Cromwell

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Darkest Hour! I see you are also a man of taste!

You sir are spoiling your audience rotten!

Edit: That was a great character update (prologue?), I should have said so but the mention of Darkest Hour got me over overexcited!
 
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HistoryDude

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Followed some of the CK2 section, but I haven't posted anything yet... Subbed now...

Nice to see the great faces and history of the Early Modern Age.
 

Ebanu8

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From a period of multiracialism to a time of isolation, then modernisation and finally authoritarianism, Poland has quite the dramatic history.
 

DensleyBlair

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Love to get a look back at familiar faces, loved and loathed. Poland certainly has its rich collection of historical characters. Liked seeing old Oronotai again. Would love to see some of his cosmopolitanism seep back into the popular imagination.

I’ll also second the excitement to hear you’ll be firing up Darkest Hour of all things for the final (?) part. Never really got to grips playing it, but I do love being able to do Cold War timelines in PDX games. Nowadays I usually go for the CWE Vicky mod, which captures the period pretty well I have to say.
 
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Tommy4ever

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Poland in 1821

Ever eager to improve the efficiency of government and tax collection, the imperial administration had pioneered the institution of the grandest work of record keeping ever attempted – a complete census of the vast Polish empire. In revealed an imperium of nearly 70,000,000 souls divided into a tapestry of dozens of ethnic and religious groups.

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Population - 69,899,000

Jewish - 46.9% (32,778,410)

Jewish Orthodox – 36.9% (25,789,410), Olegite - 6.1% (4,263,290), Samaritan - 2.4% (1,677,360), Conservative Jewish - 1.5% (1,048,350)

Christian 18.2% (12,708,290)

Catholic - 7.8% (5,461,420), Protestant - 6.9% (4,822,410), Greek Christian - 2.3% (1,607,470), Other Christian - 1.2% (816,990)

Muslim 30% (20,937,550)

Sunni - 26.7% (18,631,180), Shia - 3.3% (2,306,370)

Hindu 3.1% (2,166,590)

Confucian & Buddhist 0.6% (448,330)

Pagan 1.2% (859,830)

Russians – 45.3% (31,350,210)

Great Russians – 35.6% (24,884,750), Lesser Russians – 7.8% (5,461,460), Cossacks 1.4% (1,004,000), Pomeranian 0.5% (320,000)

At its heart, Poland was a Judaeo-Russian empire. Emerging out of a Slavic Kingdom in the Middle Ages to become a continent-spanning Eurasian empire in the Early Modern era, for all the universalist notions put forward by governments at various points in its history, Poland never drifted far from its ethnic and religious roots. This core consisted of more than 30,000,000 Russians – an ethnic community rivalled in size in Europe only by the Germans. While there were small Christian and Muslim Russian minorities, they were overwhelmingly Jewish – even as they were divided among a variety of denominations and church factions. Combined, the Russians made up a little under half of the empire, although they were themselves divided into a number of subgroups.

The largest part of the Russian people were the Greater Russians, occasionally called the Ukrainians, a little over a third of the imperial population. They predominantly lived within the boundaries of the Late Medieval Kingdom of Poland and the areas of the Ukrainian Steppe that had given way to agriculture and Slavic settlement in the preceding centuries – stretching from Smolensk in the north to the Black Sea in the South, from Slovakia and the centre of Old Poland in the west to the Sea of Azov in the east. Aside from the Ashkenazi minorities that dotted the region, most of this area was ethnically homogenous. On the fringes however there were many mixed territories. Substantial Greater Russian populations lived in lands with Tatar pluralities west of the Don. Russians made up around a third of the Crimea alongside Khazars, Georgians and Greeks – with the Georgian area of settlement stretching into the lands to the north of the peninsula. In Orsha – a territory between Minsk and Smolensk – the Ukrainians narrowly outnumbered a centuries old Pecheneg community. Along the western fringe of the empire Christians and Russian Jewish lands bled into each other in Slovakia, Old Poland and Prussia. This was most obvious in Lithuania, where a dagger of Lithuanian communities formed a small majority in a band of territory to the east of Warsaw while Russians dominated many of the cities in eastern Lithuanian – forming a small majority of Kaunas and being only narrowly outnumbered by the natives in the historic capital of Vilnius. Religiously, the Greater Russians were the core of Jewish Orthodoxy – overwhelmingly following the empire’s establish faith, albeit with divisions over different variants of the church. That said, several million Greater Russians were not adherents of Orthodoxy – including Samaritan and Conservative Jews scattered around their area of settlement as well as notable non-Jewish minorities. These included the Protestants of Prussia – the only Greater Russian community in which a majority of the population was non-Jewish, Greek Christians in south-western Ruthenia and Galicia, Muslims in eastern Ruthenia and every manner of minority in the Pripet Marshes between Minsk and Kiev.

The second major Russian group were the Little Russians, more commonly described as Muscovites. While the Greater Russians could look back upon a long history as a single community under Polish rule running back to the Middle Ages, the Lesser Russians endured centuries alternating between divided principalities and foreign rule from Tatar and Mongol empires until Poland’s 15th century conquest of their homelands. The Muscovites had followed their kin to the south in embracing Samaritan Judaism during the 12th century but were later lured away from towards Catholicism in the Late Middle Ages. After Poland conquered the northern Russians Judaism re-exerted itself in the region – but under the influence of indigenous religious leaders who took influence from Christianity, Islam and Hinduism most Muscovites followed a unique variant of the religion known as Olegism. Among the rest of the Little Russians there were minorities of other Jewish denominations, particularly Orthodox Jews, as well as a sizeable number of Catholics and small communities of Muslims. These religious differences helped to solidify Muscovy’s existing distinctiveness, with the Muscovite dialect emerging as a language of liturgy and literature in its own right. Through the course of the Early Modern era, the Muscovites greatly expanded their area of settlement – moving in large numbers into previously Tatar-Mongol lands around Moscow and even further east, creating a swathe of ethnically divided lands stretching from Novgorod to Galich. No group embraced Poland’s conquest of Siberia like the Little Russians – who formed the largest Slavic group to migrate east of the Urals, making the Muscovite tongue the lingua franca among the Russian populations of Siberia and Grigoria.

