|Motto: "Pusillior sed et fortis"
(Latin: We are few, but strong)
Location of North Point
Praetannic (de facto)
|Recognised national languages||Flamaguayan, North Veridian|
|Ethnic groups (2010)||See Demographics|
|•||Wallasean discovery||April 1529|
52,532 sq mi
|GDP (nominal)||2018 estimate|
|Currency||Oryontic Dollar (O$)|
|Time zone||Haversham Mean Time|
|Drives on the||right|
|ISO 3166 code||NP|
North Point, sometimes referred to as the Commonwealth Islands, is a stateless polity located off the northwest coast of Veridis. Home to a highly diverse population of 41 million inhabitants, it is an archipelago consisting of hundreds of volcanic islands. Considered part of the broader Commonwealth, North Point has no state government, but is united and administered under the auspices of the North Point Company. Its commanding position in the southeastern Oryontic Ocean has made it an economic and social powerhouse which exercises influence out of proportion to its size.
The islands of North Point form the northernmost extent of the continent of Veridis; early Wallasean geographers referred to the islands as "the north point", and this name has been used by Praetannic-speakers since. Flamaguayan explorers named the island chain the Santa Cruz Islands, but this name fell out of favor after the territory became a major Praetannic settlement in the 19th century. North Point is sometimes referred to as the Commonwealth Islands by the inhabitants of Questers and Praetonia.
The North Veridian islanders' traditional name for the islands is Kea'au, which translates literally to "rippling of the sea".
Fossil evidence shows early human habitation as early as 4,000 BCE. Archaeological research suggests that lower sea levels allowed early humans to walk across a land bridge extending from northern Veridis, but native oral tradition maintains that their ancestors arrived via canoe around 800 AD. Large tribes inhabited Grand Island, sometimes cooperating and sometimes fighting for resources. Their numbers remained relatively constant until the arrival of Wallasean explorers in 1529 introduced diseases for which they had no immunity.
The islands were first sighted by Wallaseans during the Franco expedition of 1529. Flamaguayans established the first permanent colony at San Salvacion, and missionaries began attempts to convert the natives to Oswinism. Praetannic and Cockay settlers began to arrive in the mid to late 16th century, establishing trading ports on the larger islands. Small-scale clashes between the Providentialist and Oswinist settlers were common throughout the region. Friction between the two culminated in the Subjugation of Jará; while this was a defeat for the Providentialist settlers on continental Veridis, it established Praetonian common law as the predominant force in North Point.
This same period coincided with a rise in piracy at sea, as no large naval force was available to patrol the islands. Attempts by the smaller defense associations to combat piracy met with moderate success, but this problem was not fully eradicated until the early 19th century. The Flamaguayan government unofficially encouraged piracy through its issuance of letters of marque to privateers to attack Praetannic shipping.
The first organized and intentional settlement of North Point by Praetonian-backed interests took place in 1803, with the arrival of Thomas Jackson and the Praetonian North Point Company (PNPC). Originally a chartered company tasked with development of a 200 square mile plot on the east coast of Grand Island, the PNPC grew to administer a sizable portion of the island. It first operated sawmills for the production of timber, but later expanded into pineapple, sugarcane, and coconut farming, and later still to mining and shipbuilding. Its significant Praetonian investment allowed it to fund Providence Squadron, and in a concerted campaign from 1810-1814, the PNPC virtually eliminated piracy within the North Point islands.
As the PNPC expanded, the smaller local associations became subscribers, contributing their ships and militia. By 1825 the PNPC was reorganized as the North Point Company and its headquarters was relocated from Haversham to Providence Town. Thomas Jackson, who had steered the local administration so well, became the first Association Chairman. Jackson oversaw steady expansion of the NPC throughout the 1830s, slowly but surely spinning off the commodity businesses into independent companies in which the NPC was a majority shareholder. Profit from these businesses, as well as subscription fees paid by subscribers, allowed the NPC to provide for the common defense.
