Birth of the Bergonian
Republic. the war for independence against the British, culminating in
the Treat of Lisbon, with British colonies remaining in the south.
first government of the
Republic: the "First Commonwealth."
three political parties.
Portuguese Amota, taking advantage of the
Napoleonic invasion of Portugal.
President Mansour and the War of 1824 with Britain,
resulting in the annexation of most of Britain's southern colonies
over the Franchise in a time when the vote was limited to the wealthy.
1820s & 30s--
The political and cultural Resurgence
of the Atrei.
ethnic violence, breaking out in Pasiana and Amota between Christians
and non-Christian atrei.
and the end of sectarian warfare, curing
The Second Commonwealth and the
"Uprising of the Interior" and
the Mountain Cat Revolution, culminating in the
conquest of Britain's last major colony.
Dictatorship of John Rarsa, a pro-business authoritarian national
1879-- The Third Commonwealth, the new republican constitution that
allowed Rarsa to remain president until 1885.
industrialization, urbanization, and formation of the Proletariat
Growth of Organized Labor
Ciranic Cultural Movement, a
deliberate movement to fuse European civilization with ancient Bergonian.
under the British
After the last French garrison disbanded and
the last French ship left
Bergonian ports in 1763, Britain virtually controlled the entire island. Five independent states (four
Nacateca and one Minidun) and innumerable local strongmen were allowed to
exist in the island's interior.
In tune with mercantilist doctrine, Britain immediately decreed that Bergonians
could no longer trade with French or Spanish or any other Europeans.
Only British ships could visit Bergonian ports, and only individuals and
companies operating under British license could export Bergonian silver,
iron, wood, sugar, cotton, wool, linen cloth, and paper. Almost
immediately, the granting or refusal of these licenses became a huge issue
to the entire merchant class.
In reaction the north coast cities organized
resistance. These cities were largely dominated by a wealthy class of French
colonial traders & planters, and a conjoint upper class of Catholic natives. In
1766 they organized the Companie de Libre Cites to assert their interests collectively
against the seven new Crown Governors.
During the late 1700's the atrei (native) population rebounded with rapid growth.
Most of this growth occurred on the Ifuno
Plateau, a region penetrated by only a
few thousand European colonists. By 1766 the Ifuno was home to perhaps ten million
people, nearly all atrei, and about 40% of Bergonia's total population. Here
atrei, not Europeans, comprised the upper class of planters and traders (though
most of them had adopted European dress). They were about evenly split between Catholic and
Miradi. They generally had little regard for the British, and had generally preferred the
French. During the Seven Years War the French had given some of them arms, and
others had hired their own gunsmiths to make arms themselves. After
the war many of them maintained their own militia forces. Armed militias under
control of local strongmen would plague the next one hundred years of Bergonian history.
1777- 1787: The Birth of the Bergonian
In 1766 the British
army established a garrison of 600 regulars in the fort built by the French just outside of
Ceiolai. They furthered their control over
the teaming city of 300,000 with a militia of natives to police the city and surrounding
country, an arrangement they inherited from the French..
In 1777 the militia commander ordered one of his officers, a major named Michel
Peislei to escort visiting British officers around. Peislei refused
this rather demeaning task and
retired to the fort where his regiment was stationed. "I have had
enough of Europeans," said Peislei, who had served under the French as
well. When the militia commander came to arrest
him for insubordination his men rushed to protect him. He and his regiment defected en
masse, marching out of the fort and retreating into the countryside.
The militia commander did what he was supposed to; he summoned the British. British
cavalry and infantry pursued Peislei's regiment of 1,200 native men, but
Peislei broke his
men up into small bands and melted away.
At the same time and in the same city a Nacateca man named Nuronia
Chaladoni ran a Mindun language newspaper that attracted readers with sarcastic
lampoons of the British and indignant condemnations of the generally sorry state of
Bergonian affairs. Peislei also wrote enthusiastically about the
rebellion of the 13 American Colonies and had the previous year published
the Declaration of Independence. He publicized Peislei's desertion, openly endorsed
it, and hinted that
young men should get horses and go join his ranks. Many did.
The British closed
Chaladoni's paper, and Chaladoni fled into the countryside himself to join
Peislei's army grew larger and stronger. On 20 April 1780 he put his
entire force of 6,000 on the field to oppose a combined force of British Army and Ceiolaian
Militia. Peislei's army outflanked, overran and massacred them. The next day
his men marched directly into Ceiolai, with cheering crowds. The British Governor surrendered the city to
Peislei's second-in-command after accepting a written promise that all Crown subjects
could leave the city.
On 23 April Peislei rode into Ceiolai in an open carriage as
part of a grand procession. Marching drummers preceded him. Along the parade route
he stopped and gave short speeches, repeating each time that he intended to form a
government independent of Britain and that he would make war on Britain until there was
one independent Bergonian republic. The crowds cheered.
On 24 April Peislei broke his word and seized a number
of Crown citizens, several trders, several officers and some wives and
children. He locked them up in the municipal jail, and he gave the
remaining British subjects three days to leave the city. The British
Governor, himself subject to the order to evacuate, angrily protested.
On 30 April
1780, now celebrated as Bergonia
Day, the chief
national holiday, Peislei
and Chaladoni appeared together and proclaimed five principles: (a) total independence
from Britain and all other European powers, (b) citizenship and protection for all whites who wish
to live in Bergonia and give loyalty to Bergonia, (c) equality of all
citizens, groups and religions, (d) a ban on foreign (especially British) traders. Then Peislei read a "Call to
the Peoples of Bergonia" (written by Chaladoni), asking
all men to rise up against the British "Snapping Turtles" and form a
Peislei the general and Chaladoni the writer formed an unbreakable partnership.
The Companie du Libre Cites responded enthusiastically
to the call. At the northwest
port city of Sonai in 1783 the Companie organized a successful revolt against the
British. Delegates from all the Companie cities came to Sonai and formed a
Congress. Here they intended to get a jump on Peislei in the
organization of a new independent state. They intended this Congress
to be representative of all pro-independence forces, and they invited
Peislei to send delegates. But they also intended to dominate the
Peislei and the Companie Congress agreed to an alliance, as
each recruited volunteers for enlarged forces. The confederated Companie forces
liberated the Coninipati region in the northwest and Pasiana in the northeast.
Militias throughout the Ifuno plateau
openly declared themselves subject to Peislei's command. The militias
in Cuecha rose up and marched on the city of Cationi where the British had
inherited the French naval fort and placed a large garrison. The
British held the central northern coast and the crucial port of Comleta, and thus managed
a wedge that separated the independence forces. But on 11 October 1786 Peislei decisively defeated a
British army and native auxiliaries near the Compagnie city of Eleanor,
just 60 miles east of Comleta, destroying the wedge. Soon a great swath of northern, central
and western Berg were utterly free of the British.
Prime Minister Pitt concluded that
half a defeat now was
better than a protracted, costly war, so long as Britain could still trade with Bergonians
and buy the gold, iron and wood produced in northern and central Bergonia. He
invited the rebels to negotiations, and on 28 October
of Lisbon took effect, whereby Britain consented to the Republic's
The treaty terms indicated the still
considerable strength of the British, preserving for Britain all southern Bergonia (where the English colonists
lived and where cotton and sugar were grown). The treaty also allowed for British traders the same rights to Bergonian
ports as Bergonian traders, with preferential tariffs for imports from
Britain. Here Peislei had failed to keep one of his promises, but he
had achieved enough of a victory as to win adulation from all over Bergonia.
