Gaia (Standard Gaian: ガイア), officially the Imperial Union of Gaia, and commonly known as the Imperial Union, or Gaia, is a country located on the planet of Kebir Blue on the southern coast of Austral Bergo, Centura Donna Continent. The Imperial Union is a unitary state comprised of three provinces, and multiple territories, with a parliamentary monarchy ruled by Empress Isabella de Gaia, from the capital, Celestial City. Empress Isabella ascended the throne on Jan 5, 3555, following her mothers abdication.
The Imperial Union is a member of various international organizations such as the Soviet Federation and the UniSov World Trade Common Market. Gaia is also a founding member of the interplanetary organization, Council of Centau.
The name Gaia comes from the name of the goddess or personification of the ancient homeworld. It was readopted as the country's name shortly after Migration.
The standard way to refer to a citizen of the Imperial Union of Gaia is as an "Gaian". The adjective Gaian is commonly used when referring to the Imperial Union of Gaia. It is also used in law to refer to Gaian citizenship. Passports, along with the new GaiaID features the country's full name on their front. The country's full name is most often used in official documents and in matters involving the government.
Internationally, the term Gaia is used in organizations originating from the country. Sports teams competing internationally, compete under the name Gaia. The country's diplomatic missions, such as embassies are referred to as Embassy of the Imperial Union of Gaia, in their respective countries.
The Imperial Family's surname, de Gaia, literally means "of Gaia". It was readopted as the Imperial Family's surname following the Migration and subsequent colonization of Austral Bergo Region on Kebir Blue. Members of the Imperial Family are commonly addressed by their title then by their given name.
Centuries ago, the people of a distant land were forced to leave their homeland because of an apocalyptic event, which resulted in the utter devastation of their homeworld. The mass evacuation of the homeworld and the subsequent migration had been planned by the government for decades, and culminated in Operation Exodus. Operation Exodus involved the mobilization of every sector of the economy, from small businesses to heavy industries. The economy became tightly controlled by the government, who placed its priorities on the production of colony ships. Thousands of spacefaring vessels were constructed in the years prior to the exodus. Operation Exodus became the largest mass migration in human history. Millions of civilians were evacuated in the initial waves, with millions more that followed. Within five years the evacuation had ceased, leaving behind those who wished to stay and a small military force, that would be evacuated following the collapse of order in the remaining countries on the homeworld. Primitive colonial vessels were used during the early stages of migration from the home planet, which is speculated to be somewhere in the Orion Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy.
During the transit through space, the colonists on board were subject to a form of bio-stasis. Due to the technology of the time, estimates indicate that only around 85% of the initial colonists on board survived the journey on the bio-stasis system. Surviving data cubes from the colony ships themselves indicate that the colony ships were piloted by a simple AI system. Recent data released by the government have indicated that the latter waves of colonial ships were far more advanced than their earlier counterparts. It is speculated that these latter waves included the ships that held the data cubes and the most important members of the government.
Archaeologists have found very few remnants of the colonial vessels, due to the fact that the early colonists dismantled their ships for materials upon making landfall. The few data cubes that were uncovered are being held at the National Archives in Celestial City, where they are being researched extensively. Public access to the cubes is restricted and tight security remains on who access the data cubes.
They settled in what is now known as Centura Donna Continent, Austral Bergo, on the planet of Kebir Blue.
The first colonists made landfall in the Austral Bergo Region and began to venture eastwards until they discovered a region dotted with lakes. Because of the lush forests, fertile farmland and the numerous sources of water, the colonists began to build their first settlement there. This settlement became known as Sora. Hardships faced the colonists during the initial years of settlement. Crops often failed in the their new environments, and equipment would fail or break every now and then. Agricultural research teams employed by the Gaian Colonial Authority begin extensive research into harvesting techniques and the development of new seed types. The Colonial Authority also began extensive public works projects in an effort to improve living conditions and to assist the fledgling economy. Within a decade many of these hardships vanished, as the settlement became more established.
After the establishment of Sora and other settlements in the surrounding region, colonization efforts expanded settled zones eastwards, reaching as far as current day Rindasu, on the south central coast of the country. Under the direction of the Gaian Colonial Authority, colonized territories built roads, farms and factories to increase the pace of development and to jump start local economies. Although the development of the colonized territories was gaining speed, shortages became a common. As a result, the Gaian Colonial Authority initiated a series of rationing programs aimed at reducing the demand for food and supplies, giving colonial authorities time to increase the production of foodstuffs and supplies. The rationing programs were immensely unpopular among the colonists across the colonized territories, as they became more strict. Clashes often occurred between disgruntled colonists and local security forces. It became evident that reform was needed for the continued existence of the colonies. The increasing need to reform the Colonial Authority led to the passing of the Sora Agreement.
Shortly after the establishment of numerous settlements across the land, representatives from various territories administered by the Gaian Colonial Authority, met in Sora to discuss the establishment of a more unified nation. Before these meetings had took place, the settled territories were administered by the Gaian Colonial Authority and were led by the Emperor's provisional government in Sora. After days of negotiations and meetings, the Sora Agreement was signed and the Imperial Federation of Gaia was born. The new country was administered from the country's temporary capital, Sora. Under the agreement, the new country was to be split into Provinces, with each province led by a Viceroy. Following the unification, the government ordered the construction of major infrastructure projects across the country, in order to boost the economy and to better link the towns.
Following the years after the establishment of the Imperial Federation of Gaia, Emperor Isamu de Gaia orders a frontier settlement program, in an effort the expand the country's landmass. The initial settlement program expands the country into the northeastern reaches. Under the Eastern Settlement Act, government incentives such as tax breaks and jobs opportunities were implemented in order to intensify the speed of settlement. In an effort to transport thousands of settlers to their new homes and to facilitate the movement of goods, the government built thousands of kilometres of rail and roadways. The initial settlement program faced only a few minor difficulties, the most severe being the skirmishes along the expanding frontier with warlords from the north. This eventually led to the construction of a series of border defence posts and the creation of the Agency for Internal Security. Massive infrastructure projects followed the expansion. Superhighways, National North-South (N-1) and National West-East (N-2) were built during this era. The construction of the country's new capital also began during this period. The construction of Celestial City continued on for decades and it eventually became the world's largest construction project and planned city.
During the initial settlement program, the frontier lands became a clashing point between the fledgling Gaian Defence Forces and the combined forces of the northern warlords. During a routine pacification operation into future settlement zones, a convoy of engineers and soldiers were attacked by a band of mercenaries under the command of one of the northern warlords. 4 soldiers were killed and 8 more were wounded. In the following week, a forward defence post spots mercenaries prowling the nearby forests. In response to the increasing severity of the situation, the government orders the mobilization of 5 battalions of the Gaian Defence Forces under the command of Colonel Julian Douglas. Within days they secure a defence line along the fringes of the new settlement zones near modern day Indasu. Shortly after, a large enemy force clashes with the defence forces. The ensuing battle lasts for hours, resulting in the withdrawal of the mercenary forces. Two years into the conflict, the Gaian Defence Forces complete their space launch facilities and the first warships are launched. The crisis ends with the strategic bombing of mercenary camps and bases. Gaia's expansion northwards and eastwards would continue to be unhindered until the present day borders were established. Due to ongoing border skirmishes and threats from beyond the border, a 1 kilometre wide border security zone was established. Today, the Gaian border remains one of the most militarized borders in the region.
