(Meta) Why is Valoria where it is?

From Republic Of Valoria

Why is Valoria where it is?

Originally, Valoria was not rooted in any real geographical location. It started out as a simple collection of people, mostly elected officeholders, then expanded to include some institutions (beyond the offices these people held). Eventually, however, as Valoria expanded, and as I wanted to continue developing the intricacies of this fictional country, I realized it was necessary to ground it in some sort of geographical location. This was something I hadn't realized when I created the first characters—a country's history, and all of their modern affairs, are so deeply linked to geographical location. It seems something rather obvious, but the extent to which one is limited in describing the affairs of a country when one does not have a geographical reality to ground that country in is impressive. In all honesty, it was inevitable that Valoria become a geograhpical location at some point.

Initially, this geographical location was also fictional. I thought about Valoria's existence in an imaginiary planet, with an entirely different global map, but quickly dismissed the idea—the point of this project was not to worldbuild the history and modern affairs of an entire planet, but just of a single country (and besides, seeing how difficult, time-consuming, and, frankly, impossible it is to achieve the complexities and intricacies of reality I aim to emulate in this project on the scale of a single nation, I shudder to think about doing it on the scale of an entire globe). I wanted to spend my time focused on building Valoria, not other nations. And, perhaps most of all, I really didn't want to have to come up with names for those other nations.

Returning to our Earth, I floated the idea of Valoria as an island nation. This would require creating a new archipelago somewhere off the coast of something—I considered creating a collection of islands in the North Atlantic, a couple hundred miles off the coast of New England and New Jersey (perhaps the first signs of the location I ultimately chose). But this prospect didn't seem to satisfy me either—I wanted Valoria to have a land border, so that, if anything, there was at least one country with which I could explore and develop diplomatic relations with.

The reason I remained so apprehensive about carving out Valorian territory from other real-world countries for so long was my concern with diving too far into 'alternate history'—this was something I was, and remain to this day, thoroughly against, and which I discuss in more detail here. But I came to the conclusion that I would have to pick somewhere, and that somewhere would have to be somewhat substantial—I still wanted Valoria to be a major global player in international relations (a member of the G7, for example), and that simply wouldn't be possible if it was a small country, in terms of geography and/or population.

Valoria's ultimate location (real-world New England and bits of western Canada) seemed to develop as a natural consequence of my own background: with English as my mother tongue, fluency in French, and French heritage, I needed a part of the world that could reasonably speak both of these languages. Thanks to the extensive colonial histories of both the British and the French, there's a number of places that fit these requirements: islands in the Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, the East Indies, and, of course, eastern North America. I found the Caribbean an especially interesting idea, since I lived there for a part of my life and like making references to the places I've lived in Valoria (there's a reason Mayami and Cabo Santo are independent, and things like Valorian aid in the Grito de Lares rebellion happen). But as a North American native, placing Valoria on my home continent seemed to make the most sense (ironically, however, I've yet to actually visit Valorian territory).

Valoria's location was chosen because it best represents myself—North American, with both English and French spoken to fluency, and its ties closest to western civilization. This core does, however, have a global outreach, spreading its influences across the world but also taking influences in and creating something unique. These global connections are not random: as the lands of my own heritage, Valoria's unwavering alliance with France and the Philippines are also crucial parts of the country's story as a whole.