History of the Kingdom of Sierra
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The history of the Kingdom of Sierra spans a period of more than three millennia. The first human inhabitants in Sierra arrived some 13,000-15,000 years ago and for millennia, various tribes, peoples, and civilizations emerged and disappeared across the region. By the time the first Europeans arrived to Sierra, there were more than 70 Native American tribes living near the Pacific Southwest, Great Basin, and the Sonoran Desert.
Beginning in the 16th century, Spanish, French, Dutch, and Russian expeditions explored, and later settled the Sierran coast with the establishment of colonial towns and interaction with the indigenous populations. An extensive system of Catholic missions were established under Spanish rule, and the population of Sierra grew as Europeans immigrated to the region with the promise of cheap land and supplies. In 1812, the Viceroyalty of New Spain dissolved following the victory and independence of the Mexican Empire. Under Mexican rule, Sierra continued to grow and develop under the Mexican rancho system. However, the increased influx of American, Brazorian, and British settlers in Sierra and their resistance to assimilate, coupled with the grievances of the established French and Dutch minorities led to high tensions. In 1846, the Mexican-American War broke out and Sierra's non-Mexican foreigners, backed by the Spanish-speaking Californios rebelled against Mexico and formed the California Republic. Following Mexico's defeat, the Republic gained independence before a decade of instability and corruption forced the draft of a new constitution. In 1858, following the promulgation of an agreed-upon constitution, the Kingdom of Sierra was formed as a federal constitutional monarchy with provinces.
The new kingdom struggled to maintain its independence as international interests sought to control Sierra. Rapid industrialization and political reforms helped modernize the nation, and imperialist endeavors helped form national identity. The Kingdom's participation in the War of Contingency established Sierra as a strong, independent nation, worthy of acknowledgement and legitimacy within Anglo America. The Kingdom faced an existential crisis during the Sierran Civil War in the late 1870s when republican forces in the Styxie revolted against the Sierran monarchy and formed the Second California Republic. The Civil War lasted four years, costing nearly 30,000 lives before the Republic ultimately failed, and the Kingdom prevailed. Following the war, Sierra's continued industrialization and immigration from Asia led to various labor and nativist movements. Around the turn of the century, Sierra experienced a profound social and political revolution during the Progressive Era and the Sierran Cultural Revolution, a time period that defined Sierran culture as it is known today.
The indigenous peoples of Sierra include the Cahuilla, Chumash, Kumeyaay, Maidu, Mojave, Miwok, Modoc, Navajo, Tongva, Washoe, and Yana. Pre-Colombian Sierra had one of the America's most linguistically and culturally diverse populations. Over a hundred languages from several dozen language families were represented in Pre-Colombian Sierra. Most of the languages spoken during Sierra's prehistory have since gone extinct or are currently endangered. The term "Amerindian" is a term of art used officially to refer to the indigenous peoples of Sierra and the Americas.
It is generally hypothesized by historians that the original inhabitants of Sierra originated from Siberia and other parts of Asia by way through the Bering land strait approximately 16,500 years ago. The bridge formed as a result of falling sea levels were the result of climatic changes during the Quaternary glaciation. The early Paleoamericans spread throughout the Americas, forming a diverse plethora of cultures, civilizations, and tribes, including the more than hundred represented in Sierra. The earliest archaeological evidence showing signs of human habitation in Sierra are the remains of the Arlington Springs Man on Santa Rosa Island in the Channel Islands. The remains date back to approximately 13,000 years ago during the most recent ice age, the Wisconsin glaciation.
Pre-contact population estimates range between 130,000 and 1.52 million inhabitants, although most conservative estimates posit that the population stood around 300,000 at the time Europeans first began exploration in Sierra. Prominent Paleo-Indian groups arose during the Archaic Period including those of Picosa tradition. The Ancient Puebloans (the Anasazi) were one such ancient group that originated from the Picosa tradition, and covered a territory that included present-day Apache, Flagstaff, the southern Deseret, and the Coloradan region. Other major ancient Indian civilization that rose to prominence were the Hohokam and Mogollon of present-day Cornerstone, Flagstaff, Maricopa, Sonora, and Pacífico Norte. These groups were noted for their extensive irrigation systems which sustained large agricultural projects, elaborate pottery, and distinct architecture. Such ancient civilizations disappeared within the past two millennia due to various, hypothesized factors including long-term droughts and famines.
With a number of exceptions, most Sierran natives generally lived as hunter-gatherers who resided across a variety of different environments, climates, and geography. Those further in the north along the coast and mountainous areas practiced forest gardening and even started controlled fires (using fire-stick farming methods) in the woodlands to sustain their agricultural habits. Some tribal groups such as the Chumash had larger, more sophisticated political organization including chiefdoms that encompassed large stretches of land. Trade, diplomacy, intermarriages, and military alliances were common forms of intertribal interactions. The indigenous peoples demonstrated a variety of skills and knowledge that made use of the resources of the land. The deliberate burning of the land prevented larger, catastrophic fires from occurring and revitalized plant growth that attracted consumable animals. Natives along the coast utilized boats for transport and had diets centered around fishing.
European exploration and settlement
European knowledge of Sierra prior to the region's exploration was heavily speculative, and interest was initially piqued by fantastical accounts depicted in the 16th-century Spanish romance novel Las Sergas de Esplandián (The Adventures of Esplandián) by Garci Rodríguez de Montalvo. The novel was a well-received commercial success in Spain and also achieved popularity throughout the rest of the Europe. The novel is set on the mythical island of California where black Amazon warriors led by Queen Califia and griffins inhabit the island. The Amazonians control a large cache of gold and pearls, and are heavily armed. Queen Califia fights alongside Muslims in the story and her name may have been chosen to sound like caliph, suggesting California may have been conceptualized as a caliphate. Various editions were produced, with the earliest known version published in 1510. Such content fueled European imaginations of the uncharted areas of the Americas including those in search of gold deposits and the fabled fountain of youth.
When the Spanish began exploring the Americas and reached the Baja California peninsula, which was rumored to be ruled by Amazonians, the Spanish named it California, erroneously believing the peninsula was an island, as the one described in Las Sergas de Esplandián. Although the exploration of the west coast of Mexico by Francisco de Ulloa that conclusively proved that Baja California was a peninsula, the belief that the peninsula was an island persisted in Europe, as evidenced through contemporaneous maps until the late 18th century. Mapmakers used the name "California" to refer to all the unexplored lands of the western North American coast during the 16th and 17th centuries.
In 1542, Spanish–Portuguese navigator Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo (Portuguese: João Rodrigues Cabrilho) became the first European known to explore the Sierran mainland, reaching as far north as the mouth of the Russian River near Point Reyes on the coast of modern-day Central Valley. His expedition was commissioned and supported by New Spain's viceroy, Antonio de Mendoza. Cabrillo was unable to complete his trip and died at Santa Catalina Island of the Channels after developing gangrene from an injury wound on his shin. Cabrillo's successor, Bartolemé Ferrer, was able to continue the expedition and traveled as far north as Cape Orford in southern Astoria, becoming the first European to explore the southwestern coast of Astoria. In 1553, Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés explored El Norte's Sonora and discovered the Baja California Peninsula during his final major expedition in the region. The Sea of Cortés was named in Cortés' honor by fellow Spaniard explorer Francisco de Ulloa. Cortés believed the peninsula was an island and named it "Santa Cruz Island".
In 1579, some 37 years after Cabrillo's expedition, English privateer Francis Drake traveled up the Sierran coast and claimed an indeterminate region there in the name of England and named the area "Nova Albion" (New England). The location Drake landed on was deliberately kept a secret by he and his men as Drake. He wanted to establish an English colony in the area and wanted to avoid detection by the Spanish. Drake was infamous amongst the Spanish and was known as El Draque by them due to his exploits and raids throughout New Spain. His claims went unrecognized as the British government neither formally recognized Drake's claims nor pursued any serious territorial control over Sierra.
In 1602, Sebastián Vizcaíno, under the commission of Viceroy Gaspar de Zúñiga, traveled along the coast of Sierra in search of pearls and mapped out the Sierran coastline. Between Drake's and Vizcaíno's expedition, there were numerous occasions where Spanish galleons traveling to or from Manila (Tondo) inadvertently landed on Sierran coastline for refuge and rest, beginning in 1565. According to Vizcaíno's accounts, he traveled as far north as Monterey Bay. During his expedition, he gave San Diego Bay, the King Louis Islands, Point Conception, the Santa Lucia Mountains, Point Lobos, Carmel River, and Monterey Bay their namesakes. Vizcaíno was also the first person known to document the ecological features of Sierra's coasts. Martín de Aguilar, a commander of one of Vizcaíno's ships, the Tres Reyes, got separated from the rest of the fleet and traveled further north, exploring the coastlines of Plumas and Shasta, and reaching as far north as southern Astoria (Oregon) by Coos Bay.
In 1644, Dutch explorer Hendrik Brouwer, on his way from Chile and towards Japan on a diplomatic mission, made an expedition to Sierra that was organized by the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC) and Dutch West Indies Company. The Dutch desired a base along the North American Pacific Coast to trade gold and resupply ships returning from Asia, similar to the one attempted in Valdivia, Chile. Since the Dutch Republic and Spain were at war at the time, Brouwer wanted to establish a colony in the northern reaches of Alta California with the plan to eventually displace or disrupt Spanish presence there should conditions turned favorable on the side of the Dutch.
Evading detection by the Spanish, Brouwer established New Holland, a Dutch colony at the mouth of Noyo River (present-day Fort Brouwer, Plumas). Brouwer established friendly relations with the indigenous Yuki and Pomo, and left behind 20 men who founded the town of Brouwershaven in Brouwer's honor. The colony survived through intermarriages between the Dutchmen and indigenous women, and a crucial wave of emigrants expelled from the former Dutch Brazil in 1656. Although its existence was eventually discovered by the Spanish in 1769, New Holland remained under de facto Dutch control for nearly 140 years before the Netherlands capitulated to the Batavian Republic, and the French elected to formally cede New Holland to Spain through the Treaty of The Hague. The Spanish left the New Holland settlers alone despite the change, and the colony would not face interference until 1821 when the newly independent Mexican government asserted its authority over the region when it inherited New Spain's territory in Western North America.
French admiral and explorer Louise Antoine de Bougainville toured the Spanish colonies of Alta California with his two ships (Boudeuse and Étoile) during a circumnavigational trip across the Pacific by commission of King Louis XV. Bougainville and his crew arrived from a trip to Tahiti and were warmly received by Spanish authorities at San Diego Bay. The admiral was impressed with the natural geography and landscape of Sierra and received permission by the local Spanish officials to allow 30 of his men to settle on Santa Catalina Island (Île Saint-Catherine) as a colony. With France and Spain on good terms, the French settlement on the Channels would become the French-Spanish Condominium, a joint colonial venture wherein the French were allowed to settle on Spanish territory.
In 1768, Jean-François de Galaup, a naval officer who was a part of Bougainville's expedition, returned to the Channel Islands with over a hundred French colonists including les filles du roi. Today, the majority of the Channeliers of French descent trace their heritage back to the people from the settlers who arrived from either Bougainville or Galaup's ships. The colony survived despite facing initial difficulties in portable water, resources, and a fire when the widely reported apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary occurred in the Santa Barbara Channel between the Channels and Grands Ballons in 1768. The event revitalized Spanish interest in developing Alta California and supporting the Frenchmen's endeavors in the Channels as the Spanish increased settlement, trade, and construction in the region soon thereafter.
Following Vizcaíno's exploration and the establishment of the French-Spanish Condominium, Spanish activity and development in Alta California was stalled as Spain was preoccupied with European affairs. The Baja California Peninsula received significant attention however, as missions were established by Jesuit missionaries. The Jesuits received financial support from Viceroy Duque de Linares, who also successfully lobbied to the Spanish Crown of increased trade between Asia, Acapulco, and Lima. The peninsula became an important link in the transoceanic trade and was a region of prime interest for the Spanish Crown.
The report of the Virgin Mary in the form of Our Lady of Catalina in the Santa Barbara Channel rekindled Spanish interest in Alta California. The incident was widely reported among Spaniard soldiers, priests, and Channelier colonists, and accounts of the apparition captured the imagination and intrigue of Europeans and New World colonists alike. The end of the Seven Years' War allowed Spain to rededicate its attention towards its colonies in the Americas. In addition, the advances of the English and the Russians in the region prompted action from the Spanish. The failure of the Spanish to detect or realize the presence of the Dutch in the northernmost fringes of Alta California however, prevented a more urgent and stronger campaign to colonizing Sierra.
In 1767, following King Carlos III of Spain's decision to expel the Jesuits from the kingdom, New Spanish authorities were ordered to dispossess Jesuit power in the Californias. In 1769, newly appointed Governor of Alta California Gaspar de Portolá was sent to execute the order to remove the Jesuits and was tasked to explore Alta California. Portolà was accompanied by Franciscan monks Juan Crespí and Saint Junípero Serra y Ferrer, O.F.M., who were tasked with replacing the Jesuits and to extend the mission system that was successful in Baja California to Alta California.
Serra's first mission, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, was founded in 1769, was the first mission built in northern New Spain outside of New Mexico and Tejas (Brazoria). The first presidio in Alta California was also established in San Diego, and would serve as a military garrison for Spanish soldiers in the area. Serra, Portolà, and their men continued their exploration of Alta California northward, exploring the Porciúncula Basin and the Santa Barbara Mountains. The group received support from an envoy of Channeliers who happened to fish off the coast of modern day Grands Ballons. The Channeliers' claims of the Marian apparition years before persuaded Serra to found a mission in the region, Mission San Gabriel Arcángel. As they continued their travels northward, Serra founded another mission, Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, near Carmel-by-the-Sea, Kings. A total of 21 missions, including Serra's, would be established by the Franciscans between 1769 and 1833, which extended from San Diego to Sonoma. The El Camino Real (Spanish: The Royal Road) became an important route that connected all 21 missions together.
The purpose of the missions was to Christianize and assimilate the indigenous people into European society. The missions were also constructed to affirm Spanish presence over its claims in California. The Spaniards were fearful of British intrusion in the region, and planned to gradually populate the area with Spaniards and mestizos who would keep Anglophones out of the area. Amerindians were forced to live near the mission in settlements known as reductions (reducciones). Over 140 Spanish Friars Minor were employed by the Spanish state to man the missions between 1769 and 1845. Amerindians were brought to the mission either by military force or economic incentive, as the missions were often the centers of trade, agriculture, and crafts. Baptized Amerindians were referred to as neophytes (new believers). Each settlement housed at least two friars together, and were allotted a corporal and his group of five or six soldiers who maintained order in the mission. Reinforcements and auxiliary support could be acquired from the several hundred soldiers distributed across Alta California's five presidios in San Diego, Santa Barbara, Monterey, San Francisco City, and Sonoma. The Amerindians were subjugated under a racial-based hierarchy where they were exploited as uncompensated laborers, while mixed-race mestizos and European Whites had access to higher positions in the local society. There was also a small community of emigrants from North America, including Anglo-Saxon Americans and African Americans, the latter of whom became the progenitors of the modern-day Sierran French Creoles.
