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Ellesborg's City Skyline
The Mandate of Ellesborg located in red within the UFC
|• Lady Patron||Ulrika Leidensen|
|• Crown Mandate||1.7 million|
Ellesborg, officially the Crown Mandate of Ellesborg, is a city and a Cryrian mandate within the Union of Free Cities in Arcturia. It borders the Arkain mandate of Sehlhaf to the east, the Sokalan mandate of Kokrisugrad to the west, and the Tavari mandate of Ilaris to the north. A port town built on the Elles River, the territory has become a resort city and a tax haven, known for its many casinos and loose regulations.
The territory that would become Ellesborg has been settled by humans since roughly 200 BC, however it would not see the establishment of any significant settlements until the start of Cryrian influence in the area.
The Cryrian government historically had little inclination to involve itself in the distant continent of Arcturia, however, Cryrian business interests would take a growing interest in the area starting in the late 18th century. This can be traced back to when Cryrian adventurer and nobleman Count Josef Berggren first sailed up the Elles River and eventually signed several agreements with the local Zapolese to purchase a tract of land, claiming that the climate was ideal for growing rubber. Berggren's interest in the land in question, however, was primarily due to his discovery of silver deposits. Berggren would return to Cryria seeking support and capital to exploit his finds, but found little interest from the Cryrian government. He would, however, successfully create a coalition of wealthy investors, privateers, and mining experts. Using largely native labor, they would soon begin mining operations in the area, with silver being shipped down the Elles. The fortress of Ellesborg would be built at the mouth of the river to protect this trade, thus giving the group its name: The Ellesborg Mining Cooperative.
The EMC would increasingly take advantage of local instabilities and the weakness of Zapolese rulers to expand their influence in the area, often by making use of their private warships to control the vital coastline and Elles River. By the mid-nineteenth century, the Cooperative effectively acted as independent governors, largely free of any kind of regulation or taxes as local authorities were subverted or bribed. The EMC's situation remained precarious, however, as it had little real support from any actual government or military, least of all the distant Cryrian homeland, and its power was derived almost entirely from its financial resources and a small but comparatively well armed private army, largely consisting of native Zapolese troops. The constant need to provide for its own protection as well as the defense of its shipments of silver meant that the EMC would range from a highly profitable venture to nearly bankrupt over the decades, depending on the severity of the threats it faced at any given time.
Cryrian Acquisition of the Territory
This vulnerability would be thrust into full light in 1863, when the native population exploded into full rebellion. Repeated abuses and disrespect towards local customs by the EMC resulted in a general uprising throughout the territory, giving local leaders the confidence to turn against their puppetmasters, and resulting in the defection of many native troops. While the Cooperative successfully held on to the fortress at Ellesborg and the surrounding settlement, the silver mines that were the region's lifeblood were lost. Desperate to regain control, the EMC would turn back to Cryria and fiercely lobby the government in Leidenstad for military support.
Despite the actions of its citizens, the Kingdom had historically sought to avoid entanglements in Arcturia, both due to the logistical challenges and out of fears of running afoul of the spheres of influence that had already been established by other powers. However, this time the Cryrian government was led by Prime Minister Ingvar Aberg, who had close financial and familial connections to the EMC, as well as colonial ambitions for his country. Aberg would prove to be a friendly ear for the Cooperative, and would arrange for a small expedition to be sent to secure Ellesborg. In exchange, the EMC agreed to transfer its governing mandate over the territory to the Crown, allowing Aberg to present Ellesborg as a Cryrian possession and thus a matter of national pride. While the Ellesborg Uprising would be quashed, Aberg's death the following year would effectively end any real interest the Cryrian government may have had in Ellesborg. While it nominally retained the mandate, much of the day to day governance would once again revert to the EMC's control.
