Biladia

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Republic of Biladia
Gomhūrīyaha li-Bėlāðīya
גֹּמְהוּרִיַהַ לִבֵּלַדִיַה
Flag and Coat of Arms Coat of Arms
Flag
Motto: Nahuyu, naħara, naqtulu va nazrulu bi-bilâda
We live, we fight, we kill and we die for the homeland
CapitalBaldulsam
Official languages Samatiyan
Recognised regional languages Emeqith
Taranite
Demonym Biladi
Government Semi-presidential federal republic
 -  President Abû al-Assîrîy
Population
 -  2017 estimate 47,850,000
 -  2015 census 47,567,000
GDP (PPP) 2018 estimate
 -  Total 1.743 trillion
 -  Per capita 36,425
GDP (nominal) 2018 estimate
 -  Total 1.651 trillion
 -  Per capita 34,500
Gini (2016)negative increase 35.6
medium
HDI (2016)Decrease 0.763
high
Currency Dihâb (BLD)
Time zone West Arabekhi Time (UTC-1)
Drives on the right

The Republic of Biladia, commonly called Biladia (English pronunciation: /bɪˈlɑːdiə/, Sematiyan: Gomhūrīyaha li-Bėlāðīya גֹּמְהוּרִיַהַ לִבֵּלַדִיַה), historically known as Samatiya or Sematiya (Sematiyan: Sematīya סֶמַטִיַה), is a country in western Arabekh in Aeia. Bordering Hipasia and Onza to the north and the Mascyllary overseas territory of Asfarien in the south, it borders tir Lhaerraid to the west through maritime proximity to its Opal Ocean possession Kish. On one of its island territories, Northern Dureme, it also borders Mascyllary Dureme. The country is populated by about 47.9 million people, the vast majority of which live in the western parts of it with the east being sparsely populated for the most part. The largest city and capital of Biladia is Baldulsam, with other major urban centres including Medina, Baynalmidon (now officially called al-Gabāl) or Asfarum.

Little is known about the earliest inhabitants of Biladia as cave drawings and forms of settlement are rarely found. It is known that the Araxic people, predecessor of the modern-day Arax and Havil, and the Taranite people inhabited large parts of the country. While the Taranites primarily lived in mountainous areasfor a long time, they later settled in the valleys of rivers where some settlements were founded that survived until the modern age, such as Madînat. In contrast to the Taranites who mostly inhabited the inland, the coast was inhabited by the Araxic people. It is unknown who first inhabited the far north and west of the country, although it is possible that it were Lisanic tribes. By the Middle Ages, the demise of an ancient Taranite civilization saw the expansion of Lisanic tribes from the far west of the nation with the Taranites often adapting the early form of the Samatiyan language, thus being called Samatiyans. Eventhough the early Samatiyan-speaking areas were united, they later fell appart.

In the 18th century, the Sematiyan Kingdom was refounded out of some of the many separate countries that were situated in what is now Biladia. Technologically, Sematiya was far behind any Asuran nation after several centuries of internal conflicts. Although the country tried to modernize, it was not until Mascylla colonized Dureme and Asfarum in 1837, and Midrasia colonized Baynalmidon in 1876 for industrialization to start. In two steps, Mascyllary colonial rule declined between the post-Great War Era and 1943, though the country still maintains colonies in parts of Dureme and Asfarum. In contrast to this, however, Midrasian rule over its Biladian territories ended in the mid-1970s, although Midrasian legacy in culture and economics is still widely present.

From the late 1890s to the mid-1920s, the Kingdom of Samatiya was at its height, followed a rapid decline in the late 20s and early 30s due to various socio-economic factors. By the late 30s, revolutionary ideas were embraced by large segments of the population resulting in a civil war from 1940 to 1947 which ended in the monarchy not being overthrown, but reformed. It was a very fragile state that collapsed in 1949, when yet another civil war started which ended in 1951 in the Samatiyan Revolution and the establishment of the modern Republic of Samatiya. A period of economic growth followed in the following decades. In 1965, the name of the country was formally changed to Biladia on the height of a period of political reforms in the young republic. For the decades since, the role of industry, especially the oil industry, increased further.