The New Era
The New Era brought about unprecedented changes to the nation and the people. Waves of advancements swept the across nation, fuelled by government and private investments. Technological advancements altered the fabric of the country, from the average household to the country's largest manufacturing facilities. One of the major technological breakthroughs during this era was the Sato-Fleming Warp Drive. The drive enabled people to travel to places in record times, which in turn removed the overall need for stasis modules. A major boom in the transport sector occurred shortly afterwards. Much of the country's major transport companies were created during this time, such as TransGaia and Horizon Transport. The country's rail networks were largely built during this time, as the need to transport people and goods greatly increased. Numerous scientific breakthroughs also occurred in the medical field. HR Pharmaceuticals developed nano-machines capable of negating the effects of most harmful cancers during this era. Some lesser, but notable advancements also included stronger and more durable concrete, the discovery of new alloys, limited human augmentation, and the improvement of eco fuels.
A state of energy self-sufficiency was achieved by the 2900's as the country's latest fusion power generating facilities came online. During this same era, plans were being drawn for a large scale energy generation project in space. The plan would eventually lead to the creation of the Orbital Solar Array Project. The large surplus of energy indirectly influenced the creation of a culture and architectural style centered around the use of lights. It also led to the expansion of the country's burgeoning telecommunications network.
Northern District Crisis
The Northern District Crisis began when Viceroy Koetsu Iseya of the Eastern Province, provoked the miners and resource employees in the North District by raising taxes in their district and by removing their popular local representative from power. Initially, peaceful protests were held in the district capital of Indasu, but when the Viceroy deployed AIS Units to disperse the protests, it turned violent. A state of emergency was declared in the Northern District and in the city of Indasu.
Units of the Gaian Defence Forces and the AIS (Agency for Internal Security) were sent in and the Viceroy of the Eastern Province was subsequently removed from power. Defence forces units seal off the city to prevent the riots from spreading and to stop perpetrators of the riots from exiting the city. Following the sealing off of the city, units of the AIS were sent in to enforce the law and arrest perpetrators. After days of skirmishes with rioters, the AIS finally secures the city. Gaian Defence Forces units withdraw shortly afterwards. Damage to the city was estimated to be in the billions. Hundreds of people were reported dead or missing. The cities infrastructure was severely damaged, it would take years for repairs to be finished. Out of the thousands arrested, many were tried and sent to prison. The crisis acted as a precursor to the passing of the Imperial Union Act.
Imperial Union Act
Following the Northern District Crisis, Emperor __________, orders a complete reorganization of the powers allocated throughout the country and the complete overhaul of the country's governmental structure. As a result the Imperial Union Act was passed overwhelmingly in the two chambers of parliament and signed by the Emperor. The Imperial Union of Gaia was created as a result. The Imperial Union Act reallocated powers in the government and divided the country accordingly into different administrative zones, the government was also more centralized as a result. The Imperial Union Act also streamlined the government and the military. The military was deployed across the country during the transition period to prevent events such as the Northern District Crisis from reoccurring. The transition period ended with week long celebrations, which included a massive parade in Celestial City and large scale firework shows in many cities and towns.
Shorty after Emperor Choei abdicates the throne for retirement, Crown Princess Satomi ascends the throne to become the Empress of Gaia. Following her ascension to power, Her Imperial Majesty began a series of economic, education and health reforms. Because of her reforms the economy has grown significantly. The industrial sector has benefited the most from these reforms, as corporate tax rates hit a all time low. Thousands of kilometres of road and rail were also built as part of the effort to boost the economy. Education and health in the country also benefited immensely, as hundreds of new schools and hospitals were built. In order to execute these reforms, funding for the military was drastically cut. Numerous army units were disbanded or put on hold, and multiple naval vessels were dry docked. These numerous reforms to Gaian society and governance became known as the Satomi Restoration, along with her years as monarch, and became one of the most defining eras in Gaian history.
Following the National Elections of 3353, Gregory Wong of the Liberal Gaia Party is elected as the country's new Prime Minister, with an astonishing 78% majority in the Imperial Assembly. Following his election, a new omnibus bill was drafted. Known as the "Gaia Omnibus Bill", this bill includes a wide range of political reforms. This bill has since been passed. Reforms began in 3355, will the expansion of the powers of the Imperial Assembly and the creation of new electoral districts to better represent the populace.
Economic Recession of the 3350's
The economy was reaching new heights of prosperity before the 3350's. But as the new decade dawned, discrepancies in the country's supply system began to adversely affect both state and public corporations. The recession took a turn for the worse during the mid 3350's, as the governments treasury numbers dropped below the mandated minimum. Measures were put into place by the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Trade during the late 3350's to streamline the supply system and to erase inefficiencies regarding trade policies. Government statistics are currently showing a steady recovery in the economy. Government revenue, and corporate incomes have risen dramatically following the recession of the 3350's.
Decades of Prosperity
From beginning of 3360, the economy of the country began a trend of rapid growth. This was fuelled by new foreign investments and large scale government infrastructure projects. Foreign investments came as the government halted the creation of state corporations and began to attract potential companies to invest in the country. Large scale infrastructure projects across the country helped attracted foreign investment. Hundreds of new schools and dozens of new hospitals were built from 3370 to 3390. Hundreds of kilometres of roads and rail lines were also built during these years. New legislation was passed regarding the increase of social security payments as well. This was partially due to the increase of government income.
Military spending increased for the first time in decades during the passing of the 3390 Budget. Funding rose particularly for the Navy, who was in the process of procuring new fighters for both the Homeland Defence Fleet and the Interstellar Expeditionary Fleet.
The decade of 3410 saw an increase in military size as the government moved forward with its decades long planned expansion of the defence forces. It involved putting weapons and ammunition quality at the forefront of the plan and upgrading current units became a major priority. Under the strategy of "Flexible Spending", the procurement of new military units changes every year to match the current economic situation. This ensures the ever growing economy is protected from the impact of major purchases. By 3420 upwards to 30 destroyers were added to the Homeland Defence Fleet, which had shrunk significantly since the budget cutbacks of 3300. This was followed by the reopening of numerous naval stations by the Ministry of Defence to support the Navy.
The Nationalist Party of Gaia wins the 3425 National Elections with an astonishing majority, its leader Fumiko Yoshida becomes the Prime Minister. She is expected to continue many policies set by her predecessors, most notably the military buildup. Political analysts speculate that changes to immigration laws are to occur.
A system wide depression occurred during the late 3430's until the early 3440's. As early as 3438, a massive economic downturn hits the solar system. Reports of declining economic welfare and health come in from every planet, include Kebir Blue. Early reports from the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Trade give a grim outlook for the future. The current downturn surpasses the recession of 3350. The Imperial Government passes fiscal restriction measures, which includes an indefinite halt to military procurement programs and foreign investment. By 3442 the economy begins to slowly recover as foreign investment increases and government owned corporations are required to turn over more of their profits to the government.
On May 11, 3452 an earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter Scale occurs 4 kilometres off the eastern coast of Eastern Province. The cities of Richmond and Yangcheng in Dongnan District are hit the hardest. Dongnan District and parts of Elizabeth District are put into an state of emergency shortly afterwards. Damage to the French Bay Bridge impedes the recovery efforts, which results in the Gaian Defence Forces Engineer Corps being deployed to fix parts of the bridge for temporary use. May 11, 3453 marked the 1 year anniversary of the earthquake. A moment of silence was held across the country at 9:00am to commemorate the event. The earthquake was one of the deadliest in the Imperial Union's history.