The Cossacks were perhaps the most infamous of Slavic groups, having frequently held the balance between chaos and glorious success for the empire through the strength of their military prowess. Born as an agglomeration of Slavic settlers and indigenous Turkic peoples on the Wild Lands of the Steppe around the 14th and 15th centuries they had spent centuries living brutal lives of nomadic warriors on the harsh lands of the Steppe. With a homeland between the Don and Lower Volga basins, their numbers were deceptively smaller. Indeed, they only formed a majority in around Azov and the northern Kuban while in their heartland along the Don they were only around a third of the population, narrowly outnumbered by Tatars, while themselves having greater numbers than the Khazars and Greater Russians who also lived in the area. Around the Volga, their numbers were smaller still – making up around a tenth of the population from Astrakhan to Saratov, via Tsaritsyn.

The last of the subgroups of the greater Russian narod were the Pomeranians. Confined to a small slither of the Baltic shoreline, cut off from the rest of Russian Jewry, the Pomeranians were a fascinating people. A seafaring people among an inland race, with a unique dialect and above all defined by their Samaritan religion. While there were Samaritan minorities scattered across the lands of the Medieval Polish Kingdom in Ruthenia, Galicia and Old Poland – Pomerania was the only place in the world where they formed a majority, and this idiosyncratic faith, with its glorious Medieval history, was at the centre of all facets of life in Pomerania. Through their history they had remained relatively quiet – for the most part satisfied loyalists of the Kiev, while frequently showing a willingness to cooperate with their more unruly Christian neighbours in the name of religious toleration. The most prominent exception to this pattern had come during the 16th century when the Samaritan ‘Hollow Army’ rode out from Pomerania to wage war across the Baltic against the foreboding force of the Protestant Reformation that was destabilising the region at the time.

Ashkenazi – 2% (1,406,800)

For such a small part of the empire, the Ashkenazi had played an incredible role in Polish history. Since they brought Judaism to Poland and converted the Slavic natives to their faith in the 10th and 11th centuries, and with the exception of the Samaritan period in the 12th and 13th centuries when they endured persecution, they had held a privileged position in Polish life while always maintaining a degree of separation from the Slavs along with their Yiddish language. They were seen as more refined and closer to God through their status as the Chosen People – ethnic descendants of the Biblical Israelites. With this holy reputation, they Ashkenazi were, unsurprisingly, greatly overrepresented among the Rabbinate and especially in higher ranking positions. Many of the most important religious figures in Polish history had come from the community – including David Loir who converted the Poles to Judaism and the great prophet Jacob Shamir who founded Jacobean Judaism and modern Orthodoxy. More recently, the Ashkenazi had been the conduit for the spread of Reform Judaism into Poland, preceding the empire’s 18th century turn to secularism. The Ashkenazi lived almost exclusively in the territory of the Late Medieval Polish Kingdom – through Ruthenia, Galicia and Old Poland. Throughout this territory they formed around 5 percent of the population, and a much larger share in urban areas. Ashkenazi society was very different in the countryside and the city. In rural areas lived in sheltered shetls – totally apart from the Russians and for the most part in the same level of abject poverty as their Slavic counterparts. In the cities they had grown into something of a middle-class elite – with major centres of power in both the clergy and commerce. The great majority of Ashkenazi are Orthodox Jews, although notable Conservative communities dwell along the western frontier of the empire in the Baltic and the Krakowian parts of Old Poland.

Khazars – 1.6% (1,118,560)

The Khazars had a long and glorious history. With a Jewish tradition predating the Slavs, at their peak the Turkic people had dominated all the lands from the Carpathians to the Caspian Sea. Already fading by the time of the Polish conquest of the Ukrainian Steppe, their numbers and influence had steadily faded since the Medieval era – leaving a few scattered communities around the Black Sea region. These homelands were located around the Danube Delta (with some communities living across the border in Serbia), the Crimea – particularly around the southern port of Sevastopol and the Kuban, while in the Don Region around a tenth of the population identified as Khazar by the 19th century, although many of these the descendants of Turkic tribes who had converted to Judaism and rejected their previous Tatar identity. Indeed, in 19th century Poland, Khazar was the broad ethno-religious identity of all Turkic-speaking Jews rather than a single national group. Historically, the Khazars had been the very first Jacobean Jews – with Jacob Shamir having begun his career to convert the Jewish world while living among them on the Steppe in the 13th century. This had left a deep imprint among the community, ensuring a passionate attachment to Jewish Orthodoxy and legacy of its prophet.

Krakowian Poles – 3.4% (2,376,260)

The Krakowians occupied a unique role in the Polish empire. The possessed outsized influence beyond their relatively modest numbers, owing to the economic prosperity of their lands and the cultural power of their greatest city in Krakow and the strategic importance of their position on the Polish-German border. As the only other Slavic people in the empire whose ancestry could be traced back to the First Polish State – further than most Russians – they were one of the core peoples of the realm. Despite this, their Catholic faith, adopted in the period between the collapse of the First Polish state in the 12th century and the reconquest of the region in the 13th century, and fierce independence had placed them at the heart of rebellions and political discord for hundreds of years.

By the 19th century Krakowian and Russian parts of Old Poland had grown firm. Centuries of intercommunal violence had seen the two communities group together amongst their own. The Krakowian Poles whrere centred in enclaves around their two main cities – Poznan in the west and Krakow in the south. The only Russian-Polish area that was still significantly mixed was around Lodz, where the Krakowians held a small majority in the city but were outweighed in the largely Jewish countryside. To the north, there was a modestly sized Krakowian majority in Protestant Gdansk and a stretch of territory extending towards the port city from the Poznan region.

