A Cidade Livre do Vila do Infante

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Vila do Infante
A Cidade Livre do Vila do Infante
(The Free City of Vila do Infante)
Faeland Vila Flag.png
Flag
[[Image:|75px]]
Arms
Motto:
()
Anthem:
Vila in Faeland
Modern Vila do Infante
Capital: Vila do Infante
Official Language: Portuguese
recognized:
Faelish, Spanish, Norwegian
Demonym: Vilano
Government: Democratic Republic
Prefeito: Isabel Carvalho Pereira
Congresso:
Last Election: April 10, 2007
Formation:
Independence:Current Constitution: 1925
1953
Area:
Total: ## km²
## sq. mi.
Water (%): 5.3
Population:
2009 Estimate: 60,778
2006 Census 58,543
Currency: Euro
Time Zone: UTC+2

A Cidade Livre do Vila do Infante (The Free City of Vila do Infante) is Faeland's smallest state by area and the second smallest by population. Located in southern Faeland, it is bounded by the state of Faeland to the north, east and south, while the Bay of Portugal forms its western coast. Vila is Faeland's poorest state with a GDP per capita 20% lower than that of the country as a whole. Nevertheless, it ranked third for the best quality of life in Faeland by the National Commission on Population based on the 12 Indicators.

The city itself is the state's capital. The historic city center and port still exhibits the cultural influence of the Portuguese, who first landed in the early 15th century as merchants, and conquered it soon thereafter. The Portuguese overseas territory of Vila do Infante existed for about 375 years, until it was annexed by Faeland, narrowly avoiding the repercussions of the 1926 coup d'etat and the subsequent Estado Novo regime of Portugal which held fast to its imperial possessions (the Ultramar).

Renowned for its beaches, places of worship and world heritage architecture, Vila is visited by large numbers of international and domestic tourists each year.

Contents

Etymology

Infante Henry, Duke of Viseu, namesake of Vila do Infante.

The name Vila do Infante came from the Portuguese prince, Henry the Navigator; infante being the Portuguese for prince (as "infant" or child of the monarch). In ancient literature, Vila was known to be inhabited, and was ascribed many names such as Falanta, Falanhala, and Fallata. The great Faelic epic Tháin refers to the area now known as Vila, by the even older Bóthir which means cow country (likely due to the historical ford across the River Lozsim). Ptolemy described the place in his Geography, noting the ford, and he named the place Potame.

History

Main article: History of Vila do Infante

Vila's known history stretches back to the first millenium BC, when it formed part of the ___ Empire, ruled by the famous warrior-priest caste, the Flamenes. Between the 2nd century BCE and the 6th century CE, Vila was ruled by the ______ of ________ as feudatories of the ________ of _______. The rule later passed on to the ______, who controlled it between 578 to 753, and later the _______ from 753 to 963. However from 765 to 1015, the southern Faelic mountain tribes overran the area, spreading much of the La Tene culture. Over the next few centuries, the area was successively ruled by Chieftains of the _______.

In 1312, Vila came under the governance of the Fragarach Kingdom. However, the kingdom's grip on the region was weak, and by 1370 they were forced to surrender it to the warlords controlling the neighboring towns of Niall and Séanchus Mor. After that dynasty crumbled, the area fell to the hands of Prince Henry the Navigator, whose successors controlled the city for nearly four centuries.

The Captaincy of Vila do Infante was the only captaincy to succeed in Faeland. It was the origin of the state of Vila do Infante and of the expansion of Portuguese economic interests in the west of the Faelish Isles.

The Portuguese converted a large portion of their subjects to Christianity, becoming the largest concentration outside the Latin Coast. The repeated wars of the Portuguese with the Caudan Spanish and the local tribes, along with the repressive religious policies of Portuguese led to large migrations of native Faels to neighboring areas. Vila was briefly occupied by the British between 1812 and 1815 during the Napoleonic Wars.

By the mid-18th century the area under occupation had expanded to most of Vila's present day state limits as the port thrived.

After Faeland gained independence from the British in 1925, Portugal refused to negotiate with the new state on the transfer of sovereignty of their enclave. On 4 June, the F.R.A. commenced with Operation Unity resulting in the annexation of Vila into the Federated States.

Geography

Southern Gaól beach.

Vila encompasses an area of XXX km² (XXXX sq mile). All of Vila is a part of the coastal country known as the Southern Gaól, which is an escarpment rising up to the southern range of the Falcans Mountains, which separate it from the Great Faelish Plain.

