This is the most arid in Bergonia; the coastal lowlands get around 15 inches o rainfall a year. However Corifoi, Giles and Balupic embrace the southern Spichelamo Mountains, which receive considerable rainfall.
Detailed descriptions of cities & regions, according to Lesre.
The Southeastern States
The atrei living in this region speak Minidun. The Whites living in this region are descended from English settlers.
Balupi -- from high mountains and dense cloud forests, to dry flat plains, fiercely independent.
Corifoi -- ditto.
Dhentamina -- dry & flat, progressive, modern.
Erithin -- a little island far off to southeast, very dry, like the Canaries, quite Portuguese.
Giles Free State -- small iconoclastic home of descendants of English Dissenters.
Serpei -- very English and very dry, with coastal swamps, oil, cotton, shipping.
Speakers of European languages all call it Serpia-- the first syllable, like the first syllable of Serpei, rhymes with "lair," pronounced as in "Sara," not as in "serpent" or "Serbia."
This constitutes the most southeasterly part of Bergonia, save for Erithin. It is also climatically the driest of all the regions, and the part of Bergonia which remained the longest under European-- specifically British-- control. The British were driven out from this, their last redoubt, in 1869 by John Rarsa. 80% of the population speak Minidun and 18% speak English.
Serpei also produces 60% of Bergonia's petroleum. Over 600,000 barrels of crude are produced a day, almost as much as all the production of Alaska.
The entire territory of Serpei is flat and arid, part of the southeast coastal plain call the Bienton. The entire lesre's rainfall consistently stays at approximately 10 inches of precipitation a year. The Bienton is covered by a depressing open shrubform growth, including succulents. There are spots virtually barren, covered by a pale rocky cover. There are thickets of aromatic shrubs sporting small brilliantly colored flowers. In the moister areas, along riverbanks and in the irrigated areas, grow the date palm, the coffee tree, sugar cane, banana and orange tree, all introduced from Europe and Africa. Here and there are cactus, particularly the spindly Cune, native to the region, and a tree similar to the Dragon tree (Dracaena) of the Canary Islands. There is also a euphorbic plant (i.e. cactus-like plants with a thick, milky juice, like the poinsettia) called the Brisote, which sports a large six-petaled flower, variously either white, light blue or pale yellow. There is, finally, the ubiquitous scrubby Meti.
However, cutting a swath through Serpei is the Metafon River that drains the Southern Spichel Mountains of Balupic lesre to the north. mountains receive in places as much as 80 inches of rainfall a year, and the creeks, streams and small fast flowing rivers that drain these mountains feed the Metafon and the Esacon River which flows through Dhentamina. By the time this river reaches the flat plains of the Bienton it is wide, meandering and brown. It is an important source for irrigation water, a source employed for centuries by the Serpei natives and Amota colonists in the development of cotton farming.
Harler and Bathilicon
The Metafon River spreads out in a great delta when it reaches the sea at the most southeastern point of the Bergonian Island. Situated on the large islands formed between the branches of the river are several cities, collectively governed under the regional name of Sentamano. Among this group of cities are Harler and Bathilicon, commonly regarded as part of one metropolitan area.
Together, Harler and Bathilicon and the allied cities include 3,466,000 people, making them combined the seventh largest city in Bergonia. The main course of the Metafon separates Harler and Bathilicon from the city of Rivers, with 242,000 people, from Shina with 125,000, and Cintla with 186,000 people. Thus, Sentamano, with all its cities, includes a total of 4,300,000 people.
Bathilicon is an ancient city, though the marshy and sandy soil has allowed few ruins to survive. In pre-columbian times bathilicon always had a reputation as the city at the end of the earth, in a marginal corner, so very few conquerors ever made it that far. It had much more attraction for fugitives, however, and became a place where many people had secrets they didn't speak of. It was always a rather poor, isolated and uncouth city with its own idiosyncrasies that most other Bergonians found amusing, distasteful or bizarre.
The English founded Harler in the late 1600s on a neighboring island, and set about exploiting the atrei in Bathilicon for their labor. Harler was originally a naval port and a stopping off point for ships traveling to the West Indies, but after an influx of settlers it became the principle center for British culture in Bergonia. The British built banks, a commodities market, a large complex of warehouses and dry-docks, mansions and country clubs. The British installed a Governor General there for all their Bergonian colonies. The Anglican Church built a great cathedral there. There grew a large university, Carlton University, named after its founder.
In modern times Bathilicon has become the poorer, more industrialized of the two cities. In the 1800s it grew into a sprawling slum of Minidun, poor English, Blacks and immigrants from other parts of the British Empire, working as stevedores, warehouse laborers, workers in the cotton mills, and laborers on the harbor and river projects.