The map below shows the results of the
Treaty of Lisbon, with the seven-state Republic in the northern two-thirds
of Bergonia, and also the three independent "treaty-states" in
the southeast and the two protectorates in the southwest to buffer and
protect the British possessions.
The first government of the
This regime became known to people of later
times as the "First Commonwealth."
In 1788, the same year that the antagonists signed
the Treaty of Lisbon,
Peislei and the Congress agreed to a constitution
for their new republic. It split power between a presidency (using the Minidun word Pacunot,
which meant Emperor) and a unicameral congress.
The constitution recognized seven
states: (a) Ceiolai, (b) Amota, (c) West-Land,
(d) Goninbad/Coninipati, (e) Comleta, (f) Pasiana, and (g) Southland. The constitution required that each
state have its own constitution, and allowed the national congress the power to veto a state
constitution. Each of the states had either a
congress or senate (or both), and an executive council. The states had
all basic law-making powers, with largely concurrent powers with the national
government. The constitution established the national government as
a government of limited powers, like the American Constitution of 1789.
The national Congress
was unicameral, consisting of delegates elected from local constituencies
which the state congresses delineated. Congressional elections
occurred in September every three years.
The constitution confirmed Peislei as
president for life, after which Congress would elect the
president for four year terms. The President was commander-in-chief.
With Congress' approval the president and appointed the prime minister and
the other ministers, but he had no veto power.
The Republic's constitution prescribed elections, but elections were novel to the great mass of
Bergonians. The local gentry quickly acted so that elections would
assure, not challenge, their power. The constitution left it to state and
local governments to decide who could vote in elections. This created
a variegated electorate, but in every state the franchise was limited to a
select few. The most conservative of the French whites totally dominated the
process in Pasiana and Comleta. In those two states they defined the
electorate by the amount of taxes paid, which was generally in the range
of 200 Bergonian Francs per year, which excluded nearly all atrei.
The only atrei wealthy enough to pay that prohibitive amount were either
traders in cities or Iregemi in the country, and nearly all these privileged
atrei were Catholics. In the other states the French idea of
influenced the concept of voting, so that the franchise was
class-based. This meant that the vote was reserved for (a) landed males (individually, with
absolute rights over the land, per European law) with estates worth so
(b) members of selected professions (e.g. law, medicine). Some
local governments added a
poll tax (at least 80 Francs a year), which permitted any wealthy person to buy the privilege of voting.
Thus, only about five percent of the male adults could vote in any state.
A majority of the first Congress was
French-speaking whites and sherei. The Compagnie group was very well
represented from Coninipati, Comleta and Pasiana, and quickly developed
alliances with the Portuguese ruling class in the state of Amota. Most of the atrei elected to the
first Congress were Catholic and spoke French. They were nearly all
either iregemi from the countryside, rich off the sweat of peasants, or
traders, bankers and professional men from the cities, rich off the
control of money. Only about a tenth of the delegates were Miradi,
as well as can be determined from the historical record.
As president Peislei worked hard to coalesce all
the militias he had under his command into a national army, and he largely
succeeded. Chaladoni served as prime minister,
and he worked well with Congress to organize several important national institutions, including a
mint, and a corps of toll masters who collected tariffs at ports. He
and Congress also created five national universities, an intercity postal
service, and a "transportation corps" that sent engineers around
the country to hire the local boys and build roads, bridges and
canals. But many of these efforts were no more than good
starts, and many parts of the hinterlands saw no evidence of a national
government, other than the appearance of the new currency.
Michel Peislei was a very active president,
and poured his energies into forming a single army and a decent
navy. The men who had campaigned with him in the war against the
British formed the nucleus of the new officer class, and these men, the
first generation of career army men, remained very loyal to him. Many of
the Irigemi atrei in the interior had fallen in with Peislei during the
war, supplied manpower for the armies, and sent their sons to the
ranks. Peislei also had the loyalty of the local atrei elites in Ceiolai,
Varsca, Cationi, Piatalani and other inland cities. Peislei could
have coalesced these groups into a political force. Indeed they were
clearly at odds at times with the Compagnie men. But Peislei ended
up his years becoming chummy with the Compagnie men, and he encouraged the
people most loyal to him to join the Conservative Party. Some did,
but most ended up opposing the merchants who dominated the Conservative
party and taking their loyalties somewhere else after Peislei
died in 1793 from a sudden illness.
After Peislei died, the new president, a Frenchman named Jean-Pierre
Lacanne, one of Peislei's most loyal men, reappointed Chaladoni.
1801, when Chaladoni advocated setting a national standard for who could vote, the
Conservatives who dominated Congress booted him out. President Lacanne
defend him, and so the co-founder of the Republic was exiled to private life.
reverted to his original occupation of publisher and worked for the rest of his life in
Ceiolai publishing a very noisy newspaper called Ceiolai
In fact the first national government was weak.
It did little work that had any direct effect on the average family.
For the masses the national government was far away, of little
consequence. Local governments and strong men were instead the
immediate presences in people's lives, and collected all the taxes save
for tariffs. Town and city-dwellers looked to the mayor (sometimes a brutish
strongman, sometimes a skilled compromiser and politician, occasionally
someone intent on building up the community), the magistrates and
the tribunes, and the councils, offices usually filled by the second-born of the local gentry. News of a
president and congress meant nothing to the peasants when the Iregemi took a quarter of
their harvest and then charged them for milling the rest.
But in December 1809 everyone took notice
when the new Republic sudden moved to annex Portuguese Amota.
Portugal's longstanding alliance with
Britain predisposed her to joining the fight against Napoleon, along
with Spain. But Napoleon managed to purchase an alliance with Spain
and in October 1807 he concluded the secret Treaty of Fontainenbleu by
which Spain consented to the dismemberment of Portugal. A French
army rushed across a compliant Spain. To avoid capture the royal
family and government fled Lisbon by sea on 27 November 1807 and relocated
to Brazil. British generals thereafter commanded the defense of
Portugal and held the French off, though with much devastation and loss of
It was in this context that the Bergonians
conspired to annex the Portuguese possession of Amota, exploiting the
sudden weakness of the colonial master. In fact, at the same time
Napoleon negotiated Fontainebleu, he secretly negotiated with the
Bergonian Republic to join the war against Britain. After the
destruction of the French fleet at Trafalgar in 1805, Napoleon's naval
options were drastically reduced, and he now sought to draw Bergonia into
a naval war with Britain, to harass British shipping in aid of his
blockade of Continental ports against British shipping. Jacques
Gouraud, Bergonia's third president, agreed to initiate hostilities
against British shipping in exchange for the Portuguese possession.
This was a point of pride, to a certain extent, since Napoleon became the
first European leader to deal forthrightly with the Republic as an equal.
But it seems that Napoleon was giving little more than an honorific for
something the Republic probably would have done anyway, and it seems the
Bergonians were not giving up so much either, since they grossly
misrepresented their naval strength to Napoleon, who had no way of
verifying the truth.
The annexation itself involved a
proclamation from President Gouraud in Ceiolai, citing Peislei's
"Call to the Nation," a well-organized, patient movement of
troops from the north & northwest, and the collaboration of numerous
atrei iregemi and traders in Amota. Gouraud's proclamation
guaranteed the status and property rights of the Portuguese colonials.
Bergonia used the occasion of the alliance
with Napoleon to renounce the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon that
granted preferences to British traders and shipping. And there was
an actual violence against British Atlantic shipping, in 1810 and
1811. The attacks were nothing more than random acts of piracy on
the open seas, in order to seize good-sized ships for conversion into
naval use. As Napoleon's fortunes faded, the Bergonians ceased their
attacks. There was no formal treaty ending hostilities between
Britain and Bergonia, merely an exchange of letters between
Bergonia refused to negotiate Britain's key
demand for compensation for the the stolen ships, and then Gouraud
aggravated matters by writing an angry letter to prime minister Perceval--
"His Royal Highness should be expressing gratitude to his former
subjects for the kindness they did by returning all prisoners to his care,
but your protests on his behalf reminds his former subjects of their
reasons for rejecting his rule." The British responded in the
manner of a superpower; on 13 May 1812 a British naval squadron caught a
Bergonian fleet trying to reach the harbor at Glen and sunk fifteen of
twenty-six ships-- Bergonia's own Trafalgar, destroying half its total
But the annexation of Amota clearly
announced a new expansionist policy of the Republic-- with the goal of
liberating all Bergonian lands from colonial control and uniting the
entire island under the federal Republic.
The Three Political Parties
First came the Conservative Party, formed by
the men of the Compagnie du Libre Cites. It attracted other traders (atrei as well as
French & Portuguese-speaking), men eager to
develop the island's resources (iron, silver, minerals, grains, cotton, wood) for export
to Europe. This party advocated decentralization with strong local
government (which they controlled),
a lassaiz faire approach to everything, low tariffs, and a national government largely
limited to defense, orderly customs, weights and measures, courts for
enforcement of commercial law, and maintaining the currency. In a
word, they were quite bourgeoisie in their outlook. Though
thoroughly European and Christian, they adopted for their symbol an ancient
Bergonian ideogram which meant "bountiful harvest" and
"prosperity." For their flag they rendered this symbol in white against a
red background. This party was really just a coalition of local political
"clubs" and associations. Its conventions tended to shadow the actual
Congress, and many men attended both as delegates. The Conservatives
often received the
support of delegates sent from the interior, usually representative of the
planters) who lorded over the millions of peasants. The Conservatives
dominated Congress until 1820.
The second party evolved from a
coalition called "Chaladoni's
Heirs." After he was cast out
of government, his
supporters organized the Liberal Party,
and soon many people within the
national government, including the commanders of the Army and Navy who were
close to Peislei, joined. The Liberal Party leadership included many more
natives than the Conservatives. The Liberals were concerned with
building national institutions and protecting native industry. This
was a progressive, secular, fully bourgeoisie party. One of their
immediate demands was for extension of the franchise to military men.
These included those who benefited from the growth of national institutions,
including the army. These people supported higher tariffs & duties
in order to fund
the national government and protect domestic manufacturers. They openly discussed universal suffrage. Many
of these men were men who had risen up under Peislei. They dominated
the new state of Ceiolai, and did well in West-Land.
To form the third
atrei living in the cities of the
interior (mostly Miradi, mostly engaged in local commerce, crafts or professions)
organized the Mountain Cat Party
in 1812. The mountain cat symbolized the
highland interior of the country, the native culture, that which is
"untamed" (by European culture). Moreover, throughout
Bergonia, even in the coastal cities, the mountain cat had become a popular
symbol for the nation, as the dragon represented China, the lion stood for
England, Ethiopia and Iran, and the eagle became symbolic of America and Germany. Though many
atrei city-dwellers wore
European dress and usually knew a little of a European language, these men were usually just two or three generations removed from the
purely atrei peasantry,
and still sentimentally attached to the "rolling fens and fields,"
peasant drum music, Solstice bonfires, and the comforts of "Old Man Sun and Brother Rain."
The Mountain Cat Party was the first party to advocate public
supported expansion of the voting franchise and growled about the rich
taking advantage of the little man. The Mountain Cat however tended to agree with
the Conservatives about strengthening local government.
The Mountain Cat and the Conservatives contested most elections in the interior of
Bergonia. Most Miradi natives supported the Mountain Cat, while most Catholic
natives supported the Conservatives. Most of the rich planters who supported Conservative candidates
also secured their power with bribes and with gangs of armed
men. The Mountain Cats organized their own militias.
The Mountain Cat was of course more popular among the
unfranchised classes than the franchised classes. But many
franchised Miradi atrei wanted to expand the franchise, because doing so would tilt the balance of power toward their kind.
Most whites had sufficient land, wealth or professional status that
they could vote, while the vast majority of Miradi believers could
In the coastal regions and the bigger cities
(and wherever the Army had influence) the Liberals were strong, but so were the
Conservatives. Most but not all French gave their allegiance to the Conservatives.
The French Huegonots in Pasiana tended to vote for the Liberals, in opposition
to French Catholics. The Conservatives were the only party with a strong presence in every part
of the Republic.
The Mountain Cat was on the tip of a broader cultural development--
reassertion of the atrei--
the purely native, non-European people. By 1810 a quasi-romantic
movement had engulfed the atrei upper & middle classes. It
idolized Pre-Columbian Bergonian civilization, particularly the Tan Era, the most recent era
that Christopher Columbus interrupted. After 1800 native painters, sculptors, and
craftsmen across the island were imitating Pre-Columbian Bergonian forms, a neo-classicism of a sort.
Poets and writers portrayed a world of balanced order, beauty, urbanity, and wisdom
(and prosperity!): Linen clad men of color sat and convivially deliberated in
councils, bound by group loyalty, exquisite manners and thorough education. Austere brave banda warriors, ennobled by the honor of
the clan system, fought each other chivalrously, and guarded over a pastoral landscape of
happily pious peasant villages and sanctified temples. Native authors retold the old
mythology in new accounts. The increase in the native publishing capacity made these
books wildly popular. Even many of the Christian
President Mansour and the War of 1824 with Britain
The conservatives dominated the government until 1820,
when the Liberals managed to win a plurality in Congress and elected their
first President. He was Edouard
Mansour, a recently retired general who had been one of Peislei's
younger protégés. His
father was French-speaking white and his mother was Nacateca-speaking
Catholic atrei. He had been educated as a physician and a zoologist. He
was six feet five, spoke five languages (including Latin), had a sense of
humor like a whip, and tried to attend Mass every day.
In 1822 tensions between
the native Pasan and the French populations in Pasiana boiled over into violence.
Pasiana's population was divided into four groups: Huguenot French, Catholic
French, Catholic Pasans and Miradi Pasans. The French upper class solidly controlled the governments, and French planters lorded over
both Pasan and French peasants growing wheat. Non-Catholic Pasan peasants rose up and set
fire to mansions of the planters. Pasan farmers also struck out against the
neighboring villages of French farmers. It turned into an ethnic conflict.
Mansour unhesitatingly sent the Army in to quell the fighting.
In 1824 a border skirmish allowed Mansour an excuse to
aggressively attack the British
colonies in southern Bergonia. Three columns advanced from north to
south, one through Lampanira into Incuatati, one down the Serofi River to
Alai Arsai, and one coming down the Bergoli into Balupic. It was in
this bold campaign that the Bergonian Army first used mounted infantry in
large numbers. At the same time the Navy commenced a relentless
series of attack & run operations against British shipping. The
Bergonian aggression utterly surprised the British. It became
Mansour and his generals & admirals had been planning for this campaign two years before.
The subsequent treaty surrendered to the Republic all the
British colonies except the southeastern territory called Serpei (Serpia by
the Brits) and the islands of Bruntaigo and Urthin. The huge excellent ports
in Harler and Midway allowed the Royal Navy two last redoubts in Bergonian seas.
