• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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1500diplopk6.gif

the Territories of Aragon, and her vassals, the First of January 1500

At the dawn of the 16th Century, Aragon stood ready for her destiny. Beginning in 1419, the small Iberian kingdom had struck out into the Mediterranean in search of Empire. Beginning with baby steps into Gibraltar and Tangiers, and continuing with his inheritance of the Kingdom of Naples, Alfonso V began the process of expansion continued under his successors. Both exploiting and aiding his Castillian ally during her time of troubles and civil war in the 1440s, he had made secure the Kingdom of Navarre (later legitimized by his successor Juan II's marriage to Blanche of Navarre)* and further seized control of the county of Armagnac--both of which had revolted from Castille, though Juan proved his fidelity by assisting Castille with the suppression of seceding regions in Galicia and Granada, and by winning the concurrent war with Portugal largely by himself while the Castillians were occupied with revolts at home. More peacefully, Alfonso acquired the Kingdom of Naples by inheritance and incorporated it directly into his realms, thus placing Aragon on the Italian boot.

Juan II continued this trend of aggressive expansion on the part of Aragon, striking north with bloody, repeated wars that devastated the peninsula time and again and largely defined his reign. Though the initial war (against a grand coalition of the Florentine and Venetian Republics, the Papal States, and the Duchy of Milan, confederated to overthrow Juan II's conquest of Siena) was defensive, the territorial gains were immense. The power of the Papal states was broken by 1470 and the alliance formed to block Juan sundered soon after, though further wars were necessary to secure the domination of Italy, continuing into the reign of Ferdinand II, who by 1500 had largely completed the project by reducing the Milan, Papal States, Mantua, to obeisance, and seizing the former territories of the Republic of Genoa from King Henry VIII of England (who, too distant from his newly annexed possessions and occupied with stabilizing his country in the wake of the Wars of the Roses and his conflicts with France, offered little defense).

Complementing his victories on the field, so too did Ferdinand achieve power at court. He helped his wife, Isabella of Castille, to beat back pretenders to her throne and finally, they between them were able to claim control of the Kingdoms of Castille and Leon, Navarre, and Aragon--united, theoretically at least, as the Kingdom of Spain by 1476.

At the same time, however, conditions in the Kingdom of Aragon and her territories resisted true unification. During the Medieval period Aragon had not truly been a kingdom in the way it is understood today; rather it had been ruled as a collection of hereditary titles which happened to be embodied by one man. Ferdinand was not simply King of Aragon, contained within that title he was King of Aragon, Valencia, Majorca, Sicily, Sardinia, Naples, and Navarre, and Count of Barcelona. In earlier times each of these disparate kingdoms had been ruled as a personal rather than political union, each with it's own laws and system of government. However, the continuous efforts of Alfonso V, Juan II, and Ferdinand himself had not been concentrated solely on expansion; they had also consolidated control of their new Mediterranean empire at Barcelona**, complemented by Alfonso V's construction of the University of Barcelona, the equal of any in Europe. Rather than ruling themselves, the farflung possessions were directly controlled from the court of the Trastamara.

The question was whether this arrangement could be divorced from Barcelona and the Trastamaras and transferred wholesale to Madrid. After due consideration and consultation with his co-monarch in the rule of Spain, Isabella, Ferdinand was forced to answer that it could not. His decision was outlined in a letter to his representative in the city of Genoa:

It has been our determination that the lands under the crown of Aragon are too disparate and unweildy to be administered as one kingdom together with those of Spain. In years past it has already proved difficult enough to maintain control from as central a location as Barcelona, with as many concerns as exist for me today--how then would it be kept under control by a court centered on Madrid with concerns ranging from Apulia to the new world, and subjects of all tongues, cultures, and religions?

It would be wiser, then, to maintain Aragon and Spain as separate kingdoms under a single house; to allow each to concentrate scarce resources on that which is most important, and to combine their strength when such is necessary, rather than dispersing all effort to the four winds and gaining nothing.

Ferdinand II
King of Aragon, Castile, Sicily, Naples, Valencia, Sardinia, Majorca, and Navarre and Count of Barcelona


Finally, Ferdinand set in January of 1500 set a number of goals for the future of the Aragonese Empire, as it was beginning to be known.

I. Domination of Trade

By 1500 Aragon had already made great strides towards mercantile domination.

1500cotdm5.gif

Aragon's centers of trade

Trade in the Western Mediterranean was dominated by Aragonese cities for most of the second half of the 15th century. With prominent trading centers at Tangiers, Naples, and Genoa, command of both sides of the straits of Gibraltar as well as much control of the straits of Messina and Sicily, Aragon controlled much of mercantile geography. At the same time, Catalan merchants sent from Barcelona swarmed not only the cities of the Kingdom, but also monopolized the market streets of Lisbon and Paris. The opening of the great marketplace of Seville, entrepot for the expanding wealth of Spain's New World as well as for a large part of Iberia was met not with worry for the future of the market at Tangiers, but with a rush of Catalan merchants, who rapidly seized a monopoly. With it's income threatened, the mercantile republic of Venice retaliated with embargo, refusing to allow any merchants from any part of Aragon to operate in the Rialto, though the diplomatic (and military) consequences of this insult had yet to be realized in 1500.

II. The Kingdom of Italy

Ferdinand II hoped to revive the early Medieval Kingdom of Italy by usurping the title from the Holy Roman Empire. As the Holy Roman Empire was by 1500 a shamble of indepedent electorates and principalities, and the Kingdom of Italy extant only on paper, he was able in 1500 to look forward to a day when he or his descendents would wear that crown. Already, a large part of the territory of Italy was under his control, all that remained were a few pieces of earth and recognition from the Papacy (already vassal of Barcelona) and the other powers of Europe.***

III. The Iberian Union

Simply put, Ferdinand II ordained a policy of personal union and political cooperation between Aragon and Spain.

IV. Catholicism

Himself known as a devout Catholic, Ferdinand II looked south across the Mediterranean at the North African Arab states and east toward the growing power of the Ottoman Empire with equal measures of trepidation and ambition. Aragon should always keep in mind its role as a Catholic nation, to defend the welfare of Christendom at large and Catholic peoples in particular.

With these four goals in mind, Ferdinand II would lead Aragon into the 16th century.

----


Notes:

Difficulty is N/N, autosave yearly. Style will be history book... -ish.

This game is starting in 1500 because I didn't originally set out to write an AAR on it--it was more of a test session to see about writing a later AAR on Aragon (there seems to be a dearth of AARagons). By about 1470 it was going so well with random chance that I figured it would be silly not to just run with this one, so I played until 1500 so as to make a good starting point.

