|Republic of the Drake Islands|
| Motto: Latin: In libertas quod sapientia, illic est robur |
English: In liberty and wisdom, there is strength
|Anthem: This Land of Liberty|
| Constitutional republic|
| from the United Kingdom and the United States of America|
July 1, 1984
January 1, 1985
- Water (%)
- 2012 estimate
- 2010 census
|Currency|| Drake Islands Dollar (DI$)|
| Time Zone||(UTC-1) (does not observe DST)|
The Republic of the Drake Islands (also known simply as the Drake Islands) is a republic consisting of six small islands south of Iceland in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Originally settled by Icelandic settlers, the islands came under English control in the 16th Century. An influx of immigrants from the United States (and later, Canada, Europe, and Africa) further populated the islands and sought independence from the United Kingdom and the United States, who had joint custody of the islands after World War II. They would achieve their goal of independence in 1984. Since then, the nation’s vibrant economy has made them a small but significant player on the world scene.
The Drake Islands are made up of 4 islands, plus 2 smaller, uninhabited isles. The islands are largely flat and not arable. The lack of arable land has allowed for the islands to be heavily urbanized.
Political Divisions of Drake Islands Edit
The Drake Islands are divided in:
- 3 Provinces
- Jefferson Island
- Davidson Island
- Gold Island
Major Cities Edit
The largest city in the Drake Islands is Glendale, which also serves as the nation's capitol. The largest city in Davidson Island is Towsonsburg, while New London is the largest city on Gold Island. Other significant cities include New Baltimore, Port Chicago, Salisbury, Mineral City, and Evanswood.
Early History Of the Islands Edit
The islands were originally called the South Iceland Islands. The earliest recorded settlement on the islands was in the late 14th Century, when a group of Icelandic immigrants settled on the largest island. In 1575, an English fleet under the command of Sir Francis Drake discovered the islands and, after a brief skirmish, claimed them for the English Crown. Officials founded the town of Salisbury, establishing the royal offices there. In 1597, shortly after Drake’s death, Queen Elizabeth I renamed the islands in his honor.
At the time of Drake’s conquest, the islands’ population was estimated at about 6,000. However, a smallpox epidemic in 1636 wiped out over half the population. Sporadic immigration from Iceland and England kept the population from going extinct (although there was some emigration from the islands to North America after the American Revolution). The 1841 Census showed the population at 5,493; most of the residents were of Icelandic descent. The population remained steady until 1918, when the Spanish Influenza epidemic decimated the islands, reducing the population to fewer than 3,000.
Roots Of the New Nation Edit
The Drake Islands’ modern origins can be traced back to the 1910’s, when three young men – Gerald Chalmers, Virgil Evans, and Edward Patterson – began meeting in Santa Clara, California to discuss politics and world affairs. All three men had immersed themselves in the libertarian pamphlets of Dr. Stanford Davidson and W. T. S. Towson. Their beliefs were reinforced by their experiences during World War I. Chalmers and Evans served in the war, where they were exposed to the conflict’s horrors, while Patterson was briefly jailed for openly questioning the U.S. entry into the war. After the war, the men continued to meet. In the mid 1920’s, they were joined by Ransom Tyndale, a young musician who shared the men’s radical ideas. Together, they began to publish their own pamphlets. These pamphlets were critical of everything from the income tax to alcohol prohibition. The publications eventually reached Illinois, where they attracted Towson’s attention.
At the same time, Towson had a small circle of followers in Chicago who met with him regularly. They included mining engineer James Cameron, insurance salesman George Tate, and young stockbroker Edward Dewar. These men would dub themselves the Illinois Circle, referring to their West Coast counterparts as the California Circle. The two groups began to correspond regularly, challenging and complementing each other’s ideas. As Evans described it:
- The exchange of intellectual ideas was exhilarating. With each new letter or pamphlet, we could feel the sinews of our brains build to Herculean proportions. My stomach would be in knots while I was (working) in my restaurant, because I could not wait to come home to sort through my mail. The discussion at our meetings grew more heated and passionate as the fires in our minds and souls were fuelled by this wonderful correspondence.
As the New Deal unfolded under Franklin Roosevelt, both groups saw this as an unstoppable move toward socialism. They discussed the possibility of first seceding from the Union, then to emigrating to an uninhabited part of the world to create their own nation. In 1937, the two groups agreed to meet at Cameron’s home in Glendale, California to draft a document announcing their intentions.
