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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Michaelangelo

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1823-1824 - Escalation

At the start of 1823, the matter of Italy was brought to the forefront yet again. Parliament debated over the proper response to Northern Italy's call for greater autonomy. Prime Minister Joan de Trastámara's hold on government proved strong enough to push through his own personal agenda, one that saw greater centralization instead. While not exactly what the Italians wanted, the government dove right in and implemented new policies immediately. The number of Italians in the civil service increased, and to show his personal favour for the idea, the Prime Minister appointed one or two prominent Italians to Cabinet, although they were notably Imperialist. Having been denied their demands for so long, yet finally getting a response of any kind, the Italians accepted the changes with silence, waiting to see if the benefits would be worth going along with the government's plan.

For the matter of the Suez Canal, Parliament was committed to seeing it repaired as soon as possible. Trade was the lifeblood of the Empire, and the Suez Canal was the vital artery leading to Asia. Without it in operation, ships had to travel all the way around Africa, a costly delay. With conditions in Indonesia spiralling downward, the shorter route was needed. Money was poured into fixing the damage. The wreckage was dragged from the canal and the Exercit Jerusalem was recruited to held fix up the ruined embankments. The efforts would take some time to see fruition, but the Suez Canal would be repaired quicker due to the intense focus.

Even as repair efforts began on the Suez Canal, that did not mean that attempts to find those responsible were ignored. Men were sent out to scour the nearby area to find any signs of evidence or someone involved in the attacks. The going was slow, but it was hoped that eventually something would turn up incriminating someone.

While finding the culprits could wait if necessary, Indonesia could not be ignored. The growth in independence movements, constant food shortages, and occasional riot were creating a hostile environment. The government sent even more relief, knowing that keeping the people from starving was key to restoring order and stifling these movements before they could grow further. In the meantime, the government felt it wise to send in some troops to maintain order. The Exercit Colonial was sent out from its usual spot in India to patrol the islands of Indonesia. To prevent the image of martial law portrayed by the sudden increase in military presence, the soldiers were put to work helping with rebuilding efforts. There were a few skirmishes as independence movements made a move or two, but the soldiers managed to keep things from escalating or encouraging the populace. When more aid finally arrived, hostility dampened dramatically, the people grateful that Hispania was looking out for them. A potential rebellion had just barely been avoided, and now Indonesia could begin to recover.

As things calmed down at home, the French succession pulled the largest powers of Europe into a bitter struggle. Parliament favoured backing France, Hispania's traditional ally. While this would mean an end to the alliance with Scandinavia, and war with both them and Germany, at least it would prevent a union between France and either power. The biggest argument for siding with France was to prevent any other nation from claiming the might of France. Such a union would greatly upset the balance of power. The royal family agreed this was the best path, and even Jeanne seemed inclined to favour her relative on the French throne rather than herself. Despite the heir to the French throne being a bastard, he was the safest choice.

In France, things were to shift greatly. The sudden declaration by both the King of Germany and the King of Scandinavia drove home the threat against France. Those nobles who had been struggling to use the succession crisis to seize power now had to face the possibility that their schemes would have to be set aside. Further squabbling when faced with not one but two foreign invasions was not a wise decision. Unity was needed more than ever. The fact that Hispania had just announced its support for Charles galvanized this further. Trying to take the throne from Charles while Europe's most powerful nation was backing him, especially when that same nation would help protect France from its impending invaders, could only doom France in the end. The nobles thus put aside their differences for the time being and supported Charles's claim to the throne. With a French Pope in Rome, it was a relatively easy process of getting Charles legitimized, partially removing the bastard stigma. Now France was ready to fight off those who threatened its throne. The nobles would unite behind their legitimized bastard of a emperor, but they could always fight over who would be regent when things settled down.

The armies of the most powerful nations in Europe rolled into motion. France's forces were disorganized, the chaos of succession leaving them in a state of disorder. They rallied to the German border, where the Germans were already launching a lightning-fast campaign. The Hispanian armies in Iberia marched north through France to reinforce, determined to prevent the Germans from reaching Paris. The Germans, fortunately, could not dedicate their full might to the French front. Another part of their army was testing Bavaria's borders. Bavaria's army was quite formidable and holding off the attempted invasion for now, waiting for reinforcements from Hispania. A couple of the armies stationed in Italy made their way north. With the might of France, Hispania, and Bavaria banded together, the border could be held against Germany and eventually push back into enemy territory.

Scandinavia had another strategy in mind. Lacking a border with France, their ability to strike at the French heartland was limited. Instead they were content to let Germany do their dirty work while they whittled down their enemies from the fringe. Raids on French ships were conducted in the North Sea, and an army landed in France's territory in the British Isles. They were smart enough to avoid the chaos on the continent for now. Instead they used Germany's push into France to their own advantage, attacking the Germans from behind. Scandinavia seized Germany's northern coastline before the Germans could retaliate. The invasion though was not a quick one, and it seemed Scandinavia was not inclined to push much further. It benefited them more to see Germany throw its armies against France and Hispania first, leaving a much weaker enemy for them to take on later.

