|Area||approx. 1000 mi2 (2500 km2)|
The Ventura County Families are an alliance of armed factions in southern California. The town of Ventura serves as its official "capital", with numerous other strongholds in the hills to the north.
A Soviet missile struck Oxnard in order to take out two major naval bases in the area, CBC Port Hueneme and NAS Point Mugu. Most of the survivors fled north into the hills to escape radioactive fallout. The Ventura County government and the local National Guard were unable to maintain any coherent order under these circumstances. Within a few years, the main towns were totally depopulated. Most of the people who remained lived up in the hills, in fortified compounds occupied by a few families.
In the early 90s larger bands of raiders began to form. Some of these roamed in from the outside, while others formed from alliances of local families working together. These gangs tended to be suspicious of outsiders and mutually hostile, and wars were frequent in the area. From around 2005, these bands increasingly began to cooperate to raid the Chumash Republic to the north, thereby gaining resources and influence. They formed alliances that gradually became more permanent.
At the turn of the century the bands began to seek a more stable political arrangement for the area. In January 2010, all the major armed groups in the Ventura County region reached a permanent alliance. Those groups who did not accept the terms were driven out. The former National Guard armory in the nearly-abandoned city of Ventura became the formal headquarters of the alliance, though it remained very decentralized in practice. The Ventura townsite still experiences lingering radioactivity from the missile blasts, and few people feel safe living there permanently.
The stable alliance brought improved conditions to the county. Agricultural output and trade increased, and some old houses outside the fortified compounds were rebuilt. More visitors began to come from the outside world, notably humanitarian missions from Mexico.
Local leaders tried to present Ventura as a legitimate "country", but since they refused to stop raiding other areas for resources, they never achieved any kind of diplomatic recognition. And anyway, the alliance has none of the institutions of a government, and its nebulous territory is defined by where its raiders can ride at a given moment. Ventura has seen good relations with Santa Cruz, another rogue nation distinguished by its practice of slavery. Some Venturan clans also maintain the practice of forcing captives into slave labor, though they tend to focus more on raiding than slaving.