Aedeland ([eɪdəland], Aedelish: Fólkríki Æðelantë), officially the Republic of Aedeland, is a model nation, ephemeral state, simulacrum, or put crudely, a fiction, located at the northernmost extreme of the Azores archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean. The country includes the islands of Greater Aedeland, Mildeland, Aere, Skjold, and surrounding islands known collectively as Vestureyjar.
Aedeland, or sometimes Adeland, is an english transcription of Æðelantë meaning "Land of the Aedels" in Aedelish. The name is derived from the compound of the Aedelish words æðel and lantë. Both words are derived from Old Aedelish and are closely related to Old Norse. Aedel is the endonym of the ancient germanic tribe, known as the Adelphi to Jordanes, from whom the Aedelmen of Vestureyjar claim descent. Æðel is derived from Old Aedelish æðall cognate with Old Norse aðall, Old English æþele, and Proto-Germanic aþalaz. All of which are derived from PIE at-al which combines at(i) "over, beyond, super" and al "to nourish." Lantë is derived from Old Aedelish and is cognate with Old Norse and Old English land and with Proto-Germanic landą. From PIE "lendh" land, heath.
Mythical isles have been claimed to exist beyond the Pillars of Hercules since classical antiquity. Tales of the Fortunate Islands were sung by Homer. Plato described Atlantis in his Republic. In the middle ages, legends about the explorations of Norse, Irish, Andalusian and Iberian seafarers describe many fantastical lost islands in the Atlantic. Most of these legends bear a striking resemblance to the Æðelendingasögur, the origin legend of the Aedelish.
According to the Æðelendinga, a band of norse explorers, known as the One Hundred, led by Guðfriðr Veiðikonungr fled the tyrannical rule of Halfdan Ragnarsson in the late ninth century. Guðfriðr and his company left with the intent to escape to Dublin but encountered a mysterious peregrinating monk en route. The monk converted the men to Christianity and inspired them to set out in search of a mythical island paradise, likely Saint Brendan's Island, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.
After wandering from island to island and encountering many other-world wonders, the band discovered a chain of thickly wooded mountainous islands with abundant flora and rivers they called Vestureyjar (literally the western isles). Upon landing they discovered the island was inhabited by a peaceful Christian people they called the Askælings.
The Æðelendingasögur is considered quasi-historical by most historians. Guðfriðr's journey is believed to be largely adapted from Irish immrams and other seafaring legends. Although the fantastical claims made by the sega are no doubt non-historical, anthropological and archaeological evidence strongly support the underlying historicity of the tale.
Archaeologists have discovered bifacial pointed stone tools that indicate that the islands have been inhabited as early as the last ice age. It has been suggested that the culturally unique Askælish of Vestraland, belonging to the G2a and X haplogroups, are a relic population of an Ice Age Europen migration to North America consistent with the Solutrean hypothesis. However, this theory has been widely challenged.
The writings of Aedelish historian Ulfrik Ulfeidsson, written about 150 years after the Aedelish arrival, describe the first Aedelish encounters and subsequent interactions with the native Askælish in detail. The Aedelish discovered the Askælings divided into several city-states which, Ulfrik reports, were founded only 160 years before the arrival of the Aedelish by a bishop who had fled Spain. Ulfrik's description matches the Spanish and Portuguese legends about the Isle of Seven Cities founded by seven bishops fleeing the Moorish invasion of Spain. According to Ulfrik, the conquest of the Isles was largely peaceful. Six of the seven Askæling cities swore allegiance to the Aedelish. The islands, except Vestraland, were divided among the Hundred and the Republic was declared on Mid-summer's day, 943, A.D..
Aedeland is mentioned several other times in the historical record. Soon after the Aedelish settled the islands, the Eyrbyggja saga reports that Gudleif Gudlaugson had been driven out to sea by a storm and landed at the Vestureyjar. Upon discovering Gudleif's crew, the Askælings came to attack and capture the Norsemen, and marched them inland to be tried and sentenced. However, the men were soon saved by the intervention of Bjorn Asbrandson, one of the Hundred, whom they recognized as a norseman.
