Montecara

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Coordinates: 17°30′N 43°58′W
State of Montecara
Stado de Montecara
Flag of Montecara Coat of arms of Montecara
Flag Coat of arms
Motto: Virtus nostrum tutamen
Virtue is our safeguard (Latin)
Anthem: Inno dei Populi
"Hymn of the People"
Capital
and largest city
Montecara
Official languages Montecaran
Demonym Montecaran
Government Directorial republic
Direct democracy
 -  Head of Government Colegio
Legislature Senate and Popular Assembly
Establishment
 -  City founded 542 BCE 
 -  Scarlet Bull 1117 
 -  Liberal Revolution 1820 
 -  Liberation of Montecara 28 April 1944 
 -  Accession to Esquarian Community 9 September 1990 
Area
 -  Total 689.43 km2
266 sq mi
Population
 -  2017 estimate 1,751,643
 -  2015 census 1,719,512
 -  Density 2540.71/km2
6,580.4/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2015 estimate
 -  Total $175.561 billion
 -  Per capita $102,100
GDP (nominal) 2015 estimate
 -  Total $136.4 billion
 -  Per capita $79,329
Gini (2015)negative increase 30.7
medium
HDI (2017)Increase 0.924
very high
Currency Montecaran libra (MCL)
Time zone ST−3:00 (MCT)
Date format yyyy-mm-dd (official)
dd-mm-yyyy (common use)
Drives on the right
Calling code +70
ISO 3166 code MC; MTC
Internet TLD .mc

Montecara, officially the State of Montecara, is a city-state of approximately 1.7 million people located on a 689 square kilometer main island and scattered islets in the Lazarene Sea off the southeastern coast of Conitia in Esquarium. Montecara is noted for its unique government and deep-rooted Latin culture, and is one of the smallest and richest nations in Esquarium.

Montecara has been governed under a collegial system and unwritten constitution for centuries, setting it apart from almost all modern states. There are no political parties; instead, every citizen aged 21 and older is a member of the legislature, either in the Popular Assembly (Senblèa Popolà), the lower house, or the Senate (Senàt), the appointed upper house. There are no individuals who can be said to rule Montecara; the entire citizenry is considered sovereign and head of state and the Colegio, technically a committee of the Popular Assembly, is the collective head of government. This commitment to civic virtue is counterbalanced by the fact that Montecara has a large population of non-citizen residents, over 20% of the population, who do not enjoy the full rights and privileges of citizenship.

The Montecaran economy is highly developed and specialized. The state is a major financial center and offshore banking hub, and maintains an open ship registry with a large fleet of Montecaran-flagged merchants. The state controls a large number of corporations under the umbrella of Montepietà, the sovereign wealth fund, which feeds dividends back to the public treasury. Montecara's tax policy is famously straightforward and simple, as it has no income, capital gains, estate, or dividends taxes, which has made it an attractive location for multinational firms to incorporate but has also led critics to label it a tax haven. The currency, the Montecaran libra, is one of the most traded in the world.

Because of its considerable age and natural limits to growth as an island state, as well as its rugged terrain, Montecara boasts a dense and walkable urban environment surrounded by well-preserved areas of natural beauty. The state discourages car use, and private vehicles are banned from many urban areas. These factors have contributed to making Montecara one of Esquarium's premier tourist destinations, with an estimated 7.1 million visitor arrivals in 2017.

Montecara is highly international and has a large diplomatic presence. It is home to the headquarters of the International League and is one of the capitals of the Esquarian Community as the seat of the Esquarian Secretariat, including the President of the Esquarian Community and the Cabinet of the Esquarian Community.

Etymology

The mountain, namesake of the city-state

"Montecara" comes from the Latin roots for "mountain" and "face." This quite clearly comes from the striking rock formation that dominates Montecara's skyline.

History

Prehistory

Archaeological evidence indicates that there was human settlement in present-day Montecara by no later than 16,000 BCE. Mounds of shellfish litter, stone cutting tools, and talismanic objects have all been found on the main island, indicating a small and intermittent human population that was most likely made up of fishers who visited the island to take advantage of its sheltered location and prepare their catch. Little is definitively known about the first humans in the region, though ancient historians wrote that they were rumored to be tall and bearded, with light skin, which may indicate an origin in Nordania.

Peirian settlement

Civilization reached Montecara some time in the sixth century BCE when Peirians founded a permanent settlement there; the exact year is traditionally given as 542 BCE. Traces of Peirian civilization can still be seen in certain place names and in the influence of their religion on the later Latin pantheon.

Latin Republic, 10 BCE–600 CE

The old city, including Latin ruins

Montecara, along with much of the rest of southeastern Conitia, came under the rule of the Latin Republic by the late first century BCE. Montecara would remain part of the Latin Republic for nearly six centuries, with Latin civilization leaving a profound mark on Montecaran government, language, art, and culture that endures to this day.

A working Latin fountain in Montecara

The Latins wasted little time in recognizing Montecara's economic value. The expansive natural harbor offered protection for seafarers and made it easy to harvest abundant stocks of shellfish. Perhaps even more importantly, the Laguna dei Sel (Salt Lagoon) was a readily accessible source of sea salt thanks to its vast, shallow expanse and Montecara's warm climate, which allowed for easy and inexpensive solar evaporation. Early trade was organized around fishing, salting the catch, and then exporting it to other parts of the Latin Republic. Archaeological records indicate that the salted fish trade was being exploited on an industrial scale by the middle of the first century CE.

The Latins also established salt roads leading from Montecara to many other points within the Republic to facilitate trade; these stretched as far as Karazawa by the late Republic.

Central authority in the Republic began to crumble in the early fourth century CE, and after a series of civil wars exhausted the state's resources, the last Republican troops withdrew from Montecara in the late 500s.

Dark Ages, 600–1100

By the early seventh century, Montecara had been left to fend for itself. Emulating the government of the old Republic, it formed a Senate of prominent family chiefs who chose a leader from among themselves. This official was called the Doxe (from Latin dux, "leader"), and he served for life as primus inter pares.

The population dwindled as Latin civilization receded, drying up trade and leaving infrastructure to crumble. From the seventh to eleventh centuries, Montecara was a minor fishing settlement and trading post that fought off occasional seaborne raids, only surviving thanks to its sheltered location and Latin-built defenses. It existed amid a patchwork of other city-states, feudal holdings, and petty kingdoms that had been left behind as civilization faded. It differed from them, however, by its advantageous geography and stable governance. Because the city's leading families recognized their need to band together in a world of hostile pirates and barbarians but were also determined not to let any one family grow too powerful, they maintained the city-state's Latin civic republicanism. This in turn strengthened the state's identity and gave its rulers a sense that they had a stake in the common good, and that they could not simply rule for their own profit and power.

