Ciudad Navidad was founded by a group of peaceful peasant wastelanders living in northern Chihuahua. Putting in hard work to eek out meager lives as farmers, they were wholly uninteresting save one aspect of their lives, their religion. By and large, these men and women practiced a particular strain of folk Catholicism known as Santaria.
Shortly after the turn of the 23rd century, the men and women of the settlement had a particularly bad harvest of banana yucca and barrel cactus fruit, meaning that they would be unable to pay the tribal warriors of nearby Camp Pershing, who demanded annual tribute and offerings. Knowing that it would be a matter of months, if not weeks, before a war party would ride out from the camp to loot, rape, and murder, the farmers elected to leave their small settlement. The decision was not made lightly, and the decision on where to go was equally intense and complicated. Having once heard of a settlement to the north of a religious town with white crosses erected all over it from merchants traveling on the ruins of Mexican Federal Highway 2, it was decided that the peasant farmers would flee to Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Following the Rio Grande River, the farmers crossed into the United States and made the treacherous journey north. Though the journey only took roughly three days, it was a perilous one, as the Chihuahua Desert was a harsh mistress, full of numerous dangers. Late in the spring of 2203, the immigrants arrived in Las Cruces. They were initially warmly received by the residents of settlement, but things quickly went sour.
The stories that the Santaria immigrants had heard of Las Cruces were indeed true, but the settlement was not the idyllic utopia they projected on it. It was controlled by The Inquisition, a militaristic evangelical cult that believed it was its sacred mission to rid the world of those they labeled heretics- and the Santaria practices and beliefs of the immigrants were deemed heretical. Only a small group of Santaria followers were able to escape the arrests that followed in the days after their arrival.
Those that were able to leave Las Cruces- only a small percentage of the group that arrived- escaped east, following the ruins of U.S. Route 70. Knowing that The Inquisition would be on their heels, they elected to detour into the Organ Mountain. The detour would give the Mexican farmers a defensible position to defend themselves. Sure enough, a small force left Las Cruces to capture the Santarians. Relying on guile rather than muscle, the Mexican immigrants retreated deeper into the mountains, intentionally causing rockslides in their wake. Convinced that rockslides claimed the lives of the Santarians, the force from Las Cruces returned home believing that the men and women they were pursuing had been killed.
Realizing they would not be able to leave the mountains en mass without attracting the attention of the Inquisition once again, the Mexican immigrants decided to establish their new home in the mountains, calling their settlement Ciudad Navidad, in honor of the most important holy day of their patron saint.
Over the first few years of its existence, the men and women of Ciudad Navidad kept a low profile. They did their best to hide their very existence from the evangelicals of Las Cruces, interacting only with settlements back in Mexico. As the years passed, the settlement grew in size and in population, and the leaders of Las Cruces realized that their heretical neighbors had not died, as they had previously believed. Incensed, in 2206, the Inquisition sent a sizable war party east. Though outnumbered, the men and women of Ciudad Navidad elected to defend their home. Thanks to some help from the rugged terrain, they triumphed over the Inquisition once again.
Following the defeat, the leaders of Las Cruces changed strategies, believing that land wars would continue to put their forces at a disadvantage. Rather than attack Ciudad Navidad head on, they engaged in an economic war with it, refusing to engage in trade with them and disrupting shipments destined to the city when possible.
The status quo was maintained as such for the next few decades. At times, the people of Ciudad Navidad struggled when Las Cruces succeeded in disrupting trade, but on the whole, the settlement grew, providing the Mexican Santarians with stable lives. All of that changed in 2275, when Caesar’s Legion arrived.
They came from the north and the west, taking Las Cruces with relative ease, killing all those that lived there and turning the settlement into one of Caesar’s easternmost outposts. Once scouts stumbled upon Ciudad Navidad, the decanus of Las Cruces ordered an attack force to conquer the city to his east and enslave the men, women, and children living there in the name of Caesar. Like the Inquisition years earlier, the people of Ciudad Navidad were prepared for asymmetrical warfare that the Legion was not ready for. Though they suffered much more extensive casualties, Ciudad Navidad was able to initially repel the legionaries that attempted to lay it siege. Since the initial attack, small Legion forces periodically harass the settlement. As of the present, the Legion has yet to march on the settlement en masse, as Caesar has been focusing on taking the Hoover Dam and expanding into the Mojave rather than further south. The people of Ciudad Navidad go about their daily lives knowing that, at any time, war might be on their doorsteps.
