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Bicycle riders in an Ambarri boulevard. Bicycles are a popular form of alternative transportation.
Shoppers in a market in Pesarres. The city is known for its seafood harvests.
Most Abarrians are of European descent. The remainder are chiefly mestizos (persons of mixed native and European ancestry). The first permanent settlers were the Spaniards, who colonized the southern half of the island of Neropea in the 1600’s. The natives they encountered were mostly nomadic hunters. The intermarriage of some of the Spanish and natives created the mestizo population.
During the second half of the 1900’s, thousands of immigrants from Europe arrived in the country. Most of these immigrants came from France, Germany, and Italy. More recent immigration has been from neighboring Neropean countries, Asia, and Africa.
Ambarri, on the southern Abarrian coast, is the capital and largest city. It is Abarri’s chief seaport and an important center of transportation and culture. It has a population of about 1.2 million. Other major cities include Remedios; the north-western fishing city of Pesarres; the old city of Uraneta; Ajacra, the center of textile and clothing production; the riverside city of Saraio; Sevalle, close to Ajacra Bay and an important seaport; and Parco in central Abarri.
Population (est. 2018)
The Old Quarter of Remedios. Remedios is the second largest city in Abarri and an important commercial center in the northern part of the country.
More than three-fifths of Abarrians live in cities and towns. Many wealthy and middle-class Abarrians in the largest cities live in well-furnished apartments or houses. Most of the working class also has decent homes, built by the government, their labor unions, or through their own efforts. Many migrants from rural areas live with relatives upon moving into the larger cities. The number of slums has been decreasing recently due to the construction of low-cost housing in the outskirts of cities.
Rural areas are sparsely populated. The presence of motor vehicles and roads connecting various towns and villages, however, greatly reduce the sense of isolation. Much of rural life revolves around farming or fishing (in coastal areas).
Spanish and English are the official languages. Abarrian Spanish, heavily influenced by Castilian Spanish pronunciation and vocabulary, is reported to be the mother tongue of about 80% of the population. English is widely used and spoken by virtually all educated Abarrians. Some French and Italian can be heard in large cities. Multilingualism among many urban dwellers creates demand for newspapers and magazines published in about a dozen languages.
Traditionally Abarrians have been Roman Catholics. Christianity is the chief religion of the country. Due to secularism, however, most people do not profess any major religion. One mosque, a Sikh temple, one synagogue, and two Buddhist temples are found in the capital city. Religious freedom is guaranteed to all.
Approximately 98 percent of the population can read and write. Education is compulsory for all Abarrian children between the ages of 6 and 16. Government-funded schools providing free education exist across the country. There are several private schools managed by different religious denominations. The number of students attending such schools remains constant through the years. Abarri has nine universities and colleges that offer courses leading to both undergraduate and advanced degrees. The Universidad Nacional de Ábarri, founded in 1911, is the oldest university in the country still in operation.