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Intermission: the state of Europe at the Pragmatic Sanction of 1444

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Intermission: the state of Europe at the Pragmatic Sanction of 1444

Europe in 1444 finds itself mainly as a mass of consolidating powers, both internally and externally. The foundation of the Staten Generaal in the Netherlands offers a great moment for us to discuss the state of Europe. It is also important to consider the field of European politics because from this point onwards as we see the Roderlo’s play a larger role on the field of European battle, no longer limited by the confines of their region and their politics.


The Kingdom of France

First, we shall take a look at the French region. France has not been a expansionist power the past century, her conflicts have either been defensive, for example against many Holy Roman incursions under the Wittelsbachs, or internal, the Chaos of 1411 is a prime example of this. The Valois dynasty, the dynasty that had taken the throne after the main branch of the Capets had died out, had been pursuing a strong policy of centralization in the realm. It was this policy of centralization combined with a child king that lead to the two separate revolts. Whilst angered with the Roderlo’s seizing Flanders, one does not fight a war and not get angry about it, the Valois, in a certain way, began to appreciate the Roderlo’s. In the Roderlo’s, they had a stable factor ruling over Flanders. And, whilst yes, they now formed a real stretching across the borders of the HRE and France, thus making their power not fully dependent on French feudal contracts, the fact was that the Roderlo’s were a power not interested in the politics of the French court. A Flanders inside France and a player inside of the games of French power politics was simply hard to deal with. Noble’s controlling it meant that the most wealthy part of the kingdom could be turned against them at any time, and likely with English support. If the king were to take direct control over it through a viceroy appointed by him, well, the Flemish had thought the king a good lesson at the fields of Kortrijk and Pevelenberg about what would happen then. Even later, when Europe would send her armies to contain the Holy Roman Empire, a certain degree of understanding existed between the Valois and Roderlo’s, only “braking down” once the Roderlo’s intervened in the Rhineland, yet no fighting ever broke out on the direct Franco-Saxon frontier.

To refocus on France a bit, the centralization policy of the Valois has paid off. The region around Paris and towards the frontier with Germany falls directly under royal control in 1444, along with it a corridor of land stretching south from this core and the border regions with Plantagenet owned Aquitania. At the same time, the French nobles, more specifically the Blois family, have been working on a policy of centralization of their own, and in 1444 they are the last remaining opposition to Valois supremacy within the realm. With a effective policy of expansion of their titles and keeping titles in the family, the Blois have united Normandy, Anjou, Orleans and the County of Burgundy (actually a title under the HRE but they inherited it from the Burgundy dynasty, who were French based). They themselves have, by this point, developed large aspirations for the French crown, and it seems the issue is set to blow. Between these two factions is the other last independent French noble faction, the Bourbon of Poitou. Whilst having no ambitions for the French throne, their loyalty to one of the two factions is not clear. Outside of the direct authority of the French crown we find Brittany and Provence, owned by the Neapolitan d’Anjou. Brittany is just mostly hoping to keep whatever privilege she can, for however long she can, and the d’Anjou have been more focused on Greece and North Africa.


Iberia, North Africa and Southern Italy

The Western Mediterranean is the realm of the d’Anjou. They rule over the kingdoms of Castille, Leon, Portugal, Naples, Africa and Hungary (not shown). The zeal created by the successful Eleventh and Twelfth Crusades spurred on the Reconquista into North Africa, although never completed due to the utter failure of Portugal to defend herself in 1365 against a new Moorish incursion. Portugal, in a state of chaos since and only protected by her bigger brother Castille-Leon to the east, went through multiple decades of chaos until settling in a personal union with the d’Anjou who had just come to rule the kingdoms east of her. Surrounded by the d’Anjou to the west and to the east, Aragon went south, wiping away the second to last Muslim holdout in Granada and establishing herself in the port of Oran on the 12th of October 1401. The d’Anjou responded by invading North Africa themselves, creating a race across the region about which can be said that the Aragonese certainly lost. Castille took Meilla and from there made themselves master of most of coastal and much of inland Morocco before hitting the Atlas mountains. In the west, the Neapolitans, with their experience crusading in Greece and Anatolia, took Tunis and seized much of the coast, transforming it into the Kingdom of Africa. After the coastal regions were taken, which was often helped a lot by the navies of the respective kingdoms and the nearby Italian merchant republics (at a price ofcourse), Muslim resistance stiffened inland. The often devided Islamic reams themselves consolidated into 3 more centralized entities. In the west, the Marinids pushed all remaining independent Islamic forces in the west under their rulership, fortifying behind the Atlas. East of them laid Tlemcen, more a coalition of Berber tribes than anything else, much the same like Fezzen, east of them, who were the tribal rulers of inland Tripolitania. The Crusader powers have also been able to pull off a rather successful policy of spreading Catholicism and settling Italians and Iberians in north Africa. The Aragonese lands have been fully settled by Catalans, much of Castillian Morocco has converted with the coast speaking Iberian, although more towards the Atlas the Moors do hold out. The Kingdom of Africa has had the hardest time with Naples also having to keep up their efforts to support the Jerusalemites, thus, the Tripolitanian coast remains Islamic and only the coast of Tunis speaks Italian.


The Near East

The Balkans and Near East have seen a large amount of religious conflict ever since the start of the Crusading Era. Early in the reign of Johannes “IJzervreter” another crusade had been called, and his capture of Jerusalem, even if temporary, had reinvigorated the fire in the hearts of all Catholicism to see the Holy Land fall back into their hands. The Eleventh Crusade would be aimed at Egypt, and it would be a incredible success. From Cyreneica to the Sinai to Aswan, Egypt would be conquered by the Crusading armies, actually being awarded to one of the families ruling over the Most Serene Republic of Venice. Egypt saw the combined investment of all of Italy, sending many clergy to convert both Copts and Muslims to Catholicism, leading to Catholicism becoming the dominant religion all over Egypt. Eventually, the ruling Faliero dynasty would push onwards into Nubia and even helped re-establish the Kingdom of Jerusalem during the Twelfth Crusade, the crown of which would also be bestowed upon the d’Anjou dynasty. During the 1330’ies, disaster would strike the crusaders as the Bahri dynasty struck back, having gathered the strength of most of Arabia and having held of the Timurids from the east. Egypt would fall back under the control of the Muslims, along with large tracts of Outrejourdain. The King would flee Alexandria, heading to the safety of Cyprus, protected by the Crusader fleet, one that was yet to be bested in battle. Far to the south, the Nubian lords were able to hold out, although now they are completely cut off from their liege and have to fight on their own now.

