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The Centauri Commonwealth (also known as just Centauri, or just the Commonwealth) is a constitutional monarchy and is one of the two great interstellar nations in the known galaxy. It was founded as the Centauri Empire on March 27th, 2662 and converted to its present confederation system on January 11th, 2784. It holds sway over half a dozen star systems and sixteen inhabited worlds, claiming several more, including Midgard and the Lamba-Delta system.

HistoryEdit

The Centauri Commonwealth has its roots in the crew of the Colony Ship "Babel's Ark". It was the first colony ship to depart from Earth in 2320. It was originally funded as a united Christian effort to depart from the planet Earth in order to found a new utopia. The original destination was Alpha Centauri, however it was soon discovered that none of the planets were suitable for life. The Exodus continued however and ultimately arrived at a system with a planet capable of supporting life, much further from Earth. As the system that they occupied had no official name outside of a numeral designation, they adopted the name "Nova-Centauri" for the system and Eden for their planet. Due to the limited supply of Mythril and a lack of desire to remain in contact with Earth, contact between the two quickly faded. 

The Christian Republic of Centauri quickly took shape, with some autonomy granted to minority religions who had joined the first space flight for other reasons. The Republic overcame some of the earlier difficulties of terraforming, however they were over-optimistic about the terraforming process and through rushed efforts found themselves in a sudden and major food shortage and with some reports of disease throughout the republic.

What occurred afterwards is known as the Dark Ages. The initial period is indeed reflexive of this; "Cain-syndrome" [named so retroactively, for being the first native danger of Eden] spread throughout the colony and most colonists retreated to the safety of the limited Ark pods. During this time, terraforming efforts declined, where they were not abandoned all together, and the government of Eden fell into obscurity.

As time progressed and the political situation stabilized, the age of the Eight Realms emerged. A cultural, spiritual and philosophical awakening occurred in the various colony pods and terraforming efforts resumed as they hoped to spread outwards. Scholars trace the much of the Commonwealth's culture to this period, both the streak towards regional independence, religion, and strong cultural ties to societies on Earth which have since radically changed. While it has historically been viewed as a dark time due to loss of a great deal of early Centauri history, the awkward return to the old cultures, political division and even occasional conflict, some revivalists prefer to see this as a golden age of Centauri Culture.

This age was brought to a close with the rise of Emperor Matthias, who managed to unite the fractured realms around 2600. Matthias' method is remembered as "resembling that of the Great Alexander", he rose from a humble Polish Duchy to eventually uniting the Centauri under a loose confederation of kingdoms and counties. Carefully deploying his forces and mastering terrain and smaller scale engagement tactics, he managed to slowly gather an army and realm that would rival the largest and most powerful kingdoms. In order to further his goals, he distanced himself somewhat from his Polish heritage, preferring Latin and Russian in his court and offering a great deal of independence and benefits for those who joined his cause willing. After a few key battles, all of Eden belonged to Matthias.

Another move which he undertook to separate himself from any particular realm was adopting "Matthias Centauri" as a name, opting for Biblical Latin "Matthew of Centauri" as a name. His reason for selecting this name remains obscure, most believe it is either a latinization of his Polish name, due to a particular affliation with the Apostle [or another Saint] or both. Adopting of a ruling name [which is typical Latin] has become common practice amongst Emperors, as is the surname "Centauri".

With Eden united, the movement back into space soon began again. A series of attempts to replicate the initial colonization of Eden were met with varying success, though within a hundred years, New Jerusalem, Nouvelle Aube and Thames were colonized. Eventually, republican sentiments would lead to a bloody revolution on Aube and spur a minor war of succession. The conflict, while short lived and a decisive military victory for the Edenite-Monarchist faction would see two major events. First, the war would see the first deployment of All Terrain Mobile Chassis, which would eventually develop into Frames. The second, was the spread of republican sentiments within the Empire. Sensing the potential for a major uprising, Emperor Eduard I made several concessions of power to his parliament. One of these was the law of Popular Language, which saw English and French rise to become the primary spoken languages, along side Russian and later Spanish. Latin remains in formal use for documents along side these languages, but the sessions are typically spoken in English with occasional need for interpreters. This saw both the end of the immediate conflict as the republicans either disarmed or lost public support and the rise of the Parliament from a board of advisors into the most powerful institution in Centauri.

TerritoryEdit

Also see Category:Centauri Planets for a list of worlds within the Centauri Confederacy.

Governmental SystemEdit

The EmperorEdit

While the power of the Emperor has been drastically reduced from when the position was founded or even the Eduardian reforms, the Emperor significant influence and power within the Commonwealth. Some hold that this is still largely symbolic, since any strong independent action from the Emperor has resulted in conflict and difficulties with the Parliament and a history of co-operation would make any sudden shift dangerous. However, even co-operating with and complying mostly to the will of elected official, the Emperor remains able to significantly influence the political situation, which often turns him into a scapegoat amongst politicians.