This treaty also abrogated the privileges accorded to British traders in the Treaty
of Lisbon. A great many English speakers picked up
and moved to other British colonies. But a great many more took
solace at how well the French and Spanish speaking whites had done under
the Bergonian Republic. They decided to stay and test Mansour's
lavish assurances of safety.
Mansour earned great popularity for himself. But the
restricted franchise resulted in
Conservatives regaining control of Congress in 1825, and they elected their
leader, Gerrard Pinchon to replace
Mansour as president. This created outrage in almost every sector of
the population, even among the ignorant and usually apathetic atrei peasants in the interior, as the news
slowly percolated across the Ifuno plateau. Mansour in a sense had the
last laugh, because his popularity has lasted. Almost every city and
town in present-day Bergonia has a street named Mansour. On the other hand hardly anyone recalls much about Gerrard Pinchon-- he is as well known to
today's Bergonians as Martin Van Buren is to Americans.
debates over the Franchise
Renewed demands were made for
expanding the franchise. The Liberals and the Mountain Cat united on this issue, but
they did not succeed in winning back Congress from the Conservatives until 1831. They immediately fell out
over whom to elect president. They resolved to negotiate the matter,
the middle of their talks the Liberals suddenly betrayed the Mountain Cat
and reached an agreement with the
Conservatives to make the Liberal candidate, Sefe Cialuea, the new president.
He replaced Pinchon. The price extracted by the
Conservatives was for the Liberals to defer on the franchise issue. This deal
outraged Mountain Cat supporters.
Some states, however, expanded the franchise without
waiting for the national government, including Southland, Westland and
Lampanira. This happened usually when it
suited the Liberals, to a certain extent to appease the local Mountain Lion. In
states like Pasiana, Comleta & Amota, where the Conservatives
dominated, the franchise was kept tightly restricted. However, in most states
the Liberals had won the vote for all army and navy
1820s & 30s--
The political and cultural resurgence of the Atrei
1780s' rebellion against the British had two prongs, the first a coalition of French
settlers and the second a new educated class of atrei, mostly but not all
Catholic, in bourgeoisie occupations-- mill owners, merchants, city government officials, doctors and the like. The
resulting Bergonian Republic had a government dominated by Catholic French and
but in time the Miradi atrei and other ethno-religious groups asserted
Publishers were printing-- for
the first time-- the ancient classics of Pre-Columbian Bergonian
civilization. Artists and designers started aggressively imitating and
Bergonian forms in painting, sculpture and decoration. Writers and printers
produced a flood of novels, poetry and
histories in the atrei languages. It was all part of
the process of the atrei rediscovering themselves after the long night of
colonialism. It was also the beginning of serious European interest
in Bergonian culture. All the classics were translated into French,
English and Portuguese editions, and in time they became available to
educated European audiences.
The resurgence was reinforced by the explosion of
Bergonian nationalism after the War of 1824. The British suffered a rather stiff humiliation at the
hands of a bunch of dark-skinned heathens. Because the victory came
so handily, the years after 1824 was a time of great chest-thumping. For the first time a conscious sense--
a consensus-- of Berg patriotism took hold in the city streets,
marketplaces and salons, and spread across the countryside so that the
national flag appeared even in small remote villages.
After Mansour lost power, a group called
(Min., pronounced "Zow'-mi-tawn," So-Amichitei in Nacateca) attracted thousands of
supporters from among young native Miradi men, robbing critical support from the
Mountain Lion. Zaomitan took the native resurgence
another step by preaching the superiority of native culture and religion. Arguing that
Europeans had enslaved the native people and suppressed native religion and
Zaomitan condemned Christianity vehemently. Yet Zaomitan did not
advocate suppressing Christianity or otherwise harassing whites.
Instead Zaomitan advocated legal equality of all races and universal male suffrage.
of its leaders even advocated women's suffrage as well. Zaomitan began as a political movement, largely for the disenfranchised
peasants who were just beginning to awaken politically and form associations. Zaomitan
represented something new in the Republic's history-- it was the first
well organized mass movement-- with national, regional and local officers
functioning in a hierarchy from a central command.
When native non-Christian members of the
enfranchised middle class turned to Zaomitan, it started winning elections
in the late 1820s.
Zaomitan became something of a hysteria, sweeping the interior regions
where European influences were weakest. Even many of the rich atrei Iregemi swung
toward Zaomitan. This was so, even as the Zaomitan affiliated with
the new peasant associations. All over the Bergonian Republic, atrei
were flying the Zaomitan flag.
Ethnic Civil War
In the 1834 Congressional election Zaomitan
upset the Liberals and Conservatives and shocked everyone by winning 38% of
the seats and thereby a slight plurality. All Miradi atrei who could
vote voted for Zaomitan.
This new Zaomitan strength came at the
expense of the Mountain Lion, which was left with only 5% of the
delegates. The Liberals were also decimated. In the new
Congress the small delegations of these two parties joined with the
still-strong Conservatives to elect a Conservative
president. But then they then joined with the Zaomitan to pass laws expanding the franchise.
The Zaomitan, lacking an outright majority, were smart enough to effect whatever
they could. And so they crafted a law to set up a minimum franchise for the entire country. They enfranchised
everyone working in
the enumerated bourgeoisie professions, all individual owners of land, all army and navy
officers and sergeants. They also enfranchised
anyone who paid 100 Francs in taxes. This was, from the Zaomitan's
point of view, a rather sorry compromise, even though it would triple the size of the electorate and thereby increase the
proportion of atrei and Miradi voters.
The very next day after the enfranchisement
enacted someone assassinated the Zaomitan leader, and people rumored that Army commanders were
conspiring with the Zaomitan to overthrow the government. The new
Zaomitan leader, Capateron Iteia, was less accommodating than his deceased
predecessor. When Congress met in special session to honor the assassinated
leader, Iteia, known as the "Fat Priest" for his
girth and his sanctimoniousness, gave the keynote eulogy. In it he
boldly let everyone know that Zaomitan intended to push again the next
year for a real republic with universal franchise. It was a clarion
call, a bold announcement that time had come for Bergonia's European
minority to let go the reins to the resurging majority, that time was
coming for Bergonia to admit to its non-European soul. The speech
was published a hundred times over, from one end of Bergonia to
another. It inspired and excited the atrei of all classes.
Even though Iteia spoke of tolerance, of "secure communities of
settlers" and an "absolute guarantee for all religious practice," the Europeans reacted with dread. They understood
their numerical disadvantage was finally catching up to them, and the
recent ethnic tension everywhere convinced them that the Zaomitan would
In early 1835 French and Spanish Europeans in northern and eastern Bergonia hurriedly
formed militias, fearing some form of oppression. They formed roadblocks against
traveling atrei and refused orders from provincial and national authority.
They took over a number of fair-sized cities, including Badajo, Ceveron,
Columbie, and Comleta. The
national politicians in Ceiolai all sang a chorus of accusations against Britain for
arming the ethnic rebellion. Indeed the militias sent secret
appeals for aid to Britain and France, and Britain apparently gave the
militias' foreign agents access to both arms purchases and ships to bring
the arms to Bergonia.
Thereafter urban mob violence and murderous feuding between European and native communities broke out
in many parts of Bergonia-- the
worst wave of island-wide violence in centuries, perhaps ever. A tit-for-tat,
eye-for-an-eye pattern of attacks
between the ethnic communities powered the wave. Some of the Catholic natives
supported their Catholic European brethren, especially since Zaomitan had
explicitly identified the divide as religious and cultural, not racial.
