|Motto: "Strong together"
(Poláček: Silné společně)
|Anthem: Crown of Saint Vladislav
(Koruna svatého Vladislava)
Territory of the Poláček Empire
|Recognised regional languages||Western Poláček, Northern Poláček|
|Ethnic groups||Poláks, Čeks|
|Demonym||Poláček, though regional identification is preferred|
|Government||Federal constitutional monarchy|
|•||Emperor||Věnceslav XII Jestřáb|
|Legislature||Rada (lit. Council)|
|•||Conversion to Oswinism||850|
599,675 sq mi
|Drives on the||right side|
Poláčekia, officially and popularly the Poláček Empire (Poláček: Poláčekská říše), is a nation state on the south-eastern coast of Wallasea. It is composed of 6 electorate-principalities. Poláčekia is bordered by Zegora and Bogatovia to the west, Prekovy to the north, the Leonine Sea to the east, and Saratovia to the South. Poláčekia's mainland territory sits on the Wallasean dorsal mountain range, though it also boasts coastal lowlands and valleys. Its territory also includes a number of islands off its eastern coast though they are mostly uninhabited.
Poláčekia is home to the Poláks and the Čeks, two Slavic peoples; the former are considered to be the region's 'original' inhabitants while the latter migrated to and settled the region at a later point. Together they conform about 90% of the country's total population. Both groups share close cultural ties to their Slavic neighbors, though this is more notable in the case of the Čeks and the Prekovars. The overwhelming majority of them are observant of the Apostolic Oswinite faith, though there are also large numbers of Karlovists and Reformed churches. According to Poláčekia's foundational myth, Oswinism was adopted as its religion in 850 when its foremost King, St. Vladislav, and his tribe converted to the new faith after witnessing a miracle.
Poláčekia doesn't possess a single, written constitution. However, the civil liberties and rights of its subjects are protected and upheld by a tradition of legal precedents and legislative statutes common to the Nation, that limit the authority of the governments. The country is governed by a bicameral legislature with an elected lower house composed of commoners and a hereditary upper house composed of landed nobles who hold royal titles to their respective counties. There also exists a third chamber known as the 'Electoral Chamber', whose sole function is to convene upon the death of the reigning monarch and to elect the successor. The Premiér is the chief governing minister appointed by the monarch, and is chosen from the majority party in power in the lower house of government.
Poláčekia has an estimated nominal GDP totaling $1.76 trillion. The country has a highly developed economy, with a mainly urban population, that leans heavily on the cultural, financial, and high-tech manufacturing sectors. It is estimated that Poláčekia is the world largest net exporter of literature, films, and TV programming.
- 1 History
- 2 Politics
- 3 Economy
- 4 Culture and Society
- 5 Demographics
- 6 See Also
Slavic tribes and the Knyaz
The first historical records of the peoples who would later be known as the Poláks start appearing in the 5th to 6th centuries, when the confederated Slavic tribes of what is now Poláčekia began to drift apart and coalesce around groups of warriors and warlords, installing the latter as Petty-Kings of small fiefs. While many of these monarchs claimed vast swathes of territory as their personal lands in practice they were limited by the number of their followers that they could mobilize in case of armed conflict, the necessity of procuring foodstuffs, and the strict social control imposed upon them by their shared religious roots.
The various roving warbands often switched allegiance, pledging their service to whoever could pay them best (or more regularly) or offer them the best chances to obtain loot and glory in battle. This meant that political control was always tenuous at best and often unsure for the head bearing the crown. To counteract this, some of the warlords began tying their hosts to themselves by bonds of personal loyalty, as expressed through unbreakable oaths performed before the Gods. This served to cement their position of privilege over the rest of their tribesmen, but the high costs associated with maintaining a permanent personal retinue meant that these "družina" tended to be small (though better equipped and trained than the more numerous warbands); this in turn further limited the influence they could exercise over their territory.
