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Union of Patagonia (en)
Unión de Patagonia (es)
Union von Patagonien (de)
Flag of Patagonia
Coat of arms of Patgonia
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Blessed Are They Who Walk Free
Anthem: Rule, Patagonia!
I Vow to Thee, My Country
Locator map of Patagonia
Map of Patagonia in South America
Capital
and largest city
Canterbury
47.7516°S 65.9014°W
Official languages English, Spanish
Ethnic groups (2010) 86% White
12% Mestizo
2% Other
Demonym Patagonian
Government Federal constitutional presidential republic
Louise Williamson
Wilson Baker
Allison Cartwright
Legislature National Assembly
Independence from the United Kingdom
11 October 1873
• Ten Weeks' War begins
2 June 1875
31 August 1879
Area
• Total
373,700.4 km2 (144,286.5 sq mi) (62nd)
Population
• 2016 estimate
2,095,440 (142nd)
• 2010 census
2,093,486
• Density
5.607/km2 (14.5/sq mi) (229th)
GDP (PPP) 2016 estimate
• Total
$72.651 billion (94th)
• Per capita
$34,671 (33rd)
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
• Total
$50.502 billion (80th)
• Per capita
$24,101 (30th)
Gini (2014) 0.28 (Low)
Error: Invalid Gini value
HDI (2014) 0.848
very high · 34th
Currency Pound (£, P£) (POG)
Time zone PST (UTC-4)
• Summer (DST)
PDST (UTC-3)
Date format DD-MM-YYYY
Drives on the right
Calling code +500
ISO 3166 code POG
Internet TLD .po

The Union of Patagonia (commonly referred to as just Patagonia, Spanish: Unión de Patagonia) is a sovereign state located in South America. Patagonia borders Argentina and Chile to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Southern Ocean to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The national total land area of 505,991.5 square kilometres makes Patagonia the 52nd largest nation in the world, and the national population of 1,650,772 makes it the world's 149th most populous.

Patagonia is a unitary parliamentary republic with a unicameral Parliament as its supreme legislature and a Prime Minister as its head of government. The Prime Minister is elected in Patagonia through a vote of confidence in the Parliament, with the winner being the leader of the largest party or coalition of parties. The Prime Minister, with the approval of the President, the ceremonial head of state, then forms the government through the appointment of Ministers to the Cabinet. Formerly, the President held a great deal of political power and there was a hereditary upper house with legislative power known as the Senate, but following the passage of the second national Constitution in 1978, the current situation of a ceremonial Presidency and an abolished upper house was established. The political system of Patagonia is based off of the Westminster system, a feat credited to the largest British-descended and English-speaking population in South America.

Evidence of human habitation of the Patagonia region dates back to 12500 BCE, but the region only conclusively enters written history with the descriptions of European explorers in the 1520s. The Spanish Empire was the first European polity to claim the region, although it made no serious attempt to settle it, and the first permanent European population was actually established by the English John Narborough in 1671 at Port Desire. The English settlement, based around llama pasturing, was extremely successful due to its location along the Cape Horn Pacific route, and it was officially recognised as a British colony following the War of the Spanish Succession in 1714. The colony at Patagonia grew slowly as a part of the British Empire, with its primary focus set around being a waystation for British navigation into the South Pacific. The first major expansions to the colony came in 1804 and 1809 respectively with the foundings of Sand Point and Lackwood as penal settlements for British domestic prisoners during the Napoleonic Wars. The series of revolts in the Spanish colonies to the north had little to no influence on the policies of the colony, as the fledgling nation posed no serious threat to the interests of the United Kingdom. Chile attempted to invade the westernmost part of the country in 1848, although it was a hugely unsuccessful endeavour which failed within weeks. English immigration increased as urbanisation and the Second Industrial Revolution continued to sweep throughout England. Although many congregated in the coastal cities, many also spread into the sparsely populated interior, with llama herding booming and quickly becoming the dominant industry in the colony. The colonial government continued to support rural expansion in order to combat urban poverty, which they hoped to rid entirely through generous rural land grants.

By the year 1900, the progressive, independent-minded sentiments of the interior llama herders had crept into urban society, and in 1911, Patagonia was granted the status of Dominion a year after South Africa. The first national constitution was adopted in 1912, creating a bicameral Parliament with a Prime Minister under the authority of a Governor-General. The Great Depression and the Second World War brought republican sentiments to a boiling point, and in 1950, a year after the London Declaration, Patagonia abolished the monarchy and adopted a republican government, replacing the monarchy with a presidency. This led to internal instability as communist and socialist agitators drew the scorn of the anti-communist United States. After the failed Shipyard Revolt in 1958, a pair of successive right-wing strongmen Presidents would only heighten political dissatisfaction. The United States, through Operation Condor, would continue to provide support for the radically right-wing Presidents until the August Crisis of 1978, after which a second national Constitution was devised, with the Presidency losing a significant amount of power and the Parliament being made unicameral. The Argentine-Patagonian War would break out as a result of perceived Patagonian weakness, and, with British intervention, stability would be brought to the new moderate centrist government by 1983. The end of the Cold War in 1990 insured the continuance of the political shift left, with the Social Democrats sweeping into power in the elections that year. Economic nationalisation of many key industries led to the quick development of the economy throughout the boom of the following sixteen years. The Great Recession of 2008 halted this progress, though by 2010, the economy had entirely stabilised.