Further to the north, the question remains if the Byzantines will ever truly overcome the Frankokratia. Hellas remains under the control of the d’Anjou, and her islands remain under the control of the Venetians. The bigger insult is Constantinople, for whilst she had been recovered in 1258, in 1409 the Genoans took control of the city, together with Nicomedia across the Hellespont, establishing total control over the heart of the Empire once again and taking away her ability to tax traffic through it. The Byzantines, as of yet, have not faltered. Bit by bit, Macedonia, or at least the Frankish controlled parts of it, has been recovered, and recently a victory over Frankokratic Epirus has been achieved. The northern frontier has remained calm, mostly due to Slavic infighting. In the east, Asia Minor has been recovered, which is also due to Crusader efforts on the southern coast of Anatolia, the remnants of the Rum now limited to the Anatolian highlands, left to bicker among themselves. Up in the Balkans, Bosnia has unexpectedly developed into somewhat of a powerhouse, seizing the Crown of St. Zvonimir from the Hungarian d’Anjou, a setback for a dynasty which seemed so on the rise. For a moment, it had also seemed that a possible Serbo-Polish union might have been in the works as a noble from the Serbian royal house had risen to the Polish crown, yet, a inexplicable conversion to Judaism and the resulting implosion of crown authority in Poland and conquest by the Wittelsbachs put a quick end to that. Catholicism has advanced further up the Balkans than ever, with Hellas converting under the Frankish rule, and, after multiple armed clashes, Serbia converting in hopes to keep the Italians and Bosnians off their back. Bulgaria and Wallachia as of yet stand as the only remaining Orthodox powers outside of the Byzantines.


Eastern Europe

Eastern Europe has mainly struggled with the consequences of the Mongol conquest for the last century. Poland has found itself completely destroyed, the last king of Poland being deposed in 1417, no new one being crowned and completing the Wittelsbach conquest of the region. The Wittelsbachs would actually go further beyond and come into contact with the Mongols of the Golden Horde, beating them back and further extending their system of newly established duchies. One of these dukes, the Duke of Lesser Poland Leopold “the Lame”, would be elevated to a newly restored Kingdom of Poland. To their north we find the Teutonic Order, which has establish their Baltic realm through crusading against the pagans and later warfare against their neighboring Christian states. Lithuania, which saw the walls closing in around her, had a choice forced upon her, that being between Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. In the end, seeing a HRE friendly to the Teutons encroaching upon Poland, the decision was made to convert to Orthodoxy in the hope of winning favours of the Rurikovich, which saw themselves reestablished in the east as the Mongols began falling to infighting. Yet, the family once again fell to infighting, their realm being devided between the Kievan and Vladimirian-Chernigovan branches. Novgovrod has been trapped bweteen the Rurikovich and Teutons, seeing their prosperity due to being so far away from the Mongols fade away. The only bit of rest they have been granted comes from the north.


Scandinavia

A hundred years ago, Northern Europe was the domain of Sweden. Ruling over Norway and Finland, and no threat coming from either Denmark or the Russians, perhaps the Swedes had held larger ambitions, but we’ll never know. Slowly but surely, their realm cam crashing in on them. Norway and Finland would slip from their authority, and the Swedish crown itself was faced with multiple noble revolts in the south. When some semblance of stability had returned, they had found the vacuum filled by a unexpected outside power. The Bruce family ruling Scotland had been granted a massive room to breath by the Plantagenet focus on the continent and later the infighting with the Hastings. In an attempt to secure friendly relations with Norway, a marriage was concluded between the heir of the Scottish throne and Norway. Through a series of death resulting from fighting rebellions and the Swedish on the frontier, the Finnish throne had reverted to the Norwegian king and the heir of the Norwegian throne had become the young King of Scotland. For now, the union seems to hold, although in the chaos surrounding the wars with Sweden Iceland has slipped from the grasp of the Bruce’s.


The Holy Roman Empire

A place of much upheaval over the last century. The north has seen the rise of the Roderlo’s in Saxony and the Netherlands, with the only recent upset of their rise having been the loss of Bremen to the new Hanseatic Confederation. Holstein and Sleswig have seen a long rule by a unofficial confederation of peasant republics, yet it was broken during the Scandinavian invasion and occupation from 1440 onwards. After the region was returned to the authority of the HRE, it was awarded to the Schauenburgs, who had remained the official dukes of Holstein even whilst pushed back to Lauenburg. In the east, we find the divided Margraviate of Brandenburg. Whilst oficially the whole is still under the control of the Wittelsbachs of Bavaria, in the southern portion the Von Rügens of Lausitz have seized control over most of the margraviate and have ambitions to finally kick the Bavarians out. Central Germany remains a mess of smaller feudal holdings, despite some small attempts at consolidation. Wittelsbach rule over the Palatinate and Franconia isn’t absolute yet as free cities and bishoprics stay outside of their power. The same situation is true in the Rhineland, yet these regions lack any real drive for centralization as Swabia is more concerned in the situation in the south and Cologne and Trier are at a deadlock. In the east, Bohemia has remained territorially stable for the most part, having only lost her small gains against Hungary and Poland after the 1444 treaty limiting the HRE. Her new position of power within the HRE as emperor will likely see her drawn towards conflicts on frontiers far from her own. Southern Germany is the realm of the middle sized states, laying as a chain of beads across the northern side of the Alps. With the exception of a few states like Alsace, Baden, Nordgau and republics, these are the lands of the Wittelsbachs and Habsburgs. Austria remains devided as ever as the attempts at unifying the Habsburgian lands by either diplomacy or force have failed. Perhaps a new round of attempts will begin soon? The Wittelsbachs meanwhile are plotting to restrengthen their position within the Empire to make a bid for the throne once more.

Across the Alps, we find Italy. Here, the region has also slowly coalesced into medium sized powers. The Savoyards have been too occupied with conflict with the kings of France and the d’Anjou to properly press their luck in Piedmont. Genoa has been able to establish their position as the primary merchant republic of Italy, leaving their competition of Venice and Ancona behind. Venice has mainly been bothered by the Habsburgs of Steiermark who have also held on to the duchies of Aquillia and Friuli, whilst Ancona has had to deal with both expansionist powers in the Papal States and Naples. In Milan, the Visconti have unified the central Po Valley and are set to move on to the rest of Northern Italy. The Papacy has done a lot of work conquering Tuscany, yet, the men who have done it on their behalf, the Dukes of Ferrara, have gained greater ambitions of their own. Only a couple of smaller powers remain at this point in the point of the duchies of Pisa and Parma and the county of Saluzzo remain.


