Magistracy of Canopus
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|Magistracy of Canopus|
|Time period:||2530 - present|
|Capital world:||Canopus IV|
|Military:||Magistracy Armed Forces|
|Secret Service:||Magistracy Intelligence Ministry|
The Magistracy of Canopus is an interstellar nation located in the Periphery. The Magistracy is a matriarchal society led by a Magestrix, an elected position open to any woman but largely controlled by House Centrella due to the family's popularity. Disparaged by some for promoting a hedonistic lifestyle, the Magistracy supports an open society and the personal freedom of all citizens and their right to live their lives as they see fit. As such, it is a popular destination for those fleeing persecution or looking to satisfy their discerning tastes.
Captain Kossandra Centrella was a MechWarrior for the Free Worlds League Military when, due to the ineptitude of her superior officers, her unit was left behind during a general retreat from the Capellan world of Highspire. Captain Centrella managed to save her unit from destruction and return to the Free Worlds League, but she had become disillusioned with the incompetency of the FWLM and the patriarchal systems which dominated the Inner Sphere. Gathering like-minded people around her, she fled the Free Worlds and arrived in the Canopian star system in 2530, founding the Magistracy. By 2570, the Magistracy had grown to 36 star systems thanks to successful negotiations with dissident planetary rulers in the Free Worlds and Capellan Confederation.
Like the rest of the Periphery powers, the Magistracy was invaded in 2577 during the Reunification War by the newly-created Star League; while defeat was inevitable it was not as easy as the Star League hoped, with the war lasting twenty years and costing millions of lives. Luckily for the Canopians, Military Governor Melissa Humphreys was earnest in her stated goal of rebuilding the Magistracy. The realm was made whole and allowed limited home rule as a Territorial State in the Star League, and for the next century enjoyed a golden age of wealth and prosperity. That began to change starting in 2722 as the Council Lords enacted legislation which opened the Periphery up to burdensome taxation and exploitation by deceitful business interests. Events came to a head in 2765 when the Magistracy joined the other Periphery powers in the New Vandenberg Uprising, a rebellion which ultimately would lead to the Star League Civil War and the destruction of the League itself.
The resulting Succession Wars did not directly touch the Magistracy, but the realm felt the effects all the same: trade and tourism plummeted, to be replaced by refugees and pirates. There were occasional incursions into its territory, including a brief conflict with the Taurian Concordat in 2813 that ended inconclusively, but for the most part the Magistracy stayed out of interstellar affairs until 3030, when it allied with the rebellious Duchy of Andurien to invade the Capellan Confederation. The Andurien Crisis ended badly for the Magistracy and Magistrix Kyalla Centrella, who was ultimately deposed in favor of her daughter Emma Centrella in 3040.
Emma worked to smooth over relations with the Free Worlds and rebuild the Magsitracy economically, helping it to become a dominate economic power by 3050. Years of careful negotiations eventually resulted in the Treaty of Taurus in 3056, a mutual defense and open trade pact with the Taurian Concordat which ushered in a joint colonization effort in the New Colony Region. This was followed shortly thereafter by the Trinity Alliance, allying the Magistracy and Concordat with the Capellan Confederation and involving Canopian forces directly in Inner Sphere conflicts.
At its founding, the Magistracy allowed only women to participate in the government or hold any elected office. This restriction eased under Floral Centrella, who allowed men to participate in local and later planetary governments. Crystalla Centrella began to allow men into lower-level positions of the national government in 2570, and within a few years also opened up positions on the lower courts to male judges. It wasn't until after the Reunification War when Military Governor Humphreys instituted universal suffrage and opened all political and judicial positions to men (barring the Magistrix). After the governorship ended these reforms were maintained by future Canopian governments, ensuring equality for both women and men before the law. However, there has remained a strong cultural bias in favor of women holding positions of authority within Canopian society.
While freedom of expression is at the heart of the Canopian constitution, there exists some notable exceptions. Political parties, special interest and lobbying groups are expressly banned for their divisive nature. Additionally, there exists a strong wall of separation between church and state, with no official connection allowed between the government and any one religious or philosophical doctrine.
The head of the Magistracy is the Magestrix, an elected autocrat who serves until death (or until they are deemed unfit to rule). It is a position technically open to any Canopian woman but has largely been filled by members of House Centrella. Originally imbued with sweeping powers, the position lost much of its authority during the period of military governorship after the Reunification War; most of these powers returned after self-rule was reinstated, but a number of important checks on this power was also created.
The Canopian Central Committee was formed by Governor Humphreys as a review board to ensure that any legislation passed by the Magestrix was compatible to the will of the Star League. When the Magestrix regained her authority, the Committee was reformed and its powers expanded. Each Canopian planet elects by popular vote one Committeewoman (or Committeeman) to serve on the Central Committee; originally each member's term of service was for five years, but this was later decreased to two. The Central Committee has the power to review legislation proposed by the Magestrix, and if they do not have a two-thirds majority approval, to veto them. The Committee can also pass legislation of its own, though this is subject to a veto by the Magestrix as well.
Serving an important if limited role in the government are the Canopian Electors. In the event the Magestrix dies or can no longer rule, it is the Electors who are responsible for nominating her replacement and putting her before a final vote in the Central Committee. If the Committee approves the Elector's nominee by a two-thirds majority, she becomes the new Magestrix; if not, the Electors are responsible for nominating a new woman, with the process continuing back and forth until a nominee attains the required number of votes. Each planet has two Electors who serve lifetime terms, and while a few have become hereditary most are decided by popular vote. Originally only aristocrats could be Electors, but after the reforms of 2840 any adult Canopian citizen could become an Elector.
Lastly is the Crimson Council, a governing body responsible for overseeing all aspects of Canopian nobility. Created in 2557 by Coranna Centrella, the Council assumed many of the powers once held by the Magestrix: creating new titles of nobility, assessing the privileges and responsibilities of nobles, and adjudicating in disputes between nobles. The six members of the Council serve at the pleasure of the Magestrix and have adopted robes trimmed in red-dyed ermine as an unofficial uniform.
Three different courts oversee the judicial process in Canopian society. The Provincial Courts oversee civil and criminal law at the planetary level, and any citizen may bring a case before them if they have at least one corroborating witness, while the Star Courts are concerned with matters of corporate and business law. Generally the decisions of the Courts are binding and enforced by Magistracy Field Officers, but an individual may appeal to the Courts of Appeal with the approval of the Central Committee. In keeping with the Canopian bias towards personal freedoms, the courts have a reputation for siding with individuals over businesses in disputes between the two. At the same time, the courts' traditionalist bent have also seen them favor aristocrats over the common people in such cases.
The Magistracy of Canopus prides itself on having an open and welcoming immigration policy: if any person can prove they are fleeing political, religious or social persecution, they and their descendents are given automatic citizenship. With this citizenship comes tremendous freedoms and protections: for example, they cannot be tried without due cause or extradited without the permission of the Magistrix, and they may own property and transfer it as they see fit. In return, citizens are expected to give back to support the "common defense" of the state. While military service would fulfill this obligation, it can be met any number of ways: service in the Medical Corps, donations in land, goods or money during times of war, or participation in the educational system such as teaching adult literacy classes. Additionally, all citizens are required to participate in every election, though on every ballot is the option "None of the Above" (in such cases where this options wins a majority, special run-off elections are typically held).
Society & Culture
The Magistracy of Canopus is famous (or infamous) for its strong emphasis on social freedom. So long as all involved are consenting adults and no one is being harmed, Canopians are free to pursue any activity they desire. While such mores can be construed as hedonistic (and indeed the Magistracy was strongly influenced by the New Hedons movement) there also exists a strong epicurean strain to this pursuit of pleasure. Artistic expressions are further encouraged by generous government subsidies, allowing writers, painters, sculptors and actors to concentrate on creating bold new expressions in both popular and serious art. This includes examples of erotica, though most exist for serious purposes rather than simple titillation. Nevertheless, a thriving adult entertainment industry has made the Magistracy a magnet for tourists wishing to partake in the many delights the realm has to offer, or catch a showing of the traveling "pleasure circuses." Regulations exist only insofar as to make sure employees in these professions are well-paid and not being mistreated.
