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The Union of Pineland, commonly referred to as simply Pineland, is a sovereign nation located in central North America. Pineland is a nation composed of the majority of the region formerly known as "East Texas", and the country is composed of 34 counties located within the former United States state of Texas. The nation is situated on the Gulf Coast, with the Gulf of Mexico to the south, Northern Louisiana and Acadia to the east, Texarkana and Dallas to the north, and several smaller states to the west.
Pineland is a union of several houses of considerable influence headed by a single monarch whose power is limited by both a constitution and legislature made up of commoner citizens. The Houses of Burcote, Whitmore, and Wolcot are the three major houses which hold control over the three regions of the nation, and all three are considered to rest under the House of Wolver, which heads the Monarchy of Pineland and has constitutional control over the nation's government. The power of the monarchy is then limited by the Constitution, which can only be modified under the transactions of the bicameral Parliament. The Parliament's two houses are based upon the two levels of subdivision within the nation; the Chamber of Barons is made up of the Barons of the 34 Baronies, and the Chamber of Prefects is made up of the Prefects of the XXX Prefectures. The Baronies exist under the three houses of the nation, with the Burcotes along the southern coast, the Whitmore in the east, and the Wolcots in the west. The House of Wolver holds influence over the Greater Region of Houston, a region which is made up of the two metropolitan baronies which compose the large metropolis. All other baronies are considered to be non-metropolitan, and thus no special rules are held over their rule. The current system of unionized monarch-based control over the nation was officially established in 1980, after the end of the War of the Four Houses which resulted from the end of the aftermath of World War III.
The Union of Pineland has a modernized economy which is considered to be evenly displaced over its primary and secondary industries. While still considered post-industrial, the nation holds most of its economic power in its vast manufacturing and refining industries, most of which are centered around the Greater Region of Houston. Transportation-based industries also make up a considerable amount of economic prominence in the nation, with shipping and rail travel in high demand as manufacturing in the country exports a great deal of their products. To maintain control over its own economy, the government has nationalized the automotive, rail, air, sea, shipping, petroleum, and parcel industries, which results in most of those industries profits being redirected to services for the people. The nation is also home to a strong currency, the Pinish stirl, which is moderated by the Bank of Pineland in the city of Houston. With a population of 9 million people, the nation is the second largest by population in North America, and the majority of the population is considered both free and living to a highly adequate standard of living complimented by a moderately low cost of living.
The nation has a neutral outlook towards foreign cooperation, believing that a moderate amount can positively effect the economy. There are some regulations in place into insure that foreign control is strictly limited to certain areas of the economy, mostly the imports of automobiles and food. On a political level, however, Pineland holds very warm relations with both its neighbours and other nations both in its region and further away from the country. The nation is a participatory member of the World Congress, and it maintains large degrees of involvement in the Eastern American Union.
The English word Pineland was established as a name for the region in which the four houses existed. The name was decided upon because the majority of the region was made up of a geographical feature known as the Piney Woods. While East Texas was the de facto name for the region, the new name was chosen because it represented a new start to the region, and it also brought about the fact that the region's sociopolitical structure had almost entirely changed. It was to differentiate the nation from the conception of the hick-ish reputation of the region it encompassed. The term Union was added to signify that the four houses existed as a single, sovereign nation, as opposed to Kingdom which would denote dominance by a single monarch entirely.
Formation of the Houses
After the end of the Third World War, most of the United States was in complete anarchy. From this anarchy, many large population centers slowly lost their power and influence, eventually reducing most major cities around the nation into war torn, gang-lands unable to function as a city anymore. It wasn't until 1969 that slowly power began to consolidate in the region which is known encompassed by Pineland. The Conquest Wars of the Pinnish Houses took place across the entire region, as many houses of several large, influential families began to attack each other to maintain control of several regions at a time. Around 1971, it was believed that around 47 different clans were constantly fighting with one another, and out of those only four would remain dominant by the end of 1976; those were the Houses of Burcote, Whitmore, Wolcot, and Wolver. The House of Burcote held control of the coast, and they were centered around the city of Galveston, though they also maintained significant fortifications in the cities of Beaumont and Freeport. The House of Whitmore held the northeastern part of the nation, and it was the largest in size. They were based out of the city of Cathage, though other major cities included Longview, Lufkin, and Nacogdoches. The House of Wolcot held control of the northwest, and they were based out of the city of Huntsville, though they also maintained the sizable city of Crockett. Finally, the House of Wolver held control of the are surrounding the former city of Houston, the largest region in the area by population. The House was based out of the district known as River Oaks, though other significant locations include Sugar Land, Conroe, and Channelview. The four houses came together to the city of Liberty to sign the Peace of Liberty, which would insure they all held sovereignty over their own separate lands, and that fighting between one another would be mostly avoided. However, due to the scarcity of population in the other regions, the House of Wolver found itself to be the most powerful in terms of economics. Their trade missions towards the other houses were largely met with hostility, as those houses wanted maintain economic self-sufficiency. Ultimately, the other houses attacked the House of Wolver in an attempt to curb their influence, but due to their fears of any of the other houses becoming more powerful, they began to attack each other as well. This political deterioration led to the War of the Four Houses, which began on August 11th, 1977, with the Battle of Galveston.
