Capital City of Belfort
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|Nickname(s): The City|
|County||City with County Status|
(45 City Councilpersons)
|• Total||(Metro) 2.807/km2|
4.652.000 (M.Ar.) 1.168/km2
|• Density||Template:Infobox settlement/densdisp|
Belfort is the second largest city in Tondola, in the nation of Kanjor. It is a popular camping spot for young travellers, with a history mixed with legend and folklore.
The city lies in the interior of Tondola, in the foothills of the Tondola Alps. The city sprawls over several small hills, and is ringed by several more, giving it an enclosed, comfortable feel. The highest hill overlooks the entire city.
Belfort is situated in the rainforest belt of Tondola, despite being the southernmost major city in Kanjor. The climate is temperate, and much cooler than other parts of Kanjor, and the city is often misty. This has led to a Kanjor joke that "Belfort is either bitterly cold, raining, or all three". Foreigners may find Kanjoran humour hard to understand.
Belfort's history is a relatively short one, but has largely slipped from notice. After the establishment of the Second Kingdom several expeditions from Erak to the interior began. It is rumoured a child, by the name of Bellanfortie, stumbled across some gold dust after wandering away from her group. The settlers, amazed by the discovery of gold lying one the ground's surface quickly founded the city, named in honour of the young girl. They swore to gather gold for one year before revealing the secret, but the discovery was leaked after only a month.
People from all over Kanjor flocked to the city, trying to make a fortune. The city quickly boomed in the midst of the largest gold rush ever seen on Seleya. The enterprising natives based their economy around servicing the newcomers, finding that industry easier and just as profitable as gold prospecting. The gold rush made Belfort the most important city on Tondola Isle, and boosted the population to nearly one million at its peak.
However, it was not to last, and soon the easily-recoverable gold was gone. As more miners flooded in, people began to turn to larger and more risky operations, digging further than before. Organised gangs began to form, driving miners off their mines, and murder and beatings became rife. Crime began to flourish in the city, as there were few policemen, and hundreds of desperate newcomers every day. In 1856, the third year of goldrush, the gold that could be recovered by small operations (three to 6 men) had completely gone, and larger machine operations were the only way to recover gold. Even then, the investment risk often vastly outweighed the profits, and coupled with the awful reputation the city had now gained, the migrants began to leave the city in droves. The city virtually collapsed, and the population shrunk to a few thousand.
The residents of the city banded together to restart the mining industry towards end of the Second Kingdom, nearly a century after the discovery of gold. A planned, careful approach opened a new gold mine, and after this was found to be profitable, small scale prospecting for other mineral seams began. A bauxite seam was discovered in the 1960s, and has become the core of Belfort's industrial mining. Small scale gold and silver mines were also found around that time, and began to give the city the chance to recover economically.
Belfort's mining economy has suffered in recent years, due to political turmoil disrupting the markets. However, it is still the main employer in the city.
The other key part of the Belfortian economy is the Kanjor Aérospatiale manufacturing plant, which produces the component parts, though not the complete aircraft themselves. It has lifted hopes of a high-tech industry forming in Belfort, drawing industries south from Atyr to the more tranquil setting in the city.
The city also has an excellent environmental record in recent years, in spite of the large mining operations. Local government (dominated by Les Verts du Kanjor since the 2340s) has strictly protected Belfort's forests and the city has retained much old-growth forest, with new gardens and forestry projects inside the city bounds. A managed logging company provides Kanjor with much of its high-grade wood, owing to the city's rainforests.
Tourism is a fledgling industry in the city, and unlikely candidate given Belfort's location and climate. However, it is gaining a reputation as a hiking and camping spot, as tourists (mostly young people) explore the mountains and forests nearby.
Government and PoliticsEdit
Like most of Tondola province, Les Verts du Kanjor have had a large impact, and have held Belfort almost since their inception. Belfort does have a varied political life however, with all parties represented in the local council.