In the summer of 1836 a full
scale rebellion by European (mainly Spanish & some English) militias ripped the
region apart. The Army went to war against them. The fighting was fierce.
The same year Pasiana exploded in sectarian violence when the Miradi Pasans attacked the
French. While perhaps the violence elsewhere claimed five or ten lives at a time,
the Pasans & French were killing each other by the hundreds. Militias
there slaughtered women and children.
The 1837 election was a catastrophe.
War and election day violence
disrupted the elections so badly that a full 22% of the Congressional seats were not
filled in the regular balloting. Zaomitan won a incredible 45% of the seats,
provoking united opposition from all the other parties. Zaomitan hotly argued that the other three cheated
them in the rules on filling the vacant seats. Of the 22% unfilled seats, 8% were
never filled, so bad was the violence in certain areas. Zaomitan
was denied an outright majority.
Having run out of legalisms,
Zaomitan and its allies in the Army attempted a coup d'etat in Ceiolai before Congress
could convene and elect a new president. A gruff
pipe-smoking whisky-drinking general named
Jisan Amitron commanded Army units loyal
to Zaomitan, or to him personally, which together comprise a majority of the
Army's deployable units. Many of the Conservatives, Liberals and
Mountain-Cat delegates reconvened Congress in the city of Lefitoni and declared a general
named Jorem Vetrom the president.
It looked like a real civil war would break out between the
and their supporters. Troops clashed in the southwest suburbs of
outside the sprawling campus of Ceiolai's prestigious University, causing
fires that destroyed many campus buildings. The Zaomitan leaders saw that the
slide to violence
would ultimately benefit the Christians militias, and risk the
disintegration of the unified Republic. Therefore they strategically sued for peace.
They acceded to the election of Vetrom (a
Miradi, thus more acceptable to them) as president,
and they allowed a compromise candidate to become the powerful
Speaker. Vetrom gave his word that Amitron could command an aggressive offense against the
Christian militias. The Liberals, the Conservatives and the Mountain
Cats (what was left of them) agreed to Zaomitan's most essential
demand, which was the universal franchise. Thus a horrible crisis was
averted by a historical compromise.
The government and the Army were now both
unified, and they could turn their full attentions to the white militias
and the sectarian strife. In 1838 the Army won impressive victories against
White militias in the
west and in Amota. The militias relinquished control of all cities and
fled into the countryside, and then truces were called. But blood continued flowing in Pasiana. The Army
only succeeded in occupying the major city of Columbie and the coastal cities. When the
surviving combatants, local factions started negotiating cease-fires.
General Amitron was
prepared to press on, but the Liberal Party prevailed upon Zaomitan to negotiate with
Cardinal Mireau of Comleta for a way to peacefully end the fighting. So in 1839 the Cardinal
issued a pastoral letter suggesting to all Catholics to negotiate directly with Zaomitan
and other such groups. The Church helped bring the militias to a round
of negotiations with the government. The leaders of the political
parties, including Zaomitan, at the request of the Cardinal, traveled to
Comleta and started a round of negotiations concerning national
1839 -- The
In late 1839 they negotiated a compact they called
statement of principles that included
for a guarantee of
borders between local ethnic communities,
1. A call
pledge of non-interference between them the local ethnic communities,
pledge by all parties to refrain from taking up arms,
4. A pledge to go to arbitration or court over communal or
state guarantee of title to the land of all temples and churches of
6. A state guarantee to keep churches and
temples sacrosanct, whenever violence breaks out, an a communal pledge never
to commit violence against a church or temple, or a school or hospital or
orphanage or a water source.
A recognition of the right of sanctuary: no
militiamen or other armed men can ever enter a church or temple, not even
to pursue criminals.
The document was endorsed by all the
Archbishop of Comleta and all the nation's other Catholic hierarchy, the
Huguenot Churches in Pasiana, and the leaders of the eight Miradi
denominations. This document circulated optimistically all over the
country. The Liberal Party got a lot of credit for this, more than
The horrible outbreak of sectarian violence between French speakers and
Pasans nearly wrecked Pasiana. Ethnic quarrels elsewhere produced rioting and
rampaging "militias." Christians attacked Miradi temples, and Miradi
attacked Christian churches.
The government sent the army into Pasiana to obliterate
the armed bands. The subsequent martial law government made it its first job to sow
some badly needed trust between the different ethnic groups. It appointed
a commission whose agents went into every city and town in Pasiana to mediate
disputes. These agents worked to earn the trust of both parties, and then encouraged
the parties to extend their trust to include the other. The commission labored
under the explicit assumption that all the antagonists needed and deserved the same
things-- security, prosperity and self-rule. The commission's agents sought
solutions to every little quarrel that popped up between the ethnic groups (property
disputes, commercial practices by French-speaking merchants, water rights) that might
spark violence. "Arguing should first replace fighting; in time conversation
will replace arguing," said the commission chairman. In that manner, the agents
presided over long meetings to keep the parties in dialogue. In the old Bergonian
tradition, meetings did not take place from different sides of long tables, but while
seated in circles in comfortable chairs, over tea, and then followed by dinner.
"Men who dine together will not likely fight." The commission itself
met with the parties over a large map of Pasiana to draw the boundaries of
cantons to allow self-rule to each group. The commission did its work
with the support of the army which quickly went after any group with guns.
1840's-- The Second Commonwealth and the
In the 1840 elections Zaomitan utterly collapsed, and the
outright majority in Congress. A sea change had occurred here-- the Liberals were
the only party than included both natives and Europeans. The Liberals
won big support in the quickly growing cities. The only other party to
pick up support was the previously eclipsed Mountain Lion and new radical atrei parties.
The Liberal version of history blamed the Zaomitan for inciting the civil war, and
General Amitron was
disgraced and forced to quit the military. After purging the Army of
Zaomitan sympathizers, the Liberal government bolstered it and the Navy. It was time to disband the
militias, and the army quickly took up the task. It looked like that
for the first time that real order would prevail throughout the
Zaomitan, now totally discredited, never
recovered any measure of strength again. But historians have been
kind to Zaomitan-- its leadership had made strategically wise compromises
at every turn that served its ultimate goal of strengthening the atrei,
even at the expense of its own power.
The Liberals used the new-found
peace and power to achieve a political revolution, in effect completing
Zaomitan's mission. The Liberals wrote a
new constitution, which (a) increased
the number of provinces from seven to twenty-two, (b) instituted universal
suffrage, with every male over the age of twenty getting the
right to vote, thus keeping the historical promise to Zaomitan, and (c) establishing an electoral college of 7500 delegates from 1500 districts
the president, instead of the Congress. The new constitution incorporated the reforms
contained in the Covenant. This new constitution ushered in what became known as
Journalists of the time and historians ever since dubbed the 1840s the
"Liberal Decade." More significant, perhaps, than the
political reforms was the popular push for education, resulting in the
establishment of new universities,
teaching colleges, technical colleges, academies and private schools. Many city and town governments sponsored and organized
schools. A new generation of educators vowed
that all native children should learn to write the native languages. The
new men at the top adopted the view that no man was a proper Bergonian leader unless he spoke a
native and a European language. The new consensus entailed both the
exploitation of native workers by French & other rich land-owning
Europeans and the extremist native backlash (symbolized of course by the
unfairly denigrated Zaomitan). Hope and tolerance were the
virtues now extolled across the land.
