Imperial Federation of Zenrax
The Imperial Federation of Zenrax
|'Motto: 'Strength and Honor|
|Official languages||English (official), Spanish (regional), Thai (regional)|
• The Emperor
|HG The Lord Svein Smedberg|
|Establishment||15 December 1999 (first factions)|
17 December 2014 (unification)
May 12th, 2022 (current government)
|+/- 12 citizens|
|Currency||US Dollar ($)|
|Time zone||US Central Time (capital)
Indochina Time (headquarters)
Zenrax, also known as the Imperial Federation of Zenrax, is an unrecognized, autonomously governed organization that is nominally headquartered on the North American and Asian continents. As part of a long-running series of project or hobby organizations, Zenrax's current iteration has existed since 2014. Historically, Zenrax traces its origins back to the winter of 1999, with the formation of warring factions that fought over control of what later became the capital territory. Shiro, officially the third leader of the country, took the role of head of state beginning in late 2014. Currently, Zenrax exists as a technocracy, composed almost entirely of a new core of prominent citizens that had no connections with Zenrax before its 2014 reconstitution. While the country is termed a federation, the sole state is Stormhold, which rejoined Zenrax after a brief independence in 2022. Zenrax is a senior member of the Holy Roman Empire, where its head of state, Shiro, holds the title of Prince-Elector, Vice Chancellor, and Aulic Judge.
During its peak as a territorial organization, Zenrax was a modest-sized entity, at its peak controlling approximately three square miles of territory with its small security force. In addition to establishing a capable self-defense militia, it crafted a foreign policy credited for the small nation's rise in prestige and strong set of allies in its heyday during the mid-2010's. Beginning in late 2016, the government became increasingly concerned with combating internal stagnation that eventually ran unchecked. By 2018, the country's territory began to shut down internally due to lack of functionality, with this leading to the Federation's dissolution on November 2018. While internal activity slowed down, a series of fundamental reforms during the next two years saw Zenrax reorganize itself into an academic organization until early 2022. In 2022, the reforms were partially rolled back, and now Zenrax's internal structure consists of two main parts: its core organization of scholars and practitioners, and a small government that exists to manage the organization's assets along with its external affairs. Upon the insolvency of Stormhold on 31 March 2022, sovereignty returned to the government of Zenrax, leaving the two nations under a personal union under the Zenraxian Crown.
The modern Imperial Federation of Zenrax consists of three states: Stormhold, Novapara, and Aphelia. States possess considerable self-governance rights, as well as exercise collective veto power on crown decisions through the (mostly ceremonial) Imperial Senate. The official currency, the Guilder, is pegged to 1 gram of silver, itself considered legal tender in the country since 2014 in accordance with old local traditions. However, Zenraxian guilders are almost never used among citizens due to distance between themselves, and instead local currencies (USD, THB, and GBP) are accepted where required.
Zenrax took its name from a failed attempt at a local artificial language that was originally created for recreational purposes by citizens. Loosely translated, it meant "Peaceful Land," "Kingdom of Heaven," and so forth. Zenrax was also the name of a location that dissolved upon the nation's federalization in 2015-2018. Other examples of place names taking meaning from this created language include Ferro and Pyrax. (Both ceased to exist in late 2016 and late 2018, respectively.)
Prior to Zenrax's existence, various entities in the area were founded and disbanded in succession from 1999 through 2009. Locally, the most historically important of these factions were the Confederacy (existed during most of 2003), and the Red Alliance (existed 2005 - c. 2009). The Confederacy was the only successful direct democracy to exist, with elections not being held for over a decade since then until Zenrax's foundation in 2014. The Red Alliance was a unitary, militaristic faction that controlled the area for several years until its eventual death by stagnation after 2009, when its original citizens dispersed for a while. Its storied existence contributed much to Zenrax's culture, government, and law. After the Red Alliance faded into obscurity, there was no related activity until the formation of Stormhold beginning 2014 and culminating with the election of its head of state and the subsequent formation of the Senate, both on December 16, 2014.
Early Period (2014-2019)
After a provisional period lasting six months, Stormhold federalized. In the process, it reorganized itself into the Federation of Zenrax on May 21, 2015. The newly reorganized polity then ceremonially declared independence to commemorate the event. Between 2015 and 2018, the government further refined its core institutions and enacted increasingly broad reforms to combat the building effects of national stagnation. Between May 2015 and October 2018, there were three major reformations of the failing central government in attempts to keep the entity alive. By late 2018, Zenrax had become extremely burdened by non-functional core institutions (such as the Senate) that could not be legally dissolved or assimilated by other branches of government. Seeing this, the central government elected to dissolve the Federation by November 2018, leaving only the capital territory (also now called Zenrax) and the Order of the Rose intact.
Regency Period (2019-2022)
Reforms in 2019 breathed new life into the country, slowing the pace at which the country was falling into dormancy. Reforms conducted through 2019 and 2020 saw the organization fundamentally restructure to accommodate a slow pace of activity, as well as its members' shifting personal goals. The government adopted a formal structure during this time that included the present day offices of the Sovereign, Viceroy, Foreign Affairs Minister, and Prime Minister (although the latter title gradually reverted to a ceremonial one). Different reforms were attempted during the intervening years such as creating offshoot countries such as Dragos, or centralizing the government and shedding vestiges of its former federal government and retaining an academic style of government.
The period from late 2020 to early 2022 was characterized by the organization falling into dormancy during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the government attempted to retain its sovereignty, its membership continued to deteriorate and the organization transitioned into an academic order. In June 2021, the government transferred its sovereignty to Stormhold, its formerly capital state. In this political move, the formerly capital region of Stormhold broke off, inheriting Zenrax's sovereignty and all related assets until the latter could feasibly operate independently. The move lasted for some four months, during which the Stormhold government continued its parent government's claims to imperium in the old tradition. The current government was formed after 31 March 2022, when Stormhold lost its sovereignty through a declaration of insolvency, an act which cost its membership in the Grand Unified Micronational, although it retained membership in the Holy Roman Empire during this period The two polities again merged, with Zenrax once again assuming its claims to internally imperial status (although this claim is currently unrecognized).
Modern Period (2022-)
Zenrax federalized again in May 2022, under the authority of the states of Stormhold, Novapara, and Aphelia. In July 2022, external relations were reopened, with treaties with Zenrax's remaining existing allies confirmed. Additionally, Zenrax rejoined the Grand Unified Micronational, after completing post-merger consolidation efforts with Aphelia. In the same month, the old Sovereign Order of the Rose was subsequently transferred back to Zenraxian control, although under the Sovereign's personal guidance and independent of the nation-state. Additionally, the nation's administrative Headquarters relocated, for the first time since December 2014, away from Stormhold-held territory to Thailand. (The capital, however, was ruled to remain in Stormhold until physical territory was once again secured.)
Zenrax has been ruled by seven formal types of governments since its foundation on December 16, 2014. The current government (the 7th) is a second instance of imperial federalism in the country.
The 1st Government: Post-Unification
The first government existed Zenrax was known as Stormhold, and ran as a unitary government with just a Senate and the Emperor making all internal decisions, in tandem with the royal family (which incidentally consisted of most of the citizenry at the time).
The 2nd Government: Federation
Zenrax federalized in 2015, and the Senate was reformed to accommodate this as the second government. This arrangement lasted until November 2018, when the federation dissolved, leaving only a residual territory to serve as headquarters.
The 3rd Government: Absolutism
The third government barely existed, being ruled solely by decree until the government reformed in mid-2019.
The 4th Government: Democratic Constitutionalism
The fourth government, led by a new office of the Prime Minister, lasted for about a year until inactivity reverted to a rule-by-decree approach due to government inactivity. Notably, the power (and attending limitations) that the Head of State should hold was perpetually undecided, unlike before the Federation's dissolution in 2018. Nonetheless, the head of state still had well-defined duties as a figurehead that include managing external affairs, moderating the government's proceedings, and acting as a final point of appeal in the case of internal disputes. However, inactivity in key positions lead to the government's collapse by late 2020.
The 5th Government: Academic Technocracy
The fifth government restructured into a hybrid technocratic government in late 2020 that ran akin to an academic order with minor trappings of government. This government lasted until early 2021, until the government finally collapsed and Stormhold inherited Zenrax's sovereignty for about six months.
The 6th Government: The Stormhold Regency
The sixth government was known as the Stormhold Government, although nothing of note happened outside of its ill-fated attempt at breathing life back into the micronation. The government declared insolvency and folded back into Zenrax in mid-2022.
The 7th Government: The Second Federation
The Seventh Government of Zenrax is an homage to its Imperial Federation roots, although the current structure is fundamentally different than before, with states being almost entirely self-governed, with national policy being dictated by the imperial crown. The state holds collective veto over all imperial crown decisions through their governors' membership in the Imperial Senate, which otherwise acts as an entirely ceremonial body. The current Imperial Federation of Zenrax has Stormhold as three states, all admitted in 2022 (the previous ones having left on the first federation's dissolution in 2018). While the current government could have been properly termed the "Second Imperial Federation," this was eschewed in the name of continuity in the face of inactivity-caused instability, and a desire to revive the old traditions. Rule by an odd combination of decree and passive consensus among the States and high officials are the norm in the Second Federation government, and this has continued since. The current term of Emperor Shiro I Mephistopheles (r. 2014-) either ends or renews at the end of 2024, at which a referendum will be held to determine the status of his reign, and the continuing mandate of the government to exist.
