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Tommy4ever

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Poland in 1432

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The Known World

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Religion in Poland

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Ethnicity in Poland


In 1432 the King of Poland, Ruthenia and Israel ruled over territories stretching from the heart of Europe to the Eurasian Steppe, from the Baltic to the Holy Land. This vast realm was the largest in Europe by some distance and contained within it a multitude of diversities.


The Baltic

While often regarded as a part of Old Poland due to its history, the Baltic territories were distinct in their own right. With their close connection to Europe’s rich trading routes, the Baltic territories of Pomerania, Prussia and Gdansk were the wealthiest in the entire Polish Empire in the early 15th century. They also had the lowest population of Orthodox Jewish Russians. Most of the region was solidly Catholic, with the exceptions of groups of pagans around the Curonian Spit and Samaritan Jews in Pomerania. Ethnically, the area was very a melting pot. The Samaritan Jews of Pomerania were Russians, although with a distinct dialect and regional identity. The great trading city of Gdansk, Poland’s window to the west, had a polygot population including Russians, Krakowian Poles, Prussians, Lithuanians, Ashkenazi and Germans (who had migrated into the city for economic reasons for centuries). The main language of inter-communal communication was a localised dialect of German known as Danziger, which featured a number of Slavic and Baltic influences. In Prussia, the region was divided between areas of Russian settlement in the south and west, and territories in which the indigenous Prussians remained the majority in the north and east.

Old Poland

The rest of Old Poland, consisting of the inland parts of the Vistula basin, had a clearer ethnic divide. In the south, around Krakow, and in the west, around Poznan, the population was largely Catholic and spoke Krakowian Polish – a West Slavic language directly descended from the Polish tongue spoken across the region prior to the Polish Crusade. In the centre, around Warsaw, the population was mostly Orthodox Jewish and Russian speaking. Throughout the area there were substantial Ashkenazi populations, while a small territory north of Krakow and south of Warsaw were home to large numbers of Lollards – a heretical Latin Christian group. The area was among the richest and most venerable in the Polish Kingdom with its great rival cities of Krakow and Warsaw centres of Medieval manufacturing and commerce.

Galicia, Slovakia and Moldavia

While Galicia, Slovakia and Moldavia all had unique histories and traditions of their own, these territories across the south-west of Poland had much in common. Orthodox Jewish Slavs were the majority across the area, all regions had large Ashkenazi populations, all had notable Greek-rite Christian minorities (the Russian descendants of those converted by Byzantine missionaries in the Early Middle Ages in Galicia, and Greek-speaking Pannonians in Slovakia), all very relatively poor and all were dominated by the Dregovich family (who had ruled Poland in the 12th century) who dominated the region from their seat of power in Lvov.

Ruthenia

Ruthenia, the heartland of the Polish realm, can be divided into three sections – Northern Ruthenia, centred on Minsk and sometimes known as White Ruthenia or Belarus; Southern Ruthenia, based around Kiev and often called the Ukraine; and the Polesie or Pripet Marshes in the rough terrain in between the region’s two great cities. The power and influence of Minsk and Kiev dominated the region, which had rich soil but was underdeveloped outside of its main cities in comparison to the western provinces. Outside of the Polesie, the population was overwhelmingly Russian and Orthodox Jewish, with large Ashkenazi minorities.

The marshlands of the Polesie on the other hand, was an untamed Dark Age wilderness. Here, the Polish state and Orthodox church had tried and failed to exert their control for centuries. In 1175 King Boris, the last King of the First Polish Kingdom, had lost the crown jewels in these lands while in 1406 the Kohen Gadol himself had been killed in response to his proselytising efforts. While the people of the swamps were ethnically Russian, religious minorities of all kinds had been drawn to the region over the years – Muslims, Yazidis, Christians and Samaritans, while the area contained Europe’s largest concentration of pagans.

