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LWE

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Welcome to my second Victoria 2 AAR on these forums, halfway between storybook and gameplay style. I will be playing the NNM with some modifications (AI now less shy about demanding states in peace treaties, factory workers and capitalists demand small amounts of Steel as a luxury good, the "500% literacy required for pops to really care about voting system" minor bug reported by the HPM developer fixed).

For this AAR, I want a relatively hands-off game, so I will be playing as the Ashanti Empire (apparently, pronounced "as-hanti"):



I am not that good a Victoria 2 player (the game really needs more tooltips, most of the things unclear in-game are explained on the 'net just fine - Victoria 3 really needs better tooltips and in-game documentation), so I will be playing on Easy. It's not like I'm playing as GB, anyway :p

--------------------

Otumfuo Nana Kwaku Dua, The King of Ashanti - or, to use his actual title, the Asantehene, had all reasons to be pleased with his realm that his predecessors built for him. All the peoples of his Empire were content, paying respect to him and to the Golden Stool, the place where the spirit of the Ashanti people dwells.



The Golden Stool of the Ashanti, placed on a throne

But it was clear to the king that things would be unlikely to remain that way the following years. Governors of European coastal enclaves were taking interest in the Empire, and the British even sent a consul to Kumasi, the capital. The consul was impressed by the capital's grandeur, yet the King himself was also impressed by the consul's tales of Europe. Something had to be done in order for the European kings to perceive the Asantehene as an equal.



The kingdom's population largely consisted of simple farmers. It also boasted a sizable population of slaves.



The Asantehene was adamant that neither he nor his people would exchange the faith of their forefathers for European Christianity. However, as Christian missionaries were willing to offer literacy lessons to the populace, the King cautiously welcomed them into the kingdom, intending in the future to create a native-born educated class, less beholden to European whims.



The British consul mentioned to the Asantehene that Europe was swept by a demand for the exotic, including furniture made from tropical woods. The Ashanti kingdom had few suitable kinds of trees, but just to the east, the Niger basin region was full of exactly the kind of trees Europeans needed. The way forward was clear for the Asantehene.



An alliance was signed with the small kingdom of Dahomey (the Asantehene in Kumasi formally proclaimed the subjugation of Dahomey to Ashanti, even through he was careful for the Dahomey court itself not to know about it).



Care was taken to subsidize both the soldiers and the literate class from the treasury.



The Mamponghene, or the King's deputy, signed a treaty of mutual friendship with the British consul, in an act that was praised by the British newspapers as "surprisingly good administrative move on the part of the Ashantee".



Envoys were exchanged with the Kingdom of Benin, to prevent the Warri east of it from helping the Oyo (this was, in fact, the main function of the alliance).



Nevertheless, the British, cautious as ever in their divide-and-rule policy, warned the King that while they would welcome Ashanti conquest of Oyo, they would regard further conquests as unlawful aggression, for a while, at least.

 
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LWE

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Even now? I can see them fine even while logged out, on a different comp.
-----------------------------------------
Mensa Panyin, as far as old Ashanti generals were concerned, was just a debutante, but the king picked him to lead the upcoming invasion due to his appealing, openminded nature.



After marching through Dahomey lands, Mensa Panyin's army eliminated an Oyo detachment at Abekouta.



Oyo's main army was to the east, in the forests of Ife. Not wishing to risk his men charging into deep forest to fight an almost equal their number, Mensa Panyin decided on a feint, retreating back to Dahomey and then sending a small force back to Oyo.



Only then, after Oyo's armies engaged the small Ashanti force, the main army appeared on the horizon.



Oyo's general utterly failed to understand his enemy.



The Oyo unsuccessfully attempted to organize a guerilla resistance.



Nevertheless, many brave Ashanti warriors died suppressing the discontent Oyo partisans across the whole land.



The last traces of Oyo resistance were exterminated, as back in Kumasi, the king flattered both the British and the French dignitaries.



The King shocked the Ashanti nobility after refusing to extend slavery to Oyo lands. Traditionalist nobles blamed British anti-slavery propaganda.



Ashanti proper has more people then Oyo lands, and high Consciousness means higher Plurality, and higher Plurality means better research rate... every single bit helps. Being non-Westernized by the time Scramble for Africa begins is very bad for African states in NNM.
 
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LWE

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In a concession to nobles, the Asantehene refused to establish a European trading post.