* I edited the savefile to give myself CB shields on Navarre (owned by me) and Viscaya (owned by Spain) to reflect the fact that the Trastamaras had a legit dynastic claim, and it doesn't hurt that I own half of it already. Depending on the how the game goes, I may write an event that gives me Viscaya in exchange for something (like other provinces, a pile of cash, etc.)

** DP sliders are
ARIS-5 (might stay here)
CENT-10 (whee!)
INNO-7 (more likely to go up than down)
MERC-9 (I'm pretty bland about this one and will go either way--convince me!)
OFF-5 (will probably turn defensive later on)
LAND-4 (will tend to go more naval over time)
QUAL-5 (will tend to go more quality over time)
SERF-3 (headed downward, definitely)

*** Once I (A) control all of the provinces that constitute the Kingdom of Italy (B) have a low BB (how low I'll decide at the time :D) (C) control Papal States as a vassal with relations of +200 I will edit myself cores on the Kingdom of Italy [and add some BB].

Finally, I reserve the right to monkey with the savegame and event files to fix things like AI allies giving me idiotic peace settlements.

Updates will very likely start tomorrow but are likely to be somewhat spotty.
 

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Ferdinand's ambition and the war with Venice

The first seven years of the sixteenth century passed uneventfully for the realms of Aragon; the usual march of unremarkable history, with the minor conflicts and events of little significance that loom large in the context of their day but prove of little interest to later historians. The most important decision of the times was the accession of the Habsburgs to control of Spain.

The Habsburg Wedding

After the death of his wife, Isabella, in 1504, Ferdinand lost his only real claim to power over Castille. Though he attempted to take over the regency of his daughter, Juana, who was now Queen of Castille (that is, Spain), the aristocracy of Castille distrusted him. His focus on Aragon and Italy, the way in which he had centralized all the power of his Kingdom in his court, and his tendency to favor free subjects over serfs clashed with the desires and aims of the Castillian noblemen and they forced him to withdraw his claim to the regency in favor of his son-in-law, Philip the Handsome.

Philip the Handsome and Juana entered Spain and met with Ferdinand under the auspices of the church, but no good came of the negotiations. Ferdinand professed to be acting only in the interests of his daughter, who he claimed was ill-treated and dominated by Philip; whereas Philip rejected both these allegations and openly questioned the authority of the church to mediate--he accused Cardinal Cisneros, who mediated, of recieving his marching orders from the Pope, who in turn was under Ferdinand's domination as a vassal. Both claimants withdrew from the negotiations and war seemed imminent, until Philip died suddenly of sickness.

This left Ferdinand III the only legitimate claimant, yet the Castillian aristocracy continued to intrigue against him, leading him to withdraw to Barcelona. He arranged the succession so that, while Juana's son Charles would become King of Spain (among the many titles that would be held by him), the kingdom of Aragon would be held by Alfonso VI, a cousin and distant member of the House of Trastamara. The cortes assembled in Barcelona confirmed his decision, and Alfonso VI would succeed Ferdinand upon his death in 1516.*

Finally, Ferdinand returned to Madrid to determine for good and all the boundaries that would define Spain and Aragon in the future.

Kingdom of Navarre

Both Spain and Aragon laid claim to the throne of Navarre, with Aragon holding the traditional capital at Pamplona and Spain controlling the principal city of the Basque country, the port at Bilbao. At the same time, at the southern edge of Iberia, Aragon held the strategic peninsula of Gibraltar, long claimed by the Castillians--and now by Spain. After consultation with legal experts, Ferdinand III determined that although Barcelona's claim on the crown of Navarre was more sound than Madrid's, Barcelona's control of Gibraltar was illegitimate. Therefore, Spain would relinquish it's claims on the Kingdom of Navarre and cede Bilbao and the region of Viscaya to Aragon, while Aragon would abandon Gibraltar to Spain. This decree was executed in 1506, with the support of the Pope in Rome and the cortes of both Madrid and Barcelona. Thus the crown of Navarre was transported, undisputed, to Barcelona.**

While Iberian problems were solved in this pacific fashion, conflicts in Italy would soon prove far more bloody. Venetian ambitions for an empire not only mercantile and naval, but also on solid ground in Italy clashed with Ferdinand's ambition to take control of the wealthy country for himself. On August 9, 1507, the Republic of Venice pressed it's claims upon Milanese-held Mantua, declaring war on the Duchy. By August 18, Aragon, Spain, Modena, and the Papal States had joined the war on the side of Milan, opposed by Venice, the Knights Hospitaller of Saint John, and a few German principalities who would make only minimal contributions to the war.

As the war began, Ferdinand found himself on the horns of a dilemma. The terrain in the north of Italy overwhelmingly favored the defensive, with rivers, mountains, and swamps to impede the advance of armies. At the same time, the combined navies of Venice and the Knights were far more powerful than that possessed by Aragon, so a decisive blow by sea also seemed out of the question. Ferdinand determined to concentrate the Aragonese fleet at Napoli, and strike strongly at the Adriatic; by capturing the Venetian naval fortresses in Istria and Dalmatia, and locking the larger part of their armies away in the lagoon of Venice itself, decisive victory could still be achieved.

Initially, this plan met with success. Aragonese armies from Naples advanced to Ferrara, defending the line of the River Po as it emptied into the Adriatic and watching carefully for signs of advance from Venice. Simultaneously, armies from Genoa lifted the siege of Mantua, securing that city for the Duchy of Milan. Finally, Milanese forces captured Innsbruck on 21 June 1509, forcing the Tyrol out of the war with a payment of 23 chests of ducats. With Northern Italy effectively secured, events now awaited the success of Aragon's naval operations.

191512yv9.gif

The Fleet of Barcelona blockades the Adriatic

Surprisingly, Ferdinand's fleet managed to seize control of the Adriatic early on, defeating small forces from the Venetians and Knights piecemeal and closely blockading Trieste, the Dalmatian coast, and even Venice itself. The large armies preparing to deploy from Venice found themselves trapped in the city, and the Venetian fleet was taken largely by surprise. Unwilling to commit it's only trump card resort without a firm guarantee of success, the Venetian fleet remained in port.

Without effective opposition, the army of Aragon laid seige to and captured the Venetian possessions along the Adriatic, including Friuli, Istria, and Dalmatia. However, events elsewhere in the war conspired to rob Ferdinand of victory. Venetian fleets based elsewhere in the Mediterranean inflicted repeated losses on small flotillas of Spanish ships, while the armies of his Italian allies launched repeated, futile attacks on Venice. With his allies proving as much liability as aid, Ferdinand was unable to apply full diplomatic pressure on the Venetians, and the war dragged on, threatening to cause unrest (a peasant revolt was suppressed by Papal troops in February 1510, but led to greater instability in Italy). By the summer of 1512, Ferdinand determined to gamble for a decisive blow.

With the fleet of Aragon concentrated in close blockade of Venice, it was incapable of mounting an offensive elsewhere. However, if the fleet were moved it would allow the Venetian navy to sortie, and the large army in Venice would be free to attack across the Po at Milan and the Romagna. Ferdinand took a risk and split his fleet, keeping half at the blockade and moving the other half to launch an invasion of the isle of Corfu, a blow that, if successful, would leave Aragon in control of virtually the entire Adriatic and force a settlement to the war. Events would not be so kind.

The two fleets separated quietly in mid-August, one taking on an army at Foggia and proceeding to the mouth of the Adriatic. It was at this point that the plan collapsed; a small but well-led fleet from Rhodes attacked the galleys as they were unloading troops onto undefended Corfu, routing the disorganized Aragonese forces and pursuing them northward. Before the routing fleet could combined with its sister ships at the blockade of Venice, the Venetian navy seized it's opportunity and sortied. Although grossly outnumbered by the 60 Venetian galleys, the blockading force was better organized and commanded the open seas, and inflicted a severe defeat. However, it was not without it's only losses, and while the Venetians were able to retire to a safe anchorage in the port of Venice, the Aragonese had little opportunity to catch their breath.

The arrival of the disorganized second fleet, pursued by the galleys of the Knights, was the final straw. Half their number demoralized and dispersed, and the other half exhausted, the Aragonese navy turned about and heaved into battle. Initially they appeared to be winning yet again, but the sudden appearance of the Venetians in their rear turned the battle to rout, and by the end of of September 4, 1512 the entire Aragonese navy lay at the bottom of the Gulf of Venice, excepting only a handful of galleys newly constructed in Catalonia, which were hurriedly instructed to keep to their moorings.

With the flood gates now open, Venetian forces surged outward. Armies beseiged Malta, Sardinia, and the Balearics and even launched an abortive attack on Tangiers (forced into the sea with much slaughter); while the main army of Venice crossed the Po into Ferrara to attack a much smaller Aragonese force. Though the Venetians had more than twice their numbers (45,000 to 20,000) and brought along with them a multitude of cannon--Ferrara would be the first major battle in which cannons saw deployment in the field--the army of Ferdinand stood fast. Composed largely of Genoese and Neapolitan troops, they held the river crossings and inflicted a great slaughter on the Venetian mercenaries, spiking over half of their thirty cannons and driving the rest of the force back across the river. At the end of the bloody battle, a quarter of Ferdinand's forces had been killed against half of the Venetians. Yet, despite this desperate victory, the situation threatened could only worsen.

The course of the war still lay on Venice's side, but while both sides were exhausted, Venice, with her smaller manpower reserves, had come off more poorly. Worse yet, the Aragonese challenge the Venice's naval supremacy, though finally defeated, had shaken the confidence of the Republic to it's core; further conflict threatened the existence of the fleet itself, and the loss of the navy would lead inexorably to the destruction of the republic. So, too, did both Aragon and Venice consider the great threat offered by the advance of the Ottoman Empire, which was pushing up the Balkans steadily.

Thus it was Ferdinand's decision to offer a white peace to the Republic of Venice, and the Venetian decision to accept it despite their looming victory. Although technically victorious by preventing Venice from taking control of Ferrara and Mantua, Ferdinand had suffered a grave blow to his ambitions in Italy and the Mediterranean. The remaining years of his life were spent rebuilding his navy, laying the foundation for the absorbtion of Milan, and arranging for the succession in Aragon.

Alfonso VI

Alfonso VI was a largely unknown nobleman from on of the distant branches of Trastamara, largely unremarkable. What was important was that his bloodline, however remote, was directly related to Ferdinand's, and that he met with the approval of the Catalan cortes and the nobility of the various territories of Aragon. As one of the principal leaders during the war against Venice, he showed competence but not genius, and had plentiful opportunity to survey the lands of Aragon.

In late 1515, Ferdinand III left his successor in Milan, already king in all but name, and retired to Barcelona. On February 5, 1516 his plans came to fruition, as he abdicated the throne of Aragon and the Duchy of Milan was incorporated directly into the Kingdom of Aragon under Alfonso VI.

Ferdinand III would die in June of 1516.

milandiplorl3.gif

The Duchy of Milan is annexed into Aragon


---
notes:

* Fantasy monarchs from now on for Aragon, although I plan to keep a close friendship with Spain/Castille.
** I edited the savegame to remove Spanish cores on Navarre and Viscaya, and gave Viscaya to Aragon, also Basque culture. Gibraltar went to Spain.
 

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The Reign of Alfonso VI

After the death of Ferdinand and the war with Venice, events for Aragon settled into a long period of peace. The Kingdom was only peripherally affected by the Prostestant Reformation of November, 1519. None of its provinces would choose to abandon the Catholic Church, and those provinces and principalities that did follow Luther's heresy were small enough in Alfonso's concerns that they could barely be said to exist. Spain and Austria, under the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, were rather more interested in the religious situation in Northern Germany, as was Alfonso's vassal the Pontiff. For Aragon, religious conflict actually decreased in this period, when efforts by missionaries in Tangiers bore fruit and the population there was largely converted to Catholic Christianity in September of 1525. This focus on internal matters typified much of the reign of Alfonso VI; even in the religious sphere he was far more concerned with the Muslim threat from the Ottoman Empire than with Lutheranism.

With an eye toward sound administration, Alfonso VI and his court advisors pioneered in 1522 a system of controlling the farflung provinces of the Aragonese Empire by use of royally appointed representatives. Each governor was given ultimate authority over a province, and was answerable only to the king of Aragon. Tested first in Catalonia and then extended through the realm at great expense, this system consolidated Aragon and played a crucial role in reducing graft and corruption in the provinces.

Another aspect of Aragon's consolidation was the annexation of Modena into the kingdom, approved by the Duke and the nobles of that principality on May 18, 1533. Alfonso d'Este (coincidentally bearing the same name as King Alfonso VI of Aragon) retained his title as Duke and would pass it on to his son Ercole II, but gave up all his duchy's independence. With this act, Alfonso VI controlled all of Italy, excepting only Tuscany and the province of Lazio centered on the city of Rome (Venice traditionally being considered separate from Italy). He considered at this point strategies of taking the remainder of what he considered his rightful crown, now close enough to be nearly tangible.

Venice, one of the most important obstacles in his path, had been largely removed. The fears of the Most Serene Republic following the war of 1507-1513 had proven correct; once challenged and nearly defeated by Aragon, the navy of Venice lost its fearsome reputation while its land forces were held in little regard by most of Europe. Facing successive wars from Hungary, Austria, and the Ottoman Empire, Venetian power collapsed on land and at sea, and they lost most of their Adriatic possessions. Purely by the strength of its island fastnesses, the Republic's possessions in the eastern Mediterranean held out, but all the strength had gone out of Venice and it would offer a threat to Aragon no longer.

