|Anthem: Questaria the Brave
Royal anthem: Perajurit Tanah Air
|Government||Common law polity (none), Rajamandala|
|•||Defender of the Faiths||Abdullah Afiz|
|•||Defender of the Faiths Proclaimed||May 1st, 2012|
3,891,275 sq mi
|•||2018 estimate||340 million (est.)|
148 (est.)/sq mi
|GDP (nominal)||2015 estimate|
|•||Total||$6,650 billion (est.)|
|•||Per capita||$19,000 (est.)|
|Drives on the||left|
Questers or Questaria, sometimes the western Commonwealth and in official documentation, the Raj is a stateless polity in eastern Crataea, with seaboards on the Axackal Sea, the Oryontic Ocean, and the Hanin Sea. Questers borders Dumanum to the west through Yehud, Uiri, Angyika and Hakara to the south-west, and Songia to the south, as well as being geographically proximate to Varnia across the Axackal Strait. With more than 340 million inhabitants, Questers is the 2nd-largest country in the world by population, and spanning 3,891,275-sq mi, is the largest country in the world by area. Questers is a multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-religious country and is also highly diverse by climate.
Like the 'mother country' and colonial parent Praetonia no state entity claims a jurisdiction over the area that makes up Questers, and its own borders are defined by the borders of neighbouring states; Questers has no central government to establish de-jure borders and does not have a constitution. Governing authorities are landowners, who swear allegiance to a central royal family in a system referred to as Rajamandala.
By its position at the centre of the world, and a crossing point between continents, Questers has played an instrumental role in world history, and by its large population, economy, and armed forces, exerts significant cultural influence. Some consider Questers, as a common law country, to be a a part of one country known as the Commonwealth alongside Praetonia and North Point. A lack of border controls between these countries has historically facilited, and continues to facilitate, compelling cultural, social, and economic integration.
Without a central governing authority, economic estimates are difficult, but Questers' GDP is assumed to be approximately $6,650 billion, making it one of the richest countries in the world by gross domestic product. Questers is significant less developed per capita than most Wallasean countries, a consequence of historic inter-racial strife, war, natural disaster, and other social and religious problems.
More than half of Questarians are Hindus or Sikhs of Indian descent. Malays make up another twenty percent, and the descendents of Wallasean settlers, mostly Christians, make up another ten percent. Other Crataean minorities are prevalent; in recent decades, Questers has absorbed significant numbers of refugees from around the world, in large part to its multi-cultural heritage and total lack of border controls. Some countries with strict border controls deport refugees to Questers, especially those who lack documents, and there are significant communities in the country's major cities which have prospered.
- 1 Etymology and identity
- 2 History
- 3 Geography
- 4 Regions
- 5 Politics
- 6 Public safety
- 7 Economy
- 8 Health
- 9 Education
- 10 Demographics
- 11 Culture
- 12 Iconography
- 13 See also
Etymology and identity
The term Questers comes from the Praetonian name for its original settlers, of whom it said were embarking on a 'quest' to settle the new world. The term Questaria for the country is common in both Praetonia and North Point, and is an adopted identity by whites in Questers, especially those of Praetonian or Cockay descent.
Since Questers is not a state polity and lacks a core nationalist identity, the words used by people to refer to the country as a whole are largely dependent on their own racial, ethnic, or religious identity. In particular, many people in the Commonwealth do not consider Questers, Praetonia, and North Point as being separate countries, but as being regions of the same country, referring to them as the Western and Eastern Commonwealth respectively, with North Point sometimes being referred to as the Commonwealth Islands and Praetonia even as the Home Islands.
Commonwealth historians claim that Questers is the site of the first civilisation, with human settlement, food storage, agriculture and animal husbandry prevalent around the Nampata river region approximately 4,000 years ago, following a 6,000 year period of proto-civilisation. Distinct ethnic groups and pantheons began to emerge between the period 4,000 to 1,000 years ago. Historians refer to this period as the 'terrible period', when Questers was afflicted by the first forms of dynastic warfare, and general invasion from other parts of Crataea. The Dharmat religion, followed by half of Questers and a significant number of other Crataean people, also originated in this period, about 3,000 years ago.
During the first part of the Middle Ages, usually defined as the period between 800 AD and 1250 AD, there was a general and uneasy peace under the first large polity in north Questers, called the Agran Empire. However, in the south of Questers, warfare resumed after a series of plagues in 990 and 1012 AD wiped out approximately one quarter of the population of modern-day Herat, Kaidailand and Katagalugan. The general period of warfare between 800 and 1250 AD had the effect of creating larger and larger dynasties, tied to what are considered proto-ethnicities, the genesis for modern-day Questarian ethnic groups. By the close of the period, a system of feudalism had been decisively established in the majority of Questers. Towards the end of the 13th-century, the Agran Empire began to be overshadowed by the larger, more religiously pious Naugarh Empire.
In particular, the Gorka Kingdom of Pokhara was able to assert itself as a thriving Kingdom outside the power of either the Agran or Naugarh Empires, which attempted to force strict Dharmatic theocracy on Pokhara, but were beaten in five separate wars. Similarly, the creation of the Sikh religion, an off-spring of Dharmatism, was a source of major tension. General persecution of Sikhs continued until the end of the 15th-century when the arrival of the Great Horde caused the warring Questarian factions to temporarily unite.
