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Symbol a class Flag of Conworlds Quality Control
Province of Imperial (en)
Imperial (es)
帝国省 (zh)
Nóc Xe (vn)
제국 (kr)
จังหวัดอิมพีเรียล (th)
因皮裡省 (hn)
インペリアル州 (ja)
Serran DSerran ASerran SSerran HSerran ISerran TSerran E (sb)
Province of Sierra
Flag of Imperial Seal of Plumas
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): The Colorado Province, The Winter Garden
Motto(s): Vita nos elegit (Latin)
(English: Life chose us)
Provincial song(s): "An Ode to an Oasis"
Location of Imperial in federal Sierra
Official language(s) *Nationally mandated official languages
Demonym Imperial(s)
Capital El Centro
Largest city Yuma
Area Ranked 17th
 • Total 10,001 sq mi
(25,902 km2)
Population Ranked 20th
 • Total 422,978 (2010)
 • Density 66.64/sq mi  (16.33/km2)
Ranked TBD
Elevation
 • Highest point Blue Angels Peak
4,552 ft (1,387 m)
 • Lowest point Salton Sea
-232 ft (-71 m)
Admission to the Union August 7, 1907 (19th)
Lord Superintendent Luis E. Castillo
Governor Michael Renison
Lieutenant Governor John A. Kelley
Legislature Imperial Provincial Legislature
 • Upper house Imperial Provincial Senate
 • Lower house Imperial Provincial Assembly
K.S. Senators Alex Hueso (DR)
Clarissa Plancarte (DR)
Gavin Denniston (DR)
K.S. House delegation 1 commoner
Felipe Vargas (DR)
Time zone Pacific Time Zone
UTC –8/UTC –7
Abbreviations IM, KS-IM., Imp.
Compass rose pale-50x50.png
CategoryTopics
Compass rose pale-50x50.png

Imperial Symbols
Flag of Imperial
The Flag of Imperial.

Seal of Imperial
The Seal of Imperial.

Animate insignia
Amphibian Rio Grande leopard frog
Bird(s) American white pelican
Flower(s) Desert sand-verbena
Mammals Peccary
Reptile Western diamondback rattlesnake
Tree California fan palm

Inanimate insignia
Colors Green, black, dark blue, gold
Firearm Lance M90
Poem "The Unearthed Jade"
Slogan(s) "Conquered and Expanding Opportunities"
Song(s) "An Ode to an Oasis"

Route marker(s)
Imperial Road Marker


Part of a series on the provinces and territories of Sierra
Imperial is a province in the southwestern region of Sierra. Imperial is the 17th largest and 20th most populous of the 23 provinces in Sierra. The capital of Imperial is El Centro, while the largest city is Yuma. The province is roughly divided in half by the Colorado River. The province to the west of the river is considered a part of the Southwest Corridor and the California region, while the province to the east is considered a part of southeastern Sierra and the Arizona region. Imperial shares borders with the Inland Empire and Maricopa to the north, Laguna to the west, Maricopa and Sonora to the east, and Pacífico Norte to the south.

Prior to European exploration and colonization, Imperial sustained a significant population of various Native Sierran tribes including the Cahuilla and the Paiute. In the 17th century, Imperial was claimed by Spain, and became an integral part of Alta California. The area remained largely undisturbed under Spanish, and then Mexican control. After the Mexican-American War, Imperial became part of the independent California Republic, and was a constituent part of the States of Laguna and Maricopa. In the late 19th century, Imperial experienced a population boom as a comprehensive irrigation system developed. In 1907, Parliament partitioned Eastern Laguna and Southern Maricopa to create the new province of Imperial.

Imperial is situated primarily in the Sonoran Desert but features varied topography. The province is straddled with several major mountain ranges including the Chocolate Mountains and Gila Mountains, along with large valleys such as the Imperial Valley. It is home to most of Sierra's largest lake, the Salton Sea. Although Imperial is a landlocked, desert province, the Colorado River and the aqueducts built around it has allowed the province to support a large agricultural sector. The valleys along the river produce one of the world's most economically productive agricultural areas, and are crucial to the province's local economy. Thanks to the river, a significant portion of the land are wetlands. Many areas along the river are protected by the federal and provincial government, and have large, thriving ecosystems, some harboring millions of members of migratory bird species across North America each year. It is one of the world's leading producers in spinach, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, and onions. It is also one of the top producers in various species of grass, which is essential for sustaining the nation's dairy and livestock industries. Imperial is home to the largest Anglo-American aquaculture farm for catfish and other species west of the Mississippi River.

Imperial produces over two-thirds of the vegetables and fruits consumed in Anglo-America during the winters, giving the province the nickname, the "Winter Garden". Agriculture remains the primary source of economic activity in the province, with secondary industries in tourism, geothermal energy, chemical manufacturing, and mining. In recent years, thanks to intensive restoration efforts to the Salton Sea, the province has experienced a recent boom in real estate development and economic opportunities in an increasingly globalizing world. The province is culturally close to its neighbors, the Pacíficos, and has the second-highest proportion of Hispanics among all PSAs after Sonora. Nonetheless, Imperial features an increasingly diversified ethnic markup, including non-Hispanic whites, Asian Sierrans, African Sierrans, Sierran Creoles, and Native Sierrans.

Etymology

Salton Sea from space

A view of the Imperial Valley and the Salton Sea from space.

The name "Imperial" derives from the Imperial Valley that is located in the western region of the province, and where the capital, El Centro, is located. The valley itself received its name from the Imperial Land Company, a subsidiary of the Sierra Development Company, that was based in the area. The company was responsible for much of the agricultural development of Imperial and the Colorado Desert during the late 19th century and early 20th century. Officially, as defined by the Constitution of Imperial, Imperial is known as the "Province of Imperial", and its citizens as "Imperials".