The real objective of Aragon in the first half of the 16th century would not be military, however, but diplomatic. Though not especially talented in letters, Alfonso VI was possessed of considerable determination and some small disposable income; these two assets he devoted to the maintenance of good relations with a few important countries--namely Spain, the Papal, the Florentine Republic under Cosimo Medici, and the rising star of Habsburg Austria, which had inherited the throne of Hungary and thereby become the largest and perhaps most powerful nation in Europe. Much of the Aragonese budget during the 1530's and 1540's was thrown into correspondence and the exchange of gifts with the Medicis, Habsburgs, and the college of cardinals.

A brief distraction was the appearance of the new Reformed sect founded by John Calvin. Finally the breakup of the Catholic church hit home in Aragon, as the Swiss in the province of Graubuenden converted to Calvinism and revolted against the crown. Alfonso VI had no patience for these heretics and no great desire to keep control of the relatively poor, mountainous province populated by heretics who spoke only Swiss, and was content merely to repulse their advance on Milan and allow them their control of the city of Chur. From 1545 onward the city was self-governing but effectively in anarchy, until in 1549 the city elders approached the court at Vienna, which had recently annexed the Swiss cantons, and petitioned to be annexed as well. No protest from Barcelona was forthcoming, and Chur was quietly absorbed into Austria.

Of immeasurably greater concern was the advance of the Ottoman Empire, which had now reached far enough to be an immediate threat to Italy itself. With Venetian naval power broken, the Caliph Suleiman Kanuni, known for his great wealth as "the Magnificent", had begun to reach out into the Mediterranean. After an ill-advised war on behalf of it's ally Albania, Tuscany was forced to the table and lost not just its only ally but also the port of Pisa and the lands around it.

pisaoccupiedsm3.gif

Pisa under the Ottomans

With a firm bridgehead in Italy, Suleiman stationed his entire fleet in addition to an army of some 46,000 men in Pisa; his intentions could easily be guessed, yet the courts of Vienna, Madrid, and Paris were wary of Alfonso VI's evident desire to rule Italy for himself and would not recognize this as an acceptable casus belli. The cortes at Barcelona would not willingly go to war against the Turk without approval from the other great Catholic powers; therefore Alfonso VI cast about for a legitimate excuse. Instability in the Ottoman Empire came at just the right moment, then, as the Bulgarian Kingdom and a contingent of Mamelukes in the Nile Delta declared their independence. The Mameluke base in Diametta proved too small to allow their survival, but Bulgaria managed to survive a first defeat at the hands of the Turks, though a second war would certainly finish them.

Alfonso then dispatched letters to Bulgaria and to Bosnia, both directly in the path of Ottoman expansion, guaranteeing their independence in the face of Turkish aggression. In February 1552 Suleiman declared war on Bulgaria. Alfonso, who had spent the decade of the 1540s investing heavily in the modernization of his armies and fleets, was prepared. War was declared on the Ottoman Empire in it's turn on April 1, 1552; Aragon was joined by the Pope, Spain, and Tuscany.

War with the Ottoman Empire

Aragonese armies first advanced from Parma against the Ottoman forces in Pisa, there annihilating them to the last man and laying seige to the city. The Turkish navy in Livorno weighed anchor and sailed into the Ligurian sea to secure a line of supply to their forces in Pisa. The Aragonese navy, freshly rebuilt since the war with Venice, sailed round the island of Elba and made for the Turkish fleet, aggressively engaging their foes.

battleofelbari4.gif
the battle at Elba

Though at first glance evenly matched, there was a substantial disparity in technology between the two fleets. The Aragonese navy had recently incorporated wind-driven sailing ships mounted with powerful bronze cannon into it's fleet; though initially these were intended primarily to support the traditional mediterranean galley tactics of boarding party and ram, they came into their own. Cannon fire ripped through the Ottoman ships, terrorizing and crippling their crews and dispersing their formations, while the decks of the sailing ships were too high to be boarded and their hulls too thick to be effectively rammed. The cannonless Ottoman sailing ships were impotent by comparison, and the result of the battle was a massacre with a large portion of the Turkish fleet sunk or captured between Elba and the isle of Capraia.

Livorno, meanwhile, was under seige and so offered no safe harbor to the Turks; instead the Ottomans fled south in the hopes of outrunning or evading the Aragonese fleet all the way to Constantinople. This strategy was only marginally successful, as the Aragonese fleet caught the Ottomans in two more sharp engagements off Naples and Taranto, inflicting further severe losses before finally losing them in darkness and rough seas in the Ionian Sea. Their escape was of little consequence, however, because Aragon had taken utter control of the seas and the Turkish sea arm was broken for the remainder of the war, if not permanently. The capture of Pisa followed soon afterward, and the army of Italy boarded the victorious fleet and was transported by sea to Thrace, where it looted the countryside and crushed several small bodies of Turkish troops throughout the lower Balkans before setting into a seige around Edirne.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the Mediterranean, a forgotten theatre was being won for Aragon. The Turkish allies in Morocco had leapt to the defense of their patron in the hopes of retaking the Spanish province of Fes and Aragonese Tangiers. Although the marketplace of Tangiers had by now been emptied by competition with Seville, it was still strategically valuable for its command of the straights of Gibraltar, as well as being home to some thousands of newly converted Christians. Armed with arquebus and lance, the small army defending Tangiers repulsed several attacks by the Moors, only to be overwhelmed just as reinforcements arrived by boat from Catalonia. With furious vengeance, the Catalonian army broke the seige of Tangiers even as it had begun, and proceeded to recapture Fes from the Moors that had occupied it, breaking several small Moroccan armies in the process, then proceeding to the Moroccan capital at Marrakech.

With his fleet demolished and defeat on land evident, Suleiman I sued for peace, offering Pisa and 150 chests of gold. Magnanimous in victory and having fully achieved his aims, Alfonso VI accepted on February 16, 1555, having defeated the great Ottoman Empire in under three years.

peacewithoeek9.gif

With the conclusion of this war with the Ottoman Empire, Aragon had fully ascended to its place in command of the Mediterranean. The Venetian and Ottoman navies had been wrecked, leaving only the fleet of Catalonia; construction of a vast shipyard in Barcelona, partly paid for by Suleiman's tribute, was the capstone of the triumph. As new galleys and warship rolled off the docks and more began construction, the Aragonese navy swelled and would only grow larger.

newfleetxa5.gif

the fleet as it stands in 1557

Meanwhile, Alfonso's diplomatic offensive had succeeded in strengthening ties with Spain as well as with Austria. Tuscany, too, had become a close ally, although the silver-tongued Cosimi de Medici would resist offers of vassalization for years to come.