Revival, 1100–1300

During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, Montecara grew considerably in might as its fleet grew from fishing boats to powerful galleys. The city-state's newfound naval power enabled it to negotiate treaties with other states that granted it trade concessions in exchange for naval protection. Montecara's stores of salt and preserved fish made it an important trade destination, and the salt tax (gabèla) became a major source of state income. As the merchant fleet reached far-flung ports, mariners set up colonies and trading posts around the Gulf of Hope that reached deep into the hinterland. Citizen-soldiers were augmented by large numbers of mercenaries recruited from abroad. This colonial thalassocracy became known as the Ultramarine State (Stado Ultramarìn).

The city-state's growing power made it an attractive prize for the ambitious, and wealthy merchant Piero de’ Malatesta seized control of the government in 1115 with the aid of an army of foreign mercenaries. His reign was to be short-lived, however; it ended on 16 April 1116 with his assassination by the city's burghers. This episode inspired the flag of Montecara, still in use today, and helped solidify the tradition of civic republicanism. To underscore the significance of the event, the burghers issued the Scarlet Bull early the following year, establishing the "eternal" status of Montecara as a republic. This law, still in effect, forms part of the city-state's uncodified constitution.

This period of growth and recovery also had a dark side. One of the most valuable cargoes in the sea trade was slaves, and Montecara became a hub of the slave trade. Captives from southern and southwestern Conitia along with those from the northern coast of Nautasia were brought in fetters to markets in Montecara to be sold off or shipped by Montecaran merchants directly to receiving ports elsewhere in Conitia and Nordania. The most common use for slaves was as agricultural labor; women, considered more useful for domestic purposes, fetched a premium, and eunuchs were some of the most valuable slaves of all. This meant that a lively trade in these castrati arose, and slave-trading houses often employed a professional castradòr to neuter prepubescent boys. The long tradition of castrati in Montecaran music is one of the curious legacies of this period. The slave trade would continue at some level until its total abolition in 1820.

Golden Age, 1300–1500

Capràxi, Presentation of the Doxe on the Day of his Election, 1496

Montecara blossomed during its Golden Age, which lasted from the early fourteenth century to about 1500. It was by far the preeminent power in eastern Conitia in this era, and used its wealth to make great achievements in art and architecture, including the Pànteon Nova (completed circa 1290).

Montecara's trade links grew to reach lands as far away as Borea and Nautasia. This period also saw the beginnings of Montecara's formidable banking sector as the process of financing trade became formalized. Lending money at interest was considered unholy until the seventeenth century, so Montecaran merchants skirted around the practice in various ways, for instance by lending in one currency or precious metal and requiring payment in another, higher-valued alternative. As these arrangements became common, the taboo against moneylending faded, and the forerunners of modern banks were founded in the 14th century.

Plateau, 1500–1750

Montecara reached the height of its territorial expansion around 1500. Its land holdings included vast areas of littoral southeastern Conitia and it was feared on the high seas as far away as the northern coast of Nautasia. During the two and a half centuries that followed its artistic and cultural Golden Age, Montecaran society became focused on an increasingly exploitative trade system that included plantation-grown coffee, spices, cocoa, sugar, and tobacco, and most notoriously, the Nautasian slaves who produced these lucrative cash crops. Slavery had been banned on Montecaran soil in 1508 under fear of potential rebellion, but the slave trade was vigorous and Montecaran merchants were all too happy to supply captives to slaveholding societies across Conitia and Borea. Merchant fleets were undergirded by an increasingly elaborate financial system that included some of the first joint-stock corporations by the early 1600s. But many senatorial families blanched at the acquisition of what they considered unseemly amounts of filthy lucre by petty members of the merchant class and made efforts to close off the Montecaran economy that only resulted in the loss of valuable government revenue from tariffs.

The Montecaran state soon found itself underfunded. Montecara's navy, which boasted over 3,000 vessels at its height, was made increasingly obsolete during the seventeenth century by the widespread adoption of large sail-powered vessels in place of sail-and-oar ships. Montecara, which had always favored large crews of oarsmen to power its warships, was hampered by intransigence and soon found its military edge dulling. It gradually lost many of its overseas territories to hostile neighbors throughout the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries.

Decline and stagnation, 1750–1820

Maestro de Barxi, Harbor scene with Montecaran and foreign sailors, c. 1750

By the mid-18th century, Montecara was clearly in the sunset of its time as a naval power. This period coincided with the decline of overseas trade by the Kingdom of Ainin, which was pressed by the massive cost of maintaining its empire. Montecara and Ainin found themselves fighting over the scraps of the Nautasian trade at a time when they were both in serious decline.

This period of rivalry and intermittent warfare ended only with the Aininian Revolution in 1795, which the Doxe and Senate supported as a means to weaken their chief rival. This did, however, lay bare the hypocrisy of the Montecaran ruling class, as though the state has always been nominally a republic, the Doxe was effectively a monarch overseeing an oligarchical Senate.

Adding to the state's woes was the fact that the Montecaran treasury had been virtually emptied by nearly four decades of naval warfare and suppressed trade. The Doxe found himself in a precarious position: he was overseeing what was by contemporary standards a wealthy and educated populace who were increasingly frustrated by misrule and disenfranchisement, all the while supporting a liberal revolution abroad, with no significant wealth to buy much-needed support.

Liberal Revolution

Monument to the Heroes of 1820, Plàça Nuova

Popular dissatisfaction with the incompetent rule of the Doxe reached a breaking point after the loss of so much wealth and territory and years of living under a virtual blockade. Living conditions improved after the end of the Aininian naval wars in 1795, which did nothing to quell citizens' rage at the city-state's leadership. But conservative backlash at the revolutions in Ainin and Aucuria meant that it would be another generation before Montecara's revolution would take root.

The summer of 1820 came to be known as the Summer of Liberty as citizens took to the streets to demand liberal reforms that would curtail the Doxe's power and put more control into the hands of the Popular Assembly. A group of liberal senators quietly began to plot the Doxe's overthrow, justifying their actions on the grounds that the Doxe had become a tyrannical menace to the welfare and republican rights of Montecarans.

The senators, working in conjunction with liberal citizens and with the complaisance of the Doxe's guards, accosted the Doxe in his bedroom on the morning of 7 January 1820, the start of the Liberal Revolution. After reading him a warrant of his crimes, the revolutionaries led him in shackles to the cellar of his palace. When word of the Doxe's arrest reached the streets, the mood in Montecara was one of general rejoicing.

While the Senate and most citizens supported the Doxe's arrest, certain quarters of Montecaran society feared what changes would occur if the Doxe were unable to exercise his power to rein in what they saw as liberal excesses. Some old aristocratic families began to plot a counter-coup and raise their own militias, and street fighting between the Liberals and Reactionaries broke out in mid-January. The period from 9 to 20 January became known as the Elevem Days and was resolved with the violent defeat of the Reactionary militias.

The Doxe was tried by the Senate from 20 January to 12 February 1820 and found guilty of treason. He was sentenced to exile and lived out the remainder of his life in the small Sjealandic city of Lusing. His exile lasted thirty-three years before he died at the age of 77 on 3 June 1853.

