entire island came to be commonly called Tarraset.

The Castellanese, uncomfortable with the word-final "-t", altered the pronunciation to a word-final "-s" which remains the modern name. In Mahhalian the island is still called Tarraset (or Tarrasetak with the placename suffix).

Historical linguists experts in the Mahhalian language have generally held that the name itself is probably not Mahhalian in origin but represents some subsumed linguistic group who had been the previous inhabitants of the region. One discredited folk etymology found in some premodern writings linked the name to the Mahhalian word tattak (a shortened form of tattakassonil "Mahhalian puma, lion") with an archaic genitive -aset, which could give tattakaset -> tarraset, given the dialectical alteration of -tt- to -rr- and a "lazy" elision of the medial -k-.

Physical Geography

Tárrases consists of a main island about 30 km long north to south, and 10 km broad east to west, along with several nearby outlying islands, all situated central to the Ziy Archipelago off north coast of the Mahhalian island of Puh, in the far northwest of the Mahhalian Archipelago.

The main island is fairly mountainous, ranging in elevation from 300 to 700 m, with the highest peak being La Chimenea at 755m. There are two main ridgelines of mountains running parallel, east to west, separated by a broad valley that varies between 2 and 5 km wide where the majority of the population is concentrated, especially in the excellent natural seaport at the western end of the island.

There are several other natural port areas, and a mostly artificial port created with a 1.4 km breakwater on the east central coast of the island at the Mahhalian Naval Base at Arykkiyra.

Administrative Geography

Tárrases is divided into 35 districts (distritos), also popularly called "pueblo" (meaning "town"). These are the highest-level political subdivisions of the country, and since most aspects are highly centralized, the government role of the districts is quite limited. Their main role is as electoral ridings for the "senators" who sit in the General Assembly, and for the subdivision of some service agencies, like education or community health. But they have strong representation in the popular culture, and Tarraseans generally speak of them as if they were separate towns or cities. Under the 35 districts are 340 formally organized neighborhoods (barrios), used for census, addressing, public services and for grouping into parliamentary ridings.

See also: Adminstrative Divisions of Tárrases

Climate

Like the rest of the Mahhalian Archipelago, Tárreses has a cool-to-cold maritime climate, but despite the high latitude, the surrounding sea remains ice-free year-round, due to the strong warm current that thrusts down from the tropics along Antarephia's east coast. The Ziy Archipelago, where Tárreses is situated, is the warmest region in the archipelago, due its lower latitude and this current.

Nevertheless, snow is common and winters are long, with monthly average temperatures at or below freezing from May until October. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 20 degrees Celsius even on sunny days, and sunny days are not that common - more typically a midsummer December or January day is overcast and 15 degrees, with light drizzle. The grey light of summer lasts a very long time, however, since because of the latitude this is a land of midnight sun.

History

See also: History of Tárrases

Government

Head of State (Duque/Duquesa)

The current head of state is the Duchess Cleopatra II, of the Carapreta dynasty which was founded by the pirate-turned-landowner, Omar Carapreta, when the colony's original masters, the Castellanese, abandoned the outpost (due to an inability to fend off increasing attacks of piracy) over 200 years ago. Since 1920, the government has had a unicameral General Assembly elected by universal sufferage, and the winning party or coalition chooses a premier, who serves until the Duchess dissolves the government, at which point new elections are called.

Unlike many constitutional monarchies, the Tarrasean head-of-state participates actively in politics, advocating for her party (The Partido Soberano, the so called "Negros" ["Blacks"]). Because of her charisma (and that of her predecessors, notably her father José III and her namesake, Cleopatra I), that party has had a "lock" on the Duchy's political culture since the end of absolute rule with the adoption of the 1920 Basic Law. Therefore, most political battles are fought, and decisions are made, at the level of party congresses and conventions.

General Assembly (Asamblea general)

Although technically speaking, the country has a unicameral legislature, in fact there are three classes of representatives among the 99 members of the General Assembly, who have slightly different privileges as granted by the Basic Law:

  • Senators (senadores, formally concejales de distrito): 1 member from each of the 35 Districts, regardless of population, elected in a first-past-the-post system; they may not be members of the council of ministers but they have the power to sit as a constitutional court, including the power to propose amendments to the Basic Law.
  • Riding Councillors (concejales de circunscripción): 1 member from each of 44 ridings allocated by population, elected in a first-past-the-post system; they are the only members that may originate legislation (except amendments to the Basic Law).
  • At-Large Councillors (concejales de bloque): 20 members allocated from party lists based on party proportions of the vote in all the ridings; historically the premier and ministers have always been in this group, although it is not a requirement - this has helped ensure continuity of government since they are not in danger of losing their seat.

According to the Basic Law, the Premier (premier, also presidente de concejo) is typically the party leader of the party with the plurality in the General Assembly. This is not a requirement, however - at a few points in history, generally during transitions, the posts of party leader and premier have been different individuals, although with the same party membership. The premier is the head of government.

The Council of Ministers (concejo de ministros) is the governing cabinet. There are 6 full ministers below the premier. They are ranked, in the event of the need for succession (i.e. the death of a premier), in the following order: Minister of Autonomy (a euphemism for foreign relations), Minister of Finance, Minister of Public Administration, Minister of Security, Minister of Social Services, and Minister of Judiciary. The head of state (Duke or Duchess) also attends the Council of Ministers and may propose items for meeting agenda and may vote in chamber, but not in the General Assembly.

The head of state has the sole power to dissolve the General Assembly and call elections, although this is typically done in consultation with the Council of Ministers.