The economy of Patagonia is best described as a free social market with a large amount of government regulation and intervention in industries which are considered key to maintaining a high standard of living and stable level of economic inequality. Patagonia is the most developed market in South America, and it maintains a large welfare state supported by strong domestic industry, which, in turn, is built upon relatively protectionist economic policies in the scheme of international economic globalisation. Patagonia is an export-based economy with a moderately high trade surplus of consumer electronics, electronic components, and various raw materials. Strong governmental investment in public education and the incentivisation of high-tech industries allows for Patagonia to maintain a heavy hand in computer hardware and software industries on a global scale despite its relatively small population. Patagonia has the highest rate of college education in South America, at 41% of the population, and is the most equal in terms of technological distribution.

Patagonia is an active participant of several international organisations, namely the League of Nations, of which it was a founding member, the Union of South American Nations, the Commonwealth of Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Monetary Fund, and the Organisation of American States. Furthermore, Patagonia is a key ally of Chile and the United Kingdom.

Etymology

The name Patagonia comes from the Spanish loanword patagón, which, in turn, is derived from the word that Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan used to describe the natives of the region in question, patagão. This refers to the ancient Greek region of Paphlagonia, which was the homeland of the patagão personages of the 16th century literary series of chivalric romances known as Primaleon, which were popular shortly before Magellan set sail to circumnavigate the globe. The Patagones were described as giants, an interpretation which stuck with the natives of the region throughout the period in which little was known about the land, with mapmakers of the period often denoting Patagonia as regio gigantum, or, region of the giants. While the mythic interpretation of the "giants" eventually faded away from mainstream belief during the intensification of English exploration and settlement in the late 17th century, the name Patagonia stuck and was adopted by these settlers as the name of the land they inhabited. Hence, when the colony was formally incorporated into the British Empire in 1714, it was given the name "Crown Colony of Patagonia." With the passage of the first constitution in 1912, the name "Dominion of Patagonia" was used. When the republic was established in 1950, the name changed to "Patagonian Republic" in the style of the "French Republic," referencing the control of the nation by the people. This name was upheld in the 1978 Constitution, which is used to this day. In Spanish, the second official language of the country, this directly translates to República Patagónica.

History

Pre-Colombian Patagonia

Cave of Hands in Patagonia

The Cave of Hands in central-northern Patagonia, dating back to around 8000 BCE.

The earliest signs of human habitation in the geographic region of Patagonia, which extends northwards into contemporary Argentina and Chile, appear in the 13th millennium BCE at Monte Verde in southern Chile. Settlement in this glacial period would have been difficult, and human habitation shows more permanent signs of existence in the later 10th millennium BCE. Permanent human settlement of regions as far south as the Firelands date back to around 10000 BCE. The Cave of Hands holds prehistoric artwork which is believed to date from around 8000 BCE. Guanaco and nandu hunting was the predominant form of living which the inhabitants of the eastern plains, with the use of bolas by these hunter-gatherer tribesmen being some of the earliest tools in use by these native peoples to effectively hunt and capture the two major sources of sustenance. These plain-dwellers were the Tehuelche people, and they were the dominant cultural group which inhabited the plains which are now considered the Patagonian heartlands. The Yámana people inhabited the southern isles of the Firelands, while the Chono people inhabited the northwestern isles of the Icelands. Mapuche-speaking agriculturalists penetrated the western Andes around 1000 BCE, and from there, they migrated and settled further southwards, dominating other native groups with their superior technology and knowledge of military-style tactical practices. At the time of European encounter, the Yámana and Chono inhabited their respective archipelagos, the Tehuelche inhabited most of the plains, and the Mapuche inhabited the interior of the land which hugged the Andes mountains.

European exploration and settlement

Lord James Whitley, Governor of English Patagonia

Lord-Governor James Whitley was the first governor of English Patagonia.