The Spanish colonial society operated under a racial hierarchy known as the casta system which was predicated on the concept of limpieza de sangre (cleanliness of blood). The system dictated the relationships and interactions between racial categories, as well as the rights and opportunities members from each group could expect. European-born Spaniards, known as peninsulares were at the top of the hierarchy, followed by full-blooded Spaniards born in the New World. Mixed-race mestizos, primarily those of mixed European and Amerindian heritage, constituted a growing majority of people living in Alta California, and served as a racial wedge between the white elites and the people of color below. At the bottom of the hierarchy were Amerindians and Africans. This race-based system remained a central component of the region's culture well after the end of Spanish administration, influencing racial relations in early Sierran history.
In 1809, France betrayed its alliance with Spain during the Peninsular War, which compromised Spanish dominance over its territories in the Americas, including Alta California. For nearly a decade and a half, Alta California and the Channel Islands operated under tenuous supervision of the local colonial government, and received financial support from Anglo-America and other parts of New Spain. In 1819, the Adam–Onís Treaty established the northern boundary of Spain's claims over Alta California at the 42nd parallel, establishing the present-day borders between Sierra and Astoria. The claim reaffirmed Spain's claim over the entirety of Sierra despite the continued presence of the Dutch in New Holland and its diminished power over the region. Spanish control and administrative power over Alta California had waned significantly by then however and by 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain, thereby inheriting control over Alta California.
Under Mexican control, Sierra's status remained as a geographically remote and minimally developed region. Californios and other inhabitants enjoyed a significant degree of autonomy due in part to the frequent government changes in Mexico. Alta California played a negligible role in the Mexican War of Independence and remained a territory as opposed to a state in the new regime. Initially, the Mexican government seldom intervened in local affairs although the authorities required that all citizens must be able to speak Spanish and practice the Catholic faith. Mexico did not effectively gain administrative control over Alta California until 1825, by which then, the region was affirmed as a territory under the 1824 Constitution. In order to solidify Alta California under Mexican law and order, the Mexican central government sent appointed governors to serve as the territorial executives. The first governor of Alta California was José Maria de Echeandía whose notable administrative actions included granting emancipation for the Amerindians living in mission lands and issuing land grants to private buyers.
In 1827, the Mexican passed the General Law of Expulsion which declared all persons born in Spain to be illegal immigrants and required them to leave Mexico, including Alta California. The law in Alta California specifically targeted the Franciscan monks assigned to the obsolete Spanish mission system, who were viewed with suspicion by the Mexican state as allies to Mexico's former colonizer Spain, as well as the Catholic Church. Many Spanish-born clergy complied with the orders, most of whom were of advanced age.
Signs of dissatisfaction by wealthy Californios with the Mexican government emerged during the governorship of Manuel Victoria. Opposition to the unpopular governor led to a brief rebellion which resulted in José Maria de Echeandía, the previous governor, to reassume governorship briefly again until 1833 when José Figueroa was appointed governor.
Political tensions persisted throughout the rest of the 1830s as the Mexican central government itself suffered the weight of sustained political instability and regime changes. Between 1833 and 1846, there was a total of 8 turnovers in Alta California's governorship, ending with Pío Pico. Most of the governorships were ended due to civil strife and armed rebellions by outraged citizens. The lack of serious military and logistical support from Mexico enabled the calamitous situation in Alta California to unfold unhindered.
During the 1840s, Alta California experienced an uptick in Anglo-American immigration and settlement. Enticed by the promise of good weather, cheap land, and adventure, tens of thousands of American pioneers and their families moved westward along a number of trails including the Old Spanish Trail in Southern Sierra and the Siskiyou Trail in Northern Sierra. In the decades prior, the majority of emigrants were American or British trappers from present-day Astoria and Canada who traversed into Mexican territory in search of beaver and other fur-bearing animals. In addition, significant numbers of people living in New Holland and the Channel Islands began emigrating to Alta California proper, with the primary factor being economic opportunism.
In 1846, hostilities between the Brazorian–American alliance and Mexico caused conflict to spillover into Alta California. The region was of significant interest for the American government, as well as the British and French governments, each of which had vested interest in acquiring control over the geographically expansive, resources-rich, and Pacific-bound territory. All three governments had offered previous proposals to buying Alta California partially or entirely from the the Mexican government. The Mexican government rejected all of the offers, despite suffering massive debt and insolvency.
Prior to the outbreak of the Mexican–American War, Alta California had a number of small-scale rebellions and revolts against the Mexican government. Californios were becoming increasingly concerned with what they saw an encroachment of their autonomy. The concurrent immigration of Anglo-American settlers in Alta California also further destabilized the political efficacy of the Mexican government over Alta California as the majority of English-speaking settlers lived outside of Mexican law. The Channel Islands and New Holland, both regions which enjoyed a significant degree of independence from Mexican interference, were also agitated with increased Mexican presence and efforts to rein in control over their livelihoods through taxation and other administrative actions.
On June 8, 1846, a group of Anglo-American settlers led by William B. Ide launched a rebellion and seized control over Mexican barracks in the city of Sonoma. The rebels carried banners which bore the image of a bear and a red star, known as the Bear Flag. The event, which came to be known as the Bear Flag Revolt, signified the beginning of California's armed and organized fight for independence. Soon afterwards, Sutter's Fort was seized by John C. Frémont. The Mexican government responded by sending troops to suppress the rebel forces in California. News of the rebellion and the war between the North American nations prompted many Anglo-American settlers in California to take up arms. Californios who were sympathetic to the Anglo-Americans' cause also rose up and joined forces. The self-declared California Republic and its army engaged in a series of conflicts throughout Alta California and extended their campaign southward towards the Baja California Peninsula and Sonora. On January 13, 1847, Californian forces and the Californios who supported the Mexican government signed an informal military agreement to end hostilities. The Treaty of Cahuenga ended the conflict in California itself as the Mexican forces gave up provided prisoners of war from both side were released by their captors. By the summer of 1847, the combined forces of the United States, Brazoria, and California overwhelmed Mexican forces and forced the Mexican government to surrender after Mexico City was captured. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo formally concluded the war and included Mexico's recognition of California's independence and sovereignty.
Although California gained independence as a sovereign state, the newly founded Californian government relied heavily on the military and economic support of the United States government. After the war, the Californian government incurred large sums of debt after it borrowed extensively from both the United States and Brazoria. In addition, it owed Mexico over $10 million in the form of a "grievance tribute" as stipulated by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. While Californian officials insisted that it remain independent, the United States government actively offered admission into the country as a U.S. state. The Californian government worried about the possibility of the American military taking over the newborn state by force if the Californian government defaulted on its debt. A number of Anglo-American citizens also conspired to declare allegiance to the United States. The Californian government lacked a standing army. Its only source of domestic defense were the militiamen who had assembled together loosely during the war. With the war over, most militias either disbanded or maintained their own quasi-legal existence. Lawlessness and corruption was rampant as lawmakers in Monterey (the first capital of California) struggled to draft a full-fledged constitution. These concerns were the central issue of the California Republic's brief, decade-long existence.
The young nation's independence continued to attract the attention and interest of immigrants due to its fertile land and economic opportunities. A diaspora of Scots and Irish émigrés arrived to California in search of resettlement. They were initially evicted from the United Kingdom due to the Highland Clearances and had settled along the Atlantic coast of the United States. A large number of these immigrants were supporters of Jacobitism and rallied around Charles Miller, a direct descendant of the deposed British Stuart king James II. Miller's family had amassed a fortune in the tanning and shipbuilding industry in the U.S. state of New Jersey and garnered novel attention by Jacobite supporters and third-party observers due to their familial and historical connections with the exiled British royal house. Miller embarked on a journey westward to California and hundreds of Jacobite families followed suit due to their loyalty and devotion to the Stuart bloodline.
Gold Rush of 1849
On January 24, 1848, gold was discovered by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in present-day Coloma, Tahoe. News of the gold reached throughout California, Astoria (then known as Oregon Country), Mexico, Hawaii (then known as the Sandwich Islands), Peru, and Chile first. The California Gold Rush brought over 300,000 people to California from the rest of North America and beyond. The sudden influx of gold saved the Californian economy, allowing it to pay off its war debt, and provide much-needed funding for infrastructure, government services, and law enforcement. Over 300,000 people arrived within five years of the gold rush, overwhelming the country's limited resources and government. Lawlessness was rampant and prospectors or agronauts lacked protections from effectively non-existent property right laws. The majority of boomtowns and population growth occurred in Northern California, and San Francisco City became the most populous city in California.
The gold rush transformed California from a backwater country into a bustling nation. Over tens of billions of dollars worth of gold were recovered, although wealth was concentrated among a select few, most of whom would later become Sierra's first noble and aristocratic families. The majority of those who came in search of gold earned little if any increase in their fortunes.
Constitution of 1858
The population boom and unprecedented economic boom in California placed a significant strain on the government's resources, energy, and capabilities. The Californian government was unable to meet basic demands for law enforcement and funding public projects such as infrastructure. Elected officials at every level of government were accused of cronyism and corruption that were more invested in self-gain rather than public service. The Californian government had witnessed more than six presidencies over the course of ten years, with each president ending their terms out of resignation or electoral defeat. Among the international community, California was perceived as a lawless society which was unable to contain rampant vigilantism, corruption, and social unrest brought forth by the Gold Rush. Rumors that either the United States or Canada would invade California became a common topic of concern.
In 1852, amid race riots and labor shortages, a monarchist movement was organized in San Francisco City as Jacobites and sympathizers with anti-republican tendencies assembled to propose an alternative solution to California's "failed republican experiment". The Jacobites had recognized Charles Miller Stuart as their leader due to his royal blood and his open acquiescence to their fealty. Jacobite publications and newspapers began circulating the concept of a North American-based monarchy in California, which garnered support from Californians of various backgrounds including farmers, storeowners, factory workers, merchants, industrialists, and shipbuilders. The main arguments for monarchism promised stability and unity behind a monarchy which would moderate the populist demands of the public, preserve democracy under a manageable apparatus through a strong constitution, and control political opportunism by establishing a defined peerage system independent of the political system.
Early Kingdom years
The 1858 federal election was Sierra's first national election, held for nearly two weeks following the promulgation of the new constitution. Royalist party member Frederick Bachelor, Sr. became the first prime minister after his party secured 66% of the popular vote and 33 of the 50 seats in the House. Under Bachelor, Sr.'s first government, Sierra focused on expanding international trade and industrialism. The Sierran aristocratic class also developed as the monarchy rewarded titles to wealthy landowners, influential statesmen, entrepreneurs, and friends of the Crown. The Nobility Acts of 1859 formed the basis of Sierra's emergent peerage system, which was similar to the spoils system in other Anglo-American states at the time. The acts legitimized state recognition of lands awarded historically by the Spanish Crown and disproportionately favored Californios and their descendants, as well as Sierran citizens who had owned land under the California Republic or Alta California.
Although the Royalists maintained a comfortable numeric majority in Parliament and dominated San Francisco, Sierra's most populous province at the time, the Democratic-Republicans emerged as a capable, potent opposition party. Highly successful in the inland Styxie provinces, the Democratic-Republicans denounced Bachelor, Sr.'s ministry and expansion of the monarchy. While republicanism was one of the party's central issues, it also supported protectionism and the silver standard. During the 1863 elections, the Royalists maintained a majority in the House but lost four of its seats to the Democratic-Republicans, who achieved a modest seat gain in the House while the Whigs emerged as an early significant minor party with its first two seats.
As Sierra industrialized and the San Francisco Bay Area became more developed, tensions between the Royalist coast and the Democratic-Republican Styxie grew. Issues such as tariffs, immigration, the rise of the aristocratic class, and monarchism dominated the nation's partisan discourse. Under Bachelor, Sr., the Sierran government created numerous publicly owned corporations, including federally incorporated enterprises such as the Royal Postal Service and the Royal Pacific Railroad. A central bank, the Royal Monetary Authority of Sierra (ROMA) was also established in order to regulate Sierra's currency, public credit, and private banking institutions.
During Sierra's infancy, the country also experienced sporadic clashes with the local Amerindian tribes. The Sierran Genocide came to refer to all of the actions taken by the Spanish, Mexican, Californian, and then Sierran governments to decrease the population of the indigenous Amerindian peoples in Sierra. More than 10,000 Amerindians were believed to have been directly killed by Hispanic and Anglo-American settlers, and tens of thousands of more were killed indirectly from disease or poverty. The Sierran Indian Wars were a series of conflicts carried out by the Sierran federal government and provincial governments that occurred mostly in Northern Sierra between 1858 and 1880. The passage of the Compact Indian–Sierran Friendship Act represented the official end to this conflict and resulted in the creation of the modern Sierran Amerindian reservation system.
War of Contingency
In 1861, the United States broke out into a civil war between the anti-slavery Union North and the pro-slavery Confederate South. Although Sierra remained officially neutral throughout the conflict, it continued trade with both the United States and the Confederate States. It did not formally recognize the Confederate States as a sovereign country, but maintained informal contacts with Confederate officials. By 1865, the war was over with a Union victory. Peace was short-lived as several months later, American President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, triggering a political crisis that derailed into a second Confederate Uprising. The uprising was successfully put down as the South was too weak to resist under the Reconstruction Union-controlled military governments, but other insurrections soon broke out across the rest of the country, leading to Grant's coup and Page's insurrection. These developments resulted in the secession of Northeastern states as the Northeast Union, Midwest states as Superior, and Tournesol. The United States government, on the brink of collapse, was reorganized under the Union of American States, which centralized power and sought to restore control over the newly seceded states, thus beginning the War of Contingency.
Sierra remained neutral on the onset of the conflict and signed the Grant-Trist Agreement with the Unionist government in order to declare nonaggression between the two states. Within a year, Sierran opinion of the war shifted due to concerns that the Unionist government was planning to conquer the entirety of the North American continent, including Sierra, and the presence of Unionist troops along the Brazorian–Sierran borders. Growing calls for interventionism and support for the seceding states were especially strong among Democratic-Republicans. Domestically, mounting unpopularity and resentment of pro-business and pro-industry policies resulted in the Democratic-Republicans under the leadership of Ulysses Perry gaining control over the House during the 1867 elections. Perry and his party's ascent to national leadership was met with fierce backlash by a Royalist-controlled Senate and House opposition, which forced three additional elections within the span of three years, two of which occurred in the same year in 1869 (one in February and the other in August). Parliament, under the premiership of Perry, declared war against the Union of American States, thus bringing Sierra directly into the conflict. This move was supported by populists but strongly opposed by industrialists and Royalists whose business interests were to maintain friendly relations and international commerce with the Union.