Historically, Imperial was simply known as "Colorado", in reference to the major river which flowed through the desert and drained from the delta into the Gulf of California. While there was small-scale settlements along the river south of the area in the Sierran territory of Pacífico Norte, development in modern-day Imperial west of the river was minimal. East of the river however, the area was home to several settlements which were built along the Southern Emigrant Trail, a major route for Anglo-Americans traveling to and fro Sierra. The area became associated with the name, "Yuma", after one of its major settlements, and was substantially developed by the time it was incorporated into the new province of Imperial. Two of Imperial's counties, Colorado and Yuma, carry on these legacies, and are situated roughly where the names were applied respectively. When the province was originally established, its full and complete name was to be the "Province of Imperial Valley, the Colorado, and Yuma", but was the latter two historical names were dropped by 1929 as it was deemed "cumbersome" by provincial legislators and voters.

Occasionally, Imperial and its northern neighbor, the Inland Empire, have been confused for one another due to the similarity of their names (Imperial and the Inland Empire). Most commonly, people from the Inland Empire are distinguished as Inlanders while people from Imperial as Imperials. However, the term Imperial has also been applied to people from the Inland Empire, owing to the confusion of both province's similar terminologies. Occasionally, the article "the" has been applied to the province as in The Imperial for purposes of clarity.

Geography

Imperial fields

Rice paddies growing with the Gila Mountains in the distance.

Imperial has a total area of 10,001 sq mi (25,902 km2), making it slightly larger than the island nation of Cyprus and the UC territory Puerto Rico, and slightly smaller than the countries of Lebanon and Jamaica. Imperial is situated in the southern central portion of federal Sierra, and is divided between the California and Arizona mega-regions along the Colorado River. The province shares borders with the Inland Empire and Maricopa to the north, Maricopa and Sonora to the east, Pacífico Norte to the south, and Laguna to the west. It is the 17th largest province in Sierra.

Chocolate Mountains

The Chocolate Mountains

The western half of Imperial consists of Imperial Valley and the Mojave Desert, with a significant portion of this area falling into the Lower Colorado River Valley region. Much of the region is below sea level, especially around the Salton Sink where the eponymous sea is also located. The Salton Sea is Sierra's second largest lake, after the Great Salt Lake in the Deseret. There are several mountain ranges in the region, the largest of which are the Chocolate Mountains which are due northeast of the Salton Sea. The mountains run in a northwest-southeast orientation and serves as the northeastern boundary of the Salton Trough, a large active tectonic pull-apart basin spanning much of western Imperial. The famous Algodones Dunes lies west of the Chocolate Mountains, and southeast of the Salton Sea. The region is prone to frequent earthquakes due to its location along the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate along the San Andreas Fault and the East Pacific Rise.

Algodones Sand Dunes

The Algodones Dunes

The eastern half of Imperial is dominated by the Sonoran Desert and is considerably rockier, and more topographically varied than the western side. The region is noted for its alternating series of mountain ranges and valleys, as well as isolated mountains in otherwise uniformly low-lying areas, known as sky islands. Notable mountain ranges in this section of the province include the Gila Mountains and the Tule Mountains.

Climate

Generally, Imperial has a hot desert climate (Köppen: BWh), characterized by hot, dry, and sunny weather year-round. The climate is a result of several factors, including the subtropical high, a persistent year-round atmospheric high, which occurs due to the province's location within the subtropics (roughly 33° N), as well as its location within the western, continental portion of the North American continent (along the eastern ocean basin of the Pacific). Because of its inland position, the area does not benefit from the Mediterranean climate that most of Western Sierra experiences. Some precipitation occurs during the wintertime when the subtropical high shifts southward towards Los Pacíficos, and a low pressure system comes towards the area, bringing moisture. In eastern Imperial, the region gets additional rainfall during the late summer, usually between July and mid-September, from the North American Monsoon. The monsoon is the result of a shift in prevailing winds along the Gulf of California which brings moisture to the otherwise dry area.

Ecology

Flora

Borrego Palms Canyon Oasis

Anza-Borrego Desert Provincial Park.

Despite being predominantly dry desert, Imperial is home to over 2,000 native plant species, and the Colorado River Delta remains an ecological hotspot. The plant life in Imperial have adapted to not only survive but flourish in the Sonoran Desert, and is sustained by the desert's biannual precipitation patterns. The Sonoran Desert in Imperial alone is home to more plant species than any other desert in the world.

Various notable species live in Imperial including the world famous saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea), which is commonly found in eastern Imperial. Other cacti that grow in the province include the spiny cholla (Cylindropuntia spp.), beavertail (Opuntia basilaris), hedgehog (Echinocereus spp.), fishhook (Ferocactus wislizeni), prickly pear (Opuntia spp.), nightblooming cereus (Peniocereus spp.), and organ pipe (Stenocereus thurberi).

In addition to species from the cacti family, there are members of the agave, palm, legume, and other families. Seasonally, during the early spring, a large assortment of wildflowers bloom across the desert floor. The Anza-Borrego Desert Provincial Park is particularly famous for its annual wildflower fields, and are made possible by late winter precipitation. Wildflowers include the desert sand verbena (Abronia villosa), desert sunflower (Geraea canescens), and evening primroses (Oenothera spp.). Across the valleys, Imperial hosts a number of native bush species including the creosote (Larrea tridentata), bur sage (Ambrosia dumosa), the indigo (Psorothamnus fremontii), and Mormon tea (Ephedra spp.).