Alfonso VI would fall into a coma and die in early January of 1557, succeeded by his son Pere V. Pope Paulus IV acted at the urging of Pere V himself to ensure the beatification of King Alfonso VI, who had thrown the heathen armies of the Turk out of Italy, cleansed the seas of his piratical fleets, and brought the light of God to the Moors of Tangiers, though it would be 1570 before Alfonso officially became a saint.

---

europe1557ot1.gif

Europe at the beginning of Pere V's reign, January 1557
 

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Mediterranean Domination and the Triumph of the Cartographers

Already at the beginning of Pere V's reign in 1557, Venice had been destroyed as a threat to Aragon's power in Italy and the Mediterranean, and Catalans had largely taken over the positions of dominance in Europe's centers of trade. Yet Aragon had not yet proven its power over Venice by conclusively defeating the Republic, and Catalan merchants were still banned from plying their trade in the great market of Venice itself. Pere V aimed to change this, and was unconcerned by Venice's alliance with Portugal. He carefully positioned his armies in Ferrara and, taking advantage of his military access agreement with Spain, Estremadura. The moment of decision soon arrived, as Venice and Portugal attacked the Ottoman Empire in defense of their ally, Bosnia.

On January 3, 1560 Pere V declared war upon the Republic of Venice. Forces from Estremadura marched on Lisbon, rapidly defeating the Portuguese forces defending their capital and laying siege. The fleet sailed from Napoli to the Gulf of Venice, and landed a force of 15,000 men in Friuli to take Venice's eastern flank. The Venetian navy, broken by previous wars, was nowhere to be found, and Portugal was capable only of mounting futile attacks on strongly held Aragonese Tangiers, and could only watch as the Army of Catalonia systematically broke down the defenses of Lisbon and entered the city.

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Maps of all the Portuguese explorations were found among the rubble of the royal palace, revealing a whole new world to Aragon. Aragonese forces proceeded to each of Portugal's remaining major cities in turn, and captured them, too, so that by 1562 all of mainland Portugal was under occupation.

The war effort in Italy was less sanguine; although Friuli was quickly captured, the natural and military defenses of Venice itself proved effectively impregnable. Using the swampy terrain and rivers that guarded the approaches to Venice to best effect, the defenders repulsed several attempts by superior Aragonese forces to lay seige to the city. By the fall of 1563, Pere V conceded defeat and offered terms to the Venetians. In exchange for peace, the entire Venetian treasury, some 700 chests of gold, would be sent as tribute to Barcelona. Venice had no alternative but to accept, and this massive payment was the symbol of Aragon's Mediterranean dominance.

Africa

Pere V, now in possession of Portuguese maps, quickly exchanged the information with King Philip of Spain, gaining Spanish maps in return. With this geographic knowledge and it's strong naval abilities, Aragon could now make a bid to join the colonial powers. Pere examined his options. Brazil was already so dominated by Portugal that it could offer little reward for colonization; the North American coast was split between France and England, leaving only small niches which held no interest for Pere. The best options were the islands of the Caribbean, but these were claimed in their entirety by Spain and Pere had no desire to antagonize his Iberian cousin and ally. Instead, he cast his eyes farther afield and sought strategic position rather than immediate profit.

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The Cape Colony

Pere V dispatched his colonists on a long journey, down the coast of Africa to the Cape of Good Hope. There they established the settlement of New Messina, perhaps the most isolated of all cities built by European hands. Successive waves of colonists would expand this foothold to encompass the entire cape, and even press towards the gold-laden mountains of the interior. To manage the colonization of the cape as well as Aragon's growing trade in far-off marketplaces like Timbuktu and Ethiopia, Pere V commissioned the Companyia de Monopoli de Catalan d'Africa, or Catalan Monopoly Company of Africa, in April 1570. Though initially organized for operations in Africa, their authority would later expand.

The Cape Colony recieved a considerable boost, when in January of 1572 an intrepid captain of cavalry from Provence, named Michel d'Asefeld, petitioned the king to be commissioned as a colonel with the mission of exploring the lands inland from the Swahili Coast of Africa. Pere VI (by then having succeeded his father as King of Aragon) consented, dispatching the officer to New Messina with 3500 horsemen. d'Asefeld began his now legendary ride north from Sotho, crossing the river Orange in 1574. He and his men suffered from disease, hostile natives, and unfamiliar terrain, but pressed ever onward, determined the illuminate the Dark Continent. In 1582, he reached the shores of an enormous freshwater lake, called Nalubaale or Ukerewe by the natives, but dubbed "Llac Pere el Sisè" by d'Asefeld himself, the name by which it is known in Europe to this day (rendered "Lake Peter the Sixth in English, but more generally called Lake Pere).

Despite the immense distance he had already travelled (nearly 2000 miles over trackless terrain with no sign of civilization), d'Asefeld felt that finally he could go no farther; his six year drive of discovery had left half his men dead and utterly ruined his health. He skirted the northern edge of Lake Pere, making contact with the native kingdom of Buganda, before finally turning back. He found himself in conflict with native tribes during the whole of return journey. He was finally attacked by some 11,000 tribesmen north of the Zambezi River on 10 February, 1584, and forced to make a fighting retreat. During the crossing of the Zambezi his journey ended; d'Asefeld was struck by an arrow and killed leading the rearguard as it prepared to ford. The survivors of his company carried his remains back to New Messina, where he was interred in a place of honor in the church cemetary; the town was renamed Port d'Asefeld in his honor. Though his discoveries were for the most part not immediately profitable, and he conquered no territory, d'Asefeld took his place in history as one of the greatest men of the age of discovery, thanks to the length and difficulty of his overland journey of exploration.

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Africa as it was known by Aragon, 1595

The Fate of Italy

While South Africa was being colonized, Pere V's primary concern was still on expansion Italy. Cosimo de Medici continued to frustrate his designs on Florence, which would have completed his control of Italy. Cosimi refused time and again to become a vassal to the Kingdom of Aragon, percieving that should be accept this offer it would only be a matter of time before he or his heirs was persuaded by bribery, guile, and threats to make Florence an integral part of Aragon. Yet he recognized that he could not continue to refuse Pere's requests out of hand forever, and sought an excuse for his intransigence.

This he found in 1568, by approaching Felipe II of Spain and offering him the oath of fealty. Cosimo reasoned--correctly--that Felipe's concerns lay in distant lands much more than they did in Italy, and that as a vassal of Spain he would be largely left to his own devices but for his annual tribute. Felipe II accepted Cosimi's oath, without any consultation with Pere V. The news of this coup, which rendered all the thousands of ducats in gifts and the marriage of his sister to a Florentine nobleman all for naught, as well as the insult implied by Felipe's lack of concern with Pere's objections, caused him to suffer an attack of apoplexy which nearly killed him. He struggled on for three more years, in much reduced capacity, until he perished and was succeeded by his son, the unimaginatively named but competent Pere VI.

