|Motto: "Be Just and Fear Not."
|Anthem: Almighty Providence
|Ethnic groups (2010)||92% Praetannic
3% Questarian Hindu
1% Questarian Malay
|Government||Common law polity (none)|
|•||Protector of the Estates-General||Anne|
|•||Common Law universal||1692|
186,731 sq mi
|GDP (PPP)||2016 estimate|
|Time zone||Haversham Mean Time|
|Internet TLD||.cw, .eg|
[[[Praetonia]]] is an island country located north west of continental Wallasea. It is the origin of Common Law and Providentialism, making it the cultural heart of one of the world's great cultural and political traditions. Its settlers make up most of the population of Cockaygne and are present in significant numbers in North Point and Questers. Culturally, it has had a predominant influence in the evolution of Questers, Tairendia and Axum. Together, these Praetonian-influenced countries practising Common Law are known as the Commonwealth. A defining feature of Praetannic civilisation is a total separation of law-making and law enforcement, including the military. The legal tradition has a quasi-religious basis in Providentialism and emphasises logical consistency and continuity. The dominant legal tradition emphasises private property and contract, and Praetonia has a highly productive technological economy. Praetonian courts contribute disproportionately to the Courts of Record, influential around the world. Meanwhile, its separate military institutions, including the Estates-General and the Vigilance Committee, make the Praetonian island one of the world's great powers in its own right.
The Praetonian home island was semi-mythologically founded by the Praetanii tribe, who are held to have conquered it from a race of dragons. The subsequent Praetannic Empire enters recorded history around 400 AD. Initially monarchical, by the mid 1400s it is feudal confederacy with an elected emperor. In the mid 1400s the religious basis for Common Law, Providentialism, originated in the eastern-most peninsular, Senland. In the late 1400s Free Congregationalists launched a revolt in the province that deposed the Sennish monarchy. In the next two centuries Senland developed into by far the richest and most densely populated part of the island with growing commercial and colonial interests in the southern and western Oryontic. In response to a threatening spread of Congregationalism across the island and occupation of major ports by Sennish merchant leagues, the Praetannic Empire invaded Senland in 1688. In response, the Eastern Association was formed in Senland fielding the first Common Law army, conquering the Praetannic Empire and imposing Common Law across the entire island by 1692.
The newly reunified Praetonia, from this point on popularly called the Commonwealth or Old Commonwealth, redoubled its commercial and colonial efforts abroad. This led to several clashes with Prekovy and other naval powers. Providentialist radicals invaded continental Wallasea, establishing Cockaygne. By the end of the 19th century, the Estates-General became increasingly important, representing the vast majority of the politically active Praetonian population in foreign policy and military matters. The formation of similar, associated but separate organisations in Questers and North Point established the independence of these Praetonian settled or dominated territories in world affairs. The Estates-General was involved in the Great War, which greatly increased its cultural significance in the country and established binding covenants for its financial support in most land titles on the island. Hundreds of thousands of Praetannics were killed in battles in Cockaygne and Questers.
Following the Great War, syndicalism spread widely on the island until The Troubles saw their military defeat by orthodox associations. This event is seen as finally establishing Praetonia as a single nation under Common Law. Throughout the 20th century various things happened, some of which are known. In the early 21st century the Questarian Mutiny saw a resurgence of syndicalism that was defeated only with great effort and expense in Praetonia, profoundly shaking the island peoples' sense of complacency. In its aftermath the celebrated general Archibald Bumpington-Smyth attempted to invade Taihei Tengoku in alliance with the Malay Federation, but was defeated. Smyth fled to the Occident and staged a coup in Tairendia. Meanwhile the Estates-General established permanent forces in Questers and Cockaygne for the first time in history.
Praetonia is the origin of Common Law, one of the world's three major legal systems. In Common Law society is organised on building blocks of private property and private contracts, without a central legislature. The military associations organised under the Estates-General are "enforcers of last resort" for the Common Law and the ultimate seat of sovereignty. However, they generally do not involve themselves in private disputes and limit their judgement to backing certain courts against others where their rulings contradict in major and irreconcilable ways. These courts in turn are almost always those regarded as most legitimate. In Praetonia, the military associations are funded mostly by contributions assessed as a proportion of land value, which have accumulated over the centuries and attach to most pieces of property on the island. There are complicated sets of agreements for when and how these contributions can be extended to fund full scale warfare as opposed to standing armies, and whether and when these are triggered is of major importance for all foreign countries dealing with the Estates-General.
Most private business is carried on according to contracts, with specific penalties for failing to meet one's obligations either explicitly set out beforehand or else being determined by an agreed arbitrator. Complex sets of customs and conventions have evolved through arbitration that, while not fundamental to Common Law, form a de-facto law for people operating in areas where they are socially dominant. These customs can differ significantly from place to place, and from social group to social group within a place, according to which arbitration method particular people prefer. Doing business and even coping with day to day life can therefore be very complex for adult outsiders, but is generally very smooth for those who have been raised into the system in a specific community. Very few matters ever go before a Common Law court, as opposed to an arbitrator.
A Common Law court is nominally a religious body in Free Congregationalism, but its judgements have little to do with the religion as such. Instead, Common Law courts attempt to levelise all outcomes so that god can judge individual conduct in the afterlife. Common Law does not differentiate between civil disputes and criminal matters, but a rough distinction exists whereby "civil" matters can be seen as those handled by arbitrators while "criminal" matters are those handled directly by Common Law courts. This is because arbitration fails to occur almost exclusively when two people have a dispute that doesn't involve any prior agreement between them, like one person injuring or stealing from another. Common Law courts also handle disputes over who is the owner of what land where it is genuinely unclear, but these are rare in old settled areas like Praetonia.