The Florentine explorer Amerigo Vespucci claimed to have reached as far south as the northern fringes of the Firelands in 1502, though his inability to accurately describe the Rio de la Plata casts doubt on this claim. The first detailed description of the geographic region of Patagonia comes from the voyage of Diogo Ribeiro, who accurately described the San Matías Gulf in 1512. After encountering the Valdes Peninsula, they sighted the lands of the continent further south, but eventually rounded the peninsula back north, not visiting what is today Patagonia proper. The first European to entirely describe the coastline of what now constitutes the Patagonian Republic was Ferdinand Magellan, who, in 1520, named many of the striking geographical features of the nation, such as the Cape of the Virgins. During the difficult overwinter at Port St. Julian, the Italian scholar Antonio Pigafetta recorded the name patagones to describe the supposed giant natives which inhabited the lands they were harboured at. It is from this description that the name Patagonia would eventually form. After the departure of Magellan, there would be several small scale explorations of the northern interior of geographic Patagonia and the coastline of the entirety of the region. Sir Francis Drake sailed along the coastline in 1577, though Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa made a more detailed exploration of the region, carefully surveying and charting the lands throughout 1579 and 1580. Sir Thomas Cavendish visited the region in 1587, finding the condition of several failed Spanish settlements so dire that he renamed one as Port Famine. After the discovery of a route across Cape Horn, the Spanish Empire lost any interest in the further settlement and exploration of the region, though they did maintain a claim of de jure sovereignty over the area.

The first permanent European settlement in what is today the Patagonian Republic was at Port Desire, which Sir John Narborough claimed for the English King Charles II in 1671. After returning to England, Narborough was convinced by the minor Lord James Whitley to join him in the further settlement of the small outpost he had established at Port Desire, and hence, instead of becoming abandoned like most other attempts at settlement, Port Desire was expanded with over five-hundred English settlers in 1673. The early settlement became reliant upon sheep herding, and in 1679, the settlers came under the ownership of several llamas, which soon overtook sheep to become the largest feature of the small settlement's economy. The English settlement was largely unknown to the Spanish due to its very small size and relatively unthreatening and remote location. It was not until the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession in 1701 that the Spaniards would learn of the settlement, as small-scale privateer operations were established by the English at Port Desire to attack isolated Spanish ships trying to use the Cape Horn trade route. Spanish attempts to take the settlement were futile and largely disorganised because of its small size, and hence, with the end of the war in 1714, the southern half of Patagonia was formally ceded to the British Empire and formalised as the Crown Colony of Patagonia.

Early colonial Patagonia

Charles Whitley, 4th Lord-Governor of Patagonia

Lord-Governor Charles Whitley presided over massive Napoleonic War colonial expansion.

The newly formed colony encompassed a great deal of land, though only a relatively small part of it was permanently inhabited by English-speaking settlers. Port Desire, in the early days of the colony, had grown into a considerably large town, and it became a source of food and rest for those travelling on the Cape Horn route. In 1716, Lord-Governor James Whitley died, and he was succeeded by Edward Narborough, the son of Sir John Narborough, who became the second Lord-Governor of the colony. Narborough was the only child of John Narborough to remain in Patagonia, as his other children resided in England, and under his Governorship he led a series of tax code reforms known as the Narborough Tax. Although unpopular, he used to revenues from the taxes to pave certain streets in Port Desire, build a new municipal building, Old Town Hall, and formally organise a small militia to defend from possible Spanish or native raids. The evident threat that Spain posed to Patagonia became a focal point of colonial affairs with the succession of Thomas Stayner as Lord-Governor in 1749. Indeed, Spanish raids became common throughout the many wars that Great Britain and Spain undertook during the 18th century, and, at many times, the colony was threatened with annexation or, possibly, complete destruction. The largest threat to colonial Patagonia occurred during the American Revolutionary War, when in 1780, Spain, due to victories in Florida, attempted to secure Patagonia and add it to the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. The Battle of Port Desire was the only proper battle fought during the conflict in Patagonia, and it was a catastrophic defeat for the Spanish expeditionary forces which had launched from Buenos Aires. Hence, in the Treaty of Versailles, Spain was forced to concede that Patagonia was irrevocably British territory. In 1784, Charles Whitley became the fourth Lord-Governor, creating a pattern of power-shifting in the colony which became known as the "Three Lordships of Patagonia," as the Narborough, Stayner, and Whitley families came to dominate the affairs of Port Desire.