While the original intent of the revolution had been merely to remove one troublesome Doxe rather than eliminate the office entirely, the liberal wing of the Senate advocated for constitutional reform that would keep power out of the hands of one man in order to prevent another period of disastrous anti-republican rule. They were able to delay the election of a new Doxe by the Senate while calling on the Popular Assembly to meet and exercise its sovereign power to call for the complete abolition of the ducal office. These efforts succeeded, and by August of 1821 the Doxe's privy council was replaced with the new, elected Colegio.

Silver Age

Members of the Colegio address the Senate on the outbreak of the First Great War

With its territorial losses to Odissia making it clear that it would no longer be a major military power, Montecara's new leadership was forced to reevaluate the city-state's role in the world. Having lost the Odissian war, government and business officials became determined to "win the peace" by building on Montecara's mercantile tradition and modernizing its banking industry. New business ventures in insurance, ship registration, and finance proved extraordinarily lucrative, and state-managed investment in industry meant that the government was one of the first in Esquarium that was able to afford a comprehensive welfare state. This period between the end of the Odissian Wars and the Second Great War has come to be known as the Silver Age both for the revival of Montecara's power and for its newfound wealth.

Montecara remained neutral during the First Great War and, indeed, profited from its ability to import and export goods and arms in a period when trade was restricted. Its bars and brothels became popular destinations for soldiers on leave and, of course, spies hoping to pick up any useful information. This was dramatized in the celebrated Montecaran film Il Paradiso, which premiered in 1936. The government stored gold for both Odissia and Korivania and conducted financial transactions for a variety of powers on both sides of the conflict.

War of the Confederation

Cortoguayan troops enter Montecara, 18 January 1942

Fearing invasion by Cortoguay, Montecara made diplomatic overtures to the Allied side as the War of the Confederation began in late 1940. Strategically located between Cortoguay and Oelia, Montecara found itself in a precarious position as Cortoguayan troops moved east just dozens of kilometers from the border. Knowing that it could not make a lasting peace with Cortoguay but also aware that siding openly with the Allies would lead to invasion, the Montecaran government maintained its neutrality and allowed its port to be used by shipping of all nations.

This delicate state of affairs was further imperiled when the Cortoguayan government declared in 1941 that shipping in the Lazarene Sea was subject to unrestricted commerce raiding, and both the Montecaran merchant fleet and its trading partners suffered mounting losses through the end of the year.

Cortoguay declared war on Montecara and Ainin on 17 January 1942, and Cortoguayan troops invaded overnight. Seriously outnumbered and ill-prepared to repel an attack, the Montecaran Army was forced to surrender after less than a day of fighting. The city-state would remain occupied until the war's end surrender on 9 May 1943.

The Cortoguayan army murdered most members of the Senate and the entire Colegio, but the few Senators who managed to escape to Oelia were able to set up a government in exile that carried out diplomatic functions for the duration of the occupation.

After the initial shock of invasion, Montecarans organized resistance units. These units, initially engaging in uncoordinated acts of sabotage, eventually became renowned for their ruthlessness, assassinating Cortoguayan officers and firebombing the occupiers' requisitioned offices and homes. Most famously, guerrillas kidnapped the son of the military governor after he moved his family to the city-state in an effort to demonstrate that it was safely under control. The six-year-old boy was tortured and executed, and his mutilated body was hung from a lamppost before dawn on 8 October 1942. A makeshift Montecaran flag made from a bedsheet and the boy's blood was tied around his right leg. Although gristly, it served as a lasting reminder that Montecara was far from pacified and that its people would not cease resistance.

Open reprisals followed the Cortoguayan surrender. Dozens of collaborators were publicly beaten, shot, and lynched. Women who had sexual relationships with occupying troops had their heads shaved and were stripped, flogged, and dragged through the streets. Disarmed occupiers became prisoners of war, and some were held in Montecaran prisons as late as 1955. Many senior officers were tried after the war's end, and 18 who had been involved in offenses against the civilian population were sentenced to life in prison, where the last died in 1994.

The Pains

The most serious crisis in Montecara during the latter half of the twentieth century was a fifteen-year period known as Il Stento, or "the Pains." Lasting in its most intense phase from June 1962 to late 1977, it was a sustained episode of low-intensity violent conflict among organized crime, corporations, trade unions, and the state that took the lives of an estimated 351 people. Sparked by the rise of the Bifàna crime family in the late 1950s and early '60s, the period was marked by assassinations (including those of judges and politicians), street battles, and bombings, most notably that of Montecara Central railway station in 1973, which killed 67 people in the deadliest single incident of the crisis. The conflict ended with the suppression of organized crime, the entrenchment of trade unionism into the political process, and the total ban on weapons that remains in effect to the present.

Recession of 1980

The Montecaran economy was badly shaken when, in May 1980, a liquidity crisis in Ainin spiraled into a global financial crisis. The Recession of 1980, as it came to be known, eventually led to the formation of the Esquarian Community (EC) as a safeguard against future episodes of economic chaos. Montecara was a founding member of the EC, which came into existence on 9 September 1990.

Geography

Montecara consists of 689 square kilometers of land in the Gulf of Hope. Almost all of Montecara's land consists of a single island, officially called the Island of Montecara but referred to locally as ia Isolòna ("the Big Island"), which is separated from the rest of Conitia by the Strait of Ino (Streto de Ino), and measures approximately 45 km from north to south. The island is nearly cut in half by an immense natural harbor, the Bay of Montecara, which has sheltered vessels and provided food to local inhabitants for millennia. Other islands include Lazarèt and Oçì, barrier islands at the mouth of the Salt Lagoon. Despite its small size, Montecara includes a large variety of flora and fauna, along with dramatic changes in elevation.

Geology

Exposed limestone cliffs along the eastern coast

Montecara's landmass was separated from the Conitian mainland by a series of earthquakes that likely occurred between 200,000 and 350,000 years ago. The islands and surrounding region have a karst topography of rugged cliffs and cavernous rock formations which also accounts for Montecara's lack of natural fresh surface water. This exposed stone has long provided locals with a readily accessible building material but has limited the island's arable land, one of the main factors motivating Montecara's long reliance on trade and emphasis on fishing.

Geological hazards include sinkholes and earthquakes.

Administrative divisions

Panorama of Montecara

Montecara is traditionally divided into the city (çìta) and countryside (canpo). The dividing line between the two is known as the pomero in a tradition that goes back to the Latin Republic. While the so-called countryside was once almost entirely rural and sparsely inhabited, growth outside the bounds of the old city in the 19th and 20th centuries resulted in urbanization in many parts of the old canpo, and the vast majority of Montecara's population now lives there.

There are two types of administrative division in Montecara: sieteri and vilà. Collectively, these units of local government are known as communes (comùni). The two types are almost identical in function, the main difference being that the çìta is divided into six sieteri, while vilà are found in the canpo. These divisions each have their own council made up of local residents which is tasked with monitoring quality-of-life matters (street cleaning, noise, garbage collection, and so on), serving as a liaison between residents and the national government, and making small improvements to their neighborhoods. Communes also serve as statistical areas and units for the distribution of public utilities such as water and electricity. Perhaps most significantly, they function as symbolic neighborhoods to which residents owe a great deal of loyalty.