Europe on the 11th of November, 1444
 

J_Master

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J_Master

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Welcome to the 2nd part of my Roderlo megacampaign. For those who are new, they are a custom dynasty which began their rise to power in 1337 in the Duchy of Gelre. From there, they have gone on crusade, established dominance over the separate feudal holdings of the Netherlands, reunited the old stemduchy of Saxony, fought the kings of France and helped save the HRE from a coalition spanning the continent. Late 1444 has seen the Pragmatic Sanction establish a perpetual personal union between the Dutch holdings of the Roderlo's and the establishment of a united parliament, the Staten Generaal. For those interested, the first part can be found here or by selecting the first part of the reign of Diederik I in the table of contents.

For this campaign I am using a mod, which besides the scenario will come to include some custom stuff for Saxony and whatever successor state may follow. It also disables all mission trees. This is because I personally dislike the feature (the old system was better and this is just a way to import the HoI4 focus trees, something with shiny icons and often overpowered rewards, think PU cb's) and because most of the focus trees would not fit with the developments of the past 107 years (if the Hastings in England were to finish of the Plantagenets they would not claim the French throne). So, to keep it relatively light on my time and skills, I have decided to scrap them all from this AAR.

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stnylan

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Yes I have to say I have never been a fan of the re-worked mission trees in EU4. I think NF work for HoI4 more or less, but in EU4 it just feels more like a return to the inflexible EU2 mission system. Ah well.

Eager to see how this progresses.
 

Nikolai

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Eager here too. :)
 
Diederik I, part II

J_Master

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The Reign of Diederik I Roderlo, Grand Duke of Saxony, part II

The parliament established on the 11th of November 1444 is a far stretch from the current tricameral legislature. The third chamber, separate from the other two, would not be established until the middle of the 16th century, or about 100 years after the establishment of the Staten Generaal. The Staten Generaal themselves are also far from the modern two chambers. The Staten Generaal der Nederlanden (Estates General of the Netherlands) as the official title is, is exactly what this name describes. They are the general assembly of each of the individual provincial estates. The provincial estate is much like the court of the Grand Duchy itself. It is a gathering of the most important figures of that feudal holding. In most cases, this means that the provincial estate is made up of lower nobility and large land owners which also includes the Church. And whilst there was a Diet or Estates of Saxony, the nature of Saxony had this institute have more of a advisory role than the important legislative role that the Staten Generaal had. The old provincial estates had already held a greater role in lawmaking due to the region being further away from the capital and often most attention of the Grand Duke being on Saxony itself. Yet, within the Staten Generaal we already find a new precedent being set. Within the estates of Holland and Flanders, and partially within the estates of Brabant and Zeeland (Brabant mainly through the influence of the city of Antwerp, Zeeland mainly because of her strategic position and connections to Holland meaning the two provinces often formed one voting block) we see the increasing influence of the burghers. And whilst it was present in every holding of Diederik I (Oversticht is a prime example of this, it was separated from Nedersticht by pressure from the burghers, so that they could influence the policy within the new lordship more effectively than with the influence of the clergy in Utrecht competing with them), it became quite clear within these provinces. Holland, whilst still hampered by competition from the Hanseatic Confederation, was beginning to develop itself into a trading powerhouse. Antwerp was the port of the Netherlands and the whole of north-western Europe, which naturally saw Zeeland interested in her further development. And Flanders has found itself as one of the prime producers of textiles, bringing wealth to her cities, which is what lead to conflict with the kings of France in the first place.

Yet, the Staten Generaal der Nederlanden that would live for about 80 years is not complete yet. Feudalism and issues of succession within the French crown had left parts of the March of Brittany within the hands of a noble family who held land around Ghent, meaning it came under effective control of the Roderlo’s once Flanders passed on to them. Neither side was particularly happy with the situation. Nantes laid at the mouth of an important estuary, and control over it meant the ability to tax the trade there. Not to forget that the March of Brittany was established because the actual Duchy of Brittany snubbed the authority of the kings, and that the loss of control over a part of it meant that the defense of the kingdom was possibly compromised. At the same time, the Roderlo’s had been interested in Picardië for a while, the last lands north of the Zomme, as the Zomme had been one of the traditional southern borders of the Netherlands and what was sometimes considered Greater Flanders. Both parties had something to offer, both parties had something to gain, and thus, when Europe gathered in Rome, Diederik I and Phillip VIII began negotiations about the issue surrounding the feudal enclave. Nothing was decided in Paris, mainly because Diederik didn’t wish to be dragged into a internal French war. This was because it was very clear to Phillip that the sale of Nantes would force the hand of the Blois, since it would place a fortress in their rear. Finally, an agreement came about on the 23rd of February 1445, dragging Saxony into the De Blois attempt to seize the French throne.


Perhaps the most important thing that came out of the sale/exchange of Nantes and Picardië is the alliance between Saxony-the Netherlands on the one side and France on the other, and this is something that applies for both sides. France needed the help to bring Anjou under control, especially when they pulled off a sublime bit of diplomacy and gained the backing of the Crown of Castille after their initial defeat in their bid for the throne, and Saxony needed help to establish dominance over the neighboring feudal holdings and city states. Whilst the alliance was uneasy at times, mainly due to the Franco-Bohemian rivalry and Saxony being allied to both sides, it remained in place. Whilst the Anjou-Valois War was not a massive, balanced on a knife’s edge conflict, it did destroy the De Blois hope for gaining the throne once and for all and saw the return of Aquitania once the Plantagenets had collapsed.

Some years later, we see the first signs of the possibility of conflict between the new Staten Generaal and the monarch. When a century before Kleef had befallen the then Duke of Gelre Johannes “IJzervreter”, it had also technically left the Roderlo’s with a claim to the County of Gulik. Once the conflict with the Duke of Berg had concluded, the Staten Generaal pressed their claim. Gulik had traditionally been considered a part of the Dutch region, along with Gelre, Oversticht, Bentheim, Kleef and Friesland to a certain degree. It was only through rallying the Bishop of Luik who feared encroachment on his rights by adding Gulik to the Staten Generaal, rallying the nobility of Brabant who feared losing influence because of the ever increasing number of smaller holdings and some rather large bribes to keep the rest of the estates in line. Considering this, it’s maybe a small wonder the Staten Generaal kept in line in the defining war of Diederik’s reign, the First Hanseatic War.