Vila's main river is Liszom. The city's position at the southern end of the Bay of Portugal is one of the best natural harbors in Faeland.

Most of Vila's soil cover is made up of laterites which are rich in ferric aluminium oxides and reddish in color. Further inland and along the riverbanks, the soil is mostly alluvial and loamy. The soil is rich in minerals and humus, thus conducive to plantation.

Vila, being in the Mediterranean zone and near the Bay of Biscay, has a warm and dry climate for most of the year. The month of May is the hottest, seeing day temperatures of over 85º F. The rains arrive by early June and provide a much needed respite.

Vila has a short winter season between mid-December and February. These months are marked by nights of around 21 °C (68 °F) and days of around 28 °C (84 °F) with moderate amounts of humidity. Further inland, due to altitudinal gradation, the nights are a few degrees cooler.

Subdivisions or Seções

The state is divided into three administrative sections (seções): Norte, Central, and Sul. Each section is governed by a Governador, appointed by the City Council.

The districts are further divided into bairros ("neighborhoods") – ___.

Economy

Vila's gross state domestic product for 2007 is estimated at $1 billion in current prices. Vila is one of Faeland's poorest states with the lowest GDP per capita but has one of its fastest growth rates: 8.23% (yearly average 1990–2000).

Tourism is Vila's primary industry: it handles 13% of all foreign tourist arrivals in Faeland. Vila has two main tourist seasons: winter and summer. In the winter time, tourists from abroad (mainly Europe) come to Vila to enjoy the splendid climate. In the summer time tourists from across Faeland come for family holidays.

The land away from the coast is rich in minerals and ores and mining forms the second largest industry (many companies operate outside the state, in Faeland). Mining in Vila focuses on ores of iron and Bauxite. The Port handled 24.79 million tonnes of cargo last year, and accounts for over 19% of Faeland's Iron Ore exports. The leaders in the Vilan Iron Ore industry include SexchaVil (now owned by Felta Resources) and Vil-Port. Rampant mining in areas rich in Iron Ore and other minerals is now threatening the forest cover as well as posing a health hazard to the local population. Mining corporations are also indulging in illegal mining in some areas without proper permits.

Agriculture, while of shrinking importance to the economy over the past four decades, offers part-time employment to a sizable portion of the populace (in neighboring states). Wheat is the main agricultural crop, followed by cattle. The fishing industry provides employment for about four thousand people, though recent official figures indicate a decline of the importance of this sector and also a fall in catch, perhaps coupled with the fact that traditional fishing has given way to large-scale mechanized trawling (although F.S.F. regulations curbed the growth of this industry in the early 2000's.

Medium scale industries include the manufacturing of footwear, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, wheat products, fruits and fish canning, textiles, and brewery products.

Vila is also notable for its low beer, wine and spirits prices due to its very low excise duty on alcohol. Another source of cash inflow into the state comes from many of its citizens who work abroad and remit money to their families.

Transport

Vila's sole airport is both a military and civilian airport catering to domestic airlines that stop en route to other domestic destinations. The airport also handles a large number of chartered flights. International flights are often routed through Cauda.

Vila's public transport largely consists of privately operated buses linking the major neighborhoods. Government-run buses links both major routes and smaller with parts of the F.S.F. However, public transport in the inner city is less developed, and residents depend heavily on bicycles and motorized two-wheelers of many varieties. Vila has a national highway and rail line passing through it.

Hired forms of transport include unmetered taxis, and, in urban areas, auto rickshaws. A quirky form of transport in Vila is the motorcycle taxi, operated by drivers who are locally called "pilots". These vehicles transport a single pillion rider, at fares that are usually negotiated.

The harbour near the city handles mineral ore, petroleum, coal and international containers. Much of the shipments consist of minerals and ores from Vila's hinterland.

Demographics

A native of Vila is called a Vilan in English, Vilano (male) or Vilana (female) in Portuguese. Vila has a population of 69,000 residents, making it Faeland's second smallest state after Santiago de Fuelaterra. The population has a growth rate of 8.9% per decade. There are XXX people for each square kilometer of land. The literacy rate of Vila is over 96%. The sex ratio is 960 females to 1000 males. The birth rate is 15.70 per 1,000 people in 2007.

Languages

The Official Language Act Portuguese the sole official language of Vila, but provides that Faelish may also be used "for all or any official purposes". The Government also has a policy of replying in kind to correspondence received in Faelish.