I usually refuse them, since the refusal doesn't directly hurt research, even if it does so indirectly by lowering consciousness... on the other hand, it also significantly lowers militancy.



European dignitaries were, despite themselves, impressed by the celebrations at Kumasi.



The Asantehene during the celebrations



The new income from Tropical Wood allowed the Ashanti court to lavish more largess into army, troop recruitment and education.





In 1842, the King established "The News of the World", the first Ashanti newspaper.



Western penetration into Ashanti continued apace, but the King knew that it could be used for the good of his realm.



Western advisors, combined with the insights discovered from conquering Oyo, resulted in major military reforms. All Ashanti soldiers were taught to use European flintlock rifles.



A depiction of an Ashanti soldier



News had reached Kumasi that the British are conquering native states in the south of the African continent.



Geology lecturers were invited to Ashanti, as Egypt was forced to surrender to Western powers. This only convinced the Ashanti court that cooperation with the West is the best policy - so far, at least.

 
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LWE

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The New Ashanti Army reinforced the King's authority, scaring the nobles that opposed his pro-Western policies.



However, he was still obligated to appoint a prominent landholder as his deputy.



The British proved that they are not to be scoffed at. Tales of American humiliation at the Redcoat's hands reinforced the King's desire to be friendly to the UK.



Growing presence of Western councils, their families, and their families' relatives in Kumasi finally grew into a whole quarter.



The King and his nobles studiously watched European politics. France, in particular, seemed like the post powerful country on the Continent.



The King hired the best European doctors to treat the flu pandemic among his people. Court poets extolled the King's mercy and largess.



The Great Fort of Kumasi, built with the application of Western principles by British-trained Ashanti natives, was a wonder to behold for the capital's inhabitants.



The celebrations on the occasion of the fort's construction were accompanied by distributions of food to the people. "Even the poorest pauper in the most faraway village will not go hungry on my watch", proclaimed the King.

The empire's Consciousness was already high enough... and I was worried about the slowly raising Militancy.



The time was to test Ashanti's new army. The European consuls were alarmed at the news of Ashanti's further expansionism, but after careful deliberation, they agreed that the Asantehene had not yet crossed the line.



The Oba of Benin, intimidated by the Ashanti, agreed to provide them free access to his lands. The massacre of Warri troops by the Ashanti army showed him that he was right not to antagonize the empire that was rapidly becoming a hegemon of the Nigerian delta.



Thr Mossi kingdoms attempted to take advantage of the Ashanti being engaged in the Niger Delta, but they were decisively routed in the Battle of Wa. The Europe-inspired Ashanti military machine was more then a match for disorganized Mossi levies.



Warri resistance was easily put down.



The new Ashanti territories. Note the significantly increased income from the conquered Tropical Wood RGO's. Also note that Tropical Wood is Ashanti's chief export.

 
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LWE

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Both Western-educated scribes and soldiers benefited from the new resources available to the Kingdom



The Great Land Reform was a controversial affair. Some poor peasants benefited from breaking up of ineffective estates, but other smallholders had their land annexed to noble estates that were deemed to be useful for the state, with Tropical Wood groves and plantations being established in place of their lands. Still, it was very good for the kingdom's coffers.



The Mexican-American war in the New World ended up exactly as everyone predicted.



More and more people in Europe became aware of Ashanti. Unemployed military experts sailed to the Kingdom, for the promise of the Asantehene's gold.





Nobody in particular liked the new King's Deputy, but everyone was willing to grant that he was very dedicated to the realm.



Once again, court poets extolled the King's love for his people in the time of a pandemic.



Growing American-Mexican tensions along the Rio Grande led to the British offering a compromise solution - a Kingdom of Rio Grande under the British patronage, occupying a small strip of land north of the river. The Asantehene admired the wise way the British resolved the conflict.



The Ashanti people greeted the King's Financial reform with the same degree of ambivalence they regarded the land reform. It took some time for them to be used to the new paper money, and the resulting noveau riche were a controversial class. But the new tax revenue was generously distributed to the education and the army.



The Soldiers and the Intellectuals were proclaimed by the Asantehene to be the kingdom's "Pillars of Loyalty". Local notables stressed the importance of the people's unity, proclaiming that only if the people are united, their spirit is strong.

 
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LWE

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The conquered peoples were harboring the majority of discontents in the Empire. Their ungrateful clerics, despite the generous stipends paid by the government, agitated for the "good old ways", denouncing the Ashanti as not only foreigners, but also dangerous innovators.