The Great Horde arrived in Questers towards the beginning of the 16th-century. By 1550 most of the Nampata had been totally occupied by the Horde, but it temporarily paused, as part of the Horde split and turned its attention toward Songia and Uiri. The Horde then attempted to conquer North Questers and the Herat plain between 1575-1620 AD, finally being stopped around the Rembang mountain range. Between 1550 and 1630, the repeated attempts of the horde to conquer all of modern-day Questers, combined with a savage plague in 1625, resulted in the death of more than one third of the Questarian continent. The Agran and Naugarh Empires joined as an early form of a dual monarchy in 1629.
The first Praetonian settlers arrived in 1633, when the Agra-Naugarh Empire was in a very dangerous position. However, the arrival of the settlers was a boon for the Empire's finances; boosted by cross-Oryontic trade and the sale of land to the settlers, the Empire, under Emperor Vara XX, routed the Great Horde at the gates of Ambala in 1642, and suffering severe defeats elsewhere, the Horde withdrew, finally leaving the Yehud in 1658.
Early modern period
By 1670, and the expulsion of the Great Horde, the Agra-Naugarh Empire had established itself as a dual-monarchy with the early conditions of statehood, including central Dharmatic religious authorities, a system of tax and customs collectors and military levies, and even the beginnings of a census and a post office. Nevertheless, the Empire had suffered severely during the invasion and the correlating plagues; the population of north and central Questers was estimated at 45 million in 1660, less than half of what it had been in 1550. Most of the Empire's premier universities, libraries and religious establishments had been sacked by the Horde on its long retreat. The Empire's tax revenues, despite being reliable, were less than one tenth of what they had been at the time of the Horde's arrival. Coinciding with this period was a phenomenon known today as Literacy Death: before the arrival of the Horde, literacy had been steadily growing in Questers, but by 1660 literacy rates were equivalent to 1000 AD.
Nonetheless, trade rapidly restarted, and by 1700 the Empire had been able to restore some of the lost libraries and universities. Despite its best efforts, the rich literary, scientific, and philosophical heritage of the Yamunaland and Axackaland would never be restored. Imperial authorities spent vast sums on recreating the old institutions, but without the scholars to fill them, many of the buildings sat empty. The tax revenues diverted to attempting to reconstruct the Empire's educational and religious centres imposed a heavy burden on Pahang, Herat and Orissaland. Heavy-handed Imperial taxation would later turn these areas against Agra and Naugarh.
In order to restore its coffers, the Empire turned to sacking the far south of Questers and vassalising the emerging Kingdoms there. However, the overstretched and nearly-bankrupt Empire also faced the arrival of the Praetonian settlers in 1633. Modern historians describe three ways in which the settlers were able to exploit the Empire's relative weakness; firstly, by the purchase of land for rock-bottom prices, secondly by the spread of free Congregationalist missionaries, and thirdly by gunpowder, which the settlers had easy access to. A Company of Freeholders was formed in Senland to invest in expansion in Questers, and the Company rapidly took over responsibility for managing the settlements. During the Six Glorious Months, the Company decisively defeated the Empire, formed an alliance with the Sikhs and Gorkas, and in 1751 captured Agra, renaming it Jesselton.
Having lost almost half of its land to the Congregationalist-Sikh-Gorka alliance, in 1770 the Empire outlawed Congregationalism on all Imperial territory. This caused major discontent in the Malay-dominated Rembang, Pahang and Herat regions, where the Malayans had profited greatly from the trade with Praetonia. From 1740 to 1790, there had been a period of religious sectarianism in the Malayan lands, until the Empire's Viceroy in Kuala Pahang was executed and the Sultan converted formally to Agama, a locally-adapted form of Congregationalism. While sectarian warfare broke out across central Questers, the Empire was too weak to contest the outcome. In 1792 the Company of Freeholders signed a military defence agreement with the Sikhs, Gorkas, and Malays, known as the Landing Treaty.
The War of Imperial Succession broke out in 1805, when Emperor Yandaram III died. The Agra-Naugarh Empire, as it was still known, broke apart when the inheritors of both thrones attempted to claim the title of Emperor. After indecisive skirmishing, the Company's Yeomanry intervened, defeating both armies in detail across the Ghagharaland in 1809 at the Battle of Shanavur and Shanvad; in 1811 the last remnants of the Agra-Naugarh Empire, led by the Emperor Harinder V, was defeated at the Battle of Andagarh and the Company and its allies were the sole major power in north and central Questers. Whichever independent forces remained were slowly merged into the Company or its allies during the remainder of the 19th-century.
In addition to the powerful Freeholder Company, the North Point Company was active in southern Questers from the 18th-century onwards, but by 1800 had separated into the South Seas Company. This exploration and settlement Company was able to acquire much of south Questers, at the time a poor region perpetually paranoid of Songian imperial ambitions. The South Seas Company was mostly funded by its trade in tea, tobacco and opium. The sale of opium to Songia was the proximate cause of the Great War.