In 1804, the first British penal colony in Patagonia was established at Sand Point, the first founding of a major settlement outside of the direct influence of Port Desire. The colonial government was given some control over the settlement, though the majority rested with British military officials, who used it as a location to banish republican dissenters during the Napoleonic Wars. The huge success of Sand Point encouraged further penal development in the southern part of the colony, and in 1809, with the approval of the colonial government, the penal colony of Lackwood was founded as an alternative location for debtors and other non-dissenting banished exiles. Many in the penal colonies, because of the reasons of their banishment, found their new lives in Patagonia to represent a chance at establishing a new society for themselves, which was not reigned over by hereditary, landed figures. With the Second Treaty of Paris in 1815, the British military gave full control of the penal colonies to the colonial government, and in 1816, Lord-Governor Charles Whitley established the Whitley Grants, a series of land grants aimed at having the less threatening inmates of the colony spread out and establish homesteads the extremely undeveloped interior of Patagonia. The programme was a moderate success, and most importantly, resulted in the founding of Purpleview in 1818. Lord-Governor Stephen Stayner, who succeeded Whitley in 1819, continued the policy of offering land grants to those at Sand Point and Lackwood, and in 1821, he extended the policy to the poorer residents of Port Desire. As a result of generous allowance in expansion, three distinct areas of colonial settlement developed in Patagonia, those being the Port Desire region, the Purpleview region, and the Lackwood-Sand Point region. The interior in the literal centre of the country remained undeveloped, due to its largely desert terrain which was unsuitable for agriculture. The penal colonies were abolished as outlets in the Great Reform Act in the United Kingdom, and hence, they were incorporated in the crown colony as proper towns. The development of properly settled regions led to interest in the exploration of the interior, with one of the most famous exploits being that of the naturalist Charles Darwin, who, on the Second voyage of the HMS Beagle, spent a considerable amount of time exploring the country along with Captain Robert FitzRoy, with the pair becoming the most famous explorers in Patagonian history.

Late colonial Patagonia

Scene at Purpleview, 1848

The Battle of Purpleview was the only military engagement of the failed Chilean invasion.

The Spanish American wars of independence were viewed by the loyalist residents of Port Desire with contempt when they spread to the Rio de la Plata in 1810. As anyone with real political power resided in the city, the British parliament insured it enjoyed special privileges in order to appease any colonial demands that may be made and result in the same disaster which occurred in North America only three decades prior. Hence, nearly all residents entirely supported the British government, and the only thoughts of possible Patagonian sovereignty came from the Republican dissenters who had been banished to the colonies in the south. At first, most Patagonians did not even acknowledge the Spanish American wars because they seemed distant affairs, almost entirely disregarding the newly governments. It would not be until 1848 that Patagonia would even acknowledge the existence of independent South American nations due to the Chilean invasion of Patagonia in 1848. Chile claimed sovereignty over lands inhabited by Patagonian citizens, and hence, in 1848, attempted to conquer the region surrounding the Patagonian town of Purpleview. The Chilean forces, which had already been devastated by unseasonably cold weather in their mountain crossing southwards, attempted to attack the town, but were easily repulsed. In order to prevent future border conflicts, in 1848, the colonial government of Patagonia, which was now under the control of Lord-Governor William Narborough, began establishing consular relations with key nations on the continent. Chile received the first permanent envoy in 1849, which helped negotiate a permanent border agreement that same year, followed by Argentina in 1852, Brazil in 1855, and Bolivia and Peru in 1856. Although relations remained shaky with its neighbours, the establishment of these permanent consulates helped to resolve many small-scale disputes before they became large problems for Patagonia and the countries in question.

As industrialisation and urbanisation swept throughout the United Kingdom, a great deal of people began to emigrate Patagonia in search of a better life outside of the developing slums. Coming to Patagonia, they settled predominantly in cities, a practice which the colonial government found dangerous to the high levels of economic equality which had been developed through years of slow economic growth. In order to prevent the development of slums in Patagonian cities, the government of Narborough extended the Whitley Grants to new arrivals as well as the domestic destitute. This massive expansion of rural economic power led, in turn, to the massive expansion of the already large herding industry. The Patagonian ability to raise and herd llamas, sheep, guanaco, and cattle was at its peak, and there was a large trade surplus created by the export of wool to the textile mills of mainland Britain. As people migrated to the sparsely populated interior, with one of the most notable migrations leading to the establishment of Humboldt, a shift occurred in the ideological leanings of many, as they believed that the colonial form of government was inherently and diametrically opposed to the ideas of freedom which they had migrated to Patagonia to live in. While they believed that government was a necessary tool in the development of the state, they did not believe that the best interest of the Patagonian nation was under the hegemony of the British. Hence, progressivism and republicanism began to flourish throughout the rural areas of the country, and these ideas began to seep into the cities as well, with the most famously liberal city being Purpleview, far away from the overseeing eye of the colonial government in Port Desire. Lord-Governor Robert Stayner, who had succeeded to the post in 1879, was the first to push for further autonomy from the British Parliament, and his efforts would be renewed by his successor Thomas Whitley, who became Lord-Governor in 1908. Lord-Governor Whitley became incessant that Patagonia achieve the status of Dominion as several colonies had become only a year earlier, and, with the creation of the Union of South Africa, the Lord-Governor grew more impatient. In 1911, after working nonstop for nearly a year with top advisors in the British Cabinet of Prime Minister H. H. Asquith, the Lord-Governor secured the status of Dominion for the country, with the crown colony becoming the Dominion of Patagonia.

