08 December 2006

And the Population?

Finally, we come to the populations of Stollen, Zichenau, and the surrounding principalities. In each of the territories, the rural peasantry consists largely of Slavs, Lithuanians, Letts, a smattering of Swedes, and isolated pockets of Germans. The large estates across the region belong, of course, to ethnic German families, who have inhabited the area since the days of The Teutonic Knights.

Town and city populations are primarily German in character, either genuine or "germanized". Virtually all government, administrative, academic, clerical, and merchant positions are held by men of German, or in a few cases Swedish, background.

While various European languages are heard in the merchant quarters of larger towns and cities, German is the de facto ligua franca among the educated and social elites. French and Latin have their places too among some of the more pretentious, overly educated young men, fond of turning nearly every discussion into a debate and peppering their speech with words like "pertaining to" and "ergo". Along these same lines, an amusing story to read is Erasmus Montanus by the Dano-Norwegian author of the 18th century Ludvig Holberg. Finally, "Platt", a northern dialect of German, is spoken by the urban working classes regardess of ethnic origin.

The small armies of each territory in the region contain men from all of these backgrounds although NCO's tend to be ethnic Germans. Officers are drawn from the nobility , and the language of command is German.

In the wake of the Seven Years War, many old soldiers, adventurers, scoundrels, and rogues from across Europe have found their way into the armies of Stollen and Zichenau, occupying positons from the lowliest private to that of exalted generals. Chief among these, for example, is the dastardly French mercenary officer General Phillip de Latte, who commands the forces belonging to the Electorate of Zichenau.

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