The Catholic Union is the single largest nation on Earth (and larger in population than Mars by far, if not in physical area), encompassing as it does two full continents, part of a third and a few scattered protectorate nations elsewhere. But many other nations do exist, some of them independent and some of them grouped in confederations or federations.
The following are the major regions and nations outside the Catholic Union. Mars is included on this page as well, being that it is not simply a planet but single sovereign nation as well. Various other settlements in space, whether on planets, moons, asteroids, space stations or otherwise tend to be colonies or properties of Mars or various nations on Earth, with a few notable exceptions that are noted on this page as well.
Most of what we now know as Europe, and part of Asia, is contained within Europa, although certain parts of what we consider the European Mediterranean are now actually part of Old Africa, such as Greece—and a few states in what is today the Western portion of the Russian Federation actually are protectorates of the Vatican under the Catholic Union.
Europa is essentially a confederation of nation-states, each of which is semi-autonomous. There are, however, certain laws that are codified on a pan-Europa basis and there is a unified tax system and single military. There is a great deal of diversity politically and socially from one nation-state to another, much more so than in the provinces of Old Africa.
Europa is the solar system’s center of the arts and entertainment (the UPA Region in the Catholic Union runs a strong second on the entertainment front, while Canton in The Asian Republics and Oceana run strong seconds on the artistic front), as well as being the largest single agricultural producer outside the Catholic Union. It also boasts the most advanced research centers in genetic manipulation and the top universities in law, environmental sciences and engineering.
Although the Europa Charter expressly forbids individual oppression on the basis of religion, it doesn’t forbid discrimination against religious institutions. As such, in the four small nation-states known as the “Secular States” (Lux, Amsterdam, Svitzerlind and Venicia), religious buildings and religious organizations are forbidden, essentially confining religious practice to home-based events involving friends/family, informal gatherings in parks or other large public spaces, or participation in virtual churches over the SystemGrid. And while no nation in Europa prohibits worship through the Terran Catholic Church, the Vatican’s activities are sharply curtailed throughout Europa, given that it is not simply a church but also a rival (and sometimes hostile) political power. As such, what Terran Catholic faithful there are in Europa often attend mass and other religious activites in churches that are part of the Vatican embassies in the various nations of Europa.
The nations of Europa are: Britannia, Éire, France, Gaul, Lux, Belgium, Amsterdam, Netherlande, Burgundy, Germany, Savoy, Austral, Portugal, Madrid, Aragon, Castillan, Svitzerlind, Venicia, Italia, Transyl, Csakha, Sloval, Teutonia, Polska, Denmark, Norway, Swedelund, Helsinkisk, Petersia, Russia, Latvus and Belarus.
The Black Reaches
The nations in this area, all of them either bordering or relatively near the Black Sea, have drifted in and out of Europa several times over the years. Currently, all of them are politically independent of Europa and have been so for between 51 and 112 years depending on the nation. The Black Reaches currently consist of Bulgaria, Ghirisksthan, Constantine, Buchari, Moldova and Ukraine. Of these nations, only Bulgaria currently has a formal treaty with Europa, providing for limited military support. Warfare between the nations of the Black Reaches is fairly common, with Ghirisksthan currently making invasive forays into Bulgaria and Buchari and Constantine involved in several border skirmishes as of late.
The Neo-African Republic / Old Africa
Although it is officially called the Neo-African Republic, most of the world, both inside and outside of this region, calls it Old Africa more often than not. This is in part a hearkening back to the oldest days of civilization that sprouted on the continent, but over the past couple centuries has been more a shared psychological effort to differentiate the Neo-African Republic from the portions of the African continent controlled by the Vatican.
Old Africa represents nearly all of the northern half of the African continental landmass and much of the Mediterranean, as well as most of the area bounded by the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. While Europa acts more as a loose federation, Old Africa is very much a single large nation with provinces and a very unified, though also cosmopolitan, culture.
Although the “Old Africa” affectation recalls the days of Africa before the Conflagration, the Neo-African Republic actually bears almost no resemblance to the continent of Africa as we know it today. While poverty, famine, pestilence and warfare is what we often think of today (rightly or wrongly), the region actually came a long way in the centuries after the Conflagration, partly because it was one of the least damaged areas during that time. While so many other parts of the world were trying to rebuild from scratch, Old Africa advanced, prospered, and put old enmities behind it.
Old Africa is actually a very well-integrated nation with little internal strife and is the center of trade for the non-Vatican world. It also boasts the top universities for medicine and applied sciences. Although the Muslim world was decimated in the Vatican’s Final Crusade roughly 80 years before the events of Cleansed By Fire, most of what remains of Islam can be found in Old Africa, primarily in the North and Northeast parts of the nation. Ethnically, dark skin predominates, from near-black to brown to tan to olive complexioned, but paler caucasian and asian human stock is also very common.
The provinces of Old Africa outside of the actual continent of Africa are Sicilia (today’s Sardinia, southern Italy and Sicily), Greece (today’s Albinia, Greece and most of Turkey), and Arabus (most of today’s Saudi Arabia, plus Bahrian, Qatar, UAE, Oman and Yemen). On the northern half of the continent itself, the provinces are Maghreb, Tunis, Egypt, Mali, Niger and Ethiopia.
The Free African Region
The independent nations that lie between Old Africa and the Catholic Union’s LA Region. One of these nations, Uhuru, recently became a protectorate of the Vatican following a bloodless coup by members of the government that sought an alliance with the Catholic Union against the wishes of most of the population and certain members of the ruling government (who were put under house arrest as part of the coup). The other nations in this region are Gibon, Tchiba, Congo, Kampala, Nimue, Uganda, Arushai and Tangi.