It seemed that Hispania was destined to experience more strife, for every time something went wrong and they tried to fix it, another problem popped up elsewhere. This time there was growing tension in the colonies. The Colonial Congress was in an uproar over what had started out as a simple border dispute. Both Nova Hispania and Nueva Granada had laid claim to a town on their border. No one could decide whose village it was, for both sides had records and maps showing it lay within their territory. Soon the matter escalated as both colonial nations started laying claim to multiple towns and villages on the border. Both insisted that all of Nicaragua belonged to them and the other had taken land from them. Their fellow colonial nations attempted to mediate the disagreement, but neither seem inclined to agree to a settlement, at least for the moment.

Before the Colonial Congress could fully debate the matter and attempt to reach a settlement, the first border skirmish occurred. A regiment of Nueva Granada men marched on a border town and seized it. Their government claimed that Nova Hispania had squeezed taxes out of the people in the town despite it clearly being in Nueva Granada's territory. Nova Hispania refuted this claim, stating that the town had always belonged to them and the people there had been paying taxes to them for decades. Both nations had documents stating the town was theirs, so neither side could be fully supported. Spurred on by this blatant aggression, Nova Hispania launched a raid on a coastal town in Nueva Granada. Unlike the previous clash, it was dubious that this town was in their territory, and the fact they merely looted the town and left substantiated that claim. Nueva Granada followed suit and raided a town in the Yucatan Peninsula, far from the disputed area, and raised its claims, stating that all of Honduras should also belong to them. Nova Hispania extended their claims to Panama in response. The two seemed ready to butt heads and the other colonial nations were doing their best to prevent a further outbreak of hostilities. The Colonial Congress sent a plea to Hispania. They needed their overlord to step in and help settle the dispute before it escalated into a full-on war. Of course, if Hispania believed one of their claims was correct, they could back one side entirely. However, with the French Succession War occupying Hispania's attention, it was fully possible that Hispania might choose to let its colonies solve the issue on their own.

Hispania's woes were not destined to end there. At the start of November in 1824, a massive earthquake occurred in the Atlantic, somewhere off the coast of Portugal and Morocco. The ground shook for hours, devastating cities in Portugal and Morocco. Lisboa was hit the hardest, due to its larger population and denser urban environment. Buildings collapsed into rubble and fires broke out across the city. The quakes themselves were so strong that they could be felt across all of Western Europe. The tremors stirred up tsunamis that struck the coast of Portugal and Morocco. Entire cities were swept away, and waves even struck parts of North Africa in the Mediterranean and islands in Nuevas Baleares. When the tremors finally stopped, the tsunamis flowed back to sea, and the fires burned out, western Iberia and Morocco had been utterly devastated. Thousands of civilians had died, and cities lay in rubble. The people called for the government to help them. Relief efforts were needed. The people would need to be cared for, for they could starve without help. The cities also needed to be rebuild, for Iberia was the cornerstone of the Hispanian economy and its revival was needed to prevent an economic collapse. Pursuing both would be a costly effort, but Hispania would recover much faster. Of course, there was a major war going on, and diverting resources could prove costly.

The Italians always had the worst timing. With the Hispanian armies off fighting for France and Iberia devastated by the earthquake, the sudden call in Parliament for independence was not very appreciated. The Northern Italians made it clear while they appreciated the government's response to their previous requests, it would never be as good as an independent Italian state not under Hispania's thumb. They petitioned the government to allow the Northern Italian states to form their own government independent of Hispania. It was suggested that Southern Italy join, but the Neapolitans shot that down immediately. They even broached the possibility of allowing Rome to remain with Hispania, although they would not say no if it was handed over to them. It was all something that needed to be considered by Parliament.

Some good news finally occurred as the investigation into the attack on the Suez Canal was finally completed. While it took over a year to conduct, the investigators had managed to track down those involved, although they proved to be out of Hispania's reach. It appeared that a hostile group of Muslim rebels had risen up in Arabia, spurred on by Hispania's capture of their two most holy cities, Mecca and Medina. Their goal was none other than to see Hispania driven from Arabia and the Muslims free from heathen rule. Attempts to raid their bases proved fruitless. They had too big a head-start and had managed to evade their pursuers. It was later discovered that they had managed to flee to Najd, where they were now hiding out. When confronted with the matter, the Sultan of Najd claimed he was not involved and wanted nothing more than to maintain friendly relations with Hispania. Despite his claims, he refused to allow the investigators to pursue the culprits into Najd. If they wanted to get at those responsible, Hispania would have to pressure Najd into allowing free passage for the investigators or go after them by force.

As the French Succession War dragged on, the rest of Europe watched with great interest. The outcome was sure to have long-lasting consequences for all of Europe. If anyone managed to force a personal union on France, that nation would have major advantage in international politics and a military unmatched by anyone. If someone was on good terms with the winner, they would have a powerful ally. However, was it worth allowing that nation to become a superpower in the process? Every nation in Europe considered that as 1824 wound to an end.

The first to take action was perhaps one of the smallest nations in Europe. Tyrone had long been a friend and ally of France. With their ally so brutally attacked, they felt no choice but to defend France from foreign invaders, despite the fact they were far too small to make much of a difference. Their neighbour was quick to pounce on that opportunity. Scotland had long despised France for claiming Southern England, preventing them from claiming the British Isles as their own. Their alliance with Tyrone had also blocked Scotland from further expansion. This massive war was an opportunity to rectify that. They shockingly announced their support for Germany, although this might not have been too much of a surprise considering that Scandinavia had been competing with Scotland for colonial gains. As for the isolated Norway, they felt it best to remain neutral, as was their way.

While Scotland saw an opportunity to use Germany to its own advantage, Poland was following a similar line of thought. Both Germany and Scandinavia had taken land from them, reducing them to a minor state in Europe. Germany's humiliating wars against Poland, merely to plunder their treasury, had embittered Poland greatly. Here was a chance for revenge. France and Hispania were formidable powers, and thus formidable allies. An independent France was also better than one under German or Scandinavian rule. Thus Poland announced its support for France and Charles's claim to the throne. To the south, Hungary viewed this as an opportunity as well. Encircled by much stronger powers, they found themselves pinned in and unable to expand. Poland had snatched land from them in the past, and here was Hungary's chance to strike back. Poland would be far too focused on Germany and Scandinavia, while Germany would keep Bavaria occupied. Transdacia was not believed to be a problem, and in fact the reclamation of Transylvania was greatly desired. There was only the matter of who to side with. While Germany was a formidable power and closer to Hungary, they were also completely surrounded and in great danger of being overwhelmed. Scandinavia, at least, could more easily hold its own, while also launching an invasion of Poland from the north. Hungary announced its support of Scandinavia, hoping that together they could bring down Poland.

Hungary's over-eagerness to attack Poland could well prove its undoing. Lithuania had watched the growing conflict with great concern. While one of the most formidable of the neutral power, they realized that a French personal union with Germany or Scandinavia could not be good in any way. Expansion into Poland by either power was also a potential problem. Then there was the fact that Scandinavia had taken so much Lithuanian land over the years. It was time to retake what was lost. Lithuania put its support behind France as a result. That left but two neutral powers left. Genoa was so isolated it cared not what happened in France. Byzantium was another matter. While relations with France had been frosty, their great respect for Hispania made them consider involvement in this war. A weakened Hispania, as well as the friendly states of Bavaria and Transdacia, was not in Byzantium's benefit. This was also a chance to mend relations with France. The sudden hostility between the two had not been of Byzantium's choosing. By backing France and Hispania, they could ingratiate themselves with the strongest powers in Europe. Of course this meant an end to the alliance with Scandinavia, but that was a sacrifice worth taking. They entered the war alongside France, and the French Succession War officially escalated to a scale never before seen on Earth.


((Had some interesting rolls for this update. Indonesia just barely avoided a revolt, one that would have been successful if it actually occurred. If we had chosen either the relief or troops instead of both, we would have lost Indonesia. Also had some surprisingly high rolls for nations joining the French Succession War. They all had a chance of remaining neutral, but every one I included rolled to join in. If you're wondering, each had a preset nation they'd side with if they didn't remain neutral, although Hungary had a chance of joining either Germany or Scandinavia. Interesting to see them all join though. That surely benefits France then. :D

Now for our next vote. Nothing to do for the French Succession War, which will still continue. First we have our colonial crisis between Nova Hispania and Nueva Granada. Here we can decide to mediate, side with either of the two, or let the colonies handle it themselves. We'll also need to choose a response to the earthquake. We can choose to either focus on helping the people, rebuilding, both, or ignore their plight entirely. It should be noted that if helping the people or rebuilding is chosen, assume the other also occurs but on a much smaller scale. Those two are more to decide what receives the focus, while choosing both means they are equally focused on. We must also consider the Northern Italians' demands. We can choose to either grant them independence or ignore their demands. As a second part for that vote, we must choose that if they are granted independence, whether they will be granted Rome or not. This is a good time to mention, since we're dealing with our European lands, that if any portion of the Empire where a player has their noble titles ends up not being part of Hispania, that player will lose control of that character, or at least their ability to impact any outcome of that province or nation if they stay there. As for our last vote, we need to decide what to do about the Suez Canal terrorists hiding in Najd. Either we can request Najd hand them over, go in by force, or let them get away.

Colonial Conflict: Mediate/Side with Nova Hispania/Side with Nueva Granada/Let the colonies handle it
1.
2.
3.
4.​
Earthquake Response: Help the people/Rebuild/Both/Ignore their plight
1.
2.
3.
4.​
Northern Italy: Grant them independence/Ignore their demand
1.
2.​
Rome: Give to Northern Italy (if independent)/Keep
1.
2.​
Suez Canal Terrorists: Request Najd hand them over/Go in by force/Let them get away
1.
2.
3.​

The vote will last until Tuesday at 12PM PST. Make sure you include every option in your order of preference. You also have until the deadline to perform a stability or instability action, provided you have not done so already.))
 