As with its earliest months, the Imperial Federation's political parties have long since dissolved. Although formerly the redoubt of the former core of Abelden's Behemoth Party, the party itself ceased to exist in function (if not in name) as elections came with progressively less frequency due to a shrinking and increasingly inactive population.
The most notable difference between the second Federation and the first is the absence of a hard ban on political parties. While they are permitted to exist within the country, they effectively serve almost no function, due to the infrequency of elections and a very stable government, which has retained the same core of leadership since 2019 with almost no fanfare, despite successive changes in government style.
The only office in the Imperial Federation with constitutionally fixed terms remains that of the Emperor. The oldest laws remaining on record state (among other things) that the Emperor serves at the confidence of the people, and must renew this confidence once every five years, or face elections. The current Emperor, Shiro, is on his second term, which ends on December 15, 2024, during which he faces a confidence vote in the Imperial Senate. No term limits exist for those appointed Senators who are themselves the heads of their respective States. The Emperor cannot simultaneously exercise Crown and Senatorial powers, and usually delegates an additional member of government to carry out Senatorial responsibilities in his (or her) stead.
As for the States, each of these follow its own laws to elect and retain their leadership. Ministerial posts are selected from either the Senate or persons the Senate chooses by consensus as Representatives in their own right (even though the office itself does not exist in an official capacity). Examples of Represenatives include HG, Thomas Bainbridge, who serves as Foreign Minister and Stormhold's Senatorial Representative.
Ministerial offices are confirmed or renewed every year on August 11, during which time the government commemorates its annual historical holiday. Similarly, the legal code renews around this time of the year, during which major governmental changes have also been documented to happen.
Claims to Imperium
The government claims Imperium, although this title was meant to be strictly an originally derived, "by right of election" style and "in its own right," rather than an inherited one in the vein that those claiming to be successors of Rome do. It is largely because of this fact that, as of April 2022, claims to imperial rank are currently unrecognized outside of Zenrax. Current political theory suggests that the Emperor claims the title akin to those of the Emperors of Trebizond, who themselves deferred to another sovereign of imperial rank until 1453, by which point both Emperors ruled over less territory than many of their own nominal vassals, subjects, and less than most contemporary kings of that age. However, this concept conflicts with the Holy Roman Empire's standing policy, of which Zenrax is a member. As such, Zenrax has, in all but a few cases, avoided pressing this claim outside of its internal states and has not made it a condition for recognition towards, or from, other entities with their own policies regarding Imperium.
While being somewhat unique in and of itself, Zenraxian culture still remains much of the way it has been in the Old South for many generations, even after its dissolution and subsequent revival. Influencing the government's former institutions were aspects of feudal Japan as well as Victorian Era Britain during the height of its power. Native Texan cultures also had some influence on the original people of Zenrax. The current government vaguely resembles that of the United Kingdom, although there are notable attempts to create something unique that fits Zenrax specifically as a smaller polity. In later years, the people derived some influence from the people of Thailand, where parts of the government are currently based.
Many aspects of its government and culture are fairly unique, having been built from scratch or having evolved organically over many years. The government model, to the present day, is meant to emphasize the freedom for a person to choose their destiny, whatever that may be, so long as it does not involve intentionally bringing harm to another individual in the process. Several attempts have been made at a "native" script, some of which survive the Federation's dissolution. Most subsequent attempts in improving these scripts have failed, with none being made since the mid-2010's.
The military, specifically the US armed forces, have had a profound cultural influence on Zenrax since before its unification. Several citizens served in their respective national armed forces, including the Emperor (US Navy) and the former Minister of Truth (US Army). Military ideals are still found in Zenrax, even with the transition of its government into a civilian administration beginning from 2016, with the end of the Emperor's own military service in the United States. Instead, a more balanced culture of mastery over one's self has become the core tenet of many of its citizens and statespersons (akin to the Bushido code of post-Meiji samurai after the abolishment of that social class). Since 2019, Zenrax has stressed its academic and scientific endeavors as the highest forms of citizenship possible within the country, alongside military service done with honorable conduct.
Throughout its history, Zenrax has remained very exclusive with its choices of allies, often holding new nations at arm's length until a strong case for compatibility could be made from both sides. Alliances have usually lasted until the dissolution of the other party, with one notable exception being Zenrax's treaty with Abelden, which it withdrew from in June 2019 following a political scandal that ultimately afflicted both nations.
Several strict prohibitions were historically made against what diplomatic requests Zenrax could honor. Among these are prohibitions of mutual recognition as a sole-use tool of diplomacy (since early 2015), informal relations as a sole-use tool of diplomacy (since 2017), and purely ceremonial trade agreements (since 2018). In 2022, further actions were decreed including prohibitions on associations with micronational entities in any state of declared war during the past six months. Additionally, Zenrax generally avoids entering into agreements with entities whose head of state and/or government is under the age of majority in their respective countries.
