Britannia

PLATE NO. 1

England, Cumbreland, Devland, Scotland, Ireland, Munkland, and Sark with surrounding countries.

Adjacent to the European mainland, Britain, otherwise known as the British Isles, or poetically by its Latinized name, Britannia, is an archipelago of three major islands and several minor islands. The insularity of the islands afforded the peoples there a high degree of protection from foreign invasions and guaranteed political autonomy even in the most testing times in history, while proximity to the rest of western Europea benefited local merchants and allowed astute rulers to interfere in foreign politics with relative impunity. Despite the favourable geography of the British Isles, however, the political history of Britain is still marked, ironically, by mass migrations and invasions, perhaps even more so, than the clash of local kings and queens.

I. Land


Though often pegged for overcast skies and dreary fog, the climate of Britain is remarkably unique. Referred to as maritime west coast, or temperate oceanic, it is one of the rarer climates found on earth. The islands experience mild temperatures year-round. The air is generally humid and cool. In summer, rain gives way to fair and dry weather. Snow falls in winter, but it is usually light and does not accumulate on the ground. There are similarities with the climates of western or coastal places in other continents of similar latitudes, but the ecology here is not as divergent from continental Europea as those places are from their adjacent lands. Forests are characterized by a mixture of pine with deciduous species like oak, birch, beech and willow. Almost all of the islands, however, have been completely altered by millennia upon millennia of agricultural activity, relegating much of the native forests to rugged highlands and parklands in the estates of the nobility. Today, the British Isles are characterized by canals, riverine lands, meadows, heaths, and undulating fields outlined by trees.

The most fertile part of Britain is the eastern half of the largest island, Albion. The land here sprawls low and is intersected by a great density of waterways, both natural and human-made. The north of Albion is dominated by the Scottish Highlands, which are now mostly bare of trees due to intensive animal husbandry. The west is under the regime of low mountains and hills of the Pennines, the limits of which, for centuries, acted as the first bulwark against invaders coming from the east, and crucially, became the last refuge of the Celtic Britons on Albion during a period of mass migration and cultural shifts in both mainland Europea and the British Isles. Other Britons migrated to France, settling in the modern land of Wales, and to the Cantabria of northern Iberia, for which the colony of Cantabria in the southern hemisphere was named. These peoples spoke a language similar to modern Devnish. The Devnish were able to maintain autonomy while under the suzerainty of the Anglo-Jutish kingdoms in Albion in part because they were protected by the Devnish Channel, which separates Albion from the island of Cernion. To the south of the main islands lie the Lenures and the Isles of Tot and Wight, sometimes referred as the Channel Islands, or just Sark. Sark is famous for its fortified tidal islets, many of which rival the grandeur of Mont Saint-Michel in neighbouring France, as well as natural features like The Needles between the Isles of Tot and Wight. Between Albion and the next largest island, Eirion, is the strategic Isle of Mann, which together with the wind-swept islands of the Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland, forms Munkland. Much of Eirion is low-lying like Albion, but considerably more boggy.