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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Welcome to California! Bienvenidos a California!

This AAR will chart the progress, roughly translated from a partially-modded V:IP (not Revolutions) game, of the Californian Republic- which in ahistorical 1836, as readers will see, broke away from Mexico and formed its own state. My earnest hope is that it will run until 1920, and then maybe even a brief epilogue to take California up to the present day, but at my current speed (2 months down and we're in October 1837 at the time of writing this) I may well die before I see it through. We shall see.

The form of this AAR is pretty-much narrative. I'm a great believer in the idea that good characters make good stories (and vice versa), and that every character has three or more dimensions, so this is essentially a character study of the various people of historical significance to the Californian Republic (i.e. those in a position to do something that the game would notice). I will also be making the game fit the story (by modding and not always playing to win if necessary), rather than the story fit the game- because this is not a gameplay AAR. I'm quite willing to shoot myself in the proverbial foot game-wise in order to do something that fits with the narrative. If you want to be told how to conquer the world as California, I'm frankly not good enough at the game to tell you!

There's also a history-book element (provided by one made-up title on Californian history) in order to fill in the gaps, cover long and tedious stretches of information and give a bird's-eye-view of the situation, which the narrow perspectives of contemporary individuals wouldn't have been able to do.

All in all, this AAR is, quite simply, the story of California, and more precisely, the story of the Californians. I hope they won't disappoint!

DerKaiser

This AAR has (apparently) been selected for its excellence in the field of alternate history by the Tempus Society.​
 
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Estonianzulu

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If I recall correctly, there is a political party maker for Victoria (it's either in vanilla or was a mod, find the VikiWiki and it will have guides to all that fun stuff)

Shoot me a PM sometime and I'll lend a hand where I can. Its been a while since I've worked with a mod, but the principles are pretty simple. Its mostly just cut and paste.
 

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Opening gambit...

Agua Dulce Creek, Coahuila y Tejas Province, March 2nd 1836

The sun was gradually creeping over the far hilltops, but it wasn’t likely to obscure the vision of the waiting cavalry. The leading dragoon shifted slightly in his saddle, so that the branch of a tree shaded his eyes from the slowly brightening rays. But the light of the sun had an advantage- on the road winding past the base of the gently sloping hill, the Texans were clearly visible.

Fifty-one, fifty-two, fifty-three men, marching with little order down the road. Fifty-three rebel Texans on the road, fifty-three men in contempt of the laws of the land and of their superiors. The dragoon’s lip curled. He ran his fingers along the handle of his sabre, stroking the cold metal and then slowly tightening his grip around it. The rest of his company was similarly waiting, men and horses tense before the coming uproar, awaiting one thing only.

A sudden bugle sounded two harsh cries, each echoed in the valley by a Texan voice:

“Mexicans!”

“Ambush!”

The dragoon spurred his black horse forward, and with a great sweep of his hand drew his long, steel sabre, which flashed red in the early sunlight as it hissed round in front of him. He lowered the point of the blade, steadying his hand despite the jarring motion as his horse, among forty others, pressed down the slope, and aimed the sword directly at his target- the one Texan he could see wearing a dark blue soldier’s uniform. Those riders to his right and left recognised their captain’s signal from the corner of their eyes, and knew what he meant. The Texan commander was his kill.

The victim was hurriedly trying to bring about some semblance of order among his men, pressing them to form firing lines and bring down some the onrushing horses before they were upon them, but to little avail. Fifty yards, forty, thirty, twenty, ten.

In a vicious, scything arc the dragoon slashed his sabre into the first Texan in his path, a grizzled-looking man in a mud-stained white shirt. The blade slit a neat line around the base of the man’s neck and he dropped his rifle, clutching instead at the newly-opened wound, which was already beginning to tinge his shirt a different colour. A second man swung the heavy butt of a gun towards the horseman, who slid neatly in his saddle leaving the weapon to fly harmlessly past, and flicked his better weapon back with a twist of the wrist, catching the rebel across the face with its razor-sharp point. He fell with a cry that mixed surprise and pain, it was left to the onrushing Mexican horses to finish the job their captain had started.

Taking the reins with his sword-hand, the dragoon reached from his side for a long-barrelled, sleek, black pistol and drew in his horse, who reared high to halt its gallop. The rider lowered his gun at one of the few Texans who had managed to get a shot off- a boy surely not yet of age who was hurriedly trying to reload the weapon with fumbling hands- one crack from the pistol, and he fell. A guttural roar from his right side caused the dragoon to twist in his saddle, to see a bearded man rushing at him holding a bayonet high in both hands. But the attacker was too far away, and his target’s reflexes too fast. The bullet caught him near his left shoulder, and he, too, fell. This was not a challenge, this was target practice.

Replacing his pistol in its holster, he turned his horse swiftly and kicked her on towards the rising sun, to where the soldier stood. This was no amateur. He had felled a dragoon to the right of the captain on the charge with his rifle, and now held a pistol and a finely-crafted sword in his hand. A man worth killing.

Senor!” He called, in a passable English accent. “Will you do me the honour?”

The soldier understood him, he dropped his pistol and raised the sabre in his right hand. The dragoon once again reigned in his mount and vaulted easily from the saddle with a practiced air, likewise with sabre in hand.

The Texan lunged, and his adversary twisted on the spot, neatly dodging the attack, and beating the other’s back with the flat of his blade- this was not the killing blow, he was merely chastising his opponent for so pedestrian an effort. The Texan brought his sword down in a great blow, and the dragoon raised his blade in turn, and with a resounding clash the two weapons met, sending a shuddering blow down each hand. The dragoon slid away, ducking under a rapid swipe from his opponent, and jabbed him under the arm, tearing the blue sleeve and the skin underneath. The victim growled in anger and pulled himself free, lunging again and again failing to meet his mark- but this time the dragoon’s attack was met with the Texan’s sword and the two parted again.

Now the dragoon darted forwards with a lunge of his own, and though the Texan parried he flicked his wrist rapidly- more rapidly than his opponent had anticipated, and caught him in the sword-hand. The Texan dropped his weapon with a howl of pain and anger, blood streaming down his hand, and as he looked up at his opponent he caught the dragoon’s boot in his face, and fell onto his back. The point of his adversary’s sabre hovered above his face.

“I thank you, senor, an honourable display…” Came the Spanish voice.

“Honourable?” Spat the Texan in pain. “Call an ambush honourable? You’re all the same- cheating Mexican…”

“Californian, actually.” Replied the dragoon with a smile, and drove the sabre downwards.
 

Maximilliano

The Quixotic Emperor of Mexico
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Interesting start, i'll be sure to follow this one
 

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DerKaiser,

Glad to see you back at it. If you need any help with your modding feel free to PM me, and I'll help you in any way I can.

As to the story, an interesting start. I find combat between unnamed characters interesting as I can't help but wonder who was this Texan, and where did he learn his craft.

As to the dragoon, is he important, or just another unnamed soldier.

And where is Zoro :D

Anyway, I look forward to seeing where you take this one. It should be a fun ride.
 

Jan Skrzetuski

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That was quite a start. Good luck!
 

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Quirinus: Thanks! I regret having been absent for so long- how did Germany come out in WW1 in the end?

Both characters are important, one as a plot device and one as a character, as will develop. And I'm not sure whether to work Zorro in- after all it is California and he'd be a fun character to write, but as I do want to keep it a historical as well as narrative account it might be a little too fantastical to have him. Haven't decided yet...

Jan Skrzetuski, Maximilliano , and Estonianzulu- thanks for commenting/reading, and I hope you enjoy it!

To anyone else reading: I hope you enjoy it too, and comments/feedback are very much welcomed and hoped for :D ...

DerKaiser
 

Cinéad IV

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Very interesting!

Will California start with Mexican or Yankee culture? To the best of my knowledge you get lumbered with Yankee, but an ahistorically early California might well have maintained her ties with the mother country a bit more closely than would have been the case in real life.

I'll be keeping an eye on this one :D
 

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Cinéad IV said:
Very interesting!

Will California start with Mexican or Yankee culture? To the best of my knowledge you get lumbered with Yankee, but an ahistorically early California might well have maintained her ties with the mother country a bit more closely than would have been the case in real life.

I'll be keeping an eye on this one :D
Thanks :D !

In answer to your question- California starts with Yankee and Dixie culture, but it seemed fair (plus I like writing Hispanic characters ;) ) to add in Mexican culture as well.

Hope you enjoy it! Oh and here's an update...
 

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Don Alejandro del Serrano

Army of Operations Forward Base, Coahuila y Tejas Province, March 3rd 1836

“Who is next?”

“One Don Alejandro del Serrano, General Santa Anna.”

“Ah si, this is our young star, is it not?” Santa Anna’s aide nodded. “Excellent. No need to prompt me here. Send him in.”

A young man in the distinctive golden-yellow coat of a dragoon captain was ushered into the tent. He was tall and tanned, with long, black hair falling close to his shoulders, and he held himself upright, with his head high- a stance brimming with pride and self-confidence. He reached the centre of the room and bowed low and elegantly to the collection of Mexican generals and officers standing around one table, at which sat President Santa Anna himself, then stood straight again.