During the 19th-century both Companies expanded their sphere of influence, with occasional dispute. Nonetheless, due to their strict Free Congregationalist ideology, both Companies saw their role as being the facilitator of commerce, rather than the de-jure government of a territory; Lord Lieutenant William Simon Baxter, the Company's director between 1821 and 1849, described the Company's role as being "a firm but fair Pastor who ensures his sheep walk on the same path but otherwise does not tell them how to wear their coats." The Company used its troops to keep order and impose a Common Law solution, but otherwise had little interest in governing the country beyond making returns on its infrastructure investments. Baxter's successor, George Jennings, famously declared that "our task is to raise funds to lay railways, not bloody sieges." Nonetheless, the Company did wage two brief military conflicts in 1854 and 1876 to pacify the Nampataland and stationed troops in the Yehud in 1890.
In 1899, Songia invaded southern Questers in response to the South Seas Company's opium trade, triggering the Great War. Within a year, Dumanum had attacked over the Yehud, and in 1900, most of Crataea, under Songian-Dumani pressure, declared war on Questers over the Century Revolts. The country was surrounded on all fronts, and with Praetonia and North Point fighting bitterly for the Oryontic Ocean, the situation looked dire.
The South Seas Company liquidated large holdings and hired a mercenary army, but between 1900-1905 was only able to repel Songian attacks, building up its strength during the monsoon period. The Songian army was limited by bad equipment and logistics over poorly developed terrain, but was also hindered by mobile Questarian troops with modern weapons. Despite major setbacks, Songian troops advanced as far as Auburn during the 1904 offensive, considered the high water mark of the Songian invasion. During the same period the Nampata-Yehud Frontier Force was steadily forced to retreat, with Dumani troops crossing the Nampata river, nearly occupying Nampatabad, Kohat and Mirjaveh. Both contemporary and modern historians refer to this period as the Commonwealth's darkest moment as the independence of the whole Commonwealth was under serious threat.
An early monsoon stranded large parts of the Dumani army on the eastern bank of the Nampata in 1903; a massive counter-offensive encircled this Army and nearly destroyed it in 1904. Dumanum retreated, but was able to reverse a Questarian counter-attack when the monsoon of 1904 struck. As Dumani troops moved westwards to secure the country's western border, Questers began to advance. However, as Songian troops seized Aberdare in the summer of 1904, despite the monsoon, and threatened to advance on Kinabalu and Fort Fairfax, significant numbers of troops were withdrawn from the Yehudi theatre and sent southwards on the Trans-Questarian Railway.
The Freeholders and South Seas Company agreed on a Songia first policy, concentrating their resources on the south. Between 1905 and 1907, the Songian forces were slowly driven back across the Shangani by Marshal-General Sam Hale. A series of decisive battles during 1908 and 1909 inside Songia destroyed the Songian Army and with Questarian troops 100 miles from Yianshi, Songia capitulated. Concentrating his forces northwards, Marshal-General Nicholas Brown pushed across the Yehud in a vast counter-offensive, but his Army was mostly destroyed outside Urbs Dumanus in the largest battle of the Great War. Retreating across the Yehud, the Company signed a peace treaty with Dumanum in January 1911.
Although technical advances and the ability to mobilise an industrial society were defining factors for all the participants in the Great War, the two Questarian fronts were especially defined by the weather, with all combatants compelled to break from campaigning during the very hot and rainy summers, with the exception of the Songian 1904 offensive. Contemporary Questarians viewed the intervention of the monsoon as a sign of Providence, spurring on morale.
Totally bankrupt from the war, the South Seas Company was bought by the Company of Freeholders in 1912. Out of a population of 145 million, Questers suffered 2.7 million men killed both from enemy action and disease, and a further 3.8 million wounded. In addition to military casualties, an estimated 2.5 million civilians died as a result of disease, malnutrition, or death in a combat zone. Casualties were not evenly distributed; while Pahang lost relatively few men due to its large size and smaller involvement, nearly 25% of all military-aged men in Orissaland in 1899 had died in the field. The impact of the Great War was sufficient that Questers did not fight another large scale military conflict until 1997.
20th & 21st Century
While Questers before the Great War was comprised of mostly an agricultural aristocracy and an urban mercantile class, the Great War pulled the country into modernity. During thirteen years of war, Questarians liquidated more than 90% of all national savings acquired since 1692. Questers small stock market boomed as property-owning Questarians sold their fixed assets to raise cash for the war. The result was a huge industrial base arising out of wartime investment which was, during the 1920s, converted into civilian use. The Troubles in Praetonia barely affected Questers, and the rising cost of employing workers in the home islands coupled with the ease of acquiring plants and raw materials in Questers created an economic boom. Questers experienced rapid year-on-year growth for nearly half a century; in 1920 Questers national income was estimated at $155 billion Guineas. In 1960 it sat at $3,800 billion.