The Landnámabók reports that, in 983, the norse explorer Ari Marsson reached the Vestureyjar, which he called Hvítramannaland, after sailing six days west from Ireland. Ari was accepted as a great man among the Aedelanders and was baptized but was forbidden to leave the islands for fear that his countrymen would be drawn to the Vestureyjar.
Contact with Portugal
The Azores, approximately 127nm southeast of the Vestureyjar, were discovered by Portugeuse explorers in the service of Henry the Navigator in 1431. In the late summer of 1452, Diogo de Teive discovered the western chain of the Azores which he named, Ilhas Floreira (or literally, the Flowered Islands), due to the abundance of flowering plants. Due to its isolated location (outside shipping lanes), the intemperate climate, and infertile land of the nearby Isles of Flores and Corvo, the Ilhas Floreira were largely forgotten. Neither Josse van Huerter nor Willem van der Haegen were aware of the Vestureyjar during their later attempted settlement of the western Azores. It was not until Van der Haegen's second attempt to settle Flores, late in the reign of Portugeuse King John II, that the value of the Vestureyjar was realized. A small colony sent from Ribeira da Cruz resulted in a short conflict when the colonists were turned away by the Aedelanders in 1484.
Fearing war with Portugal, Róbert Guðfriðsson travelled to Rome in 1512 to seek the protection of Pope Julius II. By declaring Aedeland's allegiance to the Church, Róbert was able to secure a Papal Bull prohibiting colonization. Manuel I, the very religious King of Portugal, formally recognized Aedeland that same year.
Government and Politics
Aedeland is a constitutional confederated republic with a bicameral legislature, known as the Althing, consisting of an aristocratic deliberative parliament, known as the Lögrétta, and a democratic auditory assembly, known as the Folkmōt. The Lögrétta is responsible for formulating and passing legislation. Members of the the Lögrétta are known as Jarldomen, meaning chief man, and are meant to represent the eldest and wisest members of society. The number of Jarldormen is set at one hundred and one and are selected every five years by staggered elections within each senior þing, known as a Héraþing, of each hundred- a geographic division containing one hundred clans, known as ætt, of approximately fifteen thousand individuals. The Lögrétta elects the Fører, Aedeland's premier, who appoints his officers with the consent of the Althing.
The Folkmōt reviews legislation and monitors the operation of the government. Members, known as Nefndarmen, are popularly elected every year for a two year term. Currently there are three hundred and twenty members each representing about twenty thousand individuals as determined by the last census. A census for this purpose is to be taken every seven years in what is known as the release year, frihetsåret. The Folkmoot has the power to veto, with a majority vote, any order, resolution, or vote passed into law by the Lögrétta; to declare, by a one third vote, any law to be unconstitutional, and to impeach, by a vote of two thirds majority, any jarldorman, the Fører, or his officers.
Law and Order
The Aedelish foundational documents, known as the Dōm, are the basis for the Aedelish legal system which is distinct from both common and civil law. While the Dōm serves as the primary source of law and is similar to legal codes under civil law, it has been developed from ancient and fixed customary law rather than statutory or regulatory law. The customary laws codified within the Dōm are developed and interpreted in a way similar to case law under pure common law. Aedelish law, like common law, restrains judicial interpretation to precedent and requires laws to be interpreted in a manner consistent with past decisions. Although it is a fundamental principle of Aedelish law that there is no crime where there is no law, the courts may apply and interpret existing law to unique circumstances. This does not mean the courts in Aedeland have the authority to make law where no legislative statute exists but rather the existing law may be adapted to address novel legal circumstances.
