Borogravia is a small, backward country, engaged in near-constant war with its neighbours, most recently with Zlobenia, although other nations, tired of Borogravia's beligerence have allied themselves with Z|lobenia. Formerly part of the Dark Empire, it is located next to Uberwald. It was first (and last) seen in the book Monstrous Regiment, though it has been mentioned as early in the series as The Colour of Magic.
It is a Duchy (theoretically) ruled by "The Duchess" Annagovia who is worshipped almost as a god. However, she is really dead and the country's de facto leader appears to be General Froc. The capital city of the country is Prince Marmaduke Piotre Albert-Hans Joseph Bernhardt Wilhelmsberg. Wilhelmsberg is a quarter in the German city of Hamburg but is also likely a take off on St. Petersburg. The major river is the Kneck which is on the border between Zlobienia and its meandering is the cause of numerous border wars between the two countries. The country's main deity is Nuggan, whose propensity for declaring almost everything from babies to the colour blue an "Abomination" has driven the small country to poverty and starvation. Nuggan even declared chocolate to be an Abomination, in spite of the fact that Borogravia was, and in some quarters still is, regarded across the Disc as a centre of chocolate-making excellence. This may explain why Wienrich and Boettcher ended up in Ankh-Morpork - as refugees from Nugganitic persecution, much to Borogravia's detriment and Susan Sto Helit's advantage. The main crop is beets but with the constant drain of young men to go off to fight the never ending wars, there are few able bodied men left to work the fields. In fact between the numerous abominations and constant war much of the population are now left with little to eat but Horse Bread.
The Borogravian National Anthem is probably one of the most warlike anthems going:
- Awake, ye sons of the Motherland!
- Taste no more the wine of the sour apples
- Woodsmen, grasp your choppers!
- Farmers, slaughter with the tool formerly used for lifting beets the foe!
- Frustrate the endless wiles of our enemies
- We into the darkness march singing
- Against the whole world in arms coming
- But see the golden light upon the mountain tops!
- The new day is a great big fish!
All this, however, seems set to change, following the events of Monstrous Regiment and the interference of Ankh-Morpork.
In Monstrous Regiment we learn that Borogravia has been the aggressor in many wars with the neighbouring countries and the military seems to control the country in The Duchess's name.
The language spoken is Borogravian, though The Colour of Magic mentions a language called "High Borogravian", which may indicate a second language similar to High and Low German. And everyone seems to understand Morporkian just fine, c.f. the fragment of the Times that Polly finds.
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The name itself seems to be derived from a combination of "Borogove", a nonsense word invented by Lewis Carroll that appeared in his poem Jabberwocky, and Belgravia, an area in London, with Belgrade, the capital of the former Yugoslavia, thrown in to the mix. Some readers have also suggested that Pratchett may have been thinking of the eastern province of Austria, Burgenland which borders on Slovenia (cf. Zlobenia). Borogravia's constant wars with its neighbours has obvious parallels to one of the Balkans nations, an impression reinforced by the names of some of its neighbours; Zlobenia (cf. Slovenia), and Mouldavia (cf. Moldova, formerly Moldavia). This Discworld area has many similarities to the Balkans and eastern Europe, which at various times were part of the Ottoman Empire, the Austria-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union - all candidates for the reference to Borogrovia's position as a former member of the "dark empire".
Nuggan's constant creation of new Abominations has many parallels in the Roundworld. Afghanistan under the Taliban, early fundamentalist Iran, Cromwellian England in the 1600's. The army itself resembles the British army of the late 18th/early 19th centuries in its dress (although Swiss mercenaries in French service wore a very similar uniform).