The Hanseatic Confederation had always existed as an insult the Saxony. Had it been formed in any other time other than the reign of Karel I it would have been crushed by Saxon military might. The internal struggles that Saxony faced in 1429 saw the city council of Breemn sign the Treaty of Lübeck, which unified the three primary cities of the Hanseatic League in a confederation with a shared army, navy and foreign policy. To further centralize the government would have been a tough order, since the territory was made up of three unconnected cities. Not only that, but the new Confederation also pushed for the extension of the current obligations of the League, to begin acting more as a mutual defense league. Whilst the new efforts of Diederik had limited any chance of gaining new support among the cities of Saxony, think for example the cities along the IJssel, he couldn’t stop the free cities and smaller HRE member states from joining into this military pact. Not only that, but by the time of the First Hanseatic War, the Hansa had gained a powerfull ally, the Kingdom of Scotland, still in control over Norway and Finland by that point. When war broke out in the summer of 1459, it was the first real test of the newly established system.


When the war broke out on the 3rd of June, the immediate goal of Diederik was to limit the number of enemies that had to be fought. The immediate priority was the goal of the war, the city of Breemn, an enclave in the Saxon heartland. On the 4th of June, the Army of Eastphalia already encircled the city, and prepared to storm the it. Yet, as preparations were being made, on the 5th already, a delegation from the city and the garrison came forth. What became clear was that the city wasn’t properly defended against an attacking force 16.000 men strong. The army commanders of the Confederation had decided to abandon Breemn and hope that the city would hold up the Saxon armies for long enough that in Hamborg and Lubeek an army could be mustered that could march across the Elve, take the fortress at Stood and from there on move on Breemn and Broenswiek. The decision was to abandon Breemn with the exception of a few smaller ships and 300 men supplemented by some quickly raised militia. This decision was not popular with the city council of Breemn, who had heavily protested it, but they were outvoted by Hamborg and Lubeek. In the end, Breemn would fall back into the hands of the Roderlo’s without a drop of blood being shed. The militiamen could return peacefully to their homes, and the 300 men garrison was taken prisoner but would be released at the end of the conflict.

With the Dutch and Frisian armies taking care of business in the Rhineland, the Army of Eastphalia would guard the Elve to hopefully prevent any crossing of the river and call out for any reinforcement if needed. The Army of Westphalia focused on the city of Goslar, a part of the Hanseatic League. The 2.000 men strong city guard was brave enough to face the approaching army outside of the city walls, where most of them were killed on the field of battle, but not without taking 463 Saxons and 76 Frisians with them. The general, Karel Beck, moved by the bravery of the opponent, took in the remaining men of Goslar’s army and gave them the care he thought they deserved. This care took place whilst he and his Saxons and Frisians camped outside of Goslar for 4 ½ months, after which the remaining soldiers of the garrison and the city council capitulated. When hearing of the news whilst in command of the Army of Eastphalia on the banks of the Elve, Diederik left his post to negotiate a peace treaty. Here, he laid the groundworks for the Saxon relationship with the Free Cities just outside or sometimes fully inside Roderlo territory. They existed because the Emperor wished to maintain them, and Broenswiek would have to respect that. But, that would not mean that Saxony would not get as much out of these states as it could. What this meant is that the cities would have to pay whatever the Grand Duke wanted them to pay, whenever he wanted them to pay it, often for the duration of a peace treaty if these states found themselves dragged into conflict again as they allied with an enemy of the Roderlo’s.

Over the course of 1460, the minor states scattered about in the HRE would be brought to terms, and from that point onward Diederik could finally focus on his enemies in Holstein. The full force of his armies would cross on the 20th of November, just east of Hamborg. The Dutch contingent would seize the city, the Army of Westphalia would swing around the city and head north to confront, or at least to keep the armies of the peasants of Dithmarschen in check. On the 3rd of December, the Saxons and Frisians advancing on Lubeek would unexpectedly the Hanseatic army outside of Kiel. In a final, last ditch attempt to keep the route for Scandinavian reinforcements open, the army had camped near the city in the hope that they could welcome such an army from the north which would help them defend their capital. No army came. In that winter battle outside of Kiel, the Saxon cavalry was able to cut off any escape routes of the Hanseatic force. Demoralized, it surrendered, joining their compatriots from Breemn in capture. The Army of Eastphalia under the command of Diederik now continued on the Lubeek, in what turned into a grueling siege. The blockade established on the city was not perfect, as the Roderlo navy had to be based from ports in the Netherlands and having to pass by the Norwegian coast on their way to Lubeek. Supply shipments regularly made it into the city from either Norway or Finland. To add further to the misery of the Saxon army, the attempts by the engineers to bring down the walls failed for up to five times. In the second winter of the siege and many men in the army were hit hard by pneumonia, including Diederik. Yet, in the end, time was against the Hansa, and after 391 grueling days of siege, the city surrendered, and peace was signed, Breemn was returned to Saxon hands.

Whilst this was going on, at the same time the Imperial Diet was debating the issue that had come pressing again since 1444, the Kingdom of Italy, by now having received the nickname the Shadow Kingdom. It was clear that Bohemia simply could not exert power there, especially if one of the mayor players in the Italian game was the Papal State, and no move against them could be made without certain excommunication. The diet, in accordance with the wishes of Emperor Vláclav IV, allow for the “retreat from Italy”. All states with the exception of Savoy, more concerned about the protection of the Emperor from the French, left the HRE once hearing of the news.


To look away from the warfare of the second half of the reign of Diederik I, we shall look back to his continued reform of the administration of the Grand Duchy of Saxony. First were his efforts in working with the Staten van Saksen, where he attempted to sideline the nobility as much as possible whilst, at the same time, keeping them somewhat content. The efforts of increasing income for the state went through three methods. The first was by a mutual co-operation with the church. The church and state were both searching for increased taxable income. Thus, the crown and the church came to agreement, Diederik would use the money of the state to help invest in the many monasteries in the countries, helping to develop the economic output of the region. In return for the development, the church would guarantee a substantial part of the income would go to the state. Whilst a lot of these projects do not survive to the modern day, things like breweries and orchards need to be maintained and economically viable, some of these buildings survive on to this day. The second was the obvious that would happen with the reconquest of Breemn, it allowed the state to more effectively tax the trade going in and out of the realm. This had always been the greatest loss when Breemn had seceded, the Hanseatic Confederation would now tax the trade coming in and out of the city and the hinterlands where smaller cities who had also signed up to the League stood. Whilst this would in the long run mean a greater influence of the burghers upon policy within the duchy, it did mean that it was another small weakness in the armour of the nobility. The last was the ever increasing bureaucracy directly standing under the duke.


