The Babbage Islands
|Flag of The Babbage Islands|
|Motto: "Innovation, Wisdom, Liberty"|
|Region||One Big Island|
|Capital||Charleston, South Island|
|Official Language(s)||English, Esperanto|
|Leader||Judge Christophe Giroux|
|Population||59.2 million (RP)|
|NS NSTracker Sunset XML|
The Commonwealth of The Babbage Islands (Esperanto: Konfederacio de la Babaĝaj Insuloj) is an archipelago of seven islands with a small, pragmatic democracy. It is well-known for strong commitment to civil rights, world-renowned political freedom, and wide-ranging influence in international sport.
The demonym for citizens and residents is Babbagian.
- See also: Gazetteer of The Babbage Islands
There are seven permanently settled islands in The Babbage Islands. In order of population:
|Island||Population||Area (sq km)||Density (per sq km)|
|South Island||16 564 960||60 401||274.25|
|Tesla||11 720 576||16 180||724.39|
|Verne||8 279 290||27 883||296.93|
|North Island||7 064 411||51 152||138.11|
|Daimler||4 334 384||17 162||252.56|
|Gibson||3 790 468||8 147||465.26|
|Cayley||3 355 274||8 046||417.01|
Also, the land of Ruadha about 1,000 km to the south has recently been admitted to the Commonwealth. Ruadha has a population of 4 123 771.
The local climate is temperate, with four distinct seasons. Lush forests characterize several of the islands. The snowy owl, the national animal, is native to North Island.
The ten largest cities are Wye, South Island (1 012 871); Gernsback, Tesla (727 143); Charleston, South Island (691 210); Paris, Verne (468 925); Baden, Daimler (393 949); Zamenhofa Urbo, South Island (298 200); Dover, Cayley (277 219); East Charleston, South Island (228 346); Santa Catalina, Verne (228 205); and Xianggang, Gibson (222 319).
The government is a unitary representative democracy with a libertarian tradition. The constitution, called the Basic Law, is a very short document with strict limits on government functions. These were once interpreted in the light of World Assembly membership, an action which required a controversial amendment to the Basic Law that was quickly repealed when the nation later withdrew from the WA.
There are four branches of government, with 58 positions enumerated in the Basic Law. No person may hold more than one of these posts at the same time.
The Assembly of Proposition
The Assembly of Proposition is a 45-member legislative chamber, with fifteen members elected each six months to serve 18-month terms. Assemblymen (the accepted unisex title) are elected to represent a specific island and are limited to four terms or portions thereof. The presiding officer of the Assembly is styled Lord Speaker or Lady Speaker, reflecting a symbolic tradition that the only title of nobility borne by a Babbagian be that of the leader of the people's assembly. All enactments of the Assembly, except Ministerial appointments or amendments to the Basic Law, automatically sunset after five years.
Seats in the Assembly are allocated in the Basic Law to each island based roughly on population at the time of adoption. South Island has 12 seats, electing four at each election. Tesla has 9 seats, North Island and Verne 6 seats each, and Cayley, Daimler, and Gibson 3 seats each. Upon admission to the Commonwealth Ruadha was granted three new seats in the Assembly.
The two largest political parties are the Liberal and Progressive-Conservative parties. Neither has held a majority in many years, and normally one or the other governs in coalition with one or more minor parties. These partners have recently included the Freedom, Labour, National Sovereignty, Social Welfare, and World Unity parties.
The Council of Disposition
The Council of Disposition is a six-member de-legislative council whose main function is to veto enactments or strike laws that have proven bad in practice. One member is elected every six months to a three-year term; a member cannot serve more than two terms or fractions thereof. Any two Councillors can veto an Assembly enactment before it becomes law; five Councillors together can strike a law after it takes effect. The Council also selects the Judge of Resolution for a single five-year term.
The Judge of Resolution
The Judge of Resolution is the head of state, with the duty to resolve all conflicts of laws. This may include conflicts of different Assembly enactments or of enactments with the Basic Law. During the World Assembly era the Judge also resolved conflicts between local enactments and adopted World Assembly resolutions. The Judge also has veto power over Assembly enactments, but this has never been exercised without a concurrent finding that the enactment conflicts with the Basic Law.
The 20th and current Judge is Christophe Giroux of Verne. His predecessors, most recent first, are Alastair Reynolds, Cynthia Cymbalski, Elisabeth Macleod Tormey, Jakob Freysson, Hăo Dúxiù, Richard Cahoon, Logan Young, Lindsay Martin, Gavin Murray, Lucinda Cook, J. David Mcleod, Lucas Edwards, Kevin Calhoun, Edward Root, Victor Armstrong, Russell Cotswold, W. Allen Bain, Mark Mitchell, and William Patterson.