By the middle of the century, however, economic growth had begun to slow. The massive amount of investment in the Questarian economy began to fall and the liberalisation of foreign economies provided bountiful competition. Questers position as a leading manufacturing exporter was threatened by the rapid rise of an industrialised Songia and broader West Crataea. As other countries began relaxing trade restrictions, Questarian industrial competitors began to gather pace. As a total percentage of global industrial output, Questers reached a peak at 45% in 1963 and has declined ever since.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Syndicalism began to spread throughout northern Questers, a result of the 1959 Gohra industrial disaster. Exiled Praetonian syndicalists had found a home in the Yamunaland in the 1920s, but it wasn't until the 1950s that many industrial towns became heavily unionised, with low-level clashes between workers and city authorities commonplace. Where strikes, protests and riots got out of hand, the Company used its troops to restore order.
Although the authorities were concerned about the Syndicalist Popular Congress, they were more concerned about Songian communism. Songia had become Communist in 1920, following the Great War, but in 1982 attempted to launch a coup d'etat in neighbouring Hakara. The coup d'etat failed and the Company moved in troops to support the Hakaran authorities, resulting in a 11 year civil war which saw 40,000 Questarian service personnel killed in action and more than 1.5 million Hakarans ethnically cleansed. Finally, in 1991, the Company withdrew from Hakara. Songian troops entered and installed a Communist government.
In 1996, Questarian and North Point agents assassinated the Prime Minister of Hakara. Songia subsequently launched a surprise attack on Questers, initiating the 1997 Shangani War, which saw Songian troops defeated before they reached the high-water mark they had done in the Great War. A mass-mobilisation of the Commonwealth forced Songia to retreat after initial success and the Songian Jade Guard launched a palace coup, suing for peace. After an unsteady latter 20th-century in which Questers had seen economic, political, and military setbacks, the victory in the Shangani war excited the Company and its allies; when Quiberon invaded Cockaygne in 2000, Questarian contributions to the Combined Expeditionary Group comprised more than half of the total Commonwealth response, and in 2010, Questers launched the 2010 Questarian invasion of Yehud, often known as Hood's raid, a punitive expedition into the Yehud to punish Yehudi tribes involved in kidnapping.
With most of its armed forces away either on the southern border patrols or in the Yehud, a wave of industrial unrest in the Yamunaland was put down by strikebreakers, developing into a breakdown of civil order. When the Company ordered the Frontier Force in to restore order, the Frontier Force mutinied and refused to disarm the Peoples Congress. An emboldened Congress declared war on the Company of Freeholders. With few soldiers at its command, the Company's headquarters in Jesselton was rapidly sacked and huge parts of the country came under syndicalist control. In 2011, Sultan Abdullah Afiz launched a hostile takeover of the Company of Freeholders and announced himself Defender of the Faiths.
Between 2011 and 2013, loyalist Questarians, combined with Praetonian and North Point military forces battled the Syndicalists across a 2,000-mile front. In 2012, the Syndicalist main force was encircled trying to besiege Kuala Pahang and capitulated. Loyalist troops liberated Jesselton, then marched on Naugarh, where the Peoples Congress had its headquarters, ending the war with the capture of the city. In total more than 245,000 soldiers were killed on the Syndicalist side and 110,000 on the loyalist side. Between 25,000-100,000 civilians were killed and more than 10 million displaced.
Questers is still recovering politically from the civil war, although its economy is now growing again. Since the Company was abolished, Abdullah Afiz has instituted a political system more similar to the feudalism of the Agran-Naugarh Empire known as Rajamandala. Some parts of Questers do not swear allegiance to Afiz: the country is once again split as it was in the 19th-century. It remains to be seen whether it can be unified again under one flag.
With a total area of 3,891,275 sq-mi (6,262,400 sq-km), Questers is the largest country in the world by square area, and is commonly referred to as a subcontinent, especially as it lies to the far east of the Crataean continent, facing the Oryontic ocean and across the Axackal strait.
Questers lies across the northern part of the Axackal tectonic plate and straddles the Charatry plate; tectonic plate movements approximately 70 million years ago caused the formation of the large mountain ranges that characterise the border with Songia. These mountains opened up two very large drainage basins; the Herat basin in the centre-east of Questers and the Nampata basin on the border with Yehud, draining into the Oryontic ocean and Axackal Sea respectively. The high fertility of these two basins allowed for the growth of distinct mega-diverse biospheres with high levels of endemism. Questers has more than 40% of the world's total species of flora and fauna, including 20 million species of plant and insect found in no other country.
The south and east of the country are populated by dense rainforest, including cloud forest, leading to the western border with Songia and the Shangani river. The centre of the country is mostly flat with significant drainage, leading northwards to lower altitude highlands. The northern part of the country, which lines the Axackal sea, is also mostly flat, with significant hills and valleys to the northeast. The Questarian far-west, the Nampataland, is also generally flat after the descent of the Charatry mountain range.
The largest rivers in Questers are the Nampata (1,074 miles), Pahang (798 miles), Mogami (773 miles), Yamuna (717 miles), Ampang (677 miles), Shangani (641 miles), Narmada (620 miles) and the Ghagara (422 miles). Questers has around 13,850 miles of coastline (including islands, but not including lakes), of which 33% are sandy beaches; 39% rocky shores, including cliffs; and 28% mudflats or marshy shores. Questers is very hilly and mountainous, with more than 558,000 sq-mi being above 1,500 feet above sea level, of which a further 3220,000 sq- mi is above 3,000 feet.
