- Feb 3, 2011
1816-1821 – Into the Blue
The session of Parliament at the beginning of 1816 dealt with many heavily loaded issues. The Sultan of Najd had requested formal protection, essentially offering to become a vassal of Hispania. The question of whether to accept such a thing from a Muslim nation led to a fierce debate and an extremely close vote. Near the end, the Emperor voiced his opinion in support of this endeavour, believing such an agreement could further stabilize the region and ensure a friendly power survived there. That proved enough to gain the necessary support in Parliament.
The Parliament Act rectified the issue of seats by fixing them and the electoral districts to a set number. A new Parliament building was placed under construction to fit the larger Assembly and preparations were made for the 1820 election in four years, the first that would use the new Assembly composition.
However, the most controversial act proved to be one with the best intentions. The Citizenship Act officially turned the bulk of the Crown’s subjects into official citizens with rights. However, it made one glaring mistake: it forgot to include the Greeks. Seeing as the bill also tied voting rights to citizenship, it essentially disenfranchised every Greek in Hispania. The Greeks immediately raised an uproar, launching a mass protest and rioting in the streets. The movement to join with Byzantium flared up again with renewed support, and Hispanian Greeks petitioned the Byzantine government to intervene. At one point, the Byzantine flag was flown across Athens before authorities took them down. Only the presence of the Exercit Athens prevented a full-scale rebellion from breaking out. As for the Byzantine government in Constantinople, they remained silent on the matter, not wanting to provoke the ire of Hispania nor commit to anything.
The Emperor tried to end the crisis by invoking Clause V of the Citizenship Act to grant all the Greeks who would normally fit the requirements citizenship, but the slight could not be ignored. With their own Parliament having ignored them them and Constantinople remaining silent, the Greeks invoked the National Plebiscite Act in protest of the Citizenship Act and to force another referendum on separation. It found overwhelming support, leading to the awkward situation where the Citizenship Act was voided for two months shortly after being instituted, and the Greeks made it clear they’d keep protesting against it until it was amended. To prevent the Citizenship Act from being indefinitely vetoed by the Greeks, the Emperor revoked the National Plebiscite Act until it could be rewritten to prevent such abuses. As for the referendum, the Greeks forced the issue soon after. Support was much higher this time, with roughly 60% of Greeks voting in favour of joining Byzantium. However, taking a closer look at the votes revealed that the majority of support came from Athens, with there being a much more mixed response in Mylasa and people slightly opposed in Rhodes. Seeing as the National Plebiscite Act had been revoked before the referendum had been carried out, the legitimacy of the referendum was questioned. Now the government had to decide how to respond to this forced referendum.
Even when domestic troubles were stirred up, Hispania’s reputation abroad had never been better.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs carried out the first of its planned wars at the end of 1816. Several armies were moved to Yemen’s borders before hostilities were commenced. Minister of War Joan de Trastámara personally took charge of the forces near Jerusalem to move on the territory just to the south, with Captain General Maximiliao Dias beside him. Leon, San Dionisio, and von Politz coordinated farther south in an attack on Yemen’s heartland in Southern Arabia.
San Dionisio was the first one to encounter the enemy, meeting them in battle in Mahrah. Experienced in battle against inferior opponents in the far corners of the world, he had no problem in dispatching the enemy.
Back in Europe, Germany declared war on Poland again in the name of nationalism. The question was whether they would actually take land this time or just raid Poland’s treasury.
By the end of February of 1817, Yemen’s capital of Mahrah had already fallen, along with all its western provinces. Prince Joan personally captured Medina, a holy city of Islam. Yemen had practically fallen after the war had just begun. Most of the armies were already being recalled or moving into place for the next.
At sea, the tiny Yemeni fleet was sunk in the Gulf of Aden.
The death of Emperor Louis XXI in March saw the crown pass to his cousin-once-removed, the now crowned Jean III. Only a boy himself, and one with no heir, the question of succession was raised. The only two remaining male Valois lines were now ruling over Scandinavia and Germany, but both lines had sworn off all claims to the French throne. There were some that speculated that with the male line all but extinct, they would have no choice but to consider the women of the family. In this case, the throne would have to pass to the closest female heir, who happened to be Jeanne de Valois, Crown Prince Pere de Trastámara’s wife. Whether this would be contested or not was yet to be seen.
With control of the Red Sea secured, goods from India could be safely transported back to Europe with little difficulty.
France had grown weary of Scandinavia’s colonial conflict with Malacca and decided to sign a white peace. With their strongest ally abandoning them, Scandinavia felt it was time to sign a peace as well. They settled for a small part of New Guinea and war reparations, a small reward for such a prolonged war.
Yemen tried to retake land with a small force of 2k men, but was pushed back by half of the new Exercit Arabia, which was encircling the land around Yemen’s last fort.
Cut off from the sea, Kaffa had no avenue of expansion other than to attack Alodia.
With Yemen all but defeated, a second war was started, this time with the tiny state of Ajuuraan. San Dionisio and the Exercit Colonial were in place to launch the first and only attack.
Such battles on far-off soil were nothing to San Dionisio. These savages were all the same and caved in with ease.
Colonization of South Africa proceeded smoothly as Roggeveld became self-sustaining and the last province of Griqualand could be given attention.
Hispania was truly a global empire and could project its strength all over. Thus as men fought in Arabia and East Africa, it was not overstretching for war to be declared on Pasai as well. The Exercits Cathay and India were already in position, and nothing more was needed.
An atmosphere of freethinking was spreading throughout Hispania as learned men shared ideas without fear of persecution, provided they weren’t treasonous in nature.
A naval battle off the coast of Christmas Island saw a small trade fleet of Pasai’s sunk.
At the end of 1817, Germany signed a peace with Poland, and lo and behold they only took money again.
The development of the field howitzer greatly improved the effectiveness of Hispania’s artillery. When immediately put into use in the sieges of Masqat and Gedo, both cities fell within a month, effectively ending the wars with both Yemen and Ajuuraan.
Pasai attempted to make a break for Southern Sumatra to stir up trouble, but the two Hispanian armies intervened. The entire enemy force of 18k men faced no choice but to surrender or die in a relentless onslaught. Most of Hispania’s casualties in the battle were from the jungle rather than from the actual fighting.
Peace was eventually signed with both Yemen and Ajuuraan. Yemen’s land on the Red Sea was ceded to Hispania, including the city of Medina. Not wanting to leave a threat so close to valuable trade routes, the remainder of Yemen was handed over to Najd. This would hopefully ensure Najd could handle itself and would no longer be threatened by outside forces. As for Ajuuraan, it faced annexation, plain and simple.
Mercantilism could prove quite frustrating in regions where neutral or hostile nations controlled most of the goods and land. Merchants were having a more difficult time competing in the interior of Africa away from the sea trade routes.
Hungary, boxed in by Hispanian allies and vassals, felt their only path of expansion was northwards. They declared war on Poland, who they hoped was still vulnerable after their war with Germany.
The young Emperor of France was a most pious man. With the passing of the old Bavarian pope, a Frenchman took his place. The French Emperor and Pope corresponded with each other, leading to the Emperor Jean III being proclaimed the Defender of the Catholic Faith.
The fort in Siak fell just as Kaffa swallowed up Alodia.
Pasai attempted to reform their army for a second attempt on Hispanian Sumatra, but it was never to be. San Dionisio arrived in Pasai and led an attack on the enemy army, removing the threat once and for all. With the fort of Muko-Muko falling at the end of the battle, the armies could spread out to carpet siege the whole island. Najd had even send a small force to show their commitment to their new protector.
The colony in far-off Heiltsuk became self-sustaining, shifting focus once more back to Africa. With most threats in East Africa gone, efforts to colonize the interior could be pursued, starting with Ogaden.
By February of 1819, all of Pasai had fallen except for one fort and a forgotten province in Siam. The Pasai navy had no choice but to set sail right into the waiting Flota de l’India. The enemy did not fare so well.
In mid-1819, Hispania adopted the gold standard, switching from silver to gold coins. Some speculated this was a result of a growing trade deficit with China, with the Chinese taking in European coins but not their goods.