The Liberal Regime was a
bourgeoisie regime that explicitly supported
industrial capitalism. They made it a point to establish
binding, reliable commercial law. Congress established a commission
of jurisprudence to draft a model code of laws. The Commission
imitated the Napoleonic Code and, to a lesser extent, English property
law. All native legal concepts, including the native concepts of
communal property, were tossed aside. Marx regarded this a liberal
bourgeoisie revolution, and regarded the Bergonian bourgeoisie as fairly
well developed, although the Iregemi- whom he regarded as a sizable and
Congress raised tariffs to shield the new
native industries from foreign competition, and strengthened the national
bank. Congress established a National Railroad Commission and a National
1855-64-- "Uprising of the Interior" and
Mountain Cat Revolution
was dead. The 1840s
was a time for the flowering of European Liberal ideas, and the nativist impulse went into
hiatus. It sublimated back into the Mountain Cat party. The Zaomitan
had an egalitarian platform to accompany its chauvinistic ranting, but unfortunately
the latter smothered the former. However, as the new capitalist expansion and
the semi-feudal landowners conspired to keep down the growing masses, egalitarianism made a
The Mountain Cat party continued to press for public schools. It also took
up the peasants' perennial cry for relief from planter privileges. But the Liberals
had courted the native planters (the Iregemi) who still welded much power, and in 1849 the Liberals
formed a coalition with the Conservatives. In 1852, the Mountain Cat and the new,
urban, semi-socialist Lance & Pen Party
each increased their strength in Congress (35 % and 7% respectively) and
forced votes on (a) public schools, (b) elimination of oppressive voters
registration fees and poll taxes, and (c) the right to organize unions and
peasant associations. But the Liberal-Conservative coalition, still
holding a majority, defeated all their bills.
In response, a peasant revolt broke out in
1854 in the inland provinces of
Letlari and Sefaieri. When new peasant leaders united with militia leaders, this
resulted in the violent "Uprising of the Interior."
Lance & Pen immediately sided with the rebellion and encouraged the
Mountain Lion to do so as well. In a decisive moment, the Mountain
Cat leadership voted narrowly to walk out of the government and join the rebels. Then so did a
number of Army generals and colonels.
got rolling with rebel victories. In the 1855 elections, disrupted by
war, the Conservatives won in areas not yet taken by the rebels, but the
rebels very swiftly won the war in 1856.
At the end of the fighting their best general, John
Rarsa, abruptly-- and without
any provocation-- invaded Britain's Harler Colony with 12,000 mounted infantry. The Mountain
Cat in 1857 created a provisional government with its allies, ordered the
navy and marines to seize as many of the British controlled islands as
possible, including large and strategically important Bruntaigo.
Then they negotiated a treaty with Britain in which Britain gave up all
its remaining Bergonian territories, with some limited indemnification as
a face-saving concession by the Bergonians.
In the 1858 election the people rewarded the Mountain Cat with huge
majorities in both Congress and the electoral college. Mountain Cat leader Sesanol Burani became president
and guided his comrades in Congress with a strong hand. A
revolution ensued in the countryside. It was the death of formal
Iregemi feudalism. The Iregemi planters' last legal privileges were swept
away, and the peasants got title to their land and crop. Local voting officials
who prevented peasants from registering were hamstrung. Tariffs were still kept
high. The government created the highly popular grain commission which regulated prices.
A national commercial code was adopted in 1861. This climaxed the process begun in 1840 of creating a
liberal bourgeoisie state.
But afterwards the planters in the
countryside reasserted a more subtle power over the peasants by monopolizing
the mills, offering usurious loans, and setting the price for the peasants'
grain. They also often hired gangs of thugs. The peasant
associations themselves did not shrink from violent counterattacks.
With population rising, and industrial
employment opportunities everywhere springing up, thousands of peasants had
migrated to the cities, swelling them with new slums and squatter camps. Big
industrial concerns emerged in the 1850s, as did large mines for coal and
metals, and thousands of men
from the fields relocated to take these hard, dangerous and underpaid jobs. Bergonia
was rapidly developing an industrial proletariat, and the 1850's saw the first
at unionization. State governments controlled by Conservatives outlawed strikes, and
police attacked labor organizers, although the Burani regime tolerated
unions and even had good relations with some union leaders.
A new upper-class-- the owners of
railroads, steel factories and banks-- accumulated incredible wealth and
power. These men were disproportionately of European descent, but a
sizable minority had darker skin and worshipped occasionally in a Miradi
Dictatorship of John Rarsa
Burani ran for a third term in the 1864 elections. Three months before
election day, Burani attended a reception at the French Embassy. On of
the embassy employees, an atrei serving girl, pulled a pistol from inside
a basket of dinner rolls and killed him. Burani's assassination
plunged the nation into mourning, for he had enjoyed great popularity. The stunned Mountain Cat nominated
the famous John Rarsa as its candidate. Rarsa won the
presidential election handily, but the Mountain Cat
lost its absolute majority In Congress. The Liberals and Conservatives
both increased their delegate numbers. Lance & Pen and other
radical groups which represented the urban classes also elected more
As president, Rarsa displayed the same unpredictability that he showed
during the civil war. He became friendly toward the new
industrialists. He wanted to build Bergonia into a strong military
power, one that could hold its own in the world, and he knew that without
indigenous industrialization he could not procure the weaponry and the
steamships that he wanted. So he turned on his Mountain Cat allies over the issue of
strikes. The rancorous
bickering in the new Congress irritated him. With new labor unrest, the temperature
heated up across the country, and people feared another slide into violence.
On 26 April 1866
Rarsa and the Army conducted a coup d'etat. The radical delegates of
Lance & Pen he had arrested.
The Mountain Cat split, some supporting Rarsa, others indignantly resisting. The
latter he arrested too, and then purged even the Liberal Party delegates. But he made grand
gestures of reconciliation, and won over many people who initially opposed his power
grab. He forged a grand coalition based on the strategy of "Left in the Country, Right in the
City"-- meaning that he won over the peasants (the heart of the Mountain Cat) by
opposing the Iregemi planters, and won over the industrialists by opposing emergent labor.
Both planter gangs and union strikers suffered the Army's wrath. The peasants grew
to love him as he wiped out the planters for good. This was the final
stage of the destruction of the Iregemi.
Bergonia (or at least parts) had suffered war in the
1780s, 1824, 1830s and 1850s. There was no lack of crippled veterans or
war widows. One essayist wrote, "Our passions are our disease,
which is a disease of bloodlust." Rarsa's prescription was simple: "Order and Peace
First," not unlike the Comtean motto of "Order and Progress" (now
emblazing Brazil's flag). 1868 saw a new constitution establishing his dictatorship
and leaving Congress emasculated. By 20th century standards he was a benign
tyrant, but he like every dictator had a dark side. A Department of
horribly efficient by Berg standards-- functioned as a secret police imprisoned several
thousand political prisoners at a time, and a Department of Letters
imposed press censorship. But the people at large called him
"Uncle." Smiling Rarsa dolls
(usually in military dress) and hagiographic biographies of him were common,
and his portraits were ubiquitous.
Only among the laboring proletariat in the cities was he disliked.
Rarsa ruled as dictator from 1866 to 1879. He gave Bergonia its first
strong central government and perfected modern institutions such as good paper money and
a banking system, regularized bureaucracy, commercial and criminal courts,
uniformed police, and prisons, orphanages and asylums-- and especially schools.