The main priorities of Sierra were to protect Sierran interests along its international borders, to maintain control over the Deseret, to prevent Unionist expansionism, and to assume political and military superiority in a post-United States North America. Sierran forces were quickly mobilized to transverse the Sierran East and through Brazoria to support the anti-Union forces. The Atlantic Squadron of the Sierran Royal Navy were also deployed to face off the Union Navy in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic. Meanwhile, troops were sent north into the former Oregon Country where the Free State of Astoria was declared but was annexed by Canada. The resultant conflict, the Eugene War, was an early, but brief sub-conflict in the war which was a decisive victory for Sierra. Sierra signed a peace agreement with Canada in order to secure and guarantee independence for Astoria, and the assurance Canada would intervene in the War of Contingency on behalf of Sierra and the anti-Union states.
By mid-1868, Sierra and the anti-Union states had reversed much of the Union of American States' initial territorial gains and were making significant headway into Illinois, Kentucky, and Arkansas. Although the Second Confederate States surrendered to the Union, the entry of Canada all and Superior's capture of Michigan dampened the Union's prospects to retake these lands. Worn-out by years of intense warfare and mounting popular discontent, the Union of American States moved towards unconditional surrender. The Christmas Accords were signed on Christmas Day, 1868, which declared cessation of hostilities between the belligerent states, including Sierra. Months later, the war was officially concluded with the signage of the Treaty of Salinas. In the treaty, the Union promised to relinquish its claims over the breakaway states which now composed the Northeast Union, Superior, and Tournesol respectively, unless such states consented to reunification.
First Interwar period
With the war's end, Perry's popularity as the country's first wartime leader was major. National pride and morale ran high but Perry and his party continued to draw ire by the Royalist opposition. During and after the war as prime minister, Perry attempted to restrain the powers and influence of the monarchy, and to rollback aristocratic powers by implementing an estate tax, increasing property tax against property held by nobles and gentry, and banning the creation of new titles of nobility through the Pressings Act. He and his party referred to their reforms as the "Honest Deal" to voters. He helped pass the Royal Edict Limitation Acts, which restricted the use and effectiveness of the king's royal edicts to only enforcing existing statutory or constitutional law, rather than legislating new laws. Perry also transferred the King's power of the purse to the Privy Purse of Sierra, which would fall under the oversight of Parliament.
His attempts of government reform were strongly challenged by the Royalists. The Pressings Act was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in the 1871 Wiesenfield v. Sierra case. He also sought to reduce the powers of the ROMA and lowered tariffs to provide injunctive relief for farmers. He made an unsuccessful bid to adopt the silver standard but unveiled a series of government subsidies and programs to support agricultural business.
Perry's commitment into the war in the East had also harmed business interests. While the war efforts incentivized industry to produce military armaments and supplies for short-term profit, few businesses were directly reached out by Perry's government and many saw the long-term consequences of a fractured, disunited East. There were fears that the war could damage the economy as labor would be drawn away to be conscripted as soldiers. Despite these fears failing to materialize and the success of the war, Sierra's involvement in the War was decried by critics as a "fool's brawl". Conservative resentment and opposition grew, and Perry's animosity towards the monarchy led to strained relations between the Crown and Parliament.
On February 14, 1874, Perry was assassinated by an unknown assailant and his body went missing. Federal investigators initially declared the cause of his death to be suicide, but conspiracy theories proliferated among Sierran republicans that Perry's death was the result of a politically-motivated murder by Royalist sympathizers. More radical republicans believed King Charles I himself ordered Perry's assassination, which sharply worsened the partisan climate of the country.
Sierran Civil War
The death of Ulysses Perry triggered great political and social unrest in the Styxie where the deceased prime minister was regarded as a martyr. Perry's deputy, Issac Johnson, became prime minister and tried to mediate peace between his party and the Royalist opposition. Calls for the abolition of the monarchy and the reinstatement of the Republic grew. The Democratic-Republican Party experienced factionalism between the Moderates who dominated the Senate and House Democratic-Republicans, and the Radicals who consisted of junior House members and populist local officials throughout the Styxie. Among the general populace, the Radicals quickly gained traction among disillusioned Democratic-Republicans in San Joaquin and Santa Clara, where republicanism were the strongest in. San Joaquin Senator Isaiah Landon rose as the most prominent advocate for radical republicanism. A personal friend and confidant of Ulysses Perry, Landon had gained notoriety for his writings on republicanism, as well as introducing Marxism to Anglo-American audiences. As the Johnson government continued to ignore the Radicals' demands for change, Landon led a rebellion in Bernheim, the capital of San Joaquin, thus starting the beginning of the Sierran Civil War.
Landon's insurrection resulted in the creation of the self-declared Second California Republic, with Reno, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, and Tahoe seceding from the Kingdom. The Republicans made swift gains on the rest of Northern Sierra, forcing the Sierran government to move its base of operations from San Francisco City to Porciúncula in the Southwest Corridor when San Francisco fell to the Republicans in December 1874. San Francisco, Plumas, Shasta, and parts of Central Valley came under Republican occupation by 1875, effectively dividing the country between the rebelling North and Kingdom South.
In 1875, Republican advances were eventually halted in Kings during the Folly at Tejon Pass, a battle which became the decisive turning point in the war. The Republican forces suffered major losses and pushback by the defending Monarchists. In the following months, the Monarchist forces recovered land lost in Central Sierra and began two campaigns to restore sovereign control over the rebelling Styxie. By 1877, Landon and the Republicans had resorted to scorched earth and other controversial tactics to hinder the Monarchists' attempts to regain control. Landon eventually surrendered and capitulated in mid-November of 1877. With the war effectively ended following Landon's surrender, Landon and other Republican leaders were arrested and tried for treason, sedition, and war crimes. Although Landon was initially sentenced to death by hanging, his sentence was commuted by King Charles I and was given a life sentence of house arrest instead. Major changes and reforms were implemented following the war, mainly to reintegrate the Styxie back into the Kingdom, and to control the influence of radical republicanism. The Democratic-Republican Party expelled officeholders who held radical republican tendencies and changed its platform from "hard republicanism" to "principled republicanism" that connoted cooperation and dialogue with the monarchy and its supporters.
Gilded Age and Sierran imperialism
Following the war, Sierra experienced rapid economic recovery and revitalization in the Styxie. With the capital moved to Porciúncula, the city and the surrounding Southwest Corridor became the new political, economic, and social center. Various boomtowns and communities were developed as vast amounts of former rancho lands were resold back to the government or bought by private investors, developers, and companies. Improvements to transportation, manufacturing, and agriculture fueled the growth of industrializing cities.
By the 1890s, hundreds of miles of railroads were laid down to connect all of the major cities of Sierra with each other, as well as international destinations in Astoria, Brazoria, Superior, and elsewhere. The most significant lines were the Southern Pacific Railroad, Royal Pacific Railroad, Santa Fe Railroad, and Western Pacific Railroad. These lines carried both freight and passengers, which were vital to the country's economic growth and continued transcontinental migration. Electric railroads began to emerge during the last decade of the 19th century, with the largest system being developed and maintained by the Pacific Electric.
The discovery of oil across Sierra between the 1880s and the early 1900s further increased economic and commercial development. While agriculture remained the dominant industry in provinces such as Central Valley, the Inland Empire, and Orange, more and more farmland was converted into oil fields, factories, industrial depots, and housing to accommodate the nationwide explosive growth.
Coinciding with Sierra's industrial revolution was the enlargement of the Sierran military and the refinement of Sierra's foreign and military policies. The Sierran Royal Navy underwent a massive modernization plan which saw its fleet size grow more than quadruple its size during the Sierran Civil War. It experienced significant improvements to seafaring and naval warfare technology, as evidenced by its upgrade to steel-hull warships. Pre-dreadnought battleships were added to the navy's fleets by 1880s and reflected Sierra's Pacific-oriented foreign policy strategy of trade and regional dominance in the Pacific Ocean. During the mid-1880s, Sierra engaged in a series of military conquests and acquisitions of Pacific islands including the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, Rapa Nui, the Galápagos Islands. In 1893, Sierra annexed the Hawaiian Islands, which was the largest territorial gain by Sierra at the time since the country's inception. These acquisitions were emblematic of Sierra's goal to becoming an imperialist power, modeled after the imperial great powers of Europe such as Great Britain and France.
The period between the Sierran Civil War and the Sierran Cultural Revolution is commonly referred to as the Gilded Age by historians, so named due to rapid economic growth despite emergent social issues and economic inequality. Although real wages, wealth, and national GDP grew precipitously, political corruption, economic cronyism, and economic stratification plagued the country. "Robber barons" such as Collis P. Huntington and Leland Stanford were wealthy entrepreneurs who accumulated large amounts of wealth from their profitable enterprises and business ventures, often at the expense of Sierran workers. There were few worker's protection laws and labor unions lacked recognition by many provincial and local governments. Child labor was also widespread, especially within factories and mines. Although philanthropy and charitable giving was practiced by the wealthy and middle class to promote public works and social services, the overlooked issues among the working class remained largely neglected throughout this period by the federal government by the Royalists and Democratic-Republicans alike. Populist politicians and parties frequently contested in elections in order to capture the political dissatisfaction of the working class but only witnessed limited success in results. Immigration was another hot-button issue that persisted during the Gilded Age, as the citizenry were divided on immigration, particularly with immigrants from East Asian countries such as China and Japan, increasing the incidence of race-related conflict and growing antipathy among poor whites.
The worsening conditions were further complicated when Sierra had its first major banking panic in 1892 due to many financiers withdrawing their money from Sierran banks in response to the failing economies in Argentina and Brazil. Unemployment rates skyrocketed and prices were hiked, leading to social unrest and political mobilization among lower-class workers and farmers.
Nativist organizations were formed in response to Sierra's uncurbed immigration and financial woes, and were often linked with labor movements and syndicates. Supporters and pro-nativist lawmakers often pushed for anti-immigration laws, but did so to no avail. Prominent nativists, including Irish-Sierran Denis Kearney, threatened violence against business owners who hired Chinese. While anti-immigration measures failed due to resistance by the Royalists (who wanted cheap labor and strong relations with Asia), individual provinces such as those in the Styxie created discriminatory policies that restricted the civil rights of non-whites and passed literacy tests that made voting or even applying for a job much more difficult.
In 1893, King Charles I passed away following a year of severe health complications, making his eldest son, Crown Prince Lewis, the new king as Louis I. Similar to his father, he continued maintaining neutrality in domestic affairs while commanding a more active role in foreign policy. The new king rejected nativism but opted to reconcile with Democratic-Republican workers and cooperate with political reformists. Horrified by the social injustices and economic stagnancy that plagued the nation, he oversaw the introduction of the new labor policies such as the minimum wage and the eight-hour workday, regulated child labor under extreme standards, and the establishment of the imposing an income tax through the Royalist ministry of Prime Minister Joseph Sterling, a "progressive businessman" from Santa Clara. These reforms helped cultivate the rise of the Progressive Era as widespread social activism helped bring radical political reform to the country.
In 1898, Sierra along with several other Anglo-American states, mainly the Northeast Union, Union of American States and Brazoria, had participated in the Spanish–American War against Spain officially to oppose European imperialism in the Americas and to protect the sovereignty of states in the America, though the Sierran government used the war as a pretext to annex Spain's overseas territories and expand its empire even further. During the war, the Sierran Royal Navy made up a significant portion of the Combined American Fleet and fought in the Pacific Campaign where the Sierran Royal Marines and Army fought successfully against the Spanish and by the war's end had captured all of Spain's overseas colonies, including Tondo. During the war, Sierran forces were aided by Tondolese revolutionaries, but a renewed war between the former allies broke out in the form of the Han–Sierran War ending in 1901 with the establishment of the Sierran East Indies and a military occupation of the island to ensure Sierra's holdings in the region.
The excesses and social issues of the Gilded Age resulted in the emergence of Progressivism, a socio-political movement that was based on reform and change. Unrest and civil disobedience became a standard form of resistance and opposition to Gilded Age policies and society. Yellow journalism and the election of reform-minded, populist-oriented officials spurned interest in challenging the elitist culture which had developed in Porciúncula. The Progressive Era reflected a shift in Sierran society where there was an increasing sense of political efficacy that voting and active participation in government and politics could lead to practical, impactful change. Protests, organized strikes, marches, rallies, campaign drives, and petitions became more commonplace during this time. Continued advances in technology, medicine, science, engineering, agriculture, transportation, and electricity also hastened Sierra's trajectory towards a more modern, mobilized society.
In the 1901 federal election, the Democratic-Republicans under Robert Landon, the grandson of Isaiah Landon, became the governing party in the House. The party ran on a platform of Progressivism and civil rights, which included reversing economic inequality, protecting the working class, improving public health and sanitation, breaking up monopolies, extending full suffrage to women and people of color, introducing a federal initiative and referenda system, and regulating business more toughly. The party's policy changes reflected one that sought to bridge an alliance between the working class and the middle class. In 1903, it officially dropped political republicanism from its platform and supported the status quo of maintaining Sierra's constitutional monarchial system.
The Progressive movement also heavily influenced the Royalists as it attempted to moderate its own policies by supporting various reformatory policies which the Democratic-Republicans supported. The Progressive wing promoted a form of one-nation conservatism that believed the government could be used to improve the problems and issues of modern society. Unlike the Democratic-Republicans, the Royalists backed a platform which went further on racial equality and supported more socially conservative issues such as alcohol prohibitionism.
Sierran Cultural Revolution
The Sierran Cultural Revolution was a major period of social, cultural, and political upheaval which fundamentally altered and changed Sierran society. It originated out of the Progressive Era and coalesced into a wide-reaching, expansive movement that witnessed radically shifted views on race, culture, philosophy, politics, religion, and economics. The revolution began in 1901 initially as a grassroots-driven movement which consisted of a pan-racial coalition of mostly white European Sierrans, East Asian Sierrans, Hispanic and Latino Sierrans, black and Creole Sierrans, and mixed race Sierrans who promoted racial equality, civic nationalism, and multiculturalist harmony. The emergence of the Pacific School and its associated New Culture movement, best exemplified by Mark Culler's Comparison of Western and Oriental Thought, sparked a nationwide movement. The book pioneered modern Western methods of Chinese historiography and cultural studies. The book called for harmonization between Western European Protestant culture with East Asian Confucian culture, and spawned an entire intellectual trend of New Confucianists in Sierra. Rigorous and active campaigning for civil rights to Asians, Hispanics, and blacks led to increased social integration and coexistence. Growing acceptance and open adoption of new cultures between all ethnic groups evolved into a national, cohesive culture of similar customs and beliefs that consolidated elements from both Western and Eastern culture. The government, especially under the direction of King Louis I, began actively working and promoting the New Culture and engineered the Revolution to fit its aims and goals. The movement morphed into a top-down revolution that cracked down on Landonism, socialism, and other leftist ideologies in favor of a paternalistic, moralist democracy buttressed by capitalism and one-nation conservatism.
