Federation of Bana
Federation of Bana
Motto: Prosperity, Together
Anthem: "Laarin Awọn Odo" (Banian)
"Between the Rivers"
Location of the Federation of Bana (dark green)
on the continent of Gondwana (grey)
|Ethnic groups |
|Okun Orc: 48%|
Miku Orc: 46%
New Ranite Orc: 4.5%
All others: 1.5%
|Government||Federal consociational Parliamentary republic|
• Federal Premier
• King of the Okun
• President of Mikubana
|Ayokunle Ariwa-Oorun Yamisi|
• President of New Rania
|Council of Communities|
• Okun Kingdom forms
|c. 1000 CE|
• Miku-Loko unification
|c. 1100-1200 CE|
• Okun-Miku unification
|2 June 1358|
• Federation of Bana formed
|26 January 1963|
• New Rania accession
|13 August 1974|
|382,538 km2 (147,699 sq mi)|
• 2021 estimate
• Per capita
|Currency||Banian Dollar (FBD)|
|Time zone||Banian Standard Time (UTC -07:00)|
The Federation of Bana, commonly called Bana (//), is a federation consisting of three co-equal, sovereign constituent states: Okunbana, Mikubana and New Rania. It is located in northern Gondwana on Urth, and is a member of the Alliance of Northwest Gondwana. In international relations, the country generally requests to be referred to by its full name, "Federation of Bana," so that it is not confused with the City of Bana. The city is the capital of one of the three constituent states, and the Banian Foreign Affairs Office states that using the name "Bana" unqualified could imply supremacy of that city over the entire country. The capital of the country and seat of power is in Newport, a planned city purpose-built to be a new capital city for the country beginning in the 1960s.
The history of Bana is defined by two rivers: the Loko River, running southward from the Danvreas Range just along the edges of the Raonite Spur, and the Miku River, taking a circuitous path down from the mountains along a more northerly route, both of which feed into the Strait of Vaklori. Habitation by orcs in this region dates back hundreds of thousands of years, while proto-Banian cultures appear in the archaeological record as early as 2500 BCE. While early theories presumed that the Loko and Miku river valleys were peopled in the same migrations from the interior of the continent that produced Ni-Rao, genetic evidence indicates that people in Bana are more closely related to the people of the Danvreas. By the turn of the 11th century CE, three primary tribes (usually referred to as "nations") of peoples in the region had come to use the term "bana" as an identifier: the Mikubana along the Miku River in the north; the Lokobana along the Loko River in the south; and the Okunbana along the coast of the Strait of Vaklori between the two rivers. The term "bana" is translated as "children," with each tribe naming themselves as the children of the body of water they lived on: the Miku, the Loko, and the Okun - the sea.
The three nations of the Bana peoples were initially entirely separate cultures, united only in that they all happened to live in the relative power vacuum between Ni-Rao and the Danvreas. However, significant trade interaction between the nations led to their adoption of the same language as early as 500 CE. Relations were almost always peaceful, with evidence of some scarce brief flare-ups of violence. At the turn of the 10th century CE, various small city-states along the coast are united by a military campaign into the Kingdom of Okunbana, based in a city bearing just the name "Bana." Over the next few hundred years, Okunbana established extensive relationships with the Mikubana and the Lokobana. At the same time, the Lokobana gradually assimilated into the Mikubana, and they had come to consider themselves one tribe, the Mikubana, by 1200 CE.
Also beginning in the 13th century, the Empire of Ni-Rao was reaching the peak of its power. Having long economically dominated the region of Northwest Gondwana, they had begun to forcibly settle north of the Danvreas Range for the first time. The first formal alliance between Okunbana and Mikubana was a military one in defending themselves from the Raonites. In 1358, realizing that attempting to coordinate their collective defense from two different power centers was ineffective against the Raonites, Okunbana and Mikubana reached a unique agreement regarding sharing power. The two tribes would merge into one union, named Bana, and both the King of Okunbana and the King of Mikubana would continue to be liege lords over their people and largely have control over their own domestic affairs. However, one of the two Kings would also hold the title "High King of Bana," sometimes also translated as "Emperor of Bana," to whom the other King would be required to pledge fealty. And then, upon the death of the High King, the position of High King would go to the other King, and the former High King's heir would be the lower-ranked King.