Since the Revolution massive rebuilding of Bathilicon has occurred, so it, rather than Harler, is the modern, progressive city. Nowadays, Bathilicon is the site of the nation's biggest concentration of oil refineries, and has skyscrapers, large parks, big large housing projects and public works. Bathilicon is home to the largest zoological park and biological research institution in the nation, the Shanitle Institute. It is engaged in extensive crop development research, gene pool development, and species propagation programs for endangered animals from all over the globe.
By contrast Harler has been allowed to retain much of its beautiful 19th century colonial character, even though its population has become much more heterogeneous. Carlton University is still there, a large liberal arts college and the nation's premier institution for English studies.
Even though several towering bridges have been built to connect all the islands with each other and the mainland, most transportation between the islands is still by a system of red-painted water buses called colloquially "Fatties," for no reason anyone can fathom, and thousands of water taxis called "Blue Boats" for the distinctive aqua blue painted hulls of the small motorboats. Typically, these boats are leased to individual operators by a regional syndicate. For a price, one can ride anywhere in the Sentamano region along the hundreds of miles of waterways.
The Serpi People
The people of Serpei are addicted to spicy cuisine. They grow and eat plenty of blistering hot peppers that make most other Bergonians wince. This has given rise to the expression, "he's as crazy as a Serpi at dinnertime."
"Serpi" is the name of a distinct national group. The Serpi speak a dialect of Minidun, characterized by a clipped accent and abbreviated grammatical forms. The Serpi also use many idioms unknown to other Minidun speakers. Other Minidun speakers tend to look askance at the Serpi accent, considering it slovenly and crude. Most of the Pre-Columbian history of this region is the story of tension between the native Serpi population and other Minidun speakers who migrated from points north, attracted by the dry hot climate and the opportunities abundant in the the rich cotton harvests.
The British hung onto what they called "Harler Colony" until the mid-1800s, long after most of the rest of Bergonia had shaken off European rule. British rule in the south of Bergonia receded in steps, and the last step was Harler Colony that comprised all of what is now Serpei. In 1852 the brilliant maverick General John Rarsa abruptly marched his army across the border and successfully invaded Harler Colony. His unauthorized invasion caught the British fully off guard, since the Second Commonwealth had been consumed in a violent civil war in which Rarsa fought. As a result of the invasion, the British ceded to Bergonia all the Colony save for the City of Harler-Bathilicon and the immediate environs, as well as the island of Erithin. Rarsa became a widely acclaimed hero and within a few short years he became the all-powerful dictator of Bergonia. In 1869 Rarsa procured a negotiated evacuation by the British from Harler-Bathilicon and Urthin. "We will suffer no Gibralters on our continent," Rarsa roared to the cheering crowds.
Nevertheless, the prolonged British rule over this corner of Bergonia left its mark. English remains a second language for everyone, even the Serpi themselves. Many English settlers remained behind. The lesre displays many fine examples of Romantic era English architecture, which influences building styles today. The English founded many large plantations for cotton and tobacco, and many of these fine old homes remain, even though the Revolution of the 1930's destroyed the last of the big farms. The people of Serpei observe teatime and enjoy cricket. They inherited a British style civil administration. There are even people who enjoy the bagpipes, much to the horror of other Bergonians who revile the "dying monster's cry."
Dhentamina is located in southeastern Bergonia. To its south is Serpei. To the west is Balupic, the border being formed by the Chuzutino Mountains, a forested, rainy range of 1,000 to 3,000 feet. To the north is Salienta. To the east is, of course, the sea.
From the Chuzutino Mountains flows the Esacon‚ River. It first flows south for seventy miles and leaves Dhentamina to flow into the eastern most corner of Balupic, but at a point just seven miles across the border it doubles back and flows back into Dhentamina in a northeasterly direction. It continues in this direction across the flat dry plains for 110 miles. Along its banks are situated the small cities of Palna, Conda, old-time cities dependant on the centuries old production of cotton in the irrigated fields, and then the English city of St. Joseph. At St. Joseph the Esacon doglegs to flow due east for fifty miles to the sea. At the mouth of the river is the city of Bergoni-Tunec, a new modern city, planned and built after the Revolution. It is a center for medical technology development and manufacture. This is a field in which Bergonia excels all the other nations of the world. With 1,600,000 people, Bergoni-Tunec is the largest city in Dhentamina.
88% of the Minidun people of Dhentamina speak the Amota dialect of the Minidun language. 11% speak English.
