The Holy Principality of Saint Beñat and Argiñe, (Basque: San Beñat eta Argiñe Printzerria Santua) commonly called Saint Beñat and Argiñe, is a constitutional theocratic monarchy in Oriento. Saint Beñat and Argiñe covers 17,560 km2, and has has an estimated population of 3,150,000 people. Saint Beñat and Argiñe is comprised of two provinces, and is one of the smallest nations in the world.
The principality is rather conservative, especially on core Christian values. Saint Beñat and Argiñe is in loose association with Kaevi, but is not directly part of the International Confederation of Free States. The nation is primarily known for tourism and international banking, as well as boasting a sizeable expat community.
Saint Beñat and Argiñe is situated near the equator, off the southern coast of Oriento proper.
The nation shares no land borders, but its closest neighbor is an overseas territory of Antanares.
The Holy Principality consists of two provinces, both subdivided into X.NUM counties. A total of five islands make up the nation, with the island of Saint Argiñe being the most populous.
The climate of the nation is fairly uniform, featuring a relatively dry and sunny marine tropical climate. The temperature remains almost constant and the average yearly rainfall is approximately 24 inches per year.
Saint Beñat and Argiñe has rather lax environmental regulations, but the inability of the heavy manufacturing industry to take hold and the low population size has helped maintain the nation's environment. Petroleum-based fuels are very expensive due to import costs, so many carpool or choose to drive more fuel-efficient vehicles.
Most of the nation's power is derived from natural gas-burning power plants. However, it has become a recent trend in new construction projects to install solar panels or small wind turbines in order to reduce the nation's reliance on natural gas.
The principality naturally has very little dense forest cover, but the royal family has opened up a number of their properties as national parks.
The principality's political scene has been dominated by the Christian Democratic Party (CDP) since the 1970s, with the growing Libertarian Nationalist Party in strong support. The CDP and its allies have been accused of regularly abusing their influence to harass political opposition, along with threatening or lying to voters to gain support.
The principality is led by the Co-Princes, along with their Council of State and Council of Faith.
The Council of State consists of the heads of the five secular government departments (Economy, Heath, Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, and Infrastructure). The non-secular executive body is known as the Council of Faith. It consists of the administrators of the following government departments: Education, Religious Affairs, and Justice.
The crown to the monarchy is usually passed down from parent to child, but there are exceptions. If the heir is not yet 25 years of age or older, the next closest relative of the same sex will temporarily serve in the heir's place. The heir may also be elected by members of the royal family and the clergy. A monarch may also unilaterally appoint a marquis or marquess to temporarily serve in his or her place. Members of the Councils are appointed by one or both of the Co-Princes, with the approval of at least two of the houses of Parliament.
The legislature of Saint Beñat and Argiñe is divided into three houses. Each house may elect a Speaker to serve as the director of debates and other functions, but they may also share a Speaker.
The House of Representatives is the largest house, consisting of 21 members elected by citizens. The House of Counts consists of 19 members that are either appointed by the Co-Princes. The smallest and most exclusive division of Parliament is the House of Apostles. Members of this house are the seven most senior clergy of the Holy Catholic Order of Saint Beñat and Argiñe.
The judicial system in the nation is divided into three tiers: county, province, and national. Being a theocracy, all citizens, regardless of faith, are bound by Biblical law and punishments. Each county receives two judges, each province has a panel of five, and the Supreme Court functions as a panel of seven. Members of the courts are chosen by a variety of methods, but are generally elected by the local legislatures. A Co-Prince or Co-Princess may block a case from reaching the Supreme Court, a power that has been used intermittently.
In regards to foreign relations, the principality has long been somewhat of a recluse. The nation that is the exception to this behavior is Arveyres, with whom Co-Princes have often visited and attempt to maintain close relations with.
Saint Beñat and Argiñe maintains a small military, used primarily for internal peacekeeping and anti-pirating efforts. The military itself is organized into three divisions known as the Royal Apostolic Navy, Royal Apostolic Civil Defense Force, and the Royal Apostolic Guards. In total, there are approximately 500 armed personnel currently serving. The Co-Princes have absolute power over all armed forces and appoint three individuals with the title of "Imperator" or "Imperatrix" for each of the three branches to conduct day-to-day operations.
It is estimated that approximately 80% are of Beltza ethnicity, a dark-toned people from the Unseen Land east of Oriento. Fifteen percent are of ethnic Arveyran Basque lineage and the remainder consists of mixed or other ethnicity.
Romance between ethnicities, especially Basque and Beltza, is viewed as very taboo in the nation. Until the early 1990s, the principality was divided into geographic areas reserved for certain ethnic groups. Saint Beñat Province was almost completely designated for Basques, while Saint Argiñe was reserved for everyone else.
Education in Saint Beñat and Argiñe is quite decentralized and no direct publicly-funded institutions exist. The Department of Education functions mostly in a supervisory capacity, setting basic curriculum and overseeing accreditation. Courses are generally taught in Basque, or Basque Creole in many parts of Saint Argiñe Province, and the most common foreign language that is learned is Spanish.
Almost all preschool and primary education is church-operated through the Department of Religious Affairs. Preschool provided by the church is either free of charge or at a greatly reduced cost and is available starting from a child's birth until the age of seven. At that age, children are eligible for primary school. This level of education consists of seven grade levels and is similar to the Arveyran system in that generally one instructor teaches an entire curriculum to a class. Reading/writing, mathematics, biblical scripture, and scientific literacy are the three core learning areas during this level of education. While attendance to these levels of education is not required by law, the church has been known to publicly shame and covertly punish parents who refuse to send their children to school.
Secondary school is divided into four or five grade levels, depending on whether or not the institution is dual-accredited as a trade school. Today, most institutions at this level are run by private companies and can be rather expensive for many in the country. Most non-trade schools follow a general studies curriculum where one instructor teaches one subject. Trade schools allow students to specialize in disciplines to become skilled electricians, farmers, nurse assistants, etc.
Post-secondary education consists of three levels and is mostly centered in the major cities of the principality. It consists of three levels: lizentziatua I, II, and the rare level III. As higher education not very cost-effective for investors given the low population, many in the nation choose to earn their degrees abroad, primarily in Arveyres or Aloia. Many institutions of this level that are not church-owned do not last longer than approximately a decade and over eighty percent of the nation's once-revered liberal arts colleges have closed since 1910.
- Flag of Saint Beñat and Argiñe
- National bird: Cattle egret
- National animal: Sheep
- National anthem: The Apostolic March
- National tree: Powder puff tree
- National flower: Bougainvillea
Public Holidays WIP
- Co-Prince Eguzki's Birthday:
- Co-Princess Kistiñe's Birthday:
- Ibarra Day:
- Day of Saints:
- Christmas Day: