The basic idea is that the country's been in shambles or used as a puppet by various neighbors for quite a while. When the civil war broke out, there were various factions - Communist, Fascist, Nationalist, etc. - that were often backed by various neighboring powers. Eventually the monarchist/nationalist/loyalist faction won. If others want to play the backers of the other factions (with currently bad relationships) let me know.
Also, I think my empire is going to start with one region, but its "homeland" might include a couple neighboring regions under occupation by another faction ("peacekeeping force maybe, or a former conqueror.) If you want to be that faction it would be interesting, although you'd probably get Partisan fighters and discontent there.