The Aedelish constitution provides for a high court, the Nævninger, and lower courts, Lægridómi. The Nævninger has original jurisdiction in any case to which a public officer or a state entity is a party and is the court of last resort. Lægridómi hear all other cases within their jurisdiction. Cases decided in a lower jurisdiction can appeal to a greater jurisdiction. For example, a case tried before a Laugrettoman, or judge, of a Ætthing may be appealed to the Laugrettoman of the Hérathing. As a last resort, cases may be appealed to the Nævninger.
Aedelish legal procedure is unique in the world. All legal claims, both civil and criminal, are private and not backed by the power of the state. There are no public police forces in Aedeland and, as such, it is the prerogative of private citizens to investigate and initiate charges. A trail may be initiated in two ways: by a pursuer delivering a complaint before the courts or by an accused person admitting guilt while under sanctuary. The accused may find refuge in sanctuary cities where they will be protected. The accused may then surrender to the authorities and stand trial for the alleged crimes or be sent into exile. All claims, regardless of gravity or instigating party, result in the creation of a grand jury to determine the legal appropriateness. The case goes to trail, if, and only if, the grand jury determines to indict the accused.
The legal procedures for executing justice are determined largely by the second section of the First Laws and the protections enumerated in the Rights of Aedelmen. The accused are provided considerably more legal protection than commonly provided in other western justice systems. According the the First Laws, the accused has the right to due process. This includes respecting sanctuary, properly notifying the accused of the alleged crime and allowing reasonable opportunity to respond, full consideration of the legal appropriateness of the claim by a grand jury, public written notice of the grand jury's indictment, lawful and humane imprisonment, allowing lawful bail, allowing the accused to obtain and call witnesses in his favor and to consult legal counsel, and a fair and public trail by jury present with the accused within a fortnight of the grand jury's indictment. At any time the accused may petition a grand jury for procedural review. Violation of procedural law and custom is considered a failure of due process and is grounds for the dismissal of all charges. Confessions, except the admission of guilt while under sanctuary, are considered forced under the confession clause and there is generally no concept of a plea of guilty in the Aedelish legal system. This protects the accused from self incrimination and prohibits plea bargaining and other tortures. The double jeopardy clause of the Rights protects Aedelmen from re-litigation in any court, civil or criminal, of a charge based on substantially similar facts. Appels may be granted to any party in cases of misapplication of the law, incorrect factual findings, improper jurisdiction, abuse of power or bias, unlawful evidence, or failure to consider lawful evidence.
There exists seven infamous crimes under Aedelish law: murder, false testimony, adultery, rape, sexual immorality, theft, offense against persons, and aiding and abetting criminals. The punishment for infamous crimes against persons (murder, false testimony, adultery, rape, offense against persons, aiding and abetting criminals, and sexual immorality) is outlawry. Outlaws are considered "free of redemption and rights" and receive a stigma, or brand, on their right hand. As such, outlaws are outside of the social order (banished) and without legal protection. Anyone accussed of an infamous crime and under sanctuary elects exile may never return. Infamous crimes against property (theft) are punished by appropriate restitution or retaliation as well as the stigma on the right hand. Lesser crimes include disturbing the peace, disobeying lawful authority, defamation, trespassing, moral corruption, breaking the Hvíldardagur, and breach of contract. All are punishable by retribution. Anyone accused of an infamous crime against property or a lesser crime and under sanctuary elects exile may not return for a period equal to the magnitude of the crime committed - usually one to twenty years.
Aedeland has a long history of isolationist and protectionist foreign policy. The Foreign Office, led by the Foreign Secretary, advises the Fører on matters relating to foreign policy, including the appointment of diplomatic representatives to other nations, and on the acceptance or dismissal of representatives from other nations. The diplomatic and consular departments perform the traditional roles of foreign ministries. The Free Corps, commonly called FK Aedeland, is a humanitarian relief organization and exchange program. The Skyggejegere, meaning literally Shadow Hunters, concerns itself primarily with preventing foreign espionage and influence in Aedeland. It also provides limited intelligence gathering and conducts investigations concerning international crimes concerning Aedelmen.