In part due to military pressure from the Okunbana and Mikubana in the north, and partly due to other factors such as Tavari military resistance, economic weakness, and a plague in the 14th century that affected only felines, Ni-Rao would rapidly decline by 1450 AD to only include its core holdings of territory, its smallest size in more than five centuries. With a void in the region now unfilled by Ni-Rao, Okunbana and Mikunbana found themselves faced with the Tavari, across the strait, in a competition to be the leading power. Economic rivalry would lead to armed conflict at the turn of the 16th century, and the two powers would have several conflicts over the next few centuries.
The decisive victory of the Tavari in the Fourth War would largely cement Tavaris as the dominant power in Northwest Gondwana. Bana began to look outward, seeking trade relationships with outside powers in particular. It established a relationship with Asendavia, the leading colonial power in the region, and also established trading relationships with Raonite, Reijian, and later, Salovian merchants. Due in part to the country's smaller size and its higher concentration of people in urban areas, Bana was able to modernize industry and infrastructure more quickly than Tavaris and had a much more industrialized economy at the turn of the 18th century.
Banian Civil War
Bana's unique governance arrangement lasted in some form until the 20th century. In 1835, a Constitution modeled somewhat after the Reijian one was established that reduced the monarchs of either tribe to figurehead positions. It also formally named the country as the Union of Bana. Under this Constitution, the country elected a common parliament and was led by two Co-Consuls, one appointed from each tribe. The tribes themselves were also named "Nations" and were declared in the text to be "of equal stature." The nations each had wide latitude in their own internal affairs, with the national government primarily responsible for foreign relations and defense. This was the first Constitution that formally established Bana as what we would today call a federation, instead a system of suzerainty.
In 1900, Okunbana elected a nationalist government that advocated for showing more dominance over the region. Because Okunbana was the larger of the two states, it had more seats in the Parliament, giving them a majority. However, in Mikubana, the Socialist Party had begun to gain momentum, and as it grew it became increasingly radical. The national government and the Nation of Okunbana both feared a communist uprising, and worked to alter the law, including the Constitution, to exclude them from power. In 1939, Parliament passed a bill that made it illegal for political parties to "be associated to political organizations outside the country," which was used to disqualify the Mikubana Socialist Party based on alleged ties to East Cerdani and Vesienväl. As a result, a Socialist Party-sponsored coup attacked the capital in the city of Lanu and led to the death of both Co-Consuls. Uprisings by paramilitary organizations overthrew the state-level governments as well. However, the nationalist forces had prepared for this, and had significant supplies of military equipment.
The Banian Civil War lasted until 1954. It was, by all accounts, a brutal war in which both sides constantly lost and then retook the same stretches of territory several times. The middle of the country was filled with landmines beginning in 1942. In the late 1940s, both sides began deploying nerve gas. Approximately 9 million people died in the conflict, nearly half of the country's population. At the end, in 1954, both sides reached a ceasefire largely because they had exhausted all their resources and both were both now too impoverished to afford the war.
An exception to the devastation were the cities of Bana and Lanu, which were seized by Tavari forces in 1940 after Nationalist Banian ships fired at the Tavari, erroneously believing they were supporting the Communists. Tavaris refused to deploy troops outside the two cities and instead focused on maintaining them as neutral areas. In addition to the 9 million deaths, some 4 million Banians left the country through the two port cities to various places, primarily Tavaris but also other surrounding countries. Tavaris also hosted the negotiations for the provisional government.
The Provisional Government of Bana lasted for 13 years until it was replaced by a new Constitution that established the Federation of Bana. The system of co-consuls was replaced with a single Premier and cabinet appointed from among the members of the Federal Congress. A figurehead President was elected by the Council of Communities, the upper house of the legislature, that was designed to give equal representation to the constituent peoples of the federation. A new capital city was established, Newport, which was declared to be a district governed directly by the Federal Congress outside any individual state. In 1974, the Free State of New Rania agreed to join the federation after several years of diplomatic negotiations and a referendum. New Rania, a small country of less than a million residents at the time, had long been dependent on Bana both economically and militarily. In 2018, Premier of New Rania Arik Rao was elected President of Bana, the first time a New Ranite had served in that role.
Relations with Tavaris were relatively warm after the Civil War, largely out of acknowledgement the provisional government felt it owed to Tavaris for maintaining their two largest cities during the war. The two nations exchanged ambassadors - not just "ministers" - beginning in 1940. However, a diplomatic fallout in the 1970s over a dispute centered around airspace violations ended the official relations between the countries. In 2012, they established "back-channel" communications through the Asilican embassies in the two countries, and in 2020, formal relations are restored and ambassadors again exchanged, but relations quickly soured when Tavaris announced a nuclear program.