Nonetheless, every so often a warlord would emerge that could, usually through a mix of personal charisma and military force, temporarily subdue, coopt or unite his neighbours into a larger, more powerful territorial unit. Such a man would often take the title of "Knyaz of the Poláks" (lit. Prince/Duke of the Poláks), a title that had little to do with their effective control over the lands under their rule. It was not uncommon for such rule to have to be maintained by constant armed conflict, as each "vassal" who saw the opportunity to seize power or escape the grasp of his lord would more often than not rebel. It was incredibly rare for the title to survive the death of its holder, even when the heir was of age, and specially so if they lacked their predecessor's capacity to obtain and maintain a circle of personal loyalties.Čeks, another group of slavs that had split from the Prekovars in the Sázava Marshes, and with whom they shared a language, culture, and religious denomination (their cult was much like the Poláks, though often rites differed on minimal points such as the names of the Gods). While there is no known reason for the Čeks to have left their ancestral homelands, it is commonly believed that it was related to overpopulation and conflict over the available fertile land. The Čeks did not, at first, heavily outnumber the Poláks, but the nature of their migration meant that they were under a more-or-less centralized command; as such they were easily able to overpower and conquer the divided Polák petty-kingdoms in the valleys and plains of Poláčekia. However their efforts to conquer the mountains would prove infructuous, as the unforgiving terrain and warlike nature of the mountain tribes rebuffed all attempts to overcome them.
By the early 9th century the situation had stabilized, with the Čeks benefiting from in-mixing with the local Polák population as well as the reception of further groups of migrants, a development that allowed them to extend their reach further south and west, up to what is now Saratovia. By then they had settled into a system similar to that of the Poláks, where nobles (whose titles had begun to become hereditary) set up small, independent polities and squabbled amongst themselves.
According to Poláčekia's foundational myth one of such nobles, Vladislav (later canonized as St. Vladislav) was the "King" of a small tribe in the northern Poláček mountains (today the Margraviate of the Ulanii) when he was supposedly visited by Oswin himself. Oswin preached to Vladislav and his tribe, winning them over by performing a miracle that so astounded the people that they all converted to the new faith; afterwards Oswin tasked Vladislav with uniting Poláčekia, and later Wallasea, into a single Kingdom to prosper and thrive under the Laws of God.
Early Medieval Empire
After his conversion, Vladislav and his tribe launched a series of campaigns against his neighbouring kingdoms. While incensed by their belief that they were carrying out God's will, Vladislav's conquests were not, however, wars of religion or particularly driven by a command to spread the faith; those who chose to stay true to their old cults were allowed to do so and there were no generalized attempts to force Oswinism unto the conquered peoples; nonetheless many did convert, seeing his successes as proof of his claim that God was with them. King Vladislav proved to be an apt strategist and an even better diplomat, winning a number of key battles that positioned him to negotiate peaceful submissions by those nobles who were not outright hostile against him.
By 855, Vladislav had managed to subjugate or incorporate most if not all of the realms immediately close to his, and thus had himself crowned Knyaz in late 856. Nonetheless, he had learned from the failures of previous monarchs and spent the next several years consolidating and reorganizing his domains. Loyal families were rewarded with important holdings and his major vassals were tied to him by the most severe oaths known to man; in turn the nobles obtained the fealty of their inferiors and so on and so forth. Under his rule the tribes grew and prospered.
His next round of conquests began in the early 860s, as he finally launched a campaign into the Ček-controlled lowlands. Much like in the home mountains, the unity of his forces and the superiority of his command allowed him to either conquer or assimilate his rivals with increasing tempo, as each addition to his domains further increased his power. Vladislav was also capable of performing a delicate balancing act with the loyalty of his men, as many of the ethnic-Polák nobles resented the fact that their Ček rivals had been allowed to keep (in some cases increase) their holdings and the latter had qualms about serving with or under "mountain barbarians".
As a compromise Vladislav changed the location of his capital, moving it from the northern mountains to the site of První, a location that straddled the borders between his two peoples and was also, quite significantly, a very important and holy place to the Slavic pagans that still remained. On this place, Vladislav decreed, all past, present, and future Kings would reside, and from thence would flow the word of God and his Law. To commemorate the event he ordered the construction of Poláčekia's first cathedral and had himself crowned Knyaz of the Čeks, assuming the mantle of a dual king.