On higher elevations, numerous tree and low-lying shrub species grow along bajadas and steppes, including the velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina), the palo verde (Parkinsonia florida), the desert ironwood (Olneya tesota), the desert willow (Chilopsis linearis ssp. arcuata), crucifixion thorn (Canotia holacantha), and the ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens).

Fauna

Bighorns

Desert bighorn sheep roaming in the Anza–Borrego Provincial Park

The province contains over a hundred different species and subspecies of native mammals, with the most significant species including the wild sheep, coyotes, kit foxes, squirrels, hares, mountain lions, bats, kangaroo rats, wolves, and gophers. Imperial is home to an unknown amount of native bird species including the Ferruginous pygmy owl, the Canyon wren, the Sagebrush sparrow, and the Gila woodpecker. Each winter, thousands of North American bird species feed and rest in Imperial (mostly around the Salton Sea and the Colorado River) during their annual migration towards the Southern Hemisphere. In addition to these groups, Imperial has numerous native species of amphibians and reptiles (frogs and toads, desert tortoises, chameleons, gila monsters, rattlesnakes), and hundreds of insects and other species.

Protected areas

In pursuit of preserving, conserving, and protecting ecologically sensitive, both the federal government and Imperial have set aside parts of the province as national parks, provincial parks, or wildlife refuge areas. As of 2017, over 1.5 million acres of land were protected by the government with the intention of protecting the province's environment. While the Royal Parks Service is responsible for maintaining the national parks and wildlife refuge areas within Imperial, the government of Imperial directly administers its provincial parks.

History

Juan Bautista de Anza (horseback)

Juan Bautista de Anza

Like virtually every other province in Sierra, there was Native Sierran presence in Imperial prior to European exploration and colonization in the 16th century onwards. The Cocopah and Quechan were the primary native groups who lived along the Colorado River and eastward of it in the mountainous region of the province. Both groups were part of the Patayan culture which dominated much of the Sierran Arizona region, as well as Pacífico Norte.

The first recorded time Europeans explored the region was in 1540 when Spanish explorers Hernando de Alarcón and Melchor Díaz led separate expedition forces across Imperial Valley and the Lower Colorado River region. Recognizing the value and importance of the river, they believed a large settlement could be built along the watercourse's shores. Díaz named the Colorado River as Rio del Tizon ("River of Embers" or "Firebrand River"), based on his observation of the local natives' use of fire to keep themselves warm at night. Both men encountered natives during their short travels, and unlike later "conquistadors", they treated the natives humanely and respectfully. According to historian Bernard de Voto, in his 1953 Westward the Course of Empire, he wrote: "The Indians had an experience they were never to repeat: they were sorry to see these white men leave."

The province continued to experience increased activity from the Spaniards who utilized the Colorado River to cross the California and Arizona regions. Governor of Spanish New Mexico Juan Bautista de Anza explored the area during his survey of the Spanish territory in 1776. He crossed the Colorado in Imperial the following year as he returned from his expedition of present-day Northwestern Sierra. On his way towards Mexico City, De Anza used a narrow natural crossing.

Okie woman

A 1940s Okie woman.

Despite its ideal location and economic potential, the province saw no significant development until after the Mexican-American War concluded. By then, Mexico had gained independence from Spain, and inherited all of Alta California, including Imperial. However, the growing numbers of Anglo-Americans as well as restless Californios led to California securing its independence from Mexico, bringing Imperial under Californian rule. During the war, Imperial saw military movement, most notably from the Mormon Battalion, who aided the Anglo-Americans in defeating the Mexican government.

Imperial was formally incorporated into California through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, and was admitted as an integral part of the State of San Diego. During the California Gold Rush, the region was used for travel from eastern North America. The popular Yuma Crossing was a major destination along the Southern Emigrant Trail, and linked the United States and Brazoria with Southern California. After California reincorporated itself as Sierra, Imperial became part of the Province of Laguna.

With the exception of some development along the eastern side of the Colorado River, Imperial did not receive major demographic growth or significant economic activity until the later end of the 19th century. While the surrounding land seemed barren and uninhabitable, the river was still regarded as highly useful, especially for a nation that was experiencing rapid industrialization and a population boom. The Colorado River Project was commissioned by the government of Sierra in 1888 to begin work along the Colorado River from the Deseret, all the way down to Pacífico Norte. The Colorado River section along present-day Imperial was of particular interest to the government and businesses as it was surrounded by favorable topography (mostly flat and low-lying), and was the closest to major metropolitan regions including the Greater Porciúncula Area and San Diego.

The completion of the All-Sierran Canal and the Colorado River Project turned the desert floor into fertile, arable land. During the project, the Salton Sea formed from a construction accident, becoming Sierra's largest lake. One of the canals, the Imperial Canal, became filled with silt in 1902, and by 1905, heavy rainfall and snowmelt caused the Colorado River to overflow, with some of the excess water running into the Alamo Canal. The flood breached a dike, and ran down two arroyos into the ancient seabed of the Salton Sink. With the company failing to fully stop the flooding and the growing sea having no outlet to drain, the sea fully formed. The rapid development in the area transformed the province, and attracted tens of thousands of Sierrans to the region, as well as investors who saw potential in this section of the country.

With active government support, thousands of families were able to settle in the valley and cultivate the land for farming purposes. In the 1920s, a large influx of Mexican-Sierrans from Los Pacíficos moved into the area, as workers or farm owners themselves. During the Great Depression, the province experienced continued population growth, this time from working-class Anglo-Americans from Brazoria, Dixie, and the United Commonwealth. Many of these settlers lost their livelihoods to the Dust Bowl, a devastating period of severe dust storms that ruined local economies. The majority of these immigrants were known as "Okies" as they hailed from the Oklahoma region.