In response to the relatively slow growth of the economy, the Government of Gaia began a restructuring of state owned corporations, which began in 3458. Numerous corporations were either closed or restructured to be more efficient. As a result government income rose and state corporations became more profitable.September 3, 3465 marked the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Imperial Union Act, which dissolved the Imperial Federation of Gaia and formally established its successor, the Imperial Union of Gaia. Plans for the bicentennial were underway as early as 3458, which began with the construction of the Sceptre of Gaia, an enormous tower overlooking Sora. Numerous festivities were held across the country during the weeks following the bicentennial. During the week of the bicentennial access to the capital was controlled by the authorities and all holographic billboards were put under government control in order to display celebratory messages and announcements. On the day of the bicentennial, large parades were held across the country, with the largest of them being in Celestial City. The Celestial City Gaia Day parade featured extravagant floats from various organizations and military hardware from the Gaian Defence Forces. Large scale light shows were also orchestrated over the skies of Sora and Celestial City by the ships from Gaian Naval Defence Forces. The light shows began with the Sceptre of Gaia firing a large beam of light into the night sky, that could been seen from as far as the capital. Gaia Day/Bicentennial celebrations ended with elaborate fireworks displays lighting up the skies of the country following a nationwide address by the Empress.
The beginning of 3470, saw the Nationalist Party gain complete dominance in the Imperial Assembly under its new leader, Prime Minister Yoshiko Kayabuki. The 3470 National Elections also saw the Green Party and Ascendance rise in popularity and Liberal Gaia losing much of its support. Prime Minister Kayabuki began her term, just as an economic downturn started to loom over the country. By 3475, her government successfully gets the country out of the economic downturn, mainly due to her economic policies which expanded state owned corporations and reduced the country's reliance on foreign corporations. She became one of the most travelled Prime Ministers in the history of the Imperial Union, when she went on a tour of allied nations in 3474 to foster greater diplomatic relations. Large scale military procurement began in 3477, when the government authorized the spending of tens of billions of Imperial Credits on the purchase of military hardware for the Gaian Defence Forces. In a controlled manner, the Gaian government continued to spend even more on and by the end 3479, well over a trillion Imperial Credits were spent on the military buildup, becoming one of the largest military buildups in Gaian history.
In 3483, the Imperial Union of Gaia signed the Economic Cooperation and Investment Treaty, ushering in an era of economic cooperation and prosperity with the other signatories, the Republic of White Highlands, the Republic of Romanam and the Socialist Union of Mandarr.
On November 12, 3497 Gaian Defence Forces crossed the border into Picara and begin its War of Liberation. It was the first time the GDF had participated in a War of Liberation and within days the 31st Armoured Division, the 11th Mechanized Division and units of the Survey Corps descended upon the Picaran capital. With the capture of the capital and a majority of the country complete, a pro-Soviet government led by the Picaran people was installed. By 3498 a majority of the Gaian Defence Forces withdrew, leaving behind a liberated country led by the its own people.
The Nationalist Party under its new leader, Cornelius Jiang, wins the 3500 National Elections continuing the party's political dominance in the Imperial Assembly. When a global recession hits Gaia in 3510, the Prime Minister puts forward the Emergency Economic Measures Act. The act resulted in the restructuring of state owned corporations and further diversification of the economy. While the economy was gradually recovering, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake strikes off the coast of Western Province on September 15, 3519, severely hampering the economic recovery. The earthquake and the subsequent tsunami became one of the worst disasters in Gaian history, causing untold amounts of damage along the country's western coastline. The death toll was significantly reduced as a result of the rapid reaction of the Gaian Emergency Relief Agency. GERA activated the regions emergency broadcast system moments after the earthquake was detected and confirmed; emergency alerts were sent to all electronic devices within the region, which reduced the loss of life from the subsequent tsunami. The 3530 National Elections is expected to become one of the most contested elections in Gaian history, as the economic recovery efforts waned under the governance of Prime Minister Jiang.
The Gaian economy rebounds in 3530 as private investments in the country increased and recent government investments in allied countries began to payoff. 3530 also marked a new era of governance in Gaia, as the long time Nationalist political dynasty falters in the 3530 National Elections, resulting in a majority government led by a coalition comprised of Liberal Gaia and Ascendance, known as the Liberal-Ascendance Coalition, under the leadership of Prime Minister Samuel Chan. In 3531, his government announced that it will set aside 6 trillion Imperial Credits for upgrades to the armed forces, and the country's vital infrastructure.
By 3549, the Gaian economy recovers to its pre-downturn normalcy. Recent investments in the country's infrastructure has helped to boost the relatively stagnant economy.
On Dec 10 3550, Empress Satomi announced her intentions of abdicating the throne within a year, in favour of the coronation of her daughter, Crown Princess Isabella. The Crown Princess enjoyed provisional powers until her ascension on January 5, 3555.
On January 5, 3555 Crown Princess Isabella ascends the throne after her mother's abdication. Her mother is credited with the transformation of the country's economy, healthcare and education system, the expansion of diplomatic relations, and the buildup of the military. The coronation of Crown Princess was attended by many world leaders, most notably the Aquitanian and Ruthenian Imperial Families.
Sakuya Yanagi of the Nationalist Party wins the 3559 National Elections, establishing a majority Nationalist government. Since gaining power, she has tabled new defence legislation and has stated her intent to expand existing diplomatic relations. Her role as Prime Minister had raised some controversy, since she is a member of one of the Seven Appointed Noble Families, the House of Yanagi. Her first act as Prime Minister, was the mobilization of the GDF for allied defence operations on Kebir Blue.
The 3560s saw the Gaian Defence Forces being deployed into multiple peacekeeping operations, most notably the Arendale intervention and the Tactical Rock peacekeeping operation. This decade also saw the economy stabilize, but with little growth. Large-scale infrastructure projects were initiated by the Gaian government in 3564, in an effort to provide a boost to the stagnant economy.
3565 marked the 300th anniversary of Gaia. Numerous festivals and parades were organized for Gaia Day 3565, in what has become one of the largest nationwide celebrations in Gaian history. The main parade in Celestial City featured shows from the Gaian Defence Forces and numerous cultural organizations. The parade was also notable for the participation of allied countries, such as the Soviet RSFSR, Ossory, Romanam, Greenwood, Mandarr, and offworld allies such as Aquitania and Ruthenia. The Empress made a brief speech from the city of Sora during Gaia Day, congratulating the populace for their contributions to the nation and the world. She ended the speech praising the efforts of Gaia and its allies.
On June 1, 3570, Empress Isabella ordered the cessation of all liberation operations conducted by the Gaian Defence Forces. The maintenance of overseas bases remains undetermined, as the country recalls all of its non-essential military personnel serving overseas. Her Imperial Majesty released a statement shortly afterwards, stating that this will not affect Gaia's defence commitments abroad, as the order only nullifies the country's current offensive operations.
The Nationalist Party remains in power as the country's dominate political party after the 3577 National Elections. Ichiro Hayashi is sworn in as the new Prime Minister, as the previous incumbent Sakuya Yanagi, reached her term limit. Prime Minister Hayashi introduces a multitude of economic stimulus plans in order to jump start the stagnant Gaian economy during his first year in office in 3577. By 3579, the Gaian economy began to show signs of growth, with the country's financial index and national income rising rapidly.
From 3585 onwards, the country began to change its foreign policy, adopting much more isolationist policies.
Situated on the pristine coastline of southern Centura Donna, the Imperial Union boasts some of the continents largest and most beautiful boreal forests and grasslands. Large portions of the country remain covered with forests in their pristine natural conditions, due to the governments strict environmental policies.
Grasslands dominate the southern coasts of the Western and Central Provinces, and in the foothills of the Chiheisen Mountains in the northern section of the country. Stretching from the western borders of the country to the outskirts of Fukuroku, and also located in the foothill areas of the Chiheisen Mountains of the Northern District, these central grasslands are collectively known as the Euthenia Plains. The Euthenia Plains are home to large number of flora and fauna, such as deer and many species of wild grass. As a result of the fertile soil, the Euthenia Plains provides the country with valuable farmland which results in an abundant food supply.
The Chiheisen Mountains in the northeast contain some the highest mountains in the country. Mount Leblanc, named after the Colonial Era explorer Jean-Pierre Leblanc, has an elevation of approximately 3300 metres and is the tallest mountain in Gaia. It is a popular skiing destination during the winter months and is also a popular destination for hikers and mountain climbers during the warmer months of the year.
Between the coastal and foothill grasslands of the country are the sprawling boreal forests. These forests are home to the nations fledgling lumber and eco-tourism industries. They are also home to a multitude of wildlife and plant life. The boreal forest are composed predominantly of conifers such as spruce. Deciduous trees such as maple and oak, are also interspersed throughout the forests. Large areas of the boreal forests are protected by the government, under the Environmental Conservation Acts. The acts gave way to numerous national and provincial parks as well as wildlife sanctuaries. Tracts of forests that are permitted to be logged by the government are managed by the Ministry of the Environment, which manages thousands of hectares of sustainable logging sites. The Ministry of the Environment also oversees the country's mines and major infrastructure projects to ensure they meet environmental regulations.
The climate of the Imperial Union is predominantly temperate and mild, with temperatures ranging from around -15ºC to around 30ºC. Precipitation is plentiful and is fairly spread out across the country, although coastal regions receive a slightly higher amount of precipitation annually. The rainy season typically starts in late September and can last up to late April. Prevailing winds approach the country from the southerly direction, causing stormy conditions along the coast of the country during the late summer and early autumn months. On average, Gaia receives considerably more precipitation than other countries on the continent, as a result of the country's location on the windward side of the Austral Mountain Range.
Summers are usually mild throughout the country, with temperatures reaching a high of no more than 28ºC. Heavy snowfall occurs during the winter months, with the most snow falling in the northern regions of the country. Polar air masses from the north have caused blizzard like conditions as far south as Richmond, on the country's southern coastline.
Since the New Era, the country has made strides in preserving and protecting the environment. Rapid industrialization and urbanization during the New Era has resulted in mass deforestation and the disappearance of many wetlands. However, afforestation programs and the establishment of ecological preserves have recovered much of the lost woodlands and wetlands.
Since the New Era, the government has focused on promoting a green policies throughout the country. Green initiatives include LED street lighting in cities, and next generation electrical grids. Because the use of fossil fuels is non-existent, even before the Great Migration, the country's air quality is quite high and mostly pollution free. Environmental issues such as light pollution continue to persist.
Gaia is a world leader when it comes to the development of new environmentally friendly technologies. Innovations include biofuels and pollution eliminating nanobots.
Government and Politics
See also: Government of Gaia
The Imperial Union of Gaia is a unitary state under a form of absolute monarchy. Empress Isabella is the head of state of the Imperial Union as well as its territories and colonies. Executive powers are exercised by the Empress and are delegated to the Prime Minister and her Cabinet. Crown Princess Hitomi is the current heir apparent to the throne of the Imperial Union of Gaia. She currently serves as the head spokesperson for the Gaian Emergency Relief Agency.
The Parliament of the Imperial Union of Gaia meets in the Imperial Parliamentary Complex in Celestial City. The Parliament of the Imperial Union is bicameral, comprised of an upper house, the Imperial Senate, and a lower house, the Imperial Assembly. The latter is comprised of 300 seats that are voted in by the populace of the Imperial Union. Senators are appointed by the Empress on the recommendations of the ruling Prime Minister. Senators and Members of Parliament (Imperial Assembly) have 5 year terms, equal to that of the ruling Prime Minister. The Prime Minister is chosen by the members of the Imperial Assembly and appointed by the Empress. There is universal suffrage for adults over the age of 20, who elect Members of Parliament during elections through secret ballots. The Imperial Assembly is current dominated by the Nationalist Party. It currently holds 172 seats in the Imperial Assembly.
The Nationalist Party headed by Prime Minister Ichiro Hayashi currently has majority seats in the Imperial Assembly. The party seeks to improve the state of the country's economy.
Each province also has a legislature to govern their local affairs, although their powers are somewhat limited. Provinces are ruled by Viceroys, who are appointed by the monarch. Territories and colonies are ruled by Governor-Viceroys, who are again, appointed directly by the monarch of the Imperial Union of Gaia. Unlike the Provinces, the territories and colonies are ruled more directly by the Imperial Government in Celestial City and by Her Imperial Majesty.
|Nationalist Party||Ichiro Hayashi||172||Nationalism|
|Liberal Gaia||Yui Okajima||57||Gaian liberalism|
|Green Party||Chitose Abe||29||Green policy|
See also: Imperial House of Gaia.
The Imperial Union of Gaia is ruled by an absolute monarchy, under Empress Isabella, from the country's seat of power in Celestial City. Although Gaia is an absolute monarchy, power is delegated to the Parliament of the Imperial Union of Gaia, which is comprised of the Imperial Senate and the Imperial Assembly. It is also up to the members of the Imperial Assembly to nominate the Prime Minister, not the reigning monarch. In regards to the Parliament of the Imperial Union, the reigning monarch is responsible for the appointment of Senators for the Imperial Senate and the approval of legislation and new Prime Ministers. Despite the fact that absolute power is vested in the monarchy, the reigning monarch must abide to basic principles and guidelines outlined in the Imperial Family's Book of Governance. Also outlined in the book is the rules regarding the line of succession in the Imperial Family. The eldest child of the reign monarch, regardless of gender, is the heir apparent to the throne of the Imperial Union. The current heir apparent is Crown Princess Hitomi.
The Imperial Family of Gaia can trace its origins from before the Great Migration, making it one of the oldest continuous monarchies in the world. Prior to the signing of the Sora Agreement the Imperial Family had no official surname, but the official surname de Gaia, which literally means "of Gaia", was adopted afterwards. Because of the family's long history, the members of the family number in the hundreds, whether they are direct or distance relatives to the monarch.
The official residence of the Imperial Family is the Imperial Palace in Celestial City, other residences of the Imperial Family include the Sora Estate in Sora, and Hera Palace in Elizabeth. The Office of the Imperial Household is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the residences and properties exclusively owned by the Imperial Family. The Office of the Imperial Household also oversees the daily operation of the Imperial Guard, which answers directly to the reigning monarch. The Imperial Guard is responsible for the security and safety of the members of the Imperial Family. They can also be deployed to combat situations by a Imperial Decree.
The Imperial Union of Gaia is a unitary state comprised of three provinces and an autonomous region. The country's provinces are governed by a Viceroy, who answers directly to the government of the Imperial Union and its monarch. The provinces are further subdivided into prefectures for administrative purposes. Provinces are semi-autonomous. They are responsible for programs such as healthcare and education. The Gaian government is currently in the process of restructuring the country's administrative divisions, which would result in the creation of new prefectures throughout the country.