Vladislav, who had already begun to be referred to as "the Blessed", passed away in 868 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Borek Vladislava. Records claim his body performed several miracles after his death and he soon began to be worshipped as a holy man, this was factored into his canonization as Poláčekia's first "national" saint later in the year 900. For his part, Borek had a complicated road ahead of him; his father's efforts to unify the Poláks and the Čeks had been somewhat successful but there was still much enmity between them. Furthermore his borders were not yet secure and many of the still independent nobles had started to sign compacts and alliances promising each other mutual aid in case of external attacks.
Borek spent the first years of his reign travelling around his lands, settling disputes, and obtaining oaths of fealty from those nobles that had not shown up to his coronation. He also instituted several reforms in the way justice was carried out, introducing a system of royal judges to whom everyone could appeal (including the commoners) and who were supposed to take local customs and social mores into account; in this way he helped smooth out one of the most salient point of his father's conquest and one which had had the Čeks bristling with discontent. Furthermore, he founded several towns and cities under "royal charters", inviting his subjects, regardless of religion or origin to settle there.
By the time of his death in 898, the Kingdom of the Poláks and the Čeks had grown from just a collection of townships and fortified castles into a more-or-less united polity with a common religion, body of laws, and customs, giving it a clear advantage of power over the surrounding "nations" such as the Prekovar city states to the north or the Rostovan sar to the south. For this Borek was to be known as "the Unifier". His successor would be, in Polák fashion, his eldest son: Zikmund.
Zikmund had ridden with his father in many of his latter campaigns, and shared with him the eagerness to empower and develop his Kingdom. A devout Oswinist, Zikmund was the first Knyaz to declare his faith as the official, and only, religion. He cemented this policy by having himself crowned Emperor of of the Poláks and the Čeks (or Poláčekia, for short) in a grand ceremony on the year 900, the 50th anniversary of his grandfather Vladislav's conversion. It was also during this ceremony that his illustrious ancestor was officially canonized, the Patriarch of První having travelled to and obtained consensus with the Patriarch of Ostrava, and made into the Patron Saint of the newly-created Poláček Empire.
Late Medieval Empire
Modern era and decline
Reform and the Great War
Constituent statesNational Service. There used to be "Free Cities" (also known as Imperial Cities) that operated under special charters granted to them by the Emperor but these were abolished after the reform of 1840.
|Arms||Province||Ruling House||Official religion||Postal abbreviation|| Capital
|Land||Lower Chamber||Upper Chamber|
|[[File:|30px]]||Margrabia z Ulanii||Ulan||Apostolic||MU||
|[[File:|30px]]||Palatinát Středníka||von Lakritze||Reformed||PS||
|[[File:|30px]]||[[File:|23px]] Księstwo Kopalniezłota||TBD||Apostolic||KK||
The basic doctrine behind the current state of the Poláčekian foreign affairs can be explained according to two principles which have guided the Imperial government for the past 150 to 200 years:
- Imperial Hegemony: Poláčekia considers itself the natural sovereign of Wallasea. That the Empire is currently restricted to Poláčekia proper is nothing more than a fluke of history and, by Oswin's mandate, the Empire should extend itself to exercise control over the remaining territory of the continent. This is a world-view based on a number of arguments dating back to the Middle Ages and the Founding of the Empire, which was considered just a stepping stone towards continental unity.
- A policy of peace: Pursuant to the previous point, Poláčekia has long since recognised the practical and moral impossibility of bringing Wallasea under its heel via the method of military conquest; instead Poláčekia has opted to develop a cultural hegemony that it hopes will result in the peoples of Wallasea asking to be incorporated and integrated into the Empire. That is to say, the driving force between Poláčekian diplomacy is the dissemination and promotion of the 'Poláčekian way of life', described as peaceful, harmonious, and just, and the enshrinement of the country as a beacon of stability.
While Poláčekia has not taken part in offensive conflicts since the Great War, their natural tendency towards fomenting internal peace coupled with the directives of their foreign policy means the Empire is an enthusiastic contributor to peace-keeping and peace-building operations throughout the world, though for obvious reasons most efforts and the majority of the expenditures are concentrated in the Crataean continent.
