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A chain of volcanic islands in the midst of the Atlantic Ocean, found first in pre-history by a large group of Goths, and later by the Portuguese.
The Azores are an Autonomous Region within the Kingdom of Portugal.
Each island within the chain has some level of autonomy, but there is a parliament with representatives from all the major communities that meets for two weeks yearly to govern the affairs of the islands.
While the truth of the Gothic migration to the Azores is lost to history, leading historians feel that this is the best theory.
It is most probable that the Vissi people of the Azores trace their ancestry to the plains of Polonia, the region that is now the Republic of the Two Crowns. After relocating from Scandza, which some suggest are islands around modern Goteburg, and most anthropologists believe to be today's Scandinavia in general, the Goths settled in the fertile valleys of the Vistula drainage basin. First disrupted by Roman advances into Dacia and Boiohaemia, the western Goths relocated, only to be attacked from both sides as the Veneds and the Slavs fought for the plains.
The Goths, a hardy fighting folk, were not quickly forced from their lands. Village after village was destroyed until a leader, most likely a Gothic bishop, urged them to relocate south to live with their estranged cousins, the Ostrogothi.
The Vissi were not well received, and a scant ten years later they were forcibly evicted from the Black Sea's shore. Some sought protection from ever-weakening Rome, but were put in death camps, marched to death, and starved. Ancient records of Constantinople suggest that there was a large navy assembled, which departed for unspecified locations. Some would suggest this to be the Goths, however, the record is highly inconclusive, and this should be held as pure conjecture.
Philological study has lead to the belief that the Vissi employed Latin sailors due to the heavy borrowings from Latin which at first caused the Vissian language to be classified as a Romance tongue. This could be seen as support for the Byzantine documents and the supposition that these were indeed the Goths.
It is known that for most of the history of these islands prior to the invasion of Portugal a hegemony of tribal chieftans and the Nautus (shipping guild) existed controlling daily life. It is suspected by archaeologists and linguists that the Nautus retained connections to the rest of the Roman Empire in trade, at least for a time, but otherwise remained shrouded in secrecy, as no written record of their existence has yet been uncovered, and very few archaeological finds have been uncovered.
The islands were rediscovered in 1427 by Gonçalo Velho, and a gradual population of Portuguese traders built up over the following century, focusing mainly on the port cities of the islands.
When the Portuguese arrived in the Azores many heavy battles ensued, during which the Vissi fought a desperate losing battle. The tide turned in 1563 and 1564 when São Miguel blew its top, merging two of the islands, and a treaty of conditional surrender was secured despite the eminent technological ability of the Portuguese.
The Vissian religious rites very closely resemble ancient Arian Christianity. An attempt was made initially to re-incorporate them into the rites accepted by the Holy See, but the points of doctrine could not be reconciled. Thus followed a dark period from the time of subjection to the Portuguese until the late 1800's because the Holy See refused to recognize the rite and it was censured, driven underground, and only re-instated at the turn of last century. The liturgy remains in High Vissian, adding an interesting lexical change to the language. It is unclear how this form of Christianity reached the Azores, since the original Gothic settlers are believed to have arrived at a much earlier time. The theory of continued contact for a time after settlement through the Nautus supports this possibility.
Provincial autonomy was granted by Portugal in 1970.
Azores are found in the Atlantic Ocean due West of Portugal.
The local economy is largely driven by a very strong tourism industry. Each island has many hotels, and there is a very strong push internationally for tourism. The fishing trade is also very strong in the Azores, and it is from the Azores that much of Portugal, Castile and Aragon are supplied with sardines.
Recently, deep-sea diving as well as eco-tourism have taken hold. A company of Oregonians has set up shop on the north shore of Treicera (Dauvidu, in Vissi) for eco-tourism in the surrounding ocean and any untouched areas of the island biomes.
It has also been viewed as a possible launch-site for the Euro-Consortium rockets, however, this plan seems to be mired in the same bureaucratic red tape for the color schema.
The Azores have implemented geothermal energy production in recent years and are largely self-sufficient for their energy needs.
The Ulfilic Heresy
The heresy of Ulfilas (according to the Catholic Church) Wikipedia.org:
"I believe that there is only one God the Father, alone unbegotten and invisible, and in His only-begotten Son, our Lord and God, creator and maker of all things, not having any like unto Him. Therefore there is one God of all, who is also God of our God, And I believe in one Holy Spirit, an enlightening and sanctifying power. As Christ says after the resurrection to his Apostles: "Behold I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24.49) And again: "And ye shall receive power coming upon you by the Holy Spirit." (Acts 1.8) Neither God nor Lord, but the faithful minister of Christ; not equal, but subject and obedient in all things to the Son. And I believe the Son to be subject and obedient in all things to God the Father."
Arianism was a Christological view held by followers of Arius in the early Christian Church, denying that Jesus Christ and God the Father were of the same fundamental essence, seeing the Son as a created being, inferior to the Father. The belief grew rapidly, so much so that it was the majority view of all Christians for a time. The First Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.) condemned this doctrine, after much controversy, and declared it heretical. Similar views, and in some cases revival of the name, have recurred.
Since the 1600's and the contact with the known world, the Vissi have quickly adapted to modern technology. With this ready acceptance of technolgy, the Vissi became aware of their estranged cousins, the Crimean Goths, and a period of rapprochement was begun.
- My Conlang Vissi (the name for now) is coming in the next year, I hope...