Minority populations of Spanish and Norwegian speakers exist as well, mostly aliens. Portuguese is spoken as a native language by 81% of the people in the state. The English language, which was used during the colonial era is less popular now.

Tourism

Cathedral of the Holy Father Julius III, a popular tourist attraction.

Tourism is generally focused on the coastal areas of the state, with decreased tourist activity inland, except for the historic city center. In 2004, there were more than a million tourists reported to have visited Vila, about 360,000 of whom were from abroad.

Vila has two main tourist seasons: winter and summer. In the winter time, tourists from abroad (mainly Europe) come to Vila to enjoy the splendid climate. In the summertime, tourists from across Faeland come to spend the holidays.[citation needed]

With the rule of the Portuguese for over 300 years and the consequential influence of Portuguese culture, Vila presents a somewhat different picture to the foreign visitor than other parts of the country. The state of Vila is famous for its excellent beaches, churches, and civic architecture.

People and Culture

Main article: Culture of Vila do Infante

Vilans are mostly ethnic Portuguese, having developed their own distinct regional identity and cultural traits, mixed sparingly with the local population.

Traditional festivals are Catholic in nature; Holy Ghost Festivals, or Espírito Santo Festivals, are very important to the Vilans, who are particularly devout by Faelish standards. The festivals are rooted in medieval traditions and typically held from May to September, including lively parades and large feasts. As part of the tradition, soup and bread are handed out to revelers during these events. Decorated houses are the staging points for the feeding of the masses.

A house with traditional wax decorations.

The largest religious event in Vila is the Festa do Senhor Santo Cristo, which takes place on the fifth Sunday after Easter. Pilgrims from all over the world unite to parade behind the image of Christ on a three-hour procession along the icon-decorated streets of the city. The Sanjoaninas Festivities are held in June honoring S. Antonio, S. Pedro and St. João, in a large religious celebration. The traditional bullfights in the bullring are ongoing, as is the running of bulls in the streets. The festival of Nossa Senhora de Niall, (Our Lady of Niall), patron saint to the fishermen, begins on the last Sunday of September and runs through the week. It is marked by social and cultural events connected to the tradition of fishing. The Festa das Vindimas, (Wine Harvest Festival), takes place during the first week of September and is a century old custom.

Carnaval is also celebrated. Parades and pageants are the heart of the Carnaval festivities. There is lively music, colorful costumes, hand-made masks, and floats.

Interestingly, there is a large expatriate Jewish community (from Portugal and Spain) who also host a parade for the High Holidays in imitation of their compatriots. Although highly unusual, it has become a local favorite and a government sponsored event, protected by law.

Architecture

Government and Politics

The Parliament building of Vila.

Following the departure of the Portuguese, the Vilans created a new government that was believed to be a perfect political system. The stability of the constitution has lasted unchanged since 1925. However, most political theorists consider the system primitive by modern standards. Vila's constitutional system is mixed.

Dual Presidency

Offices of the Prefects

Two Prefeito (Prefects) are elected every six years. The duties of the presidents were primarily judicial and military. Their judicial functions have been restricted over the years to cases dealing with public works and the state. Civil and criminal cases are now decided by the Oversight Council, as well as to a council of aldermen (the Senate).

Michael Piquet describes the presidency as "a kind of termed and elected justice and stewardship". The president lost the right to declare war in 1945, and is accompanied in the field by two Overseers. They were supplanted also by the Oversight Council in the control of foreign policy.

Oversight Council

The council, together with the two presidents are the executive branch of the state. Overseers themselves have more power than anyone in Vila, although the fact that they only stay in power for a single year reduces their ability to conflict with already established powers in the state. Since reelection is not possible, an Overseer who abuses his power, or confronted an established power center, would likely suffer retaliation. Although the five Overseers are the only officials with regular legitimization by popular vote, in practice they are often the most conservative force in politics.

The difference with most states is that Vila's policy maker, the Senate, a council consisting of 28 elders over the age of 60, elected for life and usually part of the city's elite. High state policy decisions are discussed by this council who could then propose action alternatives to the the collective body of Vilan citizenry, who would select one of the alternatives by voting. Unlike most modern assemblies, the the Vilan assembly cannot set the agenda of issues to be decided, nor debate them, merely vote on the alternatives presented to them. Likewise, neither could foreign embassies or emissaries address the assembly; they have to present their case to the Senate, which would then consult with the Overseers.

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