In the 1950s, Imperial experienced a surge in tourism around the Salton Sea. Its ubiquity and location made it a popular tourist destination, and thousands of businesses sprung up in the communities along the lake's shorelines. Snowbirds were one of the largest groups of tourists who visited Imperial, with many coming from Rainier and the United Commonwealth. Snowbirds often bought housing in the area, and would live there during the winter months when the province's weather is warm and pleasant.

The continued urbanization of the Southwest Corridor, and developing suburbs in the Inland Empire displaced tens of thousands of farmers from their livelihoods and homes. Many farmers moved to Imperial where land was still very cheap and plentiful, and had the ideal farming conditions. Although agriculture became the central aspect of the province's economy, real estate and retail boomed in response to the newer communities that formed during the 1980s and 1990s.

In recent years, growing concerns with environmental issues such as air pollution and water shortages were exacerbated when a six-year long drought hit Sierra from 2011 to early 2017. As the country turned towards clean energy, Imperial's own energy sector boomed. El Centro and Yuma both saw a remarkable increase in start-up technology firms during the late 2010s due to increased market demands, rising land value, and low start-up costs. Imperial is currently one of the fastest-growing regions in North America and is poised to reach over 1 million residents within the next 15 years.

Demographics

The Sierra Royal Bureau of Census officially counted a population of 422,978 in Imperial during the 2010 census. On October 16, 2016, the Royal Bureau of Census gave a population estimate of 438,984. This estimate suggested a population increase by 16,006, or a 3.807% increase. This population change included a natural increase of 7,256 since the year 2010 (that is 12,033 births minus 4,777 deaths), and a net increase of domestic migration of 6,871 into the province. Immigration from outside the Kingdom of Sierra (mostly from Mexico) resulted in a net increase of 9,385, and domestic migration out of the province resulted in a decrease of 7,506 individuals since the year 2010. According to the 2010 census, of the people residing in Imperial, 48.1% were born in Imperial, 32.1% were born in another Sierran PSA or territory, 1.6% were born abroad to Sierran parent(s), and 18.2% were foreign-born.

There are 117 cities or municipality-level settlements in Imperial. In Imperial, there is no legal difference between cities, towns, and villages, as all are classified as "municipalities". The largest and most populous city in Imperial is Yuma (96,928). The smallest city in Imperial is Aztec (178), a census-designated place in Eastern Yuma County.

Racial and ancestral makeup

According to the Sierra Royal Bureau of Census, the 2010 racial makeup of the Province of Imperial was as follows according to self-identification.[note 1]

Hispanics or Latinos of any race made up 74.2% of the population. Non-Hispanic Whites made up only 13.4% of the population in the 2010 census. In 1980, Non-Hispanic Whites made up 45.7% of the population.

  • White Sierran – 29.0%
  • Asian Sierran/Pacific Islander – 7.7%
  • Black or African Sierran – 1.1%
  • Multiracial Sierran - 5.5%
  • Native Sierran/American Indian – 1.2%
  • Some other race – 55.5%
Imperial Racial Breakdown of Population
Racial composition 1990 2000 2010
White 48.6% 39.5% 29.0%
Asian 4.0% 6.2% 7.7%
Black 0.3% 0.8% 1.1%
Two or more races 2.2% 4.3% 5.5%
Native 0.8% 0.9% 1.2%
Other race 48.6% 48.2% 55.5%
In 2011, the following ancestries were reported in surveys to be the following:
  • 69.4% Mexican
  • 7.5% German
  • 6.4% Irish
  • 5.2% English
  • 4.0% Chinese
  • 3.9% American
  • 1.2% Han

Mexicans are by far the largest ethnic group in the province, and constitute the majority of the province's Hispanic and Latino community. Nearly one-third of Imperial's Mexican population was born in Mexico, and another one-fourth are migrants from the Sierran territories of Pacífico Norte and Pacífico Sur, or New Mexico. The Mexicans form a majority in nearly every municipality in the province, and in all four counties. The first major Mexican-Sierran community existed when the province was still underpopulated, and undeveloped during the late 19th century. Most settlers resided along the eastern bank of the Colorado River, and were descendants of Spaniard and Mestizo colonists from the Spanish and Mexican colonial periods. Today, the highest concentration of Mexican-Sierrans live along the Imperial–Pacífico Norte border, particularly the Calexico–Mexicali metropolitan area, the largest populated area in the province. Other significant Hispanic and Latino groups include recent immigrants from Central America. These mainly include people from Guatemala and El Salvador.

Mexican plaza in Imperial

A Mexican Sierran indoor mall in El Centro.

There are a sizable communities of Germans, Jacobites, Irish, and Englishmen in Imperial, most of which formed from 20th century migration that originated from the Styxie, and ultimately, Eastern North America. During the Great Depression, many farmers from the region moved to Imperial in search of cheaper housing, and less competition. With them, they brought their ubiquitous culture, including the cultural republicanism that is so prevalent within the Styxie. The presence of Styxers in Imperial, and the province's similar economic dependency has led some to call the province the Styxie's southernmost region. In addition, there was a major influx of Anglo-Americans during the Great Depression. Many displaced farmers from Brazoria and the Dixie moved to Imperial following the Dust Bowl, and were known as "Okies" to locals. Today, descendants of Okies are scattered throughout the province, with some retaining the farming lifestyles of their forebears.

