Amestris is the country that serves as the principal setting of the anime, manga, and fanon series Fullmetal Alchemist.
Amestris is a unitary State, with a Parliamentary Republic type of Government, although one that is heavily dominated by it's military, giving the country the appearance of a dictatorship. The Head of State is the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, titled as "Führer" (Daisōtō from the Japanese), who concentrates the ranks of President and Prime-Minister of the country. He also controls the Parliament.
It seems as if the country is composed by several nations, quite diverse in culture and religion amongst themselves. The administrative regions of the country seem to reflect those differences. The country being divided in five provinces: South Area, West Area, North Area, East Area and Central Area.
The East Area is the most diverse one, sheltering a nation of a different ethnicity called Ishvalan. The province of Ishval is ethnically and culturally different of the rest of country: the people there are very religious, and most of them are against alchemy, which has brought many conflicts with the Central Government in the past and has culminated in the Ishval Civil War.
It's uncertain when Amestris was founded, some estimates put it around 1550, but it is certain, however, it would never acquire the amount of influence and power in the world's scenario if it wasn't for its Alchemy. It is told that a "Man from the East" came to the country more than two hundred years ago and taught alchemy, bringing not only power and growth to the country, but also battles with the neighboring countries and the gaining of territory. Always fulled by violent behavior.
The basis of the country's political and economic stability became strongly connected to war, which boosted the Military to the highest ranks and prestige positions of the government, which now appears to be completely controlled by them and has become a military dictatorship.
By around the year 1894, the prominent general King Bradley (consider to be a War Hero) was appointed as "Commander-in-Chief" of the country. Then on, the powers given to the Führer started to broaden to a dictatorship, making the entire government divisions work under military command.
There has been conflicts in all areas of the country since then, resulting in many massacres and heavy civil battles, always under the command of the Central's Army. The control of the provinces has always been held by influence and manipulation of the Central Government and through the menace of the Army, which turned the populace in some regions (notably Youswell) against the military and its oppressive rule.
The geography of Amestris is quite diverse, varying from desert areas in the East to an icy mountain range in the North and plains to the West and South. Amestris is a mostly land-locked nation, with no access to any known sea, as it seems to be bordered completely by other countries (Creta, Aerugo, Drachma, and the East Desert, followed by the country of Xing). It is currently unknown what lies beyond all these nations, whether that's all there is to the continent or if there are countries other than those. It is told that there is a water route from Xing to Amestris (considered to be "the long way around"), but its location is unknown.
It seems to be a quite extensive country with a large countryside population and low urban concentration.
The biggest city is the capital, Central City, that also has the largest buildings and busiest urban life. Each province has its own capital as their main city. The population seems to concentrate itself in the east, south and central areas, being the north quite isolated and the west with very sparse cities.
The climate is also highly diverse and can vary from a typical Mediterranean climate near the southern border to near glacial in the region of Briggs. But most of the country varies between a temperate and a subtropical climate.
Amestris' population has been noted at roughly fifty million, but population density varies around the nation between urban areas, rural areas and frontier areas. As an expansionist country, Amestris complies many different nations and many different ethnic groups. The most prominent ones are "caucasian" (dark hair and eyes and light skin tone), "muslins" (brown eyes and hair, red eyes in the case of Ishvalan, and tanned skin), especially in the East Area, including Lior and the region of Ishval, and "nordic" (blond hair and blue/green eyes). The dominant ethnic group in Amestris are caucasian although they too vary a lot. The "Nordic" group seems to be exclusive of Amestris, not appearing in no surrounding country other than the ancient Xerxes in the east.
Foreign Relations Edit
Over 50 million people live in Amestris and the population density varies greatly from area to area, increasing sharply in urban areas while remaining sparse in rural and frontier areas. As an expansionist country, Amestris has absorbed many smaller nations over its history and has therefore amassed a rather diverse populace made up of many different ethnic, religious and cultural groups, becoming a "melting pot" society of sorts.
Drachma, Amestris's neighbor in the north, recently signed a non-aggression pact with the nation, though relations are strained at best. However, the two countries are separated by the Briggs Mountain Range, which helps the two countries in hindering another full-scale engagement, due to the fact travel across the mountains is dangerous, which makes it hard and risky to wage a war over them.
Far to the east, beyond the Great Desert, lies the country of Xing, which is ruled by an imperial government, and its people use alchemy strictly for medical purposes, versus that of Amestris, who use alchemy for military and civilian purposes. There weren't any mentions of conflict between these two counties, probably due to the distance of their territory and the infertility of the Eastern Desert, making it an unattractive land to either. However, Amestris has recently started to discuss trading deals with Xing.
