|Subdivision of:||North American League|
Riyo Seko i Pakua Šipi
|Nagid:||Donya Ayša Toledano|
|Area:||Island: 108,860 km²|
|Established:||1816, Presence Made Known|
|Admission to NAL:||1899 (31st)|
La Provinsya de Mueva Sefarad (the Province of New Iberia) occupies the eastern edge of the North American continent, where the sun rises first each day over the New World. Originally settled and ruled as an independent nation by Jewish refugees of the Iberian Expulsions of the late 15th century, with a healthy and influential Native minority, it is somewhat an anomaly in its surroundings, with a cultural, linguistic, and religious mix unique in the world.
Although Mueva Sefarad properly translates from Ladino as "New Iberia" — Sefarad refering to the entire peninsula, and not just the Spains — the province is commonly called "New Spain" by the inhabitants of the rest of the North American League.
Between 1492 and 1497, every nation on the Iberian peninsula gave the Jews who lived there three options: get out, convert to Christianity, or die. The more than thousand-year-long history of the Sefaradim, the Jews of Iberia, had come to a close. There would be no more Golden Ages; no more weathering periods of persecution in secret; no more philosophers, poets, and generals; no more convivencia of Jews, Christians and Muslims living together in shared culture. After all the many ups and downs, the forces of Jihad and Crusade — of Reconquista — had replaced the intermittent glimmer of convivencia with the final curtain-call for the Sefaradim. This was the end of their story.
Or was it?
The plans of a certain foreign aspiring explorer named Columbus were well known, and in their desperation, the Sefaradim didn't even wait to see if his expectations of land across the Atlantic turned out to be true. On ships of their own, and on ones they hijacked or stole, they set out by ones, twos, and fleets into the Unknown West.
Over the years, the secret settlement of Mueva Sefarad grew. With the help of the native people of the island, the Beothuks, the Jewish refugees survived and thrived. As time went on, they leaked news back to the Old Country, and absorbed increasing numbers of Crypto-Jews who found it too hard to stay on the Peninsula living a lie, followed by Muslim and Crypto-Muslim refugees of the Las Alpujarras rebellion of 1568 and the Expulsion of 1609, and even many New Christians who trusted more in their estranged Jewish and Muslim relatives than in the Iberian racial policies of limpieza de sangre.
The experience of persecution, broken promises, and living in secrecy hardened the Muevasefaradíes, and due to a kind of national paranoia they began to see all outsiders as heralds of the maldiča Inkizisyon, the cursèd Inquisition. Any explorer or merchant ship that approached too close to the shores of their island refuge was fair game for their revenge — the lucky ones never saw their homes again; those not so lucky died. And slowly, across the world's ports, sailors spread frightening stories of Savage Red Indians of the North with a particular hatred of Iberian priests, who cursed them in Castillian, Catalan, or Portuguese (according to different versions of the tale) as they died slowly.
The world moved on without them, and as the explorers became more bold, and their technology improved, it became harder and harder for the people of Mueva Sefarad to keep their existence secret from the developing nations on their doorstep. In the early 1800s, therefore, they made their presence known to the world community, and staked their claim on the entire island.
Historians are still debating what were the true causes of the War of 1898, but to Mueva Sefarad it was la Gera dela Independensya i dela Unifikasyon — their War of Independence and of Unification. As they tell it, one or more of the Iberian nations claimed that, since Mueva Sefarad was settled by its own 'citizens', the large island off the coast of North America was therefore not an independent country, but merely a colony — one in violation of the expulsion edicts of the 15th through 17th centuries. Additionally, while somewhat pushed to the side in the 'official' view of history, the role of Muevasefaradí and other Sefaradic pirates and privateers such as Jean Lafitte in the buildup to the 1898 war cannot be ignored, and remains a dominant theme in Muevasefaradí folklore.
In the face of all-out war, Mueva Sefarad gave up its independence for the promise of security, and applied for admission to the North American League. The League came through, and was victorious in the war. Since then, the energies of the Muevasefaradíes have been dedicated not to secrecy and survival, but to cooperation and moving on from the past to claim their place as one part of a greater whole.
The provincial governor holds the title of nagid. Muevasefaradíes brought their martial traditions of secrecy and amphibian tactics to the North American League military, where they make up a substantial segment of the special ops units. They also helped introduce the use of war paint to military personnel from provinces with less-influential Native populations.
Most of Mueva Sefarad's international dealings are with New Francy, Judea, and Montrei. Recently, Mueva Sefarad has become a popular tourist destination, both for hikers in its pristine wilderness areas as well as for cruises along the coasts and up La Kosta Norte past Nunavik. Other tourists are drawn to the unique mixture of Mediterranean culture and subarctic climate, or to the recently-discovered remains of Viking settlements on the northern peninsula. Ecologically conscious, although not ecotopian, most of the province's electricity comes from wind power.
Mueva Sefarad is the easternmost point of North America, situated on the large irregularly-shaped island off the coast of New Francy and the League provinces of New Scotland and Nunavik, as well as on a part of the mainland to the east of New Francy and south of Nunavik. This foothold on the mainland, which remains in general sparsely populated, was left unclaimed by New Francy and so Mueva Sefarad claimed it when it joined the League.
Most Muevasefaradíes live in the provincial capital and oldest settlement, Santa Ester, which is situated on the large island in the long lake near the island's west coast. The next largest population center, which is also somewhat less dense, is the large vaguely flower-shaped peninsula attached to the southeast corner of the island, known as Flor de Santo Yona. The third largest city of Mueva Sefarad is Kavo Oksidente, at the southwest corner of the island, which serves as the main port connecting the province to mainland North America. The last major population center is the twin cities of Riyo Seko & Pakua Šipi, which together serve as the urban center of Mueva Sefarad's mainland region.
Mueva Sefarad shares only one dry border — the western border of the mainland region, which it shares with New Francy. All Mueva Sefarad's other borders are frontiers of water.
To the east and south: the Atlantic Ocean
To the southwest, across the Gulf of St Lawrence: Alba Nuadh
To the west, across the Gulf of St Lawrence: New Francy
Even the international border on the mainland is mostly water, since it mostly follows rivers.
ECONOMY OF THE SUB-NATIONAL ENTITY
The official language of the province is Ladino, an originally Judeo-Iberian dialect usually written in Hebrew characters, which absorbed many words from Beothuk. Most Muevasefaradíes are Jews, followed in demographic order by Muslims, Christians, and followers of Native religions. Ethnically, most of the population are of Iberian or Beothuk descent, although other Native groups besides the Beothuks are also found, especially the Innu on the mainland. Since Mueva Sefarad joined the League, immigrants from the rest of the League and all parts of the world have settled there. Muevasefaradí Jews are mostly (unsurprisingly) Sefaradic, and Christians mostly follow the Isidoran ("Mozarabic") Rite. It is said that hard times breed mysticism, and this is very true in Mueva Sefarad, where Islamic Sufi mysticism is a powerful spiritual force not only among the Muslims, but also, in modified forms, among Jews and Christians. The Sephardic Judaism of Mueva Sefarad is distinctive among the varied Jewish cultures of the modern world in its embrace of a form of Jewish mysticism based on Sefer ha-Zohar, the "Book of Splendor", as well as in its veneration of saints, a development of Iberian Crypto-Judaism.
In Mueva Sefarad, the Jewish fast day of Ta‘anit Ester (the Fast of Esther) — el Ayuno de Santa Ester in Ladino — is the official provincial memorial day for Muevasefaradí heroes, including soldiers who died in battle during both the pre-NAL and NAL periods of Mueva Sefarad's history, early settlers who couldn't survive the stresses of trying to rebuild their old society in a new harsher environment, people who were caught and killed by the Inquisition back in the past, and others.
Immediately following the day of solemn memorials is Purim, the Jewish holiday based on the Scroll of Esther in the Tanakh/Bible, which celebrates the victory of Queen Esther, Mordekhai, and the Jews of the Persian Empire over the forces of the vizier Haman who (against the generally tolerant policies of Ancient Persia) attempted to murder them all.
Purim is traditionally celebrated by communal readings of the Scroll of Esther (the Megilla), giving charity, sending food baskets to friends, and having a festive meal (usually involving drinking to a greater or lesser extent).
In Mueva Sefarad, Purim is the unofficial 'Independence Day', and is celebrated with raucous partying among almost all segments of the population. Religious Jews generally celebrate it traditionally, and religious Muslims don't drink alcohol, but in general Purim has the feel of a province-wide party, with everyone having fun and sending each other food packages. Charitable organizations commonly collect a large proportion of their yearly 'revenue' around Purim-time, also.
Mueva Sefarad's official 'independence day', Diya dela Unifikasyon (Unification Day), which celebrates the victory of the 1898 War and the province's joining the North American League, is a much quieter affair, involving sight-seeing, barbecues, cultural attractions and big sales.
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