The Order of Administration
The Order of Administration are the Ministers serving as heads of the six executive departments in the government. The departments are State, Law, Finance, War, Citizenship, and Nature. They are appointed and removed by majority vote in the Assembly, with appointment subject to veto by the Council or the Judge as with any other enactment. The First Minister of the Order is the current Minister who has served the longest.
Unlike parliamentary governments, the Ministers are not members of the Assembly.
Elections to the two elective branches take place every six months, on the fourth Saturday of February and August. The winners take office on the 12th of the following month, March or September. All four of these days are national holidays.
All citizens age 13 and above are eligible to take a standard civics examination to receive the franchise; it may be repeated every six months until passed.
- See also: BX Financial Index
The national currency, the edison, regularly trades near E:1,00 per US$1,13. The currency's one-time reputation for instability is generally accounted to be initial compliance with World Assembly edicts. Income tax is at 10%, per capita GDP was US$26 017, and unemployment was 2,93%.
Leading international players in the nation's economy include:
- Chronowire Communications, an information conglomerate headquartered in Gernsback, Tesla.
- ClearCola, a soda manufacturer from Wye, South Island.
- Factorias Albuquerque S.A., shipbuilders from Santa Catalina, Verne.
- Fresh-Fizz, a soda manufacturer from Armagh, Tesla.
- Greenspan Bank, an international banking firm from Charleston, South Island.
- Jane Valentine LLC, a publishing house from Cardston, Gibson.
- Senfinaj Mondoj Korp., a network technology firm from Zamenhofa Urbo, South Island.
- Tesla Motors, a vehicle manufacturer from West Scoville, Tesla.
- Z Arms, a gun maker from Baden, Daimler.
The Babbage Islands maintain a rather small military force for their size, with a completely defensive orientation. In order of size and importance:
- See also: Coast Guard (The Babbage Islands)
As befits a maritime nation, waterborne forces are by far the largest element of the military. The Coast Guard is a brown-water navy in transition, developing some green-water capacity. The 33-ship fleet includes one destroyer, five corvettes, seven FMV flexible-mission vessels, and 20 "cutters" (inshore and coastal patrol boats).
The Coast Guard maintains two major bases at Santa Catalina, Verne and Wye, South Island. Each of the seven islands has its own smaller Coast Guard station. Arrangements for a third major base in Ruadha are progressing.
The air forces of the nation are oriented toward support of the Coast Guard. The Aerocorps have a particular proficiency in VTOL operations. There are three regular Aerocorps bases. Also, a Cosmotechnologists department performs research into both crewed and uncrewed space flight at Cardston, Gibson.
There is no standing army. Ground forces are entirely militia-based. Equipment and regular training opportunities are provided, and a national training center has been opened at NMTC Mountain View on North Island.
- National animal: Snowy owl
- National anthem: They, the Builders of the Nation
- National insect: Bumblebee
- National motto: Innovation, Wisdom, Liberty
- See also: Higher education in The Babbage Islands
There are no public schools in The Babbage Islands, as that term is generally understood. The only government funding of education is a uniform per-pupil subsidy to any school, regardless of affiliation, that teaches as part of its curriculum certain standard studies at the elementary or secondary level. All schools, whether elementary, secondary, or university, are privately operated. Both non-profit and for-profit schools exist.
School is only compulsory through age 13 or completion of elementary studies, whichever is first. But 97% of Babbage youth complete secondary school or equivalent training in a trade via academy or apprenticeship.
Kauffman's Guide to Babbage Higher Education, an annual review of the leading colleges and universities of the nation, ranked the following as the Top Ten on its master list:
- David O. McKay College, Brigham City, Verne - a liberal arts college using a Great Books-inspired program. The very small graduate school uses an innovative interdisciplinary approach for all doctoral candidates.
- University of Gernsback, Gernsback, Tesla - the largest comprehensive university in the nation, with a full range of programs in arts, sciences, business, and professional studies.
- Babbage Academy of Engineering, Kopavogur, Gibson - excellent in several engineering disciplines, but especially noteworthy in mechanical engineering.
- Berners-Lee College, Gernsback, Tesla - specialised in information science.
- Charleston School of Public Service, Charleston, South Island - well-regarded in area studies, political science, and non-profit administration. Extensive study-abroad programmes, mandatory junior-year internships.