Questers claims to have the tallest and second tallest mountains in the world; Pangor, at 29,854 feet, and the slightly smaller Karzchan, at 28,575 feet. North Point climber Ralph William Burke reached the summit of Pangor in 1956, the only successful attempt. Other countries dispute the claim of these being the tallest mountains, but the claim is considered undisputed in the Commonwealth.
Questers is host to seven major Köppen climates; the eastern coast and south-central interior has three tropical climates: wet and dry (Aw/As), wet (Am), and rainforest (Af). Parts of the north and especially the west are considered hot semi-arid (BSh), whereas other parts are humid subtropical (Cwa). Significant parts of Questers mountainous areas are classified as subtropical highland (Cwb), with smaller parts considered humid continental cool summer (Dwb). Questarian summers last between March and June, with temperatures rising above 86 °F; the highest recorded temperature in Questers was 119 °F in the western Nampataland. Questers climate is extremely humid. The monsoons are responsible for significant rainfaill; on average the whole of Questers receives 165 inches of precipitation per year.
Questers has a two-season, dry/wet climate; the most distinctive and outstanding feature of the Questarian weather is the monsoon, a seasonal period of very heavy rain arising from temperature imbalances from the Oryontic ocean and the Crataean mainland. Questers has two monsoon periods; one arising from the southern Oryontic ocean and spreading west to the south of Questers, which generally occurs between May and October, and a shorter, more northernly monsoon sweeping the whole of the north of Questers, usually taking place between June and September; May is typically the hottest period of the year in all parts of Questers.
Questers is a megadiverse country; some biologists have awarded it the title of mostdiverse. The majority of this diversity comes from woodland; in 2010 it was estimated that more than two thirds of Questers is still covered in diptocarp-dominated rainforest - some of these forests are even older than the Questarian mountain ranges, with an estimated age of up to 130 million years. In addition to rainforest, significant amounts of biodiversity are located in Questers many mangrove forests.
Questers is home to 14.5% of all mammalian, 21.22% of all avian, 46.4% of all reptilian, 35% of all amphibian, 22.5% of all piscine, and 9.0% of all flowering plant species. In addition to general biological diversity, Questers contains many plants with medicinal uses, and several large biological research centres. Some species which have become extinct in other parts of the world have been found in Questers. Although some animals were hunted to near-extinction in the 20th-century, the 21st-century has seen a rise in awareness, with many species such as tigers having been restored to some level of prevalence.
With a lack of central environmental regulations, the ecological effects of economic development have severe, both in terms of deforestation, species extinction, and general pollution. Many Questarian cities, especially along the Yamuna-Ghaghara industrial belt, and larger metropolitan cities such as Jesselton and Kuala Pahang, have severe air pollution which affects both quality of life and physical health.
Some settlements have attempted to enforce environmental regulations, with limited success; in most parts of Questers, air and water pollution is getting worse. However, a general cultural shift towards conservationism, beginning in the 1970s and continuing to the present day, has resulted in the establishment of several large national parks and nature zones, patrolled by privately-funded park rangers in order to prevent poaching. In some of theses zones, natural life has begun to take hold again where it was previously at risk. Questarians donate significant sums to conservation charities.
Questers does not have statehood or a central government. Instead, Questarians rely on a system of patronage for social protection and security. Individuals or families offering patronage are referred to as Estatists, and their circle of followers their Estate. Estatists provide the apparatus of government to their followers, including legal assistance, business networking, and physical security. In turn, they seek protection from the Defender of the Faiths, the de-facto leader of Questers, to whom they swear an oath of allegiance and pay contributions for the national defence. Estatists are either outright owners of large freeholds or essentially the owners of private militaries with vast social and economic power. Together they comprise the country's nobility. The majority of the population stays under the same Estate for most of their life, but Estatists rise and fall, either through bankruptcy, fatal loss of status by scandal, or inability to produce an heir to their estate.
Questers is governed mostly by followers of Praetannic religion, so like Praetonia and North Point, it is considered part of the Commonwealth. Although Questarian law is polycentric, and estatists have very few limits on what they may impose on their residents, Praetonian common law magistrates, who occupy a mixed position between a judiciary and a clergy, have considerable power to impose a uniform justice on the country as they are able to command the loyalty of the aristocracy and the armed forces.
Rajamandala is an ancient term describing a system in which "circles" of kingdoms and principalities surround one another. Although Rajamandalas have existed many times in Questers before, the current system has its political origins in the 2012 Questarian Civil War. Although the territory of the Rajamandala is non-contiguous, and its influence is defined as overlapping spheres rather than clear borders, it is estimated to contain around 75% of Questers land area and about 80% of its population and national income.
Estatists under Rajamandala swear allegiance to Abdullah Afiz, accepting his role as Defender of the Faiths. Rajamandala refers to the system by which these Estatists are vassalised to the Sultan, the various obligations assigned to both parties, and the various offices instituted to administer them. These offices exist not to run a central state, but to manage the Raj's finances, govern relations between vassals, conduct diplomacy with foreign states, and raise troops to defend the country and keep the peace. In general, estatists must pay a proportion of the land value of their property, which may increase significantly during wartime, and in return receive protection from the Sultan's troops, who will enforce the decisions of estatists on their own estates, and the decisions of selected Praetonian common law courts in matters between estatists.
