Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Forgotten Lands: Tours de Sur

Tours de Sur

Capital: Tours de Sur
Population: 642,000 (2006 estimate)
Area: 54,000 km2
Independence: 1971

Economy: An export base of plantation agriculture drives Tours de Sur’s economy, with cotton and soybeans as the leading products. Light industries are well developed, with shoes being an especially important export to other South American countries. Tours de Sur enjoys a free trade zone status with Brazil, and there is growing support in both countries for the idea of a common currency.
Per Capita Income: US$12,320
Languages: Dialectical Spanish, Portuguese
Literacy Rate: 97%

When Pope Alexander VI arbitrarily divided the newly discovered Americas between Spain and Portugal, he shaped the destiny of an entire continent. What is less well known about the Treaty of Tordesillas, however, is that it called upon a third European power, France, to govern a buffer zone between the lands of the two Iberian crowns. The word “Tordesillas” is in fact merely a Spanish rendering of the name of the proposed French colony, Tours de Sur.

The long, narrow buffer colony envisioned by the Pope was obviously unworkable, and it is no surprise that it never materialized in the form that was originally intended. An erstwhile capital city was established in the Paraná Valley in the 1620s, but its governors never controlled much more than the area within 50 kilometers of the town – the same area that constitutes the country of Tours de Sur today.

What Tours de Sur lacks in size or geopolitical significance, it makes up for in bucolic charm. Tidy plantation landscapes unfold in geometric splendor across some of the best agricultural land in all of South America. In the plazas of the capital city and its outlying villages, workers gather in the warm semitropical evenings to dance to the local argutoi band and drink górta, a sweet spiced wine. Here, as everywhere on the continent, soccer is an almost spiritual force in daily life. At any time of night or day, one might hear from a nearby field a spirited discussion of the finer points of play being conducted in the local dialect, a linguistically promiscuous blend of Spanish, French, Portuguese, and an extinct indigenous tongue.

Flag: Never a focus of attention in Bourbon France, Tours de Sur was essentially forgotten in the French Revolution and has pursued a de facto path of political independence ever since. Perhaps a lack of any feeling of attachment to France allowed the pragmatic Suriens, as they call themselves, to continue using the flags already on hand after the loss all of other ties to their putative mother country. In any event, the national banner is identical to the French tricolor of red, white, and blue.

National Anthem: “Jewel of the Americas.”

No comments: