Svenland is a country in northern Niobe. It is bordered by Gårdarike in the east, Vinland in the west and north, and the Raider Bay in the south. It is is one of the largest Niobean countries but has the smallest population by square mile. Approximately 80% of the population lives in the southern regions. Svenland is a federal republic governed by the troll thing, which consists of four chieftains with equal rank and influence as opposed to a single head of state. The chieftains represent the four svenish states Glosebye, Bysen, Marakaupunki and Draugrkylä and are elected by the citizens of that state for a five-year period, or fikapaus. The capital of Svenland is Birka.
Svenland has been inhabited since at least 7,000 B.C.E, mainly by nomadic tribes of fishers, hunters, and hunter-gatherers, and a few early farmers. The earliest signs of settlement have been made in the Glütten area of the Glosebye state, where burial mounds, rock carvings and a small number of tools point towards a primitive, probably semi-nomadic culture (called the Glüttenberg culture). Signs of agriculture and larger, permanent settlements in the area have been dated to around four of five hundred years later, however it is not known if these belonged to the same people as the earlier finds. Some historians speculate the agricultural people may have immigrated from Gårdarike.
Bysen, the most southern svenish state, is mentioned in Broman records and by the Broman historian Tacitae, but details are scarce and likely second-hand. It is believe the Bromans had no direct contact with the early Bysenders but learnt of their existence from other niobean tribes around the Raider Bay. It is clear the Bysenders were feared for their war-like culture.
Kingdoms of Byse and Skattehöna
The Kingdom of Byse was founded in the 4th century C.E and is believe to be the first svenish state. The kingdom was centered around the trading town Bysebye on the south coast, where merchant ships from across the Raider Bay traded precious metals, cloth and weapons for fur, amber, timber and pet polar bears. Around half a century after the foundation of the Kingdom of Byse, a second trading post further north, named Skattehöna, broke free of Byse and established a second kingdom, the Kingdom of Skattehöna.
Byse and Skattehöna became competitors in trade and commerce. In 590 C.E, Byse seized control of a large part of the Raider Bay in order to control trade; by 608 they controlled near all of the bay and forced heavy toll on ships going to and from Skattehöna. Skattehöna had less developed ships and could not compete at sea; instead they began to expand inland in an attempt to find a way through land around the Raider Bay. In so doing, they conquered and civilized most of what is now the state of Bysen and some parts of modern Draugrkylä. The Skattehönan empire lasted for approximately two centuries until it began to fall apart due to inner strife and wars with the Kingdom of Byse, as well as conflicts along its inland borders with the Maranic and Draugrian tribes.
Svenland is divided into four states based on historical, geographical and traditional borders. Each state retain a measure of self-sufficiency and independence under their respective chieftain but are subjected to a shared constitution. In general, Svenland handles international affairs as a single, undivided nation.
Glosebye is the northernmost state and believed to have been inhabited the longest, despite having a harsh climate ill-suited for human settlement. The region is extremely cold and home to only a few species of wildlife, of which the muskox is the most common. Arctic foxes and polar bears are also present. Most of Glosebye is tundra or glacier. Settlements need to be heavily protected against both the cold and the foxes.
Marakaupunki is a mountainous, heavily forested state and stands for almost 70% of Svenland's lumber exports. The region is somewhat warmer, especially in the sheltered and wooded valleys, where most of the towns and villages are located. Marakaupunki is home to large populations of reindeer and the mysterious nisse cult.
Draugrkylä has plenty of lakes and rivers which support farming in the warmer regions. Like Markaupunki, it is also forested.
The southernmost state of Svenland, Bysen is notable both for its agricultural and its coastal areas. The latter includes expansive archipelagoes, such as the Näckeröarna and the South Kvisten Earth-sea, which are popular destinations for tourists.
All but the most southern part of Svenland (approximately a third of Bysen state and a small part of Draugrkylä) are located in the arctic zone. The climate is fairly temperate thanks to subterranean volcanic activity, which heats up lakes and springs. The winters are usually long and harsh, characterized by heavy snowfall and temperatures often sinking below -30 C. Summers are short and often intense, although it is possible for spring to turn into autumn without the period of summer in between. On some occasions, spring has even turned back into winter, or the conditions of winter have lasted for up to three years.