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Dodge

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while waiting for the game Stellaris to reach a point of stability, I decided to pick up the ol' game of EU4 and give it a whirl again. This time I've made my custom Princedom, named Kunlun and it will be a blast. I've mainly written about Stellaris and this will be set in the same universe, to provide continuity.:)
Mod: Extended timeline. Those looking for serious gameplay issues will be disappointed, its more of a prolonged narrative.

Comments are welcome!

Deep in space, solar system 12356B

"Another Earth, again we must go on with this fruitless search"
"I hear ya, maybe the high command shouldn't be throwing valuable artefacts around like this"
"It's got time and space warp possibilities... just makes the job easier doesn't it"
"We might need to setup a surveillance space station... for the long haul"
<silence>
dread.png

The grand history of Kunlun
Biography of Sui Gaozu

Emperor Sui Gaozu, personal name Yang Yong, curtesy name Yang Youde, was the founder of the Sui Dynasty. (Later Sui) Youde was born outside of the Middle Kingdom in a place named nation of Mei and was trained as a physician, specialising in the art of attending to births and labours. He had first appeared on the official records of the previous dynasty of Ming as a tribal medicine man, in the remote island of Da Yuan (Taiwan). He attended to the native Atayal and Bunon people and was said to have performed many magical baby deliveries, before he was crowned chief of the tribe. A learned scholar, he was able to introduce literature and art to the natives of Da Yuan. At this point he was about thirty of age. He attended to various designs of manufacture and industry, and improved the livelihoods of the people under his rule. