The People of Freihafen
By Randy McDonaldHistory
Migration and the Ethnies
The German language is Freihafen’s dominant language. In the 2299 census, 85% of the Freihafen population claimed German as their mother tongue, while in all 91% of the national population–almost 178 million people–claim German as their main language of everyday use. French and English are the foreign languages most widely spoken by Freihafeners, by 46% and 28% respectively; Azanian, Portuguese, and Japanese are spoken only by much smaller populations.
The sheer number of Teutophones makes Freihafen the single largest German-speaking state by population in all of human space, outnumbering the Teutophones of Earth–Germany, Austrovenia, and neighbouring states–by more than 50 million people. This demographic mass has given Freihafener Teutophones particular clout in their language community. Some farseeing (perhaps overoptimistic) Freihafeners believe that one day, Freihafener German accents and phrases will set the standard for the interstellar Teutophone community, just as Brazilian Portuguese dominates the interstellar Lusophone community.
However, by no means is German the only language spoken on Freihafen. Bavaria, lacking France’s Empire and Britain’s Commonwealth, could not draw upon large numbers of Teutophones from outside of Europe; indeed, it could not readily draw upon large numbers of Teutophones inside Europe, owing to the divisions of the German states. Instead, Bavaria looked to its central and eastern European neighbours to provide immigrants to its Alpha Centauri. Mostly Slavic but including sizable Magyar, Greek, and Lithuanian populations (among others), this immigration did not destroy Garten’s basically Teutophone nature, as the effects of German-medium education and mass media, interethnic marriage, and simple voluntary assimilation made themselves felt. Languages such as Polish, Czech, Magyar, Slovene, Chinese, and Dutch are spoken in independent Freihafen, but outside of recent immigrant populations they are generally declining; only in self-contained rural areas, like Nova Slovenija in Westgarten, Neues Lusatia bezirk in Nordgarten, and Neuösel bezirk in the Inselnbezirke, do non-German languages show any particular vitality. However, immigrant languages have influenced Freihafener German, introducing new loan words and creating a levelled accent quite distinct from the German spoken on other worlds. Garten tried to limit the infiltration of non-German words into the popular language, but independent Freihafen has officially abandoned all these attempts.
The 2299 Census revealed that, in that year, Freihafen had a total population of 194 576 000 people. This population makes Freihafen the second-largest non-Terran human nation-state behind only Wellon, the third-largest community on Tirane, and the 20th largest human nation on any planet. (Incidentally, Freihafen is also the single largest Teutophone human nation by population, treating Germany’s colonies as separate from the Germany proper.)
The youthful populations of colonists implanted on Freihafen and the consistently high volume of immigration has helped the colony’s population to grow rapidly. Already in 2210, there were more Bavarians on Tirane than on Earth; Garten’s population passed 100 million people in 2245, and it continues to grow sharply. The death rate is relatively low, with an average life expectancy is 91 years for women and 86 years for men.
However, throughout Garten/Freihafen’s history its birth rate has been consistently lower than that of every other major Tiranean colony. The total fertility rate per woman in the first century of Freihafen settlement fluctuated around an average of 3.2 children per woman–high by the standards of First Tier nations on Earth, almost shockingly low by colonial standards. The reasons for this relatively low colonial birth rate are not precisely known to demographers, although most agree that it has something to do with the fact that almost all immigrants to Garten/Freihafen came from European countries with relatively low fertility rates, the high priority placed on feminism in the early colony, and the concentration of immigrants in Garten’s large urban communities. Recently, fertility rates have fallen further–in the 2270s and 2280s fertility declined to 3.0 and 2.9 children, respectively, per woman, and current estimates suggest that now, the average woman on Freihafen born in 2270 will give birth to 2.6 children in the course of her lifetime. The fertility decline in the 2270s and 2280s can be put down to the saturation of the more easily exploitable lands by the Freihafen colonists, while the sharper decline in the last decade can be traced to worries about Freihafen’s political future and the post-independence recession. There is a tendency for recent immigrants to have more children than native-born Freihafeners, particularly on the part of Poles and Croatians.
The question of the Freihafener birth rate has provoked much angst of late. Recent surveys suggest that the Freihafen fertility rate has slowed its decline and is likely to stabilize at roughly its current level. However, some Freihafeners argue that the Freihafener birth rate might one day fall below the levels needed to sustain population growth in the long run; one day, Freihafen’s population might begin to decline, just like the population of West and East Germany in the twenty-five years before the Twilight War. To counter these fears, Freihafener socialist politicians have argued in favour of pro-natalist policies, including financial subsidies to mothers with three or more children.
Freihafeners divide their country’s population between ethnies, an originally French term used to describe specific ethnic groups. In the 2300 census, 51% of Freihafener residents identified themselves as belonging to the “Freihafener” ethnie. It is impossible to give a fully accurate description of a diverse population of 100 million people, but these people share some common factors. For instance, although they are likely to have non-Teutophone ancestors, they almost always speak German as a first language and are likely to have knowledge of non-German languages inherited from family members (most likely Czech, Magyar, or Polish). They are likely to be Roman Catholic by baptism, but only 30% regularly attend Mass. More than 90% live in the major cities of Freihafen and their suburbs, with most visiting the country only on vacation. They form the core ethnie of the Freihafener nation-state, and their numbers appear to be growing through assimilation of smaller populations.
Though there are almost 100 million self-identified “Freihafeners,” there are almost as many getrennte Freihafeners (Ger: hyphenated Freihafeners) tracing their backgrounds to Freihafen’s diverse immigrant populations. Some of the more prominent groups are listed below.
Austrian: For Austrians, emigration to the Bavarian colony at Tirane is a time-honoured way to escape their Alpine homeland. Teutophones like the Bavarians and sharing a broad variety of cultural traits in common with the Bavarians, the Austrians were the perfect non-Bavarian immigrants. Immigration to Tirane has continued even after the formation of independent Freihafen; there are almost seven million first- and second-generation Austrian-Freihafeners, and the number of Freihafeners with at least some Austrian ancestry has been estimated as in excess of thirty million. Sentimental regard for their ancestral Alpine homeland aside, Austrian-Freihafeners tend to identify themselves very strongly with their new country.
Bavarian: Although Freihafen is far from being the same sort of homogeneously Bavarian cultural reserve as Heidelsheimat, almost ten million Freihafeners identified themselves to census-takers as ethnically Bavarians. Most people who identify as Bavarian are descended from early 23rd century Bavarian immigrants; earlier Bavarian immigrants tend to identify themselves wholeheartedly as Freihafener, while later Bavarian immigrants are more likely to see themselves as German. Modern Bavarian-Freihafener identity is centred around the Freie Bayern political movement, an interstellar association frowned upon on Earth which demands that German authorities allow Bavaria to vote on independence. In the face of the German government’s refusal to allow a referendum (which would, in any case, return a pro-German majority again), many younger activists seek to involve themselves in studying the Bavarian past of Garten, and in supporting the independent Bavarian colony of Heidelsheimat.
Bavarian Muslim: Late 20th century to West Germany by Turkish and Yugoslav Muslims created a substantial Muslim gastarbeiter (Ger: guest worker) population, and although the Twilight War inflicted a very heavy toll on this urbanized population, the survivors melded with post-Twilight Turkish, Croatian, and Albanian Muslim immigrants to form a tight-knit Teutophone religious minority. Always somewhat isolated from their Christian neighbours, Bavarian Muslims were quick to take advantage of the opportunities offered by their country’s new Tiranean colony. By the time that Garten became independent Freihafen, there were twice as many Bavarian Muslims (1.45 million) on Tirane as on Earth. Bavarian Muslims are quite theologically liberal, though this liberalism reflects their high degree of assimilation into mainstream Freihafener culture. Many community leaders warn that with a 30% rate of intermarriage and increasing non-observance, the Bavarian Muslim community might disappear before the end of the 24th century.
Chinese: The broad grouping of "Chinese" includes more than four million people coming from widely varying ethnic backgrounds. The Polnisches Kantonesisches (Ger: Polish Cantonese) are a unique population formed by three migrations from China: a 19th century migration to Malaya, a 21st century resettlement to eastern Poland, and 22nd and 23rd century migrations to Garten. More often speaking Polish or German than Cantonese and generally Roman Catholic or Calvinist Protestant, the two million Polnisches Kantonesisches have little in common with Freihafen’s Manchurian immigrant community, produced mainly by migration north of Manchurians from the crowded enclave of Tunghu into the Sudgarten and towards Hauptstadt.