Asian Sierrans have lived in Imperial since the early 20th century after the Sierran Cultural Revolution brought thousands to the province's fertile farmlands. Most Asian migrants were Han and Japanese farm workers, but by the 1950s, immigrants from China, Korea, and Vietnam followed suit. Today, large sections of Asian communities are found in the Salton Sea area, and Calexico. Contemporary era immigration from Asia have mostly been from South Asia and the Middle East. Like Imperial's southern neighbor, Pacífico Norte, there is a traditionally based and growing community of Lebanese and Syrians.

There is also a small community of Sierran Creoles and other African Sierrans living in the El Centro metropolitan area. Most came to the region during the 1960s for agricultural work as the Gold Coast and Orange continued to industrialize.

Languages

English and Spanish are the province's official working languages, although the other seven national languages (Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, Han, Japanese, and Serran) also hold official status, and are usually included in all government documents. The use of Sierran Hanzi is also present in English-language documents, and some instances of Spanish Hanzi. According to the 2010 K.S. Census, 43.2% of the population aged 5 or older speak English at home, one of the lowest percentages among the Kingdom's PSAs. Spanish is the language most commonly spoken at home other than English, and Spanish-speakers constituted 63.2% of the population (including native speakers and second-language learners). Other languages commonly spoken in the province include Arabic, German, French, Dutch, Han, Chinese, and Japanese. Virtually all public entities of Imperial's government including public schools provide and support bilingual services in English and Spanish.

There is a noticeable community of Maya speakers (approximately 32,000 speakers), the majority of whom are immigrants from the Sierran territory of the Yucatán and Cancún. The Sierran-Mayan Engagement Institute is based in Imperial. The organization is committed towards preserving, educating, and promoting the language's use in the Sierran mainland.

Religions

Religious affiliation in Plumas (2016)
Source: Ministry of Culture
Affiliation % of Plumas population
Christian 76 76
 
Catholic 60 60
 
Protestant 16 16
 
Evangelical Protestant 10 10
 
Mainline Protestant 8 8
 
Other Christian 2 2
 
Unaffiliated 7 7
 
Nothing in particular 1 1
 
Agnostic 1 1
 
Atheist 5 5
 
Jewish 1 1
 
Muslim 6 6
 
Buddhist 1.1 1.1
 
Hindu 0.4 0.4
 
Other faiths 0.5 0.5
 
Don't know/refused answer 1 1
 
Total 100 100
 

According to a 2015 Gallup poll, the religious affiliations of Imperial's population were: 60% Catholic, 18% Protestant, 5% Mormon, 1% Jewish, 6% Muslim, 7% irreligious, and 3% other.

The Ministry of Culture's 2016 Religious and Spiritual Data in Sierra Report indicated that the largest denominations in Imperial were the Catholic Church with 257,431 adherents, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with 23,398 adherents, and the Seventh-day Adventist Church with 22,777 adherents. Other significant Christian denominations include the Southern Baptist Convention, the New Dutch Reformed Church, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Methodists.

Imperial has the second highest percentage of Catholics in relation to its entire population out of all the Sierran provinces (after Sonora with 72%). Catholicism has been the traditional, prevailing religion in the province. The faith traces its origins to the Spanish colonial period when it was introduced by the Spaniards to the indigenous population. Late 19th-century and early 20th-century immigration from Hispanic and Latin Americans consisted of individuals who were mainly Catholic, further cementing the religion's dominance in the province. This is in direct contrast to the rest of the country, which is predominantly Protestant. Recent immigrants have included Eastern Catholics, mainly Lebanese Maronites who immigrated from Los Pacíficos.

Imperial is home to a large community of Muslims, the majority of whom live in the Calexico-Mexicali metropolitan area. Most Imperial Muslims are Sunnis, although Shi'ites, Ibadis, and adherents of other sects are also represented in the community. The Calexico Islamic Center is one of the country's largest mosques in the Kingdom, and is distinct for its ornamental and vivid architecture.

Culture

Imperial has been home to a relatively new agricultural-based community. Up until recently, Imperial was a sparsely-populated province. Imperial has been strongly influenced by Mexican-Sierran culture, and to a lesser extent, the cultures of the Styxie and Midwestern North America, from the migrant Styxers and Okies. Modern culture in Imperial has some aspects of the Sierran Cultural Revolution, which is most evident in its cuisine. It is one of the top rice-producing regions in the country, and residents heavily incorporate white rice into their dishes. Imperial is home to a vibrant scene for the arts and music, with a strong portfolio of Latin American writers, musicians, poets, and actors. It is the birthplace of the bamba, a dancing combination of the Anglo-American swing and the Mexican jarabe, which is accompanied by a live or prerecorded playing by a mariachi band. In addition, Imperial has been used as the setting for various Hollywood-produced films and television programs, including 1947 drama film Kissed by the Sun and 1980s television sitcom The Oak Keys.

Year-round, Imperial hosts a number of festivals and celebrations. It is famous for the Westmorland Folk Festival, one of the largest folk music events in the world. Both Calexico and Yuma have annual local festivals, including Calexico's La Raza Festival, which celebrates Latin American heritage and cultural diversity.

Sports

The sports scene in Imperial is not well known. As one of the few provinces in the Kingdom without a professional team in any major sport, the province has mainly prided itself with its college sports, most notably in baseball. Prominent college teams in the province include the WIU Rams of the Western Imperial University and the Yuma National Bluejays of the Sierra National University, Yuma. Both universities dominated collegiate baseball during the late 1990s, and were dubbed the "Imperial 90s", with notable players who have gone on to the professional level including Bernheim Deltas pitcher Tommy Hernandez and Palm Springs Pacifiers shortstop Giovanny Madero.