In the end, it was the pneumonia that caught up to Diederik. On the 27th of June, Grand Duke Diederik I, founder of parliament and one of the diarchs of 1443 and 1444, would pass away at the age of 56, leaving his throne to his son, Grand Duke Karel II.



Diederik I, reigned from 1430 to 1461
 

stnylan

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Bremen restored is very good indeed.

And so long Italy, don't fall down the Alps on your way out :)
 

J_Master

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Bremen restored is very good indeed.
It's good to know you still get the names, since it might get a little less understandable with one name which even I was a little surprised about. But I've also got a bunch of names planned for the areas in the America's I was planning to colonize, so it'll be quite fun all around.
 
Karel II

J_Master

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The Reign of Karel II Roderlo, Grand Duke of Saxony

One cannot help but see the immediate similarities between Karel II and the uncle who was his namesake. Saxony had seen success on the field of battle before their reign, and would see it afterwards, but both sought glory and found nothing but destruction. Luckily for the Saxon state, the failures that Karel I had in statecraft were not present in his nephew. Far from the naturally gifted reformer that his father had been, it would still be an insult to call Karel II a bad administrator. He could not have set in motion the reforms that his father started, but he was most certainly the man to continue them onwards.

The first five years of his reign are however tainted in blood by the massacre that was the First Holstein War. By this point one of the long term goals of the Roderlo’s to establish dominance over the region of Holstein, not only the duchy but also the remaining two cities of the Hanseatic Confederation and the last peasant republics in Dithmarschen. The region was of vital importance. When Charlemagne had conquered Saxony Holstein would the Limes Saxonicus, the easily defendable eastern border of Saxony north of the Elve river, separating the Frankish Empire and later East Frankia from the Slavic Obotrites living east of it in what is now Mecklenburg. In the north, the Franks built a series of defences referred to by modern historians as the Danish March. Not only was the region vital for the defence of the HRE and would make an excellent buffer space for any invading force heading for Saxony from either north or east, but what the wealth of the Hanseatic Confederation had shown was that it was absolutely vital for trade. The flow of trade from Northern Germany and the Baltic was controlled from the cities in the region. Hamburg, Lubeek and Kiel made it rich. To fund the future growth of the administration, the region and the wealth of her burghers was needed.

The war began with a dispute over the possessions of the Schauenburgs in Oldenburg, that old sore that was the beacon around which a lot of opposition to the brothers Karel and Diederik I had organized, and issue’s surrounding the passage of ships over the Elve river. The war began in a positive manner. In late September 1464, the army of Eastphalia crossed the Elve with backing of soldiers from the Netherlands, Frisia and Lausitz. The army of Duke Thietmar retreated behind the walls of Kiel, but this time the armies of Saxony would be luckier. 4 weeks into the siege, the walls of the city were breaches, which, whilst the storming of the city was repelled, caused many casualties to the defenders, who were barely able to patch the walls back together. Kiel would fall in April of 1465. And this is where the disaster began. On one of the last ships to leave the port of the city was the duke, heading into exile in Riga, one of the major cities of the Teutonic Order, his primary allies. The Teutons themselves had established complete dominance over the eastern Baltics for a few centuries now, and profited immensely from the Baltic trade, and weren’t going to let a outside power with ambitions gain so easy access to it. The first action they undertook was the braking of the blockade on the 27th of April, which allowed the duke to escape. They took a whole year to gather their armies, but in May of 1466 they crossed from Wittelsbach Brandenburg into Holstein, forcing the Army of Eastphalia back across the Elve and laying siege to Kiel. After the Army of Westphalia had dealt with a revolt of the city of Breemn, the city council had gotten angry with the greater amount of regulation and taxation imposed, both marched, along with many thousands of Dutch and Frisian reinforcements more, to relieve Kiel. Both attempts failed with disastrous results, the Teutonic army, outnumbered more than 2 to 1, being able to drive of the armed forces of Karel II both times with more than thrice the casualties. Disaster followed upon disaster as the Teutons were able to cross the Elve and laid siege to Stood, where another crushing defeat was given to Karel II. Left with no other options, Karel gave up the hope of acquiring Holsteen and sent his army back over the Elve, to raise anything that could aid the Teutons to the ground and to prevent any supplies from reaching them. Finally brought under control, Karel II was able to surrender, being humiliated when forced to recognize the rights of the Schauenburgs.


Sadly, and perhaps for obvious reasons, the First Holstein War is what remains his legacy in popular history to this day. But, one should not dwell on it too long. It was perhaps that this defeat was suffered on terms favorable for the Saxons, imagine what could have happened if it was a foreign power capable of enforcing her will. And whilst it can be said that Karel II was a lacking field commander, he was very much able to recognize where the future of warfare was going. In a certain way being dragged into the Italian Wars by the French was a blessing in this case. Saxony itself was too weak still to enter such a foreign adventure just after such a crushing defeat, but the Netherlands were still able to raise the men, so he requested the Staten Generaal send an army. This army, whilst lacking in the more modern ways of war, was able to lay invaluable contacts with Italian engineers and mercenaries and gain experience in the ways of war in which the Italian Wars were fought. What came forth from this was that Karel II was one of the most enthusiastic adaptors of the arquebus in Europe. When, in a last ditch attempt to get the Dutch forces to retreat from the conflict the Genoans launched a massive raid into Saxony, it were there innovations that allowed for the army to be beaten back at Meideborg. For the rest of his reign, the army would continue drilling in the new ways of war, to, in the end, be able to face the Teutons on the field of battle and defeat them, finally establishing dominance over Holsteen. And whilst not yet the revenge Karel II had wished for, Saxon intervention against Swabia in 1476 would put a permanent end to the rise of the Swabian Wittelsbachs and lead to the acquisition of Arensperg from the Swabians.

One of the prime actions of the reign of Karel II was the Acte der Taal van het Hof (Act of the Language of Court) where we begin to see the real beginnings of separation of the region from the rest of the Germanic languages. As we have seen before, there already existed separation between Lower, Middle and Upper German with Dutch in the west and Frisian along the coastline of Frisia. For a long time, the language of the Roderlo court had been ambiguous. The language used at the old court at Arnhem in 1337 was Middle Dutch. When Johannes “IJzervreter” had died and the court moved on to the east, first to Hannover and then to Broenswiek. This lead to the primacy of what is generally referred to a Middle Low German. Although it must be noted that the people who spoke these languages didn’t know it as this. Most of the time, despite the differences and the fact that a noble from Holland and the eastern border of Saxony would have a hard time understanding each other, the people speaking would refer to what they were speaking as a variant of Duitsch, Duuts, Dietsch, etc. This term simply meant “of the people”, in this case the language of the people, although “volk” would have to be considered in more of a tribal or nation specific way. But none the less, the language spoken at the court of the Roderlo’s would shift along with it. Yet, with the establishment of the Staten Generaal, a second capital was established for the realm, and the two capitals served two separate halves of the realm, separated by some 450 kilometers. The documents being produced by these two separate courts were often not understandable in regions like Flanders or along the Elve. What the Acte der Taal van het Hof did, was make the effective division official and give names to them. The language of the eastern half of the realm was referred to as Saxon, named after Saxony. The language of the western half was named after the political entity created there, Nederlands, which English has decided to name as Dutch, basing it on the old way the Dutch referred to their own language.

