Bergonian History


The Bergonian Republic


The central government of the new republic started off weak, in contrast to the stronger Lesre (state) & local governments that the landed gentry (iregemi) and the urban merchant elites dominated, often with armed militias.  In the Republic's first decades its leadership consisted exclusively of French & Portuguese speaking whites and prosperous Catholic atrei.

During the 1800s the native peasantry rapidly reconstituted its numbers.  The proportion of atrei to whites and the proportion of Miradi to Christian all began to shift.  This racial, cultural & religious rift often manifested as a contest between the coastal regions and the interior.  The growing atrei population fueled industry and long-term economic growth, and also fueled a resurgence of pre-columbian and Miradi culture and ideals.  

This resurgence sparked atrei radicalism, which crystallized twice in mass political movements, one causing in a wave of sectarian fighting and ending with universal suffrage in 1840, the second resulting in a liberal revolution that gave the peasants their land and ended feudal privileges in 1858.  The new liberal democratic state was quickly subverted into a dictatorship i 1866 by General John Rarsa, the heroic conqueror of British colonies.  Urban elites of both white and atrei communities reached a liberal consensus.  

At first the Republic consisted only of Bergonia's northern half, with Britain hanging onto the southern part, but after a series of wars and transactions the Republic expanded to include all Bergonia.





Table of Contents

1777- 1788:  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.

The first government of the Independent Republic: the "First Commonwealth."

The three political parties.

1809: Annexation of Portuguese Amota, taking advantage of the Napoleonic invasion of Portugal.

1820-1825-- President Mansour and the War of 1824 with Britain, resulting in the annexation of most of Britain's southern colonies

1825-1834-- Fierce debates over the Franchise in a time when the vote was limited to the wealthy.

1820s & 30s-- The political and cultural Resurgence of the Atrei.

1834-1839-- Bloody ethnic violence, breaking out in Pasiana and Amota between Christians and non-Christian atrei.

1839 -- The Covenant and the end of sectarian warfare, curing ethnic division.

1840's-- The Second Commonwealth and the "Liberal Decade"

1855-64-- "Uprising of the Interior" and the Mountain Cat Revolution, culminating in the conquest of Britain's last major colony.

1866-1879--  The Dictatorship of John Rarsa, a pro-business authoritarian national government.

1879-- The Third Commonwealth, the new republican constitution that allowed Rarsa to remain president until 1885. 

1870-1900--  Growth, industrialization, urbanization, and formation of the Proletariat

The Growth of Organized Labor

The Ciranic Cultural Movement, a deliberate movement to fuse European civilization with ancient Bergonian.

The History

Bergonia 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 Republic

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. 

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 "republican commonwealth."  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 Congress.  

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 1788 the Treaty of Lisbon took effect, whereby Britain consented to the Republic's independence.  

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 Independent Republic

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 "estates" 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 much, and (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.  But in 1801, when Chaladoni advocated setting a national standard for who could vote, the Conservatives who dominated Congress booted him out.  President Lacanne refused to defend him, and so the co-founder of the Republic was exiled to private life.  He reverted to his original occupation of publisher and worked for the rest of his life in Ceiolai publishing a very noisy newspaper called Ceiolai Voice.

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.

Annexation of Portuguese Amota

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 life. 

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 governments.  

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 navy.

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 iregemi (native 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 party, 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 education.  It 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 not.  

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-- the 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 

1820-1825-- 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 apparent that 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.  

1825-1834-- Fierce 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, but in 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 officers.

1820s & 30s-- The political and cultural resurgence of the Atrei

The 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 Catholic natives, but in time the Miradi atrei and other ethno-religious groups asserted themselves.

Publishers were printing-- for the first time-- the ancient classics of Pre-Columbian Bergonian civilization.  Artists and designers started aggressively imitating and adapting ancient 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 Zaomitan (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 ways, 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. Some 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.

1834-1839-- Bloody 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 good compromise 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 legislation was 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 persecute them.  

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 Amota 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 political parties and their supporters.  Troops clashed in the southwest suburbs of Ceiolai, just 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 struggle finally exhausted 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 policy.  

1839 -- The Covenant: curing ethnic division

In late 1839 they negotiated a compact they called the "Covenant," a statement of principles that included

1.  A call for a guarantee of borders between local ethnic communities,

2.  A pledge of non-interference between them the local ethnic communities,

3.  A pledge by all parties to refrain from taking up arms,

4.  A pledge to go to arbitration or court over communal or sectarian disputes,

5. A state guarantee of title to the land of all temples and churches of all religions,

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.

7.  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 they deserved.

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 "Liberal Decade"

In the 1840 elections Zaomitan utterly collapsed, and the Liberals won an 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 country.  

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 to select 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 the Second Commonwealth.

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 formidable "feudal."

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 Waterways Commission.

1855-64-- "Uprising of the Interior" and the Mountain Cat Revolution

The Zaomitan 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 comeback.

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. 

Civil war 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 major attempts 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 temple. 

1866-1879--  The 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 delegates.

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 Compliance-- 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 retainers. 

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.

1870-1900--  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 the Pacific. 


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.


To 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 "Petty-Bourgeoisie"-- 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 petty- 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, Japan—countries 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. Bergonia’s 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 Commonwealth

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 Liberal Republican Party.  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 elections. 

1879-1908--  Resurgence of the Left under the Third Commonwealth

In 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.  

By 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 today.

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.   

The biggest party was the Social Revolutionary Party, strong all over the country, drawing from all demographics.  It had ties with the German Social Democrats and 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 worker associations.

The Feral Cats reemerged from hiding and formed a new vehicle, a party named Parti Reslic Bor (Min.), meaning (approximately) "Social Equality Party."  The acronym, PRB, matched the consonants of "preba," the big mountain cat of Bergonia.  

The Commonwealth (Gatlerin) Party was 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 radical peasants organizations, all regionally based.  

The Democratic Workers Movement was 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.  

The 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. 

For more detail see History of the Democratic Left.

The Growth of Bergonian Labor

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 strikes.  

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 fractured labor 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 Party.

The Ciranic Cultural Movement


The 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 styles was 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.

A Left Wing Coalition in 1902


By 1895 the Commonwealth (Gatlarin) Party and the Feral Cats (PRB) had commenced regular consultation and cooperation.  In 1902 they formed an electoral coalition, and soon closed ranks together entirely.  The two socialist groups also cooperated with the anarcho-syndicalists and the unions.  


As a 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.  



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  rev  13 Apr 06