Bearing in mind the two previous points, the government(s) of Poláčekia have considered the cultural industry to be a paramount part of both life in Poláčekia and their diplomatic strategy overseas, in effect: the development and utilisation of soft power. Consecutive administrations have thus invested heavily in the arts and sciences, which in turn has turned the Nation into a primer producer and net exporter of cultural goods such as films, music, and literature; cultural and educational exchanges are also heavily encouraged, with Poláčekian children travelling inter-regionally and outside the country, with Saratovia, Embrea, Arriyiñatos, and Zegora being the preferred destinations; minor exchanges also take place with Praetonia though these are usually not offered by government programmes.
This policy of cultural expansion is aided by the fact that The Empire has managed to develop a highly open and pluralistic society AND I GOTTA REWORD THIS TO EXPLAIN WHY (because of the principles to toleration who forced everyone to get along even if they are different were taken to heart as one of the core values of the country).
On an overall basis, Poláčekia maintains a principle of reciprocity as far as diplomatic personnel is concerned, though this will be waived or overlooked is if its in pursuit of national interests (eg. Cockaygne).
Poláčekia is a signatory of the První Declaration of 18XX, the Funes Conventions, the Biological Weapons Convention, and the Comprehensive Negotiating Framework for Southern Wallasea.
The Armed Forces of the Poláček Empire are the military and paramilitary forces of the Poláček state, whose Commander in Chief is the Emperor. They are composed by the Imperial Army of the Principalities (Imperiální Armáda Knížectví), the Imperial Poláček Navy (Imperiální poláčekské námořnictvo), and the Imperial Flying Corps (Imperiální Létající Sbor). The armed forces of Poláčekia are well armed and funded, with high standards of training and service to match.
The armed forces count with approximately 280,000 military personnel, and around 600,000 in the Reserve (known as the Guard). It enforces universal conscription, with all able adults of 18 years of age serving a two year term in the active forces, followed by enrolment on the Guard. Individuals may claim the right to conscientious objection, in which case they are made to serve in the civilian service, usually in social services, such as reconstructing cultural sites, helping the elderly and other activities removed from military connotations. They are placed in a civilian reserve upon completing of their duties and may be mobilized in cases of national need or emergency.
Rada pro Vojenské Akvizice a Rozvoj (Council of Military Acquisitions and Development).
Books are very important yo, lots of publishing houses and stuff. Also art, and music, and movies, and farms and stuff.
Culture and Society
Throughout most of its history, Poláček society and social order was built around three equally important axes, whose significance nonetheless varied with time and political developments. These were, in no particular order: the oaths of feudal fealty, which tied commoners to their lords and the lords themselves to the Emperor; religion, the common thread that united the disparate peoples of the Empire into a single corpus; and later on the guilds, professional associations that came to represent one of the most important actors in the early modern and modern eras.
For a Poláček subject, these three elements formed the core of his life. They were the institutions through which he joined and participated in society, and they were also the ones through which he expressed himself as a member of said society. There were, of course, variations in the form these institutions may take; one could be a subject of a particular landed lord, to name one example, but a "free citizen" of an imperial city owed the city and its council the same amount of reverence and loyalty that would be expected of a common peasant.
In the same way, at least after the Suffering, one could be part of an Apostolic, or a Reformed or a Karlovist church; the denomination didn't matter as much as being part of A church since attendance and the observation of the precepts taught by Oswin were believed to be integral to achieving salvation of one's soul. The soul, being eternal, took precedence over the material body and no man who didn't look after his spiritual well-being could be trusted by his neighbours or expected to be a contributing member of society.
In contrast with the previous two, membership within a guild was not a voluntary matter. A man could want to be part of a guild but that did not mean he would achieve this. The Guilds were associations of merchants and tradesmen, operating under letters patent granted by the Imperial or regional governments. In practice, this meant that Guilds created and enforced monopolies of trades and goods, making membership a very coveted privilege; a man who could join a Guild as a member would be set for life, and so would his family for generations to come. Since the standards to join were strict and efficiently enforced, being part of a Guild came to be seen as a sign of respectability and inherent trustworthiness.
