History of San Adriano
An overview of Sanadrianese history, from the sixteenth century to the present day.
Prior to the founding of San Adriano in 1641, various fluctuating communities lived around the area where the village now stands, near the southern coast of Uhuhland. Until the late sixteenth century, many swore allegiance to the Ropa-Topian Empire, while others remained essentially autonomous. There was significant linguistic, cultural and political variation in southern Uhuhland, although the long Imperial era had brought about some degree of harmonisation.
In 1529, Italian-speaking explorers charted the southern coast, and ventured inland, founding San Adriano as a small colonial settlement. A mayor was appointed, and basic judicial infrastructures set up. The population numbered about 185. Italian vessels made infrequent calls to bring supplies and, on rare occasions, new settlers, but for the most part the colonists grew their own food and built their own homes. In such a small village, the nobility and middle class were but a handful, and the Sanadrianese developped a habit of communal gatherings to discuss village matters and submit petitions to the mayor and colonial administration. The roots of Sanadrianese direct democracy had been laid.
The Ropa-Topian Empire took only a very limited interest in the village, having far more important matters to attend to amidst more populous and potentially rebellious communities within its claimed sphere of interest. In 1570 the mayor signed a Treaty of Infeodation and Protection whereby the village recognised Ropa-Topian supremacy over the area, but it was a mere formality. In practice, the Imperial authorities kept out of internal Sanadrianese affairs, and did not interfere with official Italian jurisdiction over the village.
Decline and revival
The colonists' fertility rates were notably low, and the population was already decreasing after its first few decades. Some colonists migrated to neighbouring communities, with better established facilities and opportunities. Buildings fell gradually into disrepair as the number of skilled artisans dwindled. At the same time, however, the colony became more autonomous, as the mayor was selected from among the villagers by popular consensus. In 1599, the last supply ship visited and departed; the colony, now with a population of just 128, was on its own.
For the next four decades, the remaining villagers survived as best they could. Many more moved to neighbouring communities, especially as Ropa-Topian overlordship over the area waned and then dissolved. Others managed to leave Uhuhland altogether, returning to the homeland of their forebears. The village was, for the most part, isolated, but did conduct minimal trade with its neighbours. For the most part, the Sanadrianese had to be self-sufficient, and cultivated agricultural gardens, a custom which still exists today.
Politically, the former colony existed in a state of limbo, and was de facto independent. There was little or no "national" consciousness, but a sense of Sanadrianese identity did exist through communal village life. A mayor was elected (by all adult, property-holding males) at irregular intervals, and selected a small number of councillors. Political authority was thus vested into the mayor and council for the most part, but Sanadrianese citizens retained customary power through occasional political meetings and discussions. It was impossible for the mayor to legislate without the assent of the village citizens.
In the seventeenth century, Wymgani explorers from Ariddia were continuing their exploration of the Uhuhland continent, and reached San Adriano in 1639. By this date, the population of the village was just 74, and the foreign explorers were welcomed warily. The Wymgani remained to study the settlement for a while, and eventually cordial relations were established. The villagers, conscious of San Adriano's decline, invited the foreigners to settle permanently among them, which some did. Remarkably, there appears to have been very little ethnic tension or racism between the white Sanadrianese and the black Wymgani. The Wymgani, of course, were used to encountering foreign peoples, but the ease with which the heretofore isolationist (and usually Catholic) Sanadrianese accepted and even welcomed dozens of black, atheist settlers over the following decades has surprised some historians.
With the influx of new settlers, a viable community was re-established, and began to flourish. The first bicultural marriage was celebrated in 1647, when a white Sanadrianese man married a Wymgani woman, and the latter converted to Catholicism. Their first child was born thirteen months later.
1641: the Sovereign Village
The early years of the joint settlement was years of mutual learning, as 'indigenous' Sanadrianese and Wymgani learnt to live and work together. There was much mutual cultural adaptation, and one notion which the Wymgani brought to the village was that of statehood.
Of course, the original villagers had known of the concept, but even after the dissolving of ties with their ancestors' homeland, it had not occured to them to think of the village as a sovereign state. The Wymgani, by contrast, came from a culture which had had many contacts with the outside world, and suggested that statehood would strengthen the Sanadrianese community and secure its independence. After numerous debates, San Adriano was proclaimed as a sovereign State in 1641, and the proclamation was sent to neighbouring nations and communities, along with offers of diplomatic relations. The Sanadrianese nation-state was born.
Politically, the village's customs were highly compatible with Wymgani tradition. A mayor continued to be elected at sporadic intervals, while the essence of political power lay in the hands of the citizens, and was exercised through community meetings and discussions. One potentially contentious issue was the status of women. Wymgani women were used to full political equality with men, whereas white Sanadrianese women had no say in political affairs. After a municipal election in 1644 in which Wymgani women voted but white women did not, this anomaly was resolved in a lengthy debate, and all adult Sanadrianese women (aged 21 or above) became citizens. Wymgani custom had previously dictated that any person could become politically active from the onset of puberty, but Sanadrianese Wymgani accepted the age limit of 21 for men and women alike.