Pere VI, perhaps unjustly, blamed Cosimi de Medici for his father's death, and lack only the opportunity to strike. Relations between the people of Tuscany and Aragon were too good to countenance immediate war, his own aunt was married to a prominent Medici supporter in Florence, and Tuscany was in fact a member of the alliance led by Aragon--all factors that made war with them a thorny proposition. Pere VI resolved then, to wait.

In 1574 he seized upon a boundary dispute with the Florentine city council over lands in Pisa, irritating the incident beyond what was necessary and using it as an excuse to expel Florence from the alliance, diplomatically isolating the city just as it was geographically isolated within the territory of Aragon. This effectively demolished relations with Tuscany, and Pere VI awaited news of his aunt's death. It would be a long time coming, nearly twenty years.

Pere VI spent the intervening time managing the further colonization of Africa and his trading interests throughout Europe and Africa, as well as fortifying the critical regions of Iberia along the Pyrenees, and in Northern Italy beneath the Alps. A too-agressive campaign in the marketplace at Paris led Henry III to ban the Catalan merchants, a boycott joined by the city fathers of Lisbon. All the while, Pere waited for news from Florence.

It finally arrived in December of 1591, and Pere wasted no time in ordering his armies into the field. Citing boundary disputes over Pisa, he declared war on Florence, although neither the other crowned heads of Europe nor his own cortes recognized his casus belli; even the normally obedient pontiff dissented.

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The war began with a Florentine victory at the approaches to the city, and continued for some time with a back and forth struggle, but the outcome was never in doubt. By the winter of 1592 the Florentine armies had been destroyed, and 60 cannon forged by the engineers of Napoli joined the army of Aragon for the seige. The walls were hammered under, and finally Cosimo de Medici chose to surrender the city rather than see it taken by assault or starvation. Tuscany was annexed into Aragon on December 22, 1593.

At this point, Pere VI then approached Madrid, Vienna, and Rome to request the crown of Italy. He found that, though Felipe II and Rudolf II had only minor objection to the idea of Italy being joined with Aragon and the other titles held in Barcelona, they did find objection to the idea of Pere VI gaining the crown. By attacking Florence without a just cause, he had made enemies of both men; Rudolf II because he was Holy Roman Emperor and therefore technically (but not temporally) protector over Italy, Felipe II because he was the liege lord of Florence. So, if the kingdom of Italy would be granted (which was not guaranteed), it would be to his son, and not to him. Pere VI had no choice but to accept these terms.

He spent the last years of his life intrigueing in the Holy Roman Empire to improve his son's chances of recieving the Italian crown, and in consultation with Pope Clement VIII over the reorganization of the unweildy structure of the Aragonese monarchy, which was still legally organized as a profusion of different titles. At last he completed his arrangements, and perished in December of 1594.*

His son, Marti III, was crowned on January 1, 1595.

thekingdomsmu4.gif

The realm of Marti III, King of Aragon, Italy, the Two Sicilies, and Navarre,
Count of Barcelona, Protector of Africa

1. The Kingdom of Navarre (pink). Constituted as it had been traditionally.
2. The Kingdom of Aragon (green). The petty kingdoms of Valencia and Majorca were absorbed into the single unit of the kingdom of Aragon.
3. The Kingdom of Italy (purple). The kingdom of Sardinia was dropped and incorporated into this title. Though Clement VIII argued long and hard for the return of the Marches and Romagna to the Papal States, he found Pere VI intractable. Finally, he accepted a large cash payment for the construction of new buildings in the Vatican, in lieu of a prize he could not hope to recieve--though he would not relinquish his claims on the Donation of Pippin. The claims of the reformed Kingdom of Italy assumed their original shape from the age of Charlemagne, understood to include the Marches of Ancona and the Romagna, but not the area of Lazio immediately around Rome.
4. The Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. The kingdoms of Sicily and Naples, split in 1282 by the Sicilian vespers uprising, were legally reunited under this flag.

The provinces of Armagnac (populated largely by Huguenots) and Provence, being no part of any title that could be legitimately claimed by Barcelona, remained outside the jurisdiction of any of the kingdoms, effectively in limbo.


---

notes
* I went into the save file and gave myself cores on the old kingdom of Italy, added 5 BB, and subtracted 1000 ducats from my treasury (to represent bribes).
 
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Empire of the Seas

Already at the beginning of his reign, Marti III found many of the continental ambitions Kingdom of Aragon achieved. The throne of Italy had been secured, and Aragonese navy was unchallenged in Mediterranean waters. With no great war or diplomatic coup awaiting him, Marti focused his energies on the expansion of Aragon's colonial empire. Colonists poured into South Africa with renewed vigor, tapping the gold mines of the northern mountains and gradually settling the rugged interior.

However, efforts in South Africa began to suffer from diminishing returns. The lands north of the Limpopo River, though empty of civilization and open to colonization, promised no great profits. Marti III therefore cast his eyes farther east, and in November 1600 commissioned the Companyia to construct a merchant factor on the Malabar Coast of India, so as to exploit the trade in spices out of Cochin province. The local Dravidian princes showed little resistance at first, and signed a treaty with the Companyia agents, but as the factor grew from a trading post into a full fledged colony, they began to have doubts as to the intentions of their 'guests.' In 1604 the natives launched an attack destroyed the colony of New Baleares, massacring the 200 inhabitants. The Companyia responded by raising a force of some 3,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry in Port d'Asefeld, and transported it by sea to Cochin. Though the natives resisted, Catalan musketry proved more than a match for their spears, and the Companyia took control of the province. Waves of colonists arrived from Barcelona, and by 1615 the natives were resigned to the Catalan presense and the new colonial city of 'Sant Alfonso VI' was finished, complete with fortifications against further native attack and a governor dispatched from Barcelona.

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Sant Alfonso VI

The Voyage of Merino

In 1603 the previously unknown Balearic seaman Xavier Merino, approached the newly crowned King Fernando III for a commission to explore the oceans east and south of India. Though the maps captured from Lisbon in the 1560s greatly expanded Aragonese knowledge of the world, they were incomplete in many areas. Fernando III agreed, and commissioned Merino with a fleet of 15 ships to fill in the blanks.

