- Feb 3, 2011
1710-1716 – Folly of the Faithful
The proposed peace, where Austria was to take Mantua and Novara and Hispania Parma and Cremona, was presented to Austria. At first they protested, wanting the three provinces they had originally called for. However, France was fully backing Hispania this time, and Austria reluctantly accepted, although that didn’t stop them from claiming the provinces as being rightfully theirs. And with that, the last independent Italian state had fallen.
Over in Byzantium, the Greek branch of the Mandromenos family was meeting some success with Pausanias Mandromenos appointed Megas Domestikos. A star general, he was to command the Byzantine army. ((This is an event chain that Mach Twelve has come up with. You’ll see more of it in the coming updates.))
The colony in Salinan reached completion, but colonization was a never-ending process. Colonist Vladimir Pugachev started his first job by travelling to Nicoya for the Alvaro family.
A terrible epidemic spread through Italy, brought on by the long occupation of Lucca. Funds from the treasury were set aside for efforts to combat the spread of disease.
Theologian Ramon Loaisa passed away early in the year, with the bright Carlo Emanuele Taparelli then hired to boost the tax income of the empire.
Preparations began in March to formally integrate Rome into Hispania. It was a laborious task, especially since the population wasn’t exactly cooperative. The pope showed excellent restraint though, helping smooth the process along. It was expected the whole affair would take roughly five years to complete.
With all this going on, few took notice of the displacement of Turks from Mentese as the Greeks moved in to take their place.
With Hungary and Poland both vying for Silesia, they had to come to terms on how to divide the spoils. Hungary took Breslau for itself, as well as pushed for greater Catholic representation in the remaining territory. Immediately after, Poland took the scraps for itself. Silesia was no more.
With the grandmaster and grand admiral finally in agreement, the navy could be expanded. Five heavy frigates were placed under construction, with plans for them to join the fleet in Sevilla and then move on to Malacca. Ten archipelago frigates then were ordered up for the new Armada Colonial, which had been split from the new Grande Armada.
The two titans of the Far East, Delhi and Ming, went head to head. The court took great interest in this, for if Ming was weakened, Canton would be ripe for the taking.
Just as the navy was expanding, so was the army. With regiments shuffled from elsewhere, recruits were called upon to form the new Exercit Madrid, as well as an increase in numbers for the Exercit Colonial. The recruitment efforts were not quite as fast as the emperor would have liked, for funds had to be set aside for the expansion of all the forts in Iberia, as required by law, which had been neglected for some years.
Eventually the final 15 twodeckers were placed under construction, the last of the naval expansion. This came just as some began to question whether the navy was quite strong enough, and if there had been enough expansion overseas. Further investment in the navy was encouraged, for Hispania was increasingly looking overseas.
Poland, ever ambitious when it came to preying on the small HRE states, declared war on Luneburg.
March 1711 brought tragic news as Basileus Manuel IV passed away, leaving his infant son on the throne. A regency was formed with many notable figures involved. The Empress Dowager was nominally placed in charge, with the current basileus’s cousin, Demetrios, providing some guidance, although he was still only a teenager. The nobles found this the perfect time to manipulate the Crown for greater power.
With the Exercit Madrid now in action, recruitment began in Italy and Greece for the new Exercit Athens.
In April, the pope passed away, with a new successor appointed by the cardinals. The new pope, Pius II, was strongly pro-Hispanian and actively advocated for the Church to focus solely on spiritual rather than secular affairs. His support for the annexation of Rome greatly bolstered the cause amongst Catholics in Hispania.
Also around this time, Lithuania started yet another war with Kazan, continuing their expansion east.
A little over a month after the passing of Basileus Manuel IV, another monarch passed away, this time Emperor Henri II of France. He had been leading troops against the British when he came down with a dreadful illness, passing away in a foreign land away from his wife and children. His teenage son, Henri, was crowned emperor, with a regency temporarily set in place until he reached 15. Empress Isabel, Emperor Joan’s beloved sister, was placed at its head, and she was tasked with leading France during their war with Britain for Tyrone for the next few months.
With things relatively calm in Hispania, armies started making their way towards Egypt. The Exercits Africa and Valencia moved to Tunis, while the Exercit Napoli headed for Anatolia. Once the Exercit Firenze was recruited, it would also head to Anatolia. Efforts had to be speeded up though when Persia declared war on Egypt. They could not be allowed to claim the spoils of war. The moment the armies were in place, war was declared. While France was busy with Britain and Sweden was too far away to get involved, Austria showed a willingness to fight some heathens. Perhaps this war would reconcile the allies. Either way, Egypt was in for some trouble.
