|"Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko transformed the Fire Nation colonies into the United Republic of Nations, a society where benders and nonbenders from all over the world could live and thrive together in peace and harmony."|
|— Tenzin on the foundation and nature of the United Republic.|
The United Republic of Nations, more commonly known as the United Republic, is a sovereign state formed by Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko after the end of the Hundred Year War. It was formed from the oldest Fire Nation colonies established in the western Earth Kingdom and was created to serve as a society where benders and nonbenders from all four nations could live and thrive together in peace and harmony. The United Republic is known for having a unique and diverse culture, which was shaped by immigration and a technological revolution.
The capital of the United Republic is Republic City, a large, modern metropolis located on the shores of Yue Bay. As the center of government for the republic, the city was originally the location of the United Republic Council, a political organization consisting of one representative from each nation. However, following the events of the Anti-bending Revolution, the council was disbanded in favor of a new government system that gave nonbenders greater influence under the country's first president, Raiko.
Foundation of the United Republic
In the aftermath of the Hundred Year War, Team Avatar, led by Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko, came to an agreement with Earth King Kuei on the establishment of the Harmony Restoration Movement, which aimed to return Fire Nation colonies to the control of the Earth Kingdom. One of the consequences of this action was the removal of Fire Nation citizens from the settlements that they had created over the past century. This forced departure had considerably negative demographic consequences unforeseen by the parties in the agreement, such as compromising biracial denizens with both Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom heritage, and destroying the prosperity the colonies were experiencing due to the efforts of citizens from both nationalities. A year into the operation of the movement, Zuko withdrew his support after being accused of being a traitor by the mayor of the first colony, Yu Dao, precipitating a confrontation with Aang.
After narrowly avoiding war, Aang and Zuko initially resolved the impasse by instating a coalition government, where the colonies would be governed by both Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom citizens. The system first came into place in Yu Dao, though the other colonies soon followed.
While the colonies underwent a peaceful democratic transition, the industrial revolution spread in the western Earth Kingdom. Taking advantage of new technologies and the availability of bending and nonbending workers from all nations, new businesses and factories were founded. One site in particular grew rapidly. Located at the Mo Ce Sea's coast, near Yu Dao, it originally hosted just one factory, the Earthen Fire Refinery, but quickly expanded into a large agglomeration known as Cranefish Town. People from all around the world migrated there in hopes of getting jobs. As result of its rapid expansion, Cranefish Town came to be plagued by unemployment, poverty, and crime. Tensions rose between the ethnicities as well as between benders and nonbenders. Extremist ideologies began to take root among sections of the population, resulting in the emergence of organized bending supremacists led by Liling.
Eventually, the Avatar and the Fire Lord transformed the colonies, along with Cranefish Town, into a fifth nation where people from the four nations would be able to live in harmony. The new republic was governed by a council of five citizens representing each of the original four nations, with two representing the polar Water Tribes. They named this new polity the United Republic of Nations, and made Cranefish Town its capital, renaming the settlement "Republic City". Earth King Kuei agreed to cede large portions of Earth Kingdom land to form the republic.
Yakone's criminal empire
However, the capital began to experience demographic and political problems as a direct consequence of its nature as a large city. Organized crime became rampant, culminating in Yakone's attempt to take over the city through his criminal empire. Yakone used bloodbending to commit his crimes and torment the citizens of Republic City before he had his bending removed by Aang in 128 AG.
By 170 AG, the United Republic had entered a critical phase of civil unrest; resulting from wealth inequality among the citizens and increasing activity of bending triads, tensions between benders and nonbenders grew considerably. A man, only known by his alias Amon, took advantage of this opportunity and formed the Equalists, an organization of radical revolutionaries. They started the Anti-bending Revolution, threatening Republic City and its bending population. During the late stages of the conflict, the Equalists eventually used a fleet of airships to successfully seize the republic's capital. The United Forces responded by sending their First Division in an attempt to retake Republic City, but it was destroyed by the Equalists' secret biplane armada. After the destruction of the United Forces' First Division and the capture of the whole United Republic Council during this battle, the Equalist forces controlled almost the whole city. Lacking a capital, a government, and a strong military, the republic was on the verge of destruction. However, due to Team Avatar's involvement, the Equalist forces were soon defeated and Amon's secret was revealed. These events ended the revolution and Republic City was put back under government control. In the aftermath of the uproar, the council was abolished, and a new, democratic regime was established under the first elected president, a nonbender named Raiko.
Harmonic Convergence and its aftermath
In early 171 AG, civil unrest rose again in the United Republic, this time among its citizens of Water Tribe ancestry. When the Water Tribe Civil War ignited, tensions grew between Northern and Southern residents of Republic City. These tensions threatened to escalate due to the actions of the business magnate Varrick, who hoped to use the war to increase his profits. However, his attempted kidnapping of President Raiko failed and he was eventually arrested. Meanwhile, President Raiko decided not to intervene in the civil war or the fight against Vaatu, instead mobilizing the United Forces and the police in order to protect the republic in case of an attack.
On the night of Harmonic Convergence, Republic City indeed came under attack by the Dark Avatar, a fusion of Unalaq and Vaatu. While the United Forces fought against Unalaq in vain, he caused severe damage to the capital. His rampage was eventually halted by Avatar Korra, who purified and destroyed the Dark Avatar.
As a result of Korra leaving the spirit portals opened, Spirit Wilds began to overtake Republic City, thoroughly disrupting city life by forcing many people out of their homes, tampering with the public water service, and blocking several streets. Due to these developments, Avatar Korra and President Raiko's approval ratings dropped significantly. Even though the Avatar and the administration attempted to remove the vines and restore normality in the capital, their efforts were in vain. When Korra decided that both the spirits and the vines had to stay, President Raiko ordered her to leave the city, believing her to be the origin of all problems. At the same time, some nonbending citizens across the United Republic gained airbending abilities, with some choosing to join the Air Nation on Air Temple Island. They eventually relocated to the Northern Air Temple for training.
Avatar Korra would eventually be welcomed back to the Republic after her efforts to stop the Red Lotus and by 174 AG, the citizens of Republic City learned to adapt and coexist with the presence of the spirits and the Spirit Wilds, even turning it into a tourist attraction. With the addition of the spirit vines, Asami Sato of Future Industries heavily contributed to the renovation of the city's infrastructure, building roads above and around the vines.
The Republic also harbored Prince Wu, the heir to the Earth Kingdom throne, pending his coronation. Air Temple Island became a major travel and training hub for the newly reconstituted Air Nation.
Kuvira's threat and Evacuee Crisis
In 174 AG, the legitimacy of the United Republic of Nations was contested by Kuvira and her army, who believed that the territory had been stolen by Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko. In an attempt to rectify what they believed to be a grave injustice, the Earth Empire invaded the United Republic. Crossing its borders, Kuvira destroyed one of the military outposts with her spirit energy cannon, killing all the troops stationed there. As the army threatened Republic City, President Raiko surrendered to their might after witnessing the cannon destroy the United Forces' battleships in seconds. The threat, however, was vanquished through the efforts of Team Avatar, the Air Nation, and their allies, while the duel between Korra and Kuvira resulted in the opening of a new spirit portal in downtown Republic City.
The destruction caused by the attempted invasion and the opening of the spirit portal resulted in an Evacuee Crisis, and an escalation of the turf wars between Republic City's bending triads. These events culminated in an insurrection of the Triple Threat Triad, led by Tokuga who intended to seize control of the government. His uprising was defeated, but had an important impact of the following democratic elections. President Raiko's handling of the Evacuee Crisis and the triad insurrection was widely criticized, contributing to his loss to Zhu Li Moon.
The United Republic was established as a nation for benders and nonbenders from all cultures to live in, and thus it has a broad range of peoples from all walks of life. Because of this, the fashion and appearance of the citizens varies greatly.
Many United Republic citizens dress according to their culture. Consequently, civilians with Fire Nation heritage wear clothing in shades of red, those with Earth Kingdom ancestry shades of green, and descendants of the Water Tribe shades of blue. However, especially among nonbenders, clothing no longer reflects citizens' heritage entirely. Many, particularly those with mixed ethnicity, dress themselves in shades of neutral colors like brown or gray or wear clothing with different hues. Regardless of mixed ethnicity or cultural background, however, benders tend to dress in colors that accord with their bending art, which acts as the main identification of benders.
The emblem of the United Republic of Nations is an irregular hendecagon, a shape with eleven sides. It is similar to a pentagon with a circle in the middle and also with a leg on the left and the right side. Unlike the currency of other nations, the United Republic emblem is not printed on the money. However, the insignia is used in City Hall and worn as a pin on their clothing by the members of the United Republic Council and, after the council was abolished, by the President of the United Republic.
The United Republic is located along the eastern and northern coast of the Mo Ce Sea and confined by mountain ranges to the north and east. In the vicinity of Republic City, even the coastline is lined with mountains. The mountainous areas around Republic City are known to have a cold climate, while Republic City has a more temperate weather pattern, although snowfall is possible during its colder months. The northern, western, and southern parts of the republic are marked by hilly, fertile woodland. The north and northeast are dominated by coniferous forest, while deciduous forest is widespread in the south. The northeastern mountain ranges are known to be the site of Mt. Makapu, a large, active volcano. North to the capital, the Su Oku River is located, whose immediate surroundings are known for its cherry blossom forests and beautiful scenery.
As with many large cities, there are electrical lines hanging over the heads of people to deliver power to their homes and work places. The power is released through electricity which is produced and generated by firebenders. Farmers are not seen in the United Republic of Nations, especially in Republic City. However, harbors are present, implying that fishing is one of the city's sources of food.
Government system: Unitary presidential republic (formerly unitary directorial republic)
Head of state: President (formerly United Republic Council)
Aside from establishing the republic, a unitary directorial government was also formed in which one representative from each nation would be a part of the United Republic Council, where they could represent the interests of their people. The nation's seat of government is situated in Republic City. There were five members in total, one for each of the following nations: Fire Nation, Earth Kingdom, Northern Water Tribe, Southern Water Tribe, and Air Nation. Although there was no requirement that the members be benders, by 170 AG, the council's makeup had shifted from a previously mixed to an all-bender makeup. However, after the Anti-bending Revolution exposed the Council's several flaws, especially being unable to represent the opinion of the majority, it was dissolved. Shortly thereafter, an election took place and the first president was chosen by the citizens of the republic. The president is elected for a four-year term and can be reelected. As the head of state, the president is the commander-in-chief of the United Forces and also completely controls the republic's foreign affairs. Some form of council still remains as the republic's legislative body, and there are also bureaucratic panels that regulate specific areas of government, such as Republic City's Utilities Commission. While the president has influence over all levels of government, they do not control everything, and trying to influence a specific government body can lead to accusations that they are overstepping the bounds of presidential authority. President Raiko, a nonbender, was the first native leader of the United Republic. He was succeeded by Zhu Li Moon in 174 AG.
Law and order
- Main article: Law and order in the United Republic
- See also: Republic City Police; Tarrlok's task force
The United Republic is well known for its strict but fair judicial system and a definitive system of law enforcement. Laws themselves were enacted by the United Republic Council. All citizens have the right to the integrity of life and property, the freedom of speech as well as a defense attorney and due process. Thus, vigilantism is strictly prohibited. Furthermore, it is prohibited to destroy private and public properties, to endanger the public order or the lives of others, and to hinder the police. One of the most serious crimes, however, is the use of bloodbending, outlawed for decades. In the case of seditious crimes, the United Republic Council acted as judge and jury for the court case.
One major institution of Republic City's judicial branch is the Metalbending Police Force. Stationed throughout numerous areas of the metropolis, they enforce law and order and ensure the safety of the public. Highly trained, disciplined and well-equipped policemen, they are considered to be elite law enforcers. In response to the illegal, violent and subversive activities of the Equalists, an elite task force, led by then-Councilman Tarrlok, was additionally created in 170 AG to bring Amon and his followers to justice.
Nevertheless, the capital has a long history of organized crime. Powerful crime syndicates extort Republic City's denizens and, despite the police's efforts, run protection rackets and are constantly involved in violent territorial wars.
The United Republic's medical standards are very high and the general health seems to be good. Notably, the art of healing has become widespread; private healers offer their services as well as the healing physicians of numerous hospitals in Republic City. Accordingly, to the high medical standards medical hand washing and the wearing of surgical masks, medical gloves and special clothing to prevent infections is common during surgeries. Complex surgery, including extensive plastic surgery, has been possible since at least 128 AG.
Serious diseases are not common among Republic City inhabitants, and even street children and vagabonds are enjoying mostly good health, although there is a gap of health between the wealthy and the lower classes of the republic. A major problem seems to be corruption among United Republic surgeons and physicians, since the criminal fugitive Yakone was able to undergo plastic surgery by bribery to flee Republic City.
The United Republic has a cosmopolitan culture. While rural areas in United Republic territory may not be as diverse as the largest cities, there are many other settlements inhabited by blended groups of citizens. Republic City in particular is a multicultural metropolis by design, as people from all nations migrated to the area after valuable resources were discovered following the end of the Hundred Year War.
The United Republic is known for its broad media landscape, a result of the high level of education, the freedom of the press and the technological revolution. Newspapers are the most common medium of information distribution, and at least five different newspapers operate in the capital: the Yuan News, the Republic News, the United Daily News, The Elemental Times, and The Republic Reporter. Likewise, the radio is very popular, though less common as more expensive to purchase. There are many channels, including ones for news, sport events and music, the latter often sponsored by private companies. Due to the popularity of pro-bending, matches are generally broadcast live. Accordingly, the Republic City press is large and well organized, employing hundreds of journalists. Soon after the first mover, The Adventures of Nuktuk: Hero of the South, was released theatrically in Republic City, this new type of media became very popular; by early 171 AG, even President Raiko became a fan of the Nuktuk chronicles.
The United Republic's position as a melting pot of different nations and cultures has had a massive impact on the bending arts that are practiced by its inhabitants. Influenced by the urban environment, the industrialization and the new uses of bending itself, the styles of the different arts changed to fit the new urban landscape.
Airbending changed very little after Aang's passing, as Tenzin became the sole, living airbending master. Even though he and his family resided near the fast-paced city, he attempted to uphold the ancient tradition of the Air Nomad culture and the way the monks of old practiced their bending. He passed on these teachings to his children and Avatar Korra. After some nonbending citizens gained the ability to airbend after Harmonic Convergence, Tenzin strove to pass on the Air Nomad culture to them as well in hopes of eventually repopulating the air temples. By 174 AG, the airbenders, including Tenzin, had taken to wearing specially designed wingsuits for gliding, replacing the traditional glider staffs their predecessors had used.
Waterbending in the fast-paced city has changed significantly from the waterbending from before since the city has a very different water availability, thus forcing the waterbenders to be quick and determined since their element is limited and quickly consumed during a fight. Because of this, many waterbenders of the United Republic have adapted a fighting style which is based primarily on sheer strength and speed. Consequently, the waterbending of the United Republic benders is much more aggressive and deadly than original waterbending. For example, surprising, aggressive first strikes during battles are popular among criminals and law enforcers alike. Remarkably, this new fighting style runs counter to the original principle of waterbending, to wait and turn the targets' attacks against them. Through the new, aggressive combat style, the United Republic waterbending became also very emotional. Anger, hatred, and rage fueled even waterbenders with high self-control, like Tarrlok. Overall, the new style shares many similarities with firebending. However, the United Republic style has proven several times to be very effective in the urban environment.
Earthbending changed greatly within the United Republic. A new style was developed which focuses on speed and is based on earth projectiles. Although earth is available everywhere in the city, the new laws against the destruction of private and city property severely limit the element's use. Therefore, earthbenders try to fight while minimizing the possibility of collateral damage, unlike the typical highly destructive earthbending style. In order to meet the new principle, the United Republic earthbenders mainly fight with little earth blocks or discs and also try to avoid hits by dodging them rather than blocking or enduring their enemies' attacks until the right opportunity to counterattack reveals itself, similar to waterbending outside of Republic City. Just like its waterbending style, the United Republic earthbending style runs counter to its original principle, but proves to be effective. However, the original earthbending is still present within the minds of the republic's earthbenders.
Metalbending, a ferrokinetic sub-skill of earthbending, is a completely new form of earthbending, only slightly older than the United Republic itself. Although they need to master earthbending to metalbend, the United Republic metalbenders almost exclusively use their elite skill and are rarely seen earthbending, most likely due to the law-related limitations mentioned above. Due to this, their sub-skill is the bending on which they define themselves and are defined by others. Consequently, earth and metalbenders are differentiated from each other in principle in Republic City. Therefore, metalbending became an almost completely new, fifth bending art in the city, a development that is so far unique for a bending sub-skill in the world. With metal cables strung between buildings, Republic City is the perfect environment for metalbenders since their element is present everywhere and can be used without causing much collateral damage. Metalbending is very prominent within the republic, but particularly common among the famous Metalbending Police Force.
Firebending shows the least change of all the main bending arts used within the United Republic. Due to its natural flexibility, the typical firebending fighting style hardly needed to be changed.
The firebending sub-skill of lightning generation underwent a remarkable change in seventy years. While it was originally considered the most powerful firebending technique, as its use was available only to a select few firebending prodigies and masters, the art has evolved into a well-known skill and is known by enough people to make lightning generation a decently-paid job at a Republic City power plant. Quicker lightning generation and a weakening of the intensity of the lightning itself were part of this process.
- Main article: United Forces
The military of the United Republic of Nations is known as the United Forces, which answers to the president as its commander-in-chief. The United Forces has a strong navy, consisting of several divisions with heavy battleships as basic units, and after the end of the Anti-bending Revolution, they also established their own air force, using biplanes developed by Future Industries.
- With the United Republic Council abolished in favor of an elected president in 171 AG, the United Republic became the first democratic state in the Avatar World.
- It is also the second known state to have gone through at least two different systems of government, the first being the Fire Nation and third being the Earth Kingdom.
- Both Earth Queen Hou-Ting and Kuvira have refused to recognize the sovereignty of the United Republic, considering it to be illegally occupied territory of the Earth Kingdom and Earth Empire, respectively.