Aedeland disputes Portugal's claim that the Azores Islands' continental shelf extends beyond 200 nm.
Aedeland's laws against homosexuality have been criticized by the international LGBT community. Aedelish banking privacy and lack of regulation is considered by many to facilitate tax evasion, terrorism, and organized crime and has strained Aedeland's relationship with foreign governments.
The military of Aedeland is known as the Styrkene which has four branches: Hæren (Army), Sjøstyrkene (Navy), Valkyrja (Air Force), and Styðja (Support). Aedeland is constitutionally forbidden from maintaining a standing army. In peace time, the Styrkene maintains a professional military cadre of less than three thousand with the ability to call an additional 140,000 from the active regimental militia into service.
By law, all males are required a minimum of two years national service upon their 18th birthday in a local regimental militia or four years of alternative service in a non-combat Styðja or Free Corps.
Geography and Climate
The Aedlish Isles, also known as the Vestureyjar, is chain of three major islands and several thousand smaller islets located within the Western Group of the Azores Archipelago in the northern hemisphere of the Atlantic Ocean. The Vestureyjar are high islands located along south eastern edge of the North American Plate near the active triple junction with the Eurasian and the African Plates. The islands encircle the volcanic crater under Ēostre Bay and are seismically active, however, they have not experienced any volcanic eruptions in recorded human history. The islands have many examples of volcano-built geomorphology including many caves, subterranean lava tubes, coastal lava fields, and geothermal phenomena such as geysers, geothermal springs, mudpots, and fumaroles.
Greater Aedeland, the eastern most island, is the largest landmass of the Vestureyjar and is slightly larger than South Island, at about 62,232 square miles. The island is divided along its length by the Fjellgarður range. There are 12 peaks over 10,000 feet, the highest of which is Mestrhorn at 12,121 ft. The range has several inactive volcanoes where water collected in the calderas forming lakes. There are nine of these lakes on the island, including the fourth largest hot spring in the world, Ánæsvatn. The island has three geographical areas divided by the Fjallgarður and its surounding highlands: the deep fjords and valleys of western Skjoldland, the alluvial plain and headlands to the north of the island, known as the Klettahöfði, and the fertile valleys and coastal plains of Austurland.
Aere is located south west of Greater Aedeland and about a quarter the size. At 15,558 square miles, Aere is about the size of Southampton Island. The island is mountainous, and its character is defined by a three parallel mountain ranges, known as the Trefork, crossing from west to east: Hvíttfjell, Mistetfjell, and the Tåkefjell. These mountains lavished Aere with valleys, fertile plateaus, caves, and a number of gorges.
The Fair Isle is the southern most isle and is about the size of Shikoku. The isle is the most hospitable and fertile of the Vestureyjar. It is characterised by lush rounded hills, gritstone escarpments, and deep, narrow valleys. Mildeland is the least geothermal active of all the Vestureyjar and is likely the oldest island in the chain. The island has the largest concentration of artesian wells in the world.
Vestraland is the north western isle of the Vestureyjar. It is the smallest major island; slightly larger than Cyprus. The island is dominated by the Auðigrháls range which runs the length of the island. The island is well known for its natural beauty within Aedeland. The main island, the five notable lesser isles, and the hundred of surrounding islets are characterised by their mountains and peaks, sheltered inlets, stretches of seashore and large virgin areas.
The regional governments, known as the Lægrivöld, include a number of unique local assemblies each with its own constitution. Some local assemblies are democracies, however, most operate under the hérað system. The hérað system is something of a gerontocracy. Officials are selected by elders. Very often the elders choose themselves as representatives. The elder member of each family selects his representative to the ætt, then the members of the ætt elect their representatives to the Hérathing who, in turn, elect their representatives to the higher þing and so on to the Lögrétta.
