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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Stronghold

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Hey all! This is my first AAR and even though I have played a fair amount of hours of EU4, I think that I'm just an average player.
And just a sidenote; English isn't my first language, so feel free to correct my grammar.

My playstyle:
I like to play with a bit of roleplay and without focussing too much on efficiency.
My campaigns must be realistic too be fun, so I avoid exploits and bordergore as much as possible.

-----

The rise of the Solomonids - prologue

Ethiopia is ruled by Zara Yakob Solomonid in 1444, a truly skilled Emperor.
Knipsel1.PNG


He was raised as a copt and lived a few years in Aksum (one of the coptic holy sites). Therefore he saw it as his legacy to fight back the muslim thread, protect the coptic minorities and restore the coptic faith to its former glory.
Knipsel3.PNG


But before he could fulfil these dreams, he first had to consolidate his power over his divided realm.
With many different minorities living in his realm, there was a constant threat of rebellions.
Knipsel2.PNG

Rebellions such as these were often quickly crushed.

He had to increase its power to compete with all the muslim countries that surrounded Ethiopia.
And to expand its empire, Zara Yakob looked to the countries in the south.


I'll try to upload weekly. But I'm quite busy, so I won't make any promises.
There is still a bunch I can upload. I'm almost 100 years in the campaign.

As you might expect my goals are 'prester john' and 'a blessed nation'
 
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Welcome to AAR writing :)
 
Part 1 - Unification of Ethiopia

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Zara Yakob made preparations to conquer the smaller kingdoms to the south.
He claimed the entire Horn of Africa as rightful Ethiopian land.

But he worried about his successor. His son was not bright at all. He saw him as a disgrace and therefore decided to disinherit him, so that his empire could continue long after his death.
Knipsel4.PNG


He took a new wife, who had converted to the Coptic faith before the marriage.
Knipsel6.PNG


Not much later a more capable heir was born
Knipsel5.PNG


The church provided the education for the upper class and spread the true faith to the common folk. But to continue to do so, they demanded more autonomy.
Knipsel7.PNG



When the succession was secured, Zara Yakob assembled his armies and marched south.
The small kingdoms were no match for the overwhelming forces of Ethiopia and one by one they fell.
Knipsel8.PNG

Knipsel9.PNG

Knipsel10.PNG

Knipsel11.PNG


Ethiopia would receive a blessing from God after the success of the southern campaign.
This was a clear sign that this was the righteous way.
Knipsel12.PNG


Most of the neighbouring countries did not really care about the Ethiopian expansion
Knipsel13.PNG


Zara Yakob had sent out his diplomats to strengthen the relationships with the northern Coptic nations, because he had no interest in fighting them.
Knipsel14.PNG


The true enemy is in the west. The Muslim kingdom of Adal has been a rival of Ethiopia for some time now. Tension is growing and a clash between them is inevitable.
 
Part 2 - The Ethiopian-Adalian war

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A conflict had started in the north between Beja and Dongola. This conflict created an opportunity for Zara Yakob to attack Beja as well, which was allied to its rival Adal.

With its armies still in full force he declared war against Beja and marched on its capital.
Knipsel15.PNG

The Bejan army was very weak after fighting Dongola for some time. After this resounding victory, Zara Yakob started to siege the Bejan capital.

Ethiopia's subjects started to invade Adal from the north and laid siege to Zeila, an important stronghold in the area.
Knipsel17.PNG


The capital of Beja had soon fallen. And Zara Yakob lead his troops towards the capital of Adal in order to break its enemy.
Knipsel18.PNG


The siege of Harer didn't last long with Zara Yakob himself at the lead. And soon after the fall a Harer, Zeila also fell.
Knipsel19.PNG

Knipsel21.PNG


Troops of Adal were trying to lift the occupation of its ally. But Zara Yakob was able to stop this quick enough.
Knipsel20.PNG

With its army completely destroyed Adal wasn't able to continue the fight. They accepted a harsh peacedeal, which caused them to cede large parts of land to Ethiopia. Beja would cede all its occupied lands to Ethiopia.
Knipsel22.PNG

