Cantabrius is unlike any of the other nations or domains of Accitaine, for the vast majority of its inhabitants are interlopers and colonists from the Empire of Kessavaine, that greatest and first amongst Human nations. Some 100 years or so before the Cataclysm, when Accitainians were still in a less developed state, an intrepid fleet of explorers and adventurers arrived on one of the outlying large islands to the north west of the main continent. This island, known to be a place of monsters and foul dangers was conquered and much of the evils defeated by the clever and advanced Kessavines. Whilst cooler than their homelands far to the south and west, the Kessavines liked the fertility of the islands soil and the quality of its natural resources, with its great valleys, mountains and forests, and it flourished to become an almost autonomous colony, trading with the comparatively primitive Accitainians and growing strong in the years between landfall and the cataclysm. Its Founder and the leader of the merchant fleet, one Cantabi Dyaspina in fact gave her name to the colony, and so Cantabrius came about.
Modern Cantabrius is now an echo in many ways of what remains of Kessavaine, as many are still ethnically Kessavine in origin, which is to say swarthy and dark of skin with lustrous jet black hair, dark eyes and lean clean limbs. The other half are folks from the mainland who have settled over hundreds of years, and so interbreeding has resulted in a unique mulatto ethnicity, accounted right fair and even handed as a result. Clothing styles are a blend of mainland and ancient Kessavine aesthetics with light jackets and tunics worn under warm and stylish coats.
Its rule is by the Foundation Council, and is a largely democratic meritocracy where competence is encouraged to rise and succeed and in theory every one finds their place in society and the running of the government. Power lies in the hands of the High Consul, a monarch in all but name, and elected for life from a pool of councillors and other promising luminaries. That being said, a right of veto and removal exists that means should a ruler become a liability to the nation, the whole council can elect to have them removed providing the majority is at least 3 quarters of the sitting Councillors, which would currently mean 15 of them would need to agree. This has happened twice in the hundreds of years since the cataclysm, though the last was over 150 years ago, and peace and prosperity (at least within) is the current situation.
Cantabrius actually has its own 3 colonies (technically city states), all located within the southernmost of the mainland, a warm pleasant place called the Heel of Accitaine, and it is here that they have a near monopoly on the 3 rarest crops in Accitaine (all brought from the ancestral homeland), namely coffee, oranges and dates. Of these three, dates have actually made their way to the island of Sebbia to the south, where much of the olive crop comes from and have allowed the Sebbians to reach an alliance of sorts with Cantabrius, ensuring the trade in olives and dates are closed, ensuring wealth and mutual protection between them.
From Cantabrius itself, the best forms of trade are from shipbuilding, textiles (Cantabrian wool and silk are highly sought after), some sweet smelling softwoods and the rare lacquer called shibecc, created from the juices of the beccual beetle that is unique to Cantabrius. Cantabrius’ other main trade partner is the mercantile kingdom of Heidelgard, and for many years they have been firm allies financially and militarily.
Militarily, the Cantabrians are accounted the finest sailors in Accitaine, a holdover of their heritage from Kessavaine, and their ships are strong, well made and very enduring. They were quick to see the use and danger of airships as well, and now maintain a respectable airfleet of airships to aid internal transport through the dramatic valleys and mountains of their land.
Cavalry is likely the weakest area of the Cantabrian military, being as much of the island is not suitable for large scale cavalry battles, though they do have a regiment of Dragoons who aid in wartime and peacetime policing duties. Their red and green uniformed infantry are well regarded, and unlike the other nations and principalities on the mainland, have entirely done away with their pike regiments, issuing all their troops with muskets, bayonet, pistols and the distinctive curved shortsword of their people called the Puyaq.
Cantabrius has a strained relationship with the Society, for whilst they follow Korvaio (and have many fine temples and churches to him), they do so with their own style, hearkening back to the more contemplative and spiritual beliefs of common good that their ancestors believed in. As it stands, the Society does have a presence in the capital Taiyconnus, but a small one and one that frequently complains to the Archimander in Serroya of obstruction and obfuscation from the authorities within Cantabrius in carrying out their duties. It is curious to note that the recorded incidence of Arcanists, Heretics and Planetouched occurring within Cantabrius is markedly much lower than in any other part of Accitaine; this is something that the Society views in a mixed light to say the least.
Kite flying is a fine and popular art and skill amongst the Cantabrians, with sport, exhibition, duels and even wooing having kite related forms and activities. A skilled kite flyer attracts much admiration and prestige within this land. Fine poetry is also a great source of pride, using the ancient classic verse structures that show marked elegance and beauty, and the mask using theatre form of Deshara an enormous focus of what keeps culture and history alive in the day to day; in Deshara, the voice and body is supreme, with a skilled Desharan actor or actress being a master of song, oratory and intricate and subtle bodily movements to engage the crowd. Outside of Cntabrius, its colonies, Sebbia and some dedicated aesthetes in Heidelgard, few care for it, preferring more mainstream styles such as seen in theatres and halls in Serroya for example.
The national character is regarded as being proud, regal, spiritual and very community spirited, though detractors may say overproud, ethereal and somewhat superior. They speak a pretty much untouched dialect of Old Kessavine, a language of grace and to most the holiest of languages. There is some degree of rivalry between speakers of Old Kessavine and Sarrine as to which language is fairer, the best way to split them is opera song tends to come down on the side of Sarrine and poetry, literature and the classics heavily on the side of Old Kessavine.