Aedeland has a decentralized small market based economy with protectionist tendencies. The government has very little say in economic matters. The Aedelant Constitution limits government to five economic activities: levying customs duties on foreign sourced goods, standardizing weights and measures, punishing counterfeit, issuing and defending patents, and punishing piracy on the open seas. The constitution expressly forbids the government from taxing income or property, regulating production and trade, or issuing licenses. However, the government does maintain artificially low unemployment, typically below 2 percent, through universal national conscription and work programs.
Most consequential to Aedeland's economy is the fundamental legal concept of an absolute right to property and the closely related absolute prohibition against usury. The right to private property is considered to be most critical and is the first to be enumerated in the First Laws. The sole purpose of government in Aedeland is the protection of private property as the fundamental basis of the social contract that provides the foundation for individual freedom, economic opportunity, and prosperity. The Aedelant right to property includes not only the exclusive use of physical possessions both real and personal, but also one's life, family, good name, labor, and the product of labor. Furthermore, these rights are held to be absolute and without obligation. This means that property is owned independently of any superior claim. As a result, all property, including one's income, cannot be taxed. Usury violates this right by creating inflation that deprives men of their wealth and productive capacity.
With 6,972,654 inhabitants, Aedeland is the 103rd most populous nation on earth. It is one of the most ethnically and linguistically homogenous, surpassed only by Korea, Japan, and Tunisia, with 96.4% of Aedelanders simply identifying as Aedelish and over 90% are practicing members of the protestant Church of Aedeland. This is largely the result of strict immigration limits established by Naturalization Act of 1921 which restricted the foreign born population to 10,000. Furthermore, the law requires all official business in Aedeland to be conducted in English or Aedelish. Although Aedeland affords its citizens freedom of religion, the Church of Aedeland remains the state religion and membership in the church remains a de facto prerequisite for acceptance in Aedelish society.
Aedelanders enjoy a high quality of life by first world standards. Aedeland's private medical system is one of the best in the world. Aedeland's boasts 51 physicians and 35.5 beds per 10,000 population. The average life expectancy is 75 years and Aedeland's fertility rate, at 4.34%, is far healthier than other western countries which are consistently below the minimum replacement level of about 1.9 children per woman necessary for demographic stability. Education is not mandatory in Aedeland and most students are taught at home. Schools outside the home are highly competitive, even in the primary grades. Although Aedeland's literacy rate exceeds 99% and Aedelish students consistently achieve exemplary test scores, university admission rates average less than 10% and less than 5% of young adults, aged 15-25 are enrolled in higher education. The University of Aulë, Aedeland's flagship university and most respected, accepts less than 5% of applicants.
Aedelish society remains staunchly patriarchal and feminists groups have long campaigned against Aedelish cultural traditions. It is unusual and socially unacceptable for a married woman to work and, although there are no legal restrictions, women do not hold positions of authority. Furthermore, approximately a quarter of Aedelish marriage unions are polygynous with the greatest concentration in regions with historically significant Askælish minorities. Furthermore, Aedeland has a long history of legalized prostitution.
The fundamental unit of Aedelish society is the ætt. An ætt is a kin group or clan with roots in ancient Aedelish tribal groups. The ættsrett is ancestral land held by the ætt in allodium. The ættsrett has its origins in territories occupied by the one hundred supporters of Guðfriðr Veiðikonungr upon their arrival to the Vestureyjar. According to ancient Aedelish custom and laws, land is held by the ætt in common and can not be partitioned. As an ætt grows it must either expand by displacing its neighbors, establish a colony, or by transferring its members to a smaller ætt. Each ætt contains several families and is largely self contained and under the authority of a council of elders, known as an ættþing. The elders of the ætt hold near absolute authority, similar to the roman concept of patria potestas.
Newsprint remains the media of choice in Aedeland. While most hundreds produce their own newspaper, Ærilar's ÆRILYS is considered Aedeland's paper of record and claims the largest readership. Other popular national publications include the Sladder, a weekly tabloid covering Aedelish society, and the Leiðtogi, a daily newspaper on political and economic news.