Dominion of Patagonia

Great Depression protests in Port Desire, 1933

Dissatisfaction with the political system was catalyzed by the Great Depression in 1930.

The Dominion of Patagonia was organised formally by its first constitution, which mimicked the British Westminster system almost entirely, with the role of the Monarch being represented by the Governor-General. As the three predominant families which had controlled the Crown Colony did not wish to fade away, the position of Governor-General was one of the strongest political offices in the nation, much unlike other Dominions in the British Empire, and the first Governor-General was Thomas Whitley, whose position was determined by his previous role as Lord-Governor. The Parliament held its first elections in 1912, and the first Prime Minister was Henry Narborough, who was an independent. Much like the British system, the Parliament was organised into two chambers, with a House of Commons and a House of Lords. The Commons held all the real power, and the Lords existed primarily as a tool to allow the lifetime recognition of those who had done a great amount of service for the Patagonian nation. The first few governments of Patagonia presided over the llama and sheep herding boom of the First World War, as the United Kingdom's demand for wool had skyrocketed and continued to after the war. This period of prosperity was immediately followed by the Great Depression, which devastated the country, and led to a huge amount of economic instability as the United Kingdom's domestic demand for wool shrank. The economic crisis was reflected in the politics of the nation, as, for the first time in Patagonian history, people began to openly protest against the government and called for the full independence of the country. The 1931 Statute of Westminster and the 1932 elections became key to the success of the republican movement, as, in 1932, the Parliament elected the first leader of the country who was not from the three most powerful families, Prime Minister William Redmond. Thomas Whitley, the Governor-General, dissolved Parliament because of the unwillingness of the Prime Minister to act subordinately, but Whitley's dissolution led to open conflict in the streets between police and protesters during rallies against him, and due to his huge unpopularity, in 1933, Whitley became the first Patagonian leader to resign from office, and with his resignation, he sealed the fate of the three families which had essentially founded the country.

Whitley was succeeded as Governor-General by Richard Stanley, who immediately allowed Parliament to reconvene as it had been elected in the prior year. The first acts of Parliament under Redmond were efforts to alleviate the extreme poverty which had developed during the massive bouts of economic and political instability over the past three years. The Redmond government massively expanded the role of government in the economy and invested heavily into educational policies which were aimed at eradicating child labour to create more jobs for adults. The government also instituted a policy of universal healthcare and invested heavily into industrial development. Most importantly, massive infrastructure projects were launched around the country, with the most significant being the development of a nationalised highway and railway system. The Redmond government won a landslide victory in the 1936 elections, and after the putting the economy on a stable path to recovery by 1938, the government then attempted to reform the political system to better suit the desire of the people to have a stronger voice in government. However, due to the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, attempts by the government to introduce sweeping political reforms were floundered by a greater desire of the people to defend their mother nation against tyranny, and as such, the Dominion joined the United Kingdom in its war against Nazi Germany. The war did not outright pacify the Patagonian demands for a government completely free of the British Empire, and hence, with the conclusion of the war in 1945, republicanism was thrust to the forefront of the national political scene. After the Indian transition to a republic and the London Declaration of 1949, republicanism sweltered to a boiling point, and in 1950, the government of Prime Minister Charles Milner unilaterally abolished the monarchy with the passage of the Republic Act.

Early republic and the Mountaineers

William Abbott, 2nd President of Patagonia

President William Abbott is regarded as the father of the radical Mountaineer faction of the Country Party.

Prime Minister Milner was the epitomic representative of the the Country Party, which had been founded shortly after the passage of the Republic Act in order to better organise the political fervour set into motion by the anti-monarchism and populism which fuelled the Act's conception. The Country Party held a huge electoral mandate and a massive supermajority in the House of Commons, which it used to introduce a series of constitutional reforms which consolidated power into the Presidency, which, in the 1952 elections, Milner ascended to. With both the Presidency and the Commons, the Country Party was able to slightly roll back the heavy government intervention in the economy which had only been put into place in order to secure economic stability. The moves were highly divisive, setting apart the leftist radicals from the otherwise moderate left of Patagonian politics at the time. The heightening of the Cold War and the global development of alliances set between the two major ideologies of the time reflected into Patagonian politics, with the generally centrist and rightist mainstream supporting the shift towards the newly formalised NATO alliance. As the government increased co-operation with the United States, the far left became further radicalised in their actions. In 1958, two years after the Country Party maintained its heavy lead in Parliament in the 1956 elections, the government attempted to decrease the ability of trade unions to collectively bargain by setting in place penalties against worker's strikes. This set into motion the Shipyard Revolt, a strike which turned into a riot in the capital after police forces attempted to disperse peaceful protesters. News coverage of the event was heavily suppressed, and as a result, many viewed it as an attempt by communists to overthrow the government. The military used the riot as a pretense of its then action to shortly suspend the Parliament and declare martial law, a move which was entirely unopposed by the public. Hence, in 1958, President Milner stepped down and was replaced by the more radical Prime Minister William Abbott as President.