Climate

Montecara is situated only seven degrees north of the equator on the southeastern coast of Conitia. Although land at this latitude is often extremely humid and covered in rainforest, Montecara's location surrounded by water and low mountains creates microclimate zones that are relatively arid and temperate. Montecara has a topical savanna climate (Köppen As), with alternating wet and dry seasons and a consistent temperature range throughout the year.

A levàda on the slopes of Monte Cara

Because it experiences long periods with little or no rainfall and has no significant fresh surface water, Montecara's people have developed inventive ways of supplying themselves with water for drinking and irrigation. The principal method is the levàda, a stone channel that carries water from the hills down to farms and settlements. Water condenses more readily at higher elevations and infiltrates the porous karst bedrock, where it pools and can then be channeled away. The levadà run both on the surface and in underground galleries, both of which also furnish popular hiking trails alongside their routes. There is also a local history of using greywater that goes back to the time of the Latin Republic. One technique that has been in continuous use since that time is to organize houses and apartment buildings around a central courtyard garden that is irrigated with wastewater from sinks and washing, which provides better air quality, cools the building, and naturally treats the wastewater.

Climate data for Montecara
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 34.2
(93.6)
35.5
(95.9)
36.0
(96.8)
38.0
(100.4)
36.0
(96.8)
38.0
(100.4)
39.0
(102.2)
38.5
(101.3)
39.0
(102.2)
37.0
(98.6)
37.0
(98.6)
35.0
(95)
39.0
(102.2)
Average high °C (°F) 28.9
(84)
29.4
(84.9)
30.2
(86.4)
30.5
(86.9)
31.8
(89.2)
33.3
(91.9)
33.6
(92.5)
33.8
(92.8)
33.7
(92.7)
32.7
(90.9)
30.7
(87.3)
29.2
(84.6)
31.5
(88.7)
Daily mean °C (°F) 24.1
(75.4)
24.5
(76.1)
25.1
(77.2)
25.8
(78.4)
27.0
(80.6)
28.2
(82.8)
28.4
(83.1)
28.5
(83.3)
28.3
(82.9)
27.5
(81.5)
25.9
(78.6)
24.5
(76.1)
26.5
(79.7)
Average low °C (°F) 19.2
(66.6)
19.6
(67.3)
20.1
(68.2)
21.1
(70)
22.2
(72)
23.0
(73.4)
23.2
(73.8)
23.3
(73.9)
22.9
(73.2)
22.4
(72.3)
21.3
(70.3)
19.8
(67.6)
21.5
(70.7)
Record low °C (°F) 14.0
(57.2)
15.0
(59)
14.7
(58.5)
16.0
(60.8)
17.0
(62.6)
19.0
(66.2)
20.0
(68)
19.8
(67.6)
18.0
(64.4)
18.0
(64.4)
16.2
(61.2)
14.0
(57.2)
14.0
(57.2)
Rainfall mm (inches) 73.8
(2.906)
47.3
(1.862)
47.7
(1.878)
59.0
(2.323)
59.8
(2.354)
40.1
(1.579)
21.5
(0.846)
28.1
(1.106)
34.8
(1.37)
67.7
(2.665)
108.2
(4.26)
84.1
(3.311)
672.1
(26.461)
Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm) 5.0 3.7 3.2 4.4 5.4 3.2 2.1 2.8 3.7 5.7 6.6 6.5 52.3
 % humidity 79.3 78.0 76.7 77.4 78.7 75.9 73.1 73.6 74.8 76.7 77.3 79.2 76.7
Source: Secretariat of the Environment, Transport, and Urban Development

Wildlife

A pygmy goat in a field of arcotèca flowers

Montecara is home to a diverse array of native plants and animals, including a wide variety of marine life, migratory birds, reptiles, and amphibians.

The native plant biome is dominated by hardy shrubs and grasses, collectively referred to as màçia, which tolerate hot and dry seasons well. An occasional fire season (inxendària) in mid-summer is an essential part of the regenerative process for this biome, which has created tension as human habitation can and often does come under the threat of wildfire. Though naturally occurring fires were suppressed from the advent of modern firefighting around the turn of the twentieth century through the early 2000s, current environmental policy allows fires to burn undisturbed until they threaten property or lives.

The city-state is on a major flyway for migratory birds, and native species include waterfowl such as cormorants, herons, pelicans, ducks, and gannets.

A population of pygmy goats lives wild in the countryside. These animals, which typically weigh around 35 kg when fully grown, were introduced as livestock in the eighteenth century and have since established a sizable feral population that has become a tourist attraction.

Politics

Montecara is a liberal democratic republic with a well-respected (albeit uncodified) constitution. Its political freedoms and civil rights are both given the maximum rating of "strong" on the Esquarian Freedom Index, indicating broad respect for individual rights by the state.

Politics in Montecara are generally on the left of the Esquarian political spectrum. There are many hypothesized reasons for this, including that Montecara is nearly 100% urban and well-educated, that its Latin culture combines permissive social attitudes with communitarian economics, that state is integrated into a successful economy, and that its role as a tax haven means a lack of "tax protestors."

Citizenship

Oath of Citizenship

I swear (or solemnly promise) that, as a citizen of Montecara, I will for the rest of my life give her my sole allegiance, uphold her constitution as a republic, obey her laws, bear arms in her defense, serve her in civil office when called upon, and honor my fellow citizens. I renounce all other states and royal or noble houses to which I have previously been subject, and I take this oath (or solemn promise) truthfully and freely.

Citizenship is the basis of the Montecaran government, as citizens make up the legislature and govern largely by direct democracy. Montecara is a jus sanguinis state, in which birthright citizenship is only available to people with at least one Montecaran citizen parent at the time of birth. The only other way to acquire Montecaran citizenship is to have it granted by law, which is quite rare, with only 10 to 50 Montecaran citizens created through naturalization each year on average. The last step in the naturalization process is to take the Oath of Citizenship (see right), which commits the new citizen to giving sole and full allegiance to Montecara as his or her new homeland.

The Montecaran government does not recognize multiple citizenship; Montecaran citizens who acquire the citizenship of another country or who become members of a noble or royal house are considered to have renounced their citizenship. Similarly, naturalized citizens are considered to be solely citizens of Montecara. Montecarans can also lose their citizenship if they serve another country in a civil office or military capacity or formally renounce their citizenship before a Montecaran consul.

Because of the state's membership in the Esquarian Community, Montecaran citizens are also Esquarian citizens. They have the right to travel, work, and live freely throughout the EC, and Esquarian citizens have the same rights in Montecara. Customs and passport checks are conducted at all aerial and marine ports of entry and exit, but not at the road and rail crossing at Desena.

