Mantua

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The Principality of Mantua
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Flag
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Coat of Arms
Motto: "Deus Spes Nostra" (God is our Hope)
Anthem "The Prince of Mantua"
Capital San Leopoldo en la Piedra
Largest Cities San Leopoldo, Alcatadena
Official Languages English, Mantuan, Spanish, French
Demonym Mantuan
Government Unitary parliamentary

constitutional monarchy

Head of State HSH Princess Fabiola
Head of Government Chief Minister of Mantua
Lesiglature National Council
Population 36,500 (2015)

Mantua, officially the Principality of Mantua is a sovereign city-state, island country and microstate located on the South West coast of Alexandria. It has a population of around 35,600, the majority of whom live in the capital San Leopoldo (San Leopoldo En La Piedra). Mantua was developed around the highest point on the island which stands at 180 metres above sea level with coastal settlement the last to appear in the 15th century. The country is officially a protectorate of Alexandria set out under the terms of the Second Treaty of San Leopoldo. Mantua is known as a popular tourist resort and is home to many wealthy Alexandrians due it's relaxed tax laws. Around 20% of the population is made up of millionaires. Mantua has been in the possession of the Montillet family since the 17th century and has been independent since 1705.

History

Main Article: History of Mantua

Early History

The first documentation of Mantua can be found in the Alexandrian Imperial Archives which makes reference to Roberto IV, Lord of Mantua as a guest at the wedding of King Francis Joseph of Valenciennes and Queen Isolde of Baudrix in 680 AD though it is unlikely that Roberto IV ever visited the island given that his palace was located in Chambery where the Tadena family were listed as wealthy salt merchants. Several sources speak of "the barren rock of Mantua" which suggests that owing to the lack of rivers or lakes, the island itself was uninhabitable. The most reliable source on early Mantuan history comes from the writings of Juan Tuscaroa, a 14th century monk who profiled important religious sites throughout Alexandria in his book 'El Peregrinaje'. The text makes reference to various sites of pilgrimage and speaks of "A rock across the water and a site of great pilgrimage which fosters the cult of a holy man named Leopoldo who is said to have broken rock and drawn forth a holy spring which sustains a small monastery. The monks took me to the grotto where the holy man's body was displayed in a cave, wherein I found their devotion to be fervent and the holy man to be incorrupt. They had but one small vessel and several of the monastics there located returned me to the bay from which one could still see the dominating peak of the mountain which these men have named in honour of their patron". In 1389, St Leopoldo was formally beatified and this allowed for the building of a new abbey, the Basilica on the Rock, which was carved into the mountain and the grotto which housed the body of St Leopold was sealed. The vast majority of the early city on this site grew to accommodate pilgrims who wished to worship at his shrine with some choosing to make a permanent home on the island of Mantua. When the Tadena family sold Mantua to the Cavaletta family in 1406, they took possession of the island and the title 'Lords of Mantua', building a large palace at the top of the mountain. The Cavaletta Palace still stands today and is the official residence of the Princes of Mantua. In 1520, the Cavaletta family acquired the title 'Duke of Mantua' though the origin of this elevation is unclear.

The Cavaletta Family fell into dispute over the headship of the family in 1632. The Mantuan Collapse followed as King Louis XIII of Alexandria took advantage of the instability within the Cavaletta family to take possession of Mantua for himself. The Duchy of Mantua was granted to Louis XIII's cousin, Louis de Montillet. The Montillet family was known for it's great wealth and under Duke Louis I, Mantua's population grew as the island's infrastructure was improved. When King Louis XIII faced large debts and pressure from his advisors to pay back the money he owed to the Alexandrian Parliament, King Louis levied high taxes on Alexandrian nobles which Duke Louis I refused to pay. King Louis withdrew the grant of the Duchy of Mantua from Duke Louis and granted it to Louis the First's younger brother, Joaquin who became Duke in 1650.

Independence

Aware that his nephews may attempt to take back Mantua, Joaquin entered into a treaty with Louis XIII in 1658. The First Treaty of San Leopoldo en la Piedra guaranteed the Joacquin Line ownership of Mantua in perpetuity in exchange for an appanage to be paid to the Alexandrian Crown of 400E a year. Alexandria agreed to offer military protection to Mantua for as long as the appanage was paid. If the Montillet family became extinct, Mantua would return to the ownership of the Alexandrian Crown and not to the Line of Louis the First. If the Alexandrian throne became vacant or the House of Artoix became extinct, Mantua would not be required to pay the appanage and would be considered a sovereign nation responsible for it's own affairs. In 1702, the Elisabeth Revolution attempted to depose King Francis Joseph II and install the King's sister, Princess Elisabeth, as Queen regnant. Joacquin's son, Fabio, did not accept the legitimacy of Elisabeth's office and declared the 1st Treaty to be void. Instead, he invited King Francis Joseph II to Mantua where a new treaty was signed. The Second Treaty of San Leopoldo en la Piedra set the following conditions:-