  • The Ability to Declare War - With Parliamentary Consent, identical to the Prime Minister's power of the same name.
  • The Ability to Delay Election of a Prime Minister - Rarely used, though it has been played in the past during wars in order to secure wartime stability. It has been given a 12 month limit to avoid abuse, after the succession crisis of 3902.
  • The Ability to Disband Parliament - An emergency power, which, ironically, can be used only with Parliament's permission. This would essentially place the nation under a temporary state of martial law until the Emperor saw fit to allow the return of parliament.
  • The Right to Oversee Appointment to the Chamber of Peers - The Emperor may approve or disapprove of any nominees to the Upper Chamber. Considering that his rejection requires that the opposition also approve the nominee, this is perhaps the Emperor's most significant and controversial power.
  • The Right to Crownland - Planet, once it expands beyond the initial colonial domes, owes approximately 10% of its territory to the Emperor and the Commonwealth. Further, Nobles without clear heirs, refused tithe or who have commited a grave enough offense, may have their title confiscated by the court. In these cases, the title defaults to the Emperor.
  • The Right to Appoint Peerage - The Emperor may distribute his crownland as he sees fit. Often, this means granting titles to those who have earnt them, either through civic excellence or military service. However, these titles are commonly thought to be easily bought, either through directly currying the favour of the Emperor or through signification amounts donated to charities. The Emperor is often quite generous with these titles as it allows the Nouveau riche a means of attaining nobility in order to avoid divide between the Noble and the Wealthy. Theoretically, this also applies to Knights, however the decision there is often left to the military [though the Emperor has been known to personally promote and Knight particularly notable figures].
  • Control of the Praetorian Guard - Absolute control of the Centauri Praetorian Guard, the domestic intelligence agency.

The Emperor is succeeded by his oldest child. Originally, this was oldest male child, but the law has since been changed.

NobilityEdit

Officially, highest ranking person outside the Emperor, is the Viceroy of Leon. There are other positions within the Empire to rival Leon, though none officially as prestigeous, including the Grand Prince of Mishi and the Shogun of Atarakyo. However, for the most power, the Emperor is recognized as the Sovereign of most individual planets within Centauri and retains similar rights over their smaller parliaments.

The actual power of Nobility varies widely, on larger metropolitan systems, the titles are largely symbolic. Nobles in Thames and Aube are granted traditional estates and nothing little. On more traditional planets, including New-Tyne and Atarakyo however, Nobility may possess a great deal of power and rights. In New-Tyne in particular, the Nobility hold sway in the Judicial branch, with the right to preside as judge over any trial within their jurisdiction and veto laws [although in both cases, this is often used in moderation and appeal to a higher levels can be made to overturn it].

Parliament and the Prime MinisterEdit

The Centauri Legislature has three bodies, the Upper Chambers; the Chamber of Peers, the Middle Chamber; the Tribunal Chambers, and the Lower Chamber; Chamber of Representatives

The Tribunal Chambers is composed a rotating 100 Seats, with 50 from each of the other Chambers. It rotates at a rate of ten every month, elected by their respective parties. They are in charge of deciding what is to be brought forward to the other Chambers and what is to be revised or dismissed.

The Chamber of Representatives has 1,134 seats with one granted to each "Traditional Duchy" within the Commonwealth. This Chamber is available to all citizens by election, though in reality, a majority possess at least Knighthood, if not a position of landed Nobility. The Legislators are given first vote over a bill, if it is accepted, it is passed on to the Chamber of Peers. However, a two thirds vote in favour of a bill may veto any decision made by the Chamber of Peers.

The Chamber of Peers consists only of those with landed Titles. Only the Prime minister may nominate persons for this position, however it must be approved by either the Emperor or the Leader of the official Opposition. It was 345 seats, though these sits are rarely entirely filled. The Chamber of Peers may demand a bill be reformed by the Tribunal Chambers, for further review. If they accept the reviews, it may also be returned to the Chamber of Representatives for final approval. With a two-thirds majority, they may also entirely reject and veto a bill entirely forcing it to be rewritten from scratch.

The Prime Minister is elected from the Chamber of Representatives and approved by the Emperor, though since the concessions of Eduard, there the Primeminister has never been vetoed by the Emperor.

