The era of the Crusades began in the year 1095, when Pope Urban II called upon the warriors of Christendom to liberate the Holy Land. The Crusader states established in the Levant by the Crusaders would not prove sustainable, as there were never enough colonists to create a permanent European presence. The Muslim reconquest began shortly afterwards, as the disparate city-states banded together to drive out the invaders. As Outremer began to collapse, European Princes still enamored of the Crusading spirit began to look elsewhere. Their attentions soon focused on the Baltic coastline, an area of swampy and difficult terrain inhabited by tribal peoples still practicing unreconstructed paganism. Several Crusades were launched into the region by Princes and Kings of the north-central European states, but it was not until Albert of Üxküll founded the Sword Brothers at the turn of the 13th Century that a Crusading Order devoted to the Baltic mission created a permanent armed crusading presence on the Baltic.
In response to the intensification of the Crusading attacks, the peoples of the Baltic began to band together for common defense much as the Muslims had done in the Levant. The most interesting of these characters from our perspective is Prince Mindaugas of Lithuania. When he came to power around the year 1219, he was one of a host of minor Lithuanian princes, but Mindaugas quickly began to change all that, launching a series of wars that would make him sole prince of Lithuania by the 1240s. The newly founded state of Lithuania soon began expanding again, absorbing many of the lands of the old Kievan state as that country disintegrated in the face of internal disunity and foreign invasions. By the time of Mindaugas’ death in 1263, Lithuania had become a territorial colossus capable of launching effective military resistance to the Crusaders. Lithuania was ruled by a group of mounted solider-aristocrats, openly pagan in their ways. These barons ruled largely as tribute takers, leaving a large degree of local autonomy among Lithuania’s diverse population.
As Mindaugas’ successors in Lithuania continued to expand territorially, a protracted war of attrition was fought on the Baltic between the Lithuanians and the Teutonic Knights, who quickly displaced and eventually incorporated the Sword Brothers as the main crusading presence in the north. Eventually, Lithuania would develop close ties with the neighboring kingdom of Poland. Poland was also a frequent target of the aggression of the northern crusaders, despite the fact that the Polish kings had accepted Christianity as far back as 966. When the Polish King Louis D’Anjou died without an heir in 1382, the two states were merged by the marriage of Jogalia/Jaigellio, Grand Duke of Lithuania to Queen Jadwiga of Poland in 1386 (The Union of Krewo). The combined forces of Poland and Lithuania were enough to deal the Teutonic Order a decisive defeat at the Battle of Tannenberg (1410), establishing the new kingdom as a force to be reckoned with in European politics. However, not all in Lithuania were happy with this arrangment, and under the leadership of Vytautas Lithuania revolted from Polish control. In December of 1418 Vytautas and Jogalia, now calling himself Ladislas II of Poland, signed a treaty confirming Lithuania’s existence as an independent state. The Treaty further stipulated that the 2 nations would consider each other as allies in perpetuity.
EU2 1.07 + Mar2 betas
The date of Vytautas’ revolt was moved forward to accommodate the game timeline. I don’t pretend to be an expert on Baltic History, so feel free to correct any errors I may have made in the this introduction.
This is my first stab at an EU2 AAR, any comments/suggestions will be most welcome