The Revolution was marked with widespread legal reforms, shift in attitudes and customs, increased immigration, and violent conflict with reactionaries. By its end, it saw the abolition of the Sierran casta system and radically altered the landscape of Sierran politics and social views. The Revolution also coincided with the rise of increased militarization, increased involvement of the monarchy, and authoritarianism due to widespread fear of Landonism, trade unionism, nativism, and anarchism. By the mid-1920s, during a time known as the Approbatio, the government resorted to military use and speech laws to control and suppress the activities of the opposition and dissidents. Contemporary historians have claimed that this later period in King Louis I's reign coincided with elements of derzhavism within the Sierran government. Although labor conditions worked, unions suffered greatly during the Revolution, and were subject to intense scrutiny. The change transformed Sierra into a cosmopolitan society and shaped the modern Sierran nation-state and democracy. The late Revolution coincided with unprecedented economic growth and militarization, propelling it towards the global power status it has reached in the present-day.
Although the Revolution was by no means uniform, and was not seen or referred to as a proper revolution until much later, it has been traditionally held that the Revolution began in the year 1901, from which its Sino-Sierran namesake owes its name to. Social change began in response to the effects of the Industrial Revolution and continued immigration of people from Asia and Latin America into Sierra, as well as Sierra's imperialist endeavors in the Pacific. Its colonization of Tondo was instrumental in bridging cultural exchange between the two powers and providing momentum for the Revolution. The rapid modernization and technological advancement of Sierra came at the cost of poor living conditions for the lower and middle classes and widespread corruption among Sierra's corporate elites. Immigration on the other hand, fueled racial tensions between the predominant Sierran whites and non-white immigrants who posed a threat to economic and labor interests. Miscegenation and the liberal exchange of different cultures had also produced a new class of multiracial Sierrans (such as the Sierran Creoles and the Hapas) and a more multiracial culture in the cities respectively. Social progressives and reformists sought to consolidate better conditions and rights to the disaffected commoners and to extend cordiality to new ethnic groups.
In 1909, King Louis I was crowned Emperor of Tondo, officially becoming a king-emperor. The phrase, "Kowtow to the King-Emperor" became a popular saying to refer to Louis I's full embracement as an emperor and an avid supporter of the Revolution. He positioned himself as a reform-minded monarch whose Orientalist sympathies made him a ready ally for prominent Revolution figures including Walter B. Feng and Richard Xiong. Although Louis I's traditional Jacobite supporters were mixed towards the King's acceptance of the New Culture, the Royalist Party sought to align its policies and agenda with the King. As a result, both the Democratic-Republican and Royalist parties officially supported the Revolution by 1911, and both attempted to court and curry favor from Sierra's rising Asian community.
Despite official backing from both major parties and the monarchy, there was widespread reactionary opposition to the changes ushered forth by the Revolution. The early opposition mainly consisted of traditionalists and nativists who sought to preserve ideals of white supremacy and rejected the New Culture's progressive thinking. Frequently, resistance turned violent, with numerous race-related riots, lynchings, pogroms in small communities, murders, and organized crime against minorities spearheaded by racist and nationalist organizations such as the Imperial Knights of Sierra (IKS) and the Workingmen's Party. The Reformed Republicans, an organized political party which upheld nativism, controlled the House of Commons briefly on two non-consecutive occasions during the 1920s, before being permanently displaced by the Democratic-Republican–Royalist system during the Approbatio period. Similarly, retaliation by pro-revolutionary forces also occurred, wreaking havoc to homes and businesses of counter-revolutionaries. These conflicts of resistance became known as the Little Civil War.
The Approbatio was a period of political turbulence and social unrest during the Revolution which was marked by numerous turnovers in the House and a progression towards increasingly authoritarian measures under the direction of King Louis I and his supporters. During the late 1910s, as the Revolution gained traction, opposition from both the left and right developed in reaction to it. The Democratic-Republicans were divided into three main camps: the Moderates, the Revolutionaries, and the Counter-Revolutionaries. While the former two supported the Revolution, the latter represented a coalition of mostly white working-class Styxers and political republicans who were alarmed at the rapid advances of the Revolution and believed that the Democratic-Republican Party had been subverted by Royalist infiltrators. Nativist and anti-Revolution leader Hiram Johnson became the leading figure of the Counter-Revolutionary Democratic-Republicans and vowed to restore the party to its pre-1903 platform.
The resurgence of Landonism in the Styxie, as well as the outbreak of a Landonist revolution in the United Commonwealth was a significant security concern for Sierra. The First Crimson Scare referred to the widespread fear of far-left extremism in Sierra and increasing suspicion towards labor unions, trade unions, unionized workers, and leftist advocates. The workers' strikes in Bernheim in 1918 became cited as one of the key events which pushed the Revolution towards a reactionary turn. In addition, the emergence of Sierran-born Zhou Xinyue, who received training at The Presidio, The Military College of San Francisco, as a prominent military figure in the Continental Revolutionary War was seen as a national embarrassment and concern. Worried that the Styxie was a breeding ground for Landonists, calls were made to "pacify" the region. As progress was made underway towards racial equality and embracement for the New Culture, various Revolution supporters and leaders began to work alongside corporations, industrialists, and business-oriented voters who supported the pro-capitalist ideology of the New Culture. Socialism, particularly the variety that was most prominent with the Styxie, became identified as insurrectionist, anti-monarchist, and racist, as the Sierran left harbored a prominent underbelly of nativists and anti-Asian supporters.
The Revolution and the resultant culture wars produced a climate of division. Louis I, who feared about the possibility of another republican rebellion and civil war, turned towards the military for help. Edmond Xu, a Chinese Sierran Royal Army field marshal, was a strong proponent of the Preparedness Movement, which advocated the development of a strong military-industrial complex supported by big business and industry to defend the country from dissident leftism and foreign invasion. Xu's proposals were especially popular among the nation's bankers, industrialists, academics, lawyers, gentry, and other upper-class members, as well as Royalist politicians and a few Democratic-Republicans. They advocated strengthening Sierra's military capabilities, and emphasized the weak vulnerability of Sierran defense. In addition, supporters hoped the efforts towards increased militarization would quicken the process of racial integration between whites and Asians, as well as other races, and serve as the litmus test for a new form of civic nationalism. They wanted to assemble a well-trained, organized military that drew in recruits from all across the Kingdom's realms, including Tondo, regardless of class or race, which would bolster Sierra's image as a modern, multiethnic empire. Many proponents proposed a mandatory two-year service for all able-bodied male citizens between the ages of 17 and 45, a proposal which the King himself voiced support.
The movement was met with significant resistance from the Democratic-Republicans, as well as nativists, antimilitarists, pacifists, and some Royalists, who felt the proposals would bring Sierra into foreign entanglement. Some even expressed concern of the militarization as a gateway to authoritarianism, a fear that was already peddled by nativists who were critical of the Cultural Revolution policies. The Preparedness campaign elicited such a strong, polarizing response that it represented the first major controversial issue not tied to the race issue in the early 20th century. The Purpleshirts, originally known as the Order of the White Rose, originated during this time of militarization and emerged as a prominent, emblematic paramilitary force which exercised informal law enforcement authority. Under the leadership of the charismatic John Higashikata, the Purpleshirts' numbers quickly grew in the passing years, reaching 100,000 members by 1924. Its organization and acceptance by the government as a "cultural police" which inspected and punished individuals suspected of treason, sedition, or subversion was strongly criticized. Its legacy has been the subject of controversy as the Purpleshirts had an extensively documented record of extrajudicial killings and kidnappings of republicans, Landonists, and other Sierran citizens.
Clashes between the extremist, militant factions of the Revolution and the Counter-Revolutionaries were frequent in the Styxie and would come to be known as the Little Civil War, which became a low-intensity, decade-long conflict centered in the region. Security forces and secret police were deployed by the government to patrol and monitor the region which had been seen as the hotbed of resistance to the Revolution.
During the Approbatio, Sierra moved away from its semi-isolationist foreign policy towards a more interventionist one. In Mexico, the escalation of the Mexican Revolution became an issue of prime interest for Sierra from both a geopolitical and domestic standpoint. Sierra feared that Mexico would fall under a Landonist regime supported by the United Commonwealth and wanted to protect its borders from possible infiltration or invasion. Sierra's navy also grew significantly as it strengthened its holdings in the Pacific and Tondo. While it had not fully become a great power, it became an important player in the international sphere, primarily through its power projection over the Pacific and in the Americas.
The electoral victory of the nativist-based Reformed Republicans under Hiram Johnson in 1919 reflected a divide between the Democratic-Republican establishment and its electorate. The offshoot party formed in reaction to the Democratic-Republicans' departure from political republicanism and Styxie-based values, and essentially split the vote. The Reformed Republicans entered into a coalition with the right-wing populist Know Nothings who championed nativism and anti-Catholicism, and were prevalent in Southern Sierra. The National Unionist was another party which had represented Royalist dissidents who had disagreed with the shift the Royalist Party underwent and joined the Reformed Republicans' coalition. Although the Reformed Republicans, Know Nothings, and National Unionist gained control over the House, their actual ability to legislate was hindered by the Royalists and Democratic-Republican opposition. The House members from both of the historic rivals entered an inter-party agreement, the Burbank Declaration, agreeing to resort to obstructionist tactics in order to thwart any meaningful legislation on the floor. The Reformed Republicans decried the declaration as anti-democratic and accused the King and the Senate for colluding with the House opposition. Two elections were held in 1920, one in March and one in September, each time held after Johnson sought to improve the number of seats in the House to overcome the opposition. While the Reformed Republicans were able to win in both elections, both yielded little net change to make an impact. Concerned with electoral fatigue and political maneuvering, King Louis I issued an edict to deny a third election which Johnson had planned in December. During the tumultuous electoral cycle, Sierra intervened in the United Commonwealth's Continental Revolutionary War alongside Brazoria and the Northeast Union. However, within three weeks, Sierra aborted its mission to support the Federalists and signed the Treaty of Bernheim, which ended Sierra's counterrevolutionary involvement and had Sierra formally recognize the Landonist regime as the successor state to the United Commonwealth.
In 1921, Democratic-Republican Phillip Judd led a coalition of both Democratic-Republicans and Royalists (retroactively referred to as the First National Government), to win a plurality over the Reformed Republicans and their coalition. Building upon the Burbank Declaration, the Democratic-Republicans and Royalists agreed to a temporary political alliance for the purpose of denying the Reformed Republicans the ability to continue "disrupting the Revolution". Setting aside economic differences and focusing on their mutual support for the cultural values and political gains of the Revolution, the First National Government sought to revise the House rules, notably by re-introducing the filibuster, which had been removed in 1902, and increasing the number of votes required to invoke cloture.
Conflict in the Styxie intensified as the National Government granted more authority to the Purpleshirts and introduced the controversial Sedition Act of 1922, a lèse-majesté law, which protected the King and members of the Royal Family from defamation, libel, and slander. The act criminalized any form of public criticism or insult against Louis I and his family. While the act was legally challenged and taken up to the Supreme Court, the Court ruled that speech or print critical against the King had "no constitutional value". The law was viewed as a direct threat to republicanism, as it made it a crime to criticize the King, although the law itself did not criminalize criticism against the institution of monarchy.
The Purpleshirts and local police cracked down on alleged seditious activity throughout the Styxie, especially in San Joaquin and Santa Clara. With habeas corpus effectively suspended in the region, accused and alleged "traitors" were often extrajudicially apprehended and prosecuted in provincial kangaroo courts. Hundreds of republican activists and other people deemed subversive to the state were killed by Purpleshirts agents or members of the public. The most infamous method of execution was lynching, although death by gun wound was just as prevalent. Numerous riots, civil disturbances, and racially-motivated pogroms also erupted during the 1920s and early 1930s.
In 1923, the First National Government experienced a breakdown as Judd and other coalition leaders including Royalist Earle Coburn encountered disagreements and infighting over the progress of the Revolution. Judd and the Democratic-Republicans favored adopting economic measures which would strengthen workers' rights, believing it was crucial to the nation's economy and infrastructure while Coburn and the Royalists disagreed. Judd was himself accused by party members for compromising the party's economic values in favor of conciliatory relations with the rival Royalists. There was also disagreement over Sierra's involvement in Mexico and other Latin American countries. The Royalists were mostly composed of interventionists while non-interventionists and isolationists dominated the Democratic-Republicans. A group of 18 Democratic-Republicans, known as the Green Hounds, defected in February to the Reformed Republican coalition, and were able to pass a successful motion of no confidence. Hiram Johnson and the Reformed Republicans were able to regain control over the House, and vowed to overturn the Sedition Act, as well as rein in the powers of the Senate. It called for progressive economic policies, an isolationist foreign policy, and the abolition of birthright citizenship. More controversially, Johnson and the Reformed Republicans introduced eugenics into its party platform, calling for racial purity and the reintroduction of racial segregation and anti-miscegenation laws.
Johnson and the Reformed Republicans' grasp over the House lasted a little more than a year after months of legislative obstruction and official investigations into the activities of some Reformed Republican and Know Nothing politicians. In January 1924, the Royal Bureau of Investigation charged 11 members of Parliament and 3 senators including Reformed Republican Deputy Prime Minister John McNiall of corruption and conspiracy to commit treason. The Reformed Republican coalition itself faced internal disagreement and personality clashes between Hiram Johnson and Know Nothing leader Daniel J. O'Brien. Frustrated with legislative inaction, Johnson once again called for new elections but was defeated by the Royalists and Earle Coburn, who had been a major leader of the First National Government.
Coburn and the Royalists took advantage of the divide in the economic left to implement some welfare state policies. Hoping to draw and lure working class voters away from the Democratic-Republicans and Reformed Republicans, Coburn promised a national policy he called the Golden Ticket, which would introduce a national public pension fund, promise higher working wages, increase funding for public schools and universities, and bring economic relief for farmers and rural workers. He also adopted a friendlier approach towards labor unions, passing the National Labor Reform Act of 1925, which guaranteed workers the right to collective bargaining with any legally registered union. The shift in economic policy from laissez-faire economics to a more state-involved one among the Royalists reflected a larger nationwide trend towards a more "compassionate, softer" version of capitalism. As Landonism and other leftist ideologies persisted as popular alternatives throughout the Revolution, as exemplified by the economic success of the Landonist United Commonwealth, a labor-friendlier approach was perceived as the "antidote" by Coburn and other leaders to the "Green Menace".