Equestrian sports has been very popular in Imperial. The doma vaquera style of horseback riding that persists throughout the province traces its origins back to the vaqueros of the colonial period of Sierra. Annual horse racing tournaments and competitions are held year-round, with the Imperial Sun Derby as one of the country's most premier events of its kind. In addition to horse racing, car racing has also taken hold of the province, most notably off-roading-based races. Every summer, off-road racing tournaments are held in the Colorado Desert, attracting hundreds of competitors and thousands of spectators.

Economy

Imperial's economy is the least developed and diversified economy in the Southwest Corridor, and among the lowest in the Kingdom overall. The province remained predominantly agriculturally-based, even during and after World War II, when the rest of the country experienced dramatic industrialization. Its geography, limited resources, and population were major hindrances to the province's development in relation to its neighbors. Imperial's agricultural sector itself did not fully mature until the late 1960s when its population began to increase considerably, and better and more efficient irrigation systems were developed. Major improvements to Imperial's water sources, including the desalination and revitalization of the Salton Sea during the 1980s and 1990s helped boost property values in the province, creating a more attractive market for homeowners. At the turn of the 21st century, as real estate development began in Imperial, new jobs in the province's emerging energy and aviation industries signaled a shift in the province's overall economic portfolio and health. Today, Imperial has established industries in food processing, logistics, commercial and private aircraft, military equipment and technology, machinery, apparel, electricity, transportation equipment, construction equipment, and publishing.

As of June 2017, the Ministry of Finance reported that Imperial had an unemployment rate of 4.4%, putting it slightly above the national average of 4.1%. In the same report, it estimated that Imperial's GDP in 2016 was $47 billion. The Ministry projects an annual GDP growth of 1.8% should current conditions continue.

Agriculture

Imperial Valley checkerboard fields

Agricultural fields in Imperial Valley.

Despite the rise in the service industry, Imperial's agricultural sector remains as the province's largest economic contributor, especially in the rural areas around the Salton Sink and banks of the Colorado River. Imperial's earliest industries were cattle ranching, cotton farming, and corn (maize) farming, with the former largely limited to the grasslands surrounding the Colorado River. As major improvements to irrigation, infrastructure, and agricultural practices occurred, so did the variety and scale of crop production increase dramatically during the 20th century.

Demand for rice increased during the Sierran Cultural Revolution, and with thousands of Styxie farmers ostensibly refusing to grow these crops, the brunt of early rice production in Sierra was in Imperial. Rice itself was already an established crop in Imperial prior to the province's own incorporation and the Revolution. J. F. Elder, a prominent agribusiness owner, grew high-quality rice, and encouraged farmers to take up rice years before the crop had taken the Kingdom by storm. Although corn and wheat would later become popular crops in the province, neither would overtake the much more water-intensive but profitable rice crops.

Today, Imperial's agricultural outputs is extremely diversified and includes the aforementioned grains, lamb, beef, pork, poultry, spinach, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, lettuce, cabbage, kale, dairy products, fish (most notably catfish), hay and other forms of fodder (like alfalfa), honey, and soybeans. During the winter, Imperial's agricultural sector accounts for over two-thirds of production consumed in Anglo-America alone. It is the leading producer in ethanol, soybean biodiesel, and vegetable oil in the Kingdom.

Agricultural practices have been carefully regulated and monitored by the government. Imperial is home to one of the Kingdom's most environmentally sensitive and precarious regions, which requires extensive irrigation, water treatment, and reinforced infrastructure to maintain and preserve regional production. Most crops are watered through drip or center pivot in an effort to limit water use, soil erosion, fertilizer loss, and agricultural runoff. In addition, most farms practice crop rotation, growing between 2 to 5 different crops on the same plot per season. Virtually all agricultural runoff in the Imperial Valley, including displaced salt solutions, flow into the Salton Sea. Numerous methods and practices have been implemented to preserve the sea's water quality to balance between agricultural activity and environmental health. The prevalence of pesticide usage has dramatically decreased in the 21st century when the provincial legislature banned several pesticide agents and passed stricter regulation on the use of permitted forms. The Sierran federal government reportedly spent over $10 billion in helping farmers implement alternative practices including biological pest control and push–pull technology.

Energy

Solar farm

A small solar farm near Imperial Junction.

Renewable energy accounts for nearly 30% of the province's energy consumption. The green energy industry is one of the province's fastest growing industries and is projected to experience rapid growth into the 2030s. Imperial has an extensive network of solar and geothermal powered generators and facilities that help support the high energy-demanding agricultural sector and growing population centers. Practically all around the province receives more than 300 days of sunlight each year. Nearly all areas suitable for green energy are managed by the federal government, which facilities and infrastructure located throughout Imperial Valley, and areas in the Colorado Desert immediately to the north. Land to the east of the Salton Sea is very geologically active and is the site of most of the province's geothermal plants. In addition to these sources, wind and water have also contributed towards energy production. Some sections of land have made considerable use of wind through large installed turbines and hydroelectricity derives from the dams along the Colorado River system including the Salinas Dam and the native Imperial Dam. However, electricity obtained from wind and hydropower accounted for less than 10% of Imperial's energy budget. The remaining bulwark of energy consumption comes from traditional sources including the burning of coal and natural gas.

Other industries

Industry in Imperial is diverse and is expanding. Among the fastest growing industries in the province is military and defense industry. A number of private military contractors including Overstars and Northmann Gunthrop have their bases of operation located in the province. In addition, employment in the Sierran Armed Forces accounts for nearly 10% of the workforce. The KS military installations in the province include Fort Juniper, Rem Air Reserve Base, Elizabeth Army Airfield, Fort Morgiana, Megumin Proving Ground, and Royal Marines Logistics Base Yuma. These installations provide jobs for the enlisted, officers, and civilians, including those in the private industry. A number of Sierra's advanced military technology (mostly aircraft-related) has been developed and tested in Imperial.