Throughout the 19th century, North Point's population and economy expanded. Its strategic position in the southeastern Oryontic made the islands a major stopping point for ships journeying from Questers and Veridis to Wallasea. By 1870, North Point had become an established banking and commerce center. Providence Town, renamed to Jacksonville in 1851 after Jackson's death, recorded a population of 300,000 in the 1880 census.
The Great War saw North Point commit its entire navy in support of the Commonwealth. Ground forces were mobilized and sent to Questers to join the fighting against Dumanum. In 1909, a North Point cruiser squadron narrowly defeated a superior Saratovian fleet at the Battle of the Motappa Trench, preventing the recapture of Saratovia's Crataean colonies. The long and bloody conflict resulted in the deaths of over 52,000 North Pointers, primarily in the stalemate actions in the Yehud.
North Point, already a shipbuilding center, saw increased industrialization during the Great War. The conversion of these industries to civilian use after the conclusion of hostilities led to an economic boom in North Point. Steady growth throughout the 20th century was coupled with North Point's rise as a global finance and banking center in the 1940s and 50s. Fueled by abundant natural resources, high productivity, and well-developed infrastructure, North Point's economy had become the 9th largest in the world by 1960. Unlike Questers, North Point had no significant Syndicalist movement in the late 20th century, allowing for expansion of industry both at home and abroad. The 1960s also saw North Point's rise as a major international tourism destination.
North Point's military forces again deployed in support of the Commonwealth during the 1997 Lunar War. Despite taking losses early on, the successful conclusion of the war against Taihei Tengoku raised the North Point Company's standing both within the Commonwealth and worldwide. North Point troops were again committed during the Questarian Civil War, the largest conflict involving North Point since the Great War. The economic impact of the Questarian Civil War on North Point was substantial; even five years after the close of hostilities, North Point's stock market remains depressed, but each year has seen incremental recovery. The full impact of the Questarian Civil War on the Commonwealth and North Point remains to be seen.
North Point is a part of the Commonwealth and recognises Praetonian Courts of Record as a superior legal authority. The North Point Company, which historically settled the islands, owns around 75% of the land of the island and extracts significant revenue from land charges. In turn the Company provides value-added mechanisms of government, such as fixed-line infrastructure and basic public health such as inoculations, but does not operate public services such as healthcare or welfare. The Company operates armed forces which co-operate closely with the armed forces of other Commonwealth states.
The Company does not administer law, although it uses funds raised from its rents and charges to operate some public order elements such as company police, and provides partial funding for the private Imperial Forensics service. The Company's internal structure is similar to a chartered company. It has a Board of Directors which is chosen internally from the Company's staff. The Board is the closest thing to a head of state, and all members swear allegiance openly to the Praetonian Courts of Record. The amount the Board raises in land charges is approximately 5% of GDP. Excepting its ability to control activity on its property, the Company has no power to issue legislation or appoint a legally-supreme judiciary.
Law and order
Internal security is provided by various night watch services. These company police are generally distributed throughout North Point, and most share a high degree of commonality with each other in techniques and equipment. Nightwatchmen in North Point are usually unarmed.
The North Point Company provides for the collective defense of the nation through its own private military, which is known as the North Point Security Forces. Unlike Praetonia, North Point maintains a professional standing army and air force, with a highly-trained cadre of officers, most of whom generally serve several years in the militaries of the Estates General or Questers in exchange programs. North Point units are often used as shock troops in Commonwealth formations. The North Point Company's War Department administers the North Point Army, North Point Sea Command, and North Point Flying Corps.
The North Point Company also raises and equips a ground reserve force, which can be used to reinforce the army if necessary.
North Point is an archipelago comprised of one large landmass (Grand Island) with dozens of other islands surrounding it. The island chain of North Point sits off the northwest coast of Veridis, separated from its southern neighbor Valimero by the North Veridian Strait. The submerged Great North Point Banks extend nearly 500 kilometers to the north of the country, and its collection of coral atolls and shallow shoals pose a significant navigational hazard.