The start of the war went rather smoothly. The Hispanian armies marched into North Africa and Syria with little interference. The forts in North Africa were easy to get at, while those in Syria proved a nuisance. At sea, a small group of Egyptian galleys foolishly went to sea and got caught amongst the Hispanian transport fleet.
Hejaz made an appearance first, attempting in vain to save Antakiya. General Philaretos Mandromenos kept the enemy army from pestering Byzantium, with some help from his relative leading Byzantium’s army.
Ouargla, a minor fort in the North African interior, fell in little over three months, allowing General Timur Shah and the Exercit Africa to spread out eastwards. His forces were split into three 10k armies to rapidly occupy Libya.
Halab fell near the end of April, opening the floodgates into southern Syria. Archduke Albrecht VIII had made a personal appearance leading his army. General Mandromenos and the Exercit Athens headed south to capture the next fort blocking the way, while General Louis de Soneta focused on securing the provinces on the Persian border. So far, the Egyptian army had failed to appear.
With Hispania so dominating the African continent, the Trans-Atlantic Trading Company surely benefited. Trade was booming.
The support for free thinkers saw many intellectuals coming to Hispania. In fact, there were so many that few even were noticed by the court.
While there was a momentary alleviation of strain on the administration, Treasurer Andronicus Mandromenos took the opportunity to combat inflation. Immediately efforts saw a drop of 2%, with that increased to 4% after a few years of implementation. Inflation was to see a noticeable drop in the coming years.
Recruitment began for the Exercit Firenze once it was determined that the treasury was not overly strained by the expansion of the army.
Progress south towards Jerusalem was stalled by a single fort, the defenders quite determined not to give in. Byzantium and Austria did not have the patience for this and started marching down through Persia.
The Exercit Colonial managed to get involved, landing in Egypt’s provinces at the exit of the Red Sea.
In November, the Austrians encountered the enemy force trying to besiege parts of Persia. They were fairly evenly matched, but the arrival of Pausanias Mandromenos proved the greatest boon to the allied cause. His men swept down upon the enemy and sent them fleeing from the field.
The push east through North Africa was meeting with absolutely no resistance. Timur Shah was already outside of Cairo, capturing the surrounding provinces.
France’s ambitious invasion of Britain saved Tyrone from annexation, resulting in a white peace.
Many speculated on Joan’s longevity, with some crediting it to a complete trust in the security of his person, a result of having an incredibly competent spymaster.
Any ambition to see a Trastámara on the Swedish throne was thwarted when King Karl VIII Gustav sired a son. There was some doubt as to whether the boy was actually the queen’s, but if that was the case it was kept quiet.
Kef, way over in Tunis, had proven a stubborn fort to crack, but General Fausto Villanova broke through after over a year’s worth of effort. He was to sail straight to the heart of Egypt.
Brunei, after losing to Hispania years ago, found itself annexed by its neighbour Kutai.
Egypt’s army, demoralized by its earlier defeat, returned to Cairo. Shah’s army regrouped and launched an assault on the enemy army in their capital. The demoralized and inferior force could not hold back the attack, even in their own capital, and was forced to flee to Hejaz.
Meanwhile, the fort at Dimashq was finally taken, allowing free access to the Holy Land. General Soneta spread out his forces to capture the coast, while General Mandromenos went for the fort in Ma’an.
Poland’s progress through the HRE continued with the annexation of Luneburg.
With the gateway to the Red Sea taken, the Exercit Colonial sailed for southern Egypt.
By March 1713, the army expansions were completed. The treasury was still experiencing a surplus of over 100 ducats, although noticeably due to war taxes, but it was proven that the larger army was not that great a burden. A study done of other countries’ armed forces revealed Hispania’s army was nearly the size of the Lithuanian and French armies combined, the second and third largest armies in the world. As for the navy, it was over three times the size of the second largest, and that nation was Byzantium, so together they had over 500 ships. Hispania could not be matched.
France declared war on the tiny native state of Chickasaw, an odd decision considering that French Louisiana was riddled with rebels.
In April, the entire Mediterranean coastline of Egypt was captured and their fleet forced to sea. In a stunning example of naval superiority, the entire enemy fleet was sunk in two weeks without a single loss.
By May, Ma’an had fallen, allowing General Mandromenos to march south through Yemen to Hejaz, where the Egyptian army was believed to be hiding.
Over in Nuevo Leon, Yareyu became self-sustaining, closing off the French from further expansion north and linking two parts of the colonial nation. Resources were shifted to North America, where a colony was established by the Crown north of San Francisco in Pomo.
When Philaretos Mandromenos reached Hejaz, he encountered the Persians in their separate war attacking the Egyptian army. Allies of convenience decades ago against the very same enemy, Hispania and Persia joined forces in this single battle to utterly devastate the Egyptian force, leaving them with only a small contingent of artillery left. Persia went off hunting them while Mandromenos remained to siege Hejaz.
