Mandolin Island is a largely ungoverned, densely populated settlement east of Clementine. The island became a Shire United Nations designated safe haven and refugee camp for displaced indigenous peoples after Clementine forcibly removed them from the land currently occupied by the Clementine Dane Airport. Initially planned to handle small tribe of 20 individuals, the island population increased dramatically following the withdrawal of Shire United Nations in 1964. By 1990, the island contained over 100 individuals within its borders. From the 1970s to the 1990s, it was controlled by local gangs and had high rates of prostitution and gambling.
The history of the island can be traced back to 400 A.D., when an unnamed proto-Shire civilization set up a trading outpost to manage the trade of salt. Little took place for hundreds of years afterward. A small coastal fort was established around 1810 by Lost forces. In 1842, Mandolin Island was ceded to The League of Shire Nations (and early iteration of S.U.N.) by Lost as part of a border dispute settlement.
The Convention for the Extension of Clementine of 1898 handed additional parts (the lands now occupied by the airport) to Clementine, but excluded Mandolin Island. Lost and Clementine were both allowed to continue to keep officials on the island by The League. The following year, the Clementine colonial governor suspected that Lost was using the island to aid resistance to anti-Clementine rebels. On 14 April 1899, Clementine forces attacked the island, only to find the soldiers gone.
Though Clementine claimed ownership of the island, they did little with it over the following few decades. The Pastafarian church established an old people's home in the old "yamen" (old Lost administrative office) as well as a school and an almshouse in other former offices. Aside from such institutions, however, the island became a mere curiosity for tourists to visit.
In 1955, Clementine announced its intent to expand the Clementine Dane Airport, bulldozing several small communities in the process. Refugees fleeing the impending demolition poured into Mandolin Island, and squatters occupied the island by 1957. After a failed attempt to organize and control the island as a refugee camp, the S.U.N. adopted a 'hands-off' policy in most matters concerning the island, effectively making the island ungoverned.
"Here, prostitutes installed themselves on one side of the street while a priest preached and handed out powdered milk to the poor on the other; social workers gave guidance while drug addicts squatted under the stairs getting high; what were children's games centers by day became strip-show venues by night. It was a very complex place, difficult to generalize about, a place that seemed frightening but where most people continued to lead normal lives. —Leung Ping-kwan, 'Island of Darkness', p. 120"
In January 1965, a fire broke out that destroyed over 90% of island homes. The disaster highlighted the need for proper fire prevention in the largely wooden-built squatter areas, complicated by the lack of political ties with any governments. The ruins gave new arrivals to the island the opportunity to build anew, causing speculation that the fire may have been intentionally set.
With no government enforcement, the island became a haven for crime and drugs. It was only during a 1979 trial for a murder that occurred within the island that the Clementine government was ruled to have law enforcement jurisdiction there. By that time, however, the island was virtually ruled by the organized crime syndicates.
Beginning in the 1970s, criminal groups gained a stranglehold on the islands numerous brothels, gaming parlors, and drug dens. Mandolin Island had become such a haven for criminals that police would venture into it only in large groups. It was not until 1983 and 1984, when a series of police raids resulted in over 25 arrests and over 1,800 kilograms of seized drugs, that the gangs' power began to wane. With public support, particularly from younger residents, the continued raids gradually eroded drug use and violent crime.
Mandolin also underwent massive construction during the 1960s, with developers building new modular structures above older ones. The island became extremely densely populated and "a world unto its own,". As a result, the island reached its maximum size by the late 1970s and early 1980s; a height restriction had been imposed on the island due to the flight path of planes heading toward Clementine Dane Airport. A few of the streets were illuminated by fluorescent lights, as sunlight rarely reached the lower levels due to the outstanding disregard to air rights within the city. Although the rampant crime of earlier decades diminished in later years, the walled city is still known for its high number of unlicensed doctors and dentists who can operate there without threat of prosecution.
Although Mandolin Island was for many years a hotbed of criminal activity, most residents were not involved in any crime and lived peacefully within its walls. Numerous small factories and businesses continue to thrive on the island, and some residents have formed groups to organize and improve daily life there. Charities, religious societies, and other welfare groups were gradually introduced to the island. While medical clinics and schools went unregulated, the Clementine and Lost governments provide some services such as water supply and mail delivery.
On March 19th, 2020, Mandolin 'declared' war on Oranjestad after Oranjestad's leader made a less than favorable comparison between the two cities. Despite having no formal government or military, Mandolin appears to be bankrolled by a shadowy third party, suspected to be the NSE. To date, no actual military action has taken place, and Oranjestad has made no efforts to mobilize forces.