The Steppe

The only other part of Poland with a similarly unruly reputation as the Polesie were the Wild Fields of the Steppe. These lands had for centuries been the home of militaristic nomadic nations with very few settled people. The arrival of the Poles from the 13th century began to change this balance. For many, the Steppe was the great endless frontier of the Slavic people. It was an incredibly varied and rapidly changing land. It was home to five main peoples – Slavs, Ashkenazi, Khazars, Georgians and Tatars. The Khazars, Georgians and Tatars were the pre-Polish population of the region. The Khazars were solidly Orthodox Jews, with populations centred on the Kuban, Crimea and along the Don River. Large numbers of Georgian Christians had fled from their homeland in the face of Arab invasion in the High Middle Ages – and taken up a nomadic lifestyle in and around the Crimean peninsula, forming a large part of the population in the region. Tatar is a broad term used to refer to a wide variety of Turkic nomadic peoples who dominated all the lands east of Poland for centuries. On the Polish Steppe, the more recently acquired lands in the east were dominated by Muslim Tatar tribes. During the 13th century there was a notable wave of Ashkenazi migration into the Steppe, famously in the case of Jacob Shamir. These Israelites mostly avoided the open grasslands of the Steppe, preferring to make their home in the handful of fortified cities in the region – Odessa, Sevastopol, Kerch and Azov.

The greatest force of change on the Steppe were the Slavs. Russian peasants had started to move into these lands as soon as Poland began to conquer territories south of Kiev. From this migration, two main groups arose – sedentary farmers and the Cossacks. In the lands west of the Dnieper, Russian-speaking settled peasant populations had started to dominate the region by the 15th century, but east of the great river they found the Steppe still too untamed. Here, the Cossacks, expansionist and nomadic Slavic bands that had adopted the ways of the Steppe. As more and more Slavs moved to the Steppe the once lightly populated land was changing. Agriculturalists were reducing the land available to pastoralism, while the Cossacks grew ever larger in number and constantly sought out new lands to call their own – causing endless warfare among the nomadic groups within Polish territory and beyond her frontiers. Alongside these larger groups, there were communities of Greeks and Arabs found throughout the cities of the Black Sea coast – and in especially large numbers in Sevastopol, Kerch and Azov.

The North

The lands stretching from Smolensk, beyond the boundaries of Ruthenia, were largely Russian speaking, albeit religiously diverse with Christian, Muslim and Samaritan populations. There were very few Ashkenazi, however there were large Tatar populations scattered across an area that had spent centuries under their domination. Notably, the Russian population of the North was culturally distinct from that in the core of the Polish realm – these Little Russians, or Muscovites, had their own dialect and customs and had more in common with the Russian populations living beyond the Polish frontier under Mongol and Tatar rule than those in the rest of Poland.

Israel and Ascalon

All Polish territories in the Middle East had traditionally been subject to the crown of Israel. However, after the conquest of the Egyptian Delta from the Templars in 1374 the Duchy of Ascalon had started to be treated as an independent entity in its own right – distinct from Israel, although ultimately subject to Kiev’s authority. These Middle Eastern lands had seen largescale immigration from Jews of all kinds, coming from every part of the known world to make Aliyah to the Holy Land, for the past century – with Russian developing as a common language among them. By 1432 Jews narrowly outnumbered Arabs in Israel and made up a large minority in Ascalon. The Jews were most concentrated around Jerusalem, the Egyptian Delta, near Mount Sinai and on the Palestinian coast between Ascalon and Acre.

Judaism in 1432

Four centuries after the conversion of Poland to Judaism, the Jewish faith had more adherents than ever before in its history but was also divided across a number of key ethnic and denominational fissures.

Denominations

Orthodox Judaism or Jacobean Judaism


Ever since the Great Aliyah and the Jacobean reformation, the Orthodox Jewish church had been the dominant form of Judaism across the world – with pluralities in Poland, Israel and Ascalon following the faith and a majority of the worldwide Jewish population. Orthodox Judaism treats Jacob Shamir as God’s last prophet, included the Book of Jacob as an indivisible part of the Torah, hails the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel and construction of the Third Temple as the greatest moment in Jewish history for millennia and holds true to the church structure created at the beginning of the 14th century – with the Kohen Gadol at the head of unified Orthodox Jewish church.

Beyond these core tenets, there is diversity in Orthodox belief. In the early 15th century the most important divide was between those who advocated a centralised church in which power flowed downward from the Kohen Gadol and powerful Rabbis, and those that wished to see a more decentralised church in which power flowed from local Rabbis and their flocks. The latter perspective was championed by the Qahalist movement, that had already rocked Poland with a major revolt between 1417 and 1421.

Other key divides in the movement included the role of religious violence and tolerance of non-Jewish faiths, and even heretical Jewish groups – with many lamenting the demise of the aggressive spirit of the 14th century Zealots who sought to crush Judaism’s enemies by force of arms.