Baltic Peoples – 6.7% (4,692,830)

Estonians – 2.7% (1,887,030), Lithuanians 1.8% (1,258,020), Prussians 1.2% (848,010), Latvians 0.4% (270,230), Danziger 0.3% (224,660), Karelian 0.3% (204,880)

Wealthy, outward looking and proudly loyal to the empire, the Protestant peoples of the Baltic had played a large role in Poland’s recent history, achieving significant favour under the Zvenislava monarchy. The largest Baltic nation were the Estonians – settled in a large area across Ingria and Livonia, including two the region’s three great port cities in Riga and Reval – that was broadly aligned with the lands once ruled by the semi-independent Kingdom of Estonia, although Riga had been part of Lithuania despite its Estonian citizenry. With Finnic linguistic roots, the Estonians are related to the Ugric peoples of Poland’s northern periphery – although divided from them by culture, societal development and religion.

The other people with a history of partial independence were the Lithuanians – for a time the first Protestant Kingdom in the world, and the birthplace of the Reformed faith that defined the entire region. While most Baltic peoples clung to the coast, the Lithuanians were an inland race clustered south of Livonia and east of Prussia, with a salient area of settlement stretching into the eastern part of Old Poland. Concerningly for the Lithuanians, many of their greatest cities had attracted Russian migrants over the course of the 18th century – with Kaunas now possessing a small Russian majority and the native only narrowly outnumbering the interlopers in the former capital of Vilnius.

Prussia had been under Polish rule since the Early Middle Ages and faced major waves of Slavic settlement. While this had led to the indigenous population being largely wiped out in southern Prussia – in the north they remained ascendant. With a closely related language to the Lithuanians, some sought to redefine them as regional subset of the Lithuanians nation, merely divided from their brothers by their long history under Polish rule.

One of the smallest ethnic groups in the region were the Latvians – who lived in Courland, to the west of Riga and north of Lithuania-proper. The Latvians had spent close to a millennia under the rule of outside powers, they lacked any real sense of national consciousness or a written language of their own. Having most recently been a part of the Kingdom of Lithuania, the Lithuanians keenly regarded them as another subset of their own nation.

The German-speaking Danzigers were in reality a mongrel-breed, the product of mixing between German and Scandinavian traders with Slavs, Ashkenazi and every manner of Balt in cosmopolitan Gdansk. Their presence was largely limited to the eponymous city and the area around it.

The very smallest of the Baltic peoples were the Karelians – a population found solely in the Karelian territories north of Ingria and close to the Danish border. They claimed descent from Nordic settlers of old but spoke a language with many similarities to their Finnic neighbours in Estonian and further east, albeit with strong Germanic elements. Like many Baltic peoples, they were heavily involved in seaborne trade – focussed around the port and fortress of Vyborg.

Greeks – 2.4% (1,677,360)

Although there were small populations of Greeks in the Black Sea region – mostly limited to Sevastopol, Azov and Odessa – the overwhelming majority of Poland’s Greeks were Pannonians living in Slovakia, where they formed around half the population, a majority in the east and minority in the west. Like their kinsmen in the Kingdom of Pannonian itself, the Slovakian Greeks did not trace their heritage back to the Hellenic homeland but were instead the products of a cultural shift towards the Greek language and religion in the Pannonian plain following the conquest of the region by a Byzantine aristocracy during the High Middle Ages. Where the Slovakian Greeks diverged from their cousins in Pannonia was in religion. While the Pannonians had abandoned Greek-rite worship for the Catholic Church in the aftermath of the collapse of Byzantium and the institutions of Orthodox Christianity, the Slovakians, shielded from European currents by Polish rule, had retained their Greek Christian identity through a variety of small and competing Greek-rite churches.

Ugrians – 4.1% (2,856,040)

The forgotten people of the frozen north, Finno-Ugric peoples once dominated all the lands from the White Sea to the Upper Volga. In the face of a millennium of Tatar, Mongol and Slavic rule in the Volga region, they had been reduced to a small minority in these southern territories, relegating them to the forests and tundra of the extreme north. There, dozens of Finno-Ugric peoples including Finns, Veps, Permians, Khanty, Komi, Mari, Udmurts, Mokshas, Mordvins and Meshchera, had lived in independence squabbling among one another for centuries until the Poles finally subjugated the region in the mid-17th century. Since then, imperial control had been comparatively lax with relatively little state interest in the cold and impoverish Arctic lands. With so many different tribes with little in common aside from language and a broadly defined northern homeland, religion among the Ugric peoples was extremely pluralistic. The largest religious grouping – including the Finns, Veps and Komi – was Catholicism, yet the Komi were Muslims, the Permians and Khanty pagans while the Mordvins and Meshchera had followed indigenous varieties of Christianity unrelated to the mainline churches.

Altaic – 30.1% (21,036,890)

Tatars 27% (18,870,300), Mongols 3.1% (2,166,590)

After the Russians, the Altaic people were the largest group in Poland – dominating the empire from the Don to Lake Baikal with scattered communities as far west as the Baltic and north as the White Sea. The simplicity of the census categories of Mongol and Tatar disguised a diverse cultural continuum stretching Eurasia, including dozens of tribes and communities. What united the Altaic peoples of Poland were a shared history, common Turco-Mongolic languages and cultural touchstones and a unifying experience of interaction with the Polish state.

Despite the popular image of the Mongols and Tatars as being physiologically and linguistically distinct, the divide was not nearly as clear cut. In Muscovy, Mongols and Tatars spoke the same language, communities and physical appearance after centuries of intermarriage. Simply put, the Tatars were defined as the Muslim Altaic peoples and Mongols as the Hindus.

The term Tatar referred to a dizzying array of Turkic peoples including the Tverians, Chuvash, Pechenegs (the tribe whose Orsha branch had given the empire its most famous Muslim - Oronartai Belugunutei), Tverians, Kazanians, Samarans, Zemgalians, Kazakhs, Oghuz, Bashkirs, Nogais, Turkmen and many others. Historically, these tribal division had prevented them from ever acting a unified block in the way the Europeans national groups in the west of the empire had managed to on occasion, yet the first signs of a shared Tatarian consciousness were beginning to emerge by the beginning of the 19th century.

Geographically, a great block of territory from the Ural Mountains to the Volga formed the Tatar homeland within Poland with an almost exclusively Muslim and Turkic population. Yet the Tatars were also spread far and wide in ethnically mixed areas. These included many territories in which the onward march of Slavic settlement had relegated them to minority status. In the ethnically Don basin – traditionally dominated by the Cossacks – Tatars actually formed a plurality of the population. In the North Caucuses, Turkic peoples dominated the area of Dagestan on the shores of the Caspian. In Muscovy, the onward march of Russian settlement had relegated the Tatars to a minority. Of the traditional Tatar-Mongol cities if the region, Novgorod had a Russian majority, the Tatars still held a majority in Tver and the combined numbers of Tatars and Mongols narrowly outnumbered the Russians in Moscow. The other communities of Tatars were smaller. To the west, there were isolated groups in Orsha – where the Pechenegs were now a minority – and to the south of Riga on the Baltic – where the Zemgalians outnumbered their Baltic neighbours. There were also scattered Turkic groups among the Uralic peoples of the far north – a region many had migrated to during the 16th and 17th centuries in an effort to escape Jewish rule.

Most of Poland’s Mongols lived in Muscovy as the descendants of the Blue Horde, where the had formed close communal ties with the Muslim Tatars in opposition to the advancing Russians, from whom they were chiefly divided by their Hindu religion. These Muscovite Mongols were highly Europeanised and lived sedentary lives in the major cities and Tatar-Mongol villages. Their compatriots in the east were very different. More clearly Asiatic in appearance, the Sibirs living east of the Urals and Buryats of Irkutsk lived more traditionally Mongol lifestyles of nomadic herding, horsemanship, raiding and throat singing.

Caucasians – 2.4% (1,663,730)

Alans – 1.2% (838,360), Arabs 0.4% (264,320), Georgians 0.2% (162,010), Persians 0.2% (118,880), Armenians 0.2% (118,200), Other Caucasian (161,960)

The Caucuses, with their high mountains and stretches of barren wasteland were among the most varied, complex and lawless parts of the Polish empire. The dominant force in the North Caucasian region were the Alans – an Islamic Steppe people speaking an Iranian language. For centuries they had been forced to fight for their survival against the Khazars, Tatars and Cossacks – succeeding in establishing themselves as the dominant force over the North Caucuses, inhabiting lands between Astrakhan and the high peaks of the Caucasian Mountains.

The former territories of the Baku Emirate, Poland’s most recently acquired province, were its main toehold into the South Caucuses. Here the population was principally divided between Armenians, Persians and Arabs. The Christian Armenians lived in the west, around Ganja and Karabakh, while the Muslim Persians populated the city of Baku and some of the coastal towns around it. The rest of the region was home to a substantial Islamic Arab peasantry.

Most of Poland’s Georgians were not actually people of the Caucuses. While Poland ruled a small Georgian area to the north of Serbian-ruled Tbilisi, the bulk of her Georgians actually lived in the Crimea and the lands directly to its north, even forming a majority around Kerch – products of a Medieval migration out of their tradition homeland to escape the Arab conquest of the region. While the Caucasian Georgian still mostly followed Greek Christian denominations, those in the Crimea had long since converted to Catholicism.

The rest of the region was scattered by numerous smaller people groups located high in the mountains, often of totally different cultures, religions and linguistic groups to the people in the next valley. They included Chechens, Ingush, Circassians, Lezgins, Laks, Mountain Jews and many others.

Roma – 0.3% (213,820)

The Roma, or Gypsies, were perhaps the most blighted people of the entire empire. Descendants of Indian migrants who had arrived in Europe in the Middle Ages where they adopted a traveller lifestyle – spreading out across the continent and becoming a major feature of Balkan societies. Although there were Gypsies all around European Poland, their numbers were heavily concentrated in Moldavia. Reviled as outsiders, transients, thieves, sorcerers and troublemakers, there were few groups so universally hated. In Moldavia, most were held as chattel slaves – enduring a suffering even greater than the great mass of serfs across the empire.

Orientals – 1% (703,430)

Chinese 0.6% (446,090), Manchus 0.3% (243,850), Malay (11,250), Korean (2,240)

Poland’s 700,000 East Asian inhabitants were scattered across the Siberian Far East and the North American colony of Grigoria. Most were relics of long deceased Asian empires – with Chinese scattered across Siberia and forming a majority in the Cascadian portion of Polish North America. The Manchus were indigenous to many of the regions on the empire’s extreme south-eastern frontier, where they lived in great numbers. Alaska was home to several thousand Malays who had migrated to the region during its time under Pasai rule. Finally, a few thousand Koreans formed the elite of the Kamchatka peninsula – which had briefly been controlled by their homeland being the Poles had imposed themselves in the region during the 17th century.

Indigenous – 0.7% (483,070)

Siberian Native 0.6% (421,430), American Native 0.1% (61,640)

More distant from imperial authority than any other groups, the indigenous populations of Siberia and North America for the most part lived secluded and independent lives in the fringes of Polish society – often being forced to travel further and further form the richest territories of their homelands by the encroachment of settled peoples. In Grigoria, several dozen Native tribes formed a little over half of the population and dominated the inland regions. In Siberia they had similarly been driven to the more secluded and less valuable territories across the vastness of the area between the Urals and the Pacific.