Major Political PartiesEdit

  • Monarchist-Royalist Party: The Monarchist-Royalist Party forms the current government, with 300 seats in the Chamber of Representives. They espouse many traditional values, including supporting both the power of the Nobility, charity work and social welfare for the downtrodden. Typically, they have been stern and relatively hawkish towards the Federation. Amongst English speakers, they are often nicknamed "Tories".
  • The United Party: The United Party forms the current opposition. It is named as such for demands for further autonomy to be granted to individual provinces and regions. It is also known for a relatively staunch republican and capitalist View, which supports the weakening of Nobility on frontier worlds and in well established regions. The United Party often votes to avoid or de-escalate conflict with the Federation
  • The Christian Reform Party: The Christian Reform Party is focused on building social welfare and rehabilitation programs within Centauri, usually through co-operation within the various churches of Centauri [and occasionally other religious groups]. They are relatively socially liberal as a group, regulating matters of old testament values such as homosexuality to a culturally dependent context. Instead they focus on the elements of charity, forgiveness and universal love. Because of this, they are often anti-war.
  • The Popular Party: The Popular Party operates on a similar scale as the United Party, but focuses on the interest of Central Worlds and a generalized image of a "Centauri People" to bring the population together. It holds the most generalized stance, with pro-parliamentary and anti-nobility leanings though they are not above endorsing popular heroes for titles or embracing heroes. They are often cited as "Pro-War, Anti-Taxes".
  • Centauri Labour Party: The Worker's Party of Centauri is famous for becoming less radical as it gains seats and influence. This has left them relatively splintered with the CCCP [Centauri Commonwealth Communist Party] and New Worker's Party rising to rival the CLP in the radical left. They are currently in an awkward alliance with the Tories/MRP.
  • Anti-Federation Coalition: Currently, defunct since the 3 years war. The AFC collapsed due a internal conflict rendering it impossible to coordinate. The exact circumstances which led to the collapse remain unclear, however many members left to join the Popular Party [returning it to prominence] and the Tories. Some of its former members are still believed to have a great deal of influence within Parliament and some grumble that the more hawkish movements by any party means that "the Old AFC is at it again".

ReligionEdit

The Centauri colony ship was originally launched by various Christian denominations, however certain minorities were allowed on board for various personal reasons. Christian

  • Centauri Reformed: Various State Churches [Church of England, Denmark, etc] were eventually brought under the umbrella of the "Centauri Reformed Church". This is, historically, a regulatory body presiding over the churches and representing the interests of the Centauri Emperor. However, a great deal of allowance for custom is granted to "Sub-Churches" divided up and broken off on Planetary and even on Ducal levels to accommodate local custom.
  • Centauri-Catholics: The Centauri expedition was led by a Papal representative who was given the right to act as general Bishop of Centauri. Eventually, this expanded to full Papal function as it became necessary to regulate over several planets and contact with Earth was abandoned. The discovery that the line of Rome was severed on Earth, has led the Bishop of Centauri to claim primacy through Peter and the highest position of the Church. There is some dispute still with how they ought to react to their Federation counter parts.
  • Orthodox: The Orthodox have a similar outlook to the Catholics in many respects, but were far more adaptable. Discussion of merging with either Reformed or Catholic branches has been discussed for some time but no final conclusion has been reached.
  • Centauri Non-Conformist: Those who are opposed to the centralized Reformed Church are classified as Non-Conformist. Traditionally, any movement or church not directly under the Centauri Reformed Church is classified as Non-Conformist, including movements such as Quaker or Baptist.
  • Ethiopian Orthodox: For a long time marginalized and even categorized both as an Orthodox and Reformed at various points, the Ethopian Orthodox church has recently under gone a revival with the colonization of Abbis Ababa, attracting both Ethiopians and other Christian African Nationalist Movements as a traditional African faith as well as non-African immigrants to Abbis Ababa.
  • Jewish: The Jewish people have long enjoyed a quiet presence in the Centauri Commonwealth. In spite of some flare ups of anti-Semitism in the background during the dark ages, the Jewish people have long been comfortably integrated with the Centauri Commonwealth. Some autonomous communities exist in parallel with Christian and Shinto holdings, operating either within the local system of nobility or as independent councils which are represented in the Chamber of Representatives on a scale reflecting the population they represent. In many other cases however, the Jewish community has integrated whole sale, practicing a separate religion but otherwise operating entirely within the local culture.
  • Shinto: The Japanese served a major role in initial exodus and retain their own unique system of nobility, as well as several territories, both on Eden and, on a smaller scale, in other systems. For the most part, these systems are maped onto the general Centauri system with Clans being allowed to divide their territory as they see fit. The recent establishment of the long sought after colony of Atarakyo, has led to a strong revival of traditional Japanese nobility and tradition.
  • Other: Other Christian Minorities, as well as Muslim, Buddhists, Hindis and other religious immigrants have fled to Centauri due to the Federation's long stand anti-religious policies. These groups do not have as much history, though some have established themselves in scattered counties and even Duchies across Centauri territory.

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