Coin, steel and cannon. That’s what makes a nation strong.
Or that’s what the merchant princes of Kirkoslet say. What characterizises Kirkoslet more than anything else is that they’re the ones who really run the Baltic trade. Go to the Pomeranian League, you’ll find a Kirkoslet office there. Go to the far north which doesn’t even exist on Peimarese or Hanöan maps, you’ll probably find a Kirkoslet agency purchasing raw materials from the few locals. Brave the Sea of Storms and land in Dal Riada, there’s a Kirkoslet military officer instructing the local militias.
Despite being the smallest real state in the area, they’re financially doing rather nicely. The reason is that they’re the arsenal of the Baltic region, and not only that: they’re the only ones who are able to produce steel in larger quantities. The mills of Kirkoslet are the largest in the world, the gunsmiths of Kirkoslet are the best in the world and there’s not a ruler in the world who wouldn’t want to control the tiny state. Kirkoslet knows this and as a result, they’re playing their hand to the limit.
Almost all of the countryside around the City of Kirkoslet is neat and orderly, apart from the north border and some of the eastern border. Crops are grown, forests are tended to, roads run straight and even a few legacy roads have been repaired and put into order. The Regulars, the standing army of the state wear the finest uniforms and carry the newest weapons of the Kirkoslet Ironworks. While the navy is small, the cannons on the ships are the best money can buy.
The land forces of Kirkoslet are divided into two categories, the Stående Hären (Standing Army), which is divided into six brigades of 500 soldiers each and the Hemhären (Home Army) which consists of eight brigades of the citizen’s militia. The strength of the citizen’s militia is mostly theoretical, since it has only been partially raised. Considering that Kirkoslet only has a grand total of 30000 inhabitants, the size of the military is much larger than could be expected. This is because Kirkoslet suffers from overpopulation, and the wealth of the state allows the solving of that problem by recruiting second and third sons of farmers into the military.
Concerning overpopulation, Kirkoslet faces it as a permanent issue since there’s practically no unclaimed farmland at all. Westwards and northwards the state is hemmed in by Hanö and to the East lie the dreaded Southern Ruins. Since the merchant princes are not dumb, they’re implementing solutions all the time. Typical measures is to find jobs for people in the merchant navy and the army. Some citizens have also ventured to the Baltic countries to create colonies. This has created some friction with Narva-Novgorod and Revallin, who consider former Estonia to be theirs, even if they can’t actually lay claim to it.
Kirkoslet is jointly ruled by a council of merchant princes. Not all of them are actually merchants, mind you: some of them are heads of guilds or unions, but they all have a stake in the Kirkoslet Trading Company, that takes care of overseas trade. There are no elections, except within a few unions that allow their members to vote for a chairman. Most citizens are guaranteed a few basic rights, like right to a trial and freedom of religion, but most rights don’t apply to non-citizens. Non-citizens who want guaranteed rights need to apply for a Letter of Protection and Service from the council.