Last edited:

Mach Twelve

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Dias smiled as the reports of virtually all of Europe was rising up to support France, such things would allow a more measured approach to the rest. He would move for the allies of France to all contribute fairly to the war effort in hopes that Hispania could turn its attention to the devastation of his home in Portugal. Porto was better off than Lisboa but the devastation reached north as well. Maximilliao hoped his family was safe as he sat in his camp near Paris where battle would be joined with the invading Germans the next day.


Colonial Conflict:
1. Mediate
2. Let them handle it
3. Nova Hispania
4. Nueva Granada
Earthquake Response:
1. Both
2. Rebuild
3. Help the People
4. Ignore
Northern Italy:
1. Ignore
2. Grant
Rome:
1. Keep
2. Give up
Suez Canal Terrorists:
1. Request that they are handed over
2. Go in by force
3. Allow escape
 

05060403

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Colonial Conflict:
1. Let the colonies handle it
2. Mediate
3. Nova Hispania
4. Nueva Granada
Earthquake Response:
1. Help the people
2. Both
3. Rebuild
4. Ignore their plight
Northern Italy: /
1. Grant them independence
2. Ignore their demand
Rome:
1. Keep
2. Give to Northern Italy (if independent)
Suez Canal Terrorists:
1. Request Najd hand them over/
2. Go in by force
3. Let them get away
 

DragonOfAtlantis

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Colonial Conflict:
1. Mediate
2. Let the colonies handle it
3. Side with Nova Hispania
4. Side with Nueva Granada
Earthquake Response:
1. Both
2. Help the people
3. Rebuild
4. Ignore their plight
Northern Italy:
1. Ignore their demand
2. Grant them independence
Rome:
1. Keep
2. Give to Northern Italy (if independent)
Suez Canal Terrorists:
1. Request Najd hand them over
2. Go in by force
3. Let them get away
 

Mach Twelve

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zenphoenix

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((Private))

That angel sure wasn't kidding. What was originally a simple succession war was now a war spanning the entire continent, dragging in every single country in Europe. Millions were going to die in the chaos. And as if that wasn't bad enough, the colonies and the Italians were demanding more from Valencia, Najd refused to hand over the terrorists, and an earthquake hit Portugal. A volcano erupting in Indonesia was one thing, but an earthquake in Iberia was another. One wrong move and the heartland itself could descend into anarchy. The independence of the Italians could also cause a domino effect, inspiring other parts of the empire to declare independence. Fernando could not allow that.

"This is getting ridiculous..." he muttered as he issued orders to increase Leon's garrison and started gathering supplies in case the worst happened...

Colonial Conflict:
1. Mediate
2. Let the colonies handle it
3. Side with Nova Hispania
4. Side with Nueva Granada
Earthquake Response:
1. Both
2. Help the people
3. Rebuild
4. Ignore their plight
Northern Italy:
1. Ignore their demand
2. Grant them independence
Rome:
1. Keep
2. Give to Northern Italy (if independent)
Suez Canal Terrorists:
1. Request Najd hand them over
2. Go in by force
3. Let them get away
 

Arcas Cronifer

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Colonial Conflict:
1. Let the colonies handle it
2. Mediate
3. Side with Nova Hispania
4. Side with Nueva Granada

(( With Hispania busy with a world war going on and several natural disasters striking, I see it as a sign of destiny that these colonial countries will eventually gain their independence and deal with their border disputes on their own... ))

Earthquake Response:
1. Both
2. Help the people
3. Rebuild
4. Ignore their plight

(( Ô malheureux mortels ! ô terre déplorable !
Ô de tous les mortels assemblage effroyable !
D’inutiles douleurs, éternel entretien !
Philosophes trompés qui criez : « Tout est bien » ;
Accourez, contemplez ces ruines affreuses,
Ces débris, ces lambeaux, ces cendres malheureuses,
Ces femmes, ces enfants l’un sur l’autre entassés,
Sous ces marbres rompus ces membres dispersés ;
Cent mille infortunés que la terre dévore,
Qui, sanglants, déchirés, et palpitants encore,
Enterrés sous leurs toits, terminent sans secours
Dans l’horreur des tourments leurs lamentables jours !


Voltaire, Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne, 1756 ))

Northern Italy:
1. Grant them independence
2. Ignore their demand

(( That map of Europe clearly lacks some light green :D... ))

Rome:
1. Keep
2. Give to Northern Italy (if independent)

(( ... but seriously, don't handle Rome to these damned Padanians ! ))

Suez Canal Terrorists:
1. Request Najd hand them over
2. Go in by force
3. Let them get away

(( Come on Najd, just don't mess with it, you might regret it later on... you don't even have oil - yet. ))
 

Robban204

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Alexander de Alvaro merely shook his head at the situation, not five years after he had taken over as Grand Duke from his father and the world was already going up in flames.
No matter, having italian roots and contacts on the peninsula the least he could do was gather support for the imperials in Italy so to prevent an independent Northern Italy.
He also sent out feelers to his contacts in the Najd government to get them to go along and help Hispania and extradite the terrorists.
The Empire would not crumble on his watch. Long Live the Empire! Long Live the Emperor!


Colonial Conflict:
1. Mediate
2. Let the colonies handle it
3. Side with Nova Hispania
4. Side with Nueva Granada
Earthquake Response:
1. Help the people
2. Both
3. Rebuild
4. Ignore their plight
Northern Italy:
1. Ignore their demand
2. Grant them independence
Rome:
1. Keep
2. Give to Northern Italy
Suez Canal Terrorists:
1. Request Najd hand them over
2. Go in by force
3. Let them get away
 

wzhang29

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Colonial Conflict:
1. Mediate
2. Let the colonies handle it
3. Side with Nova Hispania
4. Side with Nueva Granada
Earthquake Response:
1. Both
2. Help the people
3. Rebuild
4. Ignore their plight
Northern Italy:
1. Ignore their demand
2. Grant them independence
Rome:
1. Keep
2. Give to Northern Italy (if independent)
Suez Canal Terrorists:
1. Request Najd hand them over
2. Go in by force
3. Let them get away
 

Michaelangelo

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(( That map of Europe clearly lacks some light green :D... ))

((It is possible you may be sorely disappointed in the colour of the country that may result. ;) If you want green, there's plenty of it in Central Asia and the Middle East. :D))
 

LostPatriot

Sergeant
Nov 28, 2016
56
2
Colonial Conflict:
1. Let the colonies handle it
2. Mediate
3. Nova Hispania
4. Nueva Granada
Earthquake Response:
1. Both
2. Help the People
3. Rebuild
4. Ignore their plight
Northern Italy:
1. Ignore their demand
2. Grant their Independence ((What is the point of listing our second ranking preference on the two option votes? Isn't it simple majority on these?))
Rome:
1. Keep
2. Give to Northern Italy (if independent)
Suez Canal Terrorists:
1. Request Najd hand them over
2. Go in by force
3. Let them get away
 

Michaelangelo

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((What is the point of listing our second ranking preference on the two option votes? Isn't it simple majority on these?))

((Indeed it would be, but I like to keep the format the same for all the votes. It also makes it a bit easier for me when I record votes because I still make note of both options for each player.))
 

hirahammad

Major
5 Badges
Apr 7, 2015
678
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Colonial Conflict:
1.Let the Colonies Handle it
2. Mediate
3. Nueva Granada
4. Nova Hispania
Earthquake Response:
1. Help the People
2. Rebuild
3. Both
4. Ignore
Northern Italy:
1. Ignore
2. Independent
Rome:
1. Keep
2. Give
Suez Canal Terrorists:
1. Hand them over
2. Let them get away
3. Force
 

Arcas Cronifer

Second Lieutenant
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((It is possible you may be sorely disappointed in the colour of the country that may result. ;) If you want green, there's plenty of it in Central Asia and the Middle East. :D))

((Oh, well. Regardless, I'd like to see an independent Italy, that would be so cool and "XIXth century-ish", with freedom anthems by Verdi and so on. Italy will always be one of my favourite countries anyway. They could even steal Naples' purple for their map color ;)))
 

Michaelangelo

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((Oh, well. Regardless, I'd like to see an independent Italy, that would be so cool and "XIXth century-ish", with freedom anthems by Verdi and so on. Italy will always be one of my favourite countries anyway. They could even steal Naples' purple for their map color ;)))

((I'm only going to use the Italy tag if an independent Italian state manages to secure most of Italy, mainly that it needs the southern half. If they fail to pull that off, they will be taking another form. They certainly won't be using Neapolitan purple as their colour seeing as Naples is the one region in Italy that wants nothing to do with an Italian state. :p))
 

Mach Twelve

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((I have a feeling that discussing the color of an independent Italy isn't that relevant. Especially considering that the most ardent of Italian Separatists are about to meet grisly ends....))
 

alscon

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((Colonial Conflict:
1. Side with Nueva Granada
2. Side with Nova Hispania
3. Let the colonies handle it
4. Mediate
Earthquake Response:
1. Ignore their plight
2. Rebuild
3. Help the people
4. Both
Northern Italy:
1. Grant them independence
2. Ignore their demand
Rome:
1. Keep
2. Give to Northern Italy (if independent)
Suez Canal Terrorists:
1. Go in by force
2. Let them get away
3. Request Najd hand them over))
 

Michaelangelo

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((And now to end the vote

Colonial Conflict: Mediate
Earthquake Response: Both
Northern Italy: Ignore their demand
Rome: Keep
Suez Canal Terrorists: Request Najd hand them over

I'll start on the update right away.))
 