Speaking of China, Ming decided to flex its muscles again, declaring war on Jin to reclaim its former glory.
Malwa annexed their vassal Baluchistan just as Pasai’s final fort fell.
San Dionisio fought one last battle against Pasai before sailing back home.
The Ministry of the Interior promoted the idea of the four field rotation to farmers to improve production of crops and ensure the preservation of arable land.
At the start of 1820, Pasai was given no choice but to surrender all land in Sumatra. They also were made to renounce their claims elsewhere to prevent a resurgence and possible revenge, leaving them as a single province in Siam. Hispania’s control of Indonesia was almost undisputed.
The navy was finally receiving the attention it deserved, as production was boosted to ensure it had everything it needed to protect Hispania’s global empire. Of course, this didn’t mean matters of land were ignored. A few forts here and there were expanded or refurbished.
The colony in Manokwari reached self-sufficiency, turning the Crown’s full attention to Africa with the colonization of Afder. When Senqu became self-sufficient shortly after, Tajhari was the next target for colonization.
Malwa and Persia butted heads in December, both trying to reclaim a former glory that had since been lost.
As 1820 reached an end and 1821 began, an uncomfortable silence fell across Hispania. The last few years had been prosperous, and indeed Hispania’s trade income had never been higher. A state of religious harmony existed on some level, with Christians of all faiths united under one banner. New ideas were promoted freely, with Hispania being one of the most liberal-thinking countries in the world. Yet beneath it all was a lingering presence, dissent that had been growing over many decades but kept at bay. Hispania kept sliding down the slippery slope of progress at an increasing pace, and in the process making mistakes and errors along the way. Emperor Alfons IX had proved a stabilizing figure, having reigned justly over Hispania for 66 years now, yet his health remained poor and it seemed clear his reign would not last forever. The question now was whether Hispania could keep sliding its way into a glorious future or if it would inevitably crash when it finally reached the bottom.
Presenting His Imperial Highness, Alfons IX de Trastámara, Emperor of Hispania, Caesar of Rome, King of Bavaria & Transdacia, and Protector of the Greeks.
These weary bones of mine refuse to give in just yet. Time ways heavily on me and I am grateful to have experienced so much throughout my life. I can’t help but reminisce over everything that we, that Hispania, has accomplished over the decades of my reign. There have been great triumphs, and horrifying failures, yet we have always gotten back up and continued on regardless. The perseverance of the Hispanian people never fails to amaze me. I pray that they will continue to accomplish great things even after I am long gone.
The whole affair in Greece is a travesty, and surely one not intended by Parliament. I have done what I can to appease the Hispanian Greeks who feel so insulted, but I fear we may have irreparably damaged what relationship we had with them. I have until this point refused to acknowledge their referendum, believing that the results are born from temporary frustrations rather than actual logic. I pray they will change their mind, or else we must consider reaching out to Byzantium for another solution that may see the Greek people united under one rule.
It is welcome to see Arabia stable at last, and control of the key waterways in the Red Sea and near Malacca now firmly under our control. I sometimes wonder if we overreach, but the prosperity such actions bring cannot be ignored. We do what we do for the good of the Hispanian people.
Now I fear I must take my leave. I find that these appearances before Parliament wear me out much more than they used to. I require adequate rest, for we have much work to do on the morrow. So much work….
((Well there you have it. We have finally reached 1821 after almost exactly a year and a half since I started this iAAR. Remarkable. I’m also astonished yet again that the game refused to kill off Alfons after the unintentional second chance. I did say it would be funny if he actually made it to 1821, but I never expected he actually would. He clearly is immortal now. God save the Emperor!
Usually this is the part where I say that ministers should submit plans and players can post laws. That isn’t happening this time. In fact, I expressly want you not to post any of those things. No minister plans, no laws, and nothing else that requires direct GM intervention. You can still comment on things that happened in-character if you want. I will be explaining more about what happens now in a bit, but first I need to get out the 1820 election results and a final world update to show where we’re at in 1821.
Listing pensioners probably doesn’t matter anymore, but I’m going to include them anyway just because I want to. Call it a tradition.
@Duke Dan `the Man`