“Don Alejandro del Serrano?”

Si, I am him.”

“And I,” began Santa Anna, “am General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna”. He spoke with the tone of a man who loved both the sound of his own voice and of his own name, and his manner was grandiose. “We have heard reports of your deeds yesterday, Don Alejandro. My aides tell me you killed a man in the uniform of an officer…”

Si, General, I apologise, General. It merely seemed appropriate at the time, and it was in the moment of battle-”

Santa Anna cut him off: “Why are you stuttering like that as though you had committed some sin, boy? Be proud! You killed an officer of the Texan Army! You killed a general- one James Grant!”

“I know, General, but according to the rules of war-”

Again Santa Anna interrupted: “You know, Don Alejandro, there’s a funny thing about the rules of war. I have fought more campaigns than you have seen summers, and when you have experienced as much as I, then you too will recognise that the only situation in which the rules of war don’t apply is war. The Spaniards spent so long troubling themselves over the rules in the War of Independence that they had lost each battle before they could even decide which flag to march to battle with. It was pathetic.” There was a pause. Santa Anna seemed to be waiting for Alejandro to respond.

Si, General…” He said uncertainly.

“But I did not summon you to talk about the Battle of Veracruz!” Continued the General with a laugh, sounding very much as though he wished he could talk about just that. “No, Don Alejandro, we have more serious matters to discuss. Now I am right in believing that you hail from California, am I not?”

Si, General. My family holds land near Los Angeles. The English call it the Orange County…”

Bueno. Well, you see Don Alejandro, your good compatriots are causing me a little discomfort just now. Here we are, we fight the Texans because they rebel against the authority and the peace of Mexico, and we make good progress. But while good, loyal, brave Mexican citizens are dying at Agua Dulce and the Goliad, do you know what message I receive from your good compatriots?” Santa Anna waited a moment expectantly, then carried on impatiently. “I receive a messenger from San Francisco, and what should he tell me? The Californios and the Americans who live in California are forming an assembly, and they are calling it a ‘Californian Parliament’. Does that not strike you as strange, Don Alejandro?”

Alejandro hesitated. Again, he was not sure what to say that would please Santa Anna. “Er… Si, General. Most strange.”

“Indeed. Now I may be an old-fashioned man, but I was always under the impression that California was ruled from Mexico, which surely might leave one thinking that they don’t need a parliament there?” His speech was laden with irony, which still failed to conceal his obvious anger at events. “So what obvious question does this lead us to?”

Again, Alejandro hesitated. “What…” He began.

“What in the Devil’s name they are doing forming a government?” The General spat in indignation. “How dare they stand in contempt of the government of Mexico, while we are fighting for their safety here? Wouldn’t you say that was a fair question?”

Si, General Santa Anna. Most fair.”

“Well here is what I summoned you for, then. You are a Californian- a Californian Don, and as it was you who defeated the Texans at Agua Dulce, and you who killed General Grant. You are the youngest decorated soldier in the Mexican Army, Don Alejandro, and I can think of no-one better than you to resolve this situation in California.”

“What would you have me do, General?”

“It is simple. Ride to San Francisco, and encourage your compatriots to dissolve their ‘assembly’. Then you will raise an army of true patriots, those loyal to Mexico, and meet me at Tijuana one month from now. If your compatriots fail to comply, then you will raise the army and meet me anyway. We will deal with the Californians together. I have full confidence in your ability both to raise an army and to lead it in battle, and I have no reason to doubt your loyalty to the Republic, do I?”

“No, General. Of course not, General.”

Bueno. I suppose that is all?”

Si, General Santa Anna. I shall be at Tijuana to meet you with a Californian army one month from now.”

“Excellent, Don Alejandro. I trust that you shall not fail me. A party from your dragoon company is waiting for you at the main stable, your horse is ready, all has been prepared.”

Si, General. And gracias, General, for this honour.”

“You are quite welcome, Don Alejandro.” The young dragoon turned to go. “Oh, and Don Alejandro?” Added Santa Anna. Alejandro turned round. “Just one small thing, I hate to be kept waiting.” Alejandro nodded. “April 3rd, si?” Don Alejandro saluted, and left.


The formation of the Californian Republic, March 1836
 
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Strategos ton Exkoubitores
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*Subscribes*
 

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Lt. General
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curios turn of events for our youg don. I have no dobt that he will be able to raise an army, the only question remains who will it fight for.

of course, I think the best thing for California would be an alliance with Texas :D
 

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No, the best thing for California would be the annexation of Mexico! :nods:
 

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Fulcrumvale- enjoy!