At the outbreak of the Great War, Ellesborg was defended by some 3,750 soldiers, drawn from the Naval Infantry and Foreign Legion garrisons as well as local militia. The local naval presence consisted of four gunboats and a torpedo boat, though this was reinforced by a pair of torpedo cruisers prior to the commencement of hostilities. In recognition of the outpost's isolated nature, a series of fortresses had been established in the hills surrounding the city as well as over the harbor. Cryrian entry into the Great War would bring Ellesborg into the conflict as well against neighboring Imperial Coalition colonies and nations. The postwar settlement would see the significant inland expansion of the Mandate, one of the few Cryrian gains in the war, though the subsequent turmoil of the Cryrian Anarchy would once again cause Leidenstad's interest in the area to evaporate, and the EMC was left on the brink of insolvency due to the long disruption in trade.
With the formation of the Union of Free Cities, Ellesborg would become an area of shared sovereignty between Cryria and the UFC, though for the most part the Cryrian side of affairs would be effectively run by the EMC. By this time, the mines had practically run dry, but the Mandate's unique legal status would offer new routes to prosperity. Exempt from many of the regulations of normal Cryrian life yet still maintaining full and direct access to the Cryrian system, Ellesborg would transform itself into a tax haven, becoming an important financial hub for the ever more notoriously secretive Cryrian banking system. Loose restrictions and frequent visits from the wealthy allowed for the development of a thriving gambling industry as well, and the city would go from a mining town to a resort town.
Ellesborg is a Crown Mandate of the Kingdom of Cryria, and Cryrian Monarchs bear the title of Lord or Lady Patron in the city. However, the Kingdom has historically sought to distance itself from the Mandate, which is often called "Cryria's Forgotten Colony" on those rare occasions when it is remembered at all. While the Cryrian government theoretically shares sovereignty over the territory with the UFC and has power over the Mandate's economic and defense policies, in practice these responsibilities are delegated to the EMC controlled Steering Committee, which is nominally presided over by the Crown's appointed Governor-General. While the Governor-General represents Ellesborg on the Mandate Directory Council, his decisions are largely subject to the approval of the Steering Committee. As with all the other Mandates in the UFC, Ellesborg's foreign policy and other internal affairs continue to be managed by the central government in Utopiya. Leidenstad's actual presence within the city is limited to a consulate and a military presence primarily manned by a Foreign Legion detachment, a remnant of the Kingdom's abortive attempt at direct control in the nineteenth century.
Despite this, Ellesborg retains a number of unique legal ties to Cryria proper. For instance, all marriages performed in Ellesborg are recognized in Cryria, including gay marriages which otherwise would not be performed in Cryria proper. This loophole has led to Ellesborg becoming a frequent destination for those members of the Cryrian LGBT community who can afford to make use of it.
The defense of Ellesborg remains the responsibility of the Cryrian government, which has historically limited its investments in that regard. The Cryrian presence that does exist is largely the result of extensive lobbying efforts by the EMC, and units based in the UFC collectively operate under the aegis of the Ellesborg Garrison. Though the CDF presence surged briefly due to nearby regional conflicts, Ellesborg Joint Station typically hosts a company from the Foreign Legion, while the Royal Cryrian Air Force bases four of its Saab JAS 39NG Gripen fighters in the area. Uniquely, the Cryrian deployment in Ellesborg is entirely funded by the Mandate, which itself operates a 10,000 strong armed Civil Defense Force armed and trained with Cryrian assistance.
Historically centered on mining, Ellesborg has developed into a wealthy service economy based on casino gaming, tourism, and banking. In many respects, Ellesborg shares a common market with the far more regulated Cryrian economy, and the Cryrian Krona is an accepted currency within the mandate alongside the Zapolese Dollar. Despite a high GDP per capita, the Mandate continues to have a high level of wealth disparity between the native Zapolese and the Cryrian-descended elite, a legacy of the city's colonial past. The EMC remains the largest corporation headquartered in Ellesborg, though its assets in the territory now consist of several large casinos and hotels.