War has not been a tool of diplomacy in the country since 2016, with the last action by its militia being a routine patrol of then-controlled territory in late 2015. As such, Zenrax typically eschews association in organizations whose members regularly engage in protracted interpersonal conflicts with others, favoring instead mature organizations enjoying a state of both peace and stability, or, at least, a consistent diplomatic profile and stable leadership.
The following are political entities that Zenrax maintains external relations with, with formal agreements being renewed (unilaterally or otherwise) since 2019. Notes are in italics.
- Karno-Ruthenian Empire (treaty of friendship & cooperation), since 11 December 2014.
This is the only extant treaty signed before the Unification of Zenrax in 2014. It was signed as the State of Stormhold underwent unification in 16 December 2014 into the Great Kingdoms of Stormhold, which reorganized into the present-day Zenrax on 21 May 2015. The treaty document itself was subsequently lost to time, until its rediscovery in late 2022. The treaty has since been revalidated and treated as if it were always in force, as the discovery coincided with additional warming in relations between the two countries.
- Empire of Austenasia (cooperation since 2016)
Although treaties have not been signed directly between the two entities, Zenrax has long regarded Austenasia as a friendly entity. The two have cooperated on matters of mutual import since sometime in 2016.
- Kingdom of Wyvern (Allies through external non-treaty agreements since at least 2017.)
Having cooperated for years, both Wyvern and Zenrax are members of the self-proclaimed Holy Roman Empire, which serves as a de facto platform for cooperation between the two states. Good relations continue despite activity slowing during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Principality of Montescano (treaty of cooperation), since July 2019
Montescano transformed into the Empire of Pavlov following reforms at some point in 2020. The treaty was re-validated in 2022.
- Kingdom of Hrafnarfjall (treaty of mutual political/economic support and cooperation), since July 2019.
Zenrax maintains relations through Hrafnarfjall's North Sea Empire by extension. The two have enjoyed a strong relationship since 2019, and shared citizenship, a rarity for Zenrax elsewhere, is common here.
- State of Vishwamitra (peace & cooperation treaty since July 2022).
Tensions arose in late July 2022 between important citizens of Zenrax and senior officials in Vishwamitra over diplomatic disputes the latter was engaged in. However, both sides chose to retain the treaty. While relations were normalized through early 2023, active cooperation remains mostly limited to organizational rather than bilateral efforts.
The following are political entities that, while either no longer independent and/or extant, maintain special significance in Zenrax's foreign policy history.
- Thegn-Hold of Siar Fordell (economic, political, and military alliance without treaty), since Spring 2015.
Siar Fordell's government slowly ceased to exist as a named entity by 2022 due to a lack of external activities. Siar Fordell was one of Zenrax's closest real allies during the late 2010's, until the former's gradual withdrawal from the international space.
- Aphelia Space Research Nation (STEM and art collaboration/space program support), since 2018.
ASRN subsequently joined Zenrax in 2022 as one of its sovereign States. The space programs of the two were subsequently merged into the Imperial Space Research Agency. ASRN remains one of Zenrax's most important institutions.
Zenrax is a member of the following organizations:
- Holy Roman Empire Prince-Elector since 2019
The HRE has suffered greatly due to prolonged inactivity; however, Zenrax has made no indication of its desire to leave due to its alliance with Wyvern.
- Grand Unified Micronational -- Full Member since 2016 (with three interruptions)
Zenrax has had three periods of membership, beginning in 2016. Zenrax initially left in 2017 due to internal politics, again in 2019 due to lack of capacity to represent the country, and the last time in April 2022, during a constitutional crisis during the Stormhold Period. It rejoined most recently in June 2022 following its re-federalization from Stormhold. Its delegation has held positions in the Supreme Court multiple times, as Vice-Chair in 2017, and most recently as Chair in the first half of 2023.
- SEAMA -- Full Member, since late 2022
The organization is small and relatively unstable, and additionally, Zenrax's participation is overshadowed by diplomatic commitments elsewhere.
- International Aerospace Community since June 2021
Zenrax assumed Aphelia's seat in the IAC in August 2022, after the latter joined the Imperial Federation earlier in that same year. The organization, however, is nearly dead from inactivity.
Foreign honors has been used as a tool of diplomacy by both Zenrax and its predecessors since before its recorded history. The most notable usage is the occasional awarding of the Order of the Rose, done continuously on an annual or biannual basis since its confederation in 2014. The only current exception is the government's decision to postpone its awarding of the Order of the Rose to other recipients in 2021.
In 2022, the defunct Order of the Hydra, the nation's second-highest honor since 2015, revived and was awarded to several individuals in two ranks (Knight and Companion). Additionally, plans are in the works for a Legion of Honor, awarded to so-called Friends of the Empire. Awards for merit will also be phased in as non-chivalry awards to persons both within and outside of Zenrax.