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Thread: Strange Shores: An Aragonese AAR

  1. #101


    Alfons VII, King of Aragon and Sicily


    10) Alfons VII (1578-1605)

    Alfons was the young brother of Ferran and Joan and might reasonably enough have expected not to take the throne. Nevertheless he was plucked from the easy life of an Aragonese baron and thrust upon the throne.

    After the great wars of his brothers reigns Alfons came to power with heavy (if unglamorous) task of assimilating the Incas into the Aragonese Empire. While he was willing to do his duty in this area the King would have been less than human had he not looked for opportunities for personal glory abroad, especially in the later years of his reign.


    South America, 1605


    Faith and Gold

    The initial war with the Incas had (at least partially) been waged to bring the word of God to the unfortunate heathens. However, despite the best efforts of the Church, progress was slow, not helped by the frequent revolts that passed through the conquest.

    Resources supposedly earmarked for preaching to the natives instead were increasingly pumped into the so called 'Race for the Cape' (i.e. Cape Horn). Alfons wanted to make sure that the bulk of South America was Aragonese (even if he was unwilling to risk war with Britain or Castile - the other interested powers).

    By 1605 Alfons South American policy had produced mixed results. On the one hand the Church had made some progress - most notably in Cusco, the Inca capital where the populace had converted to the true faith. Serious revolts had been put down and in territorial terms at least four fifths of the continent had passed into the Aragonese Empire. Yet the bulk of the natives remained recalitrant and the great extent of Aragonese posssions disguised the reality that Catalan settlers remained a distant third behind the Incas and Portugese in the Americas...

    New Cities, new hopes

    During Alfons reign the old Aragonese settlements of South Africa, Cuba and the Bahamas continued to attract Catalan immigrants, who reckoned them a safer bet than than thinly held Catalan South America or distant Australia. By the end of his reign all three colonies had established chartered cities in all their provinces and had, essentially, become self sustaining overseas territories.

    South Africa, the biggest Catalan colony was beginning to become quite distinctive. A growing proportion of the population was made up of creoles (people of European descent born in South Africa) and mestizos (mixed European and African). Under Alfons VII they as yet remained the minority but the potential for South Africa (and Cuba and the Bahamas) to find its own voice was there.


    The conquest of Benin, 1584


    Small Wars

    Aragon went to war twice under Alfons VII: successfully against Benin (in 1584) and, less successfully, against Tranvanacore (from 1601 to 1605). The first was a relatively straightforward attempt to secure a foothold on the route to South Africa, if spurred on by Alfons desires to equal his forebears in imperial adventure. Benin fell swiftly to the Aragonese conquistadors - more soldiers died from the unfamiliar climate than enemy weapons. The missionaries did their work - and did it well: by 1596 the entire country had become Catholic.

    If Benin was a shining triumph of Aragonese ability and good fortune Tranvanacore was a sordid and unheroic failure, brought about by incompetence and simple bad luck. The East India Company had pushed for a foothold in India itself and in 1601 they finally got their way. Unfortunately they had decidedly underestimated the opposition. Besides Tranvanacore itself the prince of neighbouring Vijayanagar applied his considerable forces against the Aragonese. While Aragon won most of the battles the vastly superior numbers of the Indians prevented any ability to capitalise on battlefield victories. By 1605 it was clear the war could not be won and Ferran IV, the new King agreed to a white peace. Some harsh lessons had been learned.

    Passing the Torch

    Having ruled for twenty seven years Alfons died in his sleep on 1 July 1605, to be succeeded by his son Ferran. He had not perhaps been as capable as his brothers and his reign even ended on a touch of failure, but in the greater sense he had left Aragon stronger at his death than when he had found it: what more can be asked of a king?
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  2. #102
    Lord E: Indeed.

    coz1: Not quite yet...

    stnylan: Lets just say I'm glad I left my conquering armies in place...

    Terraferma: Yep.

    Kurt_Steiner: Heh, I'll try not too!

    crusaderknight: He did!

    J. Passepartout: I've no idea why they die so quickly... I don't even make them into generals, let alone risk them in battle.

    XhePablo: Thank you, and well said!

    Rensslaer: Always glad to have you aboard.

    Paynetrain08: Thank you.
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  3. #103
    the golden era of Aragon keeps on rolling . The question is, when will it end? Keep up the splendid work
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  4. #104
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    A slight embarrassment against Tranvanacore. It does look tempting, but I can imagine the difficulties.
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  5. #105
    This guy actually lasted longer than a day on the throne? Amazing!

    Travancore must pay. Build up more armies and attack them again!

  6. #106
    Non sufficit orbis Lord E's Avatar
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    Seems the colonial empire is growing and the war against Benin went excellent. But the way it went in India was an embarrassment. I hope you are planning to get revenge…
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  7. #107
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Incrediblebleble....

    The kings has lasted more than five seconds!!!!

    Great work by the way. Tranvanacore... well... time will tell. Do as the English lion, who only goes back to return stronger enough!!!!
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  8. #108
    I suggest you annex all of India to make up for your loss.

  9. #109
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    Congrats on your successes in South America, South Africa, and Benin. Perhaps Ferran will avenge his father's defeat at the hands of Travanacore?
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  10. #110
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    Very soon you will have all of Africa and South America in your hands. Well done.
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  11. #111


    Ferran IV, King of Aragon and Sicily


    11) Ferran IV (1605-1631)

    The reign of Ferran IV did not begin well: an embarrassing white peace with Tranvanacore. Worse Vijayanagar (the truly formidable Indian principality) was not inclined to simple terms. War, at least on that front would continue.