- Thomas Aquinas University, West Scoville, Tesla - a small Roman Catholic undergraduate institution with an associated seminary.
- Southern University, Wye, South Island - archrivals of Gernsback, with distinguished nursing and medical schools and a world-class korfball team.
- Martin Luther Institute, Libereco, Daimler - the Lutheran version of Aquinas.
- North Island Normal School, Far Point, North Island - dedicated to teacher training.
- Ensign Peak Military Academy, East Charleston, South Island - turns out officers for the military and well-prepared undergraduates in the sciences.
Holidays and Observances
There are eight national holidays in The Babbage Islands:
- New Year's Day, 1 January
- Election Day, fourth Saturday in February
- Foundation Day, 12 March
- Labour Day, 1 May
- Pioneer Day, 24 July
- Election Day, fourth Saturday in August
- Law Day, 12 September
- Christmas Day, 25 December
Additional days are observed by various religions, islands, or communities.
The sole official civil honour is the recently-constituted Order of Babbage for exceptional service to the nation. It is limited to 23 members at any time, appointed for life.
The two official languages of The Babbage Islands are English and Esperanto. Both are taught in schools as part of the recommended curriculum. Several other languages find regular use in different communities within the nation, particularly Dutch and German on Daimler, Gaelic in Ruadha, Icelandic on Gibson, Lojban, Mandarin on Gibson, Spanish on Verne and South Island, and Welsh on North Island.
Babbagians are an exceptionally religious people by international standards. Freedom of religion is expressly upheld in the Basic Law. Survey data compiled after the admission of Ruadha to the Commonwealth shows the following religious presences among Babbagians:
|Religion||% of responses||Religion||% of responses||Religion||% of responses|
|Latter-day Saints (Mormons)||50,4%||Pagan/Neopagan/Wicca||4,7%||Other Christian||0,55%|
|Babbage Orthodox Church||5,9%||Bahá'í Faith||0,9%||Other response||0,25%|
Sport is an omnipresent element of Babbage culture, from the very young to the relatively old. One unusual feature is the prominence of mixed team sports where men and women compete together. Outdoors, the primary examples are the flying disc game of ultimate and Babbage rules football. Indoors, these include korfball and five-pin bowling.
Four football codes are played professionally: American football (gridiron), Babbage code, international rules, and soccer. Rugby union is now played at a nationwide elite level but maintains a strict amateur stance. In addition to the various styles of football, other professional sports include auto racing, baseball, cricket, fivepins, golf, ice hockey, korfball, and netball. A wide variety of other sports are organised solely for amateurs. The nation is also a regular participant in Olympic and Paralympic games.
In recent times the islands have played host to over 30 significant international sporting events. The most important tournaments held on Babbage soil have been World Cup 49, World Cup 54, and World Cup 60 in association football, World Bowl VIII in gridiron, and World Baseball Classic 15. Various federations are or have been full members of the Executive World Cup Committee (association football), World Bowl Committee (gridiron), World Baseball Classic Council (baseball), Olympic Council (summer and winter Olympic games), and NS Rugby Board (rugby union, rugby league, and rugby sevens).
Intercollegiate sport is governed by the Babbage College and University Athletic Alliance (BCUAA). The two most successful conferences are the Big Nine Conference and the IAAAA.
|Sport||Governing body||Pro League?|
|Auto Racing||Klubo de Babaĝaj Aŭtomobilantoj (KBA)||No|
|Baseball||Babbage Islands Baseball (BIB)||Yes|
|Cricket||Babbage Cricket Federation (BCF)||Yes|
|Fivepins||Babbage Team Bowling (BTB)||Yes|
|Football (American)||Islands Football League (IFL)||Yes|
|Football (Babbage code)||National Association for Babbage Code (NABC)||Yes|
|Football (International rules)||Football Association for International Rules (FAIR)||Yes|
|Football (rugby union)||Football Union for Babbage Rugby (FUBAR)||No|
|Football (soccer)||Football Federation of Babbage (FFB)||Five|
|Golf||Babbage Golf Association (BGA)||No|
|Ice Hockey||Babbage Islands Hockey Association (BIHA)||Yes|
|Korfball||Korfbalo-Asocio de Babaĝaj Insuloj (KABI)||Yes|
|Netball||Babbage Netball League (BNL)||Women's|
|Ultimate||Babbage Ultimate Group (BUG)||No|
The calendar of The Babbage Islands seems to run at a time dilation of approximately 12:1 relative to standard references. One standard reference month is approximately one year in the Islands.