Funding for the Raj's non-military offices comes from standing revenue, which is revenue arising from investments, charges on Raj-owned infrastructure such as roads, railways and ports, and general donations made by Estatists. Military funding comes from two sources; a campaign round is a set contribution that Questarian estatists are obliged to pay in order to fund a military campaign. It is different from regular arms rounds, which are collected annually, as campaign rounds are much higher and require a legitimate and pressing military threat in order to be raised.
There is no single or central source of law in Questers: law is highly pluralistic and decentralised. Different forms of customary law dominate various areas of the country, and disputes are settled according to the customary laws in place in a given area. The underlying principle of law in Questers is opinio juris sive necessitatis; individuals who act according to norms which other individuals subscribe to are believed to have acted in a just manner and are secure from retaliation. Nonetheless, the Praetonian common law is the superior form of law in Questers; where other forms of alternative dispute resolution fail, the common law is used to find a solution.
Where disputes arise between customs, a neutral form of law is customarily used for arbitration, which since the early 19th-century has usually been the Praetonian common law. The military power of Praetannic settlers and their allies has provided a rationale and cultural impetus for the use of the Praetonian laws, which are interchangeable with those found in Praetonia and North Point. Questers does not have state law enforcement as in other countries, and neither does it have central courts; it is up to the individuals involved to come to an agreement or to hire private bailiffs to perform restorative justice.
Questarian estatists raise private military units in order to protect their supporters from bandits, foreign invasion, and to keep the peace. These private military units are in some cases simple part-time militia, but can range to regiments of main battle tanks. Private military units are referred to collectively as Yeomanry.
Estatists are bound to contribute some of their Yeomanry forces, either full-time or part-time reservists, to a pool of combined military forces known as the Marshalcy; the Marshalcy also raises its own units directly, and is paid for by the funds collected by the Defender of the Faiths specifically for national defence. The Marshalcy includes an air force known as the Pilotcy, and an intelligence agency, the Raj Spymaster-General.
The Marshalcy is only a small standing army at approximately 330,000 men, with the bulk of its forces deployed in the Nampata-Yehud Frontier Force. In times of war, Questarian estatists contribute to campaign rounds, raising funds for military operations, and contribute their own part-time reserve units, which could raise the trained strength of the Marshalcy to around 1.2 million men. Annual peacetime spending on the Marshalcy is approximately $100 billion; Estatists spend an extra $100 billion annually maintaining Yeomanry units. The majority of Questarian equipment is built in the Commonwealth. Fully activated, the Marshalcy possesses around 3,000 main battle tanks, 3,000 artillery pieces and 1,000 combat aircraft. In addition, it maintains nearly 60 redoubts, ranging from company to regiment sized fortifications, across the Nampataland.
Questers does not have an admiralty, but funds a series of naval and air installations called Crataean Bases Questers, which are large enough to base three-quarters of the combined Estates Navy and North Point Sea Command in case of a general war. The Axackal Squadron, funded by New Senland, is a small naval force designed to close the Axackal Straits to submarines until the Estates Navy can completely seal the Western Oryontic.
The economy of Questers is the 3rd-largest in the world by purchasing power parity, with estimates on its total size ranging from as low as $5,900 to as high as $7,800 billion. It is supported by the world's 2nd-largest workforce of nearly 230 million people, and is characterised by rapid economic growth, massive income inequality, and an almost complete lack of central authority, including no de-jure currency, weights and measurements, or financial regulations.
Questers, as part of the Commonwealth, operates in a de-facto common market with Praetonia, Cockaygne, and North Point, with these countries having adopted common customary rules for commerce. More than 75% of Questarian trade is with these three countries.
The Questarian economy is heavily diversified, as Questers is often considered as a patchwork of more than 1,500 territories, rather than a single central nationstate. The Questarian civil war seriously affected the economy, causing large redistributions of land and wealth, but despite a three-year economic recession as a consequence of the conflict, the economy has seen considerable growth since 2014. Significant economic growth is centred around construction, agriculture (as Questers is a major agricultural exporter, often called the breadbasket of the Commonwealth), raw materials, especially rubber and petroleum, heavy industry, transport, and insurance services.
The lack of a central state means that gathering economic data about Questers is difficult, but GDP estimates by international and domestic analysts confirm the country's position as the 3rd or 4th-largest economy, with GDP ranging from as low as $5,900 to as high as $7,800 billion. The decentralisation of governance also means that tax revenues are nonexistent, although those who govern territories impose charges, rents, and customs duties as normal states would, gathering funds to pay for common security and occasionally transport links. Tax-equivalent revenue collection, that is revenue collected to fund public projects, is approximately 7% of GDP.
Remittances form a vital part of Questarian trade, with both Questarians abroad sending money home and migrant workers from the rest of Crataea sending money earned in Questers out. Questers is home to an estimated five to ten million guest workers from other countries, and a similar number of Questarians work abroad on a temporary basis.