Conservative Judaism

Conservativism was the label attached to a broad array of Jewish tendencies that had rejected the Jacobean reformation and refused to accept Jacob Shamir as God’s prophet. Some Conservatives had a positive view of Shamir and even saw the Book of Jacob as a sacred text, although refusing to raise it to the status of the Torah, while others condemned him as a false prophet. What Conservative Jews have in common is their confidence in the ancient traditions of the Jewish people, and the absence of a formal church structure – giving greater authority to individual Rabbis.

Samaritanism

For two centuries from 1117 until 1310 Samaritanism was Poland’s state religion, and for a time was the religion of the independent Russian Princes as well. Born in the early 11th century at the time of the Polish conversion to Judaism, the Samaritans blended Jewish Orthodoxy with Slavic pagan spirituality, language and customs. At their peak in the late 12th century they formed the largest branch of Judaism across the world. However, they would never recover from the cataclysmic Polish Crusade and accompanying invasions of the Russian Principalities by the Tatars in the final decades of the century. In the second half of the 13th century the rise of the Jacobeans would see many Samaritans move away from their denomination in droves, and Poland’s conversion to Jacobean Judaism in 1310 they would do so in torrents. Despite more than a century of decline, by the early 15th century Samaritanism was still widespread among Poland’s Slavs – perhaps as many as a fifth of Slavic Jews following this branch of the faith, forming majorities in parts of the Kingdom, most strongly in Pomerania.

Ethnicity

Israelites


The Israelites were those Jews that trace their descent back directly to the exiled peoples of ancient Israel. They were themselves divided into three primary groups – the Ashkenazi, Sephardim and Mizrahi.

Ashkenazi

The Ashkenazi were the Jews of northern Europe, with their Yiddish language originating from a dialect of German. Starting in the 10th century and accelerating rapidly after Poland’s conversion to Judaism in 1026, they began to migrate into the eastern European lands under Polish rule – where the vast majority of their population resided by the end of the Middle Ages. Making up around 5-10% of the population across most of the Polish realm, most of their population lived in self-contained shetls, exclusively Ashkenazi villages isolated from the Slavic majority while smaller numbers lived in the towns and cities among the Slavs. They were historically solidly Orthodox, and the remained largely followers of Orthodoxy after the Jacobean revolution, although a notable Conservative minority rejected the prophet’s revelation.

Sephardim

A majority of the world’s Jews living beyond the borders of the Polish realms belonged to the Sephardim. Originating among the large Jewish community of Iberia, that has flourished under Muslim rule for centuries, the Sephardim spread their customs and Ladino language across the Mediterranean, with especially substantial Sephardic communities also living in North Africa, Egypt, Italy, Greece and Anatolia. Only a minority of Sephardim followed the teachings of the Orthodox church, with most adhering to Conservative Jewish teachings with views of Jacob Shamir ranging from scepticism to active denunciations of him as a false prophet.

Mizrahi

The Mizrahi were the Jews of Middle Eastern origin, with their largest communities in Iraq, Persia, Syria and the Yemen. In contrast to the Sephardim, the Orthodox church had significant sway among their communities, with its authority emanating out of Israel. The brief history of Jewish rule in Iraq in the 14th century was a particularly electrifying memory for large parts of the community. They were therefore divided between Orthodox and Conservative elements – with many Mizrahi Conservative Jews being less hostile to Jacobeanism than their Sephardic equivalents.

Khazars

The Khazars were the least numerous of the Jewish ethnic groups. Descendants of the old Khazar Khanate that once dominated much of the Steppe – the Khazars still held to the nomadic lifestyle of their ancestors. They played an important part in the development of modern Orthodox Judaism – with Jacob Shamir developing much of his philosophy while living in exile on the Steppe among the Khazars. At the outset of the 15th century most of their population lived in the Poland around the Black Sea and Don Rivers, although a smaller population resided within the Kingdom of Vidin along the banks of the Danube.

Slavs

The great majority of the world’s Jews were Slavs – mostly speaking a variety of Russian dialects, including the Little Russians or Muscovites beyond the Polish frontier in the north, to the Cossacks on the Steppe, the Greater Russians of Poland’s Ruthenian heartland, Galicians, Slovaks, Old Polish Russians, Pomeranians and Prusso-Russians. They are the core ethnic group of the Polish Kingdom, forming a large majority of its population – yet the Slavic Jews were only a plurality, with many Slavs following Christian, Muslim, Yazidi and even pagan faiths. Amongst the Slavic Jews, most followed the established Orthodox Jewish faith. Despite its long decline, Samaritanism was still widespread among Kingdom’s Slavs, with very few adherents in other ethnic group. There were also smaller Conservative Jewish elements among the Slavs scattered across the Polish realm.