Israel in 1821

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Population - 1,410,636

Few places on earth had seen so much blood spilled over them as the Land of Israel. From the conflicts of the Biblical age, through Jewish revolts against the great classical and ancient empire, the Roman-Persian Wars of Late Antiquity, the struggle between Medieval struggles between Christians, Muslims and Jews in the Crusades and Jewish Wars of Religion, before being dragged into major conflicts in the Early Modera era through Polish geopolitical rivalries. The Tsar’s other Kingdom made up a tiny fraction, relatively poor, fraction of his imperium – yet in many ways there was nowhere more important

Jewish – 61.9% (872,046)

Russian – 41.3% (582,280), Ashkenazi – 9.6% (134,930), Sephardim – 6% (84,190), Mizrahi – 5% (70,646)

Since the Great Aliyah first restored the Kingdom of Israel in the 14th century, the Holy Land’s history had been defined by the institutions of the Orthodox High Priesthood and inward Jewish migration. In 1821, Jews made up more than 60 percent of the Kingdom’s population. While Russian, and occasionally the liturgical language of Hebrew, acted as a cross-community lingua franca among Israeli Jews, they were divided by ethnicity and denomination. Around two thirds of them were Slavs, speaking an Israeli dialect of Russian, while the rest were Israelites – Ashkenazi of Central and Eastern Europe, Sephardim from Iberia and the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Mizrahi. While most were Orthodox, every variant of Judaism was represented, particularly in and around the Holy City itself. With Samaritans and Olegites placing lesser importance on the Holy Land than other groups, the largest Jewish minority were the Conservative Jews, who rejected the innovations of Jacob Shamir. Both the Slavs and Ashkenazi included small numbers of Conservatives, yet the bulk of these came from the Jews living beyond the Polish empire – with the Sephardim being overwhelmingly Conservative and the Mizrahi divided between Jacobeans and Conservatives. They were not evenly distributed throughout the realm. In the Palestinian heartland 9 out of 10 people were Jewish, while in the populous northern provinces of Damascus and Lebanon only a little over half the population was Jewish. The Russians were distributed relatively evenly across these three areas, while the Sephardim were concentrated in Palestine, the Ashkenazi grouped in larger numbers in both Palestine and Lebanon and the Mizrahi in Damascus, where many Baghdadi Jews had fled during the 17th century collapse of the Arab Caliphate.

Arab - 38.1% (538,590)

Muslim – 23.7% (336,000), Christian – 14.4% (202,590)

The Arabs, native to the region, were left outnumbered in their homeland. A small minority between the Jordan and the sea, many grouped in religious communities around holy sites. In contrast, the East Bank of the river was almost solely Arab and Muslim. Indeed, local Arab leaders had periodically attempted to seek independence from their Jewish masters without success throughout Israel’s history. In the north, the large Arab minorities of Lebanon and Damascus very different. The Damascene Arabs were predominantly Muslims and held close connections to their brothers across the Middle East. Meanwhile, the majority of Lebanese Arabs were Christian, specifically Marionites, and held a more insular and independent disposition, and less hostility to Jewish rule.
 
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Tommy4ever

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I slightly self-indulgent deep dive into Victoria 2’s beautiful demographic statistics.

These figures are almost wholly taken from the actual Vicky2 stats as produced by the converter, with a few edits and a few creative liberties.

I have to say, the converter is exceptional. Its nuanced, and accurate and playable and creates a world that feels real. I 100% recommend.

I actually love the way the converter works. Rather than leaving lots of provinces with 100% of one ethnicity – it leaves big minority (and sometimes majority) populations in provinces that flipped culture in EU4, with the date at which the flip took place influencing how big the different groups are. It also has a bit of blending in borderlands. This created pleasingly ‘realistic’ ethnically mixed borderland provinces – particularly in the main areas I did lots of cultural conversions (the Don-Volga region, Muscovy and Siberia).

It also adds in a few ‘extra’ minorities who don’t exist in EU4 – namely Roma (mostly in Romanian provs and some in a few other provs) and Ashkenazi (in OTL Pale of Settlement/ PLC borders – which was very close to our TL’s Medieval Polish borders, working perfectly with the story).

In EU4 we just had one massive “Russian” ethnic group. The converter divides Russians into Ukrainians (who we call Greater Russians), Belorussians and Russians (Muscovites to you and me). This initially annoyed me, but a separate ethnicity for the northern Russians made a lot of sense given the history we’ve built up – although I thought it wouldn’t make much sense to have separate Belorussians, given how unified Ruthenia’s history has been in this story. Minsk and Kiev really were the ultimate heartland cities – it wouldn’t make sense for them to be ethnically divided. So I turned all the Belorussians into Ukrainians. The converter also changed everyone within the modern borders of Ukraine to Ukrainians and left the rest as Russians/Muscovites – which created some messiness, particularly in the parts of Old Poland, so I shifted them all over to Ukrainians/Greater Russians.

In game, the Cossacks and Pomeranians are just plain Ukrainians – but I noted them separately here for flavour purposes. The Olegite and Conservative Jewish groups were also flavour additions (in game the only Jews are Orthodox Jewish and Samaritans).

The converter mashed 2 or 3 EU4 cultures (the main ones being Pechenegs and Turks) into one “Turkish” megaethnicity – which works very well in our story, as I’ve been treating our Tatars collectively from the start of the game.

We ‘should’ have had about 1,000,000 more Ugrian people in this game – mostly in the Muscovy region. However, in the converter they came out as ‘No Culture’, who get wiped out in the first few weeks of the converted game.

North America was quite fun. The converter creates ‘new ethnicities’ for people in the Americas – often with odd names. It was a bit or work to figure out who the names were supposed to represent, but the religions helped me along. There is actually an independent Russo-American culture group, a Chinese American group (which has a majority in the HRE colonies in California and Oregon) and a tiny Malay-American group found in Alaska and further south in other areas the Pasai Republic was involved in. On top of that, atleast half a dozen Native American groups.

With Israel, I bumped the population up a little bit and while there are small in game Sephardic populations – almost all Jews were Russian. So the division of Israeli Jews is a bit of flavour too.

Who shall come forward to stand upon the shoulders of these giants?

Just going to have to wait and see :D

They've got a lot to live up to!

Well it's sad that I can't play it, but Darkest Hour as the ending should make for a better narrative.
Darkest Hour! I see you are also a man of taste!

You sir are spoiling your audience rotten!

Edit: That was a great character update (prologue?), I should have said so but the mention of Darkest Hour got me over overexcited!

I do love DH myself, when I played it I felt that was as perfect as I wanted my HoI games and haven't moved into the future ever since :p.


Followed some of the CK2 section, but I haven't posted anything yet... Subbed now...

Nice to see the great faces and history of the Early Modern Age.

Glad to have you aboard!