Farther north, the Egyptian capital fell, leaving only the interior and provinces bordering the Red Sea left. General Shah was tasked with taking them, while General Villanova marched farther south towards the remaining fort, something he accomplished by September.
Not wanting another squabble over naval expansion, Steward Mandromenos ordered the expansion of several naval ports across the empire.
October brought the final victory for Hispania. Both the southern fort of Suakin and the Hejazi capital of Makkah fell, leaving the enemy alliance completely occupied. As negotiations commenced, armies were sent home. Only the Exercit Africa under General Shah remained behind, stationed in the Holy Land for now.
Ming’s war against Delhi was proving disastrous. Their western provinces were completely occupied, and even worse, separatists had taken the opportunity to rise up. Jin had already proclaimed its freedom. More importantly to Hispania, Huai Separatists had captured Canton. If they managed to declare independence, the new state would be an easy target. Even if not, Ming was clearly in no shape to fend off a second foreign invasion. Perhaps it was time to claim that Chinese port.
Despite the growth of the Church of Jesus Christ and its acceptance by most of Hispania, there were still a few holdouts, such as in Vizcaya.
Due to Hispania’s dedication to the Christian cause, many wealthy nobles and merchants were donating funds to support the war effort, despite its near completion.
Munster decided to pounce on its puny neighbour Gelre, something replicated by Cologne later in the year after Gelre was already occupied.
After much deliberation, mostly over what exactly constituted Syria and how much of the Mediterranean coastline Hispania should take, a peace with Egypt was signed. The answer to both those questions was a lot of land. All land considered a rightful part of a hypothetical Syrian nation was granted to Byzantium, while Hispania claimed the entire Holy Land and everything nearby, as well as the Libyan coastline. Egypt was left with only minor access to the Mediterranean, mainly because Hispania did not have the resources to administer such wealthy populated provinces, although they didn’t exactly have the resources for what they took either. There was always next time.
Celebrations were held throughout the empire at the conquest of Jerusalem. Not since the Crusades had the city been in the hands of Christians. Now Hispania had proven itself a true Christian nation.
Even as Hispania met such great success against the Muslims, things were stirring up overseas. Weakened by their war with France, in which they had heavily taxed the colonies to compensate, Britain found itself the victim of an independence war. Newfoundland backed by the Thirteen Colonies jointly declared independence against their oppressive British overlords. Emperor Joan was thrilled at this news. The British would be severely weakened without their colonies, and this could hinder their presence in the New World.
Back in the Old World, Lithuania pushed further into Kazan, not quite finishing them off but at least gaining access to the wide open steppes.
At the start of 1715, the preparations made to formally annex Rome were completed. The holy city became part of Hispania, while the pope remained within the Vatican as before. This proved a great boon for Hispania amongst its own people. After the conquest of Jerusalem, many of the people of Rome and even Central Italy viewed Hispania as a true Christian nation and were quite glad to be part of it. The Christian faith was stronger than ever. The same could not be said of Hispania’s reputation abroad. The Catholic nations of Europe universally condemned Hispania for its actions, appalled that it would claim Rome for itself.
Events overseas were also heating up. The Thirteen Colonies wrote up a declaration of independence, proclaiming themselves a legitimate nation independent of Great Britain. This was a cry for recognition. While Joan was usually of the habit to consult his court on most matters, this one he handled personally. These United States could greatly weaken British influence over the continent and damper their colonial efforts. Not only that, but Hispania and France had agreed long ago to contain Britain in North America. Here was the opportunity to permanently remove that threat. An independent colonial nation could more easily be manipulated or reined in. Thus Emperor Joan III formally recognized this new state, much to the annoyance of Great Britain. How the Hispanian colonial nations would react to this was another matter.
Innovations in the navy and army were starting to show. A new model of heavy ship, the threedecker, was designed. This new ship could fire right across the enemy deck while leaving its own out of reach, greatly improving the morale of sailors if costing more. As for the army, a lighter and more reliable artillery was designed, called the royal mortar.
Nicoya reached completion rapidly, with the next colonial venture established near Malacca in Belitung for the Mandromenos family.
Despite the fact that Pausanias Mandromenos had won only a single battle for Byzantium, and that with Austrian help, the Greeks hailed him as a hero.
Perhaps taking notice of the events in North America, Nueva Sicilia set up its own colonial assembly. Perhaps a more careful eye should be kept on the colonies.
