Part I: Amidst A Sea of Principalities
Soon all of Iberia had plunged into war. Many nations declared war upon each other. Diplomacy was not seen as important; Duke Fernando managed to seal a royal marriage with Aragon, but had several other offers rejected (much to the dismay of the bride-to-be, who plunged into depression at the thought of being rejected). Aragon, however, entered an alliance with Valencia before the Duke could make the same offer. The Duke cast about for an ally.
On January 6, 1420, he found an ally. The small mountain nation of Asturias, far north in the Cantabrian range of hills, was only just recovering from a war with a mighty alliance of Galicia and Oporto. They were rather weak after being ravaged by the war (which they ended only by paying off over 275 ducats), and so were much inclined to befriend anybody.
To the south, the Muslim heathens of Andalusia annexed the Duchy of Toledo.
On September 6, 1420, Estramadura finally stepped onto the world stage. Duke Fernando declared war on neighboring Castilla. The nation was temporarily plunged into turmoil by the thought of war, which was only worsened by the news that Cantabria in the north had annexed Bearn in France and was marching to Navarra. It seemed now Estramadura was surrounded by present and future enemies.
It was only on October 8, over a month after the declaration of war, that the National Army arrived in Castilla, where it won a battle easily and began to lay siege to Madrid. In November came news that the city of Tago in Portugal had annexed Algarve, its southern neighbor. In December the Duke married off a royal relative to a nobleman from Navarre, and the month after came news that the Muslims of Andalusia had expanded their empire still larger, annexing Granada.
Meanwhile, Duke Fernando suddenly realized that he had made a serious oversight: Castilla was not only at war with Estramadura, but also fighting against Leon, the Duke’s northern neighbor. The enemy Kingdom announced the annexation of Leon on March 8, 1421, and its army there began marching towards Madrid. The Duke personally commanded in a string of battles that followed and ultimately resulted in victory for Estramadura.
Meanwhile, more hostile behavior arose, this time in the east of Iberia. Catalonia had annexed the Kingdom of Aragon and was now at war with Valencia. To the south, Andalusia began to fight a new war, against Gibraltar. The peninsula was already dividing into several powers.
Soon Cantabria in the north annexed Navarre (leaving one of the Duke’s lady relatives a widow), Catalonia annexed Valencia, and Andalusia annexed Gibraltar, making the last the sole ruler of all Moorish provinces in Spain. There was only a bit of good news: Estramadura now was one of the surviving powers, having taken Leon from Castilla and making the Kingdom its new vassal state.
In early 1423, the philosopher Don Juan Aranjeuz theorized that the Earth revolved around the Sun, and not vice versa. He also supposed that Earth had been created many thousands of years before 4004 B.C., as the Church taught. The nation was plunged into chaos when the Duke announced his decision in the matter: free the man, and let him continue to study. After this the church was less charitable towards the Duke’s needs, although that would soon be remedied.
About 8 months after this, the government of the Kingdom of the Balearic Islands, which had only recently been discovered by Duke Fernando’s spies, was overrun by unhappy rebels. The former leaders were executed (and after that thrown into the Mediterranean, in the hope that sharks would be attracted to the bodies), and a new government put in its place. This new government roundly rejected a proposal put to it soon after its rise—a proposal of alliance with the Duchies of Estramadura and Asturias. In the new year of 1425, a new ruler rose in the island kingdom, and a year and a half later joined the alliance his predecessors had so flatly refused.
HISTORICAL NOTE: Estramadura would always have rather lukewarm relations with The Kingdom of the Balearic Islands. While the two countries would retain royal marriages for several centuries, and the two would share an alliance for several decades, on the whole the Kingdom was not at all enthusiastic about their destined-for-glory neighbors. The Kingdom would never expand beyond its home archipelago, and it would never have any special interests with Estramadura until centuries later, when in less than 20 years it would be wooed into an alliance, vassalized, and peacefully annexed.
[OOC: Unfortunately through severe mental lapse I did not take any screenshots until 1500...sorry! But after 1500 they come frequently and in large numbers ]