Michaelangelo

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1825-1826 - Domestic Woes

Hispania's focus was greatly divided during these years, yet the government never faltered to respond to the growing crises. The earthquake near Portugal required immediate attention. Aid was sent to those in need as the granaries of Hispania were emptied yet again to prevent mass starvation. The treasury was emptied in kind to fund rebuilding efforts, for the economy would surely fail if the infrastructure of Iberia was not repaired quickly. The costs were enormous, but the response was welcome. The people could well say that both the Crown and Parliament looked out for them in times of need.

The same could not be said for Northern Italy. Their calls for independence were denied yet again, something many had trouble accepting. Squabbles erupted amongst the separatists over various issues, blame flying around as some were accused of poor timing by raising the issue during a war. There were a few riots in major cities in Italy, but it did not escalate further. Separatism was dying amongst the common people, who cared little whether they lived in Hispania or some Italian state. Hispania had treated them well enough. The idea of an independent Italy faded away to the background yet again.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had more than its fair share of problems to deal with. A large team of diplomats was sent to the Americas to aid the Colonial Congress in mediating a settlement between Nueva Granada and Nova Hispania. The neutral colonial nations who had been trying to arrange a settlement were extremely grateful for Hispania's intervention, for their presence seemed to whip the two belligerent colonies into order. It seemed clear to both that with Hispania taking charge of the situation, forcing the issue could only result in universal condemnation from the fellow colonies and their overlord. After months of tireless negotiation, both Nova Hispania and Nueva Granada agreed to permit a neutral committee consisting of members from all the colonial nations and Hispania to assess the region between the two and establish a permanent border agreed upon by both. While neither would receive the border they wanted, at least the peace would be maintained for now.

Najd was proving to be not as compliant as the colonies. A request for Najd to hand over the culprits in the Suez Canal Attack was ignored for months. When pressed on the issue, a response was sent stating that Najd was conducting its own investigation into the matter and would find those responsible. Any attempts to get a Hispanian team involved was denied using half-hearted explanations that the presence of Hispanian troops of any kind would stir up dissent. Even when pressed to reveal any findings of Najd's own investigation, what was revealed seemed common knowledge or poorly researched. Najd was clearly getting nowhere, and it was suspected this was done on purpose. Under normal circumstances, a response could be organized to handle this disobedience, but with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs focused on the colonies and the military engaged thoroughly in the French Succession War, this was not the time for that.

Speaking of the French Succession War, the sudden addition of so many nations expanded the scope of the war and led to the bloodiest conflict in history. Fortunately for both France and Hispania, most of those nations joined their side. Germany's advance into France was suddenly stalled as Poland attacked their eastern border. Completely surrounded, the best Germany could do was hold their ground. France and Hispania were too strong to fight off, so Germany's ambitions of taking Paris had to be abandoned. Poland was more a nuisance than anything, and made little gains at first. In an attempt to get at Poland's flank, Germany launched a surprise assault into Bavaria, catching the nation by surprise. Bavaria had been focusing more to the west where the bulk of Germany's army had been, so an attack in the east had not been expected. Germany's campaign of advancing at lightning speed saw immediate gains into Bavaria and allowed the Germans to strike at the advancing Polish army from the side. The fact that the Scandinavians had seemingly withdrawn from Northern Germany allowed the Germans to focus forces elsewhere. Perhaps given time, Germany could have made gains in the east while managing to hold their own in the west, but that would have required much weaker enemies.

Both Byzantium and Lithuania could field massive armies and were far enough from the front to prevent any major threat of invasion. The participation of both was to prove Hungary's downfall. Hungary had taken the chance to strike at both Poland and Transdacia, but found itself stopped soon after as the larger armies of Byzantium and Lithuania rolled into action. The Greek armies swept into Hungary like a tsunami, washing away all resistance and occupying the small state in a matter of months. The Lithuanians managed to liberate what land was taken from Poland as they pressed towards the German front. With Lithuanian reinforcements, Poland managed to hold its own against Germany and start making gains again. The Greeks focused on aiding Bavaria, allowing them to reclaim their lost land, although it was clear that the German attack had harmed Bavaria before the Greeks arrived. It seemed only a matter of time now before Germany fell.

Even Germany's sole ally was of little help. Scotland's reach could not extend beyond the British Isles. An invasion of the French land in England went well enough, although their primary enemy there proved to be the invading Scandinavian army. Scotland had the advantage, forcing the rival power from the Isles. However, just like Germany, Scotland was isolated. The Scottish navy was not up to the task of defending the Isles, and soon they found themselves cut off from Ireland by the French and Hispanian navy, allowing Tyrone to occupy the rest of the island. Only after the German threat died down did France manage to land an army in the Isles and start reclaiming Southern England.

Scandinavia was facing problems of its own. While farther from the main front, the addition of Lithuania in the war presented a major problem. With their focus on pestering France at sea and attacking Germany from the north, their eastern flank was not properly defended. Lithuanian armies poured into their Baltic provinces, and the Polish made a push for the sea. Scandinavia, deciding that they were a larger threat than Germany, shifted their men to the east to fend off these invasions.