Knipsel23.PNG


After gaining so much land with a muslim majority, Zara Yakob started a campaign to convert all its subjects to the righteous Coptic faith.
Knipsel24.PNG


Ethiopia's reputation as a strong Coptic nation attracted pilgrims from its surrounding lands, which caused some positive growth in the region.
Knipsel16.PNG

Knipsel25.PNG


The Solomonids had never established a permanent place for their court. This way they could keep all their different subject minorities in check.
Knipsel26.PNG


Dongola had annexed the last province of Beja and they held core territory of Alodia and Makuria (Ethiopia's allies). So Zara Yakob had reasons enough to fight them.
Knipsel27.PNG

The overwhelming forces of the armies of Ethiopia and its allies won the war within a couple of months.

Dongola had to give back the core provinces of Makuria and Alodia. Ethiopia annexed the remaining provinces.
Knipsel28.PNG

This strengthened the bonds between Ethiopia and its allies.
Ethiopia now bordered the strong Mamluk Sultanate, which held varies Coptic religious sites and the Holy City itself.

Now that his empire had expanded its borders, Zara Yakob started to integrate its vassals into his empire.
Knipsel29.PNG

Knipsel31.PNG


The Ethiopian economy relied heavily on the gold from the mines, which caused quite some inflation.
Knipsel30.PNG


Our government received interesting news from the Mamluks
Knipsel33.PNG

This was a nice surprise. The Mamluks may be trustworthy after all.
 
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One wonders how the Mamluks are doing to your North?
 
Part 3 - Troubling times

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Some years had past in which Ethiopia had become more stable after the recent conquests.
Many people have been converted to the Coptic faith and Zara Yakob wanted to destroy the remaining lands of Adal.

Adal wasn't a real threat anymore.
Knipsel34.PNG


But soon after the war had started, the beloved Negusa Nagast Zara Yakob Solomonid had past away at the age of 54.

Knipsel35.PNG


His son Iyasu hadn't much time to grieve, because he had to lead in the war.
Knipsel39.PNG

Iyasu started his reign with a sounding victory, which he soon followed up with more conquest down the Horn of Africa.

The vassal Hadiya was also integrated into the realm.
Knipsel38.PNG


Iyasu had decided to establish a permanent capital, now that the greatest part of the empire had become much more united than it had been during the reign of his father.
Knipsel40.PNG


Iyasu fought two small wars with Warsangali and Marehan (with Ajuuraan as ally) to extend his power into the Horn of Africa.
Knipsel41.PNG
Knipsel42.PNG
Knipsel43.PNG

Knipsel44.PNG
Knipsel45.PNG


Large parts of the Empire now followed the true faith
Knipsel47.PNG

The newly conquered provinces would be converted soon.
Knipsel49.PNG


Mahra (down in the Arabian peninsula) had converted to Coptic as well.
As soon as Iyasu heard of this, he sent out his diplomats to offer an alliance.
Knipsel48.PNG


But this great development wouldn't be celebrated.
Some troubling news had reached the emperor.
Knipsel36.PNG

Knipsel37.PNG

The Mamluks have to be punished for this.
All the Copts should be freed from this horrible oppression.

Knipsel46.PNG

Ethiopian Empire in the year 1477
 
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A Mamluk showdown cannot be long removed. One must liberate Alexandria.
 
Part 4 - First Mamlukian-Ethiopian war

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The relation between Ethiopia and the Mamluks had become a bitter rivalry, because of the recent news of oppression of the Copts in the Mamluk Sultanate.

Knipsel55.PNG


And just now the Mamluks declared that they would aid the remaining rebels of Adal, who still held a last stronghold in Hargeisa.
The Ethiopian armies were ready to strike this muslim menace, so war was declared!

Knipsel50.PNG


Hargeisa fell quickly to the Ethiopian armies and the Adalian navies tried to flee.

Knipsel51.PNG


The recently built galleys of Ethiopa had no problem in destroying the small fleet.

The armies of the Mamluks came down south in vast numbers. They quickly ravaged the lands of Makuria (our ally). And they had to surrender.
Knipsel52.PNG


The armies of the Mamluks outnumbered our armies (even combined with our allies). So we had to be careful and pick the right battles. Because a small mistake could be fatal.