Political Parties

  Partido Soberano Tarrasense (PST): 67 seats
  Partido Revolucionario Tradicional (PRT): 15 seats
  Partido Independentista Radical (PIR): 10 seats
  Partido Obrero Social (POS): 7 seats
There quite a few political parties, but only 4 currently hold seats in the General Assembly. The main party, PST, is much more dominant than the others, and historically has always controlled the government since the institution of the Basic Law.
Official Name Common Nickname Color Seats in Asamblea (total 99) Current Leader Ideology and Platform
Partido Soberano Tarrasense (PST) "Los negros" Black 67 Dimitrio Angelopoulos strongly libertarian, but with some syndicalist stances, and standing for the status quo with relation to Mahhal
Partido Revolucionario Tradicional (PRT) "Los unes" (from "unionista") Green 15 Momegommesoret vaguely right-wing, favors "union" with Mahhal (i.e. ending the special protectorate status)
Partido Independentista Radical (PIR) "Los indes" White 10 Cosmo Starr extreme right-wing / populist, pushing for full independence "at any cost"
Partido Obrero Social (POS) "Los obes" Red 7 Matilda Beineix Perón leftist but supporting the status quo with relation to Mahhal

Head of Government

The current premier is Dimitrio Angelopoulos.

See also: Premier of Tárrases

Diplomacy and International Relations

Diplomatic relations between Tárrases and other countries in the world are complicated, because of the Tarrasean Duchy's unique feudal protectorate status in relation to Mahhal. Although de facto independent, the Duchy does not maintain formal diplomatic relations with any country, at the ambassadorial level.

Nevertheless, the country is remarkably active internationally. Large numbers of countries maintain "consulates" or "diplomatic missions" in the Duchy, and the Duchy likewise sends "nonspecific diplomatic representatives" (consuls in all but name) to other countries, where they perform most of the functions of normal ambassadors but without the formal recognition as such. In countries where relations are also established with Mahhal, these representatives are often attached to the Mahhalian embassy as a "special interests section," however, for the many countries that do not have diplomatic relations with Mahhal, these representatives simply work out acceptable arrangements on a case-by-case basis with each country.

See also: Diplomatic relations of Tárrases

Education

Tárrases has a 12-year public school system and the duchy guarantees free education to its residents. Public instruction is in the Castellanese language, with Ingerish and Mahhalian being required as well. There are also several religiously-affiliated private schools, and a single large and internationally well-known university, the Universidad San Basílides (USB). Despite its name, the university is not religiously affiliated (its name derives from the neighborhood where it is located), and although it is a private institution, it functions as the de facto national university for the city-state. The Tarrasean government does not directly fund the university, but it deeply subsidizes tuition on a merit basis for both local and international students, thus ensuring that the institution is attractive and preventing "brain drain." In fact, despite its remote location on the world stage, the USB is a considered a world-class university, and is frequently considered one of the Duchy's main economic assets. It has become especially attractive to Mahhalian students seeking an "international" education close to home, and is sometimes included among listings of "elite" universities within the Alliance. Further, as Mahhal has opened up culturally and economically in recent decades, foreign students from around the world have been drawn to USB as a way to get exposure to Mahhalian culture while avoiding the sometimes xenophobic cultural atmosphere inherent in studying within Mahhal proper.

See also: Education in Tárrases

Economy

The modern economy of the city-state is focused primarily on financial services and "offshore banking." Tarrasean law is deliberately structured to grant maximal opacity to finance and banking sectors, and is thus popular with both individuals and corporations from other countries seeking to minimize taxes and other regulatory obligations. The country has faced grave criticisms from the international community, but it has always hewn to a careful line between legality and illegality, and avoided sanctions. Nevertheless, in many countries the term "Tarrasean Account" is synonymous with "tax haven."

Other industries include gambling and re-export, as well as some success in providing a kind of unregulated, uncensored offshore entertainment industry to neighboring Mahhal, including recreational drugs, prostitution and pornography, all of which are essentially unregulated in Tárrases while being strictly controlled in the larger neighbor's economy. Tarrasean commentator and journalist Telémaco Sandoval has said that "Tárrases makes money by outsourcing Mahhal's id." Famously, the current Duchess Cleopatra II once described her country, during a television interview, as "nuestra Babilonia antártida" ("our antarctic Babylon"), with evident pride.

See also: Business in Tárrases

Language and People

Demographics
Castellanese Speakers Mahhalian Speakers Hellenese Speakers
58.1% 22.9% 9.0%
Aŭstro Speakers Ingerish Speakers Other
3.7% 1.3% 5.0%

Religion

Tárrases has long emphasized a concept of "freedom of religion," in marked contrast to Mahhal. It thus has always been a place for Mahhalian religious dissenters, and through the 20th century it evolved into a globally-known center for religious tolerance, thus attracting various religiously persecuted minorities not just from Mahhal but from many countries around the world.

Although taken together, Derakassy and Ortholicism make up the majority of religious affiliations in the country and could be regarded as the most important, Sunism is considered quite important too since it is the traditional affiliation of the ruling family, and the old mosque (Mezquita Vieja) in downtown Viejo Tárrases is an important cultural landmark and touchstone.

Religious Affiliation
Derakassy Ortholic "None" Cathodox
30.8% 24.2% 19.7% 6.3%
Sunic Gautamic Reformian Other
5.0% 2.0% 1.9% 10.1%

Indices of Religious Buildings

Derakassy Mazara (templos deracasianos)

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Location Name Map

Ortholic Churches (iglesias ortólicas)

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Location Name Map

Others

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Denomination Location Name Map

See Also

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