It’s also a fine time to dive into the choice of name for the parliament in the west. The region had known many names by 1444, and multiple were considered for the union. One of the first names considered was a version of the Romanized term Belgae, België or Belgium in English. It was considered not appropriate enough because it did not refer to the whole of the region, it referred to the parts of the Netherlands south of the rivers, where the Belgae had lived, north of the Meuse, the lands were inhabited by Batavians, Frisians and some other tribes. A variation on Magna Frisia was also considered, but with the Opstaltree remaining out of the new parliament, the real Frisian entity, it was also quickly dropped. Another variation that had been considered was Lower Frankish Circle, yet this was considered too bulky and when the idea was teased to Phillip VIII in Rome, he immediately shot it down. The connection to Frankia and the heritage associated with it was too much. In the end, “Netherlands” was considered a neutral name which also, across western Europe, had a clear meaning of referring to the general area of the land that was assigned to the Staten Generaal.

To return to the act itself, whilst each half of the realm was assigned a primary language, all documents would translated into the language (or dialect really) of the capital of the other half of the realm. For the regions outside of the Staten Generaal but speaking in a tongue more similar to that of Antwerp, exceptions were made, where their primary language would be Netherlandish. This exception applied to Gelre, Gulik and would later apply to Keulen and Berg. Frisia, with her being separate from both the institutions of Saxony and the Netherlands, remained an edge case, working under their own Frisian but often translating all documents into Saxon for the purposes of the court in Broenswiek.


The last major advance of Karel II was the creation of a greater control over the national economy. The creation of money was still under the control of many local authorities. Not only that, but money itself wasn’t standardized yet. Currency was still a matter of local authorities, cities and whoever controlled them. Over the HRE, no single currency had also been confirmed yet, although in the Rhineland multiple states, Trier, Cologne, Mainz and Franconia-Palatinate, had created a single currency, the Rheinish Gulden. The further Saxon encroachment upon the upper Rhineland during the reign of Diederik I had allowed the Rheinish Gulden to gain further prominence throughout Kleef, Gulik, Gelre and the areas around Düörmp. Not to forget that with the conquest of Breemn the Hanseatic coinage (Sundische Mark but this was only in partial use, later the Lübische Mark would be made official) had significant influence over the economy of the Grand Duchy. What this meant is that the currency in use by most of the nation was foreign made and thus foreign controlled, the economy was at the whims of foreign and often hostile powers. The state had already seen some of this during the First Holsteen War as it had some troubles both financing the war effort after casualties started numbering in the tens of thousands, part of the reason Breemn revolted was the forced loans the government enforced upon the merchants. The Grand Ducal Mint and the Bank of Saxony were two separate institutions with their own purpouses. That of the mint seems relatively clear, to control the supply of money to the economy and put it under control of the Grand Duke. To this end, it started minting the new Saxon Gulden, closely based off of the Rheinish Gulden. Whilst it would not be the only currency in use in the realm, the Rheinish Gulden and Sundische Mark/Lübische Mark would remain influential and as the nature of things was and the Netherlands would also continue to mint a couple of local currencies, it was the most stable of all because of the backing of the state. Secondly was the Bank of Saxony, mainly concerned with the health of the finances of the state, existing to back up the state when it needed money to finance whatever it needed, be it a grand construction project or whatever war the state found itself fighting. The money put into this was varying of origin. The Roderlo’s themselves invested quite a penny, as did many nobles. Ironically, perhaps the most influential investors were Hanseatic merchants, although they were not a majority. Their influence would however began to slowly wane as the Hanseatic League and Confederation continued their long decline and as the Netherlands would become the center of trade in all of Europe.


Karel II Roderlo, a man so often just declared to be just like his disaster of an uncle, reigned until his early natural death in 1476 at the age 39, 3 weeks after the beginning of the war against Swabia.


Karel II, reigned from 1461 to 1476
 

Nikolai

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Their influence would however began to slowly wane as the Hanseatic League and Confederation continued their long decline and as the Netherlands would become the center of trade in all of Europe.
Just what the doctor ordered. ;)
 

stnylan

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Well the war was something of a disgrace, but I think our historian may be being a little too revisionist. To be sure, the Netherlands may have come out on top, and to be sure, some of those reforms can be traced back to this duke - but - there is always the but, he is the Duke who lost to the Teutons.
 

Cromwell

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I'm excited to see where things go from here, I don't think Karel II did too bad a job. He's certainly been decent domestically and had laid a solid foundation for his sucessor to build on.
 

J_Master

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Well the war was something of a disgrace, but I think our historian may be being a little too revisionist. To be sure, the Netherlands may have come out on top, and to be sure, some of those reforms can be traced back to this duke - but - there is always the but, he is the Duke who lost to the Teutons.
The loss to the Teutons is not final and, as the next chapter will show, it didn't stop northwards expansion, but it does mean that the absolute scale of the bloodletting was unneeded, and that is perhaps the greatest fault.
I'm excited to see where things go from here, I don't think Karel II did too bad a job. He's certainly been decent domestically and had laid a solid foundation for his sucessor to build on.
Thank you for enjoying it!
 
Johannes II New

J_Master

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The Reign of Johannes II Roderlo, Grand Duke of Saxony

When his father died in the first months of 1476, Johannes II was but a young boy of 9 years old, yet to turn 10 on the 11th of June of that year, more than 5 years to young to take the burdens of state upon him by the laws of that time. Thus, his mother and widow of Karel II, Sophia took the reigns during this 5 year long regency. Sophia was unremarkable, a fine caretaker especially with the aid she had from the advisors of the late Grand Duke. She would mainly preside over the war with the Swabians, leading it to a successful conclusion with the conquest of Arensperg and the restoration of the free cities of Frankfurt and Rhotenburg, which would see the Swabian Wittelsbachs supplanted by the resurgent Welfs in the Palatinate and allowed for the continued refinement of the new military methods introduced by Karel II. The most interesting developments of the regency were elsewhere in Europe, and we shall discuss them in a rather quick manner.