The Biladian economy is relying heavily on industry, although the service sector is increasing. Biladian industry is almost entirely privately owned with relatively little state intervention and an open capitalism having a long tradition in Biladia. The largest sectors of the Biladian economy are agriculture, machinery and vehicle building, processing of food and beverages as well as industries related to the mining and processing of iron, coal, natural gas and oil. Historically speaking, fishing was an important part of the economy in coastal areas, though it had been in decline since the late 60s and is now almost obsolete. In recent years, tourism has become more important, especially on the island territories and along the coastlines.

Etymology

The word Biladia (Sematiyan spelling: Bėlāðīya) comes from the Sematiyan word bėlāð meaning country. The suffix -īya indicates a location. The word root of bėlāð is b-l-d and covers a wide range of meanings — most of which with at least a vague relation to «country».

Biladia as a terminology did not exist until the late 1930s, when the idea of a revolution in the Kingdom of Samatiya seemed very close for the first time. It had been proposed as a neutral word for the country as the previous terminology, Samatiya, was often regarded as a terninology that implied a sense of state-Samatiyan nationalism. Although it was regarded as discrimminatory by some people, it was not implemented as the kingdom survived the first war of the 1940s. In the early 60s, a large number of people called for changes in society and in the political system so that these would no longer be centred around the Samatiyans and would be more inclusive. In 1965, the country got symbolically renamed with most bewished changes ending up not happening and many institutions to this day carrying their original name.

The original term, Sematiya (Sematiyan spelling: Sematīya), is derrived from the root s-m-t which also the terms describing ethnic Sematiyans and the Sematiyan language are derrived from. This is why it was often regarded as discrimminatory amongst parts of the national ethnic minorities. In recent years, however, the term gained popularity again with parties like the CPS and the NPS openly supporting the official return to said name.

History

Antiquity

The first civilization to live in modern-day Biladia is thought to have been the Ancient Taranites although there had already been settlements dating back even further than the first Taranite ones from the first millenium BC. Believed to have come from the hills in southern Biladia, the Taranite civilization did not cover a large area initially, at first only occupying what is now the west bank of Lake Fayawm. Between the 9th and the 4th century BC, the Taranite territory did not grow largely, but saw itself grow on cultural grounds with the first alphabetic script to write Taranite — the Fapir alphabet — being developed at that time. It was not until around 350 BC for the Taranites to expand into areas previously controlled by other peoples, some of whom still found in parts of the country to this day, after a series of natural disasters drove a large part of the population out into different areas, leaving many settlements abandoned. Within only a few decades, the Taranites had managed to expand into what is now generally referred to as Itrîyatu Madînatimi. Until around 500 AD, the initial Taranite civilization lasted in a similar form before a period of political instability lead to it fracturing into several independent states. Although this marked the end for a greater Taranite state, the smaller states were largely able to preserve the culture they inherited from it though it became clear that the ancient Taranites had already reached the zenit of their civilization. For the most parts, the Taranite states fractured even further, eventually becoming city states to a large extent by 650 AD, when — especially to the west — the first regions had been taken over by the Yoremians. During the last centuries of the first millenium, political destabilization continued with regions close to other people groups being raided and plundered on a frequent basis and in some cases, city states plundering neighbouring city states.

Medieval Period

The destruction of the Taranite civilization through both foreign and domestic powers went on until the early 13th century, when the nomadic Aftics began occupying more and more parts of the former state in the west. Until 1565, all major cities but Baldulsam had been captured and the Aftic language, an early stage of what is now the Samatiyan language, began to spread. Initially, only the upperclass learned Aftic as it had become the language of prestige, though this was followed by large parts of the urban middle and lower class switching from Taranite to Aftic after around 1590.