The manufacturing sector in Imperial is mostly light-industry and produces a range of products including aircraft equipment, medical devices, construction equipment, electronic components, food products, gas cylinders, home appliances, and automotive parts. These industries are centered around El Centro and represents over half of the city's workforce. Imperial's manufacturing sector is supported by its local logistics industry, which includes a network of several railroads, truck routes, and airfields. El Centro and Yuma are home to major corporations' distribution centers, and are the hubs for transport and logistics in the Sierran South-Central region.

Taxation

Imperial uses progressive income tax with six brackets of provincial income tax ranging from 5% to 20%. The provincial government calculates each household's taxable income after all other taxes including federal have been accounted for and deducted from the pre-tax income in determining the provincial income tax.

Imperial imposes a 4% sales tax on all tangible retail sales and goods, with the exception of groceries [up to $100.00], clothing [up to $50.00], over-the-counter drugs [up to $50.00], certain prescription drugs (no limit), and hygiene products [up to $30.00]. These excluded products are free of sales tax below and up to their maximum tax-exempt amount, after which a reduced income tax of 2.5% is applied. Imperial's corporate tax is divided into four brackets ranging from 1% to 8%, and a flat capital gains tax of 11%. Like most PSAs, Imperial itself does not directly levy property tax. instead, it obtains them indirectly by allowing its municipalities to institute their own local property taxes, with owners of real property paying property tax to the county the property is located in. These property taxes goes to funding various local projects and institutions, such as roads and public schooling. A small portion of these property taxes are then given to the Imperial provincial government. Rates generally range between 0% to 4%.

Infrastructure and transportation

Road

Major freeways

Interprovincials, K.S. Routes, Provincial Highways, and other highways in Imperial

Rail and bus

Imperial is serviced by freight trains running along the Southern Sun and River Rail which connects El Centro and Yuma with San Diego to the west and Tucson to the east. Smaller active rail lines also exist, including Sierrail trains on the White Inversion Line. The aforementioned line has two stops in Imperial: one in downtown El Centro and the other near Yuma.

Air

Imperial has 14 public airports, with 8 civilian airports listed below with their ARA assigned category:

City served Code Airport name ARA
Category
Enplanements
Brawley BWC Brawley Municipal Airport General Aviation 23,383 (2016)
Calexico CXL Calexico Airport General Aviation 47,392 (2016)
Calipatria CLR Cliff Hatfield Memorial Airport General Aviation 5,731 (2016)
El Centro ELC El Centro Municipal Airport Non-Hub Primary 12,472 (2016)
Holtville HOL Holtville Airport Non-Hub Primary 10,210 (2016)
Salton City SLT Salton City Airport Non-Primary Commercial 6,387 (2016)
Wellton WLN Sonora County Airport Reliever 3,332 (2016)
Yuma YUM Yuma International Airport Medium Hub 149,382 (2016)

Government and politics

The province is governed by the Constitution of Imperial, which defines three branches of government: the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. Imperial's head of state is the Queen's viceregal representative, the Lord Superintendent. All three branches of government and other public agencies are represented and based in Imperial's capital, El Centro, or within the city's vicinity. The Constitution of Imperial allows for voters to directly participate in lawmaking through statutory and constitutional initiative, referendum, and recall.

Executive

The Queen and the Constitution of Imperial serve as the foundation for the Imperial government. As the Queen's primary residence and realm is the federal capital of Porciúncula (and thus, the entire Kingdom), she is represented by her appointed Lord Superintendent of Imperial. The Lord Superintendent is responsible for carrying out regal duties and dispense power in Imperial when the Queen is absent. All executive actions by the Imperial government, all legislation passed by the Imperial Provincial Legislature, all court proceedings in the Imperial judicial system, and many other official functions must be conducted in the name of the Queen, though the Lord Superintendent is empowered to serve this necessity in her place. Like all viceregal posts, the Lordship is non-partisan, and explicit political affiliation is traditionally avoided. The current Lord Superintendent is Sir Luis E. Castillo.

The executive branch is led by the head of government, the Governor, who is popularly elected every four years on an even-numbered year. The current governor of Imperial is Michael Reninson, a Democratic-Republican. The Governor is supported by the Lieutenant Governor (currently John A. Kelley, a Democratic-Republican), the Attorney General, the Provincial Comptroller, the Provincial Treasurer, the Provincial Superintendent, and the Provincial Auditor. Unlike most provinces and the federal government, all electable executive offices have a term limit of two terms. The Governor is responsible for leading the executive government, managing and preparing the provincial budget, ensuring that the rule of law is enforced, overseeing the province's various agencies and departments, working with the legislature, and many other functions.

Legislative

The Imperial Provincial Legislature is responsible for creating, developing, and modifying legislation. It is bicameral and is composed of the Senate and the Provincial Assembly. The Senate is composed of 19 members while the Provincial Assembly has 35 members. The members of both houses are elected at the beginning of each even-numbered year. Since 1969, the Imperial Provincial Assembly has been under uninterrupted Democratic-Republican control. All legislation and statutes passed by the Legislature is codified into the Imperial Code.