Because of its location, Ciudad Navidad is mostly self-sufficient. Until it was conquered by Caesar’s Legion, Las Cruces was the nearest settlement to Cuidad Navidad, and the men and women of Las Cruces believed it was their holy mission of their to eradicate it. The Inquisition attempted to wipe out Ciudad Navidad only once, and when it was unsuccessful in doing so, decided to change tactics. Instead of directly confronting the residents of the Santaria settlement, they decided to engage in an economic war of sorts, refusing to engage in trade with them and doing their best to disrupt trade between the settlement and other locations when possible.
Because of its location, the settlement utilizes Legion currency, NCR dollars, Mexican pesos, and caps. The settlement is very communal in nature, though, and as a result private currency exchange for goods and/or services is not a common occurrence. The use of currency is primarily to facilitate the flow of goods from outside, into the settlement.
The settlement’s main source of income from the outside are trained geckos. For years, settlers have successfully captured and trained geckos and their spawn. They use some for protection of the city, but sell most to outsiders for profit. With those profits, they buy resources that the settlement cannot create for itself.
Cuidad Navidad has a very informal government, with town elders meeting to discuss and solve problems when necessarily. Because of its location, such meetings have been far and few between over the roughly 80 years that the town has existed. While they hold the opinion of the caretaker of the town shrine in high regard, they ultimately come to conclusions on their own, independent of his position on matters.
With a population of fewer than 200 residents, the settlement is fairly small. Built in the Organ Mountain, Cuidad Navidad is composed of a handful of buildings, a few sentry lookout towers, a brahmin pen, and a gecko pen. Among the most important sites in the settlement is the communal Santa altar, and the satellite array built since the arrival of Caesar’s Legion that broadcasts music, news, and information, keeping the settlement connected to the nearby world.
The rough, rugged terrain that the settlement is built on has helped keep it safe. At separate times, when both the Inquisition and Caesar’s Legion sent forces against Cuidad Navidad, the terrain was the primary reason the settlement survived. During Pre-War times, the Organ Mountains were known to be a challenging hike. After the bombs of the Great War fell, the mountains became even more of a challenge, as shifting tectonics added to their difficulty.
Cuidad Navidad is fairly isolated. Located in the Organ Mountains, the nearest settlement is Las Cruces, roughly 10 miles to the east. Formerly populated by The Inquisition, the two settlements did not enjoy particularly good relations. They considered the men and women of Ciudad Navidad heretics due to their Santaria practices, and considered it their holy mission to destroy them. The Inquisition only launched a direct attack against them once, in 2206. The attackers were unable to complete their mission and the group was forced to change their policy towards their neighbors in the mountains to the east, adapting a policy of economic warfare instead.
Years later, after Caesar’s Legion conquered Las Cruces in 2275, they turned their eye towards Cuidad Navidad. Shortly after conquering the city, the Legion decanus sent an attack force to the settlement to destroy it and subjugate the people living there, but the men and women of Cuidad Navidad were able to repel it. Since then, the decanus of the legion forces periodically sends small groups of legionaries to attack and harass the settlement, but has yet to organize a larger force to attempt to destroy it once again.
Since the arrival of Caesar’s Legion, the men and women of Cuidad Navidad have looked south, to Mexico, for allies. Due to religion, the people of Cuidad Navidad have allies among many wastelanders in northern Chihuahua, including groups of Santaria comancheros. Through those contacts, Cuidad Navidad has reached out to Madero Huerta, the leader of the New Mexican Army and the self-proclaimed ruler of Chihuahua City. Though separated by hundreds of miles of desert and harsh terrain, the ambassadors from Cuidad Navidad have impressed upon the general the threat of Caesar’s forces on his doorstep, and how their presence could interfere with his ambitions to rule all of Chihuahua.