Establishment and normality of the Union
The War of the Four Houses lasted a total of three years, two months, and seven days, as on October 18th, 1980, the House of Whitmore officially surrendered to the House of Wolver with the Peace of Longview. It was decided that along with the surrender of all three Houses that a new, unified nation would be formed in which the House of Wolver would sit dominant over the three others, who would retain limited sovereignty in their territories. A Parliament was established to insure that the peoples of all the newly conquered territories were properly integrated into the nation, as well as a bimonthly Chamber of the Lords which would allow for each individual House to have equal representation in the new government. By the January of 1981, the new Parliament was deemed a successful institution within the new nation's government, and a constitution was written with administration from each area of the existing government and the people as well to insure a stable and equal system of governance was established. It was from the constitution that the name Union of Pineland was standardized, and that Pineland became the common name for the region that the country made up. The constitution also led to the formation of the Chancellery system which would provide public services to the population. To lead the Chancellery system, an official Monarchy was established in the March of 1981, which would be composed of the House of Wolver's family leader. The Chancelleries would exist in the areas of infrastructure, public service, diplomacy, and culture to insure that the government was able to provide basic necessities of the people as well as to provide more help to those who needed it. To finance the new system, income taxes were established and raised to 40% for all citizens making a lawful income within the territory of the nation. As well as the new taxation system, the Chancellery system would take ownership of redeveloping industries that had been ended by the outbreak of the Third World War. All companies related to rail, sea, air, automotive, shipping, and petroleum that had been attempting to reform themselves were acquired by the government and transformed into the Court companies which had absolute control over those industries and were administered by the Chancellery of Court Companies.
The expansion of the nation's political system was complimented by the growth of the nation's population and economic importance towards neighbouring nations. In 1982, the first factories in North America to have been established after the Third World War opened in the city of Houston, and the time was characterized by the return of normality to many people inside the nation. To further benefit Pineland, the first parliament instated several reconstruction policies which would provide for economic and infrastructural growth outside the nation that would allow for a more reasonably built economy within the country. The Charter of Eastern American Development, signed in the June of 1982, stated that along with reconstruction in Pineland, the nation would begin investments into transportation networks and factories located outside of the country in order to aide foreign economic growth. The former United States states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and areas of Texas surrounding Pineland became increasingly developed along with Pineland itself as economic stability became the norm once again. By the beginning of 1983, the Parliament's new members began a system to standardize the voting process. The Parliament was split into two Chambers, one would be elected from a set of Baronies and one would be elected from a set of Prefectures that would prevent a skew in the political system. The new Barony system was based off of the old Counties, while the Prefectures were established through syndicates of villages within the old Counties. By the February of 1983, the nation's political system had been fully developed, and by the end of that year, economic growth had been set to a stable measure to match with the reconstruction of infrastructure.
Economic expansion and revitalization
The stability of the nation led to a platform of economic expansion for the reconstruction of a new economy. Coal deposits were found throughout the northern part of the nation, complimented by the foundation of coal in other parts of the region of Texas. Reports of iron in Alabama greatly interested the government, which established a new set of development programs to be undertaken across the former American South. A massive rail net work was put into extensive planning which would allow for the shipment of resources from all across a band of North America and greatly increase the economic status of Houston as a center of manufacturing and trade. Gold and silver from the Californian Great Valley and the Mojave Desert along with copper, tin, and zinc from Southern Arizona and New Mexico would link to a long rail line connecting to a way point in Odessa. From Odessa, sulfur would be connected into the network, which would then lead back to Houston. Lead would come from newly discovered deposits in Northern Oklahoma and Southern Kansas, and aluminum would be shipped in from the Carolinas. Diamonds from Arkansas would complete the new trade network, and the system as a whole would massively benefit Houston, which would sit at the heart of all logistics operations across the band of resources. After planning was completed in late 1984, the network came under construction by the January of 1985. The necessity of the resources put the former American South over all, as aluminum and iron were seen as crucial to manufacturing in Houstonian factories. After those lines were completed by the July of 1987, the lead and sulfur would be added with two lines whose construction was completed by the end of 1988. The great westward-reaching line began construction at the beginning of 1989, though because of its length, it was not completed until the end of 1992. The continent was once again connected by the beginning of 1993, a year which would allow for massive economic growth in Houston as resources became available to transport at all time lows since the Third World War.
