Commonwealths may refer to a variety of geographic entities within the Fallout world, including the thirteen commonwealths within the pre-War United States of America. The European Commonwealth was another similar entity, unrelated to the system within the United States.
Several different varieties of commonwealths are mentioned throughout the games.
United States commonwealth system
In 1969, the United States formed the Thirteen Commonwealths, which comprised several existing states. The Massachusetts State House was retired from active use as a result of the formation of the Thirteen Commonwealths.
Known commonwealths include:
- The Southwest Commonwealth, which encompassed at least the state of Nevada. Fallout: New Vegas includes this name on the Nevada state flag, found outside of Doc Mitchell's house, and a marker for the Southwest Commonwealth Conservation Area, which included Red Rock Canyon. Additionally, "Southwest" is written on the license plate on the bumper sword, though without the "Commonwealth" suffix.
- The Great Midwest Commonwealth, which encompassed at least the state of Illinois. Fallout: New Vegas features a license plate on ED-E that reads "Great Midwest" along the top, though without the "Commonwealth" suffix, and "Illinois" on the bottom, in the same vein as the "Southwest" license plate. It is also mentioned in Fallout 76.
- An unnamed commonwealth included the city of Watoga, which is itself part of the state of West Virginia, mentioned in Fallout 76.
The U.S. states of Massachusetts and Virginia are referred to as the "Commonwealth of Massachusetts" and "Commonwealth of Virginia," respectively. These formal names were in place before 1969.[Non-game 1] After the Great War, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was shorted to the Commonwealth.
Appalachia's status within the U.S. commonwealth system is unclear. As previously mentioned, a terminal entry makes reference to Watoga (part of West Virginia in Appalachia) being in an unnamed commonwealth. The region as a whole is referred to by many different names throughout Fallout 76, with multiple variations on a "Territory of Appalachia." A special election poster for "Senator of the Appalachia Territories" has a background featuring six states: Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. It is unknown if this also includes Washington, D.C.
Behind the scenes
- The idea of dividing the United States into thirteen commonwealths originated during Fallout's development (1997). According to Tim Cain, Leonard Boyarsky did not wish to use the regular 50-star flag and instead used the 13-star design because "it looked cool," and planned to explain it as it being divided into 13 super-states, but the explanation never materialized.[Non-game 2]
- In 2004, Joshua Sawyer wrote his own role-playing game that included commonwealths. At the time, Sawyer had left Interplay Entertainment after working on the canceled Van Buren project; he later served as the project director of Fallout: New Vegas in 2010, which mentions two of the commonwealths in his role-playing game (Southwest and Great Midwest). A list of Sawyer's commonwealths can be found on the Fallout PnP Wiki.[Non-canon 1]
- A commonwealth labeled as the "Columbia Commonwealth" is mentioned on a promotional item in the Official Bethesda Gear Store.[Non-canon 2]
- A commonwealth known as the "New England Commonwealth" is mentioned in the Fallout: The Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook.[Non-canon 3]
- In the tech demo for the canceled Van Buren project, Corporal Armstrong, a soldier from the "Great Midwest Commonwealth" 13th or 4th Armored Infantry Division, can be interacted with.[Non-canon 4][Non-canon 5]
- Massachusetts State House plaque: "The 'new' state house was completed in 1798 to house the government of the state of Massachusetts. The land selected was originally John Hancock’s cow pastures. The first dome was constructed of wooden shingles and covered in copper smelted by Paul Revere. The state government used this building continuously until the formation of the Thirteen Commonwealths in 1969."
- Nevada state flag in Fallout: New Vegas
- Red Rock Canyon stone marker
- Bumper sword's Nevada license plate
- ED-E's Illinois license plate
- Paladin Rahmani: "We had claimed the entire cache from a military facility in the Midwest. It was meant to stay under Brotherhood protection." (Over and Out)
- AMS corporate headquarters terminal entries; security terminal, 10-24-76: Re: Hey Stranger!: "Riley, I had no idea that you were still in the commonwealth, let alone in Watoga!"
- Fallout 4 loading screens: "Originally 'The Commonwealth of Massachusetts,' the state became known only as the 'The Commonwealth' after the Great War of 2077."
- The Lone Wanderer: "Virginia? Virginia's been gone for 200 years."
Jack Smith: "Not here. Not in Andale, no sir/ma'am. The great Commonwealth of Virginia is alive and well. In fact, we just voted ourselves a new governor!"
(Jack Smith's dialogue)
- Capitol Post terminal entries; Capital Post Top Stories -- July 27, 2052, United Nations Disbanded
- See Appalachia's regional names section for references.
- Special election poster. White silhouettes of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee appear in the background of the poster, presented at an angle.
- Josh Sawyer role playing game at FalloutPnP Wiki
- Promotional item materials from Official Bethesda Gear Store
- Fallout: The Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook p. 276: "Once a horse track in the New England Commonwealth, the Easy City Downs are now a raider den. Under the watch of those who occupy a set of ruined bleachers, various robots including Assaultrons, Eyebots, Mister Handys, and Mister Gutsys race for the entertainment of the local raiders as well as associated Triggermen."
- Van Buren tech demo: "You see Corporal Armstrong of the Great Midwest Commonwealth 13th Armored Infantry Division."
(Armstrong dialogue file)
- Armstrong: "Corporal Armstrong of the 4th Armored Infantry Division, Great Midwest Commonwealth. I'll help you reach your vault, citizen."
(Armstrong dialogue file)