Iberia had seen quite a lot of war since the relative peace of the early 15th century. Moorish control remained over parts of the Kingdom of Portugal that it had reconquered some 50 years before, Granada had been extinguished and her populations either converted to Catholicism or forced out, unifying the peninsula beneath the Castilian and Aragonese crowns In the 1450’ies a war would break out between the two Catholic realms over some disputed borders in the Andalusian and Murcian regions, leading to a Castilian victory and the secession of the disputed regions. In the Crown of Castile, the throne had recently passed on to the Ligurian house of Polizzi, which had cleared a lot of the rivalry between the two realms, the Aragonese De Barcelona being a lot more comfortable with the Polizzi on the Castilian throne, which had finally revived the idea of a united, Catholic Iberia. On the 28th of October 1480, Sança de Barcelona and Garça Polizzi married, creating the Iberian Union which would eventually result in the Kingdom of Spain after the upstart Rodrigo III de Bragança was put in his place in Portugal, unifying the kingdoms of Castille, Leon, Portugal, Navarra, Algarve, Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, Majorca and Sardinia.

In France, Phillipe VIII would die in 1452, setting in motion a series of events that would see the death of the Valois. His first born son, Henri, had died as a field commander against De Blois 7 years back. In his place Guichard would come to rule, a idle monarch more interested in the pomp of the court rather than pursuing the struggle with the De Blois to its natural end, leading to the De Blois establishing themselves in Brittany as duke. One could have hoped that Guichard, with all his spent at court, that he could at least produce an heir. Problem was that Guichard didn’t take a liking to his wife, a Bourbon noble, most likely because he was a homosexual. A decade after the death of Guichard, one of his alleged lovers confessed the whole affair, which confirmed most rumours. At this point, the French throne passed on to Clorinda Valois, the 2nd daughter of Phillipe, the first having died in childbirth, the child also dying, she had been married to a Tyrolean Habsburg. Clorinda Valois was however married to a younger brother of Karel II, Frederik. Thus, when Clorinda died, the throne passed on to her son, who became Hugues II, a member of the House Roderlo.


On the 11th of June 1481 Johannes II turned 15, which saw him finally crowned and his mother, widow of Karel II, step down as regent. The eventual short duration of his reign, relatively speaking, meant that there isn’t any really strong identifying character of the reign of Johannes which we can often see much easier in other rulers of the era.

The first move of his reign came a year into his reign. Far to the east, beyond Bohemia, the Teutonic Knights and Poland had been locked in a struggle of life and death, bleeding eachother out much like the bloodletting that had taken place some 15 years before in Holsteen, now, the blood had come flowing to the Teutons own lands. The Schauenburgs had dutifully answered their call, but would themselves be backstabbed by the Teutons on the 1st of August 1482, as, accompanied by a proclamation read aloud by the grand duke, his armies crossed the Elve once again. The casus belli had been much like that of his father, issues surrounding the rights of the Schauenburgs in Oldenburg. Whilst the treaty ending the First Holsteen War had affirmed the rights of the Schauenburgs in both Oldenburg and Holsteen, the men who had written the treaty on behalf of Saxony had been smart enough to leave open the question of the exact nature of the relation between the Schauenburgs and Roderlo’s.

The whole conflict might be so irrimarkable that the whole thing becomes remarkable. And especially if one were to consider the war in relation to the First Holsteen War. Holsteen was committed in the east, the only thing that remained was the garrison at Kiel. At Kiel, it is estimated that just about 1.200 men perished in front of the walls of the city, the vast majority of casualties on the Saxon side of the conflict, with only a few deaths in a single naval battle that saw most of the Holsteener fleet sunk. What had cost his father about 85.000 lives to only receive humiliation and made Karel II spent the rest of his time rebuilding his army for another confrontation that he would certainly win that time around, Johannes II had accomplished for 1.200 men. In the treaty ending the war, signed on the same day as the capture of Kiel, “the Duke of Holsteen would recognize the historic relation between his realm and that of Saxony, and would act in accordance with that.” Holsteen was subdued.


Johannes II was the project of generations of Roderlo’s who had worked towards decreased dependence on the nobility for the daily matters of state. In the increase of the administration, he mainly worked with the clergy, who had been a noble ally in the past whilst working to expand grand ducal authority. What this would also lead to is the staunch Catholicism of his two sons at a crucial time in European history, but that is for later chapters of this history. At the same time, the attempts of Johannes II (and his mother, she had seen the necessity to keep the nobility in check) would backfire. There are those who way it was obvious, but one has to consider that Holsteen was defenceless, and that the nobility was looking for a excuse to get upset, although not directly over the legal centralization of power. The backbone of the Saxon army was still made up of feudal levies, which meant that in the wars of the reign of Karel II (and the continuation of which under Sophia) it was the nobility which had most directly paid in blood loyal to them. In an effort to keep these men happy, the regentess had promised (with consent of her son, so close to rulership himself) that there would be no war until the reserves of men was “properly restored”. What the nobility got upset over was the Second Holsteen War, a conflict with a country that couldn’t defend itself and had, at most, cost 1.300 men.

The most “interesting” part of the administrative history of Johannes II is a still badly understood period of temporary insanity of the grand duke. We know it developed very rapidly in June of 1482, a couple of months after Kiel had fallen and Holsteen brought to servitude. The best accounts of this period come from his court physician, who was called to the bed of the grand duke one morning with the question if he could “make the swishing in my ear stop”. He had no idea what Johannes could be talking about, but he prepared some mixture he could put in his ears. As the days progressed, it only seemed to become worse, until, one day, at breakfast, Johannes suddenly turned white, as he asked where his father was. Everybody insisted where he was where he had been for the past 6 years, in a grave in the cathedral of Broenswiek. He continued asking and everybody around where his father was, and everybody continued insisting his body remained where it had been. Suddenly, as Johannes’ questioning turned more desperate, he cried out “DON’T FOOL ME, I KNOW HE’S HERE, I HEARD HIM”, at which point everybody understood the gravity of the situation, and Johannes was quickly brought back to his chambers. At the same time, the clergy accomplished a almost “palace coup” type move, securing control over the channels of power to prevent a noble coup. What we see over the following weeks as Johannes was locked in his chamber is a man deeply haunted by the ghosts of his past. In brief moments of clarity, which were almost a greater suffering than when he was in his delusions, knowing what he would be going through again, he spoke to those close to him of what he heard. He would hear and see men crossing hastily made bridges across the Elve, marching straight into the mouths of monsters. He would see the battles of the First Holsteen War play out before him as Teutonic Knights slaughtered his men and ate them alive as they screamed out for him. He would hear the voice of his father, screaming at him to avenge him. He would find himself drowning in the Elve and Baltic time and time again, being trampled by the Teutons marching over his body. This state continued on for almost two months, and with the court getting ever more nervous what the continued absence of the grand duke would mean, the journal suddenly stops mentioning what happens. The last thing written in it is “Tomorrow, we shall approach the Bishop of Münster for aid, this has to stop.” The only entry relevant to this period of insanity is five days later, and says: “We may thank God that Johannes is able to resume his duties again.” Whilst no written record exists, it is highly theorized an exorcism was performed.