Recently, prefectures have been playing a more prominent role in regional governance, with some beginning to question the rational of maintaining the provinces. The Gaian government has since stopped all attempts of diminishing the importance of provinces, through the Imperial Assembly. Currently provinces function through the existence of Regional Assemblies, which exist in each province.
|2||Constitution of Gaia|
The Gaian monarchy, with its Book of Governance, and the Gaian Constitution, form the basis of all laws within Gaia. The Supreme Court of Gaia serves as the highest court of law in the country, with monarchs being unable to intervene in its matters unless national interests are at risk or are being undermined. Laws are uniform across Gaia, except for prefectural bylaws. Officially there is a death penalty in Gaia, but it hasn't been used for decades. With numerous crime prevention programs, and a well funded support network, Gaia has one of the lowest crime rates in the world.
Laws in Gaia exist in a hierarchical structure, with Imperial Decrees issued by the monarch taking precedence over all other laws. National laws enacted by the Gaian Parliament are subject to judicial review by the Supreme Court of Gaia, which makes sure they are constitutionally sound. While prefectural laws are subject to the judicial review of the provincial courts.
The country's national policing agency is the Agency for Internal Security (AIS), which is a paramilitary (Gendarmerie) organization founded as part of the National Security Acts. It is operated by the Ministry of the Interior. Its jurisdiction encompasses the territories of Gaia. The agency works in tandem with local police agencies belonging to cities and prefectures. Its security forces are headquartered in Arugedo.
The AIS is deployed in every province and territory under imperial security laws to perform duties such as, enforcement of laws, domestic security and counterterrorism operations. Units of the Gaian Directorate of Intelligence assist in counter-terrorism operations. In an event of a declaration of martial law, the AIS has the right to detain suspects without trial and issue regional curfews, all at the discretion of the reigning monarch.
Main article: Foreign Relations of Gaia
The Imperial Union of Gaia is a member of the Soviet Federation and the UniSov World Trade Common Market. The Imperial Union is also a signatory of numerous treaties such as the Orbital Security and Cooperation Treaty and the Economic Cooperation and Investment Treaty. The country's first embassies opened in the Federal Empire of Lusitania and the Aquitanian Empire. Today, the Imperial Union has embassies in most of its allies nations. Gaia's largest embassies are in the People's Republic of Malizi and the Aquitanian Empire, where strong diplomatic ties exist and in the case of Malizi, it is also due to the country's enormous landmass. The country also operates interests sections in most Aquitanian embassies since 3439 as per the Gaian Foreign Ministry's request.
The Imperial Union of Gaia continues to open up more diplomatic relationships with other countries, as part of a government initiative to expand the country's diplomatic relationships and to expand the country's political influence abroad. As part of those efforts, Gaia operates one of Kebir Blue's largest disaster relief networks, resulting in the country being ranked the 2nd largest disaster relief supplier on Kebir Blue. Foreign policy is managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has to seek the approval of both chambers of the Imperial Parliament and Her Imperial Majesty before decisions are made. For the most part, foreign policy is dictated by the reigning monarch.
All foreign embassies are located in the government district of the capital, Celestial City. Because foreign embassies are located in the capital, they are subject to architectural scrutiny and must be approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the reigning monarch before they are built. Although embassies sit on land leased to their respective countries by the Gaian government, they are exempt from paying property taxes in accordance with laws in the country regarding diplomatic missions of foreign nations.
Main article: Gaian Defence Forces.
The armed forces of the Imperial Union of Gaia are collectively known as the Gaian Defence Forces. They are comprised of two branches: The Gaian Ground Defence Force, and the Gaian Naval Defence Force. These branches are managed jointly by the Ministry of Defence and Her Imperial Majesty. The command in chief of the Gaian Defence Forces is the monarch of the Imperial Union, to whom the members of the armed forces swear allegiance. The Gaian Defence Forces is supplied domestically by the country's defence industry and is funded by the Ministry of Defence. Military service is voluntary, although limited conscription may occur in wartime. As of 3550, the Gaian Defence Forces had 355,345 military personnel on active duty, with another 45,000 in the reserves. Approximately 85,000 Gaian Defence Forces personnel are deployed overseas at the country's network of overseas military bases and for liberation operations.
Since the mid 3470's, the strength of the Gaian Defence Forces has growth considerably. Along with the rapid growth of the country's armed forces, came an large increase in the country's military expenditures. In the recent decades, most of the military's expenditures has come from the large scale procurement efforts undertaken on behalf of the Gaian Ground Defence Force. The Ground Defence Force has since doubled in size and has become the largest military ground force in the region. Under the successive Nationalist governments, the Gaian Defence Forces has seen a gradual increase in military capabilities. In 3516, Battlegroup Elizabeth was officially reactivated and became operational ready in 3519. It currently supports the military's global operations.
Gaian Naval Defence Force
The Gaian Naval Defence Force is responsible for the orbital and maritime defence of the country. It is comprised of multiple battlegroups containing carriers, destroyers, and cruisers. The Naval Defence Force maintains two separate fleets, the Homeland Defence Fleet, and the Interstellar Expeditionary Fleet. The Homeland Defence Fleet is responsible from the defence of the homeland on Kebir Blue. Battlegroup Elizabeth of the Homeland Defence Fleet is one of the largest and most important battlegroups, it is responsible for the defence of the orbit around the Horizon Spaceport and Elizabeth International Airport in Elizabeth District. The ships and aircraft of the Gaian Naval Defence Force constitute the first line of defence for the Gaian mainland. They also augment the Gaian Coast Guards patrols and border security operations.
Gaian Ground Defence Force
The Gaian Ground Defence Force shares joint responsibility with the Gaian Naval Defence Force in the defence of the Imperial Union's territories. It is primarily responsible for land based military operations. The Ground Defence Force is currently comprised of approximately 7 divisions, comprising of armoured, mechanized infantry and logistical divisions. These divisions form the core of the Ground Defence Forces and are distributed among 3 Army Groups comprised of the Western Army Group, Central Army Group and the Eastern Army Group. Together, they are responsible for the defence of the homeland in their respective provinces and military regions. The Survey Corps provides the Ground Defence Force with special operations capabilities when situations require it. Currently the Gaian Defence Forces as a whole is primarily deployed, for the most part, on foreign peacekeeping missions, counterterrorism operations, humanitarian missions and liberation campaigns. The Ground Defence Force acts as the spearhead for Gaia's humanitarian and disaster relief efforts abroad. The Ground Defence Force of the Gaian Defence Forces has been the focus of a multi-billion Imperial Credit expansion and upgrading program.
The Imperial Guard of the Imperial Union of Gaia, is a special service branch of the armed forces. Although it is not officially a branch of the armed forces, it serves alongside with the units of the Gaian Defence Forces, most notably the Naval Defence Force. The Imperial Guard is directly administered by the Office of the Imperial Household and Her Imperial Majesty. It is considered the most elite and prestigious military force in the country. They are primarily responsible for the protection of the Imperial Family and their residences, but can be deployed to perform other security duties as dictated by the monarch. In an event of an armed conflict, the Imperial Guard is usually deployed in separate task forces. The Ceres Task Force is the largest active task force of the Imperial Guard.
The Gaian Directorate of Intelligence is the Imperial Union's primary intelligence gathering agency. The GDI's headquarters is in Coral, Central Province. It’s primary roles involve gathering intelligence on foreign entities that pose a risk to the country, executing counterintelligence operations, conducting covert operations and counterterrorism operations. It was formed as part of the reforms that came with the Imperial Union Act. Prior to the Act, the National Intelligence Organization, handled the country's intelligence work. It was reformed and merged into the Gaian Directorate of Intelligence shortly afterwards. The GDI is known for its cyberwarfare capabilities, employing numerous technologies and strategies to both combat foreign entities that pose a threat to the Imperial Union and to protect the country's extensive telecommunications networks. The GDI has one the country's largest research and development sections, it's primary goal is the development of cybersecurity technologies and the creation of computer programs to detect and retaliate against foreign cyberterrorists. Agents of the GDI are deployed in places of interest, to ensure the country's security interests are protected.