Sailing from Napoli to Tangiers, and thence to Port d'Asefeld, Merino first sailed round the whole coast of the huge island of Madagascar, locating the French and Dutch strongholds there. He proceeded to Cochin and made port, only to sail out again before a month had past, mapping the whole coast of India and making contact with a number of previously unknown Hindu and Muslim nations. He sailed along the coasts of Burma, Malaya, and Indochina, securing treaties of military access with the rulers of Myanmar and Annam, then he pushed farther. Merino mapped the whole coast of China and Korea, and made contact with the Shogunate of Tokugawa Ieyasu, in Japan, and secured from him another treaty of military access.

From anchor in Nagasaki, he sailed to the Philippines, through the East Indies, anchoring in the port of Tindore with the permission of that island's Sultan, and finally south to a wholly undiscovered continent, which he dubbed 'Australia.' He explored the coasts of Australia for some months, discovering as well an additional pair of large islands far to the East of the new continent, which he dubbed New Sardinia.

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Australia and New Sardinia

He then sailed for home, only to drown in stormy seas off the northern coast of Madagascar on September 14, 1615. Of the 15 ships he set sail with, only 7 returned to Barcelona, but Merino had contributed immense discoveries to the Aragonese maps, including a half-dozen major centers of trade in the far east. Catalan merchants rapidly followed in his footsteps, eventually taking control of the markets of Calicut, Santal, Malacca, Hainan, Guangzhou, and Shanghai. Aragonese trading companies dominated the trade in spices and Chinese goods, pouring money into the coffers of Fernando III. By the 1620s the aggregate income of the Kingdom of Aragon was the greatest in Europe, more than twice that of their nearest competitor, Austria, thanks largely to trade in exotic marketplaces.

The Malabar Coast

In October of 1620, negotiations by the Companyia with the Maharaja of Thanjore took a turn for the worse, when the Hindu prince not only rejected their overtures, but directly insulted King Fernando III. Informed of this in early 1621, Fernando dispatched 12,000 infantry, 3,000 cavalry, and 20 cannons to Cochin, with instructions to humble Thanjore. They arrived in June of 1621, and war was officially declared at the end of the month. With their technological superiority, these troops had no difficult overcoming the defenders of Thanjore. However, the situation spiralled out of control, as the nearby principalities of Travancore and Madurai joined arms with Thanjore against the invading Europeans. The number of troops in South India had to be increased, until nearly 30,000 Catalonian troops were in the theatre.

Even so, the war dragged on until 1627, when finally the last holdouts were blasted away and peace reigned around the Malabar Coast. At the conclusion, the wealthy trading city of Calicut was confiscated from Travancore and put under Companyia administration, and both Madurai and Thanjore were made vassal states of Aragon.

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European Matters

The only really significant occurances in European matters were the banning of Catalan merchants from Danzig, Mecklemburg, and Venice for predatory business practices, the death of Marti III in 1602 after only a brief reign of seven years and his succession by Fernando III, and finally the entry of the Austrian Habsburgs into the Aragonese alliances in December 1615. This league of three great Catholic rulers was aimed primarily at France, and was a strong deterrent, combining as it did the three richest and most powerful nations in Europe.
 

Dhimmi

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wow australia :) any plans on constructing colonies there wouldgive a whole newtwist to history :)
 

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Duke Valentino
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Duke of Wellington- I have no idea what Austria is doing in the Laccadives, really. There's a fair number of ahistorical colonies, like Venetian Sao Tome. Austria also has some colonies in North America and another in Somalia. As for colonization of the open land north of South Africa--I don't think so. Most of the provinces have native populations of like 10,000 at 8 or 9 aggression, tax incomes of 1, and they produce goods like sheep or grain. Not worth my time, honestly.

Dhimmi- I may colonize Australia someday, but that day is not now :) My concentration is going to be on India for the time being.
 

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Duke Valentino
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India Again

In 1648, shortly before the death of King Fernando III and his replacement by Alfonso VII, the Dravidian principality of Mysore declared war upon Thanjore, another Indian nation which was under the protection of Aragon and the Companyia de Monopoli de Catalan d'Africa. The Companyia recognized this as an opportunity to expand it's influence even farther up the Malabar coast, and counter-attacked Mysore in defense of Thanjore. Mysore had a substantially more effective system of rule, and a commensurately more advanced military, than the other Dravidian princes. While his peers languished in the age of sword and lance, the Raj of Mysore had incorporated arquebusiers into his forces.

The army fielded by the Companyia were composed primarily of native Dravidians commanded by Catalan officers. These troops, called sepoys, were equipped with modern muskets and cannons shipped from the Zaragossa arsenals, and were of generally high quality. They rapidly marched into the territory of Mysore, defeated the defenders in pitched battle, and laid to seige to the fortified cities. The larger part of the army of Mysore was deployed in the invasion of Thanjore; however, as Mysore began to be overrun by the Companyia sepoys, their armies retreated to defend their homes, only to be defeated piecemeal. Nevertheless, the small numbers of Companyia forces in the theatre and the distances of the campaign meant that the war would rage for four years, until in April of 1652 the last Mysore army was run down and the Raj conceded defeat. He surrendered Kanara, the contents of his treasury, and submitted to Companyia administration.

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His war with Thanjore continued, however, despite his total lack of defensive forces. Eventually the Raj of Thanjore would accept a small payment for peace, and, flush with victory, march on and annex the principality of Madurai, also a Companyia vassal, though this time there was little response from the Indian office of the CMCA in Sant Alfonso. Meanwhile, the efforts of the Companyia to establish more trading factors in India proceeded apace, with Pondicherry and Madras firmly placed and more under construction along the bay of Bengal, including in Calcutta. One highly desired but inaccessible region was the city of Bombay, which was held by France.

War With France

Not only did France act to frustrate the ambitions of the Companyia in Bombay, but Paris also continued obdurately to bar Catalan merchants from trading within its walls. With the support of Austria and Spain, Alfonso VII demanded in the autumn of 1654 that Louis XIV lift the embargo. When the French monarch refused, Aragon declared war, followed by Austria, Spain, and the Papal states.

The rhythm of the war was quickly established. Aragon's navy, consisting of more than 100 modern ships of the line, almost immediately established complete dominance over it's far smaller French counterpart by seizing control of the strategic Bay of Biscay. And, while the defensively-focussed Aragonese army was no match for the French in the field basis, Aragon boasted far larger financial reserves and nearly equal manpower resources, meaning that it would win a war of attrition, with an especial superiority in artillery. The fortifications of Catalonia, Navarre, and Italy were also vastly superior to those on the French side of the frontier. Finally, France was forced to fight not only Aragon, but the very powerful nations of Austria and Spain as well. Though France won the initial engagements on the frontier, weight of numbers began to tell. Austria broke through into French Flanders, troops from Catalonia took control of Southern France, and the Aragonese navy landed 30,000 men in Poitou, who would march north on Paris.

