Ne Imouhar! (Now we are free!)
|Official Languages||Tamagansir, English|
| Parliamentary Republic |
3.961 mile diameter (19 May 06)
|Literacy Rate||20.00% (19 May 06)|
|Ethnic Groups||90% Berber, 6% Arab, 4% European|
The Republic of Gansira is a "young" nation in the territory of Western Sahara. With a very peculiar history, the Gansireg have forged a nation out of the rubble of the Seven Days Revolt.
Ancient History & AnthropologyEdit
While being a recent state, constituted two years ago, the region now called "Gansira" and it's inhabitants date back to over two millenia and the times of human spread to the Sahara region.
For over two millennia, the Tuareg of the Gansireg tribes operated the trans-Saharan caravan trade connecting the great cities on the southern edge of the Sahara via five desert trade routes to the northern (Mediterranean) coast of Africa.
The Gansireg adopted camel nomadism (in the open desert areas) along with horse nomadism (in the coastal and rocky terrain areas).
Portuguese, Spanish and French tried, unsuccessfully, to colonise and control the region but the indomitable spirit of the Gansireg tribes kept the invaders at bay and eventually the european powers retired, leaving the Gansireg to forge their own destiny.
Distinctively different from their Arab neighbours, the Gansireg are considered a Tuareg (Berber) tribe.
Culture And SocietyEdit
The Gansireg usually are divided between the coastal tribes and the open desert tribes. Both groups have the same ethnic background (North African Caucasians) with the difference that coastal Gansireg are mostly farmers, fishermen and sheep herders that live on the patches of fertile land and on the rocky hills near the coast line while the open desert tribes are nomadic merchants. Unlike many Muslim societies, the women do not traditionally wear the veil, whereas the men usually do. The most famous Gansireg symbol is the Tagelmust, the male veil. The men's facial covering originates from the belief that such action wards off evil spirits, but most probably relates to protection against the harsh desert sands as well; in any event, it is a firmly established tradition (as is the wearing of amulets containing verses from the Qur'an). Men begin wearing a veil when they reach maturity which usually conceals their entire face excluding their eyes and top of nose. Inside their tents and other buildings or living quarters the veil is removed and other headwear (if any) is used. The only two cities, Essaouir and Tamasna, were built originally as trade outposts where the desert tribes resupplied with water and food but as time went by a group of Gansireg established themselves permanently and left their tribal groupings to form a type of city-states. The Gansireg society is strongly patriarchal and tribalist. Every person is born into a tribe (except the city dwellers which are considered Ajeg (non tribal) and remains a member for it's entire life unless, for any reason, one is expelled from the tribe. Different tribes coexist peacefully but quarrels are not uncommon. Women are not allowed any position of power within the tribe and cannot own anything other than their clothing and a pack horse or camel. While this may sound highly restrictive and even brutal, Gansireg women are treated in all respects as equals and there are almost no restrictions to their doings other than tribal leadership or job. Traditionally women tend their husbands clothing and food and are not allowed any other job unless they are Ajeg. More recently and due to economic and social changes in their society, most nomadic desert tribes migrated to the areas around Essaouir and Tamasna where they still devote themselves to trading.
For thousands of years, Gansireg economy revolved around trans-Saharan trade. Because of the nature of transport and the limited space available in caravans, Gansireg usually traded in luxury items, things which took up little space and on which a large profit could be made. Even in modern days these direct trade models are still used by some desert tribes while others are involved in oil prospecting and mineral extraction in the desert mountains, mainly funded by the new government. Tourism is one of the main sources of revenue for Gansira, it's beaches searched by tourists from around the world and it's pictoresque and very clean cities considered prime vacation destinations.
The Gansireg have been predominantly Muslim since the 16th century, though some are lax in observance, more inclined to observe feasts than fasts. They combine Sunni Islam (specifically the Maliki madhhab, popular in North and West Africa) with certain pre-Islamic animistic beliefs, including spirits of nature (Kel Asuf) and such syncretic beliefs as divination through means of the Qur'an. This has, on occasion, sparked some controversy with radical islamic nations but the general population abbhors any kind of religious radicalism and is quick to eliminate any sources of proselitism.
Modern & Contemporary HistoryEdit
In the beginning of the 18th century, the French colonial government had tried to conquer Essaouir by deploying a large fleet near the harbour and over 17.000 troops in and around the city. The inhabitants of Essaouir had fled to the desert and the northern coast but Tamasna was also under french siege. For over three months the french expeditionary force stood in the Gansireg-deserted cities until slowly the inhabitants returned. In the two following years, and with the departure of the colonial governor Henri de Montblanc, the number of french forces became shorter until the garrison in Essaouir numbered around 4000 troops which, by now, lead very relaxed lives and had adopted the lifestyle of their colonial "subjects". Some 500 french soldiers, later called the Amazishek, became mercenaries under pay of Almonin of the Kelajhar tribe. The Amazishek received a daily payment in cash along with free entry into all the Suh Harem, the "free" Harems that commoners could pay to visit and use, in Essaouir. The Amazishek, the private army of Almonin, trained Gansireg tribesmen in all matters of military life and as the french army achieved is lowest numbers ( 2000 soldiers, including officers and two minor scout ships) the Kelajhar tribe had 1000 Amazishek, recruited from European nations on the coast of Morocco, and over 5000 armed and trained Gansireg warriors.
The Kelajhar wrestled control of Essaouir and Tamasna and established their ruled with Alomonin as first Marbout (religious and temporal leader) of all the tribes. The Jelzar and Uicherid tribes remained un-affiliated and would always contest the Kelajhar rule. In the beginning of the 20th century the Spanish government signed a non-agression pact with the ruling Marbout, Ghazjeh im Sehrek Alomonin, but in exchange demanded that their troops were allowed inside Gansireg towns. Around 1926 the Spanish occupied Tamasna and Essaouir capitulated soon afterwards. The Amazishek, now a force composed of European mercenaries and native Gansireg, retreated to the desert and did not take any action to protect the towns. Between 1926 and 1972 the spanish government controlled the coastal areas of Western Sahara and used both towns as re-supply harbours for their atlantic fleets. Several draughts occured in late 1972 and famine became dominant in the towns, prompting european and america aid to act in the 80's, namely the DWF (Doctors Without Frontiers) NGO. In the same year the region was declared part of Morocco and handed over by the spanish government but the Gansireg population declined to accept them as rulers and civil war started, partly funded by communist regimes and western parties.
The Seven Day RevoltEdit
In 2004 the tribal leaders of the Kelajhar, Jelzar, Uicherid and Waladhen, along with other minor tribes, formed a military alliance and assaulted Tamasna and Essaouir resulting in the death of 268 civillians and over 4.000 military, Gansireg and Moroccan. During seven days the Gansireg millitias kept the moroccan army out of the entire region and eventually the King of Morocco allowed a audience to be held between himself and his staff along with the Gansireg leaders and appointed spokesperson. To the surprise of the moroccans the appointed spokesperson was Lucas Ganso, a doctor working for a NGO who had helped the Gansireg millitias by providing medical supplies and support. The inconditional independence of Western Sahara was signed by all parties and all non-Gansireg troops were removed from the region.
Geography and Major CitiesEdit