President Abbott was the leader of the radical faction of the Country Party known as the Mountaineers, who were more prone to pseudo-fascist governing tactics than actual democratic practices. In his first two years, President Abbott feigned moderation, but after the controversial 1960 elections, in which the Mountaineers took full control of the House of Commons and subdued the already-weak Senate, he began to rule more in the style of a military dictator. Entirely backed by the American CIA, Abbott built up the national military, suspended several key political rights, pushed for heavy media censorship, and tightened regulations on free trade. The people were largely pacified by the lowering of their taxes and a large deregulation of the domestic market, and political demonstration by opposition elements was suppressed and concealed. Abbott founded a secret police organisation, the Special Security Service, in order to better organise the suppression of domestic opposition elements, an elite task force trained by the CIA which was extremely effective in its actions. As a result, Abbott secured an unparalleled amount of power by heavily corrupting the political process, and he funded these operations through the secret government monopolisation of gambling, narcotics, and smuggling. Abbott would remain in power until his death in 1975, and his death left a major power vacuum in the oligarchy which he had built between Mountaineer and military elites. His successor, President Alfred Quincy, won the 1976 elections, but was unable to maintain the government hegemony as well as his successor, and hence, in 1977, he abolished the Special Security Service after failing to reign in its operations, a move which the military used opportunistically in order to increase its power by giving more sway towards presidential decisions. The military was effectively given control of the government cartel-monopoly, an action which would eventually lead to the Frye scandal in 1978, when military forces were exposed by underground press organisations in their running of the cartel. Hence, the lower-ranking members of the military began to desert, disillusioned by its criminal activities, and massive political protests, untamed by a lack of security services, called for the immediate resignation of President Quincy in what would become known as the August Crisis.

Second constitution and renewed democracy

Battle of Port Desire, June 1982

Fighting during the Argentine-Patagonian War was most intense in the capital city of Port Desire.

The August Crisis was realised with the resignation of President Quincy and his arrest by civilian police forces. That same month, a coalition of moderates and leftists, supported by military defectors and civilian security forces, organised the passage of the second constitution, which transitioned the post of President into a ceremonial position, abolished the ineffective and particularly useless Senate, and transferred full power of governance to a sovereign, unicameral Parliament. A provisional government was mandated and the military was reorganised after many of its top commanders fled to Argentina and Chile. Patagonia soon found itself extremely vulnerable, and as a result strengthened ties with its former colonial master, the United Kingdom. The British agreed to oversee the 1980 elections, in which the new, extreme-centre Popular Freedom Party won in a landslide. The victory of staunch anti-radicals bolstered relations with the British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who found the new Patagonian government agreeable in its goals. The new government, under Prime Minister Allen Manifold, began a process of intensive bureaucratic reform and an overhaul of anti-corruption efforts set into motion by the provisional government. The revelations of extreme corruption in the pre-provisional governments, the liberalisation of political freedoms, and the weakness of the military all fueled anger in not only the Patagonian public, but also in neighbouring Argentina, where the dispersion of many defected Patagonian commanders led to the revelations of top military secrets to the junta which was in power at the time. As a result, Argentina used the opportunity of Patagonian weakness to invade the country, sparking the Argentine-Patagonian War, the first military conflict fought on Patagonian soil in over one-hundred years.

The United Kingdom was concurrently attacked when Argentine forces split into two fronts; a land force aimed to take Port Desire while a naval force invaded the Falkland Islands. The Argentines were initially successful in the capture of the Falklands, but they faced a great deal of resistance from Patagonian forces and partisans in the countryside north of Port Desire. The Battle of Port Desire lasted for one month and devastated the northern outskirts of the city, but eventually, with the arrival of British reinforcements in early June, the Argentine invasion was repulsed. The victory over Argentina was made official in the Treaty of Comodoro Rivadavia, which was mediated by France, in which Argentina officially renounced any claim to British or Patagonian territory. The diplomatic and military victory hugely bolstered the confidence in the new Patagonian government, and insured its continued stability as the new political system for the nation. Prime Minister Manifold's government presided over a period of history in where, after the war, the population began to skew further left. In the 1985 elections, the Popular Freedom Party created a coalition government with the surging Social Democratic Party, and this new coalition government proved to be far more active in its increasing the role of the government in Patagonian society. This included the restoration of universal healthcare, universal education, and state pensions, all of which had largely been done away with during the reign of the Mountaineers. The measures were hugely successful and entirely attributed to the Social Democrats, who won a landslide in the 1990 elections and secured an insurmountable lead at the forefront of Patagonian politics.