In 2009, Bana established a comprehensive defense agreement with South Hills, largely in response to Tavaris joining the Union of Commonwealth Alliances, that allowed South Hills to establish a military base in Ranisport as well as other various defensive arrangements. Since then, significant investment has come from South Hills into Bana, particularly in land development in rural New Rania. Bana also maintains close relations with Asendavia and the Asendavian-affiliated countries in the region. In 2021, Bana established a comprehensive military and economic partnership with the Federation of the Southern Coast, including various visa-free travel arrangements and the establishment of a Southern Coast military presence at the Federal Armed Forces base at North Lanu.
Bana is a federal system, with the three states having their own governments that have the ability to control affairs within their borders. The Federal Constitution establishes that the central government has only those powers that are explicitly delegated to it in the constitution, with all other powers belonging to the states. On the federal level, the executive of the country is the cabinet, led by the Federal Premier—so called to differentiate them from the state-level executives who are often referred to collectively as "State Premiers" despite holding various titles individually. The legislature is the Federal Congress, which consists of two chambers: the Council of Communities and the National Assembly. Nominally, the head of state of Bana is the President, who is elected by the Council of Communities for a 5 year term. However, the Presidency of Bana is designed to be a figurehead position as the "symbol of the unity of the Federation" and "guarantor of the Constitution." Aside from the power to refer an Act of Congress to the Constitutional Court, the President has very few powers in practice.
As an upper house, the Council of Communities is designed to be a consultative body, and it is ultimately less powerful than the lower house. It has 15 members: 7 for Okunbana, 6 for Mikubana, and 2 for New Rania. The states decide how to choose the Councilors. In Okunbana, the 7 are allocated among districts that are coterminous with seven traditionally-identified regions of Okunbana. In Mikubana, all six are elected among the entire population, with two of the seats reserved for people of Loko heritage. In New Rania, one Councilor is elected from the City of Ranisport and the other by the entire remaining area of the country, the so-called "out-country." Councilors are required to be unaffiliated with any political parties.
The Council of Communities has a unique voting system, referred to as a "qualified majority," in which a majority must have at least one member from each state voting in favor in order to pass the body. In order for legislation to become law, it is typically required to be passed by the Council of Communities as well as the National Assembly. However, if the Council rejects a bill passed by the National Assembly, the National Assembly can pass the bill again with a two-thirds majority in order to override the council, or it can pass the bill by a normal majority and send it again to the Council to reconsider. If a bill is rejected twice by the Council but passed three times by the National Assembly, it is considered to have passed the entire legislature. The Council of Communities is also the body that elects the President. A two thirds majority of the membership, in which at least two thirds of each state delegation votes in favor, is required to elect a President.
The National Assembly is the larger and more powerful of the two chambers. It consists of 825 members. The Constitution requires that each state be given a number of seats proportional to their share of population, and each state has the authority to determine how their members are elected. Okunbana elects 396 seats from single member districts using an instant-runoff system. Mikubana elects 388 seats to the Assembly using a proportional system with the entire state as a single electoral district. New Rania elects 41 seats using a closed-list proportional system across two electoral districts: one for Ranisport and one for the out-country. The National Assembly is elected to fixed four-year terms, except in the case of a vote of no-confidence, which is a relatively rare occurrence in Bana. Since 1994, there have been only two: the 1994 removal of Premier Olamide Sowande and the 2021 removal of Premier Maku Mtebe.
For a bill to become law, it must technically receive Presidential Assent, but the Constitution strictly disallows the President from vetoing a law passed by the Federal Congress. The President also technically appoints the Premier and the members of cabinet, but is obligated to select the Premier nominated by the National Assembly and the members of cabinet named by the Premier. The President does not have formally established reserve powers, but is empowered to give advice and counsel to the government and may advise the Premier to send a bill to the Constitutional Court if they feel it is unconstitutional.
The current federal government was elected on July 9th, 2021, after the government of Maku Mtebe was ousted in a rare vote of no-confidence. The motion was called after Federal Premier Mtebe called for a drastic increase in military spending, which was unpopular with both the public and the coalition partners of the Federal Unity Party, which Mtebe lead. The election was won by the Social Alliance party, the first time the center-left political party won power at the federal level in Bana in the 21st century. Ninalowo Abeo, the party's leader, became Federal Premier with the support of a coalition between Social Alliance, the Green Party, and For the Future!, a center-to-center-left party whose platform centers around increased government accountability and environmentalism.