From a period of multiracialism to a time of isolation, then modernisation and finally authoritarianism, Poland has quite the dramatic history.

And there will be more drama to follow!

Love to get a look back at familiar faces, loved and loathed. Poland certainly has its rich collection of historical characters. Liked seeing old Oronotai again. Would love to see some of his cosmopolitanism seep back into the popular imagination.

I’ll also second the excitement to hear you’ll be firing up Darkest Hour of all things for the final (?) part. Never really got to grips playing it, but I do love being able to do Cold War timelines in PDX games. Nowadays I usually go for the CWE Vicky mod, which captures the period pretty well I have to say.

As you can see here the Tatars are a huge part of the popualiton - and their presence is going to be a major theme as we move into a more demography obssessed era.

The DH period of wars takes us into the mid-1950s - and not 100% decided if I should end the AAR there, continue it as RP only or potentially do another conversion possible to another mod. That might be too much work in the end :p.
 
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Cora Giantkiller

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I love the deep dive into the world of the Polish Empire; really creates a sense of verisimilitude, and it's a good inspiration for my own AAR writing.

The DH period of wars takes us into the mid-1950s - and not 100% decided if I should end the AAR there, continue it as RP only or potentially do another conversion possible to another mod. That might be too much work in the end :p.

POLES IN SPAAAAAAAAAAACE!
 
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stnylan

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Quite a tapestry within the realm - trying to keep all these threads together and in an ordered pattern will test the most accomplished of weavers - and so far the quality of ruler-craft from the Lords of Poland has been ... variable. At times they still stun with works that echo down the ages, and other times they will produce garbage fit only for the midden heap. Will their fingers be cunning as as they twist the spinning fibres into a new evolving triumph, or shall entropy rend the textile of the nation to utter ruin?

So far in this AAR we have seen both :D
 

Cromwell

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That really was a deep dive! I couldn't be happier (well asside from the converter wiping out a million poor Ugrians :eek: ).

Poland is definitely ready to make it's mark on the Victoria world!
 
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HistoryDude

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Nice overview of ethnic groups!

I see that Poland is very multiethnic. It seems similar to the Russian Empire in OTL. Hopefully, it does better than Russia did...
 

DensleyBlair

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Incredible how the Polish and Jewish populations are minorities even within a Polish Jewish state. I agree that the converter has done a fantastic job. Such a good deal of life in that map. Minorities in particular feels well handled – though I do not envy you for the nationalist rebellions you must’ve sat through from the 1840s…
 

Specialist290

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Victorian Poland is certainly an incredibly diverse place. With so many different religions and ethnic groups, the realm must almost certainly be a bubbling cauldron of ideas and beliefs, which must be watched carefully to ensure that it doesn't boil over too vigorously...
 

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1821-1839 – A New Page

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The world of 1821 was entering into a calmer time after the disturbances of the Age of Revolutions. In Asia, the Chinese revolution was over. The Xi Republic had abandoned its efforts to push for complete unification, while its enemies had accepted the existence of its republican constitution and landowning yeoman peasantry – both won through social revolutionary violence. Islamic Asia had grown divided between the despotism of Brunei in the old Pasai heartland of maritime South East Asia, and the burgeoning democracy of Australia. Elsewhere in the region, Japan – once a colonialist in its own right having fought to control Korea in previous centuries – had turned inward and isolationist – cutting itself off from the outside world.

Outside of the Italian Revolutionary Wars, Europe had been spared the worst of the upheavals through the previous period. Down the spine of the continent – through the Netherlands, the Holy Roman Empire and Italian peninsula – a collection of constitutional monarchy were emerging as the driving force of the world economy, each experiencing rapid economic growth as the industrial revolution took hold. The rest of the continent – the Norse kingdoms of Skotland and Denmark, the Muslims of Andalucia, the Jews of Poland and the Balkan states of Serbia and Crusader Anatolia – were all dominated by autocratic regimes that were falling behind culturally, technologically and economically.

The exception to this rule was the Papal States, a theocratic despotism that was perhaps the most dynamic and rapidly rising force in the world. Controlling the western shore of Italy from Rome to Naples, His Holiness’ realm including two of Italy’s greatest and most economically valuable cities. Benefitting from limitless access to Egyptian cotton, these two cities were emerging as textiles powerhouses – at the centre of the peninsula’s wider transformation. Having ruled Egypt for centuries, the 18th century saw the Papacy engorge itself in the conquest of the Arab world – conquering most of Syria and Arabia and parts of Iraq. By 1821 it had expanded its ambitions with a strike against the Hindu world – occupying all of Mesopotamia and sending its armies to the most far flung territories of India.

The Hindu world, encompassing India, Persia and Central Asia, had been the most sheltered part of the world during the Age of Revolutions. The region had, for the most part, been self-satisfied and inward looking – rich with confidence in the superiority of its Persianate and Indian culture and fulfilled by conquests in South East Asia, the Middle East and Tibet. This sleepy existence was in the process of being cracked open by the butt of his Holiness’ rifles.

Across Africa, the heart of the continent was largely impenetrable to outsiders – made up of a patchwork of tribes and kingdoms great and small that were sheltered by their hostile climate and relative poverty. On the coasts, there were numerous enclaves of European rule. The Abbadids ruled in the north west, across much of the Sahara Desert, with Christian states dominating the rest of North Africa. In the West, the Danes held a small outcrop of territory in the Western Sahara while the Italians and Skots controlled larger holdings through West Africa. South Africa was evenly divided into Dutch, Danish and German segments – with the Danes keeping the most valuable lands around the Cape of Good Hope. East Africa was more lightly colonises, with the only European holding of note the Abbadid territories near Zanzibar – which served as a way station for trade between the far away lands of European and Asian Islam. Further north, the Templars – who once ruled Egypt in the Late Middle Ages – still held on to a territorial existence in the harsh lands of the Sudan. While the continent’s only indigenous colonisers, the Muslim Somalis, held a colonial empire including lands in Arabia and New Guinea.

In the Americas, the flame of revolution was very much alive. There were still vibrant movements for independence, desperate attempts by indigenous peoples to throw off both European and creole rule, conflicts between liberals and conservatives over the future shape of newly independent states and on parts of the continent the embers of an industrial revolution on the Central European model.

1598084463512.png

The 1820s were shaped by a geopolitical earthquake brought about by the remarkable conquests of the Papal States. When the Papacy had gone to war with the Hindu-Persian kingdom of Fars over Baghdad, it had expected a limited war. Yet it soon dragged in the other Persian states and the sprawling Indian Pratihara empire. With Fars dropping out of the war by 1822, the Papacy turned its focus to the Pratiharas. In this they were aided by the mighty Rattas empire – which ruled over most of India and had been the ancestral rival of the Pratiharas. They allowed the Papacy to make use of their ports, perhaps underestimating the scale of Papal ambitions and the superiority of the strength of their arms. It would take until the end of the decade for the Papacy to full defeat the Pratiharas and subjugate their incredibly diverse empire, yet by the end of the conflict the Papal States had emerged as a new superpower in the making.

1598084501331.png

From the first appearance of Papal forces in Central Asia, panic started to spread to Kiev. Poland had for hundreds of years been the only European state with any significant influence in the Hindu world – and now the Papacy at surged towards its frontiers in both the Middle East and Central Asia. This advance sparked off one of the grandest Great Power rivalries of the nineteenth century, as Poland and the Papacy competed for land, influence and power across Persia and Central Asia in the Great Game. Poland’s first countermove to the Papal advance came in 1823, when its forces launched an invasion of the Kazakh Khanate – annexing the territory in 1824.

1598084523864.png

The Papacy were not the only power Poland were concerned with in the early nineteenth century, the Holy Roman Empire’s growing economic might had aided it in developing a new assertiveness that had ended Poland’s time as Europe’s hegemon late in the previous century. To counter these threats, the Tsar oversaw a dramatic campaign of military expansion that saw the standing army increase its numbers by fifty percent over the course of the 1820s, adopt the latest rifles and artillery and modify their doctrine for a new age. Kiev also went on diplomatic manoeuvres in western Europe. Ever since Poland had failed to come to their aid during the Italian Revolutionary Wars of the 1790s, the relationship with the Skots had cooled. Poland instead found a new friend in Cordoba. The Andalucians had a longstanding rivalry with the Germans over France, while their Islamic faith ensured their implacable hostility to Papal rule over Arabia and the holy cities of Hedjaz.

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This alliance would be activated less than a year after it was agreed, as border clashes been the Germans and Andalucians in France escalated into full-scale war. In Poland, the short conflict would become known as the Silesian War. It took months from the outbreak of fighting in June 1829 before significant actions took place on the Polish front – with both the Germans and Poles taking time to bring their troops to the theatre. In August and September, the Germans crossed the border and faced a stinging defeat at Gniezno. The Poles pursued the retreating enemy across the border and captured the entire Imperial army of Silesia near Breslau. In the following months the Polish army began the process of occupying towns and cities in the region, and besieging strongpoints. With their forces also performing poorly in France, the Holy Roman Empire agreed a peace deal in January 1830 – making minor territorial concessions in France and granting the Poles a modest indemnity. It had been a short, relatively low-cost, military triumph.

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In the glow of victory, Vasiliy IV hoped to institute great reforms in his empire. Throughout its history, Poland’s greatest foe had not been the armies of foreign powers but the discord of her own people. The Tsar hoped to resolve this ancient problem, not by hoarding power for himself as his Radoslavian ancestors had done, but by giving it away. As such, in 1831 he appointed Poland’s first Prime Minister, Mikhail Brusilov, the Prince of Polotsk, to form a new government in which he would play little active part and gave him the authority to reform the state.

Brusilov was a fascinating choice. His father had been a prominent leader during the Legitimist Revolt of the 1790s when he was still a teenager, and he still ribbed shoulders with many followers of the pretender cause – even as he swore undying fealty to his sovereign himself. Undoubtedly, Brusilov was a member of the conservative wing of the Polish nobility that had found itself perpetually at odds with Zvenislava rule for a century. By appointing him, the Tsar was making a clear state of his intention to incorporate the wider Polish elite into the state more fully.

It was during this period of the 1820s that the political factions that would define mid-century Poland began to coaless more clearly – largely in opposition or support of the Brusilov administration. The Prime Ministers allies were the Slavophiles. This was a largely aristocratic faction, unified under the ideological vision of Poland as a nation rooted in Judaeo-Slavic culture, with traditional values and strong faith, they fiercely supported landed economic interests and backed protectionist measures and were suspicious of any disruption from the social order. On the fringes, some among their number held quiet Legitimist sympathies. On the Left, the ancestors of the Radoslavian absolutists gathered in the Zapadnik faction. The Zapadniks were westernisers, modernists and secularists who sought to fully incorporate religious and ethnic minorities – particularly the Christians of the western frontiers – into the Polish state. They had close associations with the Reform faction of Jewish Orthodoxy, from where many of their leaders grew out of. Economically, they were passionate advocates of free trade and free markets – hoping to keep Poland open to the outside world, with many keenly interested in the economic changes sweeping Central Europe. Some even had neo-absolutist sympathies – looking back wistfully at the enlightened secularism of the 18th century, and fearing a diffusion of power to the nobility. On the anti-Brusilov Right lay the Israelites. This faction was centred around the Hasidim, but included hardline Kohenists, and zealous groups among the Olegites, Samaritans and Conservative Jews. They were anti-western, deeply pious and hostile to any dilution of Jewish or clerical power in Poland.

1598084634524.png

Far away from Kiev, the 1830s changed the fate of Poland’s North American colonies for good. In 1836 world reached Europe that gold was being found near the Alaskan port of Sitka in vast quantities. Suddenly, the cold and distant lands of Grigoria were transformed in the public imagination into a land of bountiful opportunity. While there had been several thousand Russians in Grigoria before 1836, they were badly outnumbered by both Asians and Native Americans. The Sitka Gold Rush would begin the process of changing this state of affairs, as thousands of optimistic prospectors from every corner of the empire began to long journey east in hopes of striking rich.