Judicial

The Judiciary of Imperial is the unified court system of Imperial and consists of the Supreme Court, the Appellate Court, and the Superior Courts. The Supreme Court of Imperial is composed of 5 members and is responsible for interpreting the Constitution of Imperial, as well as determining the constitutionality of actions and statutes undertaken by the executive and legislative branches of government. It also administrates Imperial's court system. All members are selected by a special commission, who are then appointed by the governor to serve a two-year term, before they must face election by the public, to serve a 10-year term. Since the Supreme Court lacks original jurisdiction in nearly all areas of law, most cases begin at the trial courts before being heard by the local circuit courts.

Federal and CAS representation

In the K.S. House of Commons, Imperial is represented by a single commoner at-large due to the province's small population in comparison to most of the other PSAs in the Kingdom in the scheme of apportionment. The current commoner representing the Imperial's at-large parliamentary district is Felipe Vargas of the Democratic-Republican Party. In the K.S. Senate, Imperial is represented by Alex Hueso (DR), Clarissa Plancarte (DR), and Gavin Denniston (DR). Hueso is Imperial's appointed senator, while the latter two were popularly elected. Denniston is currently the junior senator of the three, whilst Plancarte is the senior.

In the CAS Parliament, Imperial is represented entirely in the South Central Sierra constituency, sharing representation with southern Maricopa and eastern Inland Empire. South Central Sierra is currently represented by 5 MAPs, using the d'Hondt method of party-list proportional representation

Counties and municipalities

CountyCounty seatPopulationPopulation
Percentage
Area
(sq. mi.)
Area %
Blake El Centro 155,233 36.7% 2,567 26.6%
Cactus Calipatria 57,102 13.5% 1,915 19.1%
Sonora Wellton 34,684 8.2% 3,797 37.9%
Yuma Yuma 175,958 41.6% 1,722 16.4%
Imperial is divided into four counties. Like nearly every county in other PSAs, the counties in Imperial are responsible for providing basic services including public transportation, law enforcement, voter registration, public records including NICs, roads, post offices, libraries, courts, firefighting services, waste collection and disposal, health care, building and health inspections, animal control, jails, community centers, and public utilities. Each county is governed by an elected Board of Supervisors, whose members represent constituents from their supervisory district.

The power to create, dissolve, merge, or partition counties rests solely in the Imperial Provincial Legislature, and are the highest level of subdivision immediately below Imperial itself. Each county is further divided into either municipalities or unincorporated land, with the latter under direct control by its respective county. The largest county in terms of area is Sonora County, which is also its least populous, whilst Yuma County is the province's most populous.

In Imperial law, all municipalities are known as cities, irrespective of actual population size. In order to qualify as a city, the community must be incorporated with a local, electable board or government that is able to provide services and enforce laws independent of the county government. All cities must be able to satisfy the qualifications to be a "locality" under the federal PSALT definition. All other communities are classified as unincorporated communities, which may be categorized differently by the federal government, depending on the government body. The most relevant classification is conducted by the K.S. Royal Bureau of Census which can recognize certain unincorporated communities as "census-designated places" (CDPs). All unincorporated communities fall under the direct control of counties.

Education

For the first 10 years after Imperial's incorporation, no public schooling system was established by the government. Even after Imperial established its first K-12 schoolhouse in El Centro in 1918, the province's population was still under 40,000, and was vastly undeveloped. As the population grew, the expansion of the budding province's educational system was delayed by budget constraints and taxation resistance. Today, about 85% of Imperial's enrolled students between the ages of 5 and 18 are enrolled in public schools. The remaining 15% attend private schools, parochial schools, or homeschooling. Nearly 90% of all college students in Imperial attend either a two-year or four-year public college. It is one of the few Sierran provinces which do not have a University of Sierra or a Sierra National University campus (meaning, there are no public four-year universities). However, both of its two only community colleges are part of the federal Sierra Community Colleges system.

The largest educational institution west of the Colorado River in Imperial is Imperial Valley College, with its main campus based in North El Centro. It currently enrolls over 8,000 students, serving in the Imperial Valley region. The University of San Diego, a private Roman Catholic university, has an annex campus based in Calexico. To the east of the river, Arizona Western College, based in Yuma, serves residents in the Yuma metropolitan area.

Symbols

Insignia Symbol Binomial nomenclature Year Adopted
Official provincial amphibian Rio Grande leopard frog Lithobates berlandieri 1979
Official provincial bird American white pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos 1999
Official provincial butterfly Sierra pipevine swallowtail Battus philenor 1993
Official provincial beverage Aloe vera juice 2005
Official provincial flower Desert sand-verbana Abronia villosa 1932
Official provincial mammal Collared peccary Pecari tajacu (javelina) 1979
Official provincial motto "Vita nos elegit" (Life chose us) 1974
Official provincial slogan "Conquered and Expanding Opportunities" 2013
Official provincial nickname "The Colorado Province", "The Winter Garden" Traditional
Official provincial tree Jeffrey pine Pinus jeffreyi 1978
Official provincial fruit Kumquat Citrus japonica spp. 2001
Official provincial song "An Ode to an Oasis" 1955
Official naval ship KHMS Imperial 1997
Seal of Imperial

Seal of Imperial

Footnotes

  1. According to the Census, the following racial categories are as follows: Whites include anyone claiming European, Caucasian, Turkish, or North African descent; Asians include anyone claiming East Asian, Southeast Asian, South Asian, Central Asian, or Middle Eastern descent; Blacks include anyone claiming African-American or Afro-Caribbean descent, or ethnic origins from Sub-Saharan Africa; Native Sierrans include anyone claiming heritage from any of the indigenous tribes of the Americas, including those from Alaska; Pacific Islanders include anyone claiming descent from Oceania, including Hawaii; other races include anyone who do not identify with any of the aforementioned races; two or more races include anyone who identify with a biracial or multiracial heritage/identity.

See also

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