Abeo's stated primary goal for her term is a broad expansion of the country's public housing program, which she says is a strengthening of the country's social safety net that will also boost the economy. She has also focused on expanding the country's economic relationships, traveling abroad to countries such as South Hills and the Southern Coast to encourage foreign investment and development in the country. She has sought to avoid discussions regarding Tavari-Banian relations, which she describes as "a distraction." She has also pledged to have a special focus on New Rania, which she says "has been left behind by previous federal governments." She has promoted initiatives to develop the Translokonia region of New Rania, which has caused some tension in her coalition due to environmental concerns. However, she has pledged that all new development in Bana in her tenure will be held to strict standards of environmental sustainability, which the federal government has begun promoting through significant tax breaks for companies that agree to Abeo's "Federal Sustainability Plan." Abeo describes herself as a "capitalism reformer" and has specifically stated she is not a socialist. While she has gained opponents among Bana's political left, she is still enormously popular, with a 68% approval rating as of January 2022—a full ten points higher than Maku Mtebe's highest recorded rating. She is especially popular among those who identify as "independent" or "centrist," with an approval rating in this group of 89% as of January 2022.
Okunbana is the most populous state in the Federation and is also home to its two largest cities: Lanu, the former capital of the Union of Bana, and the eponymous Bana, the largest and oldest city in the country. The Okun settled along and near the coast of the Strait of Vaklori and established a kingdom around the year 1000 CE. Historically, Okunbana has been divided into seven regions that correspond roughly to seven historic city-states that were subjects of the first Okun polity, which was called the Kingdom of Okunbana and based in the city of Bana. Okunbana was historically the wealthiest of the Banian kingdoms, which remains true into the present day, although it has long depended on Mikubana for natural resources, the fundamental basis on which the Federation of Bana was built.
Due in large part to its proximity to the ocean, Okunbana is much flatter and lower in elevation compared to the other states. It is the agricultural breadbasket of the Federation, producing a majority of its food, and while most of its old growth forests have been long since cut down, it does maintain some rainforest areas and in any case still sees the rainfall of any other tropical rainforest region.
As of 2021, Okunbana had a population of 11,026,654 people. The current Premier of Okunbana is Ifedayo Irau, a member of the Social Alliance party elected in January of 2022. She is the first Banian of mixed heritage—her mother is Okunbanian and her father New Ranite—to serve in the role. The Premier is appointed by the state legislature, known as the Okunbana Legislative Assembly, and is considered the head of government of the state. The nominal head of state of Okunbania is the King of the Okun, currently Adebayo VIII, who is of the same Oluwa dynasty that served as Kings of Okunbana since the 10th century CE. The King of the Okun has no reserve power and cannot act without the advice of the Premier, but nominally appoints the Premier and summons and dismisses the Legislative Assembly. While the King no longer has political power, he remains an important cultural figure and an ambassador of Okunbana and its culture. Since the ratification of the Constitution of 1963, when a King of the Okun takes the throne, they travel to Newport and pledge fealty to the elected Presidency of the Federation.
Mikubana, while less populous than Okunbana, is the most resource-rich region of the country. In comparison to the lowland rainforests of Okunbana, Mikubana is mountainous and has less arable farmland. It does, however, have significant reserves of precious metals like gold and silver, precious gems (diamonds in particular), and more several more practical metals used industrially. Mikubana is one of the world's largest exporters of tin, an industry that dates back millennia. In ancient times, bronze from Mikubana was known throughout the region for its superior quality. Though it is landlocked, its direct access to both the Miku River and the Loko River give it access to global markets and were historically crucial trade routes and sources of wealth for the Kingdom. Due to its higher elevation, it has much less tree cover and sees much less rainfall than the rest of the country.
Prior to the union of Okunbana and Mikubana in about 1200 CE, a third tribe known as the Loko merged into the Miku. The Loko, who are elves believed to be closely related to the Miku who lived along the upper Loko River valley, are still extant as an ethnic group in modern Mikubana. Since the Federation era, Mikubana has itself functioned somewhat as a federation between the Miku and the Loko. All state government bodies have seats reserved for those of Loko descent, including some of the state's seats in the Council of Communities. However, for census purposes, the Loko are considered to be part of the Miku ethnic group.
