Harkath is the dominant military power of northern Erna, rivaled only by Gastonia in the south. The stern hand of the Harkonnen family keeps a firm grip on the affairs of state, and military garrisons can be found in every settlement, large and small. This disciplined rule has led to a lasting intrastate peace and a highly focused economy, which makes Harkath a force to be reckoned with.
The frosty pine forests of Harkath were the last lands to be cowed by the Carthic Empire, in 550BA, and the first to revolt when its power began to fail 300 years ago, in 0AE. Hale Harkonnen, now a mythical hero in Harkath lore, rallied his people into an army that marched Carthic forces all the way back to the Grand Line Mountain Range. Even with the reinforcement of other peoples throwing off the Carthic yoke, Harkath had to fight a long and bitter conflict to earn their freedom. Luckily for the rest of Erna, this war tied up most of the ailing empire's resources, allowing other nations to slip their bonds fairly painlessly.
Harkath continued a slow, gradual expansion of military might and economic influence until it came into conflict with Gastonia in 290AE. Already used to war, Harkath was quick to defend itself from Gastonian aggression, especially since the mark of Carthic culture was still so clear upon the people there. Six long, bloody years fueled a powerful enmity on both sides, and the signing of a treaty known as the Clash Accords halted the fighting for only two years. However, despite the Harkathan's natural eagerness for war, major Harkath advances mysteriously tapered off three years after the Clash Accords failed, and only occasional pitched battles now occur along the border.
Harkath is ruled as a traditional monarchy, with the king also serving as the leader of the military. The Harkonnens govern from the ancestral family seat of Ardatov, deep in the impregnable pine forests of the Northern Highlands. The nation is divided up into baronies, ruled by members of the royal family and the occasional influential Harkathan.
There is a large power distance between the people of Harkath and their rulers, but the government enjoys widespread popular support. A strong sense of national pride, ethnic unity, and military culture allows citizens to look past the compulsory military service and occasional harsh commandments from on high.
The current king of Harkath is Vladimir Harkonnen.
Harkath is in a state of open war with Gastonia, but most of its forces were called back into the Highlands in 301AE, leading to an end in major engagements. Tensions remain high in towns and cities near the border, but the attractiveness of Gastonian trade keeps tempers from flaring too high.
Harkath and Jetstone, both being monarchies, are very friendly, and though Jetstone maintains an official neutrality in the war, Jetstone miners regularly plumb the depths of the Grand Line in Harkath territory. Both Willesa and Ruud have fended off Harkath incursions in the last 100 years and are cold to the Harkonnen family.
Demographics and Culture
The population of Harkath is approximately eight million souls. The largest concentration of settlements is in the southern, less forested half of the country, though the oldest towns and cities can be found far in the north. The people of Harkath are a hardy, rustic lot, and only two or three percent of the population live in urban areas.
The people of Harkath developed a strong national identity and defensiveness as they fought off the Carthic Empire, and as a result the nation is predominantly human. Harkathans are a tall, pale, sturdy lot, quick to anger and quick to forgive. There is a strong sense of national pride in every Harkath settlement, and service in the military is considered a rite of passage, even if it isn't a legal requirement. Because martial prowess and military service are so valued in Harkath culture, more of the population can be considered prepared and trained in the event of a war. During its war with Gastonia from 290-301AE, Hakarth maintained a larger standing army.
Living off the land is both a Harkathan ideal and a necessity of life, as the tundra of northern Harkath is inhospitable to crops. Ecaz and Gastonian foodstuffs (funneled through Ecaz) make their way in from the south.
- Royal Apothecary Society