The Glendale Resolution started with a brief retelling of the ideological history of the American Revolution. It then listed a series of grievances against government leaders past and present, telling how their actions betrayed the principles of the Revolution and the U.S. Constitution. The grievances were followed by the signatories’ intentions to break away from the United States and found their own country, where the principles of limited government, free market economy, respect for individual liberty, and military non-intervention would be the foundation.
After much discussion, both groups agreed to unite and immigrate to the Drake Islands. According to Evans, the fact that the islands were administered by Great Britain was not lost on them:
- We talked about Britain dealing with a second revolution. This one would be involve less land and less blood (we hoped), but we believed the impact on the world would be greater than the first revolution.
The Settlement Begins Edit
In 1938, the group, along with a handful of other followers, most of them unemployed, left for the islands. They settled along the uninhabited east coast of the largest island, which they called Jefferson Island. On the third-largest island, Cameron discovered gold and gave that island the name Gold Island. The second-largest island was named Davidson Island.
The settlers were initially received coolly by the islands’ existing residents. However, the new residents proved to be friendly and trustworthy neighbors and were eventually welcomed.
The continued settlement of the islands was stalled by the outbreak of World War II. Great Britain and the United States would use the islands as part of their joint Allied strategy, primarily for a makeshift RAF base and a munitions dump. After the war, the U.S. and Britain agreed to hold joint jurisdiction over the islands as part of their mutual Cold War strategy.
Meanwhile, the settlers formed their first significant city, naming it Glendale, with Evans being the new city’s first mayor. Meanwhile, there was mounting pressure from the residents to be represented in the islands’ administration. It was agreed in 1947 to have a 3-member governing board with one U.S. representative, one British representative, and the Mayor of Glendale. Chalmers was appointed as the U.S. representative, while Edgar Cranshaw was appointed on behalf of Great Britain. Cranshaw would serve until his death in 1952, whereupon he was succeeded by a Welsh civil engineer named Evan Samuels. Dewar would succeed Chalmers upon the latter’s passing in 1957.
In 1961, Evans died from a heart attack. Fiona Cameron Watson (the daughter of James Cameron) succeeded him as Mayor. Highly intelligent and determined, she used her position to push for the islands’ independence. The 1960’s and 1970’s saw considerable immigration to the islands. However, the islands would struggle during that time to keep up with the growing population.
In the early 1970’s, a developer named Bill Mountjoy began to purchase property for development. Soon, there was a flurry of construction and infrastructure activity. In May 1979, Mountjoy was killed in an airplane crash in the United States. His nephew, a 20-year-old college graduate named Russell Bentley, gradually took over Mountjoy’s company, North Atlantic Properties, Ltd. By the early 1980’s, Glendale had developed into a major city, with several other cities forming and growing at the same time. And while the islands’ population and development grew, so did its demands for independence. Fortunately, Watson, Dewar, and Samuels also shared their sentiments.
Independence Achieved Edit
Samuels and Dewar spent most of 1982 and 1983 meeting with U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to negotiate for independence. They assured Reagan and Thatcher that they had no plans to align themselves with any of the Communist powers, nor did they to wish to develop nuclear weapons. On 1 December 1983, the U.S. and Great Britain agreed to grant independence to the Drake Islands, contingent upon drafting a constitution and holding a referendum on independence. After several months of debate and discussion, the constitution was published on 14 May of the following year, with a referendum on the constitution and the islands’ independence to be held on 30 June. The referendum passed with over 68% of the vote, with the election for President to be held on 30 November.
Among the voters participating in the referendum was Fiona Cameron Watson. Despite her battle with cancer, Watson continued to oversee the drafting of the constitution and the resolution of any disputes. She lived just long enough to celebrate the Independence Day Mass the following day, dying exactly one week later.
In the November election, 24 candidates vied for the office of President. Despite the large field, Samuels won with 53% of the vote for the newly formed Libertarian Republican Party (or LRP). He was sworn into office on New Years Day 1985.
The Samuels Administration, 1985-1989 Edit
Immediately after being sworn in, Samuels formed his Cabinet. He appointed Dewar as his Foreign Affairs Minister. He named finance executive Julius Gordon as his Finance Minister; Gordon Lubeck, a top legal scholar, was appointed Justice Minister; and retired RAF officer Alistair Thorne was named Defence Minister.