The Zontla Peninsula
The city of Bergoni-Tunec is situated at the base of a peninsula that extends with a northeasterly orientation into the sea. This peninsula, called Zontla, forms the southernmost shore of the Birekun, the long bay formed by the large Sargaso Islands and the mainland coast. Just a few miles across the water from the northern tip of the Zontla peninsula is Cloilago, one of these Sargaso islands. The strait that passes between Zontla and Cloilago, called the Zontla-pesi, is a strategic strait, being one of two major ways that ship traffic gets into the Birekun from the open sea and to the seaports situated on its shoreline. There at the northern tip of Zontla on a rocky promontory surrounded by an expanse of dunes and sea oats, the British in the early 1700's constructed Fort Chrislip. At the time the Spanish dominated the northern approach into the Birekun. Fort Crislip enabled the health of the English colony of Cheshire on the inland coast of Birekun.
Bergoni-Tunec is a thoroughly modern city situated among the palms along the beach that has increased its population tenfold since the 1940s, now 1.2 million.
The revolutionary government engaged in a program of city building in the 1940s, Although most of this program concentrated on rebuilding existing cities, such as Alai Arsai and Lefitoni. But here the modern city of Bergoni Tunec-- which literally means "Bergonian City"-- was conceived from scratch. The planners wanted to demonstrate a new urban socialist culture where rationally deliberate planning could produce a happy community. They wanted Bergoni Tunec to serve as a beacon to the world. They borrowed heavily from the grandiose ideas of the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and even consulted with him.
In our time Bergoni Tunec appears overall a little extravagent and artificial, thus less lively, with buildings so large and spaces so expansive as to intimidate the inhabitants a little. But the city contains some the greatest examples of Art Nouveau architecture & design in the world, and also some of the grandest gardens in the world, and great lush subtropical expanses, in which the residents show deep pride. Gardening has become an abiding obsession with many residents of Bergoni Tunec. This is one of the few places where big apartment blocks were ever built, but most were torn down in the late 1980s and 1990s, during the "Greening." and replaced with thousands of small structures of brick, stucco and glass, including duplexes, row-houses and small apartment buildings.
The broad white beach, lined with tall skinny palms, the Boardwalk, the extravagant gardens, and the grandiosity of the city's layout, all combine to attract hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. As mentioned, Here is the home of the nation's superb medical technology industry, attached to the Bergonian University of Sciences founded in 1955. Bergoni Tunec is also the home city of theNational Dance Competitions, occurring every August, an immensely popular event, drawing over a half-million people every year to the various venues and events. The Dance Finals are broadcast live nationwide from the Adhameina, a huge Art Nouveau dance hall situated along the city's Boardwalk, and millions tune in.
The "English Strip," also called Cheshire.
A small strip of land along the southern Birekun coast is included in the territory of Dhentamina, while the rest of the coastline and the inland area behind this strip of land is included in the territory of Salienta. The boundary between Salienta and this part of Dhentamina twists and meanders in a very irregular manner, but was drawn by a treaty between the British and the Spanish in the mid 1700's in order to separate their respective settlements in the area. The English colonists had settled in this strip. This small strip of territory is important for including the two coastal cities of Fentan, a predominantly Minidun city, and Cheshire, an English-speaking city. The population of this strip is 69% English speaking, while just across the border in Saldeia live Portuguese speaking people. In a bit of a coincidence, in ancient times this same little of coastland was called Mjishire, with its own political & civic identity that separated it from the surrounding country.
The southern portion of Dhentamina is an arid land called Itligavec, covered with hardy grasses and succulent scrub, with an occasional patch of thorn trees. This land is desolate. This is one of the most thinly populated lowlands in Bergonia.
Along the coast one finds salt marshes, some of the most unpleasant land in all Bergonia. Here stretches a web of inland waters, and a checkerboard of mangrove, salt marsh grasses, and totally dead, wet, sandy land. The defect in this marsh area is that hardly any fresh water flows in from inland. Much of the water movement in the marshes is related to the tides. At the extreme south of the marsh system, on the border of Dhentamina with Serpi, small freshwater streams flow in from the inland, but they drain only a small portion of the plain and therefore the flow is seasonal, matching the seasonal nature of the rainfall. The marsh system extends beyond the border into Serpi and there the most northern channel of the Metafon River flows into the marsh system. A large part of the marshland is organized into a National Wilderness Zone, to preserve the unique biome that, in many respects, is unique to the world. Very few people live in this region.