Likewise the Magistracy's historical tolerance for all cultures has made it a destination for immigration, especially by those facing oppression. The result is a true "melting pot" society, with diverse cultures from across know space living side-by-side and in many cases coming together to create something entirely new. The same holds true for religion, so that all major and minor religions and philosophies have found purchase within the Magistracy: from Abrahamic to traditional African religions, Shintoism to Zoroastrianism, Sikhism to Confucianism, and everything in between, including many new religions which have sprung up since humanity began colonizing the stars. The strong emphasis on tolerance also means very little tension exists between the different religious and ethnic groups which make up the Magistracy.
If there exists bias within Canopian society, it's one which sees women as more qualified than men to hold positions of authority in political, economic and military affairs. The foundations of this concept were laid at the beginning of the Magistracy's history, when men were barred from holding any government positions. Reforms eventually granted suffrage to all Canopians regardless of gender, and many men have since risen to prominent positions in Canopian society. Still, most in the Magistracy naturally assume women are better at certain jobs than men, with a few commentators openly questioning such presumptions. Another outlet for this tradition is in naming conventions: most Canopian sons take the last name of their father, while daughters take the last name of their mothers.
One area where Canopian society struggles is in education, which for most of its history relied on the Star League to provide universal primary and secondary schooling. As it collapsed, so did the Canopian national system, leaving it up to the individual cash-strapped planetary and local governments to pick up the pieces. The result was spotty educational outcomes and a steady decline in literacy rates leading up to the 31st century, with only two universities - the University of Canopus and the University of Luxen - essentially little more than technical schools. That trend began to reverse in the middle part of the century thanks to increased government subsidies and outside help, first from the Taurian Concordat then the Capellan Confederation. The new Royal College of Education at the University of Canopus was instrumental in training new teachers to higher standards and supplying them to all Canopian worlds such that universal education was again achieved in 3062. The University of Luxen also opened a new School of Engineering thanks to Capellan help, and the University of Gallis was founded in 3066.
The Magistracy Armed Forces have traditionally been seen as something of a necessary evil by the largely peaceful Magistracy. Funding has been limited through most of its history, punctuated by rapid increases during times of existential crisis (such as the Reunification War) which often come too late. As such, the Magistracy's military has historically been one of the smallest in the Periphery - in 3025 four million women and men were on active duty in the MAF - with the small number of national troops frequently relying on local gendarmes and mercenaries to supplement them in battle.
That trend changed during the latter part of the 31st century with the creation of the Trinity Alliance. With increased funding and assistance from its Capellan and Taurian allies, the MAF underwent a number of reforms and began upgrading its arsenal with the latest equipment from foreign purchases and revitalized native industries. By 3067, the MAF was the largest military in the Periphery, though under the terms of the Alliance many of its units now found themselves fighting on foreign soil for (primarily) Capellan interests.
The Magistracy Armed Forces survived the Jihad in relatively good order, thanks in part to the MAF having avoided any of the major battles in the closing years of the Jihad, concentrating instead on removing those Word of Blake forces still trapped in Magistracy space. By 3081 the bulk of the MAF had either returned to full operational strength or were close to it, albeit with some loss in performance due to incorporating replacement troops in some areas. The greatest loss the MAF suffered was as a result of the firebombing of Crimson on Canopus IV, an act that killed much of the senior element of the general staff; with the Canopian Institute of War also destroyed by the Blakists, the Canopian programme to improve the quality of the local militia forces within the Magistracy was set back appreciably. Despite the damage inflicted on the Magistracy a rebuilding programme was well under way by mid-3081, with the Institute of War being rebuilt and a number of local academies and facilities taking up the teaching of courses until the Institute reopened.