Economic restructuring and the modern republic

Prime Minister Alice Hartley

Prime Minister Alice Hartley led the country as leader of the SDP for over twenty years.

The Social Democrats controlled a huge percentage of Parliamentary seats, and while critics compared them to the earlier Country Party, the new Prime Minister, Alice Hartley, sought to rebuild public trust in the effectiveness of government. The Hartley government oversaw the completion of education and healthcare nationalisation, and also began offering generous subsidies to technology companies and small businesses. Furthermore, this was complimented by the establishment of a new higher education programme which offered subsidies to private research universities and established new technical schools and preschools. In addition to these new institutions, older buildings were modernised and renovated to meet new, green building codes and provide better accommodations for students. These massive overhauls of the education services were extremely popular, encouraging a massive growth in birth rates and leading to the foundation of many new information technology firms in Patagonia. The focus on technology coincided with the dot-com boom, and lead to one of the greatest periods of general prosperity since during the late dominion period. While the following recession did somewhat hamper economic growth, the momentum set in place by heavy government spending overrode the damage done in domestic markets.

Unlike many other countries during the period, Patagonia resisted free trade movements and remained generally protectionist in its stance on foreign trade. The government focused a great deal on developing a highly-educated and healthy society which could operate freely of foreign intervention, and as such, viewed projects like Mercosur with many reservations. Remaining free of highly-binding global agreements led to a high amount of apathy for the global War on Terror, which was viewed as a very distant non-threat to Patagonia. While many felt sympathy for nations affected by political instability, anti-Americanism had remained strong in the country since the overthrow of the Country Party. Instead of joining any large agreements, Patagonia focused instead on developing relations with individual countries, a policy which was highlighted by the normalisation of relations with Argentina in 2004, viewed as a significant victory for the Hartley government. The Great Recession hurt the foreign investment and tourism which had sweltered in the country following nearly two decades of relentless economic growth, and although she remained highly popular, Prime Minister Hartley decided against a fifth-term run in the 2010 elections.

The successor of Alice Hartley, Prime Minister Wilson Baker, oversaw the stabilisation of the economy and at first generally maintained the policies of his popular predecessor. Young and energetic, Baker established a policy of nationalised railways in 2012, pushed for the widespread use of renewable energy sources, and began large public health campaigns aimed at combating nuisance minor health issues. Prime Minister Baker's popularity with younger citizens is what contributed towards his major success in the 2015 elections, securing him another five years as leader of the Social Democrats.

Geography

Mount St Laurence, Patagonia

Mount St. Laurence in western Patagonia is the highest point in the nation.

Patagonia is located at the southernmost end of South America's Southern Cone, a part of the larger geographical region of Greater Patagonia, of which it makes up the entirety of the southern half. For the most part, the country is covered in a steppe-like plain which gradually inclines further westward. Closer towards the Andes, which line the nation's western coast, the flora of the region is much more luxuriant, made up primarily of grasses, conifers, and southern birches. The high rainfall along the Andes and low sea surface temperatures give rise to cold and humid air masses which have built the largest ice-fields and glaciers in the Southern Hemisphere outside of Antarctica.

Patagonia is known for mean temperatures which range from around 6°C in the extreme south to 15°C in the northern part of the country. Generally, annual temperatures dip a few degrees below freezing in the winter and reach a high of around 25.5°C in the summer. The interior of the country ranges around the same, though winters can be much more intense due to oceanic moderation of coastal ranges. Due to the westerly manner of the wind, a rainshadow effect is created by the Andes mountains, with the western coast receiving around 4,000mm annually and regions further to the east barely reaching any more than 500mm annually.

The vast majority of the nation of Patagonia lies between 45°S and 55°S in latitude, and between 65°W and 75°W in longitude.

Fauna and flora

The fauna of Patagonia is generally typical across the entirety of the country. The most characteristic animals found in the wild are guanacoes, cougars, chillas, skunks, and tuco-tucoes. The Patagonian steppe is one of the last strongholds of wild guanacoes and rheas, which was subject to mass over-hunting after the diffusion of firearms and horses to the Tehuelche natives. The carancho is the most iconic bird which inhabits the country, and austral parakeets and green-backed firecrowns are also well known native avian species. The Andean condor, one of the largest birds in the world, can be found in the western part of the country. Although there are many different kinds of waterfowl, the most famous are the Chilean flamingo, the upland goose, and the steamer duck. Patagonia is well known internationally for its diversity of marine wildlife, which includes the southern right whale, the Magellanic penguin, the orca, and elephant seals. Patagonia is home to some of the largest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, particularly for its marine wildlife, of which Magellanic Isles, South St. George Gulf, and Tower Plains are the largest and most famous.