This is a small volcanic island lying off the southeast tip of Bergonia, about one hundred miles east of the port city of Harler. Erithin was settled by atrei before the coming of the Europeans, but perhaps for only about eleven hundred years. The settlers were Svegon sailors. In colonial times, the Portuguese settled the island, and now a sizable fraction of the residents speak Portuguese. The island came under British rule, however, with the Peace of Utrecht in 1763. In the 1800s many atrei from the mainland were brought there by the British to work the sugar plantations. In 1859 Britain ceded Erithin to Bergonia.
The island is a monstrously complex volcanic formation, with acluster of six volcanoes forming the island's center, and five others in a range running along the eastern coast. Three of the volcanoes in the center are alive; they smoke and occasionally spew lava. There have been many small eruptions during recorded history, but nothing serious. However, long formations of hardened lava and several strata of ash show that Erithin has seen cataclysmic eruptions from both central and eastern volcanoes within the past twenty thousand years. The activity of these peaks has been used to explain the disastrous floods described in the Atlantean epic Mineoathi, and modern geologists suggest that eruptions in Erithin caused a tsunami that crashed over Bergonia and affected three continents. The geologists have confirmed that Erithin was once a lot larger than it is now, but that approximately twelve thousand years ago a major eruption caused perhaps as much as a hundred square miles collapse into the ocean. Such an event would explain the massive tsunami. Erithin, not surprisingly, is famous for its hot springs. The island receives much rainfall in the windward side, and little on the leeward, which is covered with dry shrub, succulents and grasses, with trees growing along the streams and creeks.
The island is devoid of mineral wealth, save for some deposits of precious stones that the original Svegot settlers exploited, and some oil wells, both on land and off shore to the west. The small population engages in little agriculture, chiefly because of the lack of water for irrigation, but they do grow enough food for self-sufficiency, and their goats and sheep graze on the yellow grass. Tourism is now the largest industry.
This lesre is located in southeastern Bergonia. Its geography is extremely diverse, ranging from sharp mountain peaks in the north to the flat dry coastal plain in the south.
The northern border is formed by the South Range of the Spichelamo Mountains, called the Utechamo, with peaks of over 10,000 feet high. Reaching south from the Utechamo are five forested ranges, each with peaks reaching over 8,000 feet. The northern heights of Balupic were the Balupi people’s ancient homeland. In these moist hills they still grow tea, coffee, nuts, and redbean. The forests of the northern ranges produce some of the best mahogany in the world, in addition to other fine woods. Balupic as a result has numerous furniture factories.
In contrast the southern third of Balupic is almost completely flat, part of the Bienton‚ coastal plain (See Serpei), very dry and sparsely planed with thorn trees, shrub and short grass. While the Beinton plain is very arid, the mountains collect moisture in the easterly trade wins and the result is that the mountains receive in excess of 60 inches of rainfall. The rain feeds rushing steams that tumble south through the valleys and on to the plain. They feed into the Metafon River‚ which meanders across the plain into Serpi and meets the sea at the extreme southeast corner of Bergonia. Agriculture in the flat, dry south has depended largely on use of these rushing river waters for irrigation. Here, as in Serpi, is grown cotton and tobacco.
The Balupi are a tight knit people who have always valued their independence. They speak Minidun like all the other atrei of the east, but their dialect is quite distinct. It is the Sampana dialect, also spoken by the natives of the Kurin people of Kalicon. The Sampana dialect shares features and historical antecedents with the Foi dialect. However the dialect is somewhat unintelligible to the main Dura-Amota dialect of the Minidun language, due to its peculiar pronunciation, its odd idioms, and the six hundred words unique to it.
Before 0 A.D. the Balupi fought off the advance of Kuan-Amota colonists who came south, and also the military advances of the First Ceoilaian Empire. The Balupi people enthusiastically embraced the new Shufrantei religion as it spread east. Being on the winning side increased the Balupi's power, and they moved down out of the mountains and valleys and into the plains. In the 400's the Second Ceiolaian Empire dispatched its armies all over eastern and central Bergonia, and only two nations were able to stop them. One was the big rich state of Halemarec and the other was the small state of Balupi. Afterwards the Balupi courageously maintained their independence against all other nations until the British came in the late 1500s. Like all other atrei nations, the plagues devastated the Balupi people, but the survivors stoutly resisted the British until as a compromise the British established a protectorate over them. During the war for Independence in the 1770s they tied down so many British troops by threatening the Colony of Harler that the great patriot general Peislei credited them with making his own successes possible. Even so, for the next sixty years they resisted incorporation into the Bergonian state. Presently the Balupi stand proudly in their independence. They fly a distinct square flag with a stylized spray of redbean on a gold field with a red border. This flag is ubiquitous throughout the lesre.