  • That Prince Fabio would help fund a militia force to restore Francis Joseph II
  • That a successful restoration would secure Mantua her independence
  • That Mantua would remain a protectorate entitled to only one regiment to guard the sovereign
  • That Mantua pay between 5% and 10% of her tax revenue to the Alexandrian Parliament annually at a rate set by the Alexandrian Treasury
  • That the Montillet family would cede Mantua to Alexandria if the family became extinct
  • That the Montillet family would be recognised as Princes of Mantua with all dignity, responsibility and authority of heads of state
  • That the Treaty would last in perpetuity

The Treaty was officially ratified by the Estates-General of Alexandria in 1705. It was briefly considered abandoned during the Alexandrian Commonwealth but was restored in 1781 following five years of Alexandrian occupation during which time the Montillet family were imprisoned in Chambery. With their restoration came an amendment to the restored Second Treaty which relinquished the appanage paid under it's terms for a period of 100 years. The Second Treaty was amended for a final time in 1881 which set the appanage at 5% of all revenues and which continues to be paid today. In 1956, the Mantuan Agreement was signed by both countries allowing Alexandria exclusive use of the Princess Sofia Harbour as a naval base in exchange for a 50 year suspension of the appanage. Since 2006, it has been paid annually on the 1st March. The sum is formally agreed by the National Council of Mantua before being presented to the National Assembly of Alexandria.

Government

File:San Leopoldo Mt.jpg
Mantua's capital and largest city, San Leopoldo en la Piedra.

Mantua has been governed under a constitutional monarchy since 1895, with the Sovereign Prince or Princess as head of state. Prior to 1895, the country was an absolute monarchy with an advisory privy council. The day to day running of the country was handled almost entirely by the Prince who ruled by decree with a small group of advisors known as The Royal Council. Today, Mantua is a parliamentary constitutional monarchy. The executive branch consists of the Chief Minister of Mantua as the head of government who presides over a six member cabinet. The Chief Minister is appointed by the head of state and is usually the leader of the largest party in the National Council, Mantua's legislature. The Chief Minister also takes one of six seats on the Royal Council which is appointed by the Sovereign from a list of recommended candidates selected by the National Council. The Hereditary Prince takes another seat, though the Prince may appoint Supernumerary Councillors who are known as Councillors-in-Extraordinary. The last such appointment was made in 1988 when Princess Elida was given a seat on the Royal Council. She relinquished the position upon her retirement in 2016.

The unicameral National Council is comprised of 30 members who are elected for four year terms and meet at the Palacio de Consejeros. The country retains the use of the First Past the Post voting system. All legislation requires the approval of the National Council and the assent of the Sovereign to become law. The Sovereign retains the power of veto over legislation. Currently, there are two parties represented in the National Council; The Liberty for Mantua Party and the National Reformist Party. Liberty for Mantua presently holds twenty-one of the available thirty seats, whilst one seat is held by an independent member.

Mantua's two largest cities have their own administrations. These are the City Council of San Leopoldo en la Piedra and the City Council of Alcatadena. Both councils consist of ten elected members and is presided over by a non-partisan a-political mayor appointed by the Sovereign on the advice of the Royal Council. Mayors do not hold political authority but instead, chair council meetings and represent the city at home and abroad. City Councillors are elected for five year terms.

Administrative divisions

As one of the smallest countries in the world, Mantua is also the world's smallest monarchy. It is also the most densely populated country in the world. The state consists of only two municipalities:

  • San Leopoldo en la Piedra, which contains the country's capital (the largest city) and the surrounding towns of Debarros and Guartos
  • Alcatadena, which contains the country's second largest city and the small coastal villages of San Pablo, Ferrado and Ourenca

Politically, the two municipalities are sub-divided into fifteen wards which are numbered. E.g - San Leopoldo I, Alcatenda III etc. National Councillors represent one of these fifteen wards during their tenure.

Security

Under the terms of the Second Treaty of San Leopoldo, Mantua is allowed only one regiment which exists solely to guard the sovereign. The Prince's Guard is formed of 120 officers and men who not only guard the Princely Family and their residences but also patrol the Principality's beaches and coastal waters. Mantua has a small police force of 280. The wider defence of the nation is provided by Alexandria. Mantua has no navy or air force but the Prince's Guard is one of the oldest fighting units in the world. It was first created in 1724 by Prince Fabio II and their uniforms still feature his monogram. The Guards are equipped with weapons such as M16A2 rifles and 9mm pistols (Glock 17). Both the fire and ambulance services are provided by the private sector.

Political divisions of the Empire of the Alexandrians Flag of Alexandria
Provinces: Baudrix | Chambéry | Ibelin | Imperial Capital District | Río Grande | San Martín | Santander y Corcovado |
Valenciennes | Varennes
Territories and Protectorates: Costa Verde | Mantua | Poitou | San Juan
Dominions: Acadia | Girondia