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The Star Kingdom of Manticore is commonly known as Manticore and is abbreviated as SKM; it is a fictional human star-nation in the "Honorverse", which is the background setting for a series of books and stories written by David Weber and others, and published by Baen Books.
The Star Kingdom was founded in the Manticorian system, which consists of a binary star, three settled planets, and the Manticorian Wormhole Junction. This unique combination of large amounts of habitable planetary real estate and instantaneous travel via the Junction have rendered the Star Kingdom economically and diplomatically powerful out of proportion to the norm for single system star-nations. Indeed, Manticore compares very favorably to most Solarian League systems which have generally been settled longer, and contain higher populations and larger infrastructures, than the Star Kingdom. These factors, and those required to properly exploit them, have resulted in an extensive Manticorian merchant marine and well funded research programs. Manticore has also birthed a very effective navy with a strong tradition of excellence and institutional history.
A popular nickname for a native of the Star Kingdom is "Manty" (plural "Manties").
Manticore began as a slow boat (sublight ship, interstellar ark) colony sent from Earth. It was particularly well planned, however, and money was left on Earth to protect the colony from claim jumpers. During the 640 years that it took the colony ship Jason to travel to Manticore, developments in gravity technology had made hyper travel safe. Therefore, the arriving colonists found themselves greeted by employees already building infrastructure on Manticore, the most temperate of the three habitable planets orbiting the two stars in the system. Not long thereafter, there was a plague (probably locally derived) which killed more than half of the population, setting the colony back substantially.
It was in reaction to that circumstance that the aristocratically dominated monarchical polity was begun; new colonists invited to make up for the losses of the plague were not intended to be part of the power structure. These colonists were divided into two sets, those who could pay for some or all of their passage (Yeomen) and those couldn't (Zero-Balancers). This aristocratic dominance scheme went awry when Elizabeth I, the second monarch, proved to be better at political maneuvering than the nobility; after her, the SKM had an effective monarchy, not merely a constitutional figurehead.
Parliament consists of an upper house (the Lords) whose membership is hereditary, and a lower house (the Commons) whose members are elected and who cannot be members of the aristocracy.
The Crown is the Head of State, and appoints a government from leading political parties in Parliament. The Crown’s executive power is exercised by the responsible Cabinet, led by a Prime Minister who must command a working majority in the House of Lords.
Policy making in the Star Kingdom is strongly impacted by policy conflicts amongst the positions of the major parties. An example is the annexation of the planet Medusa, nearest a recently discovered terminus of the Junction. It could not be made a part of the Star Kingdom, as that was opposed by the Liberal Party and the Conservative Association. Instead a protectorate was proclaimed over the planet which was barely acceptable to a Parliamentary majority. Another example was the declaration of war against the People’s Republic of Haven after their attack on the SKM Navy and its base at Hancock. The Conservative Association refused to vote for the declaration in part because of the pending court-martial of Captain Pavel Young, the eldest son of the Association's effective leader. He was not found guilty of cowardice desertion and failure to obey orders during the fight at Hancock (which would have led to execution), but was dismissed from the Service for cause. The Liberal Party was opposed to the declaration even after the attack on the grounds that violence never settled anything, and was, in any case, almost always illegitimate.
Manticore´s six major political parties are:
- The Centrist Party, which favors a tough anti-Havenite foreign policy and a conservative domestic policy of fiscal restraint. The Centrists have been behind Manticore´s naval expansion and have been the driving force behind the foundation of the Manticorian Alliance (of star nations in the path of Havenite expansion).
- The Crown Loyalists, whose main concern, and litmus test for any measure, is the preservation of the Crown’s power. They are strongest on Gryphon for historical reasons (i.e., conflict between landowners and the majority population there). The Crown Loyalists usually form coalitions with the Centrists.
- The Liberal Party, which seeks to implement some welfare state measures and fundamentally distrusts reliance on military action. Their paramount tenet in foreign policy is that ¨violence never solves anything¨.
- The Conservative Association, a reactionary political faction which actively resists any measure that might threaten the privileges of the aristocracy generally and the House of Lords in particular. Their foreign policy is isolationist (as expansion threatens to dilute their influence).
- The Progressive Party, which opposes deficit spending like the Centrists, but wishes to reduce military spending and has little interest in foreign policy. The Progressives also believe that there is little hope of surviving a war against Haven.
- The "New Men" Party, a faction which opposes the concentration of power in the hands of the aristocracy and "the powers that be". They are a wild card in Manticorian politics, siding with whichever faction they believe will favor their interests in Parliament.
SKM is allied with:
- Grayson from 1903 Post Diaspora to present.
- Erewhon from 1910 P.D. (?) to 1919 P.D.
- Andermani Empire from 1920 P.D. to present.
- minor powers (including Zanzibar, Alizon)
SKM is at war with:
- People's Republic of Haven from 1905 P.D. to 1915 P.D. (truce)
- Republic of Haven from 1919 P.D. to present (end of truce with Operation Thunderbolt)
- Masada in 1903 P.D.
Note: Because of the policies of Baron High Ridge's government, Erewhon has left the Alliance and has signed a mutual defence treaty with the Republic of Haven. With the end of the resumption of active warfare between the Alliance, Erewhon no longer participates in the War, as it is not obliged to join with RoH if it resumes hostilities. However, it has made available a good portion of the technological advances achieved by the Alliance during the first phase of the War.
Because of its domination by Manpower Inc (the genetic slavery organization), the SKM has long been, more or less, involved in a cold war with:
SKM is neutral towards:
Its major systems and planets:
- home system:
- Manticore A 3: Manticore a temperate planet with an exceptionally mild climate; gravitation is 1G
- Manticore A 4: Sphinx a cool planet with a very long year and very harsh winters; native species include the sentient treecats; surface gravitation is 1.35G
- Manticore B 4: Gryphon a cool planet with more than Terran axial tilt which causes extreme seasonal climate variation; slightly higher than 1G gravity
- Basilisk System: the system closest to one of the Manticore Nexus terminals
In the course of the events recounted in the books, the SKM also annexes:
- A large portion of the chaotic Silesian Confederacy between the Andermani Empire and the SKM.
- The Trevor's Star System (one of the termini of the Manticore Wormhole Junction) within the current boundaries of the Republic of Haven.
- San Martin the heaviest gravity world inhabited by humans, formerly independent, then conquered and occupied by the Republic of Haven. It requested, and was granted, membership in the Star Kingdom after the Havenites were evicted by the Alliance. It is the inhabited planet of the Trevor's Star System.
- the Talbott Cluster:
- a group of stars with several inhabited planets just beyond the current borders of the systems controlled by the Solarian League, but some hundreds of light years away from the Manticore system. One star system (Lynx) is very close to the sixth (and most recently discovered) terminus of the Manticore Wormhole Junction. The planets of the Cluster, like San Martin, also requested annexation by the Star Kingdom. They viewed this as a much more acceptable alternative to incorporation into the Solarian League as 'frontier worlds' controlled by the Office of Frontier Security, but without full membership in the Solarian League.
In the words of Honor Harrington, the Star Kingdom of Manticore is now arguably the Star Empire of Manticore. This title seems very accurate, as projecting fifty years forward; the newly added Trevor's Star and Talbot Cluster holdings should be fully up to Manticorian infrastructure standards in all appreciable aspects. The amount of resources, both fiscal and via manpower, the Star Kingdom could bring to bear at that point would be significantly beyond the already considerable amounts that can be focused from the Manticorian system itself.
Though originally settled as a single system star-nation, the Star Kingdom enjoys several advantages most star-nations do not enjoy. Specifically, the Manticore system contains three planets (Manticore, Sphinx, Gryphon). Most star-nations limited to a single star system have considerably less habitable real estate. This grants obvious advantages in terms of what the Star Kingdom can accomplish even before orbital infrastructure and its impacts on system GNP and population capacity are considered.
Additionally, the Manticore system also contains the Manticore Wormhole Junction. Discovered approximately 100 years after the Star Kingdom was founded, it is the largest wormhole junction ever discovered. Initially, there were only five destinations reachable via the Junction. Sigma Draconis (located within the Solarian League, and offering the quickest access to Sol and humanity's home planet); Gregor (an Andermani system near the Silesian Confederacy), Trevor's Star (initially controlled by the People's Republic of Haven, and was captured by the Star Kingdom during the Haven-Manticore war), Phoenix (also within the Solarian League), and Basilisk (which was annexed by Manticore). Recently in the Honorverse, a sixth Junction terminus has been discovered leading to the Talbot Cluster. This area, formerly a back-water on the edge of human controlled space, is set for explosive growth now that it has access to the previously known Junction destinations.
In large part due to tolls and usage fees charged to ships making transit via the Junction, the Star Kingdom enjoys the largest single-system GNP outside the Solarian League itself. It is only this enormous economic advantage which has enabled Manticore to maintain its highly productive research and development programs, and to fuel the budget of the Royal Manticorian Navy. This same economic advantage also lends itself to diplomatic and foreign relations leverage, as threat of closure of the Junction to a star-nation's shipping would often result in that barred nation falling significantly behind its competitors for the bottom-line business of moving interstellar cargo. Finally, there are obvious military advantages in moving fleets strategically via the Junction; and vulnerabilities from hostile forces using the Junction to move attacking forces into the Manticore system.
The primary branch of the Star Kingdom's military is the Royal Manticoran Navy. The RMN is the senior service in terms of sheer budget and necessity; control of systems and planetary orbitals all but precludes other military action in many circumstances. With a five hundred year tradition of service, the RMN has amassed considerable institutional experience and knowledge, and has evolved from its beginnings as a system defense force, past its lengthy formative years focusing primarily on commerce protection for the Manticoran merchant marine, and now is regarded as one of the premier navies in the galaxy.
Backed by the significant resources Manticore commands, the RMN is further powered by strongly pursued and implemented research and development programs. Particularly since the start of the war with Haven, the RMN has seen its capabilities grow explosively compared to what had been the technological cutting edge prior to the onset of hostilities.
In terms of combat capability, there is literally no contest between the pre-war RMN and the current-war RMN. A RMN pre-war superdreadnought could engage with a missile broadside of a few dozen tubes at a from-rest range of six million kilometers. A current war RMN superdreadnought can engage with a missile pod attack containing as many missiles as it has fire control channels for (upwards of several hundreds) from a range of one hundred and fifty million km.
Other branches of the Manticoran military are the Royal Manticoran Marine Corps and the Royal Manticoran Army. These are professional ground forces which act in concert with the RMN in actions to secure enemy worlds, space stations, and ships. The Marines are charged with maintaining security, providing reaction forces onboard RMN ships and with spearheading planetary assaults, whereas the Army is tasked with defending the surface of the Star Kingdom's worlds, reinforcing initial attacks by the Navy and Marines and providing garrison troops for occupied planets.
- Honor Harrington
- Allen Summervale
- Edward Saganami
- Hamish Alexander
- William Alexander
- Baron High Ridge
- Catherine Montaigne
- Anton Zilwicki
- Queen Berry of the House of Zilwicki
- Queen Elizabeth III