Questers does not have a legal tender, and Questarians use a variety of currencies. The most commonly used currency in Questers is the same as in Praetonia, which is the Guinea of the Commonwealth Banking Confederation, a standards organisation which guarantees the financial soundness of currency-issuing bodies. Guineas are divided into twenty shillings, which are divided into twelve pence each. While in theory any currency can be accepted, most major financial institutions prefer CBC-verified Guineas. Although Guineas are the most widely used currency in daily life, the Oryontic Dollar, a currency issued by a union of Questarian-Praetonian-North Point financial institutions is the most widely used for trade in goods and services between the three countries and acts as both a medium of exchange and clearing currency. The Oryontic Dollar is rarely used in real life and bills are not issued for general public use.
Although healthcare is entirely private in Questers, estate authorities often provide vaccinations free of charge for residents, and in the later part of the 20th-century began to consider public health as a serious undertaking. The majority of major cities in Questers have functional sewage systems and other public health institutions in order to prevent the spread of infectious and communicable disease. Nonetheless, health provision is heavily dependent on a person's household income. This disparity can be seen in disability-adjusted life years, which in prosperous parts of Questers such as New Senland and Katagalugan can be as low as 430 years per 1,000 people; less developed parts of Questers can lose up to 700 years per 1,000 people, chiefly based on mortality. Other metrics range similarly; maternal mortality in Landing was 26.4 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015, contrasting to 450 deaths in Nampatabad in the same year.
Total expenditures on health in Questers were approximately 8.5% of national income in 2018. Higher-income families tend to purchase health insurance from Praetonian or North Point medical insurance firms, which might even include the cost of transferring a patient to an overseas hospital; there are also hospitals funded by these medical funds in Questers too. These medical groups compete with cheaper domestic hospitals and clinics, and also with local surgeries for those on low incomes without medical insurance. Medical personnel are registered with licensing boards that act as standards organisations. In 2018 Questers had 1.133 physicians per 1,000 people registered with AAA and AA medical licensing boards, and 1.85 practicing physicians either registered with BB or CC licensing boards, or totally unregistered.
Ethnicity and language
Questers is a multi-religious country in which practitioners of every religion can be found. Approximately one half of the people in Questers follow Dharmat; the other half follow either Praetannic Free Congregationalism or Agama, a form of Congregationalism heavily influenced by local religious and judicial theorists. There is a significant minority of people who practice traditional Crataean pantheon religion, including Dumani and Songian folk religions, but Questers is chiefly a Dharman and Congregationalist country with little Oswian influence.
Religion plays an important part in daily life in Questers; social surveys consistently find that religion is an important moral and social foundation for over 90% of Questarians people. Questarian poly-centric law provides a firm basis for religions to co-exist, allowing different estates to enforce religious laws without impacting worship in other, neighbouring estates. Despite wide variance in religious practice, Questarians are united under the Praetonian common law's doctrine, and both common law and Congregationalism constitute the basis of the country's social order. Minority religions tend to concentrate in areas where they can avoid persecution.
Squatters is a term used to describe persons who live in unlawful settlements. These settlements, known as squats, can range from being just under a hundred people to more than a hundred thousand. Squats can be discrete; the squats of New Senland are often almost next door to lawful cities, and sometimes nearly as large; or they can be indiscrete, with settlements containing a patchwork of unlawfully-occupied areas, common in the Ghagharaland and Yamunaland. Squats typically become larger during wartime or times of poor economic performance, and are a source of tension for those who live in the squats and those who live next to them. Although squats are occasionally demolished, squatters merely move to other parts of the country, and the cost of demolishing a squat is often high, so that landowners typically prefer to attempt to extract minimal rents from squats.
Living in a squat poses several major problems to squatters, the first being that squatters can not explicitly admit to institutions such as insurers, banks or utility companies that they live on unlawfully occupied land, and therefore often live outside the lawful infrastructure of the country. Squatters are often at the mercy of local squat lords, who provide employment and cash, but are also often pressured to provide rents to the lawful owners of land, and can sometimes evict fellow squatters without any kind of notice. Since squatters live as criminals, their rights are severely limited.
Although some foreign Non Governmental Organisations and Churches are active in squats, they suffer persecution at the hands of the authorities who describe them as being in joint enterprise with criminals. The government of Quiberon lodged a formal complaint with the city of New Glasgow after it hanged two Quiberonnais missionaries of the Church of Oswin who attempted to interfere with the execution of a squatter charged with murder in 2016. Questarian estatists deported more than 100 missionaries and charity workers from Quiberon and Burgundie in 2017 alone for assisting squatters. The Quiberonnais NGO Justice sans Frontières described the condition of squatters as "persons without any legal rights, often subject to racial or religious persecution and lacking access to basic utilities" as being "intolerable and a humanitarian catastrophe."
There are no known figures for how many people live in squats, but low estimates range from 5% of the population to up to 20%.
Although Questers has many distinct regions with their own individual cultures, Questarians typically consider their country to have a universal culture which sits alongside local cultures: this includes the primacy of family, including extended family; a common and complex code of manners regarding the treatment of strangers, especially those from other religions; and commonly consumed cuisine, film, and sport which are sufficiently compelling to bind together a country of 340 million people, four religions, and more than fifteen major languages.