The Gaian Directorate of Intelligence (GDI) is vast and complicated organization with many branches and departments. It mainly consists of 10 Sections for everyday operations.
|Section 1||Domestic intelligence operations|
|Section 2||Biological Operations|
|Section 3||Research and Development|
|Section 4||Special Forces|
|Section 5||Clandestine Operations|
|Section 6||Overseas Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Operations|
|Section 8||Merged with Section 9 (Formerly, Signals Intelligence Operations)|
|Section 9||Cyber intelligence, warfare, and security operations|
|Section 10||Counterintelligence Operations|
The Gaian economy is one of the largest economies in the world. The economy of the country is very much developed and is based heavily on the industrial and high tech sectors. The New Era age brought about much of today's economic growth and infrastructure. In fact, many of the country's corporations were created during the New Era. The latter decades of the New Era saw the government largely ignore military spending in favour of economic growth and prosperity. Government regulations concerning economic practises are in place to help guide the country's ever growing economy. Since the economic downturn of 3350, the government has made numerous attempts to create a economy that is more and more efficient, and as a result the economy has grown considerably and is thriving.
Gaia is a member of the UniSov World Trade Common Market. As much as 25% of the country's exports and 30% of imports, are tied the common market. Trade with members of the common market has increased over the years, as Gaia tries to distance itself from the volatile world market. A majority of foreign enterprises operating in Gaia also originate from the country's common market.
The Imperial Union of Gaia is also one of the world's largest creditor nations, with global investments in the trillions, most of which is a result of the government's enormous surpluses. This is likely to continue happening, as the country hopes to increase investments abroad. With the ratifying of the Economic Cooperation and Investment Treaty, the investment apparatus of the Ministry of Finance is set to drastically increase investment abroad on behalf of the Gaian government.
As much as 50% of energy in the Imperial Union is produced from fusion reactors, an estimated 30% from the country's new orbital solar array system, which is yet to be fully operational, and another 20% from sources such hydro power, and geothermal power plants. Because of increasing energy consumption nationwide, especially from the industrial sector, the government has drastically increased funding for the Orbital Solar Array Project and has began construction on new fusion power facilities across the country.
A large network of interconnected expressways and roadways link cities across country. The largest expressways date back from the Expansion Era, the National North-South (N-1) and the National West-East (N-2), although these roadways are fairly old they are still being used to a great extend as they have been extensively upgraded. The country's large network of roadways is expected to expand as the amount of automobiles increase. In order to decrease the need for new roads the government has announced the expansion of the country's maglev train network.Railways are an important means of transportation in Gaia. Since the beginning of the Expansion Era, rail transportation has become an important aspect of everyday life in Gaia. Because railways can transport large amounts of passengers and cargo with great speeds, numerous monarchs have emphasized the development of rail infrastructure, thus resulting in an extensive and modern rail network. An extensive network of maglev lines connects most of the country's major cities and towns. The government owned Gaia Railways operates the bulk of the country's vast railway network. Gaia Railways also operates shopping centres inside many of their main rail terminals. They provide the company with supplemental income that can be spent on improvements to the rail network as well as assist them with their daily maintenance operations. Maglev lines in the country receive thousands of riders a day, which sometimes causes delays on the main lines, such as on the busy Sentoraru Main Line. Recent expansions to the country's rail network includes a new north-south maglev line is currently being constructed between Selmburg, Celestial City and Coral.
Air travel has become an important mode of transportation in Gaia and has quickly become the primary way of entering the country. Almost every major city in the country has an airport to serve its needs. The country's largest domestic airport, Sora International Airport, is the region's second busiest airport, the busiest being Horizon International Gateway in Elizabeth. Maiagaru International Airport (Celestial City), Sora International Airport (Sora) and Horizon International Gateway (Elizabeth), serve as the country's major ports of entry, with each airport handling a bulk of foreign travellers entering the country. Sora Airways, TransGaia, Horizon Aerospace and Celestial Galactic are the largest airlines in Gaia. All airlines and aerospace transport companies operating in Gaia are regulated by the Gaian Aerospace Transportation Agency. GATA manages the country's air corridors set by the Ministry of Transport. GATA is also responsible for the inspection of aircraft and spacecraft within the country. Space travel in Gaia has seen a increase since the completion of Horizon Spaceport within the Horizon International Gateway and the establishment of relations with the Aquitanian Empire.
The Imperial Union of Gaia possesses one of the world's most advanced telecommunications networks. GaiaNet can trace its origins back to the networks that were used for inter-ship communications on broad Migration Era colonial vessels. The development of GaiaNet began during the early decades of the New Era, when a joint research project was initiated by the Ministry of Defence and the Research and Development Agency. GaiaNet's initial purpose was to provide the military and the county's government agencies with an unrivalled high speed communications network and an operating system for its administrative systems and computing devices. By the conclusion of the New Era, GaiaNet had been released to the general public and had quickly evolved to include social networking capabilities. GaiaNet service is distributed in the country by various service providers that have been approved by the government. The management of GaiaNet and its continued innovation is the responsibility of the RDA. Today, GaiaNet is widely used by the populace of Gaia and is integrated in almost every aspect of life.
Science and technology
The Imperial Union of Gaia is a leading nation in scientific research and advancements, particularly in the fields of technology, robotics and medical research. The country maintains a fairly substantial research and development budget, which is shared amongst the numerous research and development agencies and organizations in the country. Some of the country's more prominent technological contributions are in the fields of electronics, telecommunications, robotics, human augmentations, machinery, and engineering. Advances in technology has substantially increased the country's standard of living and has proven to be a catalyst for economic growth and prosperity.
Founded during the infancy of the New Era technological boom, the Research and Development Agency has become the driving force in the country's research and development sector. The RDA is responsible for research and development across a wide variety of fields of study, ranging from agricultural research to engineering. The agency has been responsible for numerous technological advances and innovations, most notably GaiaNet. The RDA also played a major role in the development of the Sato-Fleming Warp Drive, which spurred the development of the country's infrastructure systems and created the environment in which many aerospace corporations were founded. Today, the RDA works in a close partnership with the Gaian Outer Space Exploration Agency to further the efforts in space development. Through the partnership, the RDA operates research modules aboard GOSEA space stations such as the Hinode.
The Gaian Outer Space Exploration Agency (GOSEA) is the country's primary space exploration agency. The agency operates from the Kosumosu Space Center on the island of Selene, off the coast of the Austral Bergo Region. It conducts space, aerospace and aviation research and is responsible for the development of aerospace technologies. Since 3330's, the agency has been launching research probes into the stellar reaches in hopes of finding life and other habitable planets. GOSEA is at the forefront of Gaian space development, today the agency operates numerous research facilities across the country and has partnerships with the Coral Institute of Technology and the Research and Development Agency.
Gaia is one of the most populous nations in the Austral Bergo Region, with approximately 38,360,000 (excluding outer territories), which is gradual increase from the previous nationwide censuses. A majority of the growth in the population comes from natural growth, and to a lesser extent, immigration from foreign countries. Immigration accounts for little of the country's population growth, because of strict immigration laws which prevents most immigrants from entering the country. As a result, Gaian society is largely homogeneous, with approximately 97% of the population being ethnic Gaian. Foreign nationals account for approximately 1.1% of the population. The median age in the country is 33 years old and the average household size is around 4 people. Due to recent advances in medical technology, the average Gaian is living for a much longer period of time. As a result the healthcare and social services systems will have to adjust in the coming decades to meet the populations demands.