Constitution

Montecara has an uncodified constitution, though some elements are written and considered more authoritative than ordinary laws. These include the Scarlet Bull of 1117, which established the "eternal" status of Montecara as a republic, the Declaration of the Rights of the Citizen of 1870, which provides for a range of political and civil rights for citizens, and the Charter of Basic Rights of 1990, which provides certain rights to non-citizens and modernizes other rights.

Legislature

Palaço Pùblico, seat of government

Montecara's political system is designed to distribute power as broadly as possible in order to maintain a powerful citizenry. Accordingly, it is governed principally as a direct democracy and directorial republic, with elements of sortition added to prevent corruption. Citizens of legal age who are not Senators are all members of the Popular Assembly, the lower house of the legislature. This body originates all legislation, and with the Senate must pass all laws, ratify all treaties, and appoint all officials by majority vote. Voting was once done at mass meetings held in the fields outside the city, but in modern times has been done during the last full workweeks of March, May, July, September, and November, exclusively by postal ballot since 1988 to minimize disruption to daily life.

Each year a Committee of Selection is randomly chosen from among members of the Popular Assembly and tasked with nominating public officials through a complex system of supermajority voting and sortition. The most important body appointed is the Colegio, the seven-member cabinet that functions as the collective head of government. Campaigning for public office is banned; Montecaran tradition holds that ambition in politics is a bad thing and sees holding public office as a civic duty that one must perform when called upon.

The Senate (Senàt) is the upper house of the legislature, and is intended to provide experienced oversight to government functions. It is the court of last resort for administrative law and is empowered to conduct investigations.

Montecaran law applies the doctrine of parliamentary supremacy. Legislation may not be challenged in courts of law.

Laws are made according to the following process:

  1. Introduction: A legislative proposal can be introduced by either the Colegio, in which case it is called an Executive Proposal (proxèt executìva), or by a private member of the Popular Assembly, in which it is called a Popular Proposal (proxèt populàr). Popular Proposals must be supported by the signatures of at least 1,000 members of the Popular Assembly to be considered. The Senate cannot initiate legislation.
  2. Deliberation: The proposal is put up for debate by the Popular Assembly and Senate.
  3. Senate approval: Proposals must be approved by the Senate to advance. The Senate may pass, pass with amendments, or reject proposals.
  4. Popular Assembly approval: The final version of every proposal must be passed by the Popular Assembly to become law.

Judiciary

Court system of Montecara

Montecara is a civil law jurisdiction, basing its judiciary on Latin law. Trials are conducted using the inquisitorial system. Judges are appointed by law, and courts are organized into a three-tiered hierarchy with separate streams for civil, criminal, and administrative cases. In criminal and some civil cases, lay judges sit with one or more professional judges and contribute to resolving the case. Criminal cases are prosecuted by a procùrador, a state official. The Procurator General (Procùrador-Xenèra) is the state's senior prosecutor and is called on to represent the interests of the state itself in matters of national or international importance.

Because Montecara's judiciary is governed by civil law, judges are not empowered to make law; nonetheless, the doctrine of jurisprudence constante is influential, and courts will often cite similar cases where the same judgement was reached when making their decisions. The doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty means that judges are not entitled to invalidate laws.

Criminal offenses are categorized into three tiers: the contravènxon, a minor offense which carries a maximum penalty of a Ł5,000 fine and no detention; the delito, which may be punished with a maximum fine of Ł25,000 and detention for up to twelve months; and the crìma, which is subject to an unlimited fine and imprisonment for life.

Administrative offenses, including petty traffic violations, are punishable only with fines or other remedies such as removal in the case of immigration violations, not detention.

Gonfalonièr

The Gonfalonièr is one of Montecara's longest-standing public offices, with a history dating back to at least the 13th century. He was originally responsible for the maintenance and protection of those who could not provide for themselves: orphans, widows, the elderly, and the infirm. The office has evolved into that of an ombudsman for Montecaran citizens and permanent residents. The Gonfalonièr can bring legal action against the state or its organs if a citizen's rights have been violated, and can order administrative remedies directly. He or she also works closely with the Court of Audit to combat corruption and maladministration.

Public safety

Law and order are maintained by the Corpo dei Dragòni, a branch of the Montecaran Armed Forces, and by the civilian police force, the Vigìlia.

The Vigìlia is responsible for day-to-day policing, and its members patrol unarmed. The Dragòni, by contrast, is an armed military force and is responsible for supporting the Vigìlia as necessary, policing the military, guarding Montecara's borders and ports of entry, protecting Montecaran diplomatic missions, staffing the city-state's prisons, patrolling the coasts, and serving as an anti-terrorism force. Its elite unit, responsible for protecting public officials and important public buildings, is the Brigàda di Coraçièri. There is a persistent problem with organized crime in Montecara which a dedicated section of the Dragòni is dedicated to combating.

There are two major prisons in Montecara, which together hold approximately 1,750 inmates as of 2018. The incarceration rate as of 2017 is 103 per 100,000 people. There are six to nine murders in an average year; the homicide rate as of 2017 is .51 per 100,000 people.

Ambulance, firefighting, and search and rescue services are provided by the Spartòli. The Spartòli are also responsible for civil defense, which has been a major focus of national security since the rise of the nuclear age. Public buildings and large offices and apartment blocks are required to have reinforced shelters stocked with food and supplies, including anti-nuclear, chemical, and biological equipment, chemical toilets, and radios, and military reserves are trained in civil-defense procedures.

Emergency and other public services are available at the following telephone numbers at all times:

  • 110: Directory assistance
  • 112: Emergency
  • 113: Police non-emergency
  • 114: Medical non-emergency
  • 115: Mental health helpline
  • 116: Municipal services
  • 117: Roadside assistance and travel information
  • 118: Services for the hearing impaired

Military

Soldiers of the Montecaran Army fire a salute to a visiting dignitary

Montecara's military is known as the Guàrdia di Stado. It is a unified defense force that is capable of conducting operations on land, at sea, and in the air.

There is mandatory, universal conscription for both men and women for a 24-month period beginning at the end of secondary education, with most serving from ages 17 to 19 or 19 to 21. Once off active duty, service members remain on the reserve list until reaching the age of 40, or 45 for officers. Vocational students are generally placed in a military role that complements their vocational training and skills. Conscientious objectors are allowed to do alternative civilian service in a variety of ways, including in hospitals, childcare services, lifesaving services, and homes for the elderly.

Foreign relations

Montecara's foreign relations strategy is based on four fundamental pillars: defense, diplomacy, economics, and culture. These four sources of power, used in concert, enable Montecara to exert an influence on international affairs that it disproportionate to its small size.

The city-state was chosen to be the seat of the International League when it was created to replace the Organization of Esquarian Nations. Delegates met for the inaugural session in the opera house.

Montecara has been a member of the Esquarian Community since its founding in 1990, and Montecaran MEP Everàrd Torsièl is currently the President of the Esquarian Community. The city-state's membership in the Community is one of the foundations of its multilateral approach to international relations. Montecara is host to the Esquarian Court of Justice, one of the Institutions of the Community.