Samatiyan Kingdom and early Colonial Age

Aftic, both linguistically and culturally, was lost in Samatiya during the 17th century as a distinct Samatiyan culture developed. By the late 1690s, it has repeatedly been noted by various sources that Taranite has been reduced to some small rural communities as Samatiyan took over the nation. During the 18th century, the last parts of the modern-day nation (excluding the coastline) were incorporated into the Samatiyan kingdom. Industrialization in the Samatiyan kingdom started relatively late in comparison to other nations in Aeia. For the most part, the nation did not become industrial until Baynallmidûn became a part of the Midrasian Empire.

In 1876, Midrasia took over Baynalmiddûn (now officially: al-Jabâl), whilst the Samatiyan kingdom took over Asfârum to the south. This began the age of colonialism which — although most parts of the nation were not actually part of the colony — greatly impacted the nation. In Midrasian Baynalmiddûn, industrial development increased greatly which soon effected a similar development in the western areas of the kingdom. The first railways have been built.

Great War

Whilst Midrasian Baynalmiddûn was allied with its motherland, Midrasia, the Samatiyan kingdom initially remained neutral. This lasted until it saw itself forced to participate in the war due to…

20th Century

The 20th century was amongst the bloodiest in the history of Samatiya. Also, the role of the oil industy increased greatly.

Geography

Administrative Divisions

Biladia is subdivided into five provinces and several territories. Whilst the provinces are further divided into districts (rural areas) and cities (cities and their suburbs) which are divided into villages and towns (districts) and boroughs (cities), the territories are divided into towns and villages. This is due to the territories all being islands (which is why they are sometimes called "island territories") from a relatively small size — smaller than most districts in mainland Biladia. Due to the current system being known for its bureaucracy, there are calls for a referendum to make the administrative divisions simpler.

Climate

Most of Biladia is characterized by a hot climate with the exception of the mountainous areas, which have a cooler climate, in some cases even snow during the winter. Rain — on rare occasions even snow — is fairly common in the western parts of Biladia, with the climate becoming drier towards the east, where the country's deserts are located.

Environment

Though only in limited form, environmental protection has a long history in Biladia. Initially, only sacred groves were protected by law, but eventually, also areas which were not regarded as sacred were protected, starting with the Gobat grove (now a park in Madînat) in the year 502. It was not, however, until the 1940s for the concept of national parks to be introduced into Biladia (then: Samatiya). There are several tiers of national parks in Biladia, with the protection being the most relaxed for a tier-one-park and highest for a tier-five-park. This system is intended to adequately take care of the environment as it allows for the prioritization of important issues, although it has been repeatedly been questioned because of inefficiecy and other reasons.

Pollution is becoming a worse problem in Biladia since the late 20th century, with air pollution being especially bad in al-Jabâl and Rasqiba't. Water pollution and land pollution — although they historically have been major issues — are now generally considered minor problems as in most parts of the country, the contamination of both water and land with hazardous substances is far below the government-recommended limits. In recent years, however, land and water pollution have become issues in many towns in the east of the nation again as with the reescalation of the Yusun Triangle Conflict, many villages and towns are no longer accesible by the authorities, causing garbage to pile up and in some cases, contaminated waste to not to be disposed off properly.

Politics and Government

Government

Legislative

The legislative branch of the Biladian government consists of the parliament (Samatiyan: parlamantu, پَرْلَمَنْتُ, פַּרְלַמַנְתֻּ; sometimes called Matsava, مَتْسَوَة, מַתְּשַׂבַתּ) which has 501 members which are elected every five years. The legislative body historically voted for laws which until the Samatiyan Revolution in 1949, the king was able to veto the parliament. The first free elections were held in 1953 and since then, there had been elections every April or May. There are several political parties in Biladia which may enter parliament if at least 5% of voters vote for the respective party. The following are the parties that are allowed to be elected into the Matsawa:

Biladian Parties by Percentage of Votes (2013)
Party Percentage of Votes
CPS
  
35%
IF
  
5.8%
CBP
  
17%
NPS
  
26.5%
FD
  
10.7%
SCU
  
5%
The seats in the parliament of Biladia (2013 election).
  • Socialistic-Communist Union of Biladia, SCU; a union of various parties left of the centre which lean towards authoritarianism and was founded in 1986 and prohibitted numerous times for its ideology. The party's colour is red.