Approximately 85% of the population lives in urban areas. Most of the population lives near the country's coastline, in the Western, Central and Eastern Provinces. The Eastern Province is the by far the country's most sparsely populated province. The capital, Celestial City, is the country's largest city, with approximately 3.8 million inhabitants. The Imperial Capital Region, of which Celestial City is part of, has 6.5 million inhabitants, making it the largest metropolitan area in the Austral Bergo Region. Other major cities include, Arugedo(2.5 million), Richmond-Yangcheng(1.7 million) and Machanto (1.1 million).
Approximately 95% of the population owns or uses mobile devices on a daily basis. As a result, the government along with the country's telecommunications companies spend substantial amounts of money yearly to maintain and expand the country's telecommunications infrastructure. Around 7 in 10 Gaians owns an automobile. This is mainly due to the fact that the need to own a car is relatively low as a result of the country's well developed national and local rail networks.
Province: Central Province
District: Elizabeth District
Elizabeth is a major port city situated on the Leucothea Peninsula. The city's history as a major port began shortly after the discovery of the Sato-Fleming Warp Drive, and the subsequent boom of the transport sector. Horizon Transport decided to build its major passenger and cargo spaceport in Elizabeth because of its location. The city grew exponentially during the construction, becoming one of the largest cities in the country. The city is also home to a multitude of races and ethnicities making it one of the most culturally diverse cities in the country. Elizabeth also has a sizable fishing port, resulting from its close proximity to the sea. The city is often referred to as the "Gateway to Gaia".
The Horizon Spaceport and Horizon Space Elevator complex hosts the country's busiest passenger and cargo facilities. Both facilities handle millions of tonnes of cargo everyday. The Elizabeth Port Authority and the Gaian Transport Authority jointly oversea the daily operations of the Horizon Transport Hub. The port also hosts the Gaian Naval Defence Forces Orbital Control Centre, which overseas commercial and domestic traffic in the orbit around and above the country. Government investments have sped up the development of the port facilities to become one of the world's largest and most advanced ports.
|Language||Percentage of Speakers|
|*Taught in all Gaian schools (Standard Gaian and English are the only mandatory language classes)
**Taught in some Gaian schools
Standard Gaian is the official language of the Imperial Union of Gaia. Since the government reformations of 3260, the country has exercised unofficial bilingualism, Standard Gaian and English. An estimated 96% of the population is fluent in both languages, as a result a majority of the country's signage is in both languages. They are also the only two languages that are mandatory in the curriculum of the Gaian education system. Optional languages taught in schools include French, Austral Bergonian, Aquitanian, and Hellenic.
Standard Gaian is comprised of thousands of characters with different meanings and are combined to form phrases and sentences. The language is also unique, in that it uses a system of honorifics for everyday speech and writing. Compared to other languages, Standard Gaian is relatively difficult to learn or master. As a result, a majority of the population also uses English. English print is common on signage throughout Gaia, with bilingual signage being mandatory on national and province roadways, as well as public spaces and buildings.
Minority languages in Gaia include Austral Bergonian, which are protected by law. These languages are taught in regions where their number of speakers are significant, such as the northern areas of the country.
Public education in the Imperial Union of Gaia is compulsory until the end of secondary school, at the age of eighteen, and is completely free. The Ministry of Education is responsible for regulating the country's education system, while provincial and local government are responsible for delivering the education. Prior to elementary school children attend kindergarten or day care centres, where they are prepped for elementary school. Options for higher education exist after secondary school, but are voluntary. Roughly 90% of secondary school graduates attend a higher education institution, which includes universities, colleges and trades schools. Education is payed for by the government, which means education is virtually free in Gaia, even for post-secondary education. The country's world-class education system attracts many international students from a wide range of countries. Virtually every school in the country hosts some form of international exchange program with schools abroad. Additionally, the country's free education system applies to students originating from countries that are federal allies.
The most prestigious higher education institutions in the Imperial Union, include Celestial University and the Coral Institute of Technology.
Healthcare in the Imperial Union is provided by the provincial governments, with oversight and regulation from the national government. Strict standards are put into place by the national government to ensure the highest quality of medical care possible. Access to the medical system is paid for by the government, as part of its universal healthcare laws. Healthcare costs are subsidized by the government sponsored health insurance plan. All residents of Gaia are required by law to have health insurance coverage, which allows access to preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services at an affordable cost or no cost at all. At birth, all citizens receive a multipurpose ID card, known as GaiaID. Along with other purposes, this ID contains information regarding the health of the cardholder, which significantly aids in the efficiency of the healthcare system. Foreign tourists from countries that have friendly relations with the Imperial Union are also partially covered by the country's health insurance system for minor injuries.
By law, all medical clinics and facilities in the country must be run by non-profit organizations, such as district and provincial governments. Special exemptions apply for medical facilities located in the country's Special Economic Zones. Hospitals inside these zones are permitted to operate as for-profit organizations. Since the healthcare reforms at the beginning of Empress Satomi's reign, these for-profit organizations have been under increasing scrutiny and tighter regulation.
Medical facilities in Gaia lead the world in health and biotechnology innovations. Research of treatments and cures at medical facilities across the country are funded by both private and government sources. As a result of the country's high quality healthcare system, Gaia is rapidly becoming a favoured destination for medical tourists worldwide. As of 3533, the Ministry of Health and Welfare has permitted two private hospitals within the Machanto Special Economic Zone to operate as international medical centres.
Gaian culture draws influences from a broad range of constituent ethnic groups that form the population of the country. Gaian culture is largely derived from traditions and values of its most prominent ethnic groups. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports actively promotes Gaian culture in the country and abroad in foreign nations.
The mass industrialization, urbanization and technological advancement of the country has brought many changes to the way the Gaian people live. Changing lifestyles have led to many people to migrate to urban centres and as a result of higher housing prices in the larger cities, many households today contain many generations of family members living together.
The architectural landscape of Gaia has changed over the ages, as a result of technological advancement and urban renewal. Gaian architecture is characterized by its sleek building designs, the extensive use of glass, and its soothing interior designs.
The Colonial Era's architecture focused on purpose and space for the most part. Buildings were constructed with a variety of materials, intended to make them as strong as possible. Land was at a premium during this era, so many buildings were built with the idea of maximizing existing spaces. Extra spaces on buildings were often covered with electronic billboards or lighting fixtures. Lighting would play a major role in this era's architecture and beyond.
During the New Era, many cities began mass urban renewal projects. The resulting buildings were often constructed with integration with technology and eco-friendly lighting concepts in mind. The largest mass urban renewal project to date occurred in the capital, Celestial City. Large boulevards were built throughout the city and a large array of buildings showcasing Gaian architecture was commissioned by the government. The city became one of the world's largest planned cities as a result. It was also during this era that many aspects of modern Gaian architecture was starting to take place. Because of the aesthetic appeal of glass, it had been used for centuries in Gaian architecture. But it was only during the New Era, when technologies around glass making was taking off and it had became more feasible to use it on huge surfaces and in many different varieties of climates, that glass became more extensively used.
Today, modern Gaian architecture can be seen in many of the country's cities. With the growing economy and strict policies preventing cities from expanding into the countryside, many redevelopment projects are reshaping the skylines of many Gaian cities.