As of 2021, Mikubana had a population of 10,493,232 people. The current President of Mikubana is Ayokunle Ariwa-Oorun Yamisi, a member of the Federal Unity Party. The President of Mikubana is elected every five years on a fixed-term separate from that of Mikubana's parliament, known as the Mikubana House of Representatives. A President does not require the confidence of the House of Representatives to serve, and it is possible—and common—for the House to be controlled by a party that opposes that of the President. Legislation requires the approval of the House and the President, making Mikubana a presidential system unlike the other jurisdictions in the Federation. Unlike Okunbana, Mikubana has not retained its traditional monarchy, having abolished it in 1937. This action, done to appease the growing socialist movement, was one of the reasons the national legislature, dominated by Okun nationalists, moved to make socialist political parties illegal in 1939, precipitating the Civil War.
New Rania is the smallest state in the Federation by population. Formerly a sovereign country of exiles from Ni-Rao, it voted to join the Federation of Bana in 1974. Prior to integrating into Bana, it was known as the Free State of New Rania. Much of New Rania's territory is undeveloped, and with a population of 1,029,508, the other two states each have a population larger by nearly a factor of ten. New Rania is also relatively impoverished compared to the other two states, having long been economically dependent on Bana for most imports. The New Ranite economy is largely based in textiles, although manufacturing and the service industry have been seeing gains in recent years as New Rania's minimum wage laws are attractive to international business.
New Rania was founded in 1747 by a group of religious outcasts exiled from lands in the interior of the continent. "Old" Rania was a location in the interior from which many of the first exiles had been from. They had to migrate through both dense jungles and over the Danvreas Range of mountains, a journey the New Ranites called "the Long Walk." After the long walk, the New Ranites settled in a city they called Ranisport, which was built atop the ruins of an abandoned former Raonite city. Originally organized as a strictly religious colony, New Rania went through a process of democratization in the 19th century, although the New Ranite Church maintained representation in the National Council and the theoretical power to remove a President from office until 1954.
The New Ranite Church is a religious belief centered around the teachings of a prophet called Ori, who taught that the traditional pantheon of the Raonites—from whom the Emperors of Ni-Rao claimed descent—was false and that the afterlife would only be open to people who followed his teachings. Ori taught about the holiness in "ordinary work and toil" such as craftsmanship or farming, and calls for women to serve primarily as wives and homemakers. While the Church no longer holds official power in New Rania, more than two-thirds of the New Ranite population continues to follow the faith. The High Prophet of the New Ranite Church remains a powerful figure, although since the separation of church and state, the law in New Rania has gradually established protections for things such as women in the workplace and restrictions on child labor.
Nearly half of New Rania's population is in the Ranisport metropolitan area, with the outer areas (called "the out-country") much more sparsely populated. The areas of New Rania to the east, south of the Loko River and Lake Unar, are known as "Translokonia" and is largely a protected wilderness area. New Rania has significantly less transit infrastructure than the other states in the Union, with fewer highways and only one rail line.
The current President of New Rania is Rou Manao, who is a political independent formerly of the Federal Unity Party. Prior to 1974, the President of New Rania was a directly elected position in a Presidential government system, but since the country joined the Federation, it has operated on a parliamentary system in which the National Council, the state's legislature, appoints a President from among its membership. The National Council serves fixed six-year terms, with the most recent election in 2017. While that election produced a Federal Unity Party majority, after Federal Premier Maku Mtebe, the leader of the party, was removed in a motion of no confidence in 2021, President Manao and a majority of the Federal Unity members of the National Council left the party, creating a government that for the first time anywhere in Bana is not affiliated with any party.
With a nominal GDP of nearly one trillion SHD and a per capita GDP of $41,654, the Federation of Bana is among the more powerful economies in the region of northwest Gondwana. Both historically and in the modern day, the largest sectors of the Banian economy have been agriculture and mining/refining. However, since the 1980s, the manufacturing sector has gradually increased in productivity, making Bana one of the largest exporters of manufactured goods in the region.
Since the end of the Banian Civil War, successive governments have tended to place great emphasis on economic growth and production, with the Federation’s first Premier, Abidemi Akinde, stating that “Our country lies in ruins because of the Civil War, but the truth is, now we have an incredible opportunity to build an entirely new economy from the ground up, with the freedom to focus on what will bring us growth without being hindered by the economy of the past.” Early in the Federation era, left-leaning governments advocated for government direction of the economy in ways that resembled socialist state economic planning, but a string of neoliberal administrations since the 1980s have focused more on deregulation and industry subsidization to grow the economy.
Agriculturally, the country’s most famous export—often the subject of tongue-in-cheek jokes regarding its name—is bananas, of which Bana exports more than any other country on Urth. A common misconception is that the name of the fruit is somehow related to the name of the country, or vice versa, but neither is the case. While the etymology of the Staynish-Codexian word “banana” is uncertain, the fruit has always been called “ọgẹdẹ” in the Banian language, while the word “Bana” comes from a grammatical root meaning “children.”
