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States of the ChurchTimeline: Days After Chaos
OTL equivalent: Washington, DC
Papal States and its direct holdings shown in gold.
|Government||Theocratic Elective Monarchy|
|-||Pope||George I (First)|
The Papal States are the territories on the East Coast of the former United States under the sovereign direct rule of the pope, from the fall of the United States around the turn of the twentieth century to the present. The Papal States are one of the regional powers of the Chesapeake Bay, controlling the city of Washington, as well as much of the surrounding area. Several towns, baronies, and other holdings outside Washington are also held by the pope, creating an intricate network of holdings which pay tribute directly to the pope.
The Papal States were born out of the former United States, viewed by the modern world as an ancient empire and continent spawning government. Following a violent coup in Washington, the Papal States were established by Chester Hale Fitzgerald, built on the beliefs of a new religion, which would later become Unionism. The Pope claims however that his power originates from the American Empire, which supposedly granted the first pope complete power over the empire via the Donation of Lincoln, a forged American imperial decree. The document has since been used in support of claims of political authority by the papacy.
Before the chaos the city of Washington was once the capital of the United States. The city stems from the Residence Act, passed by Congress on 9 July 1790, which approved the creation of a national capital on the Potomac River. Named Washington, in honor of the first president, the first session of congress was held in the city on 17 November 1800.
During the years of chaos that erupted throughout the late nineteenth century, the city of Washington was on the forefront of the disaster. In 1898 the city was placed into the hands of a committee dedicated to managing the defense and general affairs of the city, known as the Washington Emergency Council, with a Chester Hale Fitzgerald appointed as its head. Under Fitzgerald the city's militia was heavily expanded, swearing loyalty to the council itself, and serving around the city's perimeter. During this time propaganda would also be displayed around the city praising American values. Fitzgerald, a former preacher, would claim to see visions of an archangel, who guided him to a new Washington, with him as its prophet.
Several months later a coup would be lead by Fitzgerald against the United States government. His soldiers convinced that Fitzgerald was a prophet, and convinced by Fitzgerald that the government had corrupted and defiled the great city, marched across the Potomac River. The battle that would ensue would become famous in Papal propaganda and literature, despite some of the details of its true nature being unknown. It is unknown the fate the of the president and several other individuals. Civilians and supporters of the president however were executed.
Following the chaos of Fitzgerald's coup, the city was quickly purged of non believers and opponents of the new government. Many people who supported Fitzgerald began to see him as divine, or driven by God, and this cult of personality was encouraged. Fitzgerald became known as a father figure, leading him to adopt the title of pope. Fitzgerald's followers adopted extreme beliefs in American exceptionalism, believing that Washington had been spared from complete destruction by divine intervention, and that the American way of life was the most pious. The American founding fathers became revered figures, symbolizing American values, while Fitzgerald's speeches became viewed as sermons.
In the new society, lower class inhabitants and primarily non Protestant Caucasians were tasked with rebuilding much of the infrastructure surrounding the city, while converts to Fitzgerald's beliefs were viewed as higher members of society. As a result nativism and elitism became common among many of the city's elite, who lived in much grander establishments in the city proper. Lower class citizens were primarily given crowded sections on the outskirts of the city, with many moving to towns outside the city limits.
Much of the city's population was initially drafted into military service, or recruited via the rigorous propaganda campaigns, creating a large force compared to much of the surrounding area. Units from the former United States military stationed around the city for the purpose of defending the nation's capital were added into Fitzgerald's army, while stolen arms and supplies were also utilized. One of Fitzgerald's early patrons and supporters, a wealthy Maryland-born businessman, Stephan Adams, was put in charge of several campaigns to clear the region outside the city. Viewed as a holy act, people living around the Chesapeake Bay refusing to convert and "civilize" were killed. By the end of these campaigns, several communities had been subjugated, and land had been cleared for possible farmland or settlement. The military also played a role in enforcing laws in the city of Washington itself. The branch of the military dedicated to police work was trained to use brute force against anyone questioning the city's values, and also rounded up the city's opponents.
After the successful military campaigns outside the city of Washington, and the establishment of order in the city itself, Fitzgerald divided up this newly carved up land among his wealthiest supporters, creating a network of vassals who swore fealty to him. The land eventually descended into fiefdom, with the wealthy landholders living among a local town's fortifications, and the town's populace being put to work in farming the area surrounding them. The town of St. Charles was granted to Adams, while other established titles included the counties of Chicamuxen, Accokeek, and Calvert. Fitzgerald himself was crowned the first pope of the church of Unionism, adopting the name of George I.
Following the subjugation of the states surrounding the city of Washington, the Papal States next turned to the region further north into Maryland. The locals that were encountered were often desperate and willing to convert to Unionist beliefs in exchange for aid in establishing a stable life. Those that resisted were combated by the Papal military, the largest organized force in the region and able to successfully subjugated communities by force if necessary.
The Papal States played along with local politics, recruiting local soldiers as auxiliaries in exchange for help against their enemies. The largest settlement in the area, located further to the east, would later centralize into the modern nation of Annapolis with support from the papacy. The local rulers in the city, in debt to the pope for his aid, personally converted to Unionism, eventually leading to the full conversion of the city.
In the year 1902 Pope George I forged the Donation of Lincoln, a fabricated imperial decree supposedly originating from the ancient American civilization, which he claimed was valid proof that the former empire actually belonged to the papacy. The pope used this to claim political authority of newly forming nations around Washington, requiring endowment from kingdoms in the area. That same year Michael the Short, leader of the nation of Annapolis was anointed and crowned president by Pope George, becoming the first ruler to be coronated by the pope. With the pope's support, President Michael would establish several local fiefs through conquest, seizing several provinces north of Washington and around Annapolis, spreading the Unionist faith.
In 1905 a several year long struggle in Baltimore would finally ended, with Charles of Ellicot achieving dominance over the city. Having received a vision of the archangel Columbia, Charles had his soldiers paint American symbols on their shields. After achieving a crushing victory to reunite the city, Charles immediately converted to Unionism. As the city was raided, resulting in the deaths of hundreds, Charles ordered the creation of a new government built upon Unionist beliefs. He was crowned the following year by Pope George, as King Charles I. To gain the largest endowment possible, the pope decreed that both Charles and Michael would serve as presidents of their respective realms, marking the first instance of more than one president recognized by the papacy. Despite these efforts to encourage unity among nations of the faith, both nations would become fierce rivals over the next few decades.
President Charles was declared patricius Columbiae ("protector of Columbia"), the symbolic defender of the faith and protector of the American symbol of Columbia, as well as the city of Washington itself. The coronations of both Michael and Charles would create two allies of Pope George, allowing him to enforce Unionism across Maryland with relative ease. Conversion of individual counties was put in the responsibility of the commissioners, who were required to undertake conversions and stomp out primitive beliefs at all costs. Ancient symbols of other religions, including temples and churches existing before the chaos were often destroyed or converted to Unionist establishments, and heathens were often prosecuted in mass. Annapolis and Baltimore also became the first seats of a bishop outside the Papal States, ruling over dioceses in each nation.
Mass conversions, restorations in Washington, and the build up of a military would culminate in the 1912 "World's Fair", a Unionist feast and celebration held in Washington at the command of Pope George. The festival included sermons at Unionist temples in the city of Washington, as well as tours of the city's great symbols. The fair would however become Pope George's last major project, as that same year he would pass away at the age of sixty seven. Being the first pope to die in office, and with no clear instructions laid out by Pope George before his passing, Washington's leaders chose to elect a new pope amongst themselves. Delegates from around the nation and select Unionist states in the area met in Washington where the election took place. Stephan Adams, from St. Charles, Maryland, was elected as the second pope, choosing the name of John I.
The city of Washington constitutes the majority of the Papal States, containing total area of 68.3 square miles (177 km2), of which 61.4 square miles (159 km2) is land and 6.9 square miles (18 km2) (10.16%) is water.
Washington is bordered by the Potomac River, which historically created the border between the city and the former state of Virginia. Running through the city are several naturally occurring and man made canal systems, including the Anacostia River and Rock Creek, two major tributaries of the Potomac River. Running through the center of the city near the capital is the Columbia Canal, known formerly as Tiber Creek. Together these various watercourses make up the Washington City Canal, a water system allowing transport around the city by boat. The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, which passes through Georgetown, is used to bypass the Great Falls of the Potomac River.
The city of Washington contains several landmarks and monuments, many of which pertaining to the Unionist faith. The city is centered around the elaborate Washington Basilica (Capital Building), the world's largest Unionist church. Near the Basilica is the Apostolic Palace (White House), the personal home of the reigning pope. The palace also contains the Founders Chapel, a large chapel that is used when electing the next pope. Across from the Basilica is the great Papal Obelisk, a large monument.
The nation of the Papal States is an elective absolute monarchy, with the pope exercising complete power as head of the Unionist faith and as president of the Papal States themselves. The Pope also exercises principal legislative, executive, and judicial power over the States of the Church, making it unique from most non-hereditary monarchies.
The Papal States is the center of the Unionist faith. The Unionist Church, also known as the Church of Unionism is one of the largest, most widespread religions in North America, spread across much of the former Northeast United States. The Unionist religion is headed by the pope, a central religious leader who is also president of the Papal States.
The religion of Unionism was born out of the beliefs created by Chester Hale Fitzgerald, who would later become George I of the Papal States. Based on pseudo Christianity, Unionism adopts elements from American propaganda and American exceptionalism, with the founding fathers of the United States being deified, and American symbols being holy sites.
The head of the religion is the Pope, who exercises absolute control over the church within an elective absolute monarchy. It is claimed by the papacy that this power originates from the American Empire, which supposedly granted the first pope complete power over the empire via the Donation of Lincoln, a forged American imperial decree. The document has since been used in support of claims of political authority by the papacy.