There are three general floral zones in Patagonia, corresponding to the topographical intensity of the region. Most of Patagonia is covered in the Patagonian steppe, of which there is a general sparsity to vegetation and, generally, a great deal of desert shrubs and hard grass tufts, namely Stipa and Poa. The second region, the Pre-Andean shrubland, contains more evergreen shrubs such as Azara, and grasses are generally softer in this region. The Pre-Andean shrublands are generally the less predominate of the three eco-regions, because they exist as a small dividing strip between the steppe and the Andes Mountains. The Magellanic forest is the third floral region of the country, corresponding largely to the Andes Mountains as they envelope the western and far southern parts of the country. The Magellanic forests resemble most alpine forests, in that it is made up largely of fir trees and some, more cold-resistant deciduous trees.

Politics

Patagonia is a unitary state with a parliamentary republic as its government. The nation's Constitution is the body from which the government derives its power, and from this document is derived the practice of legislative supremacy. The elected, unicameral Parliament is based upon a model of the Westminster system, wherein the institutions of governance are ultimately derived from acts of Parliament, and as such, true governmental power lies with the majority party in the Parliament. This system is believed to most accurately represent the concept of representative democracy, as members of Parliament are elected in a party-list proportional representation form based on an apportioned method amongst the municipalities in which population determines the number of seats given. As political parties are essentially the organs through which political factions exist, the Patagonian political system embraces this system in order to make the political parties as efficient as possible. By ignoring the constraints of establishing constituent areas, and essentially channeling popular input directly through party leadership, the Patagonian system avoids the problems associated with gerrymandering and finance-based corruption at local level elections.

Government

National Capitol Building, Port Desire

The National Capitol Building houses the Parliament and the offices of the Government.

Patagonia has a parliamentary government based on the Westminster system that is a unicameral deviation of the British system. The Parliament consists of a single, static 200-member house and holds supremacy over the government, in that, the power of governance rests entirely with the Parliament. The Parliament creates the government by holding a vote of confidence to elect the Prime Minister, who then appoints ministers to his Cabinet with affirmation by the Parliament, thereby forming the Government. The Government officially administers and manages the programmes which are declared as law by enactments of the Parliament. The actions undertaken by the Government are held directly accountable by Parliament, which, at any time, can instate a vote of no confidence and reelect a new Prime Minister. Elections for the Parliament are held on the 25th of November every five years, as Parliament is officially dissolved on the 1st of November of that same year. The last elections were held in 2015, in which the Social Democrats won a fifth supermajority with 134 seats.

Alongside the Parliament officially exists the office of President, an entirely ceremonial role which, in its present role, serves as a replacement for the older, colonial offices of Monarch and Governor-General. While the post of President previously held the power to appoint the ministers of the Cabinet, this was removed with the second Constitution, which transitioned the office into the role of a singular, national representative. In order of official precedence, the President technically serves at a higher rank than the Prime Minister, as the mandate of the President is affirmed through their election in a direct popular election which runs concurrently with Parliamentary elections. The current holder of the office, Louise Williamson, is a member of the Social Democrats and has held the office since 2010, winning re-election in 2015.

Law and criminal justice

Patagonia maintains a regionally distinct legal system due to heavy English influence upon the practice of law in the country. As such, common law is applied through the binding decisions of sitting magistrates who apply legal precedent to the facts before them. Furthermore, the unitary court structure of Patagonia means that rulings at the highest court, the High Court, is legally binding unto every court beneath it in its decision-making. Within that structure, various courts exist at separate levels, with each succeeding appellate court holding a larger area of decision impact than the next. While formerly different courts only impacted specific areas of the country in the binding nature of their decisions, this was revised with the second national Constitution, which removed the functionality of courts on a territorial basis, and instead, made all decisions of higher courts binding to all future decisions of any lower courts regardless of physical location. Furthermore, it centralised the two intermediate appellate courts of the country, the Lower Courts of Appeals and the Higher Courts of Appeals, in a way that removed the regional nature of their existence and applied their precedents universally to following precedents of legal action. For example, a decision made by a judge in the Fourth Higher Court of Appeals is legally binding as precedent to any decisions made in the Department Court of Flatwall, despite there being no geographic or administrative bond between the two.

As Patagonia is a unitary state, the Patagonian National Police Service is the centralised law enforcement agency of the country. The PNPS is administratively divided into areas corresponding to the geographic boundaries of the departments, with each branch related to, and coexisting with, the local department courts of the nation. As such, resources can be allocated to areas which require the most help, and the existence of a single, national police force means that there exist no boundaries of jurisdiction for any given unit of police. The PNPS also has extensive access to a national network of lawful interception and video surveillance which was came into development during last decade of the twentieth century. Alongside these more controversial methods of public watch, the Patagonian government has also committed a great deal of effort towards softening the image of the police through extensive programmes aimed towards community policing and the universal abolition of firearms for all non-tactical officers. Patagonia has the lowest rate of crime in South America and the smallest per capita prisoner population on the continent.

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