Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Northeast


This is the first of the many sub-regions we see mapped throughout the various pages on the site. The Northeast is a good place to start, as this right here was the cradle of the United States as originally conceived. The Northeast and Feudal Core probably resemble each other more than any other two regions do--they're more or less sister cultures. Particularly the sharing of mutual religions, with Washington D.C. being the spiritual heart of the Non-Denom world. The major cultural difference is that this section is, obviously, much less feudal in practice. This probably makes a large amount of sense. Tucked away on the Atlantic Seaboard, the Northeast does not have to worry about the Barbarian societies that make feudalism so necessary. Think of the European Middle Ages with the Saracens, Magyars and Vikings.

Cultural characteristics are likely also the result of an inordinate amount of Church headquarters. White says the location has an effect on the Church, but it may also bear thinking about what effect the Church has had on the location. The Non-Denominational Church produces a lot of scholars, medical experts, and what we would refer to as "civil servants". Between the renting out of its members to the feudal overlords, as well as the April tithing, there's probably a bleedover that leads to a relatively well educated populace.

We have an icon of a plow that leads to "Yankees". This would be the lifestyle for those who dwell in the north, but what does that indicate? Perhaps we look at Southern Farmers, and draw conclusions of what they're not. The plow indicates that agriculture here is a much more laborious effort. Crops that are grown are those that are meant to last longer and stand the hard, cold earth; Foods like oats and potatoes. However, this map shows that what it may lack in warm month, it makes up for in soil that's less like to drain away in floods. Most foods may be boiled or baked--especially since baking can keep the house warm in colder months. The East coast in particular probably also eats a much larger proportion of fish than their mainland counterparts. There's a reference to southerners being used to independence, spending so much time outside. Conversely, the Yankees would probably have to huddle together indoors. More people per hearth means much less firewood gets used. As a result, people of the North value community more than independence, and have learned to tolerate each other's quirks a lot more.The trade map also shows that is tends to live on crafts more than agriculture and resources.

White has already covered what has happened to the federal remains of United States. Any resemblance to Ancient Rome is likely purely intentional. We have a mighty empire who's last vestiges lie in the religious organization that represents it. However, the Imperial structure lived on, as it is, in many ways, less a nation than a corporation of ports. Also, the page lists its population at one million, so that means it's conquered territory can only count as so much. So my theory is, the United States is almost like a seaside medieval Pony Express. It's a lot like the Non-Denominational Church itself--it has headquarters through the coast, but the domains which it's set up aren't necessarily under its vassalage. Youths probably join its navy/delivery service in the hopes of seeing the world, and the ranks are quite diverse.

At the very top is New England, though White only gives one map, that of the new Massachusetts. The East Map says Mass has absorbed all of Rhode Island and some of Conneticut, making it even bigger in some respects. It may contain, or may border three District Capitals, making it one of the dominant voices in the Church. It's really hard to tell if Boston and Providence are Mass cities, or United States cities. And in fact, on some level, it's hard to believe that New England as an entity would even give up the most populated parts of it. So either there's a symbiotic relationship between the USA and New England, or as this map may hint at, there's something of a tug of war going on between the two. The rest of New England though, seems to be a bit of a patchwork. Vermont and New Hampshire have always flirted with independence, and Maine has probably been the oddest fit with the region. So it's very likely we have a smattering of poor city states that simply exist as townships of farmers scratching out a living, or port towns that connect the US with the North, or maybe even farther East. Something like a very cold classical Greece.

And finally, we have New Jersey. It includes the state and Philadelphia. As this trade map shows it's possibly the breadbasket for much of the Northeast territories, and may be the only section that provides surplus crop. Jersey is a quirk in the Northeast coast in it being a feudal nation, as we would think of New Jersey as being much like the rest of the urbanized Atlantic seaboard. But here's something to consider--the state itself is a group of bedroom communities to two heavily populated metropolitan areas surrounding a large chunk of untouched countryside. So it was probably not too hard to start up castle towns, and from there, seize trading hubs up for grabs. I also wonder if White was playing with the idea quite a few organized crime families living in the area. With caste systems, blood ties and intimidation, mafia families take to medieval courts like ducks to water. What is feudalism if not a big protection racket? Mobsters can now act in the open. I also wonder if, to separate themselves from both the neighboring republics and the feudal core, Italian has made a resurgence. It would probably be known amongst the upper classes, and make its way down to the peasants. Philadelphia is actually a major trading hub, from what it looks like, and probably invaluable nestled between two nations which thrive on trade. So what we have is a country that straddles the line between the rest of the feudal states, and a more mercantile state we see on much of the coasts. 

6 comments:

  1. I had always the idea that New England may be more like medivial Switzerland. Selfruling peasant-republics (cantons). Goverment through people assemblys. Some City-states exist,but they are more on the level of Genf and Bern, then Milan or Florenz. Sometimes there are feuds between the cantons, but they stand together against outsiders. Delegates of the cantons meet one time in the year for a Diet. All free men part of a canton milita. Lancers. They keep feudal overlords out, but like the Swiss they are also good but honorable mercenaries. The United states recruit them for there wars, the Supreme court and some more important princes have a "yankee guard".

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  2. I like a lot of the ideas you present. I think the Swiss republics does make a lot more sense than the Italian ones, though keep in mind, most of populated New England is very maritime based, so there would still be a bit of a Mediterranean feel.

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  3. I agree, but at least Boston and R.I. seems not to be a "political" part of New England but a integral part of the U.S.A. I mean, they appoint the church supervisers there.

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  4. That's one of the things thhat drives me crazy about White's world--it's one of the few things that are outright inconsistent. The USA has one million citizens, so its empire can't be *that* vast. Also, the main map shows that clicking on Boston sends you to New England. My only guess is that the USA simply has a few port in the region, and conflict has managed to be avoided due to both's relationship with the Non-Dom church.

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  5. I don´t see why you think the empire is vast. Its mostly a collection of islands along the coast. It seems only three real citys belong to the U.S.A. Baltimore, New York, Boston. And that are medivial City. If 100.000 live there its really, really much. The majorty of the 1 million in Southern New England lives outside the U.S.A.. West Massachuttes surly belongs to New England.

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  6. Did some revising. I guess what I've been saying is a large majority of New England's population is in the southern portion, the Boston-Providence area. And the East map shows both cities as straight on the border. So it's probably one of the less clear things about the map.

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