The State of Okunbana produces the vast majority of Bana’s agricultural products, though since New Rania joined the federation, the agricultural economy of that state has grown exponentially. In addition to bananas, Bana exports cassava, cashew nuts, cocoa, maize (corn), millet, palm kernels and oil, rice, rubber, sorghum, soybeans, and yams. Beef, pork, and chicken are all raised and processed domestically and for export in Bana. The amount of tropical rainforest cleared for livestock ranching, as well as for banana and palm plantations, are frequently subject to criticism from environmental groups, with the Banian Wildlife and Ecology Foundation estimating in 2020 that as much as 60% of Okunbana’s biodiversity had been lost due to increasing deforestation. Very few virgin rainforests remain in Okunbana, and though younger forests do remain, they have been in a steady decline since the 1980s.
Bana has a relatively small fishing sector compared to other neighboring countries with ocean access and is a net importer of seafood. This has traditionally been ascribed to the fact that Bana’s EEZ along the Strait of Vaklori is relatively narrow due to the presence of nearby Tavaris. The Tavari military keeps its maritime border with Bana highly patrolled both at sea and in the air, maintaining what some Banian governments have decried as a “de facto blockade” that reduces the safety of Banians attempting to make lawful use of Bana’s own EEZ. Tavaris maintains that its military presence is within its own territory and therefore lawful, and since 2020 has kept a somewhat lower military presence in the Strait as it turned its military focus to Ni-Rao and to Novaris. The largest source of seafood for Bana is Vaklori, however a domestic fishing industry does exist, though not for export.
Mining and Refining
The mineral extraction industry in Bana is almost wholly limited to Mikubana, with very few commercially-viable deposits existing in Okunbana or New Rania. Mikubana’s mineral wealth was the historical reason that Okunbana sought to maintain economic and political ties with Mikubana, and even to the present day, despite having fewer people and fewer large cities than Okunbana, Mikubana is much wealthier per capita. Historically, copper and tin were Mikubana’s most important exports—as well as the societally crucial alloy of these metals, bronze. For approximately seven hundred years between its foundation and its closure of its borders to foreigners, the Danvreas bought and imported vast amounts of bronze from Mikubana, enough for Emperor Palchen I to call Mikubana “the forge of our Empire” in 1106. Mikubana remains one of the leading exporters of tin in the world. Copper is also still exported, though with deposits expected to be depleted within the next 50 years.
Contemporary Mikubana mines, refines, and exports several other minerals as well. Aluminum, graphite, iron, nickel, titanium, tellurium, and uranium are all major exports. Bana is a world leader in exports of tellurium, which is a major component in the manufacture of solar panels, and both its graphite and uranium deposits are important in the nuclear power industry. Precious metals and precious gems are also significant exports of Mikubana, including gold, silver, diamonds, garnets, rubies, sapphires, and turquoise among others. Mikubana is one of the only places on Urth that produces the gemstone mikunite, also called mikulite, which is named after the state. Bana-based mining corporations are also active elsewhere in Gondwana and around the world, in places such as Serramal, another major producer of precious gemstones.
While mining in Bana is limited almost entirely to Mikubana, refineries are increasingly located elsewhere in the country, in New Rania in particular. Since the end of the civil war, highway and rail ties between the states have increased significantly, and New Rania’s labor laws are much more favorable to business than they are to the workers. New Rania has a minimum wage of FBD $1.00, a rate that has not changed since 1981. This shift has resulted in the Port of Ranisport becoming the country’s second-largest by volume of trade, eclipsing Lanu and Newport, as the products refined primarily in New Rania are shipped out from Ranisport.
In New Rania, the historical export was textiles, an industry that still exists in the modern day but is losing ground compared to refining and other kinds of manufacturing. Manufacturing takes place in every state in the Federation, and products produced include aircraft, automobiles, electronics, fabricated metal products, machinery and engines, robotics, and various consumer goods. In the earlier portions of the 20th century the Tavari manufacturing sector was stronger than Bana’s, but since the 1980s Bana has exceeded Tavaris in both amount of goods manufactured and amount of manufactured goods exported.
One sector of the manufacturing economy in Bana that is in decline is paper products—as the amount of economically viable forested area in the country has decreased, lumber, pulp, and paper have all become harder to produce, with more than 75% of the country’s paper mills having closed between 1970 and 2020. Only in New Rania do there remain any functioning paper mills. New Rania is also known for its artisan carpentry industry, though the scale at which New Ranite artisans construct their products, they are expensive and available for sale almost entirely in Bana only, with next to none exported.