Guilds and Societies
Contrary to modern expectations, medieval Poláčekian society was highly litigious, as proved by the tens of thousand of historical court documents in the archives of the two premier courts and thousands more surviving from the pre-Imperial Courts era; indeed, it was not uncommon for peasants, as a social, corporate group, to remonstrate against their Lords when they felt their privileges or ancient rights were being violated. This behaviour was more common in the Free Cities but even towns under the ownership of a nobleman could appeal in their own defence. As history has repeatedly shown, it wasn't even uncommon for the Courts to find in their favour such as when the Count-Palatine of Středníka was forced to return certain forests he had appropriated as hunting grounds to common ownership of a local village.
Before the establishment of formal Common Courts, those involved in a conflict involving two equal parties - commoner vs commoner, noble vs. noble - typically had three options for resolution. The primary, and most common way of resolution was an appeal to mediation (usually carried out by a village elder or authority figure, for commoners, or an uninvolved third party for the nobles). This worked differently from modern conceptions of the term 'justice system' because, such as it was, the system was not designed or predicated on achieving justice understood as an abstract concept, like we do today, but rather on achieving a settlement that would be agreeable to all the involved parties and thus avoid the cost of having to enforce unpopular verdicts, which in any case would be impossible for a commoner and highly inconvenient for a nobleman.
The second way also involved an appeal though in this case it would be directed to a superior authority, an itinerant judge, a liege-lord for a mediate noble, or the Emperor for immediate ones, asking the to mediate or judge the dispute. They would be, of course, expected to conform to local customs, precedents, and bear into account the 'liberties' (privileges) that each party possessed. Once again, the emphasis would be placed on obtaining a workable compact that would be accepted by everyone and ensure both compliance and self-enforcement. Final and supreme judgement, everyone agreed, belonged to Oswin and all mortal humans could do was try to be fair (poctivý).
The final and third method was, until banned by the Rada in the late 15th century, feuding. These were not, as is usually believed, 'private wars' or in any way illegal but rather a recognised legal form of obtaining redress for real or perceived offences. In its most basic form, the offended party would declare a feud against the offender and his descendants and then proceed to carry out retaliatory actions against them; these could range from petty thievery or assault all the way to raiding, murder and open combat, though the latter were extremely rare and exposed the party carrying them out to having others declare feuds against them in return. Furthermore, since the objective of a feud was to have the 'offender' publicly admit to his wrongdoing and offer compensation it was just poor practise to kill them.
Feuding was by no means restricted to the nobles, as there are plenty of cases of burghers or entire townships and villages feuding against each other or even against nobles, though these certainly lacked the scale of their high-born counterparts. A intra-village feud was more likely to devolve into a series of pranks or attempts to sabotage the other's livelihood rather than a full-scale siege, and inter-village rivalry often remained limited to burning crops or cattle-rustling.
In the end, the practise of feuding was recognised as foil to the concept of internal peace and, perhaps more significantly, to the prestige of the Elector-Princes. It was not rare for one or more mediate Lords to declare a feud against their Liege, and even the Emperor found himself forced to submit, much to his chagrin and the delight of contemporary playwrights and comedians, to the demands of subjects willing to enforce these by force. The creation of the Imperial Courts by Empress Poláková provided the perfect outlet for these conflicts and thus it was agreed that all future disagreements would be referred through them. This agreement also required all of the signatories to promise to unite and collaborate against all those who would seek to act against it. In essence, a person persecuting a feud would find himself opposed not only by his supposed offender but by everyone else.
Today feuding remains a common tradition in some particular places in the Empire though not as an extra-judicial way of obtaining justice but as a local tradition, it's not rare for the youths of one village or town to sneak out and carry out pranks and jokes on neighbouring locales, more often than not driven by purposefully made-up or 'mythical' offences carried out in the past (for example, the theft of a particularly productive fruit tree or fat pig); in turn, their own home is 'raided' by their rivals. It is understood, naturally, that these are to remain low-level and cause no major property damage or loss of life.
0–14 years: 15.2%
15–64 years: 65.7%
65 years and over: 19.1%
The majority of the 47,475,091 inhabitants of Poláčekia are ethnically and linguistically Čeks (62%) with the Poláks as the first minority (26%). They are descendants of Slavic people who resided in the Sázava Marshes who settled in Poláčekia, Prekovy, Zegora, and Saratovia during the 6th to 8th centuries AD. Other major ethnic groups include Mozalvians, Embreans, Magyars, and Flamaguayans. Historical minorities like the Saratovs and the Prekovars are declining due to assimilation into the mainstream population, something that is encouraged by Poláček authorities.
