So I’m sitting here working on a new city, which is located on a continent which up until this point has not featured in the game. The landmass is called ‘Rhodesia’. In actuality, this is a dated term for a region of south-central Africa (I believe) that went on to be divided into Zimbabwe and Zambia. Anyways, in the game that I’m working on, I felt silly just making up continent names. I’m not confident enough in my etymological creativity to take such a leap. So I pilfered geographic names from the real world. However, I wanted to avoid giving any sort of impression that my world in the game (Solen is the word they have for their planet) is linked to, or bears any relation to our world.
So, the terms I picked are intentionally trivial, and continents they denote have climates/physical shapes that directly conflict with their real-world counterparts.
Example: “Scandinavia” in my world is a chain of islands formed by volcanic activity.
Anyways, Rhodesia is the largest landmass on the planet, bisected vertically down the middle by a river which I’ve yet to name, and probably should do soon. Similarly, it is roughly bisected across the middle horizontally by a range of mountains (which follow the crescent at the eastern edge of the continent).
I felt like writing a brief historical account of the landmass, because I designed the town of Lusaka just recently as a sort of haphazard semi-circle of shops and buildings that surround the dock (it is a maritime city). This, however, seemed at odds with the plan I had for the greater landmass, which is that it’s one of the most advanced societies in Solen. It is the only group/landmass which recognizes itself as a “state,” complete with a central government, and local governments in a sort of approximation of federalism.
The first settlement of people in known history originated on the eastern side of the continent, in what is today known as Livingstone. Close enough to the sea to eventually support a small port-town within its limits, but also positioned to access the great plains to the west, this settlement slowly grew into a large town. At some point, a team of explorers set out to find what was south of the mountains. No living person had ever made the trek, and so they set out, promising to return.
They made the crossing, but lost so many of their numbers that they dared not chance a return journey. Two other teams were sent after them, the second of which failed to cross, and the third of which had a similar experience. And so, this stranded group of Livingstonians established a settlement at the base of the mountains that had claimed so many of their family and friends. They were just barely at a critical mass, such that they could sustain themselves. Their town eventually came to be called Bindura.
Bindura cultivated and explored the western half of Rhodesia, while Livingstone continued to do the same of the east. Both societies advanced at the same rate, and in a cosmic accident, both decided they possessed the technological prowess to attempt the pass once more; for Livingstone it was the final battle to conquer an old enemy; for Bindura it was a long-lost hope of a homecoming.
The two groups met in the mountain pass, connecting two estranged cultures that somehow recognized who the others were, and understood their language. This reunion was cause for great jubilation between the two groups, and a celebration was had that very night. Immediately, they intermixed their two groups, sending one to Bindura, and another to Livingstone. This would prove to be their greatest error.
What, on the small scale, appeared to be a happy reunion was actually interpreted by the cities to be a tremendous threat. Almost overnight, a civil war broke out. It ignited simultaneous industrial revolutions, spurned with the sole intention of subjugating the other people for profit and power. Livingstone simple expanded linearly outward in all directions, growing larger and larger, encompassing more of the surrounding resources.
Bindura, however, was not as well situated. They needed a warm-water port, and so they began building a great many structures on both sides of the river where it emptied into the ocean (also needs a name…). Half of this hastilly-constructed town was entirely destroyed in the Battle of Kabwe, the single most destructive event of the entire civil war. The southern half, which survived, became known as Lusaka.
Following this, the Binduran Army began preparations to cross the moutains, and attack Livingstone outright. In the vast open planes between the mountains and Livingstone, the two armies clashed in a final battle. Barely an hour into this terrible confrontation, the generals of both forces gave the order to fall back. The soldiers looked up from their fighting to find that the war had ended without them.
As the Battle of Kabwe raged, only a few months earlier, the leader of the Bindurans saw that there was no good way to end the conflict militarily, for either side. He sent his right-hand-man with a bodyguard to cross the mountains alone, sneak into Livingstone, and negotiate a peace. So implicit was his trust in this man, that those were his only directions. The leader continued to manage the military campaign as before, all the while hoping that his trusted aide would be successful.
The aide made the pass, the army on his heels after the battle at home was finished. He found the Livingstonian leader, and spoke with such conviction that they listened. The plan he had hatched over his long journey was that instead of destroying each other, Linvingstone and Bindura should unite. With the east and west working together, they could achieve wonders, and explore the remainder of the world together.
The plan worked, and before the full forces met on the field, the war was over. As the two nation-states worked to make themselves one, they embraced the idea of unity, forming the first unified system of governance in Solen, and to date, the only. In honor of that aide who risked life and limb while crafting the only solution ambitious enough to put an end to the bloody conflict, they new government, as its first act, named their new nation Rhodesia, after Anthony Rhodes, the aide. Rhodes, as it turns out, was the descendant of Marcus Rhodes, the leader of the first team to leave Livingstone, and the founder of Bindura.
So maybe it’s a little contrived, and a bit to neat (as in ‘orderly’) of a conclusion, but I wanted to present Rhodesia as this really advanced society that had its act together, and I couldn’t do that in good conscience without explaining what they went through to get there.