Bana—Mikubana in particular—is a net exporter of electric power. Since 1995, all of Mikubana’s electricity has come from either nuclear or hydroelectric sources, and Mikubana’s power generation capacity far exceeds its internal demands. Mikubana Energy Corporation, known as MBEC, is one of the country’s wealthiest companies, and it exports power not only to the other states in the Federation but also to other countries, primarily Ni-Rao.
The three nations of the Banian people, despite sharing a common origin and having been in various forms of social, political, and economic union for more than a thousand years, each retain unique cultural identities. The New Ranites are also a unique cultural group, distinct from their Raonite forebears. The Constitution of 1963 placed a special emphasis on preserving and promoting Banian culture as a way of bringing the country back together after the Civil War while still celebrating the unique distinctions of the different peoples of the country, including immigrants.
One of the central cultural identifying factors among the Banian peoples is language. The Constitution states that “the first and primary national language of the Federation shall be Banian,” a clause meant to emphasize unity. While in the modern day Banian is indeed considered to constitute a single language, Mikubana and Okunbana both have distinct dialects that, in some cases, can even be unintelligible to speakers of other dialects. The dialect of the Lokobana people in particular is noted in Bana to be hard for outsiders to understand. Famously, Babatunde Ariwa Azikiwe, who became the first person of Lokobana descent to serve as President of Mikubana in 1983, was so hard to understand by others in Mikubana that subtitles were used when he spoke on television and an interpreter regularly accompanied him to events. Since 2005, the State of Mikubana has required secondary school students to learn and demonstrate “basic proficiency” in the Lokobana dialect, in an effort to promote mutual understanding and preserve the unique Lokobana culture.
Mikubana is noted for its culture of hospitality. The country’s significantly higher elevation, and therefore harsher weather, compared to Okunbana has inculcated a sense among Mikubana people that homes should always be open to travelers who need a place to get out of the elements. In traditional Mikubana hospitality, guests are encouraged to sleep in the beds of the home’s residents, who themselves sleep on the floor. Both breakfast and dinner in a Mikubanian home are major events for guests; the residents of the home typically make grand morning meals in the traditional Mikubana style of cuisine, and for dinner, the residents will prepare a meal in the tradition of the guests, if they come from another culture.
Mikubanian hospitality is such a strong tradition that even Tavari visitors can expect warm welcomes. In 1974, at the height of tensions between the two countries regarding Banian claims of Tavari military planes violating Banian airspace, a plane carrying the Tavari Ambassador to Ni-Rao had to land in Oloro due to a major storm. Despite the bitter dispute between the two countries, the mayor of Oloro welcomed the Tavari ambassador into his home and famously prepared sevišala, the Tavari national dish, for dinner. The Tavari ambassador offered to cover the costs of the dinner, noting that the seafood required for the dish was expensive and hard to come by in Oloro (whose elevation is higher even than that of most of the Danvreas) but the mayor refused. “Regardless of what may be happening between our governments, my ancestors would shun me if I dared charge a guest for a meal in my home,” the mayor said. The Tavari ambassador noted that honoring one’s ancestors was a hallmark of Tavari culture as well. News of the incident was warmly received in both countries, and in recognition of the event, a Tavari flag still flies at the home in which the ambassador stayed in the present day.
The Lokobana nation, while today considered a constituent part of Mikubana, are a distinct cultural group who trace their origin to one of Bana’s harshest environments—the high peaks in the country’s far east, where the Loko River begins. The area is essentially uninhabited in the modern day, after the Loko migrated northward into Miku areas in the 12th century CE. The migration is believed to have been caused by an extended period of particularly harsh winters. Lokobana people are, on average, the most religious people in the country. While all three nations have their own religious traditions, in the modern day, a majority of Banian people consider themselves religiously unaffiliated. In contrast, 79% of Lokobanians consider themselves active members of their religion, which they call “Aṣa Afẹfẹ,” or “Way of the Winds.”
Banian religious traditions are highly animist, considering many things in nature to have powerful spirits within them capable of affecting the world around them. In Aṣa Afẹfẹ, the most powerful of these spirits are the Nine Winds. Eight are directions (“north,” “southwest,” etc.) while the ninth is “No Wind.” Each Wind is said to have a distinct personality and control over a different part of life. For example, winds moving to the northeast are said to be an omen of wealth and good fortune, while winds moving to the west are considered an ill portent. Lokobana people, unlike other Banians, typically have two forenames, with their second forename being that of the wind that was blowing at the time of their birth.
Religious activities among Aṣa Afẹfẹ believers are often very musical. Singing is seen as an activity that brings glory to the spirits of the winds, as breath leaving the body is a way for mortals to create wind themselves. It has been a tradition at every Presidential inauguration in the Federation era for the National Choir of Lokobana to sing after the President takes their oath as a way of blessing the incoming Presidential administration and guiding the whole country to prosperity. Aṣa Afẹfẹ practices also include a particular style of meditation that features a regimented, careful way of breathing called “Centering Breath” that is designed to be relaxing and thought-provoking. Centering Breath is commonly taught across all of Bana as a stress relief technique, even by medical doctors.
The Okunbana people were the first among Banians to urbanize, and their culture emphasizes closeness, both emotionally and physically. The Okunbana Ministry of Culture has even issued advisories to tourists from foreign countries that they may be startled by “differences in understanding of personal space.” Okunbanians are often very open about their feelings, sometimes to the point of bluntness. There is a saying in Bana, “Never ask an Okunbanian a question unless you want to hear the answer.” However, Okunbanians are also considered by others in Bana to be easy to make friends with, with another saying noting “For an Okunbanian, every friend is a best friend.”
The Okunbanian preference for closeness is reflected even in their architecture, with rooms tending to be smaller and cities populated more densely than elsewhere in the country. In recent years there has been an uptick in Banian exports to Mexregiona, where the local “kicsi culture” has recently also come to emphasize compactness and smallness. Banian consumer electronics, furniture, and even cars have become popular exports to Mexregiona.
As Okunbania is the agricultural heartland of the country, food is a central part of Okunbanian culture. Traditional Okunbanian restaurants serve food “family style,” with large entrees placed on the table for everyone in the group to share. Okunbanian cuisine has many traditional dishes—baked yams served with bananas are common as both street food and in formal restaurants—but another central part of Okunbanian cuisine is fusion, with recipes inspired by foreign cuisines very popular in the state. Bana, the capital of Okunbana, has long claimed to have “the most diverse restaurant selection of any city on Urth,” though the claim is difficult to verify. It is not unusual in Okunbana for a meal to consist of a hearty Asendavian stew made with Okunbanian goat, spiced with Ayaupian peppers, with Vistari chocolate cake for dinner and soft drinks from the Kelamí League to drink.
New Ranite Culture
Life in New Rania is often described as “slow,” which is a negative for some but quite positive for others. Since New Rania was admitted to the federation in 1974 it has become a popular vacation destination, with its broad areas of almost untouched wilderness appealing to people who want to “get away from it all.” While the city of Ranisport has rapidly modernized, the out-country in many ways remains very much like the way it has been since the New Ranites moved there in the 18th century. There are several villages that do not even use electricity. While this is sometimes ascribed to New Ranite religiosity, there is no such restriction—it is simply the case that many rural New Ranites simply don’t see a need for electricity.
Artisan, hand-made goods are very important to New Ranites, many of whom define themselves by their trade. New Ranite furniture has become very popular across all of Bana, and barrels made by New Ranite coopers are used by winemakers and whiskey distillers across the entire world to store and age their product. And while New Rania’s economy is known primarily for factory-made, mass produced textiles, the arts of traditional weaving, dyeing, sewing, and embroidering are all still widely practiced in the state. Even in urban Ranisport, it is common for residents to wear handmade clothes, and a common stereotype is that of the elderly, kindly New Ranite grandmother who gives handmade clothes as birthday gifts. In the modern era, traditional gender distinctions have begun to fade, and it is no longer rare to find male weavers or female carpenters.New Ranites still predominantly follow their historic religion, Orinism, for which they were exiled from Ni-Rao in the 18th century. In Ranisport, it is becoming more common for people to identify as religiously unaffiliated, while in the outcountry, rates of regular attendance at weekly church meetings still regularly exceed 90%. Younger people are more likely not to identify as Orinist compared to older people. While the stereotype of Orinists is that those who are not followers or who leave the Church are shunned, this has never actually been common. Orinism places great emphasis on personal liberty, and one cannot become a full member until they become an adult and choose to pledge themselves to the Church of their own volition. While the Orinist tradition maintains that access to the highest afterlife, closest to God, can only be attained by those who follow the traditions of the prophet Ori, the religion is one of the few on Urth that emphasizes that all religious traditions provide at least some method of knowing the divine.