To the west of North Point, the Veridian Trench drops off steeply at the subduction zone between the Crataean and Veridian continental plates. The Albion Deep, the deepest surveyed point on Earth, lies just 100 kilometers west of Commander's Point on Lauderdale Island.
Geologically, the western islands are distinct from the eastern. Lauderdale, Westlands Island, and Pelatau were formed as an island arc along the subduction zone approximately 40 million years ago. Grand Island and the neighboring Charter Islands formed as the Veridian plate drifted southwest over the Burke hotspot. Grand Island itself is the newest island in the chain, with two active shield volcanoes at its southern end.
North Point's islands generally fall within the tropical climate classifications, though humidity and temperatures are less extreme due to nearly constant trade winds from the east. Summer highs usually reach 88°F (31°C) during the day and 73°F (24°C) at night. Winter day temperatures are usually around 80°F (28°C); at low elevation they seldom dip below 60°F (15°C) at night. Snowfall occurs regularly in the higher elevations in the mountainous interior of Grand Island. Most of North Point experiences only two seasons; the dry season runs from May to October, and the wet season from November to April.
The warmest temperature recorded in North Point, in Northreach on June 7th, 1941, was 99°F (37°C). The record low temperature was -24°F (-31°C) on December 19th, 1978, on the summit of Longs Peak on Grand Island at 14,256' elevation.
Vast inland forests were logged nearly flat in the late 19th/early 20th centuries; nearly all forests on the islands are 3rd and 4th growth. Hurricanes sweep north through the Questarian Sea and batter the islands each hurricane season (August-November, generally) and have resulted in North Point having well-developed meteorological and weather-research groups. Earthquakes along the subduction zone west of North Point sometimes cause damage in the islands and tsunami warning systems are in place in most cities.
Settlement by Wallaseans in the 17th and 18th centuries resulted in a 15% decline in biodiversity among the existing animal species. Chronic over fishing, illegal dumping of toxic waste, and several large oil spills during the 20th century have led to dead-zones, coral bleaching, and sea life decline, a problem only fully understood by 1970. Resulting attempts by the North Point Geographical Society to reduce impact of human activity on the environment have been mostly successful in halting additional damage.
Services-based and rich. Lots of tourism. Some heavy manufacturing (mostly ships). Raw materials are imported. World leader in fossil fuels extraction and refining, at first in North Point itself but now mainly abroad. Timber industry existed in the early days but now mostly works overseas.
Evenly distributed society of Commonwealth races, with largest ethnic group being white Wallaseans/Arterans, closely followed by Questarians. Veridians make up a large proportion of the populace due to geographic proximity to Valimero and Zavala. A small population group of indigenous North Veridian islanders remain, though they are highly assimilated.
- Praetannic: 20%
- Questarian Hindustani: 12%
- Valimeran: 10%
- Cockay: 10%
- Questarian Malay: 9%
- North Veridian Islander: 7%
- Zavalan: 7%
- Questarian Sikh: 5%
- Songian: 3%
- Tairendian: 3%
- Fantasian: 3%
- Flamaguayan: 3%
- Taihei: 2%
- Varnian: 2%
- Dumani: 2%
- Prekovar: 2%
- Zegoran: 1%
- Embrean: 1%
The most common language spoken in North Point is Praetannic, though sizable population groups of Veridians speak Flamaguayan and Embrean. Hindustani-speaking immigrants from Questers are also very common. A small population of North Veridians, descended from native tribes, keep their language alive through oral storytelling.
"The Rugby school had me back a few years ago to give a speech. On courage, of all things! Which proves they're just as big of hypocrites now as in Arnold's day."
Highly-developed but likely very expensive healthcare system. Location of first heart transplant, leader in medical advances, etc etc etc.
Jacksonville Chronicle - respected conservative newspaper