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Lt. General
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Apr 23, 2009
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Canto The First

The Seven Islands of the Ionian Sea,
With Venetian splendour for all to see,
They turned a republic when Venice did fall,
Aligned with Napoleon, but he is no more.

The British then came with vows of protection
They brought some political reorganization:
Bicameral government, though in effect,
Their ‘lord high commissioner’ none did elect.

So was it that in the year 1836
It could be called a ‘presidential dictatorship’.
The islands had 47k working men,
Almost all Greeks, almost all fishermen.

The times, they were lean, money quite hard to come by,
But at least there were fish for the people to fry.

Then a horror did come, in 1839,
Tuberculosis caused thousands to die.
One out of ten succumbed to disease,
Though the suffering didn’t thwart idealists.

After years of savings, in April the state
Had gathered enough to deliberate
The founding of industries; their ears they lent
To those who propounded the cause of cement.

The islands then prospered with freedom of trade,
But once more calamity caused hopes to fade.
Phytopthora infestans, the potato blight,
Brought many farmers to ruin or to flight.

The year 1842 marked a nadir,
So many had died or fled their lands dear,
But some rays of optimism galvanized those
Who found faith in medicine against recent woes.

In the following years, some progress was made.
Hegelian idealists and doctors displayed
Their achievements; but closer for people to see
Were new ships that carried their flag to the seas.

Ionian destiny then lay on the waves;
The future will show the fates’ quirky raves.
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And then Ionia conquered Crete, right?

If only things were so simple. The Ionian Islands are still a British protectorate, so they won't be able to do much conquering until they can somehow get out of that relationship. But a chance will present itself in the future; of that have no doubt.
Yes, it's almost a shame the bot posts were deleted. They gave a certain ambiance to the thread...
Interesting concept. Good luck. :)
Canto The Second

In the 1850s some projects arose
In the Seven Islands to further the cause
Of growth and modernity; railroads and ports
Were slowly constructed, with plans for some forts.

But whereas the 50s were peaceful and mild,
The fiery 60s would make the world wild.
The Ionian Islands sat on the cusp
Of a cognitive renaissance that stung like a wasp.

Darwin and realism, facts of empiricism,
Socialism at odds with nationalism and imperialism,
It was just the beginning of a world ever changing,
With prestige for the nation but consciousness raging.

But boldest of all was the war that began
In the unhappy Christmas of 1861
When the greatest of powers to madness did sink
And in two coalitions their forces did link.

The Ionians found themselves pulled in the war
With hardly an army, no warships at all,
Surrounded by enemies, what could they do?
To Malta the government fled with ado.

When the British fleet found itself engaged elsewhere,
The Turks in Corfu made a stroll without care,
More soldiers than citizens, they plundered a little,
Then headed back home, leaving sad-sounding fiddles.

Realist art would emerge in some weeks.
It didn’t look pretty, with Corfu’s bleak streets.
Realist music came early next year.
It did a good job expressing men’s fear.

Still, the British looked as if they were gonna win,
And the Ottomans made peace in 1863.
Corfu was free, at least for a while,
But Zante was next on the list to defile.

In the winter the British expanded their sights
And decided to bring Tunis into the fight.
They had some success in their first expedition
But the French would eventually plan their eviction.

The Battle of Tunis seemed crucial enough,
That Ionian forces, through seas wild and rough,
Arrived to give any small help that was needed.
Things didn’t go well. The Brits were defeated.

Yet more war exhaustion the Islanders faced,
And though the war ended, it left Zante a waste.
Realist literature covered it well;
January 7th, a white peace, all swell.

The war was then over, but wounds were cut deep,
And people soon figured, better shout than to weep.
This is brilliant, great job you've got going here. Good luck with that acquisition of prestige too, you might even pull GP status out of that one. :)
Thanks for the comments, everyone! After my previous AARs, I felt like doing something completely different... I doubt I can be a GP, or at least not for long. If I can get a second state, I might be in the top 8 temporarily, until other nations' industries make my cultural advantage irrelevant in the score.
Canto The Third

The war saw the voting franchise expanded,
Though only in theory, since the law demanded
That all should obey the high commissioner’s will;
But he had stayed long in Malta, and feelings were ill.

