The Kingdom of Arles, Arles, Arelat, is a constitutional monarchy on the Mediterranean Sea. It lies to East of Aragon, the Lyon exclave of France, Auvergne and Orange (which also has an exclave within Arles), to the North of Monaco, to the West of Milan and Genoa and to the South of Burgundy, Geneva and the Swiss Confederation. Its capital is Marseille and has a population of about 4.7 million. Its position between Francia, Iberia, the Empire and Italian peninsula has given it the nickname of 'the Crossroads of Europe'.
Its current head of state is King Frederick XVI. It is an electorate of the Holy Roman Empire.
Its currency is the Arelat Ducat (ARD)
The official language is Occitan.
Established in the aftermath of the disintegration of the Frankish Empire the Kingdom of Arles was eventually held directly by the Emperor Frederick I. When the Imperial crown passed to the Luxembourg family the Hohenstaufens took Arles as a fief of the Empire. The Sicilian portion of the Hohenstaufen lands were also occasionally governed from Arles.
Sicily and the northern Duchy of Burgundy broke away in 1263 after King Frederick III divided the kingdom between his three sons. Arles and Burgundy soon descended into centuries of on-off warfare, usually over the Duchy of Swabia, where the main branch of Hohenstaufen had died out in 1314, but often to promote the ambitions of their overlords; the Empire on Arles' side, France on Burgundy's. These largely inconclusive battles would slowly allow Geneva and the Swiss regions to become fully independent territories of the Empire.
Its involvement in the Mantuan Wars, and heavy defeat at the hands of Aragon, lost it the Western bank of the Rhone. After this event the capital was moved eastward to the larger coastal city of Marseilles.
It was the setting of some of the bloodiest and bitterest fighting of the Fifty Years War (1618-1668) as Aragon sought to further its ambition to control Italy. Most of the 'Italian phase' would be fought in Arles leading to massive devastation, depopulation and disease. In the end however, Arles retained its independence due to the simple fact that none of its powerful neighbours, France, Aragon, nor any of the Empire's leading nations, would dare allow the others to have control of it.
Falling unexpectedly to the armies of the Iberian Revolution in 1829 it was briefly turned into a revolutionary republic and then forceably integrated with the freshly conquered North Italian states to form the Savonese Republic. This would last until 1834, whereupon it was liberated and the union broken-up by Austrian and Venetian troops. Minor battles with pro-republican forces, as well as the final peace treaty at the Congress of Milan restored the Kingdom and all of its territory. The restored royal house did not let their victory go to their heads however and began a long process to reform and democratise the state. The result of this it has one of the highest standards of living and fairest societies in the southern Empire.
The head of state is King Frederick XVI. His Prime Minister is Jacques Reyer while each of the Kingdom's provinces also has its own First Minister. Elections are carried out every four years.
Arles was the first country in the world to extend the franchise to women.
Arles has a high level of democratic participation, (some commentators might say too much), with elections occurring on national, provincial, municipal and local scales. Like its neighbour, the Swiss Confederation, any change to the constitution is only enacted after a general referendum.
Arles supports a small army and a reasonably-sized navy. The Empire stations its 4th army in Arles.