Sociologists describe a phenomenon called upper/lower Q as being prevalent across Questers. Upper-Q cultural factors are used by individuals and families to value signal their membership in a uniform, cross-cultural national "Questarian" identity, as opposed to lower-Q individuals who identify with a specific, regional or religious, lower-Q "questarian" identity. Some forms of upper-Q cultural signaling might include the reference to, and consumption of, certain "typical" foods or drinks, enjoyment of Praetannic-language media, a certain type of multi-linguality which usually includes code-switching, employment in certain sectors (military officers, clergy, family enterprise) and education in a Praetannic-language boarding school. By contrast, lower-Q persons are typically lower-income, mono-lingual, and identify very strongly with only one cultural or religious group.
Questers has a variety of regional cuisines which are distinct from an overall national cuisine. However, Questers has two major agricultural staples of rice (in the Herat basin) and wheat (in the Nampataland) which provides the country with two major staple food sources. Both white and brown rice are popular, as well as Malayan coconut-based styles. Most bread consumed is unleavened flatbread such as chappatti and roti canai; chappatti has often been called the national food of Questers. In addition to these sources, various Questarian ethnicities have cultural prohibitions on the consumption of both beef and pork, making goat and fish a major meat source. The wide availability of spice, which is also a major export, has caused curry to become a predominant form of cuisine in the subcontinent.
Curry in the south and centre of Questers is heavily flavoured by coconut, with dishes such as yellow curry and laksa being popular and well-known dishes. In the north of Questers, aromatic, ghee-based dishes such as rogan josh, murgh makhani, and laal maans constitute a universally recognised style of national cooking. The high number of vegetarians, coupled with Questers traditionally low-income economy, has led to the proliferation of vegetarian curry dishes, usually based around chickpeas and lentils such as dal bhat or other leafy vegetables such assaag. In the south of Questers, fruit and shoot salads such as green papaya salad and kinilnat have recently become popular across the whole country.
Street food is common across the whole of Questers, and regional styles of street food are often joined to make street fusion food, which has spread to other parts of the Commonwealth. Typical street food includes meat-based snacks such as satay, bowl-based dishes such as pad thai, and smaller snacks like pakoras; the variety of fillings available in both pakoras and samosas, which can be adapted to foreign cuisines, means that these two dishes are often a foreigners first introduction to Questarian food. Curry houses also represent Questers on the world stage for cuisine, although they are less common in Questers itself.
The most common drink in Questers is tea, commonly called chai, which originates from northern Questers. Most forms of tea, including black, oolong, and green tea are commonly consumed in Questers and have been widely exported; Questarians rarely add fresh milk to tea, although condensed milk is occasionally added, as in teh tarik. Tea is significant in Questarian culture, as it is both cheap and popular. It often forms the basis for most social or business meetings. Coffee, which is grown in Questers, is also widely consumed. Kopi tebal (thick coffee), a Herat-style of drinking coffee in which roasted coffee is cooked and, during the process mixed with condensed milk and double cream, has sometimes been called the national coffee drink of Questers, and can often be sold by street vendors for as little as $1 a cup.
Many Questarians drink alcohol, the most common being beer; the Questarian climate is unsuitable for the production of wine, which is only rarely consumed and usually as a sign of social status. Wallasean drinks such as whisky and gin are very popular, but locally produced spirits such as palm toddy or rice whisky are more popular amongst working-class Questarians: street stalls selling rice whisky by the shot measurement constitute the basis of social life for many working-class Questarian males.
Sports constitute a major past-time for the majority of Questarian people, whether it be watching or playing. No single ethnicity claims one given sport as its own and sport, alongside food, is a major multicultural meeting point for Questarians of different ethnicities and religions. The most popular sport is certainly cricket, with Questarian football and rugby coming second and third. Clubs for every kind of sport can be found in most Questarian settlements; in addition to popular sports that can be followed by anyone, sports for the elite such as polo and golf often form the basis of country clubs, admission to which can often depend on a persons skill in a given sport, as well as their social standing.
There are three kinds of sports leagues in Questers; those based around geographical areas, such as cities or counties, those based around internal competition between large military units (such as the Yeomanry League), and those centred around universities. These leagues do not run concurrently and it is common for players to transfer between them. Sports players in Questers are often not well paid, and many sporting celebrities are in fact amateurs. Questarian teams often compete with teams from Praetonia, North Point and Cockaygne in these sports.
Honour is extremely important in Questarian culture. Unspoken codes of conduct, either native or of Praetonian origin, dominate social life in the sub-continent. Large family groups are central to the enforcement of the codes, as dishonourable conduct by one person can bring shame to a whole family; due to the importance of social networks in Questarian society, shunning as a punishment has severe consequences. Families are therefore highly incentivised to protect their honour, either by punishing, or even ostracising offending family members, or by pursuing claims against them either by defamation suits, or by dueling. Although fatal dueling was once a major cause of death in Questers, dueling in the present time is usually non-fatal. Refusal to answer a duel is severely shameful, and the shame inflicted on the refusing party is considered just punishment for defamation; in these cases, the challenger will be perceived as having gained honour by many, as the refusal to duel is also considered a confession - a person therefore gains reputation in the process of protecting their own reputation.