As the 1980s and early 1990s were characterized by infrastructural growth, massive economic growth as a whole led to a venerable "golden age" in the middle of the 1990s. New technological innovations gave way to the development of a higher standard of living and a large amount of prosperity in an otherwise open and sparsely populated North America. The introduction of computing and the regrowth of broadcasting became a major feature of the late 1990s, in which technology became much more accustomed within the population. As population growth remained relatively low, the economy began to level out, and the boom of economic revitalization ended by the end of 1998. The unprecedented growth of the economy and those of neighboring countries gave way to a relatively advanced society which had once again embraced technology and accepted a resounding amount of technological progress. Computational science became a major feature of the new economy with entrance into the 21st Century, as much of the population reached a standard of living equal to that of the peoples before the Third World War. It is believed that by the end of the 20th Century, the social, economic, and political effects of the Third World War had slowly began to vanish, leaving a much more divided and regional-based human race than ever before.
In 2001, the Charter of Eastern American Union was signed in New Orleans with representatives from many nations across the region, officially creating a passport and economic union that would ease commerce and trade between the regions and provide for further economic growth through integration. Following the charter, the advent of the Internet in 2002 brought a wide scale of connections to the nation, boosted by a technological boom of the mid 2000s as cellular phones and laptop computers became available to the people. Following the creation and spread of smart phones, the internet's availability spread into even more mobile forms. Social media and the ability to connect with people hundreds of miles away is considered one of the greatest creations of the 21st Century, as soon the socioeconomic structure of the nation began to reflect large-scale domestic connectivity.
The Union of Pineland is a unitary state under a hybrid parliamentary-constitutional monarchy which is complimented by the existence of houses of nobility and 34 separate baronies. The monarchy is headed by the House of Wolver, which is based out of the City of Houston, the nation's capital. The monarchy holds control of the chancelleries which provide the public with education, healthcare, emergency services, welfare, cultural protection, utilities, transportation, sanitation, and diplomacy. The monarchy's power is in turn limited by the constitution, a document which can only be amended by the parliament. The bicameral legislature is divided into the Chamber of Barons and the Chamber of Prefects, both of which are derived directly from the territorial subdivisions of which is composed. Pineland is a nonpartisan nation by constitutional ruling, therefore, the existence of political parties is illegal within the nation. Instead, the people are made to vote based upon the views of the nominees in their locality, which is seen as a very progressive measure in the institution of the political system. While no political parties exist, a degree of political terminology is still used within the viewpoints of politicians upon certain subjects. A poll conducted for the first half of 2014 determined that the current Parliament was 82% Liberal-Socialist, 15% Liberal-Moderate, 2% Liberal-Capitalist, and 1% Conservative-Capitalist (the first term relating to social views and the second relating to fiscal views).
The government of Pineland is made up of four sequential levels of governance. The top level consists of the Four Houses which compose the basic geopolitical units of the nation. This level of government can create laws for passage by the Parliament and it has control over the police of the subsequent territory which the House holds, and the level also has control over the industries which the state has monopolized. Collectively, this level is known as the Aristocracy, and they compose a critical amount of absolute power in the stability of the nation in domestic and international politics. The second highest level is that of the national government which provides services for the people of the nation as a whole and insures that laws from both the people and the aristocracy are fit for the nation's civil code or fiscal responsibilities. This level consists of the Parliament, which is elected by the people, and the Chancelleries, which are selected by the Monarchy and approved by the Parliament. The Parliament also has power over the Constitution, which defines the areas of Aristocratic rule and insures certain rights to the people. The last two levels are that of regional and local governments which serve mainly as places of individual ordinance, election areas, and judicial processions, those taking place in the Baronies which are made up by the Prefectures. The Prefectures serve as the areas of law enforcement and election, while the Prefectures serve to provide judicial rulings and can provide certain ordinances for their own administration to some degree.