Friday, July 10, 2009

The Lakes

Even though The Lakes is sub-region of the "Feudal Core", I decided to section it off into its own entry, for a couple of reasons. First, because makes up a significant portion of the Heartland in terms of population and autonomous kingdoms, with 8 million or so in the specifically highlighted areas, with another couple million living in Ohio, which is its own thing, similar to how France isn't always thought of as a Mediterranean country per se, but the southern borders do come into play when we talk about Mediterranean politics and culture. The people living in northern Ohio and Indiana might have more in common with foreigners on opposite borders than their own countrymen. As the Lakes make up something of an additional coast, , like the Gulf and the Atlantic Seaboard, and is the "end of the line" for America, and would thus develop quirks defined by its places at the fringe. 

The Great Lakes region is also something to examine because more than any other region in America, it so quickly industrialized and urbanized after settlement, and is often considered the most quintessentially American part. We can look at other areas of the country and harken back to things like southern plantations, the patroon system,  plains tribes--even the clan system of the Appalachians, we can picture as turning back the clock and/or looking at its old world equivalent. We have relatively little to guide us by way of precedent.

Michigan is the biggest dog of the Lakes, and in fact forms something of a "Big Three" with the aforementioned Ohio and Iowa. It's actually the smallest of the three by size and population, but its geography keeps it defensible and competitive. It's forsaken the upper portion, which now belongs to Wisconsin, but in turn has taken over lower Ontario, presumably so it can occupy Lake St. Clair as its own personal harbor. Like Ohio, it seems to have the dual-purpose "sword and scythe" approach, as it's both a breadbasket and a place for expert smiths, which probably means knights, knights, and more knights. It's probably Ohio's biggest rival.

Wisconsin is, culturally, the other state we think of as vintage "Lake-ish", a place of long winters, quirky politeness and dairy farms. (An identity also attribute to Minnesota, which has either had its edges bitten off by Wisconsin, or reverted to stateless tribalism) As mentioned above, the upper peninsular of Michigan now belongs to it, although in turn has seen some of its southern portion conquered by the Iowa hordes. Though "All-American", it is quite possibly the place in America that is the most like Medieval Europe, particularly Scandinavia.

To the left we have two kingdoms that today, would be part of Northeast/Mid-Atlantic states, but are now exploring their destinies in the Midwest. There's Allegheny and Genesee. The former seems to be a bit bigger, with a flag many would recognize as the logo for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but is the original sign for the American Steel Company. This polity probably considers themselves the last word in swordmaking. It's actually very interesting its major city is not on the Lakes itself, but as Pittsburgh is at adjunct of three rivers, so its riverine culture is probably not too distant from the semi-maritime culture. For its part, Genesee is home to Buffalo, the biggest city on the Lakes, and of the snow belt in general.

Finally, we have Ontario. Actually, the Ontario province has been cut up into several little pieces, until we get to Quebec, and it's quite possibly the Anglo-Franco divide is a little more gradual, to the point they don't get along. This is probably why Toronto is a headquarters for the Non-Denominational Church, even though though the Church is basically an outgrowth of the federal government. Perhaps Anglo Canada threw their lot in with non-Denoms to counter the expansion of the Quebecois. Still, this is probably the last bastion for Canadian identity as a concept. The other provinces have either been conquered by or merged with their U.S. counterparts across the parallel, or like Quebec and the Native-majority territories, drifted into their more distinct,  pre-Anglo, selves.

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