Coburn's efforts and policies to appease the working class alienated the traditional classical liberal wing of his party. During the 1926 election, Coburn and his party narrowly avoided losing their majority in the House when a number of former Royalist MPs defected and ran as the Nationalists. Meanwhile, the Democratic-Republicans and leftist opposition remained suspicious of Coburn's leaderships and rejected the Royalist overtures of cooperation and common ground on economic issues. With Hiram Johnson stepping down from his position as party leader for the Reformed Republicans, his successor, James Gladstone, was more receptive towards reconciliation with the Democratic-Republicans, and formed a coalition with them in the summer of 1926.
On June 23, 1927, Louis I, who had been suffering various health complications in his final years of life, died. Crown Prince Stephen, the King's eldest son, ascended the throne as Louis II. Unlike his father, Louis II was deemed "meeker and less ambitious" than his father, and was eager to rein in the excess of the Sierran Cultural Revolution. In his first address as king, Louis II vowed to usher in a new period of peace and partisan cooperation. He ceased issuing out noble titles to opportunists seeking favor and patronage by the Royal Family and ended the practice of numerous extravagant regal ceremonies his father enjoyed. Although he did not push for the controversial Sedition Act to be overturned, he issued a royal edict which would lift up restrictions on certain forms of speech and criticism of himself and members of the Royal Family, and reduced the abilities and powers of the Purpleshirts. Louis II's actions and steps as the new monarch marked the end of the Approbatio as hyper-revolutionary fervor died down in alignment with the shifting position in Occidental Palace.
A month after Louis I's death, Coburn and the Royalists were voted out as the Democratic-Republicans formed a coalition with the Reformed Republicans under the leadership of Poncio Salinas. Mounting dissatisfaction with the governance of the Royalists and the prolonged military involvement in Mexico greatly damaged the Royalists' prospects during the 1927 election.
The death of Louis I and the ascension of Louis II generated a ripple effect in Sierra. The new mild-mannered, moderate-minded monarch showed less enthusiasm for the revolutionary activity his father and his supporters tolerated. In addition, Coburn and the Royalists lost control over the House to Poncio Salinas, who led a new coalition between the Democratic-Republicans and the Reformed Republicans, which had reconciled with one another due to the latter largely abandoning its nativist platform following the ouster of party leader Hiram Johnson. Salinas promoted himself as a man of moderation and pragmatism, and even proclaimed that the Revolution and its effects had accomplished a "New Cultural Supremacy". Salinas, as a Mexican Sierran, declared that racial equality and cultural harmony were achieved in Sierra and that it was time for the nation to move forward under this newly established normalcy. The Sierran military was placed under civilian control again, the scope of the Purpleshirts was curtailed, and restrictions on speech and press were relaxed in a series of legislation collectively known as the Thermidorian Acts, although the lèse-majesté laws remained in place.
While much of the country had embraced the ideals and results of the Revolution, the Styxie remained a holdout region as the Little Civil War continued with fighting between the mostly Jacobite monarchists and the dissident republicans. The persistence of republican-motivated violence was blamed on looming uncertainty with the United Commonwealth. Sierran intelligence suspected that the United Commonwealth was providing covert political and economic aid to republican insurgents, and accused the Landonist state of sponsoring terrorist activities. To further complicate matters, Sierra experienced an influx of migrant workers and families from Brazoria, as well as political refugees from the United Commonwealth who were displaced by the Dust Bowl. These people, who became pejoratively known as "Okies" found employment in Sierra's Central Valley as agricultural laborers. Their arrival and place in the post-Approbatio Sierran society was contentious as they were viewed as culturally backwards, uneducated, and ignorant. Conservative Royalists and some Democratic-Republicans feared that the Okies would lead to a resurgence in republicanism across the country, especially in the volatile Styxie, while most Democratic-Republicans and nativists viewed the Okies as foreign competition that further depressed the labor market and housing availability.
In February 1931, the London Stock Exchange crashed, which greatly dampened Sierran investors' confidence in overseas markets. Market volatility increased as various European economies fell in a free fall, leading to panic selling in the Porciúncula. On April 9, 1931, the Sierran stock markets crashed, with the Porciúncula Stock Exchange losing more than 10 percent of its market value in one day. The market crashes devastated both the Sierran and global economies, and marked the start of the Depression of 1931–1934. The economic downturn led to increased confidence and public trust in government involvement in the economy. Salinas unveiled the New Pacific Plan, which introduced a comprehensive series of monetary and fiscal reforms, as well as government agencies, welfare programs, and bureaucracy. The Plan transformed Sierra into a welfare state which saw improvements to public health, housing, education, agriculture, infrastructure, pensions, business regulations, and organized labor. The National Family Registry and the National Identification Card were also introduced, which centralized vital records into a national database and integrated the growing national bureaucracy. Salinas, who was a deep admirer of the New Culture, also implemented nationwide, mandatory Sierran Hanzi instruction, designed to bridge the predominantly English-speaking population with the CJKV linguistic world.Kaholo Palakiko attempted to assassinate King Louis II on November 27, during a Sierra Day parade. Hawaii was an organized territory of Sierra at the time and there was a significant movement of Hawaiian nationalists who advocated separatism and independence from the Kingdom. The movement included the All-Hawaiian People's Congress (AHPC), which was a far-left political organization that was labeled as a terrorist organization by the Sierran government. The Sierran government had been suspicious of Continental influence and support of the AHPC, which would be in circumvention of the 1926 Shenandoah Conference Agreement. The assassination attempt prompted the Sierran government to convict and execute Palakiko, to impose restrictions on Hawaiian home rule, and to make Hawaiian independence advocacy a punishable act of sedition. The moves were protested by the United Commonwealth, which urged Sierra to rescind its decisions. Despite diplomatic pressure, Sierra refused, which soured relations with Chicago.
On September 2, 1931, Sierra and the United Commonwealth were on the verge of war. Although the two countries were on the opposing sides of the Mexican Revolution, neither side's troops directly interacted or attacked each other. An informal gentlemen's agreement had been brokered between the two sides' diplomats to remain outside each other's designated "line of control" in Mexico. Miscommunication at the lower chain of command on the Sierran side resulted in Sierran Royal Army forces entering the United Commonwealth's line of control area in Veracruz, resulting in 32 dead on Sierra's side and 19 on the United Commonwealth's side, as well 88 Mexicans from both North and South Mexico. The Veracruz incident, as it came to be known, triggered alarm on both sides and the two powers accused each other of responsibility for the conflict. Sierra issued a communique demanding the United Commonwealth apologize for the loss of Sierran and allied Mexican soldiers, and removal of Continental forces in the area, while the United Commonwealth issued its own counter-demand. The ensuing diplomatic crisis was known as the September Crisis and generated fear amongst the Sierran public on the possibility of a direct war with the United Commonwealth and a subsequent ground invasion by the Continentals.
Fears of an imminent confrontation further heightened when fighting began in neighboring Brazoria, which was a key Sierran ally. The country experienced political unrest with the rise of Continentalist-affiliated movements and organizations, and had erupted into the full-blown, intensified Brazorian Civil War. The Sierran government accused the United Commonwealth of orchestrating the civil war by supporting leftist militant groups, while the United Commonwealth claimed that Sierra was interfering with Brazorian elections and influencing its government to adopt an anti-Continental stance. The civil war raised concerns that the Continentalists in Brazoria would succeed and that Brazoria would then be annexed by the United Commonwealth as a continental republic. Salinas publicly refused to officially intervene in Brazoria, stating that the conflict was an "internal" matter, leading to accusations by critics that he was a Continental sympathizer. Sierra's allies, Astoria and Superior, both urged the Salinas government to take action in Brazoria and Mexico, and made their own preparations in anticipation of war with the United Commonwealth. Internally, the Salinas Government expressed concern that the United Commonwealth was preparing to renege on its agreement with Sierra over Mexico by undermining Brazoria's own government. Several high-level meetings between diplomats from both sides attempted to mediate the solution. Salinas wanted Callahan to withdraw financial and military support completely from Brazoria, while Callahan wanted Salinas to guarantee that the Brazorian government would not prevent Continentalist party members from contesting elections and holding office. In the months between the September Crisis and the offset of the First Great War, the Sierran military was instructed to quietly rearm itself to wartime capacity and to prepare for a potential defensive war.
In September 1931, a Landonist revolt broke out in North Mexico, whose government was friendly to Sierra and had received support since the end of the Mexican Revolution which saw the Mexican nation divided into three states, with South Mexico being backed by the United Commonwealth, and the Republic of the Yucatán, which was a Sierran protectorate. Alarmed by the string of Landonist revolutions in the North American continent, Sierra accused the United Commonwealth on reneging its promises in the Shenandoah Conference and Sierran military officials began preparing plans for a possible invasion against the United Commonwealth as Operation Downed Sequoia.
In the United Commonwealth, the government had anticipated a Sierran invasion in the years following the Shenandoah Conference. Although the United Commonwealth had been successful in supporting Landonist revolutions in Quebec, the Northeast Union (now known as the Congregationalist States), and the Maritime Republic in the years prior to the Conference, it remained vulnerable and exposed in its western region, where it neighbored the pro-Sierran states of Brazoria, Tournesol, and Superior. Securing a buffer zone between the United Commonwealth and Sierra, and isolating Sierra in the North American continent was deemed a strategic necessity which would tip the geopolitical dynamism of the region completely in the favor of the United Commonwealth. In addition, the Continental Revolutionary Navy was much weaker than the more developed Sierran Royal Navy. Although Sierra's navy was mainly Pacific-based, Sierran had completed construction of the Nicaragua Canal back in 1919, which made the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and Atlantic Ocean much more accessible. As a result, Sierra established naval stations in Cancún, where the fleet there had been deployed on several occasions to initiate blockades during the Mexican Revolution and other conflicts in Central America. The United Commonwealth believed it was imperative for it to attack and seize control over the Nicaragua Canal to cut Sierra's Atlantic fleet off from swift reinforcements in the Pacific.
By November 1931, the Landonist insurgency in North Mexico had evolved into a full-scale, protracted civil war. Sierra began sending military officers from the Sierran Royal Army to advise and train the North Mexican military to deal with the guerrilla warfare tactics of the insurgents, most of whom were hiding in the Sierra Madre Oriental. The Sierran government also provided indirect military and economic aid to the country through its foreign direct investment shell companies and private entities to circumvent the prohibition against military aid under the Shenandoah Conference Agreement. The United Commonwealth, in turn, sent a diplomatic team to South Mexico to discuss the possibilities of reunifying Mexico under a Landonist regime, with the expectation that North Mexico would fall to the insurgency. In the meetings, the United Commonwealth revealed its military plans to invade and occupy Brazoria, while South Mexico would invade North Mexico.
Great War I
On April 11, 1932, the United Commonwealth invaded Brazoria, beginning Great War I. A day after the invasion, Sierra, Superior, and Tournesol made a joint declaration of war against the United Commonwealth in retaliation of the United Commonwealth's invasion. The Senate unanimously voted to declare war and Salinas convened over an emergency session in both houses declaring "The Crimson Scourge will surely not prevail west of the Mississippi". Sierran troops were mobilized and the Sierran public was galvanized as the United Commonwealth confirmed Sierran fears that it was planning a complete Landonist takeover of the North American continent. There were concerns that the United Commonwealth held the numerical advantages in war, both in warpower and economic production due to its larger population and greater access to important resources such as steel and oil to outperform Sierra and its allies. During the first year of the war, the United Commonwealth made swift gains over Superior and Eastern Brazoria, overwhelming the Entente powers. Sierran military strategists noted that despite these advantages, Sierra's military technology was believed to be more advanced and modern than the United Commonwealth's, Sierra had a more developed and capable navy, and Sierra had natural defenses including the Great Basin and Rocky Mountains.
The early, rapid Continental wins in the Maritimes Campaign, as well as the total collapse of the Brazorian government to Continentalist forces by the end of 1933 resulted in fear and panic of an imminent Continental invasion or a civil war. The war, which had initially been seen as a winnable, defensible war, soon became an existential war of survival as the Continentalists made significant gains over Sierra's allies, Superior and Manitoba. Salinas was blamed for his hesitancy towards curbing Continental aggression prior to the war, including his failure to intervene early during the Brazorian Civil War. Within two weeks of Sierra's entry into the war, Japan surprised attacked the Sierran naval base in Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and began invading Sierra's Pacific territories, including Tondo. Relations between Sierra and Japan had been deteriorating since the Second Sino-Japanese War began, which the Sierran government had opposed. Japan, seeking to neutralize Sierra as a threat, took advantage of Sierra's military preoccupations on the home front in North America. Sierran intelligence had been aware of the potential threat of Japanese aggression against Sierra. Sierran military leaders and planners had long considered the possibility of a two-front war, one in the Pacific and one in Continental North America. The Sierran and Japanese navies were both roughly equal in terms of technological parity but Sierra lacked the resources or manpower to confront Japan while the United Commonwealth would attack. When the two-front war became a reality, Sierra adopted a defensive war strategy in the Pacific, abandoning its defenses in the outlying Pacific territories of Guam and Northern Mariana, as well as the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, while protecting Hawaii from possible Japanese invasion. With Tondo occupied by Japan, the opportunity for a Sierran comeback was not immediately achievable, with Sierra hoping that Russia would eventually lead its own invasion in Manchuria and the Korean peninsula to improve Sierra's chances. In the home front, Sierra sought to halt Continentalist advances into Western Brazoria and North Mexico.
Following the Japanese attacks on Sierran territory, Sierra formally joined as a belligerent of the Entente Impériale. Sierra had signed a military alliance with China, France, and Russia in the Quadripartite Pact, which were the leading powers of the Entente. Sierra invaded the German-controlled Caroline Islands shortly after, seeking to secure a base to defend Tondo in case of Japanese advance.
The possibility of Continental invasion of the Sierran mainland prompted the Sierran military leadership to ramp up its defenses along the Rocky Mountains, a natural geographic barrier between Sierra and the eastern half of North America, as well as the Chihuahuan Desert. The prospect of a Sierran-led counter-invasion into Continental soil was abandoned as the Entente focused on regaining control over the Continental-occupied territories of Superior and Brazoria. Homefront war production increased manifoldly as Sierra sought to fight for its own survival in the two-front global conflict. Sierra initially mobilized over a half a million men (representing about two percent of the national population) to fight in the war through conscription. However, by 1933, Sierra had increased the number of actively deployed servicemen to 1.2 million or roughly 6% of the population, which was a 140% increase. Although Sierra lacked the manpower to fight the United Commonwealth on the ground, it made up for it through naval superiority and a slight edge over the United Commonwealth in terms of airpower. Its neighbor, Brazoria, which had become renowned for its first-class air force, helped improve the Sierran Royal Air Force's capabilities and operations considerably during the war. In addition, Sierra made liberal use of chemical weapons, which had been developed prior to the war. Chlorine gas and hydrogen cyanide were commonly deployed by Sierran foot soldiers and planes against Continental troops, and this was cited as a major factor in Sierra's success to limiting Continental advance despite numerical disadvantages.
