The Baronage was the official name for the body of nobles in Westarctica from 2001 - 2014. On 21 September 2012, the Charter of Westarctica changed the name from "the Baronage" to "the Nobility," and with the Charter's second revision on 28 October 2012, it was finalized as the "Hereditary Nobility of Westarctica."
The Baronage from 2001 - 2004
During the early days of the Achaean Territory of Antarctica, the rules concerning the duties, rights, and privileges of the Baronage were laid out in the Achaean Civil Code and the Achaean Royal Charter. Essentially, the nobles of the Baronage were expected to act as governors of the various regions of the Territory. They had the right to bestow as many as titles as they wished upon commoners.
The Baronage from 2004 - 2012
When the Achaean Territory evolved into the Grand Duchy of Westarctica, the previous legal codes were abolished and replaced by the Grand Ducal Mandate. The Mandate maintained most of the noble's privileges, but created a major shift in expectations and responsibilities by making the Baronage the legislature of Westarctica.
Article 17: Lawmaking Process
(1) Bills can be introduced only by members of the Baronage or by the Grand Duke.
(5) The Grand Duke has full veto power.
(6) The members of the Baronage have no veto power.
The Grand Ducal Mandate also permitted the nobles of the Baronage to freely sell or give away titles that may be subordinate to theirs. For example, a Marquis could give titles of Count, Viscount, and Baron to commoners without asking the Grand Duke for approval.
The Baronage after 2012
After the second revision of the Charter of Westarctica, members of the Hereditary Nobility were no longer allowed to introduce laws or grant titles on their own accord. The concept of a legislature had previously been abolished when the Grand Ducal Mandate was overturned by the Transitional Government in June 2010 following the events of The Great Return.
Since 28 October 2012 the Baronage has been known as the Hereditary Nobility of Westarctica.