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By 1656, France was weakening rapidly. As forces from Catalonia penetrated deeper into the country, French victories turned to defeats; newly levied French armies would find themselves pounced upon by much larger Catalan columns and routed, preventing them from assembling for decisive battle. Despite the withdrawal of Austria from the war in a separate piece (unaccountably taking two provinces in Scotland held by the French ally of Eire), events continued to go Aragon's way.

In India, 15,000 Companyia sepoys and 2,000 Catalan soldiers faced off against 6,000 sepoys and 500 French in Bombay; the battle was easily won and unfortified Bombay taken by storm. Back in France, Louis XIV's troops broke the siege of Paris but were unable to reverse the momentum of the war at large. Finally, in, January 1658, Alfonso VII sent ambassadors to Paris to negotiate a peace treaty.

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The status of the war at the end of hostilities

Considering the scale of his victory, Alfonso's terms were remarkably light. Catalan merchants would once again have access to Paris, Bombay would be turned over to the CMCA, and France would cede Toulouse and send a token tribute of 25 chests of gold. Louis XIV agreed, if not happily, then at least content in the knowledge that he could have lost much more. With the war thus concluded, Alfonso VII dispatched large state gifts of gold to Vienna and Madrid, to reward his allies who had sacrificed much for little return at the peace table.
 

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Second Lieutenant
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Being a proud member of the house of Cardona, I feel very happy to see the progress of my country. Seems that the Bourbons have tasted the strength of the catalanoaragonese. Now make the Hapsburgs remember who the boss is really :)
 

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Duke Valentino
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Duke of Wellington- The main reason I disdained to take anything more was because most of the other provinces I could have demanded are Huguenot. With a base tax of 17 Languedoc was a very real target during--but with wrong-culture wrong religion I would only take home 40% of it.

Folc de Cardona- Show the Habsburgs who is boss? The Habsburgs of Austria and Spain are our beloved cousins and long-time allies, I don't think we'll be "showing them who's boss" any time soon :p
 

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The Great Indian War

By the second half of the 17th century, India was a divided land. The Sultanate of Delhi, which had in the medieval period been a strong force in the Gangeatic Plain, never recovered from it's devastation by the conqueror Tamerlane in the 14th century. Over time it disintegrated more and more from internal dissent and external invasion, by the 1630s it no longer existed at all and it's former lands were divided between a mishmash of small, relatively weak states. In the south, the once proud Empire of Vijayanagar collapsed in the late 15th century, leaving the Dravidian princes much to their own devices. The first Mughal Emperor, Babur, had made a bid for domination of India in the early 16th century, but had failed to make any real impact, and his empire remained largely confined to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

This unstable situation was of great benefit to the CMCA, because there existed no great Indian empire capable of resisting their advances. However, their large initial gains did not go unnoticed by the natives of India. By 1662, a coalition of sultanates in the northern part of the subcontinent was assembled: Berar, Hyderabad, and Gujarat. These states dedicated themselves to the project of reestablishing Muslim preeminance over India. They opposed the efforts of the Companyia to expand its authority, so the Companyia began planning an aggressive reply.

The opportunity the CMCA agensts were waiting for arrived in 1662, when the Sultan of Gujarat annexed a small Hindu principality along the Ganges. The CMCA declared war on Gujarat and its allies, proclaiming its desire to "protect the Hindoos of India from the depredations of the Mohammedian horde".

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The belligerents, February 1662. Bijapur (a Shiite state just north of
Mysore) would join the Muslim alliance in March

With a force of 45,000 sepoys and 5,000 Catalan officers prepared for battle, together with sufficient artillery and naval assets to offer them full support, the Companyia went forward into battle. Their forces, vastly more advanced than the natives (who had only recently developed arquebuses and had yet to deploy true muskets) proved themselves the masters of the field. However, problems soon developed. However successful the armies of the CMCA were in the field, they were too few and deployed in such a vastly theatre of war that they were quickly lost in in hostile territory. As quickly as they destroyed the Indian armies and took their fortified places, they found themselves presented with a new enemy column and a new fortress to be taken. The logistical problems of supplying their army in tropical and often roadless India compounded these difficulties.*

Nevertheless, continually reinforced by small levies from around the factors in Cochin, Madras, and Calcutta, the armies made progress. They were just never able to force a real decision. A final push in 1666, during which the Companyia armies concentrated to assault Gujarat, captured much of that Sultanate; yet the Sultan merely moved his court to the Punjab and continue to stoutly resist the standard Companyia terms of peace (surrender of strategic provinces and submission to CMCA administration). With its forces dispersed all over India, unrest bubbling over the pressgangs that roved its territories, and no real victory in sight, the CMCA settled for what it could achieve.

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The leader of the alliance of Muslim states, Hyderabad, was forced to cede the wealthy coastal province of Nellore and submit to become an effective vassal of the Companyia. Gujarat, Berar, and Bijapur, though they lost nothing in the peace settlement, had had all the strength taken out of them by the war. Many thousands of their sons lay dead, and (particularly in the case of Gujarat) the long war and occupation of many provinces by foreign troops left the authority of the Sultanates ashambles. Regionalist revolts, rampant banditry, and other horrors were a commonplace part of life in Muslim India for years to come.

The Companyia came off rather the better, but still licked its wounds. It had spent considerable money and human resources in a war, and achieved rather little to show for it. Further efforts would have to be made, and in a more efficient fashion. More pleasantly, the people of the great trading city of Calicut on the Malabar coast spontaneously converted to Catholicism in 1680. This would lead to greater stability in the province, hence greater incomes from taxation and trade.

Europe

Little of import occurred in the rest of the Empire during this period. Alfonso VII's primary focus in the latter part of his reign was on retrenchment. A massive system of fortifications was built throughout Catalonia, Navarre, and the Occitanian provinces of Armagnac and Toulouse. Each great center of population in the whole region, from Bilbao to Perpinya and south to Valencia, and was surrounded by a network of modern redoubts in great depth. By the end of the construction, Catalonia was widely considered to be the most heavily fortified region in the whole world**. Similar fortifications could be found in Province and the Italian frontier with France, extending as far to the rear as Lombardia. This system of defense works presented a daunting obstacle to France, or any other potential invader.

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notes

* One of my personal house rules is to not send enormous forces into colonies, and rather to keep it more in line with what could reasonably be expected, historically. Hence, my 45,000 men fighting four major Indian nations across over half the subcontinent found themselves a little swamped. The general landtech of 11 for the Indians meant that it wasn't quite a cakewalk (though no medium forts have shown up yet), and events contributed to make it so that I couldn't finish the war how I wanted. :(

** Every province in have in the general area of Catalonia/Pyrenees has a level five fort (and a manufactory of some kind, incidentally). It ought to slow the French down a bit, if they come after me.