Nation

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Nation
Blank.jpg
Established >30,000 BCE
Motto
Neighbours the Mothering Sunday Islands
Geographical Features reef, lagoon, small mountain, forest
Population one to several hundred, at times
Size not measured but only a few miles across.
Capital no
Type of government Athenian / Iroquoian democracy, or consensus.
Notable Citizens Mau, Pilu, Milo
Imports telescopes and other technology
Exports scientific tourism
National Anthem
Books Nation


Nation is the largest of the Mothering Sunday Islands in the Great Southern Pelagic Ocean. It had many inhabitants and a thriving village until it was hit by a tsunami (or The Wave as it became known) caused by an erupting volcano. After this momentous event, its only original inhabitant was Mau who was returning from the Boys' Island at the time, leaving his boy's soul behind in a traditional rite of passage. Nation would later become inhabited again by refugees from other islands hit by The Wave.

Nation was once the capital of a country that sank below the sea at the end of the last ice age. They were more advanced than any other civilisation for thousands of years, having made accurate maps of the globe and even the sky, with telescope technology. Their knowledge of the solar system later influenced their religion (following the collapse of their civilisation) leaving them the major planets and moons as assorted gods and relatives.

Nation would later become a member of the Royal Society, rather than the British Empire, and would be visited by many great scientists.

The World of Nation

The Discworld (and its surrounding universe) is a fairly simple concept. It's just a couple of galaxies over and several temporal strata back; that one, floating along on the big turtle. The world of Nation is harder to find. Nation exists in a world so nearby that it's like trying to get a look at the small of your back. It resembles our familiar planet closely, geographically and politically, but things are twisted here and there. The world has fallen through a different leg of the Trousers of Time a number of times, but not that many. Maybe it's one of those billions of Long Earths.

Geography

Australia is the most obvious change, being riven from the Spencer Gulf to the Gulf of Carpentaria by some seismic disaster.(1) Otherwise, the pattern of the continents is quite familiar. Placenames, however, vary considerably. Especially as one moves farther from Europe, designations change; naming styles, however, are familiar. Newly discovered islands are often named after the holiday or festival on which they are found (like Christmas and Easter and all those Saints' Days) but they may be different holidays.

Governments

There are a Monarchy called the "British Empire", a Republic called "France", and other recognisable areas, but things are not quite the same. North America is resolved into "The Reunited States", although Daphne also refers to "Canada" as if it belongs to "us". It may be that the United States has rejoined the Empire in a united North America. Rivalries among the European powers sound familiar, but bits of history like the Crimean war may be shifted in time. The Nation itself is governed according to what used to be known as "primitive democracy", albeit one hedged with many taboos, such as that which governs the Women's Place. Up until the tsunami, these were rigidly enforced by a self-selecting priestly class who exerted much power.

The Era

Technology and the general outline of history (there are "pepperbox" revolvers but no steamships to compete with the Cutty Wren) suggest that the period is the 1820s, and the ink drawings look at least that old. This period happens to coincide with the general description of Discworld, far across the Multiverse, according to its social and technological development, and the drawings by Paul Kidby. On the other hand, Daphne has met Charles Darwin, as a famous scientist, already and the book refers to the Crimean War. Public morality sounds "Victorian", rather than than like the licentious era of George IV. Discworld-style compression of history seems to bring together the central fifty years of the nineteenth century. Dates are not used in the book though the reference to Russian Influenza may refer to a real pandemic that hit Europe in 1889.

Flora and Fauna

Again, these are familiar in general, but quite different in some particulars. The Tree-Climbing Octopus and the Grandfather Bird are just two examples. Unfamiliar food crops and plants such as the Lonesome Palm are mentioned as well as common ones.



(1) We don't know why Mr. Pratchett wants to tear Australia in half. Perhaps he was persuaded to try a meat pie floater while he was there. Or Vegemite. Maybe he thought the Simpson Desert looked like a great beach, if only...