The Canopian economy can be seen as a cautionary tale in terms of overspecialization. During the golden years of the Star League, when the Magistracy was a mecca for tourism from all across known space, the Canopians deliberately poured their resources into expanding their already large entertainment industry. Indeed, at one point the pleasure trade constituted over four-fifths of the entire economy. However, in 2722 the Star League stopped supplying the Magistracy with financial aid meant to help it recover from the Reunification War. This was shortly followed with Directive 38, which slapped a 10% tariff on all Periphery goods sold to the Inner Sphere states, and Directive 41, which removed the BSLA from regulating business dealings between the Inner Sphere and Periphery states. Almost overnight, entire industries folded up as their products became too expensive to sell or were taken advantage of by unscrupulous and predatory business practices. The onset of the Succession Wars dealt a further hammer blow as the flow of rich tourists were quickly replaced with waves of refugees and pirates.
By the turn of the 31st century, the Canopian economy was one largely dominated by artisan guilds and cottage industry. The major exceptions to this was an entertainment industry that, though a shadow of its former self, helped the Magistracy remain a destination for creative types, and the the biomedical industry, which since its founding has been one of the highest national priorities for the Magistracy, often receiving more funding than the military. Though unable to reproduce some of its lostech wonders like Stasis Tubes, even at its lowest point, healthcare in the Magistracy in many respects exceeded that found in any other state, Periphery or Inner Sphere. This allowed the Magistracy to help stimulate the economy by supplying healthcare specialists to other states in exchange for goods and services.
The creation of the Trinity Alliance has provided an economic boom to the Canopian economy, with export revenues to its new Taurian and Capellan trading partners having tripled by 3067. Though entertainment, tourism and biomedical continue to dominate, the economy has greatly diversified into new areas such as agriculture and mining with a large number of new start-ups, particularly among the military-industrial complex. Whereas just a few decades before they teetered on the brink of bankruptcy, many pleasure circuses now travel freely through Capellan space, bringing with them a taste of the Canopian lifestyle and bringing in much-needed revenue.
The sudden economic hardship followed by centuries of unending war within the Inner Sphere took its toll on many Canopian industries, none more so than its weapons industry. In 3025, there was just one major weapons producer, Majesty Metals and Manufacturing, which built less than sixty BattleMechs and half as many Aerospace Fighters and Combat Vehicles per year. The economic boom brought on by the Trinity Alliance reversed this decline and led to the creation of many new production facilities, both native start-ups and those formed in partnership with the Concordat and Outworlds Alliance.
- Major Defense Industries
- Alliance Aerospace Group
- Detroit Consolidated Aerospace
- Consolidated MechWorks
- Majesty Metals and Manufacturing
Magistracy of Canopus After the Fall of the Star League, 2750
Magistracy of Canopus in 2750
Magistracy of Canopus in 2764
Magistracy of Canopus in 3085
Magistracy of Canopus as at 3130
Magistracy of Canopus in 3130 (complete)
after Reunification War
Star League Era
after First Succession War
after Second Succession War
after Third Succession War
after Fourth Succession War
after War of 3039
before Clan Invasion
after Clan Invasion
after Operation Guerrero
during Second Star League
creation of the Republic of the Sphere
before Gray Monday
- The Periphery, p. 89
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 77
- The Periphery, p. 91
- The Periphery, p. 92
- The Periphery, p. 90
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 78
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 79
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 80
- The Periphery, p. 100
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 94-95
- The Periphery, p. 51
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 97
- The Periphery, p. 93
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 83-84
- Jihad: Final Reckoning, p. 115, "Magistracy of Canopus"
- The Periphery, p. 92
- The Periphery, p. 101
- Era Report: 2750
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 90-91
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 185
- The Periphery, p. 100
- Handbook: Major Periphery States, p. 92
- Tactical Operations, p. 16