Gaian cuisine is highly diverse, drawing from a multitude of ancient cultures. Gaian cuisine is largely based upon staples such as rice, noodles, vegetables, seafood and meat. Traditional meals are often accompanied by various side dishes comprised of a diverse array of vegetables, seafood and meat. Popular seasonings used in dishes include soy sauce, ginger, soybean pastes, and a various seafood based sauces. As a result of the large assortment of ingredients and seasonings used, Gaian cuisine is noted for its diverse flavours. Seasonality also plays an important role in the cuisine of the country. This is most evident in the range of produce available in the countries markets and grocery stores throughout the year. Accordingly, the type of dishes available throughout the year are often dependant upon the season of the year.
Staple dishes vary across the country, region by region. Regions in the Western Province tend to specialize in seafood, due to their proximity to the ocean and lakes. Northern parts of the country specialize in hearty dishes such as noodles and dumplings. Cuisine in the eastern parts of the country generally feature meat as the centrepiece in meals. Regardless of location, rice is an important staple. Rice is usually accompanied by side dishes such as meat, fish and various vegetables. Noodles are also an important staple dish in the country. Noodles such as udon and ramen are very popular, especially during the cold winter months as is hot pot and many varieties of seasonal soups.The Niwa Roll (Garden Roll) is a popular type of sushi roll in the country, it is served widely at cafes, food stands and other types of restaurants. Popular drinks in the country include, teas such green tea. Coffee is also becoming an increasingly popular drink, due to the widespread popularity of cafes.
Due to the increasing popularity of cafes as gathering places and places of social interaction, foods such as pastries and cakes have been making their way into the Gaian diet. Because of the country's increasing interactions with foreign nations, foreign recipes have also made their way into Gaian diets, but because of strict border controls many chefs in the country have to make do with domestic ingredients rather than foreign ingredients. This has led to a unique fusion of foreign cuisines with Gaian cuisine at many high end restaurants in the country.
Gaian media consists of several different types of communications media. They include television, cinema and GaiaNet based services such as social networking, video, online newspapers and magazines. There are numerous media outlets in the country, the largest being Hermes Media. GaiaNet is a operating system, social networking platform and telecommunications network and is by far the most popular media source in the country. It is owned by the government but is licensed to service providers who distribute the service throughout the country.
Media has permeated through much of Gaian society. Media and information can be accessed within seconds, through computers, displays, and more. This has made advertising a very lucrative business. Several media corporations exist in the country. They provide broadcasting, and advertising services to the populace. The largest media corporations include Hermes Media, GaiaEnt, and Miyazaki Studios. The Gaian Broadcasting Service is the country's primary public broadcaster and is wholly government owned. The GBS broadcasts a variety of news and entertainment across the country. Its sister company, the Gaian News Network, is responsible for international broadcasting services. Available in most allied countries, it provides news and information straight from Gaia. Both the GBS and the GNN are connected to the GaiaNet Emergency Broadcasting Network, which broadcasts emergency bulletins and announcements during states of emergencies and natural disasters to all capable electronic devices. The system was successfully utilized during the 3452 French Bay Earthquake, for regional evacuations.
The music of Gaia reflects many diverse influences that has shaped the country, and includes a wide array of composers and performers with their own distinctive styles. Popular music in Gaia has been heavily influenced by the country's media, most notably the anime industry. Gaia has one of the largest music markets on the continent, with most of the market dominated by Gaian artists.
Popular musical instruments in the country include the piano, flute and violin. Gaia is known for producing many talented pianists, flutists and violinists, as a result of the increasing popularity of those instruments and the increased availability of music programs in the country's schools.
Popular music in Gaia has been heavily influenced by the country's anime and media industries, which has led to the evolution of G-pop, as known as Gaian popular music. One of the most popular forms of musical expression in the country is karaoke. Karaoke is one of the country's most practised cultural activities. It is especially popular amongst the youth as a pastime and for adults as a leisure activity.
Mother Gaia is the current National Anthem of Gaia. The anthem was composed in the Colonial Era during the initial times of hardship. Mother Gaia was reinstated as the national anthem in 3542, following a national referendum.
Popular sports played in the Imperial Union include soccer, baseball and badminton. The de facto national sport of Gaia is considered to be badminton or soccer. Soccer is currently the most popular spectator sport in the country. Other popular sports include, figure skating, swimming and martial arts. Stadiums across the country provide venues for many different sports. Most major stadiums can be converted to host a variety of sports. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Sports provides financial assistance to Gaian athletes and assist in their training for international competitions. It also provides incentives for athletes to "go for gold" in international competitions. Gaian athletes are known for excelling at sports such as, figure skating, badminton, soccer and baseball.
Winter sports have also become increasingly popular throughout the country. Ski resorts on the Chiheisen Mountains provide prime destinations for tourists and locals alike, who wish to ski, skate or snowboard. Ice skating has also seen a large increase in popularity as a growing number of children are choosing it over other sports, as arenas have become more of a commonplace in cities across the country. The popularity of ice skating has also led increased popularity of other arena-based sports such as figure skating and speed skating. The government offers incentives for people to enroll in sports or participate in them. These incentives are designed to promote a healthier lifestyle, which helps the country's healthcare system in the long run.
The Gaia Grand Championship auto race has been conducted every year in the country since 3375. The event has been held at numerous venues since its creation, the most notable one being the 25km long Arugedo Circuit. The length of races can range from 100km to over 300km. The races are a major source of revenue for advertisers as well as the government, which runs sanctioned gambling services.
Public holidays in Gaia are legislated at the national level and are celebrated nationwide. Lengths of holidays vary, some last only for a day, while others last for a week. Law mandates that if the holiday falls on a weekend, the weekend plus the next working day will be considered part of the holiday.
||January 1st||This holiday occurs during the country's busiest holiday season. It celebrates the arrival of the new year and is an extension of the Winter Solstice Festival. It is a custom to exchange monetary gifts during this holiday.|
||March 1st||Established in 3555, Empress Day celebrates the achievements of Empress Satomi, who has since gained the nickname "Mother Gaia" following her abdication. The holiday has also come to symbolize the Imperial Family's benevolent reign over Gaia, which has brought the country into periods of prosperity and growth. Empress Day has since become one of the largest cultural holidays in Gaia, in terms of festivities and government sponsored events. Notable events include a speech by the reigning monarch and a ceremonial parade in the Government Ward of Celestial City.|
||May 1st||Labour Day celebrates the hard work and achievement of workers. Most businesses are closed during this holiday, and public services are limited.|
||June 1st||Children's Day honours the children of the country, who represents its future. It is customary for parents to give presents to their children, as well as spend time with them. It is also common for children to be taken on trips to places such as parks, zoos, museums, and other entertainment venues.|
||July 7th||The Night of the Stars Festival celebrates the country's history and cultural link the to the cosmos. It is tradition to write wishes and place them into lanterns, which are then released into the night sky. The largest simultaneous releasing of lanterns occurs in Sora, which also hosts the country's largest Night of the Stars event.|
||August 18th||Memorial Day honours the country's deceased and those who have fallen in the line of duty. During this solemn holiday, people pay their respects by visiting memorials or cemeteries. In a ceremony, paper lanterns are usually illuminated and placed into bodies of water. After the ceremony, a moment of silence follows.|
||September 3rd||This 3 day long holiday celebrates the founding of the nation. Large parades and events, such as concerts, occur across the country during this holiday. It ends with enormous firework shows in almost every major city.|
The festival is one of the most important holidays celebrated in the country. Families will usually get together for this week long holiday and have a evening meal together. This is also the busiest time of the year for airports and train terminals. Gifts are often exchanged during this holiday.
Main article: Gaia News Network
|Online||Gaia News Network|