He tried giving them health care, but it wasn’t enough,
He sent diggers to Egypt, but no one would laugh.
Over thirty months after the war had ended
The people rebelled and his office upended.

With the army in Malta, in horrible state,
The rebels had an easy enough time to instate
A proper democracy – the Brits were expelled,
And the bells all announced the protectorate’s knell.

But their influence lingered in other abodes,
And their favourite faction won most of the votes.
An alliance was granted, while the army-in-exile
From Malta returned to its paternal isles.

What followed was one of the craziest times
When logic was put on a pedestal high,
While riots and anger seethed through the streets,
Forcing reforms, so the crowds to appease.

Cholera then came and ravaged the land,
While economists struggled to come up with funds.
But slowly they gathered enough for some ships
A monitor first, then a faster warship.

The first was then named after Corfu’s dear son,
The Count Kapodistrias, once Russia’s right hand,
Reformer of Switzerland, though sadly demised,
When the dangers of Greece he so failed to surmise.

The second took after the Old Man of Morea,
Kolokotronis, once a brigadier
In Zante of British rule – he then went to Greece
Where he led the rebellion that was won with no ease.

But the people were restless, with exhaustion still high,
With workers and capitalists poised for a fight,
The Communist party arose in November,
But the diggers in Egypt brought some news to remember.

The anarchists struck in ’78,
An armed insurrection in Corfu they staged,
But their hearts weren’t much in it and soon they dissolved
When they saw that the government would not quickly fold.

With that movement, an age of high militancy ended;
Expressionist art a new reality rendered,
While just in October of 1880
War exhaustion reached zero, and the government could breathe.

The legacy of those two remarkable decades
Was culture galore, a more liberal age,
True independence, and gradually means
That gave certain hopes of expansionist dreams.
A really neat concept; I will follow with great interest.
Wow, Cholera has got to suck in a tiny country like that. I feel for you there!
But with rebels overthrowing your government, the British are no longer your rulers. Sing, little Ionia, for to Africa and Asia you must go- to beat on nations ever smaller than yours!
This is great. You have been unlucky with Pop decreaser events
Cholera, tuberculosis, the potato blight, I've had them all... And it really hurts when you only have one state. But they prompted me to research medicine rather faster than I had anticipated, and then inorganic chemistry (right after that cholera outbreak).

To Asia of Africa we will go! But it's not easy finding a nation with a weaker military than the Ionian Islands, even in those continents... Even a single irregular brigade might defeat my ill-supplied infantry on its home turf. But Ionian defence depends primarily on the navy, and that's where most of the money and research goes.

Welcome aboard, Avindian!
Canto The Fourth

The reactionaries rose in 1881
But the loyal brigade fought with valour and won.

The government, freed from the threat of rebellion,
To matters of war then turned its attention.
Crete was an island that yearned to be freed,
After many uprisings where its sons did bleed.

But Egypt was backed by sturdy protectors,
Its sphere-leader Sweden and US investors.
Ionian arms would just have to wait,
But until that day new plans could be laid.

Sweden, in March of 1879,
Completed a canal in Suez, just fine
For ships to reach easily African shores.
To Zanzibar then the Ionians brought war.

The rationale behind this strange operation
Was the scramble for Africa, though in this situation
The world had to notice the Isles as a power -
And the land was defenceless, not even a tower.

The invasion was bloodless, and after some time,
The Omani accepted their loss with a rhyme,
And parted with Zanzibar, a populous land,
Rather underdeveloped, and yet not too bland.

Ionian colonists sought to expand
The land of Mombasa while, surely enough,
The nations took note of the change in the air
And afforded the Ionians a status more fair.

The vibe was exalting but jealousy woke
In a former great power, so strong and so close.
In the scorching summer of 1883
The Ottomans sent out a chilling decree.

They wanted Mombasa, and the Islands’ sole ally
The British, said something about ‘other fish to fry’.
Would the Islands survive this act of aggression?
The song will tell all without trepidation.