The numerical preponderance of the Slavs among world Jewry, meant that since the conquest of the Holy Land in the early 14th century, Russian grew to become the lingua franca across the Kingdom of Israel and Duchy of Ascalon – the principle language of communication among the ethnically diverse Jewish majority.
 
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Tommy4ever

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One more preamble update after this one to look at the rest of the world - and then on with the story!

All those fascinating people... Really some characters you built up!

Thanks, and lets hope for plenty more to come!

Always good to get a refresher on those who have come before.
Good recaps

I like having this little opportunity to look back on what has come before in the AAR. It will be fun to look at the great sweep of Polish history if I manage to take this all the way to the end.

Too bad that the kings from Yaroslav II onwards were poor performers.

Yeah, his son Igor did fairly well, but after that they really were a bunch of duds.

Caught up on part one, looking forward to seeing Jewish Poland go forward. Nice to have you back @Tommy4ever

Glad to have you aboard Jape!

Signing on, Tommy! Very excited for this.

Onwards! :D
 

DensleyBlair

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Quite the patchwork Poland has become. Interested to see whether you can keep it all together, or whether sectarianism will rear its ugly head before too long. (I guess that depends on whether the EU game engine is more forgiving than CK2! :D)
 
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Nikolai

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Quite a different Judaism in this time line, yet believable. Good going!

Also folks, remember to vote for the ACAs, link in my sig!
 

Specialist290

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Even despite all the strife of the previous centuries, it's impressive how far the Jewish faith and the Polish nation have come. Hopefully the turmoil of the Renaissance and Reformation period doesn't bring it all crashing down.
 
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Cora Giantkiller

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looking forward to the EU4 part of this story
 

diskoerekto

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Oghuz Turks are Hindu?
 

stnylan

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It is a very intriguing breakdown of faith and people.
 

Crimson Lionheart

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Interesting to see Russian become the lingua franca of the Polish kingdom rather than Hebrew or Polish
 
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Cromwell

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It's more or less inevitable surely with Poland being that far east. It's past the Volga in the south of the realm!
 

Tommy4ever

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The World in 1432

The British Isles and Scandinavia
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The British Isles and Scandinavia were a part of a Norse cultural sphere and shared a long history. Starting with the Great Heathen Army of the 9th century, the British Isles had gradually been conquered by a Norse warrior elite – who subsequently imported a nobility from their Scandinavian homelands. Indigenous British and Irish culture was never fully extinguished, and there were a number of native British states that rebelled against Norse rule over the course of the period while, but Norse political dominance could not be overthrown. The adoption of the Christianity by the Norsemen during the High Middle Ages had seen these realms move away from the militant expansionism of their past to become settled Catholic Kingdoms. The most powerful realms across this region were the Kingdom of Skotland in the British Isles, which held Jorvik as a vassal, Sweden and Denmark.

Central and Western Europe
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The most powerful realm in all of Christendom was the Holy Roman Empire – controlling the largest part of the German nation and looming over Europe north of the Alps. At its peak in the High Middle Ages, the Empire had included lands stretching from the Atlantic to the Polish border. Many of these territories had gradually broken free from Imperial authority – coalescing into a number of sizeable Kingdoms and Grand Duchies in Liege, the Netherlands and Burgundy. On the Rhine, the Archbishopric of Hesse controls many of the wealthiest lands of Germany. This theocratic state had an interesting history, having originally been created as a subject of the Kingdom of Crusader Lotharingia which was born following a campaign against the pagan Norsemen in the Rhineland in the 10th century. The Archbishopric had outlived the Kingdom that gave birth to it and came to control most of its former lands during the Late Middle Ages. In the far west, the Aquitaine and their vassals in Poitou, for centuries the borderland between Islamic Spain and Christian Europe, ruled the Francophone lands of the Atlantic seaboard and Mediterranean coast. In northern Germany, both Aquitaine and Burgundy controlled sizeable exclaves that separated Denmark from the Empire.

It is notable that the Kingdom of Burgundy was also the leading Christian power in the Baltic. Having inherited the remnants of the Crusader Kingdom of Poland in the 13th century – they held substantial lands in Lithuania, Courland and Riga.