The first controversy the nation would face was membership in the United Nations. Opponents argued that membership would undermine the country’s sovereignty. However, supporters maintained that entry into the U.N. was necessary, and that the country should provide an impartial voice on international matters. After two months of heated and sometimes bitter debate, Congress approved entry into the U.N. However, the government agreed to stay out of other international alliances such as NATO and the European Union.
In 1989, Samuels announced that he would not seek re-election. The LRP appointed broadcasting executive Vincent Bergamo as its candidate. With Samuels aggressively campaigning for him, Bergamo handily won the election.
The Bergamo Administration, 1990-1999 Edit
Bergamo faced a series of challenges in his first term in office. In 1992, a group of Finance Ministry employees began to organize their own union. Congress responded by passing the McCallum Act, which prohibited government employees from organizing. Supporters argued that public sector unions would cause an increase in government spending, and that the unions would make it more difficult to fire incompetent or corrupt employees. Despite some public outcry, Bergamo signed the Act into law. Many of the organizers responded by leaving the country. In 1993, a bank panic threatened the nation’s economy. Bergamo took a laissez-faire approach to the panic, saying the banks could resolve the problem on their own, and that any government involvement in the crisis would worsen the condition. By the end of the year, the crisis was stabilized. The voters responded to Bergamo’s quiet but firm and principled leadership by re-electing him in 1994. During his second term, Bergamo saw the nation’s economy grow at a rapid pace.
The 1999 election started with some controversy as developer Russell Bentley announced his candidacy for President under the LRP banner. By now a billionaire, Bentley was criticized for trying to buy the presidency. Using his personal fortune, Bentley began an aggressive advertising campaign, and made numerous public appearances, rousing crowds with his passionate but soundly argued speeches. The campaign, coupled with a strong economy that favored the incumbent party, resulted in Bentley being easily elected to replace Bergamo.
The Bentley Administration, 2000-2010Edit
Early in the Bentley presidency, the nation’s economic stability was threatened by the international bursting of the dot-com bubble. However, with a diversified economy, the country was able to continue its growth.
After the September 11 attacks in the United States, Bentley assured the U.S. government that he would make sure that his country would not be a safe haven for terrorists. The following month, 15 suspected terrorists were extradited to the U.S. to face terrorism charges. On 15 November 2001, Bentley, Foreign Minister Oliver Hill, and other officials were visiting the grave of former President Samuels at Founders Park in Glendale when gunmen linked to al Qaeda opened fire. Bentley was unharmed, but Hill suffered a leg wound, and a police officer guarding the President was also wounded. Two of the four gunmen were killed in shootouts with police, while a third one was fatally shot by the sexton’s son when he tried to break into his home. The fourth was arrested, tried, and eventually convicted. The incident triggered the 2001 Glendale Riots, which were calmed with the intervention of Bentley and former Defence Minister Thorne.
Despite the government’s support of the U.S. in the war against terrorism, it was highly critical of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Bentley was the harshest critic of the Iraq War, saying it would worsen tension in the Middle East and demonstrated U.S. arrogance in the foreign arena. He addressed several anti-war rallies around the country and promised not to assist in the war, saying the Drake Islands military’s function was to defend the nation’s own borders.
With the country’s economy continuing to grow, and with his popular opposition to the war in Iraq, Bentley was poised to take a second term in office in 2004. Despite aggressive campaigning by wealthy meat and produce distributor Donald Crawford, Bentley won his second term in office in a landslide.
The first years of Bentley’s second term saw a slowdown in the nation’s economic growth, but the economy was still seen as stable.
More diplomatic crises faced the Bentley Administration in 2008. In April, the Drake Islands recognized Kosovo as an independent nation, prompting protests from Serbia and Russia. The nation’s relationship with Russia was further tested when Bentley delivered scathing criticism of the invasion of Georgia.
The economy, which had been experiencing a gradual decline, began to feel the effects of the global economic crisis. With companies laying off workers, unemployment insurance claims began to increase. The nation’s insurance companies tried to borrow money from the banks to meet the demand, but found themselves dealing with reluctant lenders. Bentley has said that he will maintain a laissez-faire approach and let the banks and insurance companies resolve the matter on their own. By the end of August 2009, the economy showed signs of pulling out of the economic downturn.
