Elba

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Lu Princêpalitatti dall'Êlba
Principality of Elba
Elba.gif
Flag of Elba
Motto: Vitta persiëcchi.
Subdivision of: Italy
Cities:  
 Capital: Portoferraggiu
 Largest: Portoferraggiu
 Other: La Marinna da Mmarcianna
Languages:  
 Official: Elbic, Italian
 Others: Corsican, Sardinian, Tuscan, Ligurian
Prince: Ghiddu I
Prime Minister: Federiccu Giorgiutti
Area: 224 sq. km
Population: 35,967 citizens
Established: 1098, Ascendence of Obeardu I as Prince of Elba

Elba is a small, unobtrusive island off the coast of Italy. It is not very big, which allowed it to escape conquest during the Napoleonic wars, though neighboring Italian territories were conquered. Elba was largely left behind until recent years, when it has been "rediscovered", so to speak, especially after the Great Wars.

Contents

Administration

Government

The head of state is the prince. The government is ruled by a fifteen member Council of Delegates elected every five years. The council elects a prime minister for five year terms. The prince has the right of veto that can be overridden by a popular referendum. The prime minister assigns four cabinet ministers to assist in his administration: Industry, Infrastructure, External Affairs, and Commerce. The prime minister is required by the constitution to have at least one member of an opposition party (if possible) in his cabinet.

The current prime minister, Federiccu Giorgiutti, is 56, of the Liberal Democratic Union, elected 3 June 1998, re-elected 3 June 2003 and 3 June 2008. His ministers are Gionni Toscannu, Minister of Industry, a member of the LDU; Alessandro Romanno, Minister of Infrastructure, a member of the LDU; Giulhia Ciamma, Minister of External Affairs, a non-aligned politician; and Giovanni Zergatto, Minister of Commerce, a member of the Elbic Conservative Party. Following the 2008 elections, the composition of the Council of Delegates is as follows:

  • Liberal Democratic Union: 5
  • Conservative Party: 4
  • Elban Independence Party: 4
  • Green List: 2

History

map of Elba's location

It emerged in the 8th century as a Byzantine enclave together with Piombino. The Appianni family became feudal lords in the 11th century. Elba was not invaded by Napoleon (whereas Piombino was), thanks to some smooth negotiation on the part of the ruling monarch of the time, Carlu IV, who volunteered what forces Elba had in support of Napoleon. Unfortunately, Carlu and his son, Clementi III, were both killed in battle.

When the Republic of Lombardy broke away, Piombino, long a part of the Principality, was ceded to one of Carlu's daughters, Carolina, who married a Napoleonic general and separated Piombino from Elba.

In 1951, the entire Appianni family died in a shipwreck during a regatta. The Council elected former founder of the Roman Republic, former metropolitan duke of Milan and defence minister and founder of the Popular Front, Benito Mussolini, who ruled as Benittu I until his death in 1982.

See Also: Monarchs of Elba: List of Monarchs since 1098

Geography

Borders

Elba is bordered by:
North: Piombino
West: Corsica
South: Tyrrhenian Sea
East: Tuscan Sea.

Economy

Tourism, Leather products, Fisheries

Culture

Lus Êlbannus, the Elbans, are an easy-going group. Elba seems in many ways to have been untouched by the years. It harbors beautiful views. The cliffs of Portoferraggiu offer amazing views of the harbor and beaches there. As a visitor to Elba, it is important never to sound too formal. Phrases such as graças (thank you) and scúsami (excuse me) should be used sparingly. Using them whenever a speaker of another language would be tempted to sounds uptight and stiff, and will distance a visitor from the locals. For an interesting look at life on Elba, spend time at the docks in the old city, watching the citizens from a streetside caffè. You'll meet more people if you speak Elbic than if you speak Italian, though you can get by with either.

Cultural Phenomena

A number of now widespread Italian phenomena originated on Elba.

  • At wedding ceremonies, the groom is given a crown of olive branches by his eldest male relative, symbolizing his position as head of the household. The bride is given a sprig of mistletoe by her eldest female relative to symbolize the beginning of her new life.
  • The film Mare (1998; starring Gionni Dallêlba and Antonia Ischêxo), by Elban director Luccu Giobbiu, has become perhaps the most popular film of all time in Italy. It tells the story of a young sailor of the First Great War, who falls in love on the beaches of Elba before he leaves for war. His story is conveyed in letters to his young love, which she shares with her friends, who otherwise have no news of the war. Mare has been hailed as a great film of the modern era, although it has yet to catch on outside of Italy.
  • Actor Ione Dallêlba (Mare, Dante, et al.) was born on Elba, and has since become famous throughout Italy for his performances as the romantic lead in Mare and as none other than the national poet Dante Alighieri in Dante, the 2001 film detailing the life of il Sommo Poeta. He still keeps a summer home on Elba, although he has since moved to Liguria. The movie theaters in Portoferraggiu and La Marinna da Marcianna flood when his movies arrive.

History and Culture

The Elbans have a history of being laid-back and easy-going. In fact, Elbic historians suspect that had the Napoleonic wars come to Elba, it would have fallen with only minimal resistance offered. As the Elbans say, vitta persiëcchi — "life goes on". This laissez-faire attitude to life in general is characteristic of the Elban way of life. In fact, this essentially self-centered attitude caused Elba to miss out on some major historical events. Some major historical events that passed the Elbans by are:

  • The collapse of the Byzantine Empire. Elba was a center of Byzantine culture in the early middle ages, and indeed remained so up until essentially the Napoleonic Wars.
  • The colonization of the "new world".
  • The Napoleonic Wars. The only major effect these had on the Elbans was to interest people in news. Indeed, they may have been the high point of Elbic journalistic history. True, the wars did see the death of one of Elba's princes, but once the shock wore off, things went back to normal.

The most interesting thing, according to visitors, in recent Elbic history was the largest storm in the memory of the oldest living inhabitant of the island, which struck in early February 2003 and capsized the largest ship in the Elbic fishing fleet. Now, to outsiders, Elba may seem like a backwards place, where people know nothing and care not about the outside world. Regrettably, they are correct.

Current Affairs

The current prime minister of Elba has begun a campaign to computerize the principality. This has sparked a mild divide between the Elbic Conservative Party, moderately opposed to the idea, based on the principle that "we've done it the other way for so long, might as well keep it up", and the Liberal Democratic Union, in favor of the idea. The youth of Elba are intrigued by the issue. Most come in on the side of the UDL, but there are some from the more rural parts of the island (everywhere, essentially), who oppose the idea.

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