In addition to its multilateral defense commitments through the EC, Montecara is a member of the Conitia Security Agreement, which guarantees mutual defense among liberal democracies in Conitia.

Montecara is also a member state of the Latin Union, a cultural organization made up of nations that have a shared Latin culture and Latin-derived language.

Foreign and signals intelligence services are provided by the Executive Directorate for Strategic Operations (DEOS). The investigation section of the Dragoni handles domestic intelligence.

Economy

The Borse Mercànte on a trading day

Montecara has a highly specialized, developed, and advanced social market economy. It consistently ranks at or near the top of international surveys on the ease of doing business, low taxation, and per-capita foreign investment. Because its economy is so integrated into the global financial market and reliant on international trade, it is known as a bellwether for the financial health of the world at large. It is within the Esquarian Common Market.

Montecara's labor force is very heavily unionized. Closed shops are legal and indeed the norm, and over 90% of workers are members of a union. Labor and business interests are closely aligned with the government of Montecara and have an official voice through the Tripartite Commission, which consists of representatives of leading trade unions, employers, and the government. The Commission has many devolved regulatory powers, including the ability to set minimum wages, vacation time, worker safety policy, and pensions by sector. It also has the power to issue formal opinions on other areas of economic policy, including proposed trade deals.

Annual foreign trade flows are 200% of GDP and capital flows approximately 250%, making Montecara the most trade-dependent country in the world. Montecara relies on imports to supply most basic necessities for its citizens. Because Montecara is a free port and major entrepôt, the state directly profits on trade by assessing landing and docking fees and selling fuel and other supplies to ships, while allowing goods to be temporarily offloaded into the Port of Montecara and re-exported without assessing tariffs, as it is required to do under the Esquarian Common Market.

The coat of arms of the Banca de Montecara

Finance, tourism, and shipping are the three biggest industries. There is a small but high-value-added manufacturing sector which produces mainly niche products. The primary sector is quite limited given Montecara's small land area, and is focused on high-value agriculture and fishing.

Banca de Montecara is the city-state's central bank and issues the libra (code: MCL; symbol: Ł), the national currency. The Banca, aside from issuing currency, also issues bonds and performs certain financial regulation duties. It is part of the Banca de Montecara Group, which also includes Montepietà, the state sovereign wealth fund, and the Montecara Bank for International Development, which loans money to foreign governments for development purposes.

The stock exchange, the Borse Mercànte de Montecara, is the oldest in Esquarium and includes a large number of locally incorporated joint-stock companies as well as commodities and foreign currency exchange.

Taxation

Controversially, Montecara is a well-known tax haven. It assesses no taxes on income, inheritances, dividends, or capital gains, and there is no VAT or sales tax. There is a small corporation tax with an exemption on income earned domestically, a withholding tax on temporary foreign workers’ income, hospitality services tax, and a land value tax. The government funds itself through these taxes and a combination of corporate investment through its sovereign wealth fund, excises on certain categories of goods, profits from state-owned enterprises, landing fees for ships and aircraft, registration fees for its merchant fleet, and user fees assessed for certain services.

Finance

The financial sector is the largest and most important pillar of the Montecaran economy. Montecara has a centuries-long banking tradition, and its tax and banking secrecy laws make it an attractive location for financial institutions to incorporate. Major financial institutions include:

Retail

Retail workers account for approximately 12% of the Montecaran workforce, and consumer spending in the retail sector amounts to approximately one-third of Montecara’s annual GDP. The retail sector includes businesses ranging from the highest-priced couturiers to the simple neighborhood tabàc, a traditional convenience store, the licenses for which are preferentially distributed to widows and the disabled in a scheme that dates back to the mid-18th century.

Tourism

Cruise ships docked at Montecara

Montecara is consistently one of the top-ten destination cities in the world for international tourism by number of visitors per year. Its high density of cultural, artistic, and entertainment attractions has helped to make tourism a major component of the economy. Some of the most popular destinations for visitors include the famous casino at Ià Bàgna, the city-state's plentiful and legal brothels, and the sights of the old city. Cruise ship docks, a major international airport, and road and rail links to the rest of Conitia have helped the tourist sector to grow exponentially since the early 20th century.

Infrastructure

Port facilities in the Bay of Montecara

Communications

Montecara has a modern telecommunications network, with all residents able to access broadband internet service as of 2012. Landline telephone, cable, and internet services are provided by Infotel de Montecara, a majority state-owned corporation. Montecara's country code for international telephone calls is +70, and the format for local numbers is +70-0000-0000. The international call prefix is 00. There are no area codes; individual numbers are randomly assigned, though it has been possible at various times to request a specific number if it is available.

Postal services are provided by the state-owned Poste de Montecara.

Energy

Montecara has no fossil fuel sources and has historically imported natural gas from mainland Conitia for electricity generation, along with direct electricity imports. Annual electricity consumption is approximately 14.35 billion kilowatt hours in total, at 8,194 kW·h per person per year, as of 2017. The electricity industry and imports are regulated by the Secretariat of the Environment, Transport, and Urban Development, and electric generation and sales are handled by the cooperative monopoly Unilètrica.

Because of its lack of fossil fuel resources, transitioning to renewable energy is a major focus, as is energy conservation. The government has the stated goal of making the city-state 100% free of fossil fuels by 2025. Leaded gasoline has been banned since 1963. The straits to the south of the main island have strong winds and currents which are now being utilized as energy sources. Montecara's first wind turbines were built there in the 1990s, and a small, experimental tidal power plant was added in 2005. There are currently plans to further develop sea-powered electricity generation. A waste-to-energy plant which uses combustible non-recyclable waste to generate approximately 400 GW·h of electricity per year was completed in 1997. Montecara is a nuclear-free zone, though it allows allied nuclear-powered naval ships to make calls in its port. Unilètrica has allowed net metering since 2006, which has encouraged the development of privately built and operated wind and solar systems.

Transport

Sign at Montecaran ports of entry
Pont Vespàxi over the Bay of Montecara

Transport in Montecara is eased by the city-state's small size. Public transit is provided by Metrovìa, which operates tram, ferry, and bus networks and a bicycle share system. The state-owned Viafèra de Montecara operates regional rail routes within Montecara and to nearby destinations in Conitia, as well as inter-city rail routes that connect with points beyond. The hub of the passenger rail system is Montecara Central railway station.

The Montecaran government strongly discourages private car ownership due to the dense nature of the city-state and a desire to avoid pollution. The number of license plates issued is capped and new plates are only issued through an auction system. Vehicles are banned in the old city with the exception of bicycles and certain electric vehicles due to the extreme narrowness of many streets and the often fragile pavements. This has preserved Montecara from destruction in the name of road expansion and keeps air quality high. The urban core of Montecara thus remains a very walkable and compact environment.