Czech: In the 20th century, Bavarian-Czechoslovak relations were tense–a quarter of Bavaria’s pre-Twilight population was descended from Sudeten Germans expelled from Czechoslovakia, while West Germany and Czechoslovakia fought on opposite sides in the Twilight War. The common suffering of the two nations in the Twilight War made these historical differences irrelevant, and under French supervision Bavaria and Czechoslovakia became major trading partners and collaborators in industrial development. When Bavaria created its Garten colony, it gave generous immigration quotas to Czechoslovakia. Czech immigrants to Garten numbered two-fifths of the total Czechoslovak contingent, and were concentrated in the Südgarten district. On average, Czech immigrants tended to be relatively well-educated and somewhat anti-clerical; in a certain sense, the Czechs coloured the sceptical attitudes of all Garteners towards established authority, whether Catholic religious or Bavarian political. There are an estimated nine million Czech-Freihafeners, prominent in the society’s cultural and political life.
Dutch: Lacking colonies of its own and with a growing population, the Netherlands encouraged emigration to the ESA colonies on Tirane, including Bavarian Garten. Garten’s Dutch immigrants tended to be equally divided between Netherlandophones and Teutophones, and to be concentrated in agricultural settlements in Nordgarten. The common fluency of Dutch immigrants to Garten in German hastened their assimilation, although Dutch Calvinists–because of their distinct version of Christianity–have resisted assimilation better than most and constitute a somewhat distinct community of 1.5 million people.
Ests: The Estlandic presence in Freihafen dates to the 2190s, when Estland signed a treaty with Bavaria which gave Estlandic-based corporations access to the markets of the Bavarian interstellar community and a limited migration quota in exchange for guaranteed Estlandic investment. As the richest and most important Bavarian colony, Tirane quickly accumulated more than its share of Estlandic immigrants. Most Estlandic immigrants congregated in Hauptstadt, but with the consent of the colonial government Ests settled on two islands in the Inseln Der Königin-Clara, naming them Neuösel and Neudago (after the German names for the Estonian islands of Saaremaa and Hiuumaa). These two islands have evolved into a thriving miniature Estland home to a half-million people, and constitute a bezirke (Neuösel) to themselves. Elsewhere, Ests have formed a tight-knit community in Hauptstadt, centred in the business and financial industries.
Flemish: Under ESA agreements intended to encourage mixing between colonial populations, three million French citizens emigrated to Bavarian Garten. Half of these immigrants were actually ethnically Flemish, Netherlandophones from the north of the Belgian Department, who were excluded from large‑scale participation in French settlement. Speakers of a Germanic language and Catholic, the Flemish assimilated readily into Garten colonial society; today, eight million Freihafeners claim at least some Flemish ancestry, with the highest proportions in Mittelgarten. This constituency, free of French surveillance, appears to have played an important role in the Flemish nationalist movement, and contributed to Freihafen’s early recognition of Flemish independence. Although most Flemish-Freihafeners speak mainly German, Flemish identity has recently undergone a resurgence as a political-cum-ethnic identity.
French: Francophone immigrants from metropolitan France formed only a small minority of the French citizens immigrating to Garten. Concentrated in Hauptstadt and other Mittelgarten cities, the French immigrants tended to look more towards Nouvelle Provence than Garten, and often emigrated there. Many of the remaining French immigrants intermarried with other French citizens who had immigrated to Garten (mainly Rhinelanders and Alsatians), and through cultural selection became visibly more conservative than the colonial norm. Modern-day French-Freihafeners–numbering some 400 thousand people–are very closely tied to the Freihafener Catholic Church, and form a disproportionately loud lobby in favour of Freihafen’s French alliance.
French African: Many French Africans–particularly from Senegal, Gabon, and Congo–have immigrated to Freihafen over the 23rd century, whether legally or clandestinely. Rarely fluent in German upon their arrival and generally poorly educated, French Africans tend to get shunted to the lowest levels of the Freihafener workforce. Most French Africans arrive fluent in French, but all speak native languages such as Wolof and Lingala. The 2300 census recorded 2.4 million French Africans resident in Freihafen; results from random surveys suggest that there might be another million illegal French African residents. The Bavarian government preferred to overlook clandestine immigration from Nouvelle-Provence for astropolitical reasons, but independent Freihafen has raised the issue publicly several times. As most French African immigrants are Muslims, Freihafener Muslim organizations have played a leading role in reaching out to their coreligionists, but the cultural differences between French African and Freihafener Muslims along with the latter’s limited resources have limited the effectiveness of this outreach.
German: Although Garten seceded from Bavaria because it was not German, self‑reported "Germans" constitute the ninth‑largest ethnie in Freihafen–ten million people. While descendants of non-Bavarian German immigrants disproportionately identify themselves as German, most Germans are actually of Bavarian descent. Freihafener Germans were the single most important constituency opposed to the 2292 declaration of independence and tend to be the sole segment of the population which supports the Deutschland Beteiligtes (Ger: Germany Party), a political movement also based on Heidelsheimat favouring the immediate “reunification” of Freihafen with Germany. Somewhat unfairly, German-Freihafeners are stigmatized as reactionaries.
Greek: The seven million Greek-Freihafeners–concentrated in urban areas in the Südgarten and Mittelgarten–form the largest Greek community outside Sol system, more numerous even than the Greeks of Provincia do Brasil’s Nova Ostia. Greek-Freihafeners constitute Freihafen’s main “middleman” minority, prominent as storeowners and international merchants, with close connections to Provincia do Brasil and south-eastern Europe. Greek-Freihafeners also form the core population in Freihafen’s Eastern Orthodox Christian community.
Italian: Most of the ethnically Italian immigrants to Freihafen were educated professionals adapted to urban life, not rural pioneers. Drawn from major cities across the peninsula, the main wave of Italian immigrants (in the 2210s and 2220s) settled in the cities of Mittelgarten and Nordgarten. Fluent in German, Roman Catholic by religion, and lacking a particularly strong group identity, most of the three million Freihafeners of partial Italian ancestry have been completely assimilated into the general population.
Lithuanian: In the past century, the autonomous Polish province of Lithuania has been a consistent source of immigrants to Garten/Freihafen, as Lithuania’s poverty and the entrenched presence of Zapamoga in the region provided both motive and opportunity for an exodus to Tirane. Although there is a large urban population of Lithuanians in the Mittelgarten, the Lithuanian settlements in the Westgarten constitute the geographic and spiritual core of Freihafen’s Lithuanian community of 2.5 million. Strongly Catholic, almost all Lithuanian parents educate their children in the Church’s Lithuanian-medium education system; the few Lithuanian agnostics tend to drop out of the community and assimilate into the Freihafener mainstream. The support of Lithuanian-Freihafeners for violent anti-Polish political movements in their homeland has bedevilled Freihafener-Polish relations lately.
Magyar: The central European nation of Hungary has been one of the most consistent sources of immigrants to Garten/Freihafen, continuing even after Freihafen’s declaration of independence. After a few abortive efforts at rural settlement, Hungarian immigrants to Garten/Freihafen tended to flock to the major industrial areas on the coast, assimilating superbly and quickly rising to high positions in the colony’s government, military, and economic life. Almost 20 million Freihafeners can claim at least some Magyar ancestry, but only four million Freihafeners speak Magyar.
Polish: The first members of the Polish-Freihafener ethnie arrived at Tirane in 2167 with Bavaria’s first colonial transport. Conservatively Catholic and with a relatively high birth rate, the Polish-Freihafener ethnie grew quickly in number, aided by Zapamoga transport programs. 40 million Freihafeners claim at least some Polish ancestry, but the true “hard core” of the Polish-Freihafener ethnie is only a quarter that size. Concentrated in Südgarten and Mittelgarten but present in large numbers throughout Freihafen, Polish-Freihafeners’ strong sense of ethnic identity and historic antagonism to the idea of a united Germany (as opposed to German language and culture, or individual German states) was a vital contribution towards the formation of the separate identity of modern Freihafen. Polish-Freihafener author Taddeus Kosciusko might have been exaggerating when he claimed that “[w]ithout us Poles, Garten might never have had the nerve to break with Germany and become our dear Freihafen”; if so, he was not exaggerating by much.
Rhinelander and Alsatian: The left bank of the Rhine had become French territory soon after the Twilight War, and immigration from pre-war France soon established a Francophone majority in the départements rhénans while the process of Frenchification in the region of Alsace-Moselle accelerated. Despite this, large Teutophone minorities persisted in Rhénanie and Alsace. When Bavaria opened its Tiranean colony to settlement, many French Teutophones took advantage of their knowledge of the German language and their French citizenship to immigrate to Garten under ESA immigration programs. In the early decades of the colony, this bilingual (French-German) immigrant population came to serve in some ways as intermediaries between Nouvelle-Provence and Garten, but intermarriage with Garten’s Teutophones whittled away this community. Today, practically the sole remnants of the Rhinelander and Alsatian immigrant community of Freihafen are some Francized German names (Mueller instead of Müller, for instance) and old community clubs now beginning to close for want of new members.
Russian: Russian immigration to Garten began only in the 2250s, as Russia’s trade with the ESA colonies on Tirane exploded as part of Russia’s growing European orientation. Most Russian immigrants were educated professionals, bringing their families as they settled for long-duration work stays with Russian corporations based in Garten. Following Garten’s transformation into Freihafen, Russian immigration has increased in volume, closely tracking the expansion of Russian-Freihafener trade. Currently, there are two million Russian-Freihafeners, concentrated in Freihafen’s major cities, particularly in Hauptstadt, Neumarkt, and in the Nordost Garten cities of Crailsheim and Holborg.
Saxon: Before the War of German Unification Saxony was independent Bavaria’s closest German ally, like Bavaria closely related by historical and economic ties to the non-German states of central Europe, particularly Czechoslovakia. Protestant and with distinctive historical experiences in their background, Saxons tended to maintain a strong group identity, particularly in their agricultural settlements in Nordgarten kreis. The Saxon-Freihafeners were just as appalled by their homeland’s voluntary dissolution into Germany as their Bavarian counterparts on Tirane and Heidelsheimat, but unlike their Bavarian counterparts they lacked an offworld base to regroup. Saxon activists on Freihafen–the Freie Saxons–follow their Bavarian counterparts in demanding the restoration of Saxon independence, but are even more unlikely to see any results than their Bavarian colleagues. Saxon-Freihafener identity, based on Saxony’s distinctive history and the shared Lutheran faith provided by the Lutheran Saxon Kirche auf Tirane, seems likely to persist.
Serbian: The Serbian community of Freihafen is largely the product of labour migration in the 23rd century, concentrated mainly in Südgarten (particularly Neu-Tsingtao and environs). The Serbian-Freihafener ethnie is nonetheless a fairly coherent ethnie, organized around the Serbian Orthodox Church. Numbering by most estimates some two million strong, these people constitute the largest Serbian community off Earth.
Slovene: Like their Austrian co-citizens in the Austrovenian Federation, Slovenes also emigrated in large numbers to Garten. The Slovene-Freihafener community can be divided into two distinct groups. First are the mainstream Slovene immigrant population, numbering four million and largely assimilated into Freihafener society like their Czech counterparts. Next are the Kommunalslovenes (Ger: Communal Slovenes), a Slovene subculture drawn from the close-knit village communities which emerged in eastern Slovenia following the anarchy of the post-Twilight period and characterized by a kibbutz-style agricultural culture akin to that of the Mennonites and Amish of 20th century North America and Paraguay. The Kommunalslovenes, with their high rate of population growth through natural increase and their clannishness, continue to resist assimilation throughout Westgarten and Nordgarten. Recently, there has been some conflict over land use between Kommunalslovenes and their Freihafener neighbours.
Slovak: Post-Twilight Slovak culture was traditionally characterized by emigration, first to the Czech half of Czechoslovakia, then to Austria and Bavaria, and finally to Tirane. Although Slovaks form barely two-fifths of Czechoslovakia’s population, they took most of Czechoslovakia’s immigration quotas, forming (in contrast to the well-educated Czechs) a disproportionately large share of Garten’s pioneers and urban proletariat. Slovak immigration to Freihafen decreased sharply in the 2290s, but many Slovak farming villages in the Westgarten and Sudgarten have retained their distinct folk culture.
Sorb: Almost all of the 400 thousand Sorbs now alive in the universe live in Freihafen, most in the Neues Lusatia bezirk of Nordgarten. This fact is testimony to an incredible story of survival. One of the Slavic populations living in modern-day Brandenburg and Saxony during Germany’s medieval colonization in north-eastern Europe, surrounded by German settlers, the Sorbs–speakers of a language closely related to Czech and Polish–were unique in resisting assimilation, even during the Nazi era and after the Twilight War. In the 2170s, the Sorb community union Domowina and the Saxon, Czechoslovak, and Polish governments helped finance the settlement of some eight thousand nationally conscious Sorbs from their eastern Saxony homeland to Garten’s northern frontier with Nouvelle Provence. Joined in the 2190s by three thousand Anglophone and Hispanophone immigrants from Texas descended from mid-19th century Sorb immigrants to that country, the 23rd century history of the Sorb-Freihafeners is marked by the incredible revitalization of their culture, aptly compared to the creation of Israel by the Jewish diaspora in the 20th century. Strongly nationalistic and Catholic, Sorb-Freihafeners have resisted assimilation superbly.
South Tyrolian: Many of the immigrants recorded as "Italian" by virtue of their citizenship are actually Germanophones from the Italian province of South Tyrol. After the First World War, South Tyrol was annexed by Italy from Austria and subjected to Italianization campaigns. Although South Tyrolians tried to reunite with Austria after the Second and Third World Wars, both times a resurgent Italian state re-conquered the province. In the 2180s, Bavaria coordinated a program of sponsored emigration with the Italian national and South Tyrolian provincial governments, giving South Tyrolians preferential rights of emigration to Garten to try to help resolve their homeland's serious ethnic problems. By and large, the South Tyrolian community has prospered in Tirane, although nationalist movements with connections to terrorists back in the Earthly homeland remain active.
Texan: The Texan presence on Freihafen dates to the first generation of settlement in Garten/Freihafen, when the German-Texan Adelsverein encouraged Texan immigration to Südgarten from the 2170s, soon followed by the immigration of Texan Sorbs to Nordgarten in the 2190s. Although the numbers of Texan immigrants were never very large, by dint of their early arrival Texan immigrants made a major imprint on the life of the young colony–Neu-Tsingtao’s first and most beloved city manager was Texan-born, for instance. Although only a few million Freihafeners are actually of Texan descent, a recent trend bemusing many Texan-Freihafeners has been for co-citizens to falsely claim some sort of Texan ancestry, preferably to an important figure in Texan history.
Tundukubwan Azanian: The long history of trade between the Azanian colony of Tundukubwa in the southwest of Arkadie continent and Garten/Freihafen in the east has also encouraged a fair degree of migration between the two colonial societies, and almost four million Freihafeners claim membership in the Azanian/Tundukubwan-Freihafener ethnie. In keeping with the multiethnic compositions of the populations of both Azania and its Tiranean colony, many members of this community come from a variety of Bantu tribes. The single largest component, however, are speakers of Afrikaans, belonging to the “white” and “coloured” communities of Azania.
Turkish: In the late 20th century, many Turkish immigrants arrived in Bavaria to provide labour during West Germany’s economic boom. After the Twilight War, when a conservative Islamist dictatorship took power, Bavaria was the chosen destination of many Turkish refugees, particularly of Shi’ite Alevis. Reluctant to accept continued large-scale Turkish immigration, the Kolonialministerium and Zapamoga stepped in by offering a limited number of Turkish refugees resettlement on Garten. These Alevis came to form the core of modern Freihafen’s Muslim community. Now numbering five million people, the Turkish-Freihafener ethnie.
Ukrainian: In the 2180s and 2190s, Bavaria offered Ukraine a limited immigration quota of farmers to settle the plains of Nordost Garten; this quota was suspended, and eventually retired, following trade disputes between the two countries. The Ukrainian-Freihafener ethnie has grown nonetheless, and is a highly visible and generally bilingual prosperous population predominating in much of their native kreis. Oddly enough, Ukrainian-Freihafeners have long had a tradition of participating in the Bavarian Sternkriegsmarine, Raumwaffe, and other orbital military forces; many are now serving on the French Arm against the Kafer in Freihafen military units under French and German command.
The inhabitants of Terran Bavaria first began to practice Roman Catholicism in the 4th century CE. In the 16th century CE, Bavaria’s Christians resisted the temptations of the Protestant Reformation, and Bavaria became renowned as the main Roman Catholic kingdom in the German lands. To this day, in fact, most of Terran Bavaria’s population is Roman Catholic. Considering the origins of Freihafeners in Bavaria and other, equally Catholic, central European nations, it’s not surprising that Freihafen is home to one of the largest Roman Catholic populations anywhere in human space–more than 145 million communicants. Although Freihafen like Terran Bavaria recognizes the Holy See in the Vatican City instead of the schismatic Catholicism of Hispanophone Latin America, the schisms of Roman Catholicism are irrelevant in Freihafener religious life.
In part, this is because of Freihafen’s secularization–the near-theocracy visible in Provincia do Brasil does not appeal to fun-loving Freihafeners. The proposals of Cardinal Maurice Brunlet (Archbishop of Mirambeau) in Nouveau-Provence to limit manifestations of non-Catholic religions in that colony’s public life under the French junta further disturbed Freihafeners. There is now a broad popular consensus that Freihafener society and polity should be run on secular lines. Although the Catholic Church continues to operate its state-funded school systems (providing instruction in German, Polish, Lithuanian, Serbo-Croatian, and French) and the conservative Catholic share of the colony’s electorate (about one-quarter of the total) is a major political force, it represents only one faction among many, and a declining faction at that.
Most Freihafener Catholics, in fact–more than 110 million people–are non-religious, attending Mass only when necessary for major religious events (for instance, Christmas and Lent) and for major events in family life (baptisms and funerals). Freihafener public life is secularized, with little of the politicized Roman Catholicism that pervades Brazil despite the existence of a Roman Catholic public school system existing alongside the major secular school system. Freihafen’s constitution does accord special prestige to the Roman Catholic Church as the confession of the large majority of Freihafen’s population, but it also guarantees freedom of religion for all religious sects.
The second-largest confession of Freihafen is the Lutheran Church of Freihafen, which has roughly 17 million communicants. Lutheranism is particularly common among descendants of non-Bavarian German immigrants, but the denomination had shed any lingering suspicions of being an agent of Hannoverian influence long before Freihafen’s declaration of independence. Despite this, Freihafener independence has destabilized the Lutheran Church by creating disputes between nationalists and Pan-Germanists over the nature of Freihafener Lutheranism’s institutional relationship with German Lutheranism. “Free Saxons” have created their own separatist Lutheran Saxon Kirche auf Tirane (Ger: Lutheran Saxon Church on Tirane) with one million members in Nordgarten, while the Ests in Neuestland bezirke and Hauptstadt have retained their national church’s ecclesiastical independence from the Freihafener hierarchy.
Eleven million Freihafeners practice Orthodox Christianity. These fall under the jurisdiction of the Eastern Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch, based in the American city of Boston on Earth; although the established national Orthodox Churches of Earth have jurisdiction over their parishoners in the Alpha Centauri system, the Ecumenical Patriarch (who commands the Archdiocese of Oceania, South America and Tirania) has a supervisory role. Most of Freihafen’s Orthodox Christians are ethnically Greek, with smaller Russian, Romanian, Serbian, and Ukrainian minorities. German is increasingly used in Church services, but depending on where they are located individual churches offer services in the vernaculars of the different Orthodox ethnies. The Orthodox Church, like the Roman Catholic Church, operates state-funded school systems, offering instruction in the different vernaculars of its practitioners with assistance from their homelands on Earth. Since most Eastern Orthodox Christians on Tirane live in Freihafen–indeed, the Freihafener Eastern Orthodox community is the largest Eastern Orthodox community outside of Earth–this gives the Freihafener segment of the Church great prestige. The formation in 2298 of the Freihafen Orthodox Church–an explicitly national church founded by Freihafener nationalists, offering services in the German language and appealing mainly to Orthodox Christians assimilated into the Freihafener mainstream–has proven controversial among Freihafener Orthodox Christians; almost two million Freihafeners have opted for this church, leaving their ethnic chruches behind, but disputes over the church’s status with the Ecumenical Patriarch, with the other churches, and with ecclesiastical property continue.
Eight million Freihafeners are Muslim. Shi’ite Muslims, mainly of Turkish Alevi background, form the largest share of Freihafen’s Muslim community, at five million; the remainder are equally divided between Bavarian Muslims and recent French African immigrants. Owing to the religious and ethnic diversity among Freihafener Muslims, the newly-established Moslemische Verbindung von Freihafen (Ger: Muslim Association of Freihafen) has had little success in establishing any kind of united Muslim body. Nonetheless, the MVF has begun outreach programs to connect with French African immigrants, and played a crucial role in lobbying the Freihafener government to establish formal diplomatic relations with Iran, seen as a model for Freihafener Islam.
Calvinist Protestantism is a much smaller faith, practiced by three million people, most visibly by the descendants of Calvinist Dutch and Azanian/Tundukubwan immigrants in Nordgarten and by Polnisches Kantonesisches all over Freihafen. Freihafener Calvinist Protestantism is notoriously sectarian, with more than fifty distinct sects.
Other minor religions include Buddhism and Confucianism (practiced by just over one million people), Judaism (a half-million practitioners, mainly from the Reconstructionist sect) and the Ramtha Cult (with almost a half-million practitioners, with many others influenced by the basic precepts of the belief system).