    The new king was of much the same substance as his father; not especially brilliant but stable enough and determined to carve out a role for himself in history. His twenty-six years on the throne would see the culmination of much of the work of his predecessors, as well as the opening of bold new horizons for the Aragonese Empire.


    India, 1631


    India

    The war with Vijayanagar dragged on until 1609. Having dismissed his previous generals the King painfully rebuilt an army in South Africa and had them return to India. To some success - Vijayanagar eventually gave in and ceded the province of Tiruchchirapalli. Ferran IV could rest back, satisfied at extending his domain to the Subcontinent.

    Yet the Aragonese East India Company had greater horizons: the wealth of India beckoned. In order to secure their growing monopoly in the Indian Ocean they intervened in Ceylon (in 1612); annexing half the island outright and forcing the local potentate into signing a humiliating treaty that left Ceylon no more than a vassal state.

    The great power in Southern and Central India at this time was the Sultanate of Deccan. However Deccan lost a war against Vijayanagara and her allies and in December 1615 the Aragonese, hungry for wealthy territory struck the weakened Sultanate. Soon an unofficial race grew between Aragon and Vijayanagara: who would gain the most from the collapse of Deccan.

    On the Aragonese side the war, which lasted till March 1621, ended up with the annexation of Indravati and Parlakimidi in the East and Dadra (with the important port city of Bombay) in the West. More worryingly Vijayanagara gained more, essentially ending the power of Deccan in India. Ironically continued interference by the East India Company had resulted in the consolidation of Vijayanagara as a hostile regional power - the worst possible result.

    The Aragonese relied heavily on locally raised troops, which though inferior in quality and weaponry at least had the advantage of convenience. Indeed most of the local administration was in the hands of Indian nobility. The Aragonese tended to leave local elites in power whenever possible, having learned the advantages of tolerance from decades of experience in Peru. It was these local, pro-Aragonese forces that would bear much of the brunt during the inevitable war with Vijayanagara (from 1628 to 1630). The bloody fighting solved little (though Konkan exchanged hands) and in 1631 the situation remained uncertain.


    The spread of Catholicism in Peru by 1631


    The Second Conquest of the Incas

    Missionary activity in Peru continued under Ferran IV and if anything intensified. A few of the indigenous population remained recalcitrant but with the conversion of Cusco those survivors of Inca nobility had seen which way the wind was blowing and converted. Increasingly the traditional religion was marginalised it became a faith restricted to remote areas, then a faith on the run, dwindling priests seeing to a shrinking far flung flock. In 1631 when Ferran IV died there was an Archbishop in Cusco and native religion was restricted to a single province: Chiquitos. Even there missionaries were hard at work...

    During this period Aragon was blessed by a theologian of rare calibre: Lluís de Ripperdá. An intellectual and eloquent scholar de Ripperdá was one of the great men of the age. A great proponent of cultural tolerance (even if he did not go so far as some radicals in the Aragonese Church who proposed making Illapa and Saraswati manifestations of Michael and Gabriel) and learning he had the Bible translated into Sanskrit and Quechua. Though not all admired his methods the Catholic Church of Aragon ended the reign of Ferran IV in a mood of great optimism. Peru had been won for the Faith; suddenly the conversion of India seemed possible... The future looked very bright.


    Lluís de Ripperdá


    Transition

    Ferran IV ruled for many years, to the extent that he outlived his legitimate sons. When he died on 24 August 1631 the crown passed down the line to the son of his daughter Beatriu. That son was no other than King Octavius of Great Britain.

    The new King had grown up in London; he barely spoke Catalan and spoke Portuguese and Italian not at all. The great Aragonese Empire would be ruled from England - as the lesser partner in a personal union.


    The personal union between Great Britain and Aragon, 1631

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  12. #112
    Terraferma: Thank you, will do.

    stnylan: Imperial overreach.

    J. Passepartout: Heh, maybe.

    Lord E: Yep.

    Kurt_Steiner: Well said!

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    crusaderknight: Well... close enough.

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  13. #113
    Compulsive CommentatAAR stnylan's Avatar
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    Hmm, watch out for those English - they will surely fleece you if they can!
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  14. #114
    Although I am a fan of England this does not extend so far as allowing them into a personal union with you. Hopefully, whether by heredity or pointy object, this man's reign is as short as most reigns in this country.

  15. #115
    Hm interesting now that you follow England for the time being. Eh better england than say...Ottomans?
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  16. #116
    Second Lieutenant Burke's Avatar

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    Terrific work, another great from RossN.

  17. #117
    Oh wow, a personal union with England? That hit me like a ton of bricks, totally unexpected.

    Perhaps he would use Aragonese forces to solidify control over the Irish kingdoms?
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  18. #118
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Oh gosh... we managed to keep away the Castillian filth to be caught by the English crown?

    Well, it could be ... worse?
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  19. #119
    Crazy Reactionary crusaderknight's Avatar
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    Bummer, and end to the House of Formentera. Let us hope that Octavius does not long sit on the throne of Aragon, and that a Catalan king will soon reign again!
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  20. #120
    Non sufficit orbis Lord E's Avatar
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    Now that everything seemed to be progressing so fine you suddenly are dragged into a personal union as the lesser partner. Watch out for the English they are dangerous types….
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