Republic of Astela
Anthem: Salva la Patria
and largest city
|Government||Unitary Republic under de facto military rule|
• De facto secession
• Treaty of Talvere
|51,592 km2 (19,920 sq mi)|
|135.7/km2 (351.5/sq mi)|
|53 billion SHD|
• Per capita
The region that would become Astela were once located at the heart of the Celanoran Empire. It was positioned close to the imperial capital at Celano and lay upon valuable trade routes, making it a particularly wealthy and prestigious province. Even after the Empire lost much of its power, Astela remained an important part of the Imperial Federation of Celanor and saw a revival as an economic hub during the industrial revolution, as the many rivers which flowed down from the mountains to the north made it an ideal site for industrialization. Altarme and Porto Todera also developed into two of the most important seaports in the country during this time.
The onset of the Great War on Novaris created serious divisions between pro-Tretridian and pro-Volscine factions in the Celanoran government. The latter ultimately attempted a coup in 1907 with the backing of Empress Katharine of Volscine when it became apparent that Celanora would join any conflict as a Tretridian ally. The resulting uprising brought fighting into the streets of Lucroza, but ultimately failed after a full day of bloodshed. Pro-Volscine groups were successful in taking over the Province of Astela however, due to widespread popular support, and the surviving putschists would flee to Altarme and regroup, There they proclaimed themselves to be the legitimate rulers of Celanora under the auspices of the General Unity Government, and joined Volscina in the resulting conflict.
The Great War would prove devastating for what had once been one of the most developed and prosperous parts of Celanora as the GUG ruthlessly hollowed out the region's industry and population for the war effort. Out of an initial population of 5 million, over 1,768,000 were mobilized over the subsequent decade of fighting. Out of these, Astela suffered 687,360 fatalities and 338,080 permanently wounded. Despite the herculean effort, the GUG failed to reconquer Celanora and Astela's modern boundaries were set at the final front lines of the war. Foreign observers described post-war Astela as "A land emptied of people."
Novaran Cold War
It would take decades for Astela to recover from the war. Faced with its failure to retake Lucroza, the GUG now allied itself closely with Volscina and maintained its claim as the one true Celanoran government. The military rule that had consolidated throughout the Great War remained in place and gradually expanded to dominate every segment of Astelan society and economics. Astela now existed at the front line of the new Novaran Cold War, and transformed into something of a garrison state with harsh conscription laws enforced upon the population and a fiercely militarized border maintained with Celanora.
Volscine Civil War
The end of the Cold War and the outbreak of the Volscine Civil War left Astela adrift and without its great power patron. The GUG found itself struggling to maintain power amidst a crippling economic collapse and the loss of outside support. Faced with this difficult scenario, the GUG sought to normalize ties with Celanora, which itself hoped to stave off the disaster that would come with an Astelan collapse and a potential need to absorb the dilapidated territory. Cryrian-brokered negotiations resulted in the 2003 Treaty of Talvere, which finally saw the GUG relinquish its claim to Celanora, and in turn led Celanora to recognize Astela as a separate and fully independent nation. The border between the two nations also saw a limited drawdown of forces and a reduction in tensions, allowing both nations to rededicate their resources to their increasingly unstable Volscine frontiers.
Despite the notable impacts of the Treaty of Talvere, hopes for liberalization within the GUG were soon dashed. The Astelan government instead doubled down on trying to maintain its autocratic rule, frequently engaging in openly criminal enterprises in order to keep itself afloat. Reports quickly spread of severe abuses by Astelan security forces towards Volscine refugees fleeing from Seccera, which ranged from the establishment of forced labor camps to supposed arrangements with sapient trafficking groups that could offer hard currency. Astela also established a secretive trade with the Milofite government across the Sherman Channel in order to acquire desperately needed foodstuffs. Thus, despite the normalization with Celanora, Astela's international isolation only grew as the Civil War progressed.
Today, Astela remains both fiercely autocratic and secretive, and its economy still struggles to recover from the Volscine Civil War and the subsequent sanctions it has faced. The military government remains in power and has sought out new patronage from the Volscine Empire even as tensions with neighboring Seccera remain high and future relations with Celanora deeply uncertain.
Government and Politics
Although the Astelan Constitution allows for multi-party democracy, the State of Emergency that has persisted since the Great War has prevented any kind of political organizations from forming. The National Senate thus exists only on paper, with no elections to fill it ever having been held. Instead the General Unity Government is effectively run by the military, with the National Security Council serving as the chief decision making body in the country. Current Chairman Moreno Reo has held power since 1997.
Astela's primary historical ally has been Volscina, which remains the country's largest patron. Beyond Volscina's political sphere, Astela is fiercely isolated within Novaris, and holds particularly poor relations with neighboring Seccera. Ties with Celanora are complicated. Since 2003, there has been an official exchange of embassies between the two nations, and Celanora continues to be Astela's second-largest trading partner. However, security among their shared border remains high as Astela seeks to prevent defections. Astela has also held relations with Cryria dating back to Queen Katharine's support during the 1907 Coup. Leidenstad remains one of the few countries to have an exchange of embassies with Astela, but here too mutual ties remain limited due to Astela's general international isolation.
Astelan embassies are known to use their diplomatic status to engage in an array of illicit and semi-legal activities in order to funnel hard currency back to the GUG. This often includes providing cheap Astelan laborers in their host countries, and Astelan workers are known to have a presence in developed nations such as the Kingdom of Cryria and elsewhere.
The Astelan Defense Forces are the official armed forces of the Republic of Astela. Often described as a garrison state, Astela maintains a strict system of compulsory military service where all men and women must serve for a minimum of two years in the armed forces. Refusal to serve can result in lengthy prison sentences of up to a decade in harsh labor conditions. In reality, conscription can often be extended indefinitely, with some escapees reporting an average service period of up to 6.5 years, or even some instances of conscription lasting over a decade. As a result, on paper the ADF has an outsized number of personnel, with 200,000 actively serving and another 500,000 reservists. In practice however, many conscripts are effectively used as forced labor on various government projects for the duration of their service. Much of the ADF's actual combat capability is thought to rest in its elite professional forces which consist of some 20,000-25,000 personnel. The official military budget is set at 1.6 billion SHD, however due to how entwined the military is with various economic ventures, it is difficult to determine its precise level of funding.
The ADF today consists of a combination of Cold War-era purchases from Volscina and limited domestic productions.