Montecara has some of the most arduous driver licensing requirements in Esquarium. Licensees must be between the ages of 18 and 79 inclusive, and must pass a medical exam (including vision test), take a classroom-based driving theory course, complete an in-car course with a certified instructor, and then pass written and practical tests. First-time applicants, if successful, are granted a probationary license valid for two years which will be revoked if the driver accrues more than two violations of the traffic code. The medical and written exams must be passed again every other year for the license to be renewed.

All vehicles registered in Montecara must pass annual safety and emissions tests, and may not be more than ten years old. There is a high excise tax on petroleum fuel. Traffic drives on the right according to priority to the right, and only left-hand-drive cars are legal to operate in Montecara. There were 42 traffic-related fatalities in Montecara in 2017, a rate of 2.4 for every 100,000 inhabitants.

Montecara's transport network relies heavily on bridges, both to connect the city-state with the rest of Conitia and to provide connections across internal waters. The Pont Vespàxi carries road and rail across the Bay of Montecara, while the twin road and rail bridges of the Pont Calcària connect Montecara with the rest of Conitia.

There is one airport, Montecara–Enrico Dulio International, which serves as the hub for flag carrier Aeracara. The airport and seaport are operated by the government-owned Porti de Montecara.

Demographics

Ethnicity

Ethnic composition of Montecara (2015 est.)

  Montecarans (63.9%)
  Oelians (11.7%)
  Aininians (8.4%)
  Karazawi (8.0%)
  Other Conitians (5.6%)
  Desenans (2.1%)
  Other (0.3%)

Montecaran society is split between ethnic Montecarans, who comprise approximately three-fifths of the population, and foreigners, who are usually non-citizens and come temporarily to work.

Montecarans are a Latin people, related to many other ethnicities in Conitia. They trace their lineage back to the population that lived in Montecara at the time of the Latin Republic and speak Montecaran, a Romance language, as their common tongue. Saturnism is the dominant religion.

Language

All citizens and most non-citizen residents speak Montecaran, an Isthmian language. Montecaran is the sole official language, and its use is regulated by the Senate of Montecara.

Religion

Religious adherence in Montecara (2017 est.)
Religion
Percentage
Saturnism
  
68%
None
  
29%
Other
  
3%

Saturnism (Saturnìsma) is followed by the majority of Montecarans. It is a descendant of the Ancient Latin religion that was practiced in the Latin Republic.

Education

Education in Montecara is divided into five stages: preschool, primary, lower secondary, upper secondary, and tertiary. School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 6 and 16. There are public and private schools at the upper secondary level and below.

A student's prior academic record and teacher recommendations determine whether he or she may advance from the lower secondary level to the liçeo, the university preparatory form of upper secondary school. The alternatives to liçeo are scuol generàl (general-education school), which places a greater emphasis on life and workplace skills and does not have a specifically preparatory curriculum, or scuol tecnicàl, which provides a vocational education in addition to a foundational academic curriculum.

Aspiring university students may take the Matùra at the end of their secondary education. Performance on this test determines whether a student may even apply to the University of Montecara, and is also used by foreign universities and colleges to determine admissions qualifications. The Matùra covers Montecaran language and literature; mathematics, including algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and logic; science, including physics, chemistry, biology, and environmental science; civics, including the Montecaran government and the Esquarian Community; and history, including Montecaran, Latin, and world history. A qualifying score consists of at least a 3 out of 5 on a majority of the test's five sections.

The standard grading system, used for students from primary school through the graduate level, is on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high). Cases of academic dishonesty may be dealt with by assigning the special grade of 0.

Stages highlighted in yellow below are compulsory.

Level Name Duration
Preschool Crèxe 3 years (age: 3 to 6)
Primary education Scuol primàr (Primary school) 5 years (age: 6 to 11)
Lower secondary education Scuol segònd (Lower-grade secondary school) 3 years (age: 11 to 14)
Upper secondary education Liçeo (University preparatory school) 5 years (age: 14 to 19)
Scuol generàl (General education) or
Scuol tecnicàl (Technical or vocational education)
3 or 5 years (age: 14 to 17 or 14 to 19)
Tertiary education Làurea (Bachelor's degree) 3 years
Magistràl (Master's degree) 1 or 2 years
Dotoràt (Ph.D.) 3, 4, or 5 years
Dotoràt medicinàl (M.D.) 6 years

Higher education is only provided through the state. There is one university in the city-state, the University of Montecara, founded in 1291. The university is organized into 21 colleges, which are themselves divided into 38 faculties.

Colleges of the University of Montecara:

  • Anthropology
  • Architecture
  • Classics
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • Fine Arts

  • Government
  • History
  • Law
  • Literature
  • Mathematics
  • Natural Sciences
  • Medicine

  • Modern Languages
  • Pharmacology
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Sociology
  • Veterinary Medicine

Matriculating students apply to one or more specific colleges within the University and take only courses within their given college when enrolled. Students may, at the discretion of the instructor, audit courses from outside their college, but no credit is given.

Officers in the Montecaran Armed Forces can receive additional military education at the Academìa militàr de Tornèa, and officer candidates are often co-enrolled at Tornèa and the University of Montecara.

Health

"Medicine holds Death at bay," Giùlio Aràs, University of Montecara Hospital

Healthcare is provided by the state free of charge to all legal inhabitants in and visitors to Montecara. The state health program, Sanità Montecara, owns public hospitals and clinics, buys drugs wholesale, pays medical staff salaries, and covers all other expenses associated with patient care. Montecara enjoys the highest life expectancy of any country at 83.5 years overall, 85.4 years for women and 81.4 years for men. Healthcare spending amounted to 9.5% of GDP in 2017.

Montecara has the highest ratio of physicians per inhabitants in the world, at 7.21 per 1,000. As with all university education in Montecara, medical education is free of charge, and there is significant competition to work in the domestic healthcare sector. This promotes both a high number of trained clinicians and a high standard of expertise.

Prescription drugs are free of charge. Over the counter drugs must be paid for out-of-pocket. Both prescription and over-the-counter drugs may only be sold at licensed pharmacies (apotecà), which except in the case of those at public hospitals are privately owned. Elective treatments such as cosmetic plastic surgery are conducted only by private physicians and must be paid for out-of-pocket.

The Ospedàl Marìn (Naval Hospital), founded in 1680 to meet the needs of ill sailors, is one of Esquarium's leading research institutions for tropical diseases and nutrition. The University of Montecara Hospital, which is owned by the University of Montecara but jointly operated by the University and Sanità Montecara, is the main teaching hospital.

Culture

Dòna Cara, personification of Montecara

Montecara has a Latin culture that highly values aesthetics, a rich social life, and liberality, among other ideals. It is personified by Dòna Cara, depicted as a woman wearing a mural crown representing the city's walls. It is her face that the country's namesake mountain is supposed to resemble. Other national symbols include the cormorant, the national animal, and the xinòta tree, which bears the sour citrus that is a common flavoring for drinks and sweets. The pygmy goat, though unofficial, is widely thought of as symbolic of Montecara as well.