1598085480699.png

Politically, throughout the 1830s Brusilov’s administration was dominated by the question of political reform. With the Tsar’s support, it was the Prime Minister’s ambition to establish a constitutional government in Poland with a legislative power assembly. While the empire already had a Senate, created two decades previously, this chamber’s members were appointed, and it served predominantly as an advisory council – lacking the legitimacy to fulfil the role the premier had in mind. Yet creating an assembly was no easy task. Many in Poland were reflexively sceptical of elected power – where historic memories of the Anarchy were strong, particularly among the Zapadniks who were suspicious of the power of the conservative aristocracy. There were also questions of how the members would be chosen, and crucially the question of minorities. The 1821 census had made clear to all just how limited the Judaeo-Russian heart of the empire was – with less than half the population – while stoking fears over the power of the Tatars, a group that even the Zapadniks were uneasy with. If it was to be elected, on what basis would the franchise be?

1598084674316.png

Brusilov finally brought his plan together in 1839. The new Duma would be an elected chamber of 501 members, invested with significant legislative power. While the Tsar would retain the authority to appoint the Prime Minister, the premier would be expected to have the confidence of the Duma and require its approval to pass budgets. The franchise was limited to adult male heads of household of noble blood, senior members of the Rabbinate and the most powerful urban burghers. But most importantly, the Duma’s representatives were to be drawn from a clearly defined part of the empire – exclusively located in Europe. The so called ‘Brusilov Line’ would divide the empire between national and imperial provinces – excluding a fifth of its population from representation within the new assembly. This was done for a very clear reason – it would allow for all the most developed provinces to be represented and would guarantee Judaeo-Russian power in the Duma. Of the near 16,000,000 east of the Brusilov Line, two thirds were Tatars and just a few hundred thousand Russian. With the limited franchise and the division of the empire with the Brusilov Line, the Duma’s electorate stood at around 150,000 in a state with a population rapidly approach 80,000,000. Nonetheless, Poland was to join the ranks of nations ruled under constitutional government.

1598084658791.png

On the 5th of December 1839 Vasiliy IV announced the beginning of Poland’s first ever election campaign. It was a new page in Polish history.
 
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Tommy4ever

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It begins!

I decided to just fold the 'World in 1821' update into this one, because I was itching to push into V2 :D.

In case you are wondering - we are now a Westernised nation! Westernising gives an event giving the lowest level of franchise, so it also made us a constitutional government anyway. Which I wasn't necessarily opposed to, although I might have done it later if it had just been down to me. An exciting new time nonetheless - elections!

TNO total conversion to Here Dwells God verse when?

Haha - create one of those all encompassing modding projects that take ten years! :p

I love the deep dive into the world of the Polish Empire; really creates a sense of verisimilitude, and it's a good inspiration for my own AAR writing.

POLES IN SPAAAAAAAAAAACE!
Seriously, if Tommy ever researches rocketry in DH we all know what the title of that chapter has to be

Glad you enjoyed looking at all the layers of Polish society going around.

And now I desperately want to continue past the 1950s just to see the Polish space race :D.

Quite a tapestry within the realm - trying to keep all these threads together and in an ordered pattern will test the most accomplished of weavers - and so far the quality of ruler-craft from the Lords of Poland has been ... variable. At times they still stun with works that echo down the ages, and other times they will produce garbage fit only for the midden heap. Will their fingers be cunning as as they twist the spinning fibres into a new evolving triumph, or shall entropy rend the textile of the nation to utter ruin?

So far in this AAR we have seen both :D

In this era being able to weave among all the different ethnic groups is going to be more important than ever - especially dealing with that third of the population that is Muslim or Hindu, a group that neither this nor any previous government since the 16th century has really put much effort into engaging with. Lets hope that doesn't come back to bite anyone :eek:.

That really was a deep dive! I couldn't be happier (well asside from the converter wiping out a million poor Ugrians :eek: ).

Poland is definitely ready to make it's mark on the Victoria world!

Those Ugrians were from small ethnic groups like the Meschera, which I guess weren't recognised. But the converter has committed a worse atrocity than any of our Tsars or Kings ever did!

Nice overview of ethnic groups!

I see that Poland is very multiethnic. It seems similar to the Russian Empire in OTL. Hopefully, it does better than Russia did...

Even more so!

OTL Russia was about 70% Orthodox, 66% East Slavic and 45% Greater Russian. We're about 45% Russian and Jewish and just 35% Greater Russian :eek:. The big difference is our Turkic component is vastly larger. Dealing with that aspect if going to be a defining feature of this part of the AAR.

Incredible how the Polish and Jewish populations are minorities even within a Polish Jewish state. I agree that the converter has done a fantastic job. Such a good deal of life in that map. Minorities in particular feels well handled – though I do not envy you for the nationalist rebellions you must’ve sat through from the 1840s…

Nationalist rebels do end up becoming quite endemic, especially in late game. And with all that land its not easy to track them all down :p. Luckily we have the Polish Steamroller to deal with that sort of thing ;).

Victorian Poland is certainly an incredibly diverse place. With so many different religions and ethnic groups, the realm must almost certainly be a bubbling cauldron of ideas and beliefs, which must be watched carefully to ensure that it doesn't boil over too vigorously...

Lets hope they don't start learning to read and forming national consciousnesses or anything like that! :eek:
 

stnylan

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That line is going to prove a political battleline I think.

I like how the factions are linking back very neatly to the discords of the previous century. That feels very authentic.
 

diskoerekto

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great conversion and great beginning!

i didn't like the brusilov line a bit

papal state must be destroyed!!!
 

Cora Giantkiller

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Hard to imagine the Brusilov line standing unchallenged.
 

HIMDogson

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Oh my god the Papacy is disgusting and must be destroyed

Also, I'm not sure that this Constitution is what Poland needs. Giving power to the aristocracy will probably only serve to delay neccesary reforms like the abolition of serfdom.