South Tussenland (Amerikaens: Suydt-Tussenlandt), officially the Republic of South Tussenland, is a country located in southern North America centered around the Mississippi Delta. South Tussenland borders Florida to the east and Mexico to the west, and Opdamsland to the north. It is a founding member of the Association of North American Nations.
South Tussenland was a Dutch colony until 1855 and had the highest number of slaves in Dutch North America during the 19th century. This led to the sizeable Afro-Amerikaner population of the country today and the flourishing of Afro-Amerikaner culture. It is the birthplace of the syncretic religious movement known as Zoekerism, which was the state religion after their independence in 1855 until the republican revolution in 1911.
In 1909, the capital was moved from Elegasthaven to Vrÿheidt, a planned city, after the water levels of the Mississippi dropped due to the Atsjafalaja river capturing most of its flow.
History[edit | edit source]
17th century[edit | edit source]
Before the arrival of Europeans, the region of what is now the country of South Tussenland was inhabited by Native Americans for many millennia. The first European explorers to visit South Tussenland came in 1528 when a Spanish expedition led by Pánfilo de Narváez located the mouth of the Mississippi River. Two decades later, an expedition by Hernando de Soto skirted the northern region of South Tussenland and followed the Mississippi River arriving at the Gulf of Mexico in 1543. However, they were the first to explore and chart the area, the Spanish lost colonial interest in the region over the following decades.
Opdam's Expedition (1674-1679)[edit | edit source]
In the late 16th century, Dutch explorer Cornelis Jacobszoon van Duvenvoorde Opdam was hired by the Dutch West India Company to lead an expedition from the Dutch Tussenland Colony to find a route to the Pacific, following the Ohio River and then down the Mississippi River. He claimed the land around the river for the company and named it the Dutch Possessions on the Mississippi (Amerikaens: Nederlands Besittingen ter Misisibie) (although the country of Opdamsland formed in 1903 would be posthumously named after him). Along the journey halfway into present-day South Tussenland came an escort of Chitimacha Indians whom Opdam had befriended. Opdam reached the mouth of the Mississippi River in 1679.
18th century[edit | edit source]
The territory of modern-day South Tussenland was part of the charters given to the Dutch West India Company (in 1700) and then later the Royal Tussenland Company (in 1817). In the 17th century, Southern Tussenland became one of the most prominent importers of African slaves. Slaves were introduced into the region, mainly from the Gold Coast and the Guineas, to work the sugarcane and cotton plantations.
19th century[edit | edit source]
Republic of Anahuac (1812-1817)[edit | edit source]
In 1812, Dutch filibusters started settling the regions west of the official boundaries of Southern Tussenland in hopes that the Kingdom of the Netherlands would annex them. They established a short-lived republic called the Republic of Anahuac. This violated the borders settled in the Treaty of Vienna in 1755. However, the issue was settled in 1817 when Spain decided to sell the Anahuac strip to the Kingdom of the Netherlands in exchange for a part of the central plains.
Royal Tussenland Company Charter (1817)[edit | edit source]The Royal Tussenland Company (established 1817) was the successor of the defunct Dutch West India Company, which was disbanded in 1815 after financial troubles during the French Revolutionary Wars. The scope of the Royal Tussenland Company was smaller in scope than the Dutch West India Company, focusing only on the North American territory. The Royal Tussenland Company took over the operation of plantations in the South and constructed new plantations in the northern part of the region. The taking over of the RTC saw the importation of more slaves.
South Tussenland Revolution (1849) and Independence[edit | edit source]
Tensions between the slaves and the Dutch ruling minority were at a high in 1840. The Royal Tussenland Company practiced harsh treatment towards the slaves, causing many slaves to either die, flee to the Spanish colonies, or hide in maroon communities. Amid the 2nd Dutch-Spanish War between Spain and the Netherlands, Tussenland saw a slave insurrection beginning to form in the south. One of the leaders of this insurrection was a "prophet," Abajomie, who had claimed to be sent by God to liberate the slave population of southern Tussenland. A religious movement soon formed in southern Tussenland, called Zoekerism (from Dutch: Zoek 'to seek'). To undermine the Dutch, Spain had supported this slave insurrection and religious movement. However, the prophet was captured by the Dutch and died in captivity. Despite this, the religious movement and insurrection were continued by his fellow revolutionary, Tegbesoe, who would become the leader of an independent South Tusssenland in 1855.
The newly independent Southern Tussenland in 1850 supported the Spanish against the Dutch during the duration of the war.
The Plight of the Suyderlings[edit | edit source]
The white Dutch plantation owners in South Tussenland were dubbed by other Amerikaners as the Suyderlings (lit. Southerlings). During the Southern Tussenland revolution, most Suyderlings fled to the Irokesenland Protectorate north of South Tussenland. However, some Suyderlings fled to the west, to the Anahuac strip (a haven for Suyderlings), confident that the Dutch would eventually retake the colony. However, in 1851, Southern Tussenland revolutionaries were able to take the city of Anahuac. On the eve of September 12, 1851, a group of radical fringe Zoekerists ambushed a caravan of Suyderlings trying to escape to Dutch-controlled Tussenland in the north. A total of 48 adult Suyderlings and 12 radical Zoekerists were killed. Upon hearing of the tragedy, revolutionary leader Abayomi van Tussenland condemned the attacks and ordered the purging of the radical group. The Suyderling Memorial (built in 1998) in South Mizoerie, Tussenland, is dedicated to the memory of the killed Suyderlings and Afro-Amerikaners alike during that fateful day.
Most of the surviving Suyderlings ended up in the Irokesenland Province of the Federation of Tussenland, where the Irokees government gave them plots of land. However, slavery was outlawed, so the Suyderlings had to rely on a system of sharecropping to run the plantations. In 1903, after Tussenland declared independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, a majority of the surviving Suyderlings and their descendants migrated to the provinces of North Mizoerie and South Mizoerie, which was initially blocked by the Kingdom of the Netherlands from European settlement. Many indigenous groups in these two provinces were forcibly migrated to the newly formed country of Opdamsland (which was created as a buffer territory and is essentially a puppet of the new government of Tussenland).
Post-Independence (1855-present)[edit | edit source]
Theocratic Government (1855-1911)[edit | edit source]
Reign of Tegbesoe (1855)[edit | edit source]
Immediately after independence, Afro-Amerikaner revolutionary leader, Jan de Bodtsappe, adopted the Fon name of Tegbesoe and installed himself as the Protector of South Tussenland. With a colonial map of South Tussenland, he divided the country into six parts (called gemeentes, or communities). Each gemeente was given to six of Abajomie van Tussenland's most loyal disciples to lead. Rulers of the gemeentes ordained by Tegbesoe as "Elders" were responsible for overseeing the governance of their respective communities and the propagation of Zoekerist philosophy. Tegbesoe's rapport with the six disciples, the blacks, the minority native population, and New Spain granted him the legitimacy to rule South Tussenland.
During this time, the Kingdom of the Netherlands acknowledged that a separate government had formed in the South, as the treaty of the 2nd Dutch-Spanish War had stipulated, but was stubborn to recognize the new nation's government. The Kingdom of the Netherlands maintained that South Tussenland was still a rightful part of Dutch Tussenland. Because of this, they established no formal relations and trade with the new nation. However, Tussenlander merchants were still able to bypass the trade ban by indirectly trading through intermediaries, particularly the Irokees traders of Irokesenland, a Dutch protectorate at the time. This led to historically friendly relations between South Tussenlanders and the Irokees.
Foundation of the Church of Second Ascension (1856)[edit | edit source]
The new government put Zoekerism's "three pursuits" at the center of government: the pursuit of truth, freedom, and homeland, resulting in a flourishing culture in philosophy and education that complemented their religious beliefs. Historians often refer to this development as the Zoekerist renaissance. As a result, several South Tussenlander artists and writers rose to prominence during the late 19th century. The intertwining of the government and Zoekerism was further solidified after Tegbesoe established the Zoekerist Church, officially called the Church of Second Ascension, in 1856. Tegbesoe made Zoekerism the official state religion in the same year.
Tegbesoe was wary not to upset South Tussenland's heavily Catholic neighbors, New Spain and Florida. To appease Spain and maintain support, Tegbesoe ensured that Zoekerism would not spread beyond South Tussenland. Instead, Tegbesoe promoted "spiritual development at home," a doctrine that is codified in the earlier Zoekerist Church's theology.
After a few years, Tegbesoe grew dissatisfied with the Church's organization. There were many prospective Zoekerist priests, but Tegbesoe deemed very few spiritually mature enough to become one. Tegbesoe was also dissatisfied with the unstandardized and disuniform teachings of the Zoekerist Church. To combat this, Tegbesoe began writing the Enchiridion of Faith, a religious text summarizing Zoekerist doctrine, principles, and practices. In 1861, he published his writings and reformed the Church to align with the Enchiridion, creating a new church constitution. He also established the Theological Council, the official authority of upholding Zoekerism and its beliefs. The Theological Council was made up of thirty members, each selected by the elders of South Tussenland. The Theological Council would also be responsible for appointing new elders to lead the gemeentes should vacancies happen due to illness or death (requiring the approval of Tegbesoe) and the appointing of new priests.
Tensions between the Salvationists and Exclusionists, and the succession crisis of 1864[edit | edit source]
However, in a few years, the Theological Council took a radical turn. By 1862, the Theological Council was unevenly split between two factions: (1) the Exclusionists, who wanted to keep Zoekerism within South Tussenland, and (2) the Salvationists, who wanted to "spread Salvation" beyond the borders of South Tussenland. Salvationist theology was dominating the Theological Council, even in direct contradiction with the Enchiridion. With his declining health, Tegbesoe grew worried that the Theological Council might elect a Salvationist elder to succeed him as the new Protector upon his death. He knew he needed to do something to prevent this. In an unprecedented move, Tegbesoe explicitly announced on March 3, 1864, that he selected a successor to succeed him upon his death. He chose Kodjo de Heylig, the Elder of Acola-Pisa, and an exclusionist as his successor. This upset the Theological Council, which did not recognize this succession.
A month later, on April 1, 1864, Tegbesoe died in his residence within the temple of Elegasthaven. Several close friends and followers were present during his death. Shortly before his death, he had given the Holy Scepter to Kodjo de Heylig, an exclusionist elder from Acola-Pisa, signifying a transition of leadership within the Zoekerist Church and state (under the Zoekerist constitution: "he who holds the sceptre holds the duty to shepherd and lead the children of God toward salvation"). The Theological Council was made aware of this the following day. They did not recognize Kodjo de Heylig as the new Protector of South Tussenland and instead convened to elect a new Protector. They selected a Salvationist Elder, Piet de Kotter, as the new Protector. However, without the Holy Sceptre, this election became moot. The Theological Council refused to convene in the Temple of Elegastland and resume their duties in protest in the next few days. They demanded that Kodjo de Heylig step down as Protector and abdicate to Piet de Kotter. However, this would not come. Instead, Kodjo de Heylig purged the salvationist members of the Theological Council.
Piet de Kotter's exile in Virginia, and schism within the Church[edit | edit source]
Disgruntled, Piet de Kotter and his followers condemned the Church of the Second Ascension and Kodjo de Heylig for breaching the Enchiridion's principles. Piet de Kotter exiled himself in fear into the black communities in western Virginia, with a few disciples following him. He arrived in Cherokee, Virginia, on August 3, 1866. He would remain in exile in Virginia for seven years, during which he founded the Zoikerist Church of Virginia (ZCV), the first Zoekerist institution in Virginia (before this, Zoekerist theology had already made its way to Virginia, but no official church to represent it). Several of de Kotter's more extreme followers who stayed in South Tussenland renounced their allegiance to the Church of the Second Ascension and broke off and formed a new Zoekerist denomination, the Church of Holy Salvation, in October 1867. De Heylig did not recognize this new church, which he called merely a secret club. He outlawed gatherings of the new church and alienated its members, slowly pushing them towards radicalism.
Massacre at Ampoekoe Banquet (1869)[edit | edit source]
Kodjo de Heylig, at this point, had already ruled South Tussenland for seven years, at the age of fifty-six. His government had become heavily exclusionist over the years and alienated from South Tussenland's educated elite and upper class. However, he was able to maintain power for so long due to financial and military support from Spain (in the form of weapons and armaments) and his popularity among the poorer subjects of South Tussenland. Kodjo de Heylig was seen as a champion of the poor and embodied what his followers called the "charitable spirit of Jesus." One such event the government that expressed its charity was the monthly banquet. It is one of the few events that the Protector himself and all members of the Theological Council appear in public in a ceremonial dinner, where food is prepared at a public banquet in front of the Elegasthaven Temple (seat of the church and government).