Between late 1933 and much of 1934, the North American Front had turned into a long war of attrition fought along the Rocky Mountains. In the Pacific, Sierra had effectively lost control over Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Tondo, Bénieîle, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands, and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands including Midway Island. The Sierran economy had transformed into a fully operational wartime machine as manufacturing increased. The government raised national taxes and issued hundreds of thousands of war bonds to citizens, and awarded contracts and multi-million dollar deals with companies which agreed to switch their production to military-related products and services during the war.
In 1934, Salinas and the Democratic-Republicans lost control over the House to the Royalists under Richard Rioux, a former Sierran general, who secured a plurality in the House. Mounting losses in the Pacific, as well as fighting on the edges of the Sierran border worried voters. In addition to wavering faith in Salinas' ability to lead the nation during the war, the Democratic-Republicans had once again suffered division within its own rank and file membership, and voter base, as anti-monarchists and political republicans felt that the party had continue to betray its ideological roots. Rioux and the Royalists were elected as a reactionary backlash against Salinas' New Pacific Plan. Critics feared that Salinas' economic reforms and government expansion would "infantilize" the Sierran public during a time of dire emergency and criticized Salinas' government-planned economic model as a reminiscent imitation of the United Commonwealth's economic policies. Once elected, Rioux was unable to overturn much of Salinas' policies however, as his own hung parliament and the the Democratic-Republican majority Senate stonewalled his attempts to reimplement classical liberal policies. Rioux also campaigned himself as someone who would be completely devoted towards leading the war effort in Sierra. Despite national unity in war production, a worker's strike and civil unrest in Bernheim in 1935, underpinned Rioux's gestures towards relaxing labor laws during wartime. Rioux was thus forced to completely abandon his plans to tampering with the New Pacific Plan. He began working closer with the progressive wing of the Royalists and conservative Democratic-Republicans towards achieving a liberal corporatist policy which would balance one-nation conservatism with more labor-friendly corporatism. The Royalists had long suffered weakness in the Styxie and the Pacific Northwest provinces, which had a number of battleground districts that were critical for House elections.
Rioux's wartime leadership and his domestic policy's pivot towards a labor-friendlier center proved successful as the Royalists won in 1936. He passed the Fair Pacific Plan, which was a modified version of Salinas' New Pacific Plan that would downsize some of the Salinas-era agencies without dissolving them and would implement greater protections for small business owners, the introduction of right-to-work laws and agency shop requirements, and give payroll tax cuts to working class employees. The Plan was praised as a moderate version that was more palpable to businesses and industrialists, and some working-class Sierran voters expressed their support likewise. Labor unions remained mainly opposed to the deal and continued to campaign for the Democratic-Republican opposition.
During the late 1935, the Continentalist forces broke through Entente resistance in New Mexico and made advances towards the Sierran heartland. During the early months of 1936, the Continental forces made preparations to invade the Sierran mainland and used detonation crews to widen the mountain passes along the Rocky Mountains. By April 1936, the Continental 4th Army reached Hoosier Pass, which was a major entryway connecting Sierra's West Colorado and Brazoria's Ute Province. This breach led the Sierran military leaders to believe that if left unchallenged, the Continental Army would be able to reach and capture Porciúncula by August of that year. Sierran troops were rallied to prevent Continental advance through Hoosier Pass and the multi-day Battle of Hoosier Pass ensued, resulting in over 9,000 Sierrans killed, but ultimately halting Continental movement. The battle was deemed a pivotal moment for the North American Front as the United Commonwealth soon abandoned its plans to invade the Sierran mainland, and recalled its troops from the Rockies and Coloradan region.
The defense of the Rockies bolstered Sierran civilian patriotism and crushed Continental internal support for the war. Sierra was able to push back Continental lines in Western Superior and Central Brazoria by the winter of 1936. Throughout much of 1937, Entente forces fought intensely against Continental resistance across the Great Plains, slowly inching towards the United Commonwealth. Technological advancements in tank warfare, aircraft, explosives, and chemical weapons helped maintain Entente late-war edge over the demoralized Continental troops. In early 1938, after Sierra helped Superior retake southern Wisconsin, the United Commonwealth's Seamus Callahan offered a ceasefire agreement, which was accepted by the Entente governments. The Armistice of Houston was signed between the United Commonwealth and the Entente on April 22, 1938, effectively making peace in the North American Front aside from limited, continued fighting in Mexico and the Caribbean. The parties agreed to a cessation of hostilities and to restore territory to the status quo ante bellum, with the United Commonwealth repatriating Nicaragua and the Yucatán Peninsula to Sierra.
Burnt out by war, Sierra decided to sue for peace with Japan in the Pacific rather than attempt to retake its lost territories. The two nations agreed to a ceasefire and negotiated terms, known as the Midway Island Agreement, where Sierra would recognize Japan's claims in the Pacific in exchange for the return of Tondo, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, and a number of other islands. Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands would remain under Japanese control however provided Japan guaranteed Sierran citizens the right to have continued abode there or to repatriate them to Sierra safely after the war ended.
The war formally ended after fighting persisted mainly in Europe and Northern Africa into the spring months of 1938. Sierra was a key signatory of the Treaty of Verdun, which officially ended the war and finalized peace agreement first affirmed in the Armistice of Houston and Midway Island Agreement. The Rioux Government favored reconciliation rather than retribution with the United Commonwealth and did not demand reparations. However, it did demand reparations from the Japanese government as compensation for the seizure of Sierra's territorial possessions in the Pacific. Furthermore, it urged the signatory powers to join the League of Nations, an international organization intended to prevent future conflicts, and to pursue policies of free trade to facilitate international cooperation and goodwill.
Second Interwar period
After the Treaty of Verdun was ratified, Sierra focused on postwar economic recovery. Although Sierran infrastructure was largely spared from the devastation seen in continental Europe, Brazoria, and Superior, it dealt with the loss of over 539,000 Sierran soldiers who were killed in the war. The conflict had drastically altered the landscape of national culture and politics.
Although Rioux was highly popular during the war as a wartime leader, voters were less confident in his ability to govern the postwar government, preferring the policies and agenda of his predecessor, Poncio Salinas. In 1938, the Royalists maintained their control over the House, seemingly vindicating Rioux's Fair Pacific Plan as the party was able to turn over or hold some Democratic-Republican-leaning districts to their favor. However, a decades-long dispute between the Gold Coast and the Inland Empire over water rights intensified just a month after the election when the City of Porciúncula sought to divert more water away from the depleting Owens Valley in the Central Valley. Due to the city's continued expansion, there was an upward demand for water. The federal government had approved the city's purchase of water lines on federal land in the Inland Empire during the 1920s, which devastated the local agricultural business. The city and province made plans to divert more money from Mono Lake, which was located in southeastern San Joaquin. Rioux, in an attempt to mediate, was concerned that the city, long perceived as a Royalist stronghold and bastion of Southwest Corridor society would further alienate the separatist-minded Styxie San Joaquin. He and some Royalist House members decided to side with San Joaquin and the Central Valley by passing the Eaton–Gaines Act (also known as the Water Preservation Act), which would prohibit the sale of federal lands over major waterways and bodies of water between provinces without electoral mandate. The law was challenged in court in Gold Coast v. Sierra, which ruled in favor of the federal government, which proved highly unpopular among voters in the Gold Coast. The water wars and the case was seen as a national issue pitting the South against the North, and many Southwest Corridor voters who supported the Royalists felt betrayed by the act.
Growing skepticism over Rioux's capabilities as a peacetime leader and the water rights war led to calls for a new election. After Rioux lost key support from his own party from the Southwest Corridor, the House voted a motion of no confidence, triggering a new federal election. Salinas, who had consistently campaigned himself as the more effectual politician and his party as the party of opportunity throughout the war and postwar, won in a landslide election in 1939. He had portrayed Rioux as a mediocre imitator who attempted to benefit from Salinas' political legacy. Salinas also capitalized on Rioux's controversial handling of Sierra's water wars as the sign of a timid, conflicted leader. Although Salinas had personally supported the Eaton–Gaines Act, he channeled national anger over the issue as an infrastructure issue that was crucial for Sierra's postwar economic recovery. He proposed drastically improving Sierra's waterways and irrigation system which would allocate water fairly and proportionally. The National Water Management Agency was created in 1940 to oversee Sierra's federal water pipelines, dams, and levees, and several major reservoirs were created.
After Salinas was reelected as prime minister, he revived his prewar New Pacific Plan. His first major legislation was the National Highway Act of 1942, which became one of the largest public works project in Sierran history at the time as it authorized construction of nearly 400,000 miles (64,370 kilometers) of highway roads and improvements. However, only a fourth of Salinas' original plans were realized and they would be superseded by the Interprovincial Highway System in the subsequent government. Salinas also strengthened labor rights, which overturned the Rioux ministry's bans against secondary boycotts and closed shops in the Federal Labor Relations Act of 1943. His legacy remained entrenched in Sierran politics however as New Pacific Plan was deemed a success and his successor, Charles Lyon, sought to extend it further. In addition, King Louis II died just months after the war's end in an automobile accident, leaving his eldest son, the Crown Prince Christopher to accede the throne as Louis III. Unlike his father, Louis III was similar to his grandfather in temperament and style, and had ambitious plans to strengthen the prestige and influence of the monarchy.
The Democratic-Republican Party became the party of welfare capitalism, progressivism, and social liberalism, while the Royalist Party became the party of one-nation conservatism and liberal corporatism. Both parties became the dominant powerhouses in the postwar party system, while political support for the Reformed Republicans, Know Nothings, National Unionists, and other third parties withered substantially. Sierran geopolitics witnessed a realignment as the cities became more Democratic-Republican, while rural Sierra and the suburbs became more Royalist. Common to both parties was the rising acceptance of modern-day Sierran liberalism and a rejection of the quasi-derzhavism and derzhavism which was prevalent during the Approbatio.
In 1947, Sierra had its first Asian Sierran prime minister, Franklin Tan of the Royalists, who defeated the Lyon Government. Tan was a charismatic national figure who championed himself as a man of traditional, conservative values and a modernist approach towards economic innovation and progress, as a middle ground between conservative Democratic-Republicans and liberal Royalists. Under his first government, Parliament authorized the creation of the Interprovincial Highway System, which would supersede the previous Salinas-era National Highway System. Although the interprovincial highways would take decades to complete, it laid down the foundations of Sierra's modern-day car culture and intricate freeway system. This system also led to the development of Anglo-American suburbia throughout Sierra, especially in the Southwest Corridor and the San Francisco Bay Area. Under Tan, he also expanded Sierra's Social Security program and created the Ministry of Health and Human Services. Medicare and Medicaid were introduced, and a system of single-payer universal health care that was run and financed by the individual provinces was implemented. The Townsend Plan and Egg and Ham Program were also introduced, which granted all retirees 60 and older a taxable basic monthly income of $200 and $30 weekly to those over 50. On foreign policy, Tan focused his attention on fostering closer military and economic ties with Anglo-America, as well as Western Europe. His government grew concern with the erratic leadership of the United Commonwealth's Amelia Fowler Crawford, whose personal views and involvement with the First Interstellaire caused fears of another war between Sierra and the United Commonwealth. Under Tan, the counterintelligence and espionage activities of Sierra were completely modernized, resulting in an RIA that became far more capable in conducting foreign operations than before. Sierran intelligence was responsible for influencing Continental push to replace Fowler with the more moderate Rupert Gardner as the UC General Secretary, as well as the establishment and development of the Manhattan Island Exclusive Economic Zone. Elsewhere, Sierran foreign intelligence funded and backed anti-leftist governments including the Antilles, Chile, and Ethiopia.
Like much of the Western world, Sierra experienced the "Fierce Fifties" as the economy was booming by 1952, and Sierra experienced a golden age in television, radio, cinema, and music. Hollywood became internationally renowned for its cinematic productions and high-budget television shows. Grands Ballons jazz, West Coast blues, and Western swing were popular musical genres which flourished during this decade and was the zeitgeist that defined the postwar optimism Sierran society felt.
Diplomatic relations between Sierra and the United Commonwealth remained terse but cautiously calculated. Both states resumed diplomatic relations after the war and reopened trade as well. The Sierran government fostered closer ties with Astoria, Brazoria, and Superior, and formed the North American Defense Organization, which was a mutual defense pact and security organization designed to discourage future wars of aggression in North America. The nation's collective aerospace would also be protected under the organization through shared aerospace warning and control. In Latin America, Sierra continued its heavy-handed involvement in individual countries such as South Mexico, Nicaragua, and the Andes. Sierran policymakers wanted to maintain a Sierran sphere of influence consisting of dependable allies in the region without provoking Continental retaliation with its own sphere of influence. Deeply concerned of a total Landonization in Latin America, the Sierran government forged close ties with anti-Landonist military regimes and conservative governments in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Although race relations and politics were fundamentally changed by the Sierran Cultural Revolution, the New Culture synthesis which fused Anglo-American and East Asian cultures were challenged by Hispanic and Latino Sierrans, as well as Black Sierrans who continued to feel marginalized and ostracized in Sierran society. Women and the LGBT also joined the countercultural movement in opposition to the traditional values of the Sierran Cultural Revolution. The Chicano Movement and Black Power movement, as well as the Red Power movement emerged, casting light on the persistent racialized disparities that were present in Sierran life. Protests, boycotts, and civil unrest were common, especially in the Central Valley and Southwest Corridor. The Black-Brown unity was presented as a response to the New Culture, which aroused suspicion and concern by the Sierran government and intelligence. Activists demanded greater civil rights and economic equality. By the late 1950s, hundreds of activists were monitored, arrested, or even killed by government agents, and various organizations were infiltrated and disrupted by informants and agent provocateurs. In the Sierran Central Valley, mostly Hispanic farm workers participated in labor strike led under Eduardo Chavez, inspiring national boycotts against Sierran agricultural crops, including grapes and avocados. The Tan ministry responded to these movements with renewed militarization of the police previously seen during the Approbatio and sought to cast protestors and dissidents as "social disruptors". The 1956 Porciúncula and Bernheim riots were two major episodes of racial riots that saw mass looting, property damage, and police brutality. Far-left terrorism also flared up throughout Sierra, especially in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Styxie.