The Balupi are a very homogeneous people-- 97% of the population is of Minidun blood and presumably 90% of these speak the Balupic dialect. There is little Christianity here, since the Balupi always resisted European influences. In the colonial era they fiercely resisted both English and Spanish encroachments, but they finally submitted to indirect English rule in exchange for a promise not to allow English settlers within their demarcated territory. Throughout its modern history the Balupi tend toward uniformity in their tendencies, and they tend to vote as a bloc, typically giving big majorities to the favored candidates. In the 1800s they strongly favored the Mountain Lion party. After Rarsa’s reign the Feral Cats recruited heavily there, though until the leftward shift in the 1920s the Conservative Party won most elections. They resisted the Ciranic movement in the late 1800s and early 1900s that called for synthesis between all the native and European cultures. Since the Revolution they have given almost unqualified support to the Social Federalists, who support greater autonomy for the lesre at the expense of the national government.
This southeastern province is largely flat and dry. The plains, however, end in northern CorifoiI, where ranges of hills extend down from the southeastern edges of the Ifuno Plateau, where breathtakingly steep ridges stretch southward into Corifoi. While the lowlands that cover most of the province are relatively dry, these ridges are densely forested. There are many outcroppings of bare granite rock. The Bergoli River forms the eastern border of the province, with Balupic on the other side. The main river in the province is the Iuchitat that flows southward from the ridges, across the plains. In the south of Corifoi, the Iuchitat turns eastward and flows into the Bergoli. Between the Iuchitat and the Bergoli one finds some of the most fertile, productive cotton growing country in all Bergonia, thanks to irrigation.
Corifoi derives its name from the Corifon people who comprise 85% of the population. The territory along both banks of the Iuchitat has always been the home of the Corifon people. They have lived there as a coherent tribe since the time of the Second Ceiolaian Empire. They were descendant of colonists from the Amota lands of the east. Their dialect has been called Corifon as well and is virtually identical to the Amota in vocabulary, although it has its own idioms and accent.
The Corifon people are traditionally big farmers who grow cotton and citrus fruit on irrigated farms. They have also raised cattle on big plots. They have been among the most iconoclastic people on the island, and also among the most conservative. The ancient clan structure is still strong among them. Outsiders find them dour, serious, and unfriendly. They are considered hicks, although a great many Corifons have gone on to achieve prominence in politics, sports and the arts. There is a longstanding feud between the Corifon and the Balupic people, making for derisive jokes, barroom fights, and spirited sports competition, although to other Bergonians they seem very similar. In the past, Corifoi and Balupic have warred and competed politically against each other. They have no impressive dance, song or literature, but, compatible with their serious character, they have developed very impressive traditions of serious folk drama and lamenting poetry.
Corifoi is the home to a large number of Black people. These people are the descendants of slaves who ran away from the English cotton and sugar plantations of Serpi and Soleinia. A small number of Blacks were brought over from Africa in the 1700's to work as slaves when the English planters decided the Bergonians were too intractable to make good field peons. But in the late 1700's and early 1800's many of the Blacks simply fled the fields of slavery. They sought refuge in what was then the semi-independent state of Corifoi into which direct British rule did not extend. They settled in small farms and formed little villages. They came to speak Corifoi. They intermarried with the native Corifoians.
Politically the SFP is very strong there. Before the revolution the Conservatives predominated.
The Free State of Giles
Giles is a very small lesre located along the lower part of the Bergoli River valley, just south of the border of Foi-Pentanta. Giles used to be part of Foi-Pentanta, but was made independent in 1953. Giles now has 700,000 people, 83% of which are of English descent. The people are descended from Puritan settlers who came to Bergonia in 1660 and who moved inland from the coast to avoid domination by the English Anglicans. They established what they wanted to be a Christian Commonwealth. Throughout the next century English dissenters found Giles a good refuge. The name honors George Giles, a militant dissenter, the settlement's founder. He brought a number of sects and groups to Bergonia from England after the Restoration. (See Dissenter Christian origins of socialism.)
The main town is Kingston, located on the banks of the Bergoli River. Nearby is a high bluff, atop which is a great high cross, 700 feet tall, visible for miles around. The arms are shortened out of design necessity, but its Christian identity is immediately apparent. It was built in the early part of this century, as the result of a major drive for funds from Christians all over Bergonia and the world, and regarded as an engineering marvel. But in 1945 a hurricane storm caused the cross to fall, killing twenty-eight people. Another fund drive commenced, this time with Bergonians of all faiths chipping in, and it was rebuilt in the 1950's.
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