The Western Mediterranean
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The Western Mediterranean was still dominated by the influence of the old Sardinian Empire. During the Early Middle Ages the small island had conquered a sprawling empire across Italy, North Africa and eastern Spain. By 1432, Sardinia itself only controlled half of its native island, Corsica, Mallorca, Nice and Lombardy. Most of its old Empire was under the suzerainty of the Kingdom of Sicily and its powerful vassal the Duchy of Algiers. The rest of peninsular Italy was divided between the Papacy in Rome, Romagna based out of the old Roman city of Ravenna and the Kingdom of Italy – which had conquered a significant portion of the old Sardinian lands in northern Italy. In the west, the Andalusian Abbasids ruled a powerful realm stretching across Iberia and Morocco – leaving them completely isolated from the rest of the Islamic world and surrounded by hostile Christian powers.

The Balkans
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At the end of the Middle Ages the Balkans were a land of instability that had never recovered from the collapse of the central authority of the Byzantine Empire and Orthodox Christian Church. Greek remains the lingua franca across the region – but it is filled with ethnic diversity with large populations of Pannonians, Southern Slavs, Khazars, Romanians, Albanians, Israelites, Arabs and Greeks.

In the north, the Kingdom of Pannonia had been established at the height of Greco-Byzantine civilisation – when a Greek Orthodox nobility conquered the land from the Catholic Magyars and began to invited migrants from across the region, creating an ethnic polyglot land in which Greek was the dominant language. While the Kingdom, much like the rest of the Balkans, eventually abandoned Orthodoxy for Catholicism, its Greek nature remained. To the south of Pannonia lay the three Southern Slavic Kingdoms – the Croat Republic of Ragusa, Serb Kingdom of Serbia and Bulgarian Grand Duchy of Vidin. All three were Catholic and ethnically mixed, with the Bulgarians making up a minority of the population in Vidin which included Romanians, Khazars, Greeks and Serbs.

Greece was divided between the larger Kingdom of Greece and two small Catholic states in its west – the Despotate of Epirus and Kingdom of Crusader Anatolia, a relic of fleeting Christian attempt to reconquer Asia Minor. The Kingdom of Greece was far more interest as it was one of only two non-Catholic Christian states in Europe, the other being the tiny Bogomil Duchy of Bosnia. Greece had been formed by a popular revolution by Greek-rite Christians against both the Catholics and Arabs during the 13th century under the leadership of the Neo-Iconoclasts, who instituted a vicious campaign against idols and religious art in an effort to restore Christianity to its Apostolic simplicity. It was this revolution that effectively ended the existence of the Greek Orthodox Church.

The Steppe and Central Asia
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The dominant force across the Steppe and Central was the Mongol Empire. Founded in the early 13th century, the Mongols invaded China and parts of Central Asia before settling into a period of relative peace and inaction. It was during this time that the Mongols adopted Hinduism – spreading the faith far and wide beyond its Indian homeland. Then, from the mid-14th century they began to expand once more – conquering large parts of Persia and deploying the Blue Horde west into Russia – where they established a powerbase from the city of Novgorod. For a time, Mongol power stretched as far west as Estonia before the efforts of a Catholic Crusade pushed them away from the Baltic.

All of the Tatar Emirates and Khanates, and Finno-Ugric Chiefdoms, between the Urals and the Polish were regarded by the Mongol Khan as being under his protection, even as he retained little practical authority over them. Although all maintaining Turkic customs and language, the Tatars of this region were divided by tribe, ethnicity and petty rivalries that barred efforts to maintain a strong united front against Mongol overlordship in the east and Polish expansionism in the west.

The Middle East
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The wealthiest and most advanced empire of the known world was the Arab Caliphate of the Najibids – stretching over the Caucuses, Anatolia, Syria, Iraq and Arabia. The Caliphate had suffered somewhat over the past century – losing the Holy Land to the Jews and seeing its Greek territories on the European mainland outside of Constantinople itself fall to the Christians, yet it remained a foreboding power. Its greatest weakness was internal division – with the powerful Hamdanids holding back any efforts to bring unity to the Arabs.

Persia was divided into three parts. In the west independent Muslim states ruled in Ahwaz and the Azeri lands, in the south Indian-influenced Hindu Princes controlled Fars and the Uchitids and in the north-east the Mongols held Khorasan. This placed the Iranian lands on the faultline between the declining Islamic and rising Hindu worlds.