Quirinus- that is indeed the question, I haven't had time to become all that subtle yet ;)... And an alliance with Texas might not be such a bad idea, though of course that depends what becomes of them in the intervening month...

anonymous- you know, I'd never thought of that before ;)... Interesting...

*Fixes bayonets and prepares for some serious Pedro-hunting*

No seriously, just give me time (and money)...

All those others who've driven up the view count by nearly 100 in 1 day- hope you're enjoying it, and please consider yourselves encouraged to post feedback/comments/whatever. Every time I log on and see "The Golden Nation" in bold writing it makes my little face light up :) ...
 

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General
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Solid beginning. Mind the rest of the world, I suspect the Bear Republic will be coveted by many.
 

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Editorial...

*Back in the real world for a minute, a few things to clarify before I go on*

I should probably point out that the California that I'm starting with now is not the same as either the standard VIP California that appears in 1836, and neither is it the historical California. In case people wonder and just to clarify, here are the things that have changed:

I started off as Mexico, firstly to establish a bit of continuity, and secondly because they almost never choose the option on the "Alta California threatens to secede" event that makes California, so I needed to be them to make the country exist. While I was Mexico, the only things I did were advance slowly against Texas (this was more true to history), so that by the time I switched to California Republic (end of February) the Mexicans surrounded the Texan border, but had not crossed yet.

On doing a couple of test games, there were a few problems with California that I found. Firstly, you start off with between -30 and -40 manpower, and a population of around 200,000 (in reality it was less than 100,000 which is worse). This really isn't a very good launchpad for an interesting game, so I about doubled the population of California by adding a bunch of pops (which means I could get the manpower up by a bit). This then meant that the Mexicans outnumbered Yankees two to one in the country, so I added Mexican to the national culture, changed the religion to Catholic and changed three of the five divisions California start with to Mexican culture. Made sense...

Also, Texas gets a navy, so California should have one!!! Added a frigate and a clipper transport in San Francisco which will hopefully cover it. And finally on the military front, I'm planning to put in some generals according to the story of the AAR (Don Alejandro del Serrano will be one), but that will come later...

The capital of in-game California appears to have been Eureka before, which doesn't appear to have any foundation in common sense or history, so after a bit of thought I changed it to San Francisco, on the basis that it had the most people, was the most important city at the time, and Sacramento is currently in Cherokee, not California. Plus I've been to San Francisco and loved it!

Finally, as Quirinus will already know, the California that gets created in 1836 is about the colour of your average crap. Neither very inspiring, nor particularly "golden", so I changed the colour. As will become evident soon, it's the colour of Sardinia-Piedmont (and others) which was the closest to "gold" I could find. There is a slight hitch in that California is now the same colour as China (into which I may well later expand in the AAR), but if that becomes a problem then I'll just switch China's colour.

Anyway I'll try and put up a proper update some time this evening, but until then thanks for reading!
DerKaiser
 

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General
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Thanks for the info, puts things in perspective, could you toss up a map sometime?
 

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A New Age

Extract from “Independence to Empire, A New History of the Californian Republic” (By Chris Carmack and Michael Connor, Berkeley University Press, published 2007)

The first meeting of Parliament occurred on March 7th 1836, and is to this day celebrated as Independence Day- despite the fact that the real independence of California was only assured over a month later- at the Battle of Tijuana. Symbolically, however, it was a key moment in the symbolic stand against Mexico and Santa Anna.

In January, two former government officials, disillusioned by Santa Anna’s unconstitutional rule and Mexican negligence and maltreatment of their Californian province, had formed a group called the Alta California Party- its chief aims to establish an independent Republic of California, ruled of course by the party. These two men were called Juan Bautista Alvarado and Jose Castro, and on January 6th 1836 issued summons across California, calling for merchants, students, officials and landowners to come to San Francisco and join an assembly at the San Francisco City Hall that was to form the nucleus of Parliament. Any man was offered the chance to join the assembly, that is, as long as he was of Mexican or European ethnicity and could put up the rather hefty application fee for a seat.

The result of these summons were in the form of four parties, and several dozen unaffiliated members. The first was, of course, the Alta California Party, led by Alvarado and Castro, who made sure that theirs was the largest representation in the first Parliament, and thus they would rule by default- barring the unlikely event that all others in Parliament combined against them, which of course did not occur. In the broadest of terms, the Alta California Party were conservatives. They stood for rule by the rich, according to Christian Catholic moral codes, and a hefty hand taken by the government in trade and commerce- but above all for independence from Mexico, by whatever means necessary an idea that they shared with their three rivals.