On July 1, 1869, a crowd had already gathered in front of the temple for the banquet. What they didn't know was that within the crowd, a radical mob had already blended themselves in, armed with weapons presumably obtained by the Salvationist church from Irokees merchants. Before the veneration of the Winti (a Zoekerist ceremony before celebration) could commence, crowd members suddenly fired at some of the priests from the Theological Council. Chaos ensued within the crowd. The guards stationed at the event could not identify friends from foe within the crowd, leading some guards to open fire to protect the Theological Council. The event led to the death of seven members of the Theological Council and wounding sixteen other priests. Over a hundred people from the crowd had died. The event catalyzed the shift of public opinion against Kodjo de Heylig and his "ineffective" government, while the Church of Holy Salvation was rapidly gaining followers. The event would be the first of multiple riots and skirmishes that spread from 1869 to 1871. The situation became so terrible that Kodjo de Heylig had fled to New Spain in July 1871, unbeknownst to the public, until a few days later, the Elegastland temple was stormed after a mob demanded to see Kodjo de Heylig.
Return of Piet de Kotter to South Tussenland (1871)[edit | edit source]
Piet de Kotter, who was still in Virginia at the time, had learned of the events that spiraled out of control in South Tussenland and had decided to return home. Upon arriving in South Tussenland, he was greeted by a crowd elated to see his return. The crowd was made up of radical salvationists, Zoekerists disillusioned with the government, and elite members. Piet de Kotter had written in his private journals that he was "disgusted" with the mob's actions but did not reveal his true sentiments as that would turn public opinion against him. Instead, he lauded the efforts of the mob, saying they were "justified." On August 29, 1871, Piet de Kotter was proclaimed the new Protector of South Tussenland. Piet de Kotter had established reforms that made him popular with the public, such as establishing the Assembly of the People, which served as an advisory board to the church government. The elders of the six provinces eventually switched allegiance to Piet de Kotter, afraid that they might lose their power and influence otherwise.
Throughout the 1870s and onwards, the Zoekerist Church (Church of the Second Ascension) as led by Piet de Kotter would eventually shift from its exclusionist nature to a more evangelical one. The churches that split off from the Church of the Second Ascension, like the Church of Holy Salvation, also saw some reforms, but never reunited with the Zoekerist Church. Although the Church of the Second Ascension was still the official church of the state, the new government was not as repressive as the previous ones were.
Diplomatic relations in the late 19th and early 20th century[edit | edit source]
After the independence of the Mexican Empire in 1881, Spanish support for South Tussenland started to wane. The Mexican Empire took on the Spanish's role as the primary benefactor of South Tussenland, as they were afraid of it falling back into the hands of the Dutch. Britain, who had just recently established a presence in Cuba after helping the Cubans defeat the Spanish in the 1894 Cuban War of Independence, also started building ties with South Tussenland. South Tussenland officially recognize Cuba's independence, which then soured relations with Spain. Nonetheless, Spain's influence over South Tussenland was irrelevant at this point in time.
In 1906, the newly independent Federation of Tussenland established ties with the theocratic government of Tussenland. Despite having established basic diplomatic ties, the Emperor of Mexico warned South Tussenland to be wary of Tussenland's intentions, as they were on a position geographically strategic to Tussenland (mouth of the Mississippi River). Despite this, Tussenland and South Tussenland signed a pact of non-aggression.
The Mississippi channel switch, and moving the capital to Vrÿheidt[edit | edit source]
By the 1890s, South Tussenlanders started to become aware of the lowering levels of the Mississippi near the capital Elegasthaven. When the Dutch removed the naturally-occuring log jam in the Atsjafalaja river in the 1820s, the newly opened river started to capture the flow from the Mississippi and slowly changing the course of the river. This threatened the capital, as it had relied on the Mississippi for its water supply and trade. By the 1900s, the water in the Mississippi was still navigable, but was barely deep enough for international shipping to pass. International shipping went through the Atsjafalaja river instead of the Mississippi, completely bypassing the capital. South Tussenland lacked the expertise and resources for building river control structures to alleviate the situation, leading to discussions about moving the capital upstream where the water level was more adequate and where international shipping could pass through.