Knipsel53.PNG

Knipsel54.PNG


Our allies got completely overrun by our enemies, and their wasn't much we could do to help them...

Knipsel56.PNG

Knipsel57.PNG


The situation looked dire
Knipsel58.PNG
 

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Not good
 
Part 5 - Fight to the last man

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Even though the war wasn't going in their favour, the Ethiopians didn't want to surrender to the Muslim oppressors. They wanted to fight till the end.

Knipsel59.PNG

They destroyed a smaller army in Kaffa.

Knipsel60.PNG

The stronghold of Adal had been reconquered by the Mamluks. They marched on Harer and started to siege it.

Knipsel61.PNG

Harer lied on favourable terrain for Ethiopia. But the sheer numbers of the Mamluks couldn't be beaten back.

Knipsel62.PNG

The Mamluks continued to conquer Ethiopian land.

Knipsel63.PNG

Another smaller army was beaten in Lasta.

Knipsel64.PNG

A major victory followed soon after, when the combined forces of Adal and the Mamluks were beaten in Lasta.

Knipsel65.PNG

Knipsel66.PNG

With the bulk of the armies on the retreat, the remainder of the Mumlukian forces could be destroyed one by one.

Now that all of the Mamlukian armies were retreating, the Ehtiopians persued them. All the way back to their capital and there they started sieging.
Knipsel67.PNG

After Cahira fell the Ethiopians sacked the city.

With their capital fallen, they decided to seek peace. The Ethiopians wanted to destroy the Mamluks, but they could fight on. There weren't enough men left to fight, because all of them died in this bloody war.
Knipsel70.PNG


The Mamluks ceded two poor desert provinces on the Red Sea coast to Ethiopia. They hadn't any men left to fight as well and they had some problems with rebels which they had to resolve.


Knipsel69.PNG

Some visitors had come to us during this war. Some strangers from Europe, but they were Christian. He was very interested in our struggle against the Muslims and praised our persistance to fight.

These Portuguese might be a good ally for the wars to come.
 

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Sounds pretty much like the two sides more or less exhausted themselves.
 
Part 6 - Help from the West

Stronghold

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It took some time to reduce the unrest on the Somalian coastlands, after that harsh war against the Mamluks.
The manpower of Ethiopia was completely drained and so the armies couldn't be expanded.

However, a new group of visitors from Portugal came. And with good news.
Knipsel71.PNG


This was a huge boost to our military power. Especially the technical innovations that the Portuguese brought would be of great help for us.

The moment to strike against the Mamluks was now, even though our manpower reserves were very low. Our lands were stable again, while the Mamluks still had problems with rebels.

The first battle was fought near Qasr Ibrim and it was a decisive one.
Knipsel72.PNG

Heavily outnumbered, but with an advantage of quality, we sent the infidels back north.

This show of strength impressed the world.
Knipsel73.PNG


More and more people got convinced that we were fighting for a good cause
Knipsel74.PNG


We were able to quickly conquer all of Egypt.
Knipsel75.PNG

With this war we were able to conquer some strategically important provinces.
Knipsel76.PNG

With this conquest we divided the Mamlukian lands in two. And we now had a connection to the Mediterranean sea, which brings us closer to the other Christians in the world.

We liberated the monastary of Saint Catherine;
Knipsel77.PNG
Knipsel78.PNG



Meanwile a new state was formed next to our borders
Knipsel79.PNG

We might want to fight them later on. They are a new Muslim threat close to us.

Emir Zayid I Nabhani had come to us seeking aid against our common foe; Yemen. Yemen held most of the Rassid land. They were oppressed and could only hold on to a minor stronghold in the desert.
The Emir was desperate and he was prepared to offer full allegiance to Ethiopia, if we would help him to free his people.
We didn't wan't to help an infidel, so we demanded that the Emir had to convert. Zayid accepted, although begrudgingly.
Knipsel80.PNG

This opened an opportunity to strike across the Red Sea in the future.

Knipsel81.PNG

In Makuria the Muslims had taken over power. Our alliance came to an end.
They are now yet another Muslim neighbour that we have to face.
 

stnylan

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The Mamluks proved to be a much easier challenge than I expected.