Calls for increased autonomy in the Sierran territories of Hawaii, the Deseret, and Alaska prompted Sierra to upgrade the former two as constituent countries in the Kingdom of Sierra under the Charter for the Kingdom of Sierra while the latter was granted independence as a Columbian commonwealth realm. Hawaii and the Deseret would remain a part of the Kingdom but have their own devolved government, legislatures, courts, and laws, and be able to conduct their own limited external relations with foreign powers. Hawaii was organized into eight states while the Deseret was organized into six areas. While Hawaii adopted a federal representative democracy similar to mainland Sierra's structure, the Deseret created a theodemocratic system devised by the religious leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which became entrenched with the Deseret state.
During the interwar period, Sierra also saw major advances in military technology. Sierra collaborated with French scientists and engineers in refining missile technology and nuclear technology. It made a breakthrough in 1956 when it successfully tested and detonated the world's first atom bomb, Blue Jean, near Area 51, Clark. Despite meticulous planning and strict confidentiality, sensitive documents and plans came under the hands of foreign informants and spies, including those from the United Commonwealth, which also began its own development of missile and thermonuclear technology. Within a month of Blue Jean's testing, the United Commonwealth conducted its own nuclear testings, triggering an intense arms race began. The parity between Sierran and Continental nuclear technology caused great concern for Sierran intelligence and policymakers who were aware of the top secret military programs.
In 1957, Sierra and its Anglo-American allies engaged in a space race with the United Commonwealth, with a joint Astorian–Sierran–Superian mission launching the world's first successful satellite, the Odyssey 1. Soon after, the United Commonwealth launched its own satellite, triggering a competition to achieve superior aerospace and rocket technology. Sierra achieved a number of firsts, including launching the first human in space in 1960 and the first crewed spaceflight in 1961. The Space War came to a halt after the breakout of the Second Great War, as Sierra and the United Commonwealth became co-belligerents who began to collaborate together on aerospace technology during the war.
Great War II
International politics remained uneasy throughout the Fierce Fifties as Great War I had left various issues unsettled. In Sierra, policymakers and members of the public were uninterested in the prospect of another world war. Under the prime ministry of Henry Faulkner, the government's defense policy was one based on deterrence and a preference to diplomatic conflict resolution. Sierra and the United Commonwealth enjoyed a renewed state of detente and the two even held reciprocal state visits for the first time since the Continental Revolutionary War. Two major international agreements: the North American Amity Treaty and the New Orleans Accords, were signed between Sierra, the United Commonwealth, and other North American states to cultivating peace, dialogue, and mutual aid with one another. As the Sierran government liberalized, it grew concerned with the rise of derzhavism in its allies, France and Russia. Seeking to distance itself from the derzhavist policies of these states, Sierra forged closer relations with its historic rivals, Germany and the United Kingdom. In the Pacific, Sierra maintained close relations with China, while its relationship with Japan remained frayed. Japan, which had effectively achieved its goals in Great War I, sought to consolidate and expand its influence across the Asia–Pacific, and had begun supporting the various independent movements in Southeast Asia and Oceania, including the colonies of allied nations. The First Indochina War broke out between mostly Vietnamese nationalists and the French, with Japan sponsoring the former and Russia assisting the latter. Although Sierra was not obligated to participate, the French government expected some form of Sierran assistance. Instead, Sierra maintained a policy of neutrality, which strained relations between the two states. Sierra and Japan switched sides in the international diplomatic web in what came to be known as the Second Diplomatic Revolution as they realigned themselves with former enemies. Nonetheless, Sierra remained neutral over the wars of independence in British Malaysia and the Dutch East Indies, and did not object to Japanese interference, reflecting Sierra's desire to remain uninvolved in overseas conflicts.
Sierra remained neutral, offering trade to nations and dependencies on both sides of the conflict in the Pacific until April 1962. During that month, a Sierran Royal Navy frigate, HRMS Glasgow traveling through international waters in the South China Sea was allegedly rammed and sunk by a hostile Japanese Imperial Navy destroyer. Over 150 onboard crew members died, while the rest were captured and detained by the Japanese. The naval confrontation, which became known as the Glasgow incident, sparked national outrage. Sierran policymakers and military leadership, hoping to recoup the territories lost in Great War I and to restore Sierran prestige in the Pacific, rallied to declare war on Japan. Without the worry of a two-front war that Sierra had in the previous global conflict, Sierra was able to concentrate the majority of its military projection and war effort in the Pacific. On April 21, 1962, Parliament declared war on Japan, bringing the country officially into the global conflict.
Sierra launched a naval sortie into the South China Sea, raiding Japanese positions in Taiwan and Vietnam, as well as the former Sierran territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands. Retaking control over the latter two islands was deemed a matter of both strategic and symbolic importance, as the islands provided command over the North Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, Sierran forces were given access into the independent Republic of Tondo which anticipated a potential Japanese invasion. The Sierran moves took Japan by surprise, which had not anticipated a full-scale Sierran offense. Sierra also conducted an air raid on Tokyo, which inflicted minimal physical damage but produced significant psychological damage to the Japanese public psyche. Concerned by the serious threat Sierra posed and its resolve to fight a potentially protracted war, Japan sought to bolster its defenses. The Japanese naval commanders entertained the idea of attacking Pearl Harbor in Hawaii but reasoned that Sierra's land-based airpower there had increased considerably since Great War I.
The Japanese sought to lure all of the Sierran fleet to Midway Island, a small atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands that the Japanese could exploit and felt the Sierrans deemed was a vital outpost. Sierran intelligence and cryptographers were able to obtain critical information on Japanese positions and plans prior to the confrontation at the island, and were able to launch a surprise ambush on Japanese forces. The battle was a decisive victory for the Sierrans and dealt additional moral shock to the Japanese. Concurrent advancements in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands reflected shifting tides of favorability in the war from Japan to Sierra. Sierra embraced the military strategy of leapfrogging, seeking to reverse Japanese territorial gains incrementally, with the goal to potentially encircle the Japanese homeland. Further Japanese losses in Manchuria and Southeast Asia drastically reduced their capabilities to replenish their losses in manpower and resources, while Sierra's industrial production and economic power was rapidly expanding, especially with direct access to the United Commonwealth's vast supply of steel and coal. Assistance from Astoria, Brazoria, Canada, and Superior greatly enhanced Sierra's fight against Japanese forces, and by 1964, Sierra had reversed much of Japan's territorial gains, retaking Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, and occupying Ryukyu.
As Sierra and the Allies' positions became increasingly favorable, and similar progress was made in the European theater of the war, the Japanese government began looking into a viable exit strategy. Although there were talks of a Sierran invasion of the Japanese mainland, both sides did not desire a full-scale conflict on the homeland, as millions of lives were expected to be lost in doing so. Sierran policymakers and military leadership alike were open to offering Japan peace terms with a conditional surrender, namely for Japan to renounce its claims in Manchuria, the South Pacific, and former Sierran possessions. Japan eventually surrendered by signing the Treaty of Manila, which ended the conflict between Japan and the Allies. Japan was allowed to keep control over the Korean peninsula, and secret provisions were arranged to allow Japan to gain territorial concessions in the Russian Far East, as the Allies made significant gains against Derzhavist Russia. In addition, Sierra and the Allied forces agreed to recognize the independence of various Southeast Asian countries which Japan had supported before and during the war, including Cambodia, Champa, Laos, North Vietnam, and South Vietnam.
Following Japan's surrender, Sierra shifted its attention mainly towards Russia and France. The forces in the Pacific began the Allied invasion of Siberia and the Russian Far East, while Sierra committed additional troops to the European continent, landing in Iberia, the Italian peninsula, and French Brittany. Following the falls of Paris and Moscow, the war officially ended with the signage of the Treaty of Porciúncula, with Sierra emerging as one of the postwar Great Powers, alongside China, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The Allies, including Sierra, oversaw the partitioning of the former Russian state. Through its participation, Sierra acquired Buryatia, Dauria, and Ussuria, administering them initially as the Sierran Siberian Occupied Zone before granting each eventual independence. It played a leading role in the prosecution of Russian and French war criminals, the reconstruction efforts in Europe, and the establishment of the Simi Valley system, which was the basis of the world's international financial institutions and modern globalism.
Following the Great War II, Sierra emerged as one of the dominant superpowers, with the United Commonwealth and Germany being the others. Sierra led the Anglo-American alliance that included Astoria, Superior, and the United Kingdom, which faced off the Landonist International led by the United Commonwealth and China, as well as the continental European bloc led by Germany. The Sierran government pursued the Warren Doctrine, named after Sierran prime minister Earl Warren, whose primary goal was containing the influence of the United Commonwealth, as well as Germany on the international scale. It refined the Warren Doctrine through the development of the String of Pearls strategy, which saw Sierra forging close alliances with right-wing, anti-Landonist governments and actors in Latin America and Africa, and establishing military bases worldwide.
In 1966, Sierra joined the Conference of American States, motivated by a push towards American unionism. It also founded the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the Trans-Pacific Allied Community, strengthening its ties with strategic partners in both Europe and Asia. K.S. foreign policy was focused on rebuilding Europe and Asia, which both suffered massive destruction and economic devastation. It also continued its resistance against the spread and proliferation of Landonism and other communist movements throughout the world. The Sierran government joined the wars in the Indochinese peninsula and Gran Colombia and interfered with the elections and government processes of left-wing governments worldwide, including those in the Caribbean, Latin America, and Africa. Warren also normalized relations with the People's Republic of China and visited Chairman Mao Zedong in China during the same year. The visit led to rapprochement for Sino-Sierran relations and contributed directly to emerging doctrinal differences and diplomatic tensions between China and the United Commonwealth. The Space Race, which halted during the Second Great War, resumed after Sierra and the United Commonwealth ceased collaboration with one another on spaceflight technology. The United Commonwealth sent the first man to the Moon in 1969, which was seen as a major victory on the side of the Continentals. Sierra sent the first man to the far side of the Moon in 1971. Federal funding towards space-related endeavors began to reduce after the Sierran government experienced budget deficits in the mid-1970s, and plans for a manned mission to Mars were scrapped.
The renewed rivalry between Sierra and the United Commonwealth led to the concept of the "Rocky Road", a clear divide in goals and worldviews between the Sierra-led bloc and the United Commonwealth-bloc on the trajectory of global affairs and development. The constant threat of nuclear warfare and the concept of mutually assured destruction resulted in a geopolitical environment buoyed between restraint and brinkmanship. The term "cold war" began to emerge to describe the tensions between the two states, which did not militarily confront each other directly, but waged a number of proxy wars in mainly Third World countries. Sierra also overshadowed its ally, the United Kingdom, in Europe, where it contended against Germany, which pursued a policy of European Continentalism (unrelated to the United Commonwealth's Continentalism) that rejected both Anglo-American liberal capitalism and Sino-Continental communism in favor of Old Order conservatism and traditional monarchism.
Beginning in 1966, political and social turmoil began in the Styxie with The Disturbances. Sectarian violence and politically motivated terrorism was perpetuated primarily between two groups: the Sierran Jacobites and other pro-monarchist groups, and the Sierran republicans. The Styxie, which lagged behind the rest of the Kingdom in terms of socioeconomic development, became a region of intense civil unrest and infighting. The August Atrocities of 1966 represented a violent episode in Sierran history that would define more than two decades of strife in the region. The attacks were blamed on the United Commonwealth, which denied any responsibility, as well as any connection to the attacks' perpetrators, the Sierran Liberation Army. Increased policing in the Styxie and the Greater Porciúncula contributed to republican animosity, leading to the 1966 Bernheim riots. In the years that followed, Jacobite paramilitary organizations arose, including the White Rose Brigade, which escalated violence between the sides. By the 1970s, the Sierran Crown Armed Forces, as well as the National Guard was authorized to monitor and enforce marital law in the most violent sections of the country, especially in the Bernheim metropolitan area. Periodic fighting associated with The Disturbances continued through the 1970s and early 1980s, before resurging in intensity, and ending in 1989 through a lengthy peace process that culminated with the signing of the Concord Accords between the major belligerents.
During the late 1960s, Sierra also experienced a renewed wave of the civil rights movement unrelated to republicanism, particularly for African Sierrans, Hispanic Sierrans, and LGBT Sierrans. Student protests and countercultural activism became prevalent in opposition to Sierra's military involvements in the Third World, as well as social and economic inequalities at home. These social movements persisted into the 1970s. Student organizations from the University of Sierra system became one of the leading forces in the Sierran counterculture movement which demanded greater rights for Sierra's marginalized groups. Federal and provincial governments responded with crackdowns and mass arrests, but by the 1980s, swaying public opinion resulted in major concessions under the more sympathetic government of Kirk Siskind.
In 1970, Sierra formally entered the war in Gran Colombia (which became known during the war as the Andes) after the RIA orchestrated the Bogotá embassy incident as a pretext to militarily intervene in Gran Colombia to prevent the rise of the Sendero Luminoso. For years, the RIA covertly supported the National Front and other anti-communists through training and aid. As the Gran Colombian government began losing ground to Sendero Luminoso, Sierra decided to prevent its collapse. Although Sierra secured its objectives in Indochina by brokering an armistice between North Vietnam, South Vietnam, and Champa, Sierra's involvement in the Colombia War became immensely unpopular at home at it became increasingly seen as unwinnable. In 1969, Kovrov Stoyanovich became prime minister and promoted the application of Vietnamization, a strategy he had pursued as defense minister, in the Andes. He also facilitated the independence of the Sierran territories of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, which remained in personal union with the Kingdom of Sierra through the Columbia realms. Stoyanovich's premiership was marred by the Blue Bridges scandal, which resulted in Stoyanovich becoming the first prime minister to be impeached and removed from office.
Prime Minister Walter Zhou replaced Stoyanovich and Zhou sought to implement Stoyanovich's strategy in the Andes, while he strengthened government action against The Disturbances. Zhou also started a "war on drugs" and began an ambitious federal campaign intent on eradicating the sale and distribution of hard drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamine. During Zhou's government, the country witnessed economic woes as hyperinflation, rising interest rates, and high unemployment resulted in economic slowdown. In an attempt to revitalize the Sierran economy, Zhou pursued sweeping deregulatory measures and took the Sierran dollar off of the gold standard completely and made it into a fiat currency. In addition, Zhou ended a number of Pacific Plan programs and also abolished mandatory Sierran Hanzi education. The rise of modern Sierran conservatism and growing acceptance of neoliberalism led to a political realignment for both the Royalists and the Democratic-Republicans, as the former moved away from one-nation conservatism in favor of neoconservatism and the latter moved away from Keynesian social liberalism towards Third Way neoliberalism. The bargaining power of Sierra's labor unions diminished and union membership began to decline, while real wages began to plateau as economic productivity and GDP continued to rise under Zhou's deregulatory policies.
