|Location:||Broken Banks, North Carolina|
Columbia is a survivor settlement located in the Broken Banks of the former Southeast Commonwealth state, North Carolina. The town is best known for its very brief golden age, eclipsing Elizabeth City for a short time. Tensions with the area rose until tensions peaked in 2190, during the short Battle of Haughton Bridge. This conflict, which came about due to border and trade disputes with Columbia, was ended by the intervention of Hawke and simultaneous ousting of Joseph McCann from power. Today, Columbia is a shadow of its former self, aligned with their enemy out of necessity. They seek revenge for their fall, but both Elizabeth City and Columbia know it's a far road ahead for the once-great settlement.
Columbia was a town of 800 before the Great War. Located along Davenport Bay, it was a short boat-ride from Elizabeth City, though one could easily drive by way of the Haughton Bridge. Though it was located along a potentially strategic point for economic development, Columbia's glory days were ahead of it before the war. Ironically, it took a nuclear war to make the city relevant in any way shape or form. Though the situation had to get worse before it got better.
The original inhabitants of Columbia abandoned the town shortly after the Great War. Some became the second wave of immigrants to Elizabeth City. Others found themselves enticed by anarchy, terrorizing the Broken Banks as raiders. Much more met their various deaths at the hands of post-war America. Columbia remained in ruins for some time, until an expedition from Elizabeth City during the Dark Ages of Elizabeth City by Lieutenant Jacob McCann, a member of the Old Guard and right-hand man of Warren Johnson. The forefathers of their respective ideologically-opposed dynasties, these two men were close friends.
Columbia was established shortly before Johnson's revolution as a fallback point in case the Hammerhead band of raiders won the battle. After Warren Johnson won the war, Jacob McCann started Fort Columbia, passing its administration to his son before his death. As time went on, Columbia prospered under the banner of Elizabeth City, the McCanns and the Johnsons working together. Then, in 2174, a massive hurricane struck the Broken Banks. While the entire region was devastated, this tempest ended the golden age of Elizabeth City. Before long, Columbia began to suffer under the banner of Elizabeth City before Joseph McCann Sr. declared Columbia's independence from Elizabeth City.
After Columbia declared its independence from Elizabeth City, the powers in control of Elizabeth City were powerless to stop the new city-state from performing any activity at the time. Joseph McCann Sr. was able to cement the city-states security, fearing an Elizabethan invasion once it regained its power. The already-powerful militia was revitalized under his leadership. Roads were fortified and privateers were hired to protect the waters of Columbia. While he expanded the militia greatly, it was largely for defensive reasons. In 2176, Joseph McCann Sr. passed away, leaving the leadership of Columbia to his son, Joseph McCann Jr.
Joseph McCann II took a more aggressive approach to Elizabeth City. While Elizabeth City attempted to rebuild the trade routes it had lost in the hurricane, Columbia took advantage of the situation, filling in the power gap left both by Elizabeth City and Manteo, which had been lost two decades before. Trade routes were established and defensive-contracts were signed. Over the span of a decade, Columbia grew in population greatly, eventually reaching over 600 people.
In order to combat the growing threat from Columbia, Elizabeth City began its own series of lucrative deals with settlements. The two became locked in economic war, eventually sparking several proxy attacks by raiders on their opponents' forces. The tensions reached a climax in 2189 and the golden age of Columbia is said to have peaked at this point.
In history, there are years that hold nothing but terrible things for a civilization. An annus horribilus. 2180 was such year for Columbia. While the city had reached its glory days, public support for taking on Elizabeth City was low. Nevertheless, tensions rose until caravan guards on Haughton Bridge began shooting at each other. While it is not known who fired the first shot, the battle was a decisive Elizabethan victory. Propaganda from Elizabeth City resulted in a negative public view of Columbia to its backers, leading them to believe they instigated the Battle of Haughton Bridge.
Elizabeth City placed heavy sanctions on Columbia, banning them from using the Haughton Bridge and declaring a blockade of the Albemarle Sound. Nevertheless, Joseph McCann Jr. sought revenge, planning an all-out war with Elizabeth City. When the Johnson family got word of this, they mobilized their troops and prepared to invade Columbia. It was only through last-minute Hawke intervention that both parties stood down.
However, on the same day as the Hawke intervention, a coup in Columbia resulted in a temporary overthrowing of the McCann family. Joseph McCann Jr. was assassinated, leaving Columbia powerless and headless. Backers began to leave Columbia's side as the city-state fell into a deep depression. The golden age of Columbia was at an end.
Joseph McCann III sought refuge in Engelhard during the coup until the revolt was stopped by Elizabethian forces. They invited the much cooler-headed Joseph McCann III back into Columbia under the condition that it remain an ally of Elizabeth City. However, by that time, Columbia had already been permanently crippled by the sanctions placed on it. On paper, the conditions were fair; McCann returned to power and Elizabeth City would not interfere with Columbia's remaining trade routes, with the exception of small tariffs imposed on trade routes going through Elizabethian waters or land.
However, the conditions were brutal in practice. Columbia was practically made into a puppet state of Elizabeth City. The once-powerful city-state faded into obscurity. Citizens flocked from Columbia, depopulating the town rapidly. By 2270, the population of Columbia was under 33% of the population it boasted at its apex. Abandoned houses and buildings decay by the streets, picked clean by scavengers.
Columbia largely exists along NC Highway 94, with the vast majority of residents living along either NC Highway 94 or in Secota Court, a residential area in Columbia. One entering over the bridge into Columbia will encounter the marketplace on the left-hand side of NC Highway 94 almost immediately. There are a number of vendors, including weapons vendors, apparel vendors and more. A bar is located on the corner of Elm St. and NC Highway 94. On the left-hand side is a waterfront residential area.
Further on down the road is an old high school that serves as the center of government for Columbia. Mayor Charles McCann lives across the street in a visitor's center.