Overseas, Scandinavia's colonies were practically undefended as they focused on matters at home. French and Hispanian colonial troops swept over the poorly defended land, weakening Scandinavia's presence abroad.

Ultimately, numbers would win the day. Germany was simply outmatched and facing far too many enemies. The western front broke first, with French and Hispanian troops sweeping over the border. Germany could not both fight back that invasion and keep both the Greek and Bavarians as well as the Polish and Lithuanians from their borders. They became crushed in the vice between all the powers, and soon French troops marched through Germany's capital. The German king had no choice but to denounce his claims to the French throne and recognize Charles as the true Emperor. As for what would happen to Germany now that they had been defeated, that was something to consider for the future.

With Germany out of the picture, their ally Scotland soon followed. Not wanting to face a full-on invasion from France, they offered their surrender and recognized Charles as Emperor of France. Seeing as they had not been defeated to the same extent as Germany, they were let off with a light punishment.

The fall of Germany had great ramifications for Scandinavia. Their buffer was now gone, and they remained the last enemy to fight. Hungary, their only ally in the conflict, had fallen to Byzantium. French, Hispanian, Bavarian, Greek, Polish, and Lithuanian troops all swarmed north. Scandinavia had the advantage of the sea, allowing them to defend the Scandinavian heartland. Their German provinces did not last long though, and soon Poland reached the sea. Lithuania fought a bitter battle for the Baltics, but with assistance managed to win. Ultimately, Scandinavia was not so willing to fight to the death like Germany. They pleaded for peace, agreeing to recognize Charles as the rightful Emperor of France. With their surrender, peace could be achieved at last.

Peace negotiations with the belligerent powers began at once. The aggressors were to be punished, with borders changed and order re-established. For their part in the war, Lithuania was granted part of the Scandinavian Baltics, while Poland finally received its connection to the sea and the return of its lands stolen by Germany. Tyrone received the remainder of Ireland, while a debate ensued about the fate of France's possessions in England. For Byzantium, France permitted them to decide the fate of Hungary, whether that meant annexation or turning it into a puppet state. As for Hispania, they were to be given all of Scandinavia's colonies in Africa and the Philippines, while Bavaria was to receive land from Germany to smooth out the border. France would take some time to consider what it would claim after being so brutally attacked. It was time for the winners to take their spoils. ((I have purposely kept the peace vague in some places because I'll need to fiddle with the map to see what works best.))

Hispania was at peace at last. The war had cost many Hispanian lives, but the costs had been alleviated due to the participation of France and all the others. Without them, the cost would have been much higher. Despite that, such loss of life inevitably agitated certain segments of the population. The lower classes had become more vocal over the years, wanting a greater say in government. While the franchise had been extended several years ago, there were those who wanted all wealth restrictions removed. All Christian men in Hispanian should be allowed to vote. The movement for the universal franchise had grown in numbers of the years, and now they were pushing for the matter to go before Parliament. At the moment they resorted to peaceful rallies to raise their point. However, there were those who disagreed with the intentions of this movements. The more privileged saw this growing movement as a threat, a slippery slope leading to mob rule if indulged. Ever since the franchise had been expanded, Hispania had faced internal dissent in some form or another. Italy had become more problematic since then. The obvious solution then was to return to the voting franchise that worked best, one where only those with property voted and the more wealthy were favoured. They knew what was best for the nation. There was yet a third group though that favoured a compromise. Universal franchise could be adopted, provided it was weighted towards those with more experience in government, mainly those with wealth and property. The Parliament would need to debate the issue and consider its options. However, the matter was soon to be overshadowed by a disaster.

The eruption of Tambora years ago was still being felt by the world. This time it was India's turn to feel its full effect. Crops failed on a massive level, with droughts drying up the arable land. Food became scarce, and events experienced in Indonesia before were now happening on a much larger scale in India. It seemed that unless the government sent aid, thousands would starve. The Indian people were already in great distress because of the worsening conditions. Something needed to be done and quickly.

It was unfortunate that just as conditions in India reached an all-time low, the Hispanian economy reached a point of near collapse. The constant expenditures on relief efforts and rebuilding had taken their toll. The French Succession War had harmed trade with Europe, and the Suez Canal's damaged condition hampered trade with Asia. A worldwide depression brought on by the worsening conditions caused by Tambora made it impossible for any nation to prosper. With less money coming into the treasury and vast amounts being spent on relief, the treasury soon found itself empty. By mid-1826, Hispania was bankrupt. Action had to be taken or else the Hispanian economy would collapse entirely. There were several options that could be taken. If Hispania cut administrative costs, this would lower the effectiveness of the government, but at least save on funds. Another option was to downsize the military, which was Hispania's greatest expenditure. This would surely save the most money, but with growing dissent in the Empire it could prove a dangerous choice. The other alternative was to seek out a loan from a foreign nation, although who knew if someone willing or even able to do so would accept. Any of these could save Hispania from financial ruin, and choosing multiple ones could well revive the economy.