Following the highly publicized Medellín massacre and mounting toll of Sierran casualties, Prime Minister Kirk Siskind withdrew all Sierran troops from the Andes, resulting in the communist victory there under the United People's Committees. Siskind campaigned himself as a peacemaker focused on economic growth and prosperity. Under his premiership, he continued deregulating the economy as his predecessor had done, but restored a number of popular workers' protections and social programs. On foreign policy, Siskind reaffirmed Sierra's commitment towards its allies and sought a detente with the United Commonwealth. Conflict in Ethiopia and Mesoamerica challenged the Siskind ministry's promise to avoid military intervention. Fighting in Europe, including in the British Isles with the Second Anglo–Irish War, placed Sierra in a precarious position as it balanced between domestic unpopularity for nation-building and foreign allied demand for military assistance and support. Meanwhile, the United Commonwealth pursued its own policy of military interventionism, as exemplified in its direct involvement and support for numerous revolutions and civil wars in the Caribbean Crisis, the Central American crisis, and the 1973 West African War, threatening Siskind's vision for an era of peace. Tensions rose after Rupert Gardner was assassinated, leading to a political crisis as Sierra was accused of planning the operation. In 1979, the Greenlandic Missile Crisis represented the nadir of Continental–Sierran relations since the beginning of the Cold War. The incident encouraged renewed cooperation and diplomatic engagement between Sierra and the United Commonwealth, which signaled a new period of detente.
During the 1980s detente, Sierra and the United Commonwealth engaged in nuclear disarmament and arms reduction talks. However, the United Commonwealth became embroiled with its own domestic issues during the Forgotten Decade, resulting in its temporary withdrawal and downscale of interventionism on the world stage. Sierra also scaled back its international military operations, and shifted its foreign policy focus more towards economic aid and foreign direct investment. Under the premiership of Mitchell Ford, he sought to balance the country's budget by reducing deficits. He passed a number of tax cuts for both the middle class and the wealthy, and continued the trend of deregulation, particularly in telecommunications and banking. His economic policies won his success as a bipartisan leader who was able to appeal to moderates from both of the two major parties. Ford became one of the few prime ministers to preside over a budgetary surplus. On social issues, he supported recognition of civil unions between same-sex couples, decriminalizing medical marijuana use, and supporting abortion rights. He oversaw tougher criminal justice legislation by supporting the death penalty and the three-strikes rule. Ford's popularity plummeted after he backed the National Electricty Deregulation Act of 1984 as it was responsible for the 1985–86 electricity crisis, which left millions of customers and businesses without electricity. His budgetary cuts to education and healthcare also proved unpopular, and he began to face resistance from within own party, including the Styxiecrats.
In 1986, Ted Brundy and the Royalists were elected, ending an 11-year dry spell of Royalist governance. Brundy was able to defeat the Democratic-Republicans in part by exploiting the resurgence of factionalism in the Democratic-Republican Party and aligning the Royalists with the Deseret's People's Party through the Great Salt Lake Declaration. Brundy gained popularity among Sierran evangelicals, a voter bloc which had historically been Democratic-Republican or politically independent. The coupling of Sierran evangelicalism and Sierran political conservatism gave rise to the notion of a "Moral Majority". Brundy rejected bipartisanship, although he forged a working alliance with the Libertarians, a minor political party which emerged during the 1970s in rejection of the Royalists' social policies. The Royalists and Libertarians formed the Conservative coalition, which soon contended with the Sierran liberal and left's own coalition, the Progressive coalition. The emergence of third parties such as the Green Party and the Social Democrats weakened the historical dominance enjoyed by the Royalists and the Democratic-Republicans. Partisan diversity also reflected growing discontentment with the neoliberal center-right politics that had come to dominate the country's two oldest parties.
Under Brundy, he opposed constitutional amendments which would recognize same-sex marriage and gender equality. He also challenged provincial governments from passing gun control restrictions and unsuccessfully attempted to legislate a national school-led prayer and flag defamation laws. Economically, Brundy vowed to "strip the bloated government to its bone" and sought to deregulate numerous federal regulations and close down government agencies in favor of provincial rights. Brundy also came into conflict with the CAS, and his Ameroskeptic views soon became a mainstream trend for the Royalist Party. He claimed that Sierra's membership in the CAS had become unbeneficial and that the institution itself had become undemocratic. Despite opposing the CAS, he rejected calls for a nationwide referendum as he believed the CAS still served an important role in maintaining a "unified front" against the United Commonwealth.
By the 1990s, the country endured another economic downturn as widening income inequality, reduced economic mobility, and austerity measures became pressing issues. In 1991, Queen Elizabeth I became the first female sovereign of Sierra. After winning the 1992 Sierran federal election, Democratic-Republican Melinda Peters under the Progressive coalition came into power as the first female prime minister, promising for a "reboot" in domestic policy. Peters vowed to balance sustainable economic growth with economic fairness. The party establishment shifted towards progressivism, while maintaining a commitment towards moderate economic policies. Due to the inclusion of the Green Party in the coalition government, environmentalism and conservationism became major policy goals on the coalition agenda. Economically, she made a number of improvements to the national healthcare system and re-strengthened the power of labor unions. She supported maintaining a preference for privatization rather than state ownership, although she resisted attempts to privatize RBS and the Royal Postal Service. She continued to deregulate the finance industry and lowered trade barriers with other countries outside of the American Common Market. Peters also championed the expansion of women's rights by passing legislation targeting domestic violence and rape, as well as expanding reproductive rights and access to contraceptives. During Peters' premiership, the issue of affirmative action became a hot-button issue as parents, students, and educators rallied in favor or opposition to affirmative action-based legislation. In 1994, affirmative action was set to be implemented by Sierra's public university systems: the University of Sierra and the Sierra National University. This announcement led to mass protests by the Movement for a Meritocratic-Based Education and Civil Service, while the Sierran Civil Liberties Association counter-protested in support of the university systems' actions. Legal battles over both provincial and federal legislation eventually made its way to the Supreme Court, which struck down affirmative action as unconstitutional in Perkins v. San Francisco. Gun rights and gun control entered into the forefront of Sierran politics after a number of mass shootings, including those occurring at school made national headlines. In 1996, Parliament passed the Federal Public Safety and Firearms Regulation Act, which banned the manufacturing for civilian use of semi-automatic firearms identified as assault weapons. On criminal justice, she upheld the three-strikes rule and increased funding for policing and prisons in light of increased violence, especially in the cities. The 1992 Porciúncula riots, fueled by ongoing racial tensions and opposition to police brutality, was highly televised and became one of the most iconic events in the nation's history.
On the international stage, Peters integrated Sierra further into the CAS by joining the Lincoln Area, which removed border control and visa entry requirements with other participating CAS members. Sierra also supported the pro-liberalization movements in a number of Landonist countries that culminated into the Revolutions of 2000. She also began Sierra's controversial increased military involvement into the Middle East and Central Asia. Peters criticized the Ba'athist regime of Syria and the socialist regimes in Egypt, Libya, and the Equatorial States, accusing all of them for sponsoring state terrorism and authoritarianism. She backed the Beijing Spring in China and the Orchid Revolution in Manchuria, which represented the most prominent collapses of Landonist regimes during the Revolutions of 2000. In Europe, Spain and Italy also liberalized, and Peters helped facilitate the enlargement of the newly formed European Community. Despite the Revolutions, the Landonist International's largest and principal member, the United Commonwealth, remained Continentalist–Landonist. In light of the Revolution, Sierran foreign policy shifted towards cautious rapprochement with the United Commonwealth. In her farewell address in 2000, she declared that the Cold War was finally over and expressed hope that the 21st century would result in a new paradigm shift towards lasting peace and international cooperation. In the 2000 election, Royalist Matthew Braggs became prime minister, narrowly defeating the Progressive coalition Peters had built up.
At the start of the century, Sierra led the international stage on the development of the Internet. First created in the 1980s, Sierran companies and the government continued to expand the use of the Internet. The rapid rise and prevalence of the Internet and mobile phones created a frenzied market. The Sierran economy experienced a stock market crash in mid-2001 after the dot-com bubble burst due to excessive speculation of Internet-related and e-commerce businesses. The stock market crash was followed by the 2001–02 recession. Although dozens of companies declared bankruptcy and were shut down, a number of firms survived as the technology industry stabilized.
On September 11, 2003, Sierra and other Anglo-American countries, including Astoria, Superior, and the United Commonwealth, were targeted with coordinated terrorist attacks by al-Tulaab, a Syrian-based jihadist group. In Sierra, 4 al-Tulaab hijackers intentionally flew and crashed a Westjet Sierra commercial airliner into the K.S. Bank Tower. Within an hour of the crash, the K.S. Bank Tower completely collapsed and partially damaged surrounding buildings. A car bombing also occurred in the international terminal at the Porciúncula International Airport (LAX). In total, 448 victims were killed, while an additional 238 Sierran nationals were killed in the other attacks that occurred elsewhere in Anglo-America. In response, Prime Minister Braggs announced a "War on Terror" a week later. Braggs outlined his plan to combat terrorism globally and domestically, and declared that there was an "empire of evil", naming Libya, North Vietnam, and Syria explicitly as governments which allegedly sponsored terrorism and developed weapons of mass destruction in contravention of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. On March 20, 2004, Sierra, CAS, and NTO invaded Syria to oust the Ba'athist government, which provided refuge and sanctuary for al-Tulaab fighters, including the main perpetrator, Awad al-Suri.
Braggs and the Royalist government passed sweeping legislation that increased government surveillance and information sharing between government agencies. A number of other agencies and programs were also established with the purpose of increasing domestic security and preventing terrorism. Civil rights advocates challenged the government's proposals but the Supreme Court upheld the legislation as a matter of public safety and security interest. Beginning in 2004, the Sierran government also began indefinitely detaining suspected terrorists at the K.S. naval base in the Galápagos Islands, United People's Committees, leading to allegations of human rights abuses and violations of international law.
Braggs enjoyed high popularity soon after the September 11 attacks and maintained it during the initial invasion of Syria. Public confidence and support within Parliament plummeted after Braggs faced an ethics scandal. Braggs was accused of using his position to get his son accepted into Mulholland University by offering a quid pro quo deal with the university admissions officials. In order to avoid the possibility of impeachment, Braggs resigned and he was replaced by Diana Jeong. In 2005, Queen Elizabeth I died and was succeeded by her son, Charles II.
Jeong continued the War on Terror and her government increased spending towards the military. The NTO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Syria saw an alliance of nations from NTO, IPTO, and their key partner in the Middle East, the CTO. After the Ba'athist regime fell and collapsed, Sierra and other ISAF forces remained in Syria because a prolonged civil war emerged. In 2006, Sierra co-founded IPTO, as part of its strategy to strengthen Sierra's military projection in the Indo-Pacific region. As the war progressed, public sentiment towards the conflict began to shift negatively, harming Jeong's approval ratings. On domestic issues, Jeong backed broad tax cuts and deregulation. She unsuccessfully attempted to push for the privatization of the Royal Postal Service, a move which saw significant pushback from the Democratic-Republican opposition. Violence reemerged in the Styxie as the rise of dissident republicanism threatened the relative regional peace and stability brought forth by the Concord Accords at the end of The Disturbances. Jeong sought to increase government spending and investment in the region, and more funding for local law enforcement and the provincial National Guards.
On social issues, public opinion increasingly became favorable towards progressive stances on issues such as LGBT rights (including same-sex marriage), recreational marijuana use, and the abolition of capital punishment. The Democratic-Republican Party officially changed its platform in 2008 to include many of these social issues, alienating its traditional base in the Styxie, but broadening its appeal towards urban voters. San Francisco became the first province to recognize same-sex marriage, a trend which soon followed in a number of other provinces.
In 2006, the Sierran real estate market bubble burst after years of excessive, unsustainable growth and appreciation in market value. By 2007, many Sierran homeowners defaulted on their mortgages and faced foreclosure. Sub-prime loan losses and the collapse of value in K.S. mortgage-backed securities led to a major panic that resulted in the collapse and bankruptcies of several investment and commercial banks. In 2008, a global recession emerged amidst the crisis, leading to a strong bear market, significant reduction in international trade, rising unemployment, and depressed commodity prices.
Facing criticism for the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and the deteriorating situation on the economy, Jeong and the Royalists lost the election to Steven Hong and the Democratic-Republicans during the 2008 election. Hong promoted himself as a progressive-minded politician whose goal was to regain control over the economy and expand the civil rights of Sierra's minorities. Hong reluctantly continued the war in Syria, but significantly reduced the number of troops stationed there. Hong backed a multi-billion stimulus plan in the Sierran manufacturing industry, bailed out Sierra's major banking and financial institutions, and passed major reforms on healthcare, education, and housing. During his premiership, he saw the crisis in the Styxie worsen, and he toughened public safety measures in the region. After a string of mass shootings that occurred at various places including schools, he proposed gun control reform, but faced opposition from the Royalists, as well as moderates within his own party. He strengthened ties with the CAS as a committed unionist and imposed sanctions against Mexico as tensions grew between the two countries over the status of El Norte.
Hong and the Democratic-Republicans maintained power after the 2013 election. The situation in El Norte, particularly over the Baja California peninsula, worsened as Sierran and Mexican forces faced off each other within the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean. On March 2014, a Mexican frigate rammed into a Sierran cruiser several miles off the coast of La Paz, Pacífico Norte. Both sides claimed the other was the aggressor, video evidence indicated the Mexican vessel intentionally struck the Sierran vessel in waters Sierra considered to be internal. Relations frayed further after Mexico declared the Sierran embassy in Mexico City, including the ambassador, persona non grata. Sierra retaliated by declaring the Mexican embassy staff persona non grata, effectively suspending relations between the countries. Hong added Mexico to Braggs' "empire of evil" and accused of Mexico of sponsoring terrorism and promoting authoritarianism.
Broader geopolitical changes and tensions led to talks of a "Second Cold War" confrontation between the Sierra-led CAS-IPTO-NTO alliance and China, the United Commonwealth, Mexico, and their allies. Rifts between Sierra and China began during the 2008 Sino-Burmese War and relations steadily worsened as China became posed as a rising superpower. The Sierran government also continued to view the United Commonwealth with wary suspicion, despite their mutual cooperation on counterterrorism. Sierra reinforced its alliance with the Antilles, a nation whose government are the Federalists who were ousted during the Continental Revolutionary War.
In 2015, Charles II abdicated for personal reasons and was succeeded by his daughter, Elizabeth II. At the time of Elizabeth II's ascension, she was still a student, and she designated her great-uncle and Charles II's uncle, Prince George the Elder of Sonora, as her regent.