March of 1715 saw the advent of an international conflict. While Pope Pius II and the Hispanian cardinals had not been bothered by the annexation of Rome, for it ultimately did not directly impact the Vatican or the Church, the remainder of the cardinals could not tolerate being so closely surrounded by such a large non-Catholic nation. Thus they sought an alternative. The Catholic archbishopric of Mainz was on good terms with the Church and offered Frankfurt to the Holy See to serve as a new Papal State. Lured in by a return to its secular status and a location away from Hispania, the majority of cardinals left for Frankfurt. Pius II refused to leave the Vatican, claiming that secular matters were not the concern of the Church and that the Holy See belonged in Rome. With no compromise in sight, the cardinals in Frankfurt denounced Pius II and chose a new pope, Alexander VII. For the first time in centuries, there were two popes, one in Rome and one in Frankfurt. No one was quite certain how to take this. Was the pope in Rome legitimate, for he had been chosen first and resided in the Holy City, or did the new pope prove the better choice, seeing as he resided in the new Papal State and had the majority of cardinals on his side? This was something that would be debated for the following year.
Yarkand took advantage of the chaos in China to break free.
With Hispania at peace again, Morocco was sent a warning that if they didn’t hand over Mitdja, there would be war. This time they immediately accepted. Hispania could have their northern coastline. Finally, the North African provinces were connected, even if there were no resources to properly administer the new province. Now all that remained was to claim Tunis’s coastline and the rest of Egypt’s Mediterranean provinces.
With Hispania as a neighbour, Sunda managed to steal enough of their ideas and technology to mimic western ways.
As the year went on, funds were invested in upgrading the twodeckers in the navy to three-deckers. Only the Grande Armada received this privilege at first, for there wasn’t enough money for the Armada Colonial.
The war between Britain and its former colonies was not going entirely as hoped. They had managed to land in Quebec and occupy a province, although the Thirteen Colonies had not been touched yet. If they could hold off a British invasion, they could win their freedom.
By the end of the year, it became clear that the rest of the Catholic world had embraced this new pope in Frankfurt. At the moment, only the Hispanian cardinals remained in Rome. Hispania had a choice to make. They could continue to support the original pope in Rome, who was friendly towards Hispania, and hope that other countries would change their mind, or they could accept the new pope in Frankfurt and mend ties with the Catholic world. The fate of the Catholic world was in their hands.
Presenting His Imperial Highness, Joan III de Trastámara, Emperor of Hispania, Caesar of Rome, and Protector of the Greeks.
The past few years have certainly been eventful for us. First, I applaud my fellow Hispanian Christians. We have achieved a great victory against Egypt, reclaiming the most holy of cities, Jerusalem, right out from underneath them. Let us rejoice and cherish this accomplishment.
And let us not forget Rome. It now is formally part of Hispania, and the title Caesar has some definite meaning. Truly we are successors of Rome now. It is just unfortunate that our claiming the city has raised such hostility and division from the Catholic world. It seems that we must decide how to proceed in regards to His Holiness, whoever that may be. Should we stay true to Rome and Pope Pius II, who has proven a friend of Hispania, or should we accept this new Pope Alexander VII and mend ties with our Catholic neighbours? It is a difficult decision to consider.
With all this new land, we must also consider how best to defend it. We now have three forts within Central Italy, a redundant defence for such a secure area. Perhaps we should consider dismantling a fort or moving them about to best protect Italy. Our African provinces are also fairly exposed, and the Holy Land is only defended from the south. Perhaps a forts around Jerusalem itself could be useful. I am willing to speak with the steward to best devise our empire’s defence.
News from China has also been quite good, at least for us. With Ming in chaos, Canton is ripe for the taking. It seems likely now would be the time to strike while Ming is weak, or we can perhaps wait to see if a new nation forms that will be even easier to defeat. Either way, this is not an opportunity we can ignore.
I also find the events going on overseas quite exciting. To think that nearly the entire British colonial empire is in revolt! Shows them right for contesting Hispanian might. I pray for these so-called Americans and the people of Newfoundland. Their success is ours, for a weaker Britain is to our benefit. I would not doubt if our French allies are laughing heartily at this news too.
((Quite a few things we’ll be dealing with this turn. If it’s not clear, we will be voting on which pope to recognize once the vote starts, so feel free to discuss that with each other. I’ve basically set up an event where if we go with the pope in Rome, there’s a random chance over time that Catholic nations will pick our pope as the rightful one, while obviously the other option means only one and Catholics everywhere are happy. The whole fort thing is just me getting fussy whenever forts touch each other or overlap. The redundancy!
On to business. Ministers have until Monday at 12PM PST to post their plans, and players may also propose laws within that time. We also seem to have an opening on the Cortz, so landed nobles may nominate themselves. Oh, also, before I forget, we will most likely have a new colonial nation in California soon, so feel free to start suggesting names.