The second party to form christened itself the Californio Party (after the name given to settler-farmers in California), and if the Alta California Party could be called the “conservatives”, then the Californios were the “liberals”. They stood for an entirely secularised government, a more open political system that included less wealthy classes (though still, by today’s standards, elitist) and a more free economic structure. Their leader was originally from England, Matthew Paris, and he rapidly realised that to make political gains he would have to appeal to men of all backgrounds (meaning, of course, European backgrounds) to gain support. This strategy gained him much support as January progressed, until a concerned Alvarado announced that non-Hispanics were also invited to join the Alta California Party, from which they had been discouraged before, at which point Paris and the Californios’ advantage was abruptly curtailed.

On February 10th, a group that would shape Californian politics despite only ever being in power once in its entire history made the short journey down the road to the City Hall- namely the San Francisco Gentlemen’s Club. This organisation encompassed only the richest merchants and property owners of California (particularly San Francisco), and stood for the interests, in short, of wealthy Anglo-Saxon capitalists. After an initial attempt to remain aloof from the affairs of the new assembly, the chairman of the Club, Sir Roland Perry, sent its treasurer Hector Montgomery, along with a small group, to join the nascent Parliament, taking the club name as their party name. The small size of the Club’s representation in Parliament meant that they would, as mentioned, only once hold office- but their sheer financial wealth and great influence meant that they would remain a permanently vital element to Parliament.

The last major group to arrive were the Californian Dons. When summons had reached the Dons in January that a Californian Parliament was being assembled, most had simply laughed off the idea. However, like the Club, they had been forced to the realisation that they could either rule with the San Francisco assembly, or be ruled by it, and preferred the latter. After a meeting of major Dons at Los Angeles on February 7th, they agreed to send a deputation under Don Diego del Serrano and Don Rafael Montero to represent them. On arrival at Parliament, however, the Dons proved less than willing to quite enter into the spirit of democratic process- Montero and del Serrano demanded that the Don faction be allowed entry to the assembly without paying a fee- why, they reasoned at a meeting with Alvarado, ought the Dons to pay to be allowed to govern land that they ruled already, by virtue of history, law and Divine favour? Alvarado responded simply that he understood their concern, but that there would be no exceptions to the applications rule, and added that of all Californians, the Dons should probably be the least put off by the price of attending Parliament. Nevertheless, a stand-off developed, until Montero pointed out that the building in which the assembly was meeting- the San Francisco City Hall- was in fact his property, and thus Parliament could either allow the Dons entry, or be evicted. Alvarado acquiesced, and a trend for the “aristocratic exception” was set in Californian society that would stand for decades, to the eventually disastrous detriment of the health of the country.

However, the future obstacles facing the Republic were far off, not even considered, when Parliament sat for the first time on March 7th of 1836- its agenda simply to ratify the Californian secession from the Republic of Mexico, and to debate how best to go about this aim. Presiding were Juan Bautista Alvarado, Provisional Governor of California (elected by Parliament vote) and Don Rafael Montero as Chief of the Assembly- by virtue of the fact that it was his building, and therefore his to preside over, though his position was later to become an appointed official office- the Leader of the House.

The first assembly of Parliament, however, was not to get far. The minutes of the day show that the first ever session of the full Parliament of the Republic of California began at 8.52am on 7th March, and at 10.00am was suspended, when eight dragoons of the Mexican Army burst into the City Hall, under the leadership of the Californian Don Alejandro del Serrano (brother of Don Diego del Serrano), and demanded that the leaders of the assembly answer to him, on behalf of President Santa Anna of Mexico. He brought with him an army of 2,000 Californians, all of whom would answer personally to him. Upon this, the leaders of the new Parliament- both del Serrano brothers, Alvarado, Castro, Montero, Paris, and Hector Montgomery of the Gentlemen’s Club, withdrew into private consultation, and Parliament was suspended. The course of the coming meeting- between the would-be leaders of the Republic and the soldier who could destroy it there and then, would determine the course of Californian history up to the present day.



The boundaries of the new Republic of California


The political make-up of the Republic on Independence Day, March 7th 1836
 

unmerged(59737)

Strategos ton Exkoubitores
Aug 9, 2006
3.100
0
Here we go...

If Santa Ana is in California, who's fighting Texas?
 

unmerged(60841)

General
Sep 13, 2006
1.762
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Interesting look, I think that the new republic hasmuch potential, provided it can avoid the beast to the East and the South.