Even as Hispania faced the prospect of financial ruin, it seemed matters were destined to only get worse. In late September of 1826, three armed gunman managed to sneak into the palace. During a meeting between Emperor Pere VI and Prime Minister Joan de Trastámara, the gunmen barged into the room, yelled something in Italian, and open fired on the Emperor. Joan attempted to defend his brother by jumping in front of him, taking a bullet in the left arm in the process. The Prince managed to shoot two of the gunmen, wounding one and killing the other. As the guards arrived on the scene, the remaining gunman fled the palace, his task a near success. During the gunfight, one of the shooters had managed to hit the Emperor in the head, although the shot had not proved fatal. Despite the shot that normally would have killed a man, Pere slipped into a deep coma. Even though the Emperor lived, he could no longer rule as is. A regent was needed. It seemed, though, that Pere had neglected to designate one during his reign. According to the law, that left no other choice: the Prime Minister would be regent.

The title of Regent had barely been bestowed upon Joan before he started barking out orders. The Exercit Valencia was marched into the city and martial law instated. The remaining gunman was to be found at all costs, and all those aiding him imprisoned and interrogated. The wounded man was hauled to the dungeon to be interrogated, where he revealed nothing before dying from his wounds. However, the fact that the prisoner had only spoken in Italian spoke volumes. An investigation into the gunmen revealed that the two gunmen who had failed to escape were members of a known Italian separatist group. The trail for the remaining gunman also pointed to Italy. It seemed clear to all who had instigated the attack and there were to be consequences. As Regent, Joan extended martial law to Italy, intent on rooting out the last vestiges of separatism that had sparked the heinous attack on his brother, the Emperor. However, he was not foolish enough to launch a crusade against those guilty few while so newly placed in his position of power. He sought out Parliament to legitimize his actions. A harsh response was needed to teach these Italians a lesson. Of course, if Parliament favoured reform, or heaven forbid complete independence for Northern Italy, he might have to seek an alternative.

As chaos reigned at home, there were those farther afield who saw an opportune moment to strike. Muslims in Arabia had been greatly displeased when they fell under Hispanian rule. A heathen nation controlling their most holy cities could not be tolerated. Those Muslims most distraught by this banded together and instigated a rebellion in Mecca and Medina. Muslims throughout the cities rounded up Christians, tossing them into the streets to harm or even murder them. Violence was widespread as blood flowed through the streets. All signs of the Christian faith were destroyed. Even with all this going on, these rebels represented only a small number of Muslims in Hispanian Arabia. As the Exercit Arabia moved on their position, they had no choice but to flee. The Exercit Arabia chased them all the way to Najd's border, where they were turned aside by Najd's army. They passed on a message to be sent directly to Valencia. The Sultan had been overthrown, replaced by a much more pious man. Hispania must respect the Muslim people of Arabia and return the land to its rightful owners. The people of Najd could no longer tolerate the heathen presence in Arabia. Now Hispania had to choose whether it would withdraw from Arabia or defend its place there.


((An eventful update, to be certain. We seem to be lucky when it comes to all the rolls involving revolts and possibly losing land. At this rate we'll be larger than when we ended EUIV. :p Interestingly enough, the assassination roll was incredibly close. If the Italians had revolted and failed, or someone had used an instability action, Pere would be dead instead of in a coma. Of course, if Pere was dead, we'd have another ruling emperor instead of our glorious Regent Joan. I'm sure the left is quaking in fear now. :D

Now for our votes. We'll be voting on what franchise we'll have going into Vicky 2. You can consult this wiki page to see what each option means. We also need to decide how to respond to the famine in India, which is similar to what we had with Indonesia earlier. Then comes how to respond to the assassination attempt against Emperor Pere VI by Italian separatists. Here we can choose to crack down, seek reform, or remove the problem by granting them independence. Then there's how we react to Najd, where we can choose to invade them, seek a compromise, or just hand over the rest of Arabia. I've save the bankruptcy vote for last. It's special in that it will not use the alternative voting system and instead be a simple majority vote. Any option that has majority support will occur, so you can choose multiple ways to fight the problem of bankruptcy. Choosing more than one will be better at removing the problems of bankruptcy and preventing a repeat, with obvious costs though. If none of them pass, I will just choose the one with the most support.

Franchise: Universal/Weighted Universal/Weighted Wealth
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2.
3.​
India Famine: Send Relief/Send troops/Both/Send the bare minimum
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2.
3.
4.​
Assassination Attempt Response: Crack down/Seek reform/Grant Northern Italy Independence
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2.
3.​
Najd Response: Invasion/Compromise/Hand over Arabia
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2.
3.​

Bankruptcy:
Cut administrative costs: Yes/No
Downsize the military: Yes/No
Take out a loan: Yes/No

The vote will last until Saturday at 12PM PST. Remember to list all options for each vote, with the exception of the Bankruptcy vote that will follow our old voting system. If you want to perform a stability or instability action, now is the time.))