In 1902, South Tussenland began working on moving the capital upstream. The construction of a new city in the north started in 1903. The planned city was opened for settlement in 1909, and was called Vrÿheidt (Freedom).
Republican Reforms of 1911[edit | edit source]
Throughout the 1890s, several intellectuals in South Tussenland began writing about political freedom, nationalism, and republicanism. However, unlike the former governments of New Netherland and Tussenland, the theocratic government of South Tussenland, now led by Otie II, did not stop these ideas from taking root in South Tussenland. In fact, Otie II had actively encouraged the discussion of these ideas in the spirit of three pursuits. Throughout 1901 to 1909, there already had been multiple calls and petitions for a more republican structure of government, and at one point, in 1907, the Zoekerist Church held a referendum for a republican government, and was wildly popular among all the social classes in South Tussenland. However, the biggest benefactor of South Tussenland, the Mexican Empire, did not allow South Tussenland to shift to a republican government, as this would only inspire and agitate the ongoing republican movements in Mexico even more. Despite this, Otie II was still looking for ways to reform the structure of the theocracy, including the establishment of a parliament in 1909. When the Mexican Empire fell to a republican revolution in 1909, South Tussenland lost support from Mexico. Intellectuals began drafting up a new constitution for South Tussenland. In 1910, they presented the new proposed government to Otie II, and on 1911, the new constitution was ratified.
The New Constitution[edit | edit source]
The new constitution officially separated the Church and State. Otie II was no longer the head of state of government, but would still continue to be the leader of the Zoekerist Church. Under the new constitution, South Tussenland became a unitary presidential state, led by a president who was directly elected by popular vote. This formed the executive branch of the government. A separate bicameral legislature was also established, the South Tussenland senate. The new government of South Tussenland was especially amicable towards New Netherland and the Tussenland Federation. South Tussenland began to distance itself from Mexico and established trade agreements with Tussenland.
During Florida's independence war, South Tussenland's allies, New Netherland and Tussenland, supported Spain against the rebels (in an attempt to prevent Florida from becoming a Mexican puppet state), and urged South Tussenland to do the same. However, South Tussenland refused to aid the Spanish because of their soured relations, and because they were sympathetic to Florida as they had a sizeable Zoekerist population. This strained diplomatic relations for a while between South Tussenland and the rest of the Amerikaner nations.
Geography[edit | edit source]
Much of the nation's lands were formed from sediment washed down the Mississippi River, leaving enormous deltas and vast coastal marsh and swamp areas. These contain a rich southern biota; typical examples include birds such as ibises and egrets. There are also many species of tree frogs and fish, such as sturgeon and paddlefish.
Government and Politics[edit | edit source]
The government of South Tussenland still operates under the republican constitution established in 1909. South Tussenland is a unitary presidential country, led by a president who is popularly elected in a single national constituency every six years. South Tussenland also has a bicameral legislature called the South Tussenland Senate. The Upper House consists of thirty directly elected senators, who could serve up to three consecutive terms, a single term lasting two years. The lower house consists of a mix between departmental (provincial) representatives (10 per department), and party-list representatives. There would be one party-list representative for every two departmental representatives, bringing the total number of seats in the lower house to 90.
Administrative divisions[edit | edit source]
Administratively, South Tussenland is divided into six departments (shown here). The departments are listed below, with the departmental capital cities in parentheses.
- Acola-Pisa (Vogels)
- Elegastlandt (Elegasthaven)
- Natchez (Ouispe)
- Oost-Taensa (Willemstadt)
- West-Taensa (Roosendaal)
- Suydt-Tussenlandt (Oosterhout)
Economy[edit | edit source]
Historically, South Tussenland was known for their sugarcane and cotton industry, especially during the Dutch colonial times when slaves from the Guineas were imported into the region. A few decades after independence, South Tussenland was still mostly reliant on agriculture, but attempted to expand its manufacturing and production industry with the help of Mexico and Britain. In the 1900s, oil was discovered in South Tussenland. Tussenlander and New Netherlander private companies also entered the South Tussenland petroleum industry, and started building refineries and drilling sites throughout the 1920s to 1950s.