THE ANCIENT AND SECRETIVE LAND OF MALAGASSY
Founded uncounted centuries ago by the losers of a dynastic struggle on the mainland the island kingdom of Malgassy has long shunned contact with the outside world. The people display a fanatical devotion to their king and his family. Trading only occasionally with the Caliphate and the Slaver Kingdom the Malagasians have had little contact with the European interlopers.
The island chain was once entirely controlled by the Kingdom. The southern half of the main island and the southern islands first broke away as part of a dynastic struggle within the ruling family and then fell under the sway of the dreaded worshippers of the Thuggi sect. This has led to a complete breakdown of order in the South, a circumstance that has allowed the Her Majesty to plant a colony with the avowed aim of crushing the "devil worshippers" and restoring order.
The northern half of the Kingdom remains rich and densely populated. The centuries of isolation have allowed the Malagassians to carefully exploit every natural resource and rigorous management of these resources has made the Kingdom rich beyond what would be expected for such a small area.
Relations with the British colony are aloof and coldly polite, with just enough hostility to discourage any attempt at commercial or social contact. Secretly the Malagassian ruler fears the new colony and has been feverishly collecting modern weaponry to help stave off any attempt to establish "order" his lands. The most concerning point is that the colonial troops crushed the Thuggi in just one year, something that the Kingdom had not been able to achieve in fifty!
Outsiders see the Kingdom as a mysterious land of temples and rituals, adorned with the wealth of centuries and only mildly aware of the progress of the modern world. This is only partially true, the Kingdom is intensely conservative but both the government and the religious orders place a high value on education and intellectual discourse and understand and can apply most scientific principals. The desire to avoid upheaval and the unpleasantness of sudden change has caused the powers that be to use a gradualist approach to modernization.
GOVERNMENT: The island is ruled by a semi-hereditary king. The "royal" family consists of about four thousand bloodlines grouped into five tribes. These tribes take it in turn to choose a new king upon the passing of the old. The next ascendant tribe provides the King's ministers, the third provides the provincial governors, the fourth the bureaucrats and religious ministers and the fifth the leaders of the military. This way there is constantly fresh blood being injected in all branches of government and all of the tribes must educate their children to fit into any role, assuring a well-rounded education.
ARMY: The Malagassian military presents a confusing spectacle to outsiders. How does one try to understand an army that has Gatling guns but still insists that chariots are not only a valid but an entirely necessary piece of military gear? The appearance of elephants and chariots may confuse western commentators but the hard core of the army is the long-serving infantry drawn from the military caste. The armaments of these troops have been carefully upgraded with the passing of time. While the costume and drill may be amusingly archaic the troops are deadly professionals at the time of battle. The cavalry is similarly drawn from a specific caste but has declined in importance as the power of the infantry has risen. Still they are useful for scouting and the occasional mad charge. The chariots and elephants are the most obvious relics from ages past but even these have been subtly adapted to more modern methods. the chariots have been armed with light guns firing out of the back and experiments have been conducted with mounting a machine gun to fire out the rear. The elephants are used mainly to transport guns through bad terrain and special armored ones have been trained to batter doors down or attack modern steam transports.
NAVY: Until recently the navy had lagged behind the other services. Using only sailing vessels for combat and transport their only real challenge until lately was keeping the pirates away from the inter-island trade. With the appearance of the Europeans the navy has reconsidered its role and is now rapidly developing a blue-water capability. The recent acquisition of modern guns and steam engines from the western powers has made a radical impact on both the design of the ships and their competitiveness with other powers.
|The large yellow dot is the capital and major port.|