With Bentley's second term expiring, Dr. Linda Gladstone, the nation’s Deputy Foreign Minister and former Speaker of the Senate, became the Libertarian Republican Party candidate for President. Her opponents included two insurance executives (United Conservative Party candidate Richard Hamden, and Paul Fahey of the Federalist Party) and an attorney (Social Democratic Party candidate Frieda Ozuna). An improving economy and Bentley's own campaigning helped Gladstone win the election, receiving almost 55% of the vote over the crowded field.
The Drake Islands are a Constitutional Republic. The Drake Islands bases its system of government on the United States system. The President serves as both Head of State and Government, and is democratically elected every 5 years.
The President is responsible for appointing the nation's Cabinet (whose members are then ratified by the Senate). Currently, there are four Cabinet ministries: Foreign Affairs, Finance, Justice, and Defence.
The nation is divided into 3 provinces: Jefferson Island, Davidson Island, and Gold Island. Samuels Island is currently under the jurisdiction of Jefferson Island, but it is expected to become a province by 2030. The two smaller isles, the Isle of Chalmers and the Isle of Cranshaw, fall under the jurisdiction of Jefferson Island and Gold Island, respectively.
The nation’s Congress is bicameral. The Senate consists of 24 members, with 8 Senators representing each province. They are appointed every 5 years by their respective Provincial legislatures. The House of Delegates has 75 members; Delegates are democratically elected within their respective districts every 2 years.
Under the Constitution, the President and Congress are subject to term limits. The President is limited to 2 terms, Senators to 2 terms, and Delegates to 5 terms.
The nation's judiciary is a separate branch from both the executive and legislative branches. The Supreme Court is the highest court in the judiciary system. It consists of one Chief Justice and six Associate Justices. The Justices are appointed by the President and must be approved by the Senate. Justices' terms on the court are for life and can be terminated by death, retirement, resignation, or removal upon impeachment.
The largest political party in the Drake Islands is the Libertarian Republican Party, whose message of limited government and respect for individual liberties has made it popular with voters. Other political parties include the right-wing United Conservative Party, the center-right Federalist Party, the center-left Social Democratic Party, the far-left Green Party, and the far-right Christian National Party.
The government maintains a laissez-faire attitude toward economic matters, keeping regulations to a minimum. As a result, many businesses have set up in the nation. The federal government relies on excise fees, airport taxes, and its lucrative National Lottery (administered by the government but run by private interests) to finance the government. In addition, since income and capital gains are not taxed, the country has gained a reputation as a tax haven, drawing criticism from the United States and other nations.
The provinces and municipalities rely on sales taxes (with the highest combined rate being 1.25%) and licensing fees to maintain their respective governments. They also do not have income or capital gains taxes.
The Drake Islands maintain a predominantly free trade relations with all nations, with limited tariffs imposed on tobacco and marijuana products, alcoholic beverages, and gaming devices. Because of its limited natural resources (less than 2% of the land is arable), the Drake Islands relies heavily on imports for its survival. The economy is based primarily on banking, insurance, tourism, and light manufacturing. Gold and silver have been mined from Gold Island for the past several decades, but as the mines have dried up, the island’s economy has increasingly diversified to include light manufacturing and information technology.
The vast majority of the early immigrants to the Drake Islands were from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. After World War II, there was also considerable immigration from France and Germany, as well as from Eastern European countries falling to Communism. Latin American immigration started with several Cuban refugees fleeing the Communist takeover of that country in the early 1960’s. More recent immigration has come from India, Mexico, Venezuela, Russia, Ukraine, and Bulgaria. There has also been an increase in the immigration of the white population of Zimbabwe into the Drake Islands. However, immigration has continued from the U.S., Canada, and Britain.
Racially, 74% of the population are classified as being of European descent (regardless of country of origin). 7% are of African descent, mainly coming from the U.S., Britain, and the West Indies. 6% are South Asian, with 5% classified as Latin American, 3% as East Asian, and 3% as Middle Eastern or North African.
With regard to religion, 62% of the population regard themselves as Christian. Of that number, 53% are Protestant (with the most prominent denominations being Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, and Christian Church/Church of Christ), 35% are Catholic, and 12% are Orthodox. Jews and Muslims comprise 4% of the population apiece, while 4% are Hindu, with miscellaneous religions making up 5% of the population. 20% classified themselves as “non-religious”.