Executive

Judicary

Military

Foreign Relations

Main article: Foreign relations of Biladia

Generally, the Republic of Biladia has peaceful relations, although there have been conflicts since its establishment, many of which for ideological reasons.

Economy

Industry

As an industrialized country, industry plays a large role in the economy of Biladia. The industry is almost entirely privately owned with relatively little state intervention and an open capitalism having a long tradition in Biladia. The largest sectors of the Biladian economy are agriculture, machinery and vehicle building, processing of food and beverages as well as industries related to the mining and processing of iron, coal, natural gas and oil.

Tourism

The tourism industry in Biladia is concentrated in the coastal areas of the mainland and the island territories. Although most tourists visit the former, tourism as an industry is more important on most islands. This is due to the general recession seen on most islands since several decades as tourism in many cases is the only industry not to experience major decline, in some cases even growth. It is often thought of as an alternative to the traditional industries found on the islands belonging to Biladia which include agriculture and fishing.

Energy

Biladian Energy Production (official Data 2017)

  Coal (47%)
  Natural Gas (35%)
  Hydroelectricity (13%)
  Other (5%)

Energy production in Biladia is mostly performed by a state-run enterprise called Kižâgu Samîtimi which has suborganizations in every province. With the exception of many rural farms, some settlements, the Island Territories and — in times of conflict — the Yusun triangle, all parts of Biladia are connected to the power grid. The areas which are not are receive their power through other ways such as solar panels or generators. For the most part, power plants use coal or natural gas, though hydroelectricity plays an increasing role. The most important dams are in the Tikiya valley and the Yusun triangle which is why their power production is highly reduced when compared to 2010, before the current conflict, when hydroelectricity made up for more of the total production (42%).

Infrastructure

Transport

Demographics

Language

Although Samatiyan is the only language used by the national government, there are several other languages that are spoken in Biladia, some of which being official minority languages such as Havil or Araxi. Samatiyan is the dominant language used within Biladia and since the 18th century, there had been a tendency amongst ethnic minorities to adopt the Samatiyan language — and culture in general. Nowadays, almost every citizen of Biladia speaks Samatiyan on a conversative level with most people speaking only a minority language living in remote areas of the country.

Although the Taranite language was originally being spoken by Samatiyans before the Semitic-based Samatiyan language was adopted by them, it is now only spoken by a very small minority of people north of Madînat with only few areas having a majority of Taranite-speakers.

Another language spoken in Biladia is Emeqith, a dialect of the Mashahith language as spoken in Hipasia. Although sometimes considered a separate dialect to Mashahith, it is mutually intelligible and shares the majority of its vocabulary, though there are some grammatical differences.

Concentrated in former Midrasian Baynalmiddûn, there are also about 146,000 native speakers of Midrasian and 67,500 speakers of Fiurentinesque. Both languages are a relict of Midrasian colonialism, with Midrasian being the most popular language to be taught at schools as a foreign language to this day.

Ethnicity

Samatiyans, Samatiyan-speaking nomads, Hebrews and Aramaics are amongst the Semitic ethnic groups of Samatiya. There are also four non-Semitic ethnic groups within Samatiya which do not have a significant population outside of it. The Samatiyan people makes up the vast majority of the population and minorities have long been underrepresented in popular culture, thus resulting in a large influence of Samatiyan culture on minorities with highly assimilationist tendencies. Since 1900, large parts of the population belonging to ethnic minorities began self-identifying as Samatiyan with an increase in such behaviour during the 40s and a peak from the early 50s to the mid-70s, after which the first laws to protect the culture of certain minority groups were implemented. Although officially, around 96.5% of the population is ethnically Samatiyan, it is a widely accepted theory that well over 15% of the population might actually belong to an ethnic minority.