Part of statehood reforms, the villagers sought to establish a formal head of State, instead of a mere mayor. And, in 1648, it was decided that San Adriano would be a hereditary principality, the role of the monarch being essentially to cement the village's claim to sovereignty in the eyes of its neighbours. Prince Vincenzo Valentini was duly elected by the country's citizens, and, in the following years, greeted diplomats from foreign nations, formally establishing San Adriano as a member of the international community.
The prince replaced the mayor as selector of the council, and was empowered to veto the council's proceedings, but not the will of the majority. Having relinquished the right to elect their own leader, the Sanadrianese soon demanded the institution of an elected Parliament, which the prince immediately assented to in 1650. The prince's council was dissolved, and legislative power now belonged to the five elected Members of Parliament (today numbering seven). The prince could still veto Parliament (a privilege abolished in 1882), but the village's citizens could override the prince's veto. As early as 1657, it became customary for Parliament to summon a meeting of the citizens to debate any matter of particular importance. Sanadrianese traditions of direct democracy were consolidated under the new political institutions.
The eighteenth century: Uhuh-Topian ascendancy
In the early eighteenth century, with the Ropa-Topian Empire seemingly relegated to the history books, southern Uhuhland was still divided into a multitude of nations and informally autonomous territories. This began to change around 1719 when one leader, Delmer the Conqueror, amassed an army and marched against his neighbours, annexing several nations under his rule. His rise was spectacular. By 1723, he had founded the Empire of Uhuh-Topia, and had subjugated all of San Adriano's neighbours. That same year, however, the newborn Uhuh-Topia signed a treaty of mutual recognition and non-agression with San Adriano's Prince Edoardo. Borders were formally established, and diplomatic representatives exchanged. San Adriano was now entirely surrounded by one large, powerful neighbour.
It would have been extremely easy for Delmer to annex the Sovereign Village, whose army at the time consisted solely in a ceremonial Royal Guard of three poorly trained soldiers. Historians have speculated that the mighty warlord may have guaranteed Sanadrianese sovereignty on a whim, or because he was amused by the tiny village nation. Whatever the cause, San Adriano escaped the fate of other southern Uhuhland nations.
San Adrianese politics remained remarkably stable throughout the rise and expansion of the Uhuh-Topian Empire. There was little room for further democratic reforms, as the small nation was already an exceedingly progressive State for the era. In 1795, Parliament authorised the creation of political parties, at a time when legislation was also being passed to guarantee freedom of expression and of the press. However, there have rarely been any structured political movements in San Adriano, and even today no political parties exist.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Sanadrianese princes and princesses strengthened diplomatic relations with Uhuh-Topia, and became patrons for Uhuh-Topian painters, composers, sculptors and writers. Also in the nineteenth century, Sanadrianese authorities and citizens began implementing progressive social policies, enabling decent living conditions and strong social rights for all villagers. Wymgani Sanadrianese played a pivotal role in these socio-political developments. The late nineteenth century saw the gradual emergence of left-wing ideas in Ariddia, the ancestral Wymgai homeland, and some of these trickled through to San Adriano, but the Sovereign Village already had a strong social tradition of its own.
The Ropa-Topian Wars
In 1910, the First Ropa-Topian War broke out, and was to last seven years. Uhuh-Topia had over-extended itself, and several provinces in the south-west united to demand independance. San Adriano found itself alarmingly close to the front line of the fighting, and Prince Federico, with the assent of Parliament and national approval via referendum, proclaimed his country's neutrality four days after the start of the war. The independant Kingdom of Uhuh-Ropa was established in 1917 from the secessionist provinces, and San Adriano established diplomatic relations with the new State as soon as tensions had sufficiently cooled between Uhuh-Topia and its new neighbour.
A Second Ropa-Topian War erupted in the 1930s, and again San Adriano remained prudently neutral. Meanwhile, material elements of technological modernity were making their way into the tiny country, whose own economy, with a strong emphasis on social equality, remained essentially under-developed. The Sanadrianese tasted the pleasures of the modern world in calm moderation, adapting to them at their own pace.
In 1985, a new shockwave sent ripples through Uhuhland as Ariddia proclaimed itself to be a Social Republic, and began to implement communist policies. After some cautious hesitation, San Adriano expressed its support for the new Ariddian government, and relations between the two nations were strengthened.
The current monarch is Princess Serena, who acceded to the throne upon the death of her father Prince Ashio. The Princess, seemingly much loved by her people, has overseen the maintaining of Sanadrianese traditions, and regularly invites citizens to visit the Royal Palace and discuss any matter of their choosing with her.
During the twenty-seventh edition of the football World Cup, the Sanadrianese national football team made its only appearance to date, and Princess Serena travelled to Schiavonia for the team's opening match . There, her Schiavonian host, Michael Ford of the Schiavonian Football Federation, was arrested for stalking her   , an incident which sparked indignation and dismay in the Sovereign Village.
Since then, however, San Adriano has kept mostly to itself, albeit while maintaining cordial relations with its Uhuhland neighbours.