The only armed force of Amestris is the Army, since there's no Air Force known and Amestris has no access to sea, making a Navy Force not necessary.
Ever since King Bradley was elected Führer of Amestris he has made the military his primary focus, and has cemented it's power over every aspect of Amestrian life. It's most well known battle is the Ishval Civil War which ultimately decimated the Ishval race. The Amestrian military also conducts border skirmishes against the neighboring countries Creta and Aerugo.
The military administration has it's General HQ at the Central City and 4 main HQ who control the units across the country in each Capital of each region of Amestris. The army from the East HQ as well as the army from the fortress of Briggs are considered the best divisions of the Amestrian Army. Briggs is specialized in defense, while the Eastern Army is specialized in attack.
It appears as if the infantry is the main force of the Army, backed by artillary, tanks and the most important and prominent weapon of the Amestrian Army: the division of State Alchemist.
The division of State Alchemist is parallel to the normal ranks of the Army, the Alchemists being ranked as Majors as soon as they join the forces. They have their own symbols and undergo a different treatment and supervision as the other military personnel.
National Flag Edit
The official flag of Amestris is green with the symbol of a white dragon. Also, the cover of the pocket watches carried by the State Alchemists, used as an identification, has beast symbol with a hexagram on its face. The charge is used as a badge on military uniforms as well.
Notable Places Edit
- Central City: The bustling capital of the country and seat of power of King Bradley. From here, Central Command also runs the political affairs of the nation.
- East City: Located in a backwater region near the desert, East City was the home base of Colonel Roy Mustang and his entire outfit for most of the early portions of the anime and manga. It's reasonably close to Reole and Resembool, making it a sort of central hub for some of Ed and Al's early adventures.
- South City: Hub for all southern regions. Currently at war with the bordering nation of Aerugo.
- West City: Rocky, dry territory at war with Creta.
- North City: The quiet, snowy locale at the foot of the Briggs Mountains. Medical and supply center for the Briggs Fortress.
- Briggs: Located in the northernmost corner of Amestris. This fortress guards the country's borders from Drachman invaders.
- Reole: A small desert city that holds a powerful secret.
- Resembool: This far-flung town is the home of the Elrics, and a great deal of important events happened here. This is where Winry and Pinako live and the site of the Elrics burned down house.
The manga's later chapters reveal that Amestris had its growth and strengthen orchestrated for a precise purpose - the creation of a giant Nationwide Transmutation Circle, much like the one Father used in Xerxes. Over three hundred years before the events of the manga, a man known as the Eastern Philosopher taught the basics of alchemy to the then-tiny country, which then began using the techniques to conquer its neighbors. In recent years, there have been numerous incidents of mass death incited by the Amestrian State Military, forming a pattern identical to a circle found under the Fifth Laboratory used to create Philosopher's Stones. The circle is nearing completion - the final remaining point of bloodshed is the fortress Briggs, which has been assaulted by a very much outmatched Drachman force. Meanwhile, the Homunculus, Sloth, has completed a giant tunnel he has been secretly digging around the entirety of Amestris, in the form of the transmutation circle used to create the stones.
Real World ParallelsEdit
The last episodes of the 2003 anime and the movie indicate the close parallels between Amestris and the Weimar Republic in Germany. Part of the movie is set in 1924's Munich, during the historic episode called Munich's Putch (where the recently created Nazi Party tried to revolt and take power, resulting in the prision of Hitler and many of his followers).
Although at that specific time in history Germany was actually a parlamentary republic (and yet to have the Nazi's Coup more than 10 years later) rather than a military dictatorship, there's usually brought the presence of a Military President and a military-controlled state as being a similarity between the Nazi Germany and Amestris.
In the movie Conqueror of Shambala, the Elric brothers have no difficulty communicating with Germans once they arrive in 'our world'. However during the first time when Edward came across the gate he landed in London (but it should be noted that he had at that time travelled into his alter worlds body, which could account for his appearing in London).
In the manga, however, there's no direct real world parallels to any particular time and space in History.
The author, Hiromu Arakawa, has stated she didn't use any specific countries or cultures to create Amestris, but rather a combination of several European countries from several different periods between the 17th and 19th centuries and, more specifically, the changes that occurred in the Western Europe during the Industrial Revolution (she said she was greatly inspired, but only, by England), which is reflected in the machinery and automails from the series (and also brought the steampunk feel to it). There's no implied relation, according to her, to any specific country or time.
- Amestris was the name of the wife of Persian Emperor Xerxes. The country was named as a little easter egg from Arakawa, who also named the other central country of the series, Xerxes, after the Emperor himself.