Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Forgotten Lands: Nova Hibernia

Nova Hibernia

Capital: N'koutou (formerly St. Patrick, Karlsburg)
Population: 1,443,000 (2007 estimate)
Area: 27,350 km2
Independence: 1963

Economy: Produces cashews, cotton, sugar, citrus, timber, and fish. Imports include machinery and equipment, metals, staple foodstuffs, and textiles. Subsistence agriculture is practiced by a significant portion of the population.
Per Capita Income: US$10,875
Languages: English, Fang, Bulu
Literacy Rate: 82%

The country of Nova Hibernia came into being in 1882 as the colony of German Central Africa. Like most other territories created by the Treaty of Berlin, the new colony contained a heterogeneous population of disparate peoples with no common language, culture, or history. The Germans established a port at Karlsberg, but in their 30 years of rule did not manage to extend practical authority past its hinterlands. Stripped from Germany along with its other colonial possessions after World War I, the now nameless colony existed for a time as a League of Nations protectorate. After several years in which the British and French blocked each other’s moves to absorb the little territory, administration was finally handed over in 1924 to the fledgling Irish Free State.

Absorbed in their own lengthy struggle for full independence, the Irish devoted little attention to their "overseas empire." As a result, Irish administration had an even lighter footstep than had the German. Although adopting some Western innovations, most inhabitants of the newly renamed Nova Hibernia continued to live and govern themselves according to well-established indigenous systems. When a provisional government set up by schoolteacher Brian Ktombe petitioned for and was granted independence by the Irish Parliament in 1963, the event failed to make the front page of the Irish Times.

Since independence, Nova Hibernia has suffered two periods of military rule, for three months in 1969 and again from 1978 to 1984. Ktombe's nephew, Brian Ktombe III, became president in 1985 in elections that restored democratic rule. Since that time, he has been re-elected every six years in elections that, by the standards of sub-Saharan Africa, have been relatively free and fairly contested. Nova Hibernia is also unusual in Africa in that it never acquired a large international debt. Instead, the country's political elite has long pursued a policy of small-scale local development and grassroots education. Perhaps not coincidentally, Nova Hibernia entered the third millennium with one of the continent's highest standards of living.

Flag: The highly distinctive design is clearly inspired by the flag of the United States, the country on which Nova Hibernia's federal system was modeled. The ten colored stripes represent the ten federal districts, and the blue field represents the common blood* of all Nova Hibernia's people. Some have speculated that the lack of green, orange, or white in the flag suggests a subtle rejection of all things Irish by the newly independent colony.

National Anthem: “Hail, Nova Hibernia!”

*In local tradition, blue is the color of "living blood" (as it is seen in the vein). Red represents "dead blood," and is generally avoided in decoration.


Ben said...

I like that you're including maps now in this series.

I wonder what Parsons would say about the Nova Hibernian flag. I find it eye-watering (and not in a patriotic sense).

Ben said...

My eyes are watering again as I re-read and spot my typo in the last comment...