There is one thing of the reign of Johannes II that never receives the credit it needs. The Iberian realms had been able to start looking towards other ventures in their time of relative peace, and especially once the crowns of Castille and Aragon had unified. With a Italian monopoly on trade in the Eastern Mediterranean and a very hostile Bahri Sultanate ruling over Arabia, the Levant and Egypt, prices for goods from the Far East, the lands of India and Cathay, had been skyrocketing as the Bahri, and Italians in turn, tried to squeeze every penny out of the monopoly they held. Spain, in her position at the Gates of Hercules, and her conquests deep into the Moorish lands, was aware of the lands that laid beyond the great waste of the Sahara, of the great Empire of Mali, and her access to the sea to her south. Her south! Africa had sea south of her! She began expeditions, always treading just a bit further along the coast, charting as she went along. And whilst she did in outmost secrecy, news spread along the trade routes of the Atlantic, north, towards Saxony. Saxony had for a while actually been a place in good contact with the Bahri, as Diederik I and Nuraddin II had been close friends since Diederik I had went on a trading mission and pilgrimage to the Levant. They remained friends until Nuraddin died in 1460. Renewed conflict with the crusader states had forced both realms to oppose eachother again, the friendship not surpassing the chains that generations proved to be. Saxony, now cut off from the Far East, remained cut off as priorities of the state laid elsewhere, but with news from Spain coming northwards, Johannes II took a gamble, and began funding his own expeditions, finding a man named Martin von Diest who had been planning a small expedition to hopefully trade with the Malian Empire. What it eventually turned into was a expedition to establish contact with and to chart the coasts of Mali and whatever land that the expedition might “bump in to”.

It turned into a resounding success. The expedition left on the 1st of December 1487 from the port of Antwerp. From there, they would follow the Channel and cross from the tip of Britanny to Coruna in the Kingdom of Portugal, making contact with the authorities of the Crown of Castille, who asked what they were planning to do, to which they responded with a trading mission to the Christian lands of North Africa. To statisfy their partial lie, they first went to t the port of Salé, a heaven of piracy, where they actually acquired some information about coasts beyond the knowledge of Saxony. From there, they made landfall in a few other ports, but soon they passed on what was known and after 2 weeks of careful sailing and mapping (of coastline of a land that was a desert) they came across the first signs of civilization, they had reached Mali. Here, they made contact with the local authorities and began trading most of the goods that they had carried along for the journey, mainly for the gold that the region provided. Here, they also heard of a set of islands to the west, which the small fleet sailed to once they were done on the Malian mainland. After a week of sailing, they discovered the Cape Verde islands, already being known to the Spanish at that point, like most islands off of the west coasts of Africa and Iberia. After mapping the islands, the fleet turned back north, heading to the Azores (part of the Crown of Aragon) to finish the ruse of their trading mission and reporting on the vast emptiness beyond Spanish rule in Africa. After a few days in the Azores, they went further back north, passing along Madeira to a rumored set of islands also already discovered by the Spanish, known at the time as the Azores and later settled under the more familiar name Frederik-Hendrikland. From there, the mission sailed into one last port before returning north, the last Moorish stronghold in Iberia, Lisbon. Taking on some last provisions they sailed north again, returning to the port of Antwerp on the 26th of May 1488. When news of his returned arrived in Broenswiek, Johannes II immediately traveled to Antwerp to poor over the newly made maps.


The coasts mapped by Martin von Diest, Frederik-Hendrikland being just north of the area shown

Sadly, Johannes II would not rule for long. He would become ill with a as of yet still very badly understood illness in February 1493, 2 years into another conflict with the Hansa. He would remain ill for the rest of his days on earth, dying on the 6th of September 1493 at the age of 27. He would leave behind his 12 year old son Frederik-Hendrik and his wife Gunhilda, pregnant of his second son, Jan, both of who would become grand dukes.


Johannes II, reigned from 1481 to 1493
(A small note, within CKII, there was a issue with cultural conversion and the subsequent conversion of names. This means that the regal number of a monarch might not align with the one given to them by the AAR.)
 

Cromwell

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Johannes II can rest easy. Certainly not the longest of reigns but a very eventful one! The road to an overseas empire is one that can lead to great wealth but also to great conflict, I worry about conflict with the Iberians in the future.
 

stnylan

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He certainly had a lot going on - no wonder his brain decided to tell him to take a break part-way along
 

HistoryDude

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Interesting stuff...

Saxony seems to be on the rise, despite that humiliating defeat early on.
 

J_Master

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Johannes II can rest easy. Certainly not the longest of reigns but a very eventful one! The road to an overseas empire is one that can lead to great wealth but also to great conflict, I worry about conflict with the Iberians in the future.
Oh yes, that conflict will come, though perhaps not in the way expected.
He certainly had a lot going on - no wonder his brain decided to tell him to take a break part-way along
Must say I found it quite fun to write that bit. His reign was nothing spectacular but that event gave it some nice flair in the end.
Interesting stuff...

Saxony seems to be on the rise, despite that humiliating defeat early on.
The whole defeat was kind of a surprise, and whilst it was playing out in my head I was preparing to write in this long redemption arch, but the Teutons got themselves knocked out by Poland instead

I also got a public announcement to make. Yesterday, my laptop died on my. From the way it seems, having it repaired might not be better than buying a new one or finally build a PC. The SSD is all right, meaning that the screenshots and the already written chapter are fine, but what it does mean is that this AAR will come to an unvoluntary halt for now as I don't have access to my save, the game, the screenshots or the written chapter to post it. With a bit of luck, I'll be able to resume with maybe a 3 to 4 weeks
 

Cromwell

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Thanks for letting us know and requiescat in pace for you laptop. We will be here waiting don't worry.
 

Nikolai

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Well they sucks. Hope you can get a decent replacement. No pc is no fun. Best of luck!