What is today Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, most of Iran, the far northern portion of Saudi Arabia and most of Afghanistan and Pakistan is called Arabia. This region consists of various autonomous nations and city-states, though there are two areas currently occupied forcibly by the Catholic Union and thus considered protectorate states of the Vatican (a small nation called Persia which occupies part of what is today Iran, and a city-state called Babylon that is located in a portion of what is today Iraq). There are also several disputed and largely unoccupied regions. The population of this region is relatively low owing to the depradation of the Vatican’s Final Crusade (see this page for more information on the Final Crusade).
Aside from Persia, the other nations in this region are Saud, Suffi, Irana, Uraq, Afghani, Paki and Phakstan.
The city-states of the region, aside from Babylon, are Ninevah, Basra, Tehran, Yasij, Sheerazi and Firrah.
Iceland and the shattered remains of Greenland (which was literally torn apart during the Conflagration). This nation is not a major economic player in the solar system but does have a thriving aquaculture market. It also serves as a popular destination for people who are on the run from other governments, owing to its usually firm political neutrality, general unwillingness to extradite people, and fairly open immigration policies.
What is today Australia, New Zealand and the island nations of Asia north of them (from Indonesia all the way up to Japan) is Oceana. Also included in Oceana are portions of what are today Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. East of what are today the Phillipines and Taiwan are several large artificially created island land masses as well, also part of Oceana. Several large underwater city-states also form part of Oceana, and the nation is allied with the various Atlantean-run nations under the ocean in this region as well.
Oceana is an independent nation that maintains strict neutrality in most international matters of the Earth and the rest of the solar system. It is the center of the information systems industry for the solar system, particularly in the field of artificial intelligence, and is a major player in slipgate technology as well.
Its provinces are Pertha, Darwinia, Brisbane, Wales, Victoria, Zealand, Indon, Phillipi, Malay, Thailand and Nippon.
The Asian Republics
Most of what is today China, Mongolia, the Eastern Russian Federation, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, North Korea and Kazakhstan makes up The Asian Republics, a collection of numerous independent nations, many of which maintain various alliances with the three major powers of Earth (the Catholic Union, Europa and Old Africa). Although there are pockets of affluence, this is the least developed and least wealthy region of the world overall next to the decimated region of Arabia (which is more advanced in many ways but less productive due to loss of population). The two most powerful nations in The Asian Republics region are Chinan and Canton, which are essentially most of the remains of what was once China, now broken into a primarily Mandarin-speaking society (Chinan), which is highly authoritarian and repressive, and a primarily Cantonese-speaking one (Canton), which is a constitutional monarchy with a semi-feudal/semi-democratic government.
Because of the huge number of tiny nations in this region and the fact that borders change so frequently due to various conflicts, listing all of the nations would be pointless here. But the largest and most stable of them, aside from Chinan and Canton, are: Taiwan, Laos, Rangoon, Krishna, Indus, Delhi, Monghol, Xi’an, Lena, Yana, Irkut and P’yong. Among the smallest nations, but also relatively stable, are Hasoi, Baali and Phrakesh.
Europa and Old Africa jointly founded the first colonies under the surface of Mars centuries before the events of Cleansed By Fire, having done so primarily as a hedge against potential domination by the Vatican on Earth. Mars now has a huge and thriving culture, economy and ecosystem under the planet’s surface and a network of huge towers on the surface (called Candlestands and Toadstools) that provide additional living and working space and connect the planet commercially and socially with the rest of the system, whether with Earth, spacefaring humans or small colonies elsewhere in the solar system.
A powerful defensive energy field permeates the crust of the planet both to prevent fissures that might expose and destroy all or part of the ecosystem under the planet and to protect Mars from attack. Mars is considered a sovereign nation, even though it owes its founding to Europa and Old Africa. And although only a small portion of the undersurface and surface are occupied, the entire planet is considered the property of MarsGov (the central Martian government) under treaties with Europa, Old Africa, Oceana and numerous other nations outside of those regions. The Catholic Union/Vatican disputes this and has made threats to establish orbital and surface colonies on Mars at a time of its choosing.
The headquarters of the UFC Church is located on Mars, as the Vatican has a long-standing antipathy toward the UFC, considering it a dangerously heretical and corrupting form of Christianity—and being on another planet was the surest way for the church to avoid constant attack and possible destruction by the Catholic Union.
The “Shared People” (Ishmaeli and Isaacians, see Races in the Novel for more information on them) are known for wandering the solar system in spacecraft, but they also maintain dozens upon dozens of settlements in space, from massive space stations to small compounds attached to the surfaces of large asteroids or various moons. As a whole, these settlement are known as The Concordance, and are considered a nation unto themselves despite being separated from each other by vast distances. Although the Ishmaeli and Isaacians do have cultural differences and different styles of social order and governance, they share a base set of laws that govern such things as commerce, transportation, defence, taxation, social services and criminal matters.
The settlements on or near the four innermost moons of Jupiter (Europa, Ganymede, Io and Callisto) are collectively called Galilea, and have been considered a sovereign nation for nearly 150 years (previously, they were considered the property of the nations Chinan, Oceana and Old Africa on Earth). Their transition to freedom was marked by moderate legal resistance from Old Africa, heavy legal resistance and sanctions by Oceana, and actual armed conflict with Chinan. It was, in the end, Old Africa that brokered a final peaceful solution to the chaos.
A string of space stations clustered near the asteroid belt are collectively known as Orion’s Belt or as The Beltway, and are considered a sovereign nation after seceding peacefully from Europa 60 years before the events of Cleansed By Fire.