There are different groups of national and ethnic minorities in Poláčekia. The so-called "old minorities" live mostly in specific areas (e.g. Mozalvians in the NAME region, Prekovars in the Ivanovo region) while the "new minorities", often foreigners to Wallasea proper, are scattered among the majority population (generally in the larger towns) or form expatriate enclaves. In general, Poláček society is welcoming of immigrants as long as they accept and adapt to local practices and customs. The Poláček government requires all those wishing to obtain permanent residence or citizenship to pass an intermediate-level course on Poláček in no more than 2 years from the date of application; classes are offered for free and with flexible schedules in most municipalities.
Poláček is the official and predominant spoken language in the Empire. It's a slavic language and is closely related to and classified alongside Prekovar, Saratov, and Zegoran. Minorities of words are derived from Embrean and Flamaguayan.
Poláček dialects, traditional local varieties traced back to the Slavic tribes, are distinguished from varieties of standard German by their lexicon, phonology, and syntax. Of these, two (Western Poláček, Northern Poláček) are officially recognized and supported by the Imperial and regional governments.
Recognised minority languages in Poláčekia are Saratov, Mozalvian, Olyar, Prekovar, Zegoran, Embrean, Flamaguayan, Minua, and to a lesser degree, Sennish. These are also the most used immigrant languages. Poláčeks are typically multilingual, learning at least one foreign language during their formal education: 70% claim to be able to communicate in at least one foreign language and more than 40% in at least two.
The Empire is nominally a confessional state, whose official state church is the Imperial Church (Poláček language: Imperiální Církev). In practise the Poláček state has been highly secular since the Great Reform of 1840 and the rights of all inhabitants, regardless of citizenship status, to practise their particular beliefs are protected as an inherent and inalienable human right. The roots of Poláčekia's brand of secularism can be traced all the way back to the Toleration Edict of 1592 and the Bull of Eternal Religious Peace of 1610, which established the principles of freedom of worship and conscience that still stand to this day. Although citizens are encouraged to participate in religious services, long considered an important foundation of both Poláček society and culture, this is not a requirement for public service or employment of any kind.
The Imperial Church
The Imperial Church is the official church of the Empire as per the 1730 Treaty of Karlovo. Denominationally Apostolic, the Imperial Church is maintained by a mix of government funding and from taxes and profits from the church's own lands (some of them given as a gift by previous, pious Emperor's, on loan, or sold to the Church) though in this case the Bishop is treated as any other Secular Lord.
The Karlovist movement takes its name from the city of Karlovo, where it first appeared during the early 15th century. The Karlovists believe that Oswin returned to Earth specifically to minister to them in the form of an itinerant priest so as to correct the errors and mistakes that had been made over the years by the different denominational churches, such as the concentration of wealth and land, paving the way for a return to an earlier, 'purer' form of worship.
These beliefs were promulgated in the famous "Program of Karlovo", which clamoured (among other things) for the freedom to preach the Word of Oswin, legal equality between Men and Women, the expropriation of Church property, full participation of the congregation in the celebration of the Holy Ceremonies, and the election of priests by their own parishioners.
At first the movement was persecuted by the Imperial government which, according to Church doctrine, considered the Karlovists to be heretics. The Great Defence of Karlovo in 1426 prompted the Karlovist faithful to federate and form an united front against the Imperial army, which launched a total of three crusades against them in the years 1428, 1432, and 1436. The failure of these three expeditions marked the end of all and any government attempts to subdue the Karlovists, leading instead to negotiation and the 1438 Peace of Karlovo, which granted the movement full religious recognition and rights.
Although the number of adherents would wane after the Reformation Wars in the 16th century, the Karlovist movement would remain as the State Religion of the Duchy of Přistávalpták and survives to this day as one of the major, and most devoted, religious groups in Poláčekia. It has also been credited as a driving force behind Poláčekian liberalism.