Art

Montecara has a strong fine-art tradition, particularly exemplified by the paintings produced during its Golden Age. Montecaran art was known in this period for its use of vivid color and majestic subject matter, including classical themes and rich interiors. Tixàn Vecèlo is perhaps Montecara's most famous painter, and his masterpiece, Neptune Offering the Wealth of the Sea to Montecara, hangs in the Palaço Pùblico and is depicted on the 50-libra banknote.

Major galleries include:

Architecture

The Montecaran architectural tradition stretches back to the Latin Republic, which brought its expertise in engineering to the city. Traces of Latin architecture, including extensive brickwork, arches, vaults, stucco exteriors, mosaic floors, and wall frescoes can still be seen in contemporary buildings.

Montecaran architecture developed its own style beginning in the late 12th and early 13th centuries under the influence of the master Arnòld di Buçhe, whose Principia architecturae is still recognized as one of the art's great treatises. The main body of his work consisted of villas for Montecara's senatorial and patrician class, most of which are still standing.

Architecture has generally been well-preserved. It is illegal to demolish or substantially alter historic structures, and building designs must be approved by the state architectural review board before construction. Except for in industrial areas, Montecara has a remarkably coherent architectural vocabulary that remains true to its Latin traditions.

Cuisine

Montecara must import nearly all of its basic foodstuffs because of its lack of arable land. It does, however, harvest a great deal of seafood, which is reflected in traditional dishes. The limited farmland is devoted to high-value crops suitable to the climate, mainly grapes (mainly for wine production), citrus, coffee, saffron (zafràn), and flowers.

Spaiòl grapes drying indoors

Montecara's access to the sea and long culinary tradition has led to a great variety of specialties making use of local ingredients. Cuttlefish braised in ink, fried sardines, and bixàto, or roast eel, are all typical dishes. Fowl is also a traditional favorite, especially duck and other water birds, and duck eggs are still more popular than their chicken-borne counterparts. Songbirds were also eaten in large numbers up to the 1980s, when their capture was banned by environmental legislation. Montecara is on a major flyway, so stakes covered in birdlime (vignòla) were used to catch birds for culinary use. Though illegal, it is reportedly still possible to find some chefs who will prepare songbirds in the traditional manner. Meat from land animals is a small part of the diet and consists mainly of goat and pork, though cheese (mainly goat-based) is ubiquitous. The principal cooking fats are, in descending order of approximate popularity, sunflower oil, olive oil, and duck fat.

Historically, rice (rixo) was the supreme staple food for Montecarans. There was always some domestic production, but Montecarans have relied on the sea trade for the bulk of their rice import for centuries. This is reflected in traditional dishes such as rixoto, a soupy preparation of rice simmered in broth, and rixi e bixi, rice and peas cooked together. In modern times, corn (biàva) is even more popular than rice, and is used to make bread, polènta, and many other dishes.

Montecarans generally have a light breakfast on the way to work or school at cafés or stalls located throughout the city. This often consists of a pastry, sandwich, or fruit accompanied by coffee or juice. There is a traditional mid-morning break for coffee around 11:00, and shops and offices often close briefly to allow for this. Lunch, usually the largest meal of the day, is eaten around 14:00 to 15:00, and workers generally take a full hour to do so, often eating at home. Dinner is eaten at about 21:00.

Xinòta cut in half

Montecara produces wine in a range of styles and varietals, but by far the most popular type, and the one most closely associated with Montecara's culinary identity, is xàca, a fortified wine made from white grapes. Three varietals enjoy protected status as heirloom crops in Montecaran law, all white grapes: Garganèga, Verdùxo, and Spaiòl. Garganèga is used to make still wine noted for its lemon and almond notes, Verdùxo is favored for the sparkling white Caràxa, and Spaiòl is used to make both a golden dessert wine with notes of honeysuckle and apricot and a light, acidic still wine. All three are used to make xàca, which can range in color and sugar content from nearly clear and dry to almost black and very sweet. Under Montecaran law, only wine that is produced from 100% domestic grapes can be sold as "Montecaran wine" (vin Montecarà). Montecara has some of the highest per-capita alcohol consumption rates in the region, and in addition to wine, beer and spirits are popular.

Montecara is known for its sweets, notably xinòta-flavored marmalade and hard candy and formàxo giàço, a frozen dessert and snack similar to ice cream that is flavored with soft cheese and usually served in a split-open sweet bun (brioxa).

Special foods are eaten around Saturnalia. These include galani, a rum-flavored fried pastry served with lemon zest, and pandòr, a sweet egg bread. Dinner on the last day of Saturnalia traditionally includes a feast of seven different types of fish, the exact components of which vary but which generally include clams, scallops, salt cod, anchovy, and sea snails.

Media

Music

Montecara has a strong operatic and orchestral musical tradition dating back to the first operas written in the early 17th century. Indeed, because the arts in republican Montecara were supported by public funds rather than by wealthy patrons, it was until the late 18th century the only place in the world where opera could be seen by the general public, who were able to simply buy tickets.

The main venue for opera performance is the Càxa da Òpera, a 19th-century house that premiered the works of Montecara's most famous composer, Giacopò Verxì. The opera's instrumentalists comprise the Sinfònia de la Òpera de Montecara, one of the most respected symphony orchestras in Esquarium.

The city-state's classical music conservatory is the Academìa da Mùsica, which fosters young musicians and maintains its own orchestra, the Sinfònia da Academìa. The youngest of Montecara's orchestras is the Orxèstra di Radio Montecara, best known for its live performances on Radio Montecara. It performs at the Sàla de Mùsica di Radio Montecara.

Sport

The major sports in Montecara are, in approximate order from most popular to least, association football, rugby union, cycling, tennis, track and field, polo, and sailing. The major stadium, host to rugby, football, and track and field events, is the Arena de Montecara, with a seating capacity of 35,000. Montecara is also host to an indoor velodrome and swimming facility, gymnasiums, spacious polo grounds, and the historic grass tennis courts at the Club Raquèt de la Croxa.

The Montecara national football team is the city-state's national men's team, with membership in the Esquarian Football Association and FECOFA. SDB Montecara is the top professional football club.

Holidays

Every Saturday is a public holiday in Montecara in addition to the other declared holidays. Public holidays are mandatory in Montecara, with shops, businesses, and public institutions required to close. Workers in Montecara typically receive at least four weeks' paid vacation time per year.

Date Name Holiday Notes
1 January New Year’s Day Yes
9 January Agonalia Yes Saturnian holiday dedicated to the "birth" of the religion.
11 January Juturna Yes Commemoration of the consort of the Great God.
18 April Il Rexiçido Yes National day. Commemorates the assassination of dictator Piero de' Malatesta on this date in 1116.
28 April Liberation Day Yes Commemorates the end of the occupation during the War of the Confederation.
17-23 December Saturnalia Yes Main holiday of Saturnism. Celebrated with gift-giving, eating and drinking, and relaxed social mores, including the reversal of social roles.