Topstad is the capital city of Georgeland, located near the centre of the island of Capitalia. It has a population of (2002) approx. 643,432 residents, making it the 6th most populous city in Georgeland. Topstad is located in the Federal District of Georgeland.
The city is named for the British explorer William Topstad, who charted the region in 1803.
|City of Topstad|
|[[Image:|250px|center|thumb|View of the city of Topstad|
|Metro Area|| |
|Population|| 674,545 (2007 est.) |
643,432 (2002 census)
|Location||??.??.?? S, ??.??.?? E|
|Members of Parliament||3|
|Governing Body||Topstad City Council|
|Time Zone||GWST (OTC +5)|
Despite significant support for self-government, Topstad and the Federal District are both under the direct jurisdiction of Georgeland's federal government. Topstad has a directly-elected Mayor and a 19-member city council.
The region now comprising Topstad and the Federal District were first charted by explorer William Topstad, an Englishman, in 1803, shortly after the earliest settlements on the island of Capitalia (then called New Ireland) were established. It was more than a century before a permanent population centre was established on the side. However, the Gordon River, named by Topstad for the colonial Governor, Lord Gordon, provided an excellent source of irrigation for the surrounding farmland, and when the rural population began to soar in the 1870s and 1880s, several homesteads in the region became stopovers for travellers and carters on the journey northwards to New Kikipolis.
The first permanent structure to be built in what is now the modern Topstad was Burnett Cottage in 1865, but it was not until 1878 that any kind of permanent population centre arose. The village and later town of Northam-Wolcott, as it then was, became a regional centre and a market for produce in the area. The town was renamed to Sheffield in 1900. The name 'Topstad' was not adopted until 1906 (see below).
Emergence of a capital
In 1891, after Georgeland gained (limited) independence from Britain, the city of Weston (now Santa Christina) was chosen as a capital city, with the understanding that a new capital would be built within thirty years as a compromise arrangement between Weston, Doubledance and Emilypolis. Several dozen parliamentary committees and citizens' groups were formed to suggest locations and names for the new capital city. Options considered were Lylecity, Georgetown, Pamby, Dannyburg, Ipswich and Chipwich, which was the leading candidate for some time. However, as it was relatively close to Weston, the Chipwich idea was vetoed. Georgetown, which at the time had only 4,000 residents, was seen as too remote and inaccessible, and Lylecity and Pamby were vetoed when an agreement was reached to establish the new capital on an island other than Mainland. The compromise arrangement of Sheffield was agreed on by the House of Commons in August 1903, and ratified in the National Capital Act of 1904 by the Senate. Georgeland now had a site for a permanent capital city. The name 'Sheffield' was to remain the name of the new capital, but a bill spearheaded by Jonathan Walker successfully changed the name of Sheffield to Topstad, after the discoverer of the region. At around the same time, the state of New Ireland was formally renamed Capitalia, though technically the island itself did not change its name and remains New Ireland today.
The first construction of government buildings began in 1905, and continued at a rapid pace. By 1910, the town's population had doubled to almost 11,000, and many thousands more would arrive to take advantage of the sudden boom and the economic opportunities therein. In 1910 construction was completed on the first, preliminary, stage of the Houses of Parliament, and an official residence for the Governor-General of Georgeland, Runsdale Court, had also been completed, though it had been converted from an existing structure. Also around this time, businessman Victor Martin, later Georgeland's first President, began construction of a guest house for himself and his family in the area, which later became Martin Hall, the President's official residence. In December 1910, Prime Minister Nicholas Turner visited the town and proclaimed it "ready to be our home", and declared it to be a City, as it was felt that a capital must be "of sufficient grandeur".
Government moves in
On April 7, 1911, Parliament sat in Topstad for the first time and formally declared Topstad to be the "capital of Georgeland in perpetuity." The population continued to grow throughout Topstad's early development, reaching 20,000 by the outbreak of World War I. The first drama in the new capital occurred only four months into its life, as a general election voted out the Protectionist government led by Turner and voted the country's first Labour government in, led by Eric Donaldson.
Many found the new capital remote and inhospitable - there were few hotels and recreational areas until the Depression, and no rail access until 1920. In 1924 the first aerodrome on the island of Capitalia was built at Topstad. Among those who hated Topstad was Prime Minister David Turner, ironically the brother of the man who had declared the city ready to be home to the government. In a letter to his son in July 1920, Turner said: "This place is nothing but a barren plain, made barely liveable by the one hotel and barely tolerable by the many fools." The wartime governments of Donaldson, and later Gregory Green conducted much of their business from 'secret war rooms' underneath the Topstad Hotel, which were excavated in 1984.
Mid 20th Century
Topstad recieved its first significant public works funding in 1923 when the government funded a program to double the population of the city within ten years. The ambitious proposal saw the creation of new suburbs and a revitalised central business district, and the development of riverside areas. In 1940, the census recorded Topstad's population at 47,000. It would continue to grow exponentially over the next five decades.
By the end of World War II, Topstad had become the fastest-growing city in Georgeland. Fenton Thomas had conducted all wartime affairs from the city and had somewhat irked his Cabinet and public servants by insisting all Cabinet meetings and all discussions with military leaders take place in Topstad. In 1944, Defence Command Headquarters was relocated to Topstad from Santa Christina, which brought with it thousands of ancillary staff. The increase in government activity, spurred by the post-war growth of the public sector, brought in new residents and commercial development, including the expansion and updating of the city's rail network, which by 1968 was in use as a civic mass transit system, as opposed to a simple route in and out of the city. In 1970, Topstad's population was more than 150,000.
Late 20th century
- Houses of Parliament
- Topstad Town Hall
- National Library of Georgeland
- Georgeland National Gallery
- Bank of Georgeland
- National Museum of Georgeland
- Martin Hall
- The Residence
- Georgeland National Theatre