Religion

The main religion of Biladia is Dinism (Dîn'iloh, دِنْعِلٰه) which is divided between Ihrabism (Ihrâb'iloh, إهْرَابْعِلٰه) and Ismata'ism (Ismatâ'iloh, אִשְׂמַתָּאעִלוּ, sometimes إسْمَتَائِلٰه). While the Trîyatu Madînatumi is predominantly Ismata'ist, the rest of the country is dominated by Ihrabism. 31% of the population is Ismata'ist and 55% is Ihrabist while 7% of the population follows a different religion and 4% are atheists. The religion of the rest of the population is unknown as, through a variety of reasons, it could not be determined by the last census.

Education

Elementary and secondary education in Biladia is free and state-provided generally. However, there are also private schools, some of which are not free. Elementary school starts at age six and goes on for five years, till an age of 11. Secondary school is to be attended between the ages of twelve and sixteen, in some provinces until seventeen. Universities are not free, though the mixture of state-provided and private exists too. Between 1968 and 2012, there were no tuitions in most public universities. Since an education reform in said year, many public universities were subject to budget cuts that made it necessary to reimpose tuition fees. The average tuition fees for one semestre is — depending on the province — between $4,000 and $7,500, although it can be as low as $500 or as high as over $65,000 per semestre.

As of the school year 2017/2018,

  • 13% of students in primary school were homeschooled, while this number is at 9.5% for secondary school students. This is most common in rural areas.
  • 98.5% of persons in schooling age were either homeschooled or visiting schools on a regular basis, while 96.4% attended secondary school until grade nine, while 83% attend it during grade ten.
  • 36% of males in Biladia were attending university at some point in their lifes whilst only 23% of women did so.

Although the literacy rate is at around 97% for those aged above 14, a recent study by the Ministry of Education shows that some ethinc minorities have literacy rates far below the national average.

Culture

Society

Biladian society is often portrayed as traditionalist and is said to be more conservative than many other societies. In addition to that, the fact that Biladian society experienced less substancial changes during the past decades than other ones, it can appear as a less liberal society when compared to the societies of other countries. However, there are also differences within Biladia with studies showing the areas formerly under Midrasian control as being more progressive and liberal than the area in and around Madînat and Baldulsam.

Traditionally, ethnic minorities had been able to practice their own cultures openly, often living outside of what was seen as normal by the Samatiyan majority. However, with the spread of mass media, these groups had started integrating further into the general society. Some experts believe that this trend might be significantly older and that it may have started with the settlement policies of the early 20th century and that the trend was only accelerated by mass media since the mid-20th century.

Surveys suggest that the vast majority of Biladians believe into traditional values and ideals, with more than 80% seeing the nuclear family as the only acceptable family model and close to all believing into traditional gender roles to some extent.

Art

The first documented art to be created in modern-day Biladia dates back millenia to cave drawings in the south of the country. It is a generally accepted theory that the Proto-Samatiyans were the artists behind these drawings and some elements of cave drawings from the bronze age are used in Samatiyan art and fashion to this day.

Literature

The Samatiyan people has a long history of literature which was first recorded in antiquity and for a long time, it was the only people wwith contributions to literature. Eventhough individuals belonging to other peoples living in Biladia have also began writing, their writings are often in Samatiyan and the Samatiyan culture is still dominating.

Music

Theatre, Opera and Cinema

Theatres and operas have a long tradition in Samatiyan culture and date back to antiquity. Although this art died out during the late Dark Ages, it was rediscovered by the 18th century.

The first film taken in the Kingdom of Samatiya is believed to be a film with a length of eleven seconds from the late 1890s which shows a street scene in Madînat. The first cinemas opened during the early 1920s in the same city and within a short time, it became the centre of Samatiyan film production.

Media

When talking about media in Biladia, one has to differenciate between state-owned media outlets and idependent media outlets. While state-owned media tends to report more biased in favour of the government, independent media outlets can choose to be neutral or to align with another party.

Cuisine

Sports