In the west, the Jewish ruled Kingdom of Israel and Duchy of Ascalon, both Polish territories, controlled the Holy Land and Egyptian Delta. The rest of Egypt was divided among a number of Christian Crusader states. The largest of these was the Templar Order – ruling from Cairo in the north into the Sudan and Central Africa in the south. The Papacy held territories around Alexandria – the wealthiest city in the entire region, while in the west lay the Duchy of Phiom, the only Crusader state ruled by indigenous Egyptian nobles.
 
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Tommy4ever

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Quite the patchwork Poland has become. Interested to see whether you can keep it all together, or whether sectarianism will rear its ugly head before too long. (I guess that depends on whether the EU game engine is more forgiving than CK2! :D)

I'm sure all this diversity won't be an issue - people were really tolerant of other cultures and religions in the Early Modern period, right? ... right? :eek: :p

Quite a different Judaism in this time line, yet believable. Good going!

Also folks, remember to vote for the ACAs, link in my sig!

I will make sure I fill out a vote before in closes! And will promote here later in the voting period :).

Even despite all the strife of the previous centuries, it's impressive how far the Jewish faith and the Polish nation have come. Hopefully the turmoil of the Renaissance and Reformation period doesn't bring it all crashing down.

Yes, even in all that instability at the end of the CK2 game we actually gained rather than lost land. And Judaism has slowly expanded in the Late Middle Ages since coming in mortal danger with the Polish Crusade.

looking forward to the EU4 part of this story

Glad to have you aboard.

Wow, looking at the world map, Europe's in a pretty messy state.

And thats after I tidied up the borders! It was all a bit too messy to start with and unbalanced - so I beefed up a few middle weights and weakened the HRE a bit in the conversion. and made a few cleaner borders.

Oghuz Turks are Hindu?

They are indeed! Hindhuism is big in this TL. The Mongols converted and drew a few of the Turkic tribes with them. The Indian Kingdoms also conquered parts of Persia - creating Hindu Iranian successor states. Islam is really struggling outside of the Caliphate, Spain and SE Asia. If only there was a 'new world' of some kind they could find refuge in! ;)

Lots of expansion opportunities as long as Poland stays unified enough to seize them.

Indeed. We are a bit weaker than our size might infer (Russian provs convert as very poor in CK2-EU4 games), but are still far stronger than our Tatar neighbours in the east and most of the Europeans. The Arabs and Imperials look scary though.

It is a very intriguing breakdown of faith and people.

It was a nice opportunity to do a bit of worldbuilding and get people who haven't been following since the start up to speed in all the groups I will talk about :p.

Interesting to see Russian become the lingua franca of the Polish kingdom rather than Hebrew or Polish
It's more or less inevitable surely with Poland being that far east. It's past the Volga in the south of the realm!

Yes, and this is something that came out organically from the way the game played. I initially thought we would be like the PLC - with an ethnic Polish elite ruling over lots of East Slav people. My nobility in the west was Polish culture and I was trying to spread that in my eastern provinces. However the Polish Crusade basically wiped out the ethnic Polish nobility in my realm and left only the Russians - and with that the culture shift got underway.
 
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DensleyBlair

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Fun times in the Atlantic Archipelago with Jorvik in Scotland and Skotland in England. And a free Powys!

Always a little disappointing when the HRE just sort of blobs into one state. I quite like the traditional German tapestry. Will be interested to see whether they push east, or whether internal problems appear.

And France looks like it’s having a fun time. Resurgent Burgundy is cool (didn’t they used to have Baltic territories, or am I making that up?) and free Occitanie is a nice touch. Holy wars in the Pyrenees perhaps?
 

diskoerekto

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this seems like a fun TL. I especially liked the burgundians and the iberian abbasids (off-brand abbasids? for some reason they're abbadids:) ). of course liking a bogomil bosnia is a must.

as a tatar myself, I hope one of the tatar khans unite the different tribes or else they'll just become roadkill between the polish and the mongol empires! maybe you can nurture one as a buffer between you and the mongols :)
 
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Cora Giantkiller

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I know this story is about Jewish Poland but I'm rooting for the Hindu Mongols, ngl.
 
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stnylan

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Lots of areas for "interesting" things to happen.
 

Nikolai

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Quite a different world in this time line.