Hannede is a largely agricultural nation located on the west coast of the North Continent. Colloquially known as Erdea ‘s breadbasket, the country is also known for being the center of the halfling race’s culture.
Hannede takes up a peninsula around 200 miles across, jutting out from the western edge of the north continent. The nation is bordered by the Dwarf Sea to the north-east, and by the Hannede River to the East. A Heavily wooded but largely uninhabited island lies to the north of the peninsula. A great birch forest remains on the northern half of the country, while the southern half’s rolling hills have been almost entirely cultivated as very fertile farmland.
Birchdale is an elf settlement a few days travel into the forest. Called Koivu by the elves, the city is older than the nation of Hannede but sees fit to be part of the larger country.
Crossroads is a town at the meeting place of the Elf-Road to Birchdale and the east-west road from Ostion to Marshdale. It is mainly a place that services the merchants and farmers selling their farmed goods or traveling between cities.
Ostion is the largest city in Hannede, and the port where most of the international trade occurs. Most of the pipe-weed in Erdea travels through Ostion harbor.
Marshdale is a city in the marshy delta of the Hannede River. The rice paddies near here provide much of the rice used on the north continent.
Hanneburg is the capital city of Hannede, though it smaller than Ostion. It is built next to the massive Ostebrucke Bridge, over which travels much of the goods traded with nearby Lias.
While the Birchwood had been inhabited by elves for some time, the modern nation of Hannede was founded relatively recently by Karl, the merchant-lord of Ostion in 2058 EOM. Halflings from Lias had begun to settle in the peninsula and found that the soil along the coast was perfect for the growing of pipe weed. Seeking a way to avoid the steep Lian export tariffs, Karl pooled the investments of a group of particularly wealthy merchants and built the harbor in Ostion. Not long after he decreed his intentions to found the new nation to the neighboring states, claiming the rights to everything west of the Dwarf Sea. Embroiled in yet another war with Inling at the time, the Emperor of Lias could not afford to commit resources to challenge this decree and many within the Senate considered the Birchwood to be of dubious value.
The elf highlord in Birchdale was less than impressed by the decree. Seeing that the farms might want to extend north he immediately sent warning to the merchant-lord that northward aggression and especially the clearing of forest would be interpreted as an act of war. Karl instead went to Birchdale himself, with a small army of 1,000 Nephrian mercenaries. Birchdale was not set up for real military confrontation, but at first still refused to budge. Several weeks of tense negotiation followed- with an accord reached near the winter of 2059. This “36 Mile Decree”,as it became known, created an official border of the Birchwood that allowed for northward clearing of the forest to allow for more farmland. In return the elves were allowed self governance and guaranteed the protection of the Hannede army (that at this time did not exist).
Karl continued the buildup of Ostion and even began road building, hiring the Lians to build a road from Ostion to Halfdale and the Nephropolis. The roadwork was mostly complete by Karl’s death in 2075. Karl’s oldest son Gregor was elevated to leadership by the Ostion Board of Directors soon after and commissioned work on the bridge over the Hannede river.
Gregor moved his offices to the settlement nearby to personally oversee the construction project, and in 2078 the Board of Directors followed. They founded the city of Hanneburg officially the next year as they celebrated the opening of the bridge. By vote of the Board in 2080 they changed to official capital and renamed the nation Hannede.
Gregor had no heirs, and when he died in 2110 Greta was chosen by the Board to take over. She began a rapid expansion of farm lands, clearing the forests right up to the “36 mile line” and beginning a process to make the marshy delta of the Hannede more habitable for farming. Greta retired from leadership in 2146 and founded Marshdale.
The expansion of farming and trade activities continued over the next few centuries under various leaders and shifts in the Board. The town at the crossroads sprang up as trade with the elves of Birchdale began to pick up. Ostion became a center of trade.
In 2521 the merchant-lord Hademar faced the first major crisis of Hannede’s existence when Lias and Inling signed their first peace accord since the 18th century EOM. Realizing that Lias would soon have a massive army and no opponent Hademar took steps to finally enlist a real army for Hannede.
He hired a group of Nephrian retired generals and mercenaries and began to train both his fellow halfings and the men of Hannede in the arts of war. The army was thankfully ready by the time Lias made its first advances- culminating in the only major battle of Hannede’s existence: The Battle of Halfdale Ford.
Seeing the bridge at Hanneburg as too dangerous a location the Lian general commanded his forces to cross the ford 40 miles southwest of Halfdale. As soon as they crossed however, they were severely harassed by Hannede forces. Hademar himself commanded a series of fast, maneuverable units of dog riding slingers he called his “Rough Riders”. The Lian cavalry tried to give chase but the dogs proved too quick in their turns on the open grassland and the halflings continued to pick off rider after rider. With the cavalry committed, a unit of footmen charged from the south- breaking up the main force of Lian men who had dropped formation in the confusion. The Lian archers were still making their crossing when the general in charge signaled his surrender.
The resulting treaty was very lenient on the aggressors, as Hannede had mainly wanted to protect their borders and had no interest in conquering Lian lands. The battle did, however, establish the Hannede military as force to be reckoned with. They had, as the Lian commander Varusius called it in his report to the Emperor, “the best tactics that money can buy.”
Hannede is run like a large company. Ownership of the state is broken up into a series of bonds. The bondholders are similar to the nobility of other countries- though the bonds may be purchased at any time. These bondholders vote, electing the Board of Directors who in turn select the merchant-lord. The bondholders also vote certain changes or decisions based on the Merchant’s Code.
The current merchant lord is Elfriede, a halfling selected 20 years ago after her rice farming conglomerate purchased a massive share of bonds from a group of Marshdale merchants.
Cities and towns are lead by paid administrators. Hiring and firing powers for these administrators are held by the Board of Directors.
Economy and Demographics
Hannede currently has a population of around 600,000 humanoids. Halflings are the most populous, making up nearly 2/3 of the nation. Humans and elves combine to make the rest of the population while the remaining races make up a statistically insignificant share.
The economy of the country is based entirely on its extremely fertile farmland and the resulting international trade. Corn, wheat, rice, tobacco, apples, barley, hops, and other smaller crops are shipped around the world by Hannedish merchants.