A vital concept in Common Law is that of outlawry. An outlaw has no legal property, including in his own body, and can therefore be subject to any possible attack. Doing something wrong, whether it is breaching a contract or attacking a person, does not necessarily make someone an outlaw; rather, outlawry occurs when someone refuses to stop harming another and peacefully adjudicate the dispute, whether by arbitration or before a full Common Law court. Someone in the course of an attack or theft is also always an outlaw during that time but does not necessarily remain an outlaw. In a dispute before a Common Law court, usually it is the alleged victim who applies for an opinion so that he can be clear that whatever compensation he intends to seize is lawful and therefore he does not make himself an outlaw by seizing it. Where evidence is not completely conclusive, opinions are generally equivocal. Since outlawry is so dangerous, however, ordinary people in Praetonia generally possess insurance that will "buy" any claim, even an equivocal claim, against him to avoid it reaching the point of a seizure or attempted seizure which might make him an outlaw. Those who cannot afford, or choose not to buy, such insurance place themselves in a potentially dangerous position. Murder is a special case in which the perpetrator always and eternally becomes an outlaw.
Through its associations organised into the Estates-General, Praetonia is a leading maritime power and, since the Great Mutiny, also commands considerable forces on land. However, its military commitments are spread across the world and only some of these forces are actually present in or around the home islands. At the close of the Mutiny, the editor of the broadsheet newspaper The Watchman wrote that, "the country's resources are considerable, but her commitments are even more considerable." In peacetime its active troops number 100,000 and its reserves around 600,000, with a navy of five fleet carriers, thirty fleet submarines, and escorts. Currently, it has around 250,000 active troops in Questers and another 60,000 in Praetonia.
The Estates-General is politically controlled by its constituent associations, while operational control rests with its permanent head, the Protector. In peacetime, the associations are free to pursue independent policies. They exercise control of the Estates-General through the Convention of the Estates-General, an assembly of their representatives which, when acting unanimously, has ultimate power over all its functions. The associations are generally bound to mobilise to protect one another's territory when attacked and, in past times, the territory of the Company of Freeholders. This attack must be severe enough to pose an existential threat to the local association if acting alone. In addition to these "mandatory" mobilisations, the Estates-General or some group of associations within it may organise a joint voluntarily mobilisation through a Convention.
The Protector is appointed by a Convention, must be under twenty five at the beginning of a term of office, and serves for life. Under the Protector, a Permanent Strategic Establishment makes long term plans, and is believed to wield considerable influence in Estates' and associational policy beyond its formal powers. Its intelligence agencies are also active worldwide. An independent, similar but smaller, permanent strategic establishment is possessed by the Eastern Association. Outside the Estates-General, the Vigilance Committee is a well-funded independent intelligence agency which pursues an independent and sometimes contradictory policy to the Estates.
Praetonia has the second largest economy in the world by estimated total output, is the most advanced of the large economies, and with its Commonwealth links one of the most globally integrated. It is one of few countries with significant capability in essentially all industrial, technological and service sectors. In the primary sector, it has abundant proven reserves of coal and many minerals, but lacks significant deposits of oil or gas and some trace minerals. The proportion of food produced locally has gradually shrunk over time, although food prices have intermittently spiked during war scares; for this reason, and rising value added by other sectors, agriculture is only a very minor component of the economy today.
There is a significant cultural difference between the economies or Senland and the western provinces, although both ultimately have similar income levels. The Senland economy is characterised by old, privately and often family-owned businesses, which often in turn employ generations of workers from the same families. Today, the largest such businesses are in the insurance, banking and engineering design sectors. The western economy, meanwhile, is characterised by looser employment relationships and numerous newer businesses and startups exploiting new technology. Many industrial processes were first exploited in the west and the shipbuilding and aviation industries are now the oldest characteristically western sectors. In recent years, semiconductor and software companies became much more numerous in the west.
Praetonian society is legally egalitarian, but each individual is perceived to belong to a class determined by his station and conduct in life. The three broad categories are as follows:
Yeoman - the status to which all aspire, a yeoman owns his own residence and enough money in investments at least to not be dependent on labour for subsistence. The yeoman is, however, not supposed to shirk labour out of laziness nor to advertise extraordinary wealth. Unlike in, for instance, Questers, the very rich will attempt to present themselves as prosperous yeomen rather than showing off their wealth. Approximately 20% of households are led by yeomen. They are disproportionately represented among contributors to associations and the regular forces of the associations.
Landsman - the landsman is a lesser but still respectable status. A landsman may own little or nothing, although an older landsman would be expected to own a residence. A landsman has few or no debts, apart from perhaps a mortgage on a residence. A landsman is however dependent on labour to pay his bills. Around 60% of households are led by landsmen. They are much more likely than villeins to be contributors to associations. They rarely serve in the regular forces of associations, but make up a substantial fraction of the reserve forces of associations.
Villein - villeiny is a low and disrespectful status, associated with indentured servitude for debt or other reasons. The typical villein is bound in service to a yeoman or, more rarely, a landsman. Around 20% of the population may be villeins, and villeins tend not to form households. Villeins are generally excluded from participation in the associations or the nightwatch.