Some Yoruba chose the other approach, proclaiming to organize themselves in patrioric societies.



The tensions finally erupted in rebellion, whose main center had been in Oyo, where the Asantehene wisely stationed the majority of his troops. In the core Ashanti lands only a few rebels rose in support of things getting back to how they were before, and their eventual fate scared the remaining few dissidents to submission.



Still, concessions had to be made to the traditionalist elements of the Ashanti society.

Since agreeing to a military reform only gives you more leadership points, not more research, I usually refuse the reform, unless I badly need a general soon.



Traditionalist local notables, the obirempons, repaid the King in kind, encouraging in their subjects loyalty and deference towards the Golden Stool.

 
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LWE

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The cholera was a great tragedy for the Ashanti people.



News from Japan about its Emperor Meiji initiating Western-style reforms were welcomed in Ashanti. Obviously, the Asantehene reasoned, the faraway Emperor saw the achievements of Ashanti and decided to follow suit.



With great pomp and pride, the Asantehene opened the Ashanti Railroad Network, a major part of the kingdom's reformed transportation system. Meanwhile, the people of Oyo, inspired by the tales of Polish ethnologists, had created their own Organic Work movement.



Despite Ashanti still being a slave-owning society, the Union's victory over the Confederacy was warmly received by the court.



On the other hand, the court received the news about France caving in to Austrian demands and abandoning Alsace with absolute neutrality.



Cholera was spreading like wildfire, striking down the rich and the poor alike.



The humiliation of France went on.



After the administrative reform, which created a balance between royal power and local councils of most notable citizens, the European powers started to consider the kingdom to be almost "civilized".



The nation of Germany, once broken into many small states, had united into a strong empire. Ashanti schoolbooks pointed to Germany as an example of what a people with a strong national spirit can achieve, despite obstacles.



Asantehene Kwaku Dua absolutely refused to apologize to the new Dutch Consul for his careless predecessor being killed in Kumasi. In fact, the King was so furious with Netherlands' arrogand demand, that his heart gave way. He was buried with a great pomp, and the incipient Ashanti press extolled the Asantehene as a great modernizer who never lost sight of the land's traditions. He was succeeded by his grand-nephew, Kofi Karikari.



Great Britain used the King's death to invade and seize Lagos. With the British Army having 179 brigades total, the new Asantehene had no way of resisting the invaders, being forced to sign a treaty handing Lagos over to Britain.



It was Kofi Karikari, however, who established permanent Ashanti consulships in the capitals of great European powers, which signified general European acceptance that the Kingdom of Ashanti is a modern power that should be distinguished from all other native African states.



The King immediately signed the Geneva Convention, establishing a reputation as humanitarian. In a move that was initially move controversial, he moved his court from inland Kumasi to coastal Accra, which was rebuilt in a European manner, with wide boulevards and buildings that combined elements of European classicism and ancient Ashanti styles. The grandeur of new Accra was striking.

 
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Skyhascheese

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will Ashanti defend and liberate Africa or will they follow the westerners into an imperialistic empire controlling and subjugating so many innocents?
 

Z-Z-Z

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They will need pickelhaubes to truly be modern!
 
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LWE

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@Skyhascheese: These aren't really two distinct things, more like two different points of view on the same thing :p

@Z-Z-Z: Unfortunately, the African unit models don't have pickelhaubes :(

--

Liberal economists, trained in British universities, extolled the virtues of free market and private initiative. The Asantehene listned to them, founding the Accra Stock Exchange and encouraging the growth of Ashanti capitalist class.



The Asantehene ordered the writings of liberal British thinkers to be widely printed in the realm. His goal was to foster a more liberal and open society, and the resulting intellectual ferment was known as the Ashanti Enlightenment.



European powers had only mild objections to that enlightenment being brought to the people of Benin.



The Enlightenment had other benefits to the people, as the Asantehene supported programs that provided mechanical seed drills to farmers.



The idealism of the new King had a major influence on the kingdom's life.



However, the era was marred by a flu epidemic that killed many, despite the government's best efforts.



The Asantehene was said to remark at the news about the Amsterdam Congress, "While the old Empires, like the Turkish one, fall, other nations, like ours, rise".



Benin was easily conquered by the Ashanti army. However, the lands between Ashanti and Dahomey, which the King wanted to control, lacked any proper states and were ridden by disease and hostile tribes. Much effort would have to be spent for them to join Ashanti.



The King promoted the writings of James Mill among the Ashanti.

I've always wondered about the connection between Mill and furniture production...



Although a liberal, the King was also a patriot who wanted for all the peoples of his empire to adopt Ashanti culture.



Ashanti state newspapers characterized the fate of Sikkim as an example of what happens to nations that fail to adapt to the progressive modern world.



The government's liberalism was marred by its suppressive operations against the Oyo. Ethnic politics meant that the non-Akan areas of the Ashanti Empire never really trusted Kofi Karikari's liberalism.



The year 1871 saw a major change in the Empire - the abolition of slavery. This time, both Ashanti and European newspapers hailed Kofi Karikari as a wise and enlightened ruler. Meanwhile, Ashanti economists predicted that the newly liberated slaves would be a major boost for the growth of Ashanti industry through providing labour to the factory owners.



The news generated by the abolition of slavery meant that no one cared about the Oyo independence movement.



The King, however, reacted harshly against Mensa Annan, the first notable socialist of Ashanti, who attempted to organize liberated slaves. The King's economists insisted that socialist ideas would ruin the nation through social unrest and upturning of all hierarchies, and the King reluctantly agreed to arrest Annan.



Perhaps plagued by his doubts about the Annan Case, Kofi Karikari decided not to enforce the law against public meetings in the future.



With grief the englightened government of Ashanti looked at the other peoples surrounding it. They still practiced slavery, not knowing the delights of liberal political and economical thought. The state press was especially concerned about those peoples who don't even have proper states, languishing in the mire of small-scale constant tribal warfare. The Ashanti empire, the press proclaimed, must extend its guiding hand upon the surrounding lands, to save them from both their own ignorance and potential conquest by Europe. After all, why does Africa need Europeans when it already has the Ashanti?

 
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LWE

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Unfortunately, Ashanti ambitions to incorporate all surrounding nations before the Europeans would ran into a starry-and-stripey problem. The US did not want the Ashanti to be able to impose tariffs on its firms that were importing African goods, and proclaimed its protection over Dahomey, Oro and even the Sokoto Caliphate.



Nevertheless, enlightened reforms continued apace with the establishment of the minimum wage.



The most wide-reaching of Karikari's reforms was the establishment of the Ashanti Parliament. Only landholders were eligible to vote, yet it still meant that Ashanti was more progressive then several of the Great Powers like the Russian Empire, which didn't have a parliament at all.



The opening of the Parliament coincided with the establishment of the King's Royal Guard.



The Mossi kingdoms were poor wheat exporters, with few riches there. However, in Kofi Karikari's mind, Mossi's poor state only underlined the necessity of its incorporation to the benevolent and enlightened Ashanti empire.



When faced with the problem of Ibadan clergy, Karikari's government again chose the enlightened response.



But not all was going well with the kingdom. Despite the advise of liberal economists, Kofi Karikari utterly failed to develop the Ashanti industry. Goods were still produced by petty artisans, with no real industrial factories. The King faced an unexpected challenger in his brother, Mensa Bonsu, who fervently called for more government intervention in the economy on state capitalist lines. Many Ashanti notables, lamenting the lack of state help for them in establishing their own factories, were impressed with Mensa Bonsu's arguments.



Despite Bonsu's best efforts, the first Ashanti elections resulted in the victory of Kofi Karikari's liberal Reformists. In order to placate his brother, the King set him up on the task of rearming the Ashanti soldiers with breech-loaded rifles - a task he performed admirably.



In fact, Mensa Bonsu was even too successful in his task. Ashanti generals and conservative obirempons, disgrunted with Karikari's liberalism and impressed with Bonsu's paternalism, destooled the King, placing his brother on the stool. Mensa Bonsu immediately announced state subsidies for anyone willing to open a factory in the kingdom.



The first factory to be established in Ashanti was the factory of "Asantehene's Delight" liquor. Its owner was appointed Prime Minister by the King.



Sadly, the new Prime Minister enjoyed the products of his factory a little bit too much. But the King refused to fire him, despite his drunken antics causing many scandals in Accra.



The war with Mossi went just like everyone expected it to go. They were no match for Ashanti troops.

Despite the overthrow of Kofi Karikari, his liberal ideas still lived among the Ashanti intelligentia.



But unlike his brother, King Mensa Bonsu had no problems with repressing those who were disloyal to the state.