Public schools perhaps stand as Rarsa's greatest testament. His
administration was determined to make Bergonia not merely literate, but
educated. In this respect he honored the Zaomitan-Mountain Lion
legacy. During his years heavy
industry boomed (especially textiles, iron & steel, and shipbuilding). The industrialists grew
fantastically rich-- becoming a new upper class and mixing with the dictator and his
All along, John Rarsa maintained his commitment to
"evolving democratic ideas," which meant whatever he wanted it to mean, but
he did make promises that he would end his dictatorship voluntarily and
manage its transition to his chosen successor, rather than holding
onto power until his death. Then, in 1878, he announced that the
country would hold elections for a constituent assembly.
Growth, Industrialization, Urbanization: formation of the Proletariat
By 1880 Bergonia had a population of
63,000,000, larger than the United States. The central government was powerful and the countryside was
peaceful, overall much more free of crime & disorder than before 1840. The
"Third Commonwealth" had regular institutions (tax department,
postal service, national bank, courts) that functioned island-wide, and
elections were now held regularly.
Industrialization: The country rapidly industrialized after
Rarsa took over in 1859, somewhat on par with Italy and Japan. Bergonia's internal
markets were now sufficient to drive demand for
textiles, finished metal goods and other manufactured goods, which in turn
produced demand for iron, steel and coal. Bergonia was able to
satisfy other important prerequisites for industrial growth: a stable
regime of property and commercial law, a stable currency, protective
tariffs, formation of capital, and governments disposed toward
industrialization. Factories in a dozen urbanized areas produced
textiles, steel, tools, ships, steam engines, glass, plumbing, fasteners,
lenses, telegraph equipment, soaps, perfumes, and paper. The
government had the will and the means to engineer large public
works. A good
island-wide network of railroads (completed in 1850) had opened up the
interior, and a large Bergonian navy sailed the Atlantic and penetrated
Foreign markets continued to help drive production of cotton, sugar, beef, fruit and other
commodities. Craftsmen industrialized their operations and turned out large quantities
of Bergonia's specialties: optics, glassware, perfumes, ceramics, things
greatly desired in Europe.
Good harbors made transshipping of goods easy
and inexpensive. Bergonia was opening, at least economically,
to the world.
a critical extent Bergonian industry relied on British
and American capital, but by 1870 Bergonian capitalists were amassing
fortunes, and banks had built up huge reserves, providing plenty of
indigenous capital for new enterprises.
Industrialization and urbanization inevitably produced and crystalized
three new classes:
(a) the urban industrial moguls (the bourgeoisie), dependably
Europeanized, even the participating atrei), (b) a middle class (petty
bourgeoisie, craftsmen, shopkeepers) in varying degrees Europeanized, and
(c) the urban proletariat, utterly atrei.
The Moguls: Bergonia's new industrial elites included both
whites, sherei and atrei. Atrei industrialists, merchants and bankers
eagerly embraced Western ways; some were Christians, others just embraced bourgeoisie
dress, style, manner and values (as did their counterparts in
non-Christian Japan, China, India and Middle East). As the elites
built railroads, factories and mills, these atrei joined the new class of
gilded moguls—in so doing they became utterly modern, secular and
scientific in their outlook, since they almost entirely rejected native
ways and had never been engrained with Christian values. Since only about
one fourth of the people were practicing Christians, the moguls found
little use for Christianity as a tool for control. The moguls (and their
servants who taught in the universities and wrote for the newspapers) were
free to actively champion western secular materialism. The industrialists' wives
and daughters imitated the best Paris and New York fashions and imported
luxury goods from London. As a
class the moguls disdained the native languages in favor of French and
English. The LRP
(Liberal) and Conservative parties both eagerly took money from the moguls
and served their interests.
the New Middle Class: Government, banks and
industry all needed bureaucrats and managers. The ranks of the professional class grew, including physicians, druggists,
lawyers, accountants, clerks, engineers & architects. In the interior
all these people, even in cities like Ceiolai and Varsca, were nearly all
atrei. But in the coastal regions many descendants of European settlers moved into the
professions and trades. Christians were over-represented in this
group, but it included hundreds of thousands of Miradi in responsible
positions with money and status. This swelling class
generated demand for the first mass-produced consumer goods. People
of this class uniformly wore European dress and in varying degrees pandered to European
tastes, with Paris the beacon of fashion. A sizeable portion of them
wore native dress in their homes and on holiday. Many read French and
English novelists and put on at least a pretense of a "liberal"
European-style education, even though they still attended to their Miradi
faith and cremated their dead. They whole-heartedly adopted European Bourgeoisie notions
of propriety and respectability.
The Proletariat-- the New Working Class:
The cities swelled with
shanties built by new immigrants from the countryside, bleak filthy rows of workers
tenements surrounding coal-fired factories whose stacks spewed black soot everywhere. The work week was long and brutal. Diet was
poor (hominy and beans). Only the warm climate made life in the slums of Ceiolai any
more tolerable than the slums of London or Berlin.
When peasants moved to the city for work, the city transformed
them into a different sort of creature. They lost the psychological
foundations of village collectivism. The emerging cities of
industrial capitalism were places of secularism and materialism, where money
values ruled, where the
hold of traditional religion loosened. If you lacked money,
your life or that of your children could be forfeit. Before Columbus
Bergonia had quite big cities (Ceiolai in 1500: 3 million), and even in
such places the clan-system produced stable neighborhoods, and provided
mutual protection and aid. In modern times there was no clan system
to guide and protect newcomers and distressed people, and the modern
industrialized cities began eating people. Folks in the slums often
went hungry. Sanitation was deplorable. Disease was
rampant. Children were often put to work. Young women with
infants had to work as prostitutes. Injured workers were
discarded. Crippled men begged in the sunlight. Unemployed men
thieved in the shadows. The police functioned only to protect money,
and treated the working class the way penitentiary guards treat the
prisoners. The new rich built beautiful mansions, but often built
them behind walls. The "gated community" was invented b
Bergonian industrialists in the 1870s, who wanted the security of high
brick walls against undesired contact with the masses. Fury against
this new cruelty was given voice when union agitators (ironically often sons of the new
bourgeoisie) preached socialism and anarchism to the workers. Among academicians, bohemians and journalists every color and
shade of opinion contended. Unions grew in the factories and mines, and socialism
became a rage.
The Cultural Rift: Both Christians and Miradi
believers among the lower and middle classes found that they had less and less in common
with the moguls and their bourgeois attendants. A wide rift based on class opened, dividing
society between the proletariat and peasantry, and the moguls.
Bergonia shared the same
plight as many other countries--Mexico, Russia, Turkey, China, Japancountries with
heartfelt traditional cultures struggling with (and against) rapid industrialization and
westernization. The particularities of each nation's culture dictated how it
responded to these
encroaching forces. Bergonias native culture had been badly crippled
in the colonial era, and the atrei
were deeply ambivalent, and fractured, about westernization. The
racism smugness of white Western European culture stung resurgent atrei
pride badly, but no significant part of Bergonian society desired the
total rejection of Western influences.
1879: The Third
In 1879 Rarsa organized elections for a constituent assembly and steered the
parties (minus the radicals) to write a liberal constitution. It borrowed from the
American constitution-- balance of powers with a strong veto-welding President, a
prime minister and cabinet
approved by Congress, an independent judiciary, and federalism with 24 states.
The people would elect the President directly, and Congress remained
unicameral. As in every preceding constitution, Congress and the President
were elected every three years. The guarantees of rights were hedged and piecemeal. This became
dubbed the "Third Commonwealth."
However, Rarsa reserved for
himself the presidency, which he kept until 1885.
The party of the Mountain Cat had by now fractured. The moderate "Cats" who
had most loyally supported Rarsa joined the old Liberals in a newly constituted
They supported moderate reforms of the existing order, and largely
became a vehicle for petty-bourgeoisie atrei. Many called the LRP
the "Fat Cats" or "Lap Cats" in laughing mockery of
their their Mountain Cat pedigrees.
The more radical "Cats" (called
"Feral Cats" by their distracters) had dispersed into numerous quarrelsome parties
and formed alliances with labor unions and peasant associations. They
contrived new, sometimes bizarre, and very imaginative ideas for a new
society, usually based on books first published in the 1830s about Tanic society. They
opened flirted with revolution, formed secret societies, and called
themselves socialists. Some studied Marx, but his
"scientific" and "materialist" version of socialism
interested them little.
In the first
election, in 1880, Rarsa won without opposition and the Conservative Party won a narrow
margin in Congress over the LRP. But in 1884 Rarsa retired. His hand-picked successor,
Luken Sebastar, a
man outside the parties, won overwhelmingly in the electoral college. There was now
largely a two party system in Bergonia's history, with the LRP and the Conservatives (the "Silk
Ties"). From 1880 to 1920 the Conservatives and Liberals, with similar policies
to allow the capitalists a free hand at industrialization, gamely competed in
Resurgence of the Left under the Third Commonwealth
1879 Rarsa allowed for the adoption of a liberal constitution, which founded
the Third Commonwealth, and lifted a
lot of the oppressive features of his dictatorship. He remained
president until 1885, after which his successors allowed much more
generous freedom of speech and organization. Thereafter leftists
appeared in the open air and made themselves known.
1885 socialist parties and anarchist groups had formed in all the big
cities, aligned roughly according to whether each favored European
socialism or native concepts. There were literally hundreds
of groups, calling themselves "clubs," the precursor
to the local political clubs that proliferate
Countries like Russia, France and
Britain had one or two major cities where growth of radical or revolutionary
movements could occur in a concentrated, usually centralized fashion.
Ceiolai was Bergonia's great capital, but Bergonia was a country of
many big cities and many regions. It was an environment most conducive
to heterogeneity, and there was no lack of influences, both European and
from pre-columbian atrei.
biggest party was the
Social Revolutionary Party,
strong all over the country, drawing from all demographics. It had ties with the German Social Democrats
the Labor Party in the UK. Like those European parties, it held to
the belief that the revolution could
come through politics, and ran candidates for office. They saw government as the
revolutionary instrumentality, either by government's law-making
authority or government's monopoly on force. Yet they
envisioned socialist ownership of the means of production in terms of
Cats reemerged from hiding
and formed a new vehicle, a party named Parti Reslic Bor
meaning (approximately) "Social Equality
Party." The acronym, PRB, matched the consonants
of "preba," the big mountain cat of Bergonia.
The Commonwealth (Gatlerin) Party
organized by atrei who explicitly embraced socialism, and found justification for socialism on
purely Bergonian grounds. Specifically they borrowed from Tanic
philosophy in Pre-Columbian times, and admired the practices of the Selone.
They argued that a priori considerations of justice
and equity justified socialism. They foresaw a system of worker
collectives and guilds. In time they accepted the theories of
Maniolo Pratli and developed a closeness with the PRB. This party
looked to Lance & Pen as its progenitor and inspiration. Some of
its leaders had participated in Lance & Pen two decades earlier. This party had strong links to the
peasants organizations, all regionally based.
The Democratic Workers
organized by a group of atrei academics who married Tanic philosophy with
both anarchist and socialist thinking from Europe. This party
worked hard to build ties to anarcho-syndicalist unions, and grew with them
symbiotically. Anarcho-syndicalism of course originated in Europe,
but thanks to the DWM anarcho-syndicalism took on a peculiarly Bergonian
cast. For this group as well the Tan Era Selones
were an inspiration. This group was rather mystical, and expressed a
sometimes rather bizarre form of radicalism.
Communist Party, a strictly Marxist
party, sent delegates to the
First International. They became deeply influenced by the English
trade unionists they met at the First International, and returned to
Bergonia with redoubled dedication to start trade unions. They steadfastly
maintained that they were a revolutionary party and refused to run
candidates for election.
more detail see History of the Democratic Left.
By 1860s unions had grown among workers
employed by the new industrial enterprises, including railway workers and
textile workers. After a very large strike among the textile workers
dictator John Rarsa prohibited strikes in
1869. There was, coincidently a wave of strikes in 1885 in both
Bergonia and the United States. The nation's railway workers struck in
1887, and the government attempted to fire all the strikers. Afterwards the Conservative government attempted to ban
In the 1890s new
syndicalist unions formed, to compete against the older
"socialist" unions. Thus, the multiplicity of radical tendencies was mirrored in the nation's
movement, which by 1910 included (a) the
older, larger socialist unions, strong in the interior,
including craft unions, the railroad workers & coal miners, the
newer, more militant industrial unions, interested in
Marxism, springing up between 1895 and 1910,
mainly in the coastal regions, and in new industries, such as iron and
steel workers, ship builders, and chemical and manufacturing workers,
and (c) the anarchist-syndicalist federations, which followed the line set forth by
Proudhon, and were close to the anarchists and the Democratic Workers
Ciranic Cultural Movement
Ciranic was a cultural movement that pushed a new syncretism between the
European and the native Bergonian. It began with painters, sculptors and designers
during the Liberal Decade (1840's). The Ciranic idealized change. It encouraged
dialectic hybridization of forms, both European and Arei. Native artists borrowed European forms, idioms, technique
and technology, and even cultural motifs.
In its inception the Mountain Lion was a strictly nativist movement, originating
in the atrei interior. Borrowing European ideas and
something the Mountain Lion had not always approved of. But most Feral
Cats in the 1870s and 80s, as well as many other atrei radicals, changed their outlook when they saw the sudden onrush of
technology-- gas lights, battleships, electricity, factory mechanization. The Ciranic
convinced many arei that the presence of European culture
in Bergonia was not a problem
for them, but an opportunity. The Feral Cats-- Manioto Pratli in
particular-- therefore decided that a synthesis
between atrei and European culture was Bergonia's best way to go. The
grafting of European democratic and socialist theory onto Tan traditions was
itself an example of this Ciranic fusion. But there were many Liberals
attracted to the Ciranic ideal as well. It was clearly a more
mainstream movement than any of the Left-Wing parties, even promoted
within the Army and the Navy, because ultimately the Ciranic movement
sought the creation of a single nation.
By 1895 the Commonwealth (Gatlarin) Party and the Feral Cats
(PRB) had commenced regular
consultation and cooperation. In 1902 they formed an electoral
and soon closed ranks together entirely. The
two socialist groups also cooperated with the anarcho-syndicalists and the
broad intellectual movement the Feral Cats and to a lesser extent the anarchists both
took democratic, socialist and anarchist concepts from Europe and grafted them onto ancient
Miradi & Tan ideas. The Bergonian socialists and anarchists were
by 1895 quite distinct from their European brethren, and often suffered their denunciations.
Detailed Map of Bergonia, 700-1500 AD
Detailed Map of Colonial-Era Bergonia:
See the entire collection of historical