The eventual conquest of Mossi was never in doubt, but it increased the prestige of the new King even higher.

 
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gotta up your life rating tolerance or you aren't getting that coast province in time before the race for Africa. b-Race yourselves!
 

LWE

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@Z-Z-Z: That's why I've been researching Medicine-Nationalism and Imperialism-Machine Guns. These techs open up inventions that allow you to colonize low life rating lands.

---

Despite Mensa Bonsu's hardline character, his government spent a lot of efforts in repairing the relationship with Great Britain.



The Ashanti military continued to be given priority through the whole 1870'ies.



The troops received more than simply machine guns. They also had the pleasure of eating Ashanti-made canned supplies, for the King declared his desire to free the Ashanti from the shame of relying on imported canned food.



The once glorious Kingdom of Kongo had fallen on hard times. It was clear that only incorporation into the Ashanti empire would restore the Congolese to their former glory.

The Empire got 5.5 infamy for this Casus Belli.



Mensa Bonsu attempted to use European interest in tropical wood as a means of selling tropical wood furniture to Europe, with limited success.



The state press denounced cowardly Yoruba saboteurs.



Despite Mensa Bonsu's opposition to free market, he endorsed a free-competition solution to the problem of Mossi trade, mainly to stop the MP's from fighting each other (all that fist-fighting gave rise to some rather offensive cartoons in European journals).



Mensa Bonsu's decision to refrain from any large-scale help to farmers suffering from potato blight for the sake of "Royal Prestige" was lambasted in the few underground oppositional press outlets.



State outlets preferred to glorify the new Ashanti fleet. Indeed, under Mensa Bonsu's leadership, the country acquired a fleet for the first time.



As Ashanti troops in Congo scored victory after victory, Mensa Bonsu continued to advance protectionist measures.



By 1880, the Ashanti were finally able to move into Togo wildlands.



The province of Mbanza was the only Ashanti conquest from the Congolese war - Mensa Bonsu understood that taking too much would be seen as provocative by the Great Powers.



However, the map of Africa was about to change very soon...

The Rush for Africa is a very significant thing in Victoria 2, giving a completely different flavour to the last decades of the century.

 
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However, the map of Africa was about to change very soon...

The Rush for Africa is a very significant thing in Victoria 2, giving a completely different flavour to the last decades of the century.
Here we gooooooo!

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LWE

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Belgium attempted to get into action, annexing Boma, but the resources available to the Belgian state were too few to expand the colony.



Further paternalist measures enacted by Mensa Bonsu included the establishment of a basic school system. As the state newspapers proclaimed, "ony the children who are wisely taught respect their elders".



Celebrations were held at the opening of Accra-Kumasi railroad.



Portugal was a weak state, beset by internal liberal-conservative squabbles. They couldn't prevent the Ashanti advancing further into Angola.



The Ashanti government protested against Dutch decision to annex Dahomey, but it received no opposition from the USA, Dahomey's supposed protector.



Mensa Bonsu compensated for Dutch control of Dahomey by annexing Gabu under the British nose and continuing to expand Ashanti control south from Angola.





The Ashanti Empire, 1881.

 
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LWE

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The new territory in Togo needed more government involvement.



The Ashanti empire seized the opportunity to expand on the other side of the African continent by taking advantage of the Sultan of Oman's decision to divide his domain into two.



Netherlands continued its greedy imperialism, invading Sokoto. Once again, the USA remained passive.



Explosive factories were prepared, in order for Ashanti to become an important arms dealer on the world market.



Meanwhile, the British annexed their protectorate of Bamana to the north of the Ashanti territory.



After further Ashanti expansion into Angola, Portuguese posessions there were confined to the coast.



Zanzibari troops were routed by Ashanti troops enthusiastic for more fruit, grain and tea supplies.



The Sultan of Wattara tried to follow Ashanti's example by building an experimental railroad in his possessions. However, that didn't stop the British from annexing one third of his realm...



after which the Ashanti invaded and annexed the rest.

The new conquests were celebrated by the expansion of voting franchise, with Mensa Bonsu claiming it to be a gift to the heroic Ashanti people.



Across the rest of Africa, France and Britain were quickly grabbing the lands of disorganized chiefdoms.



Africa, year 1884. The only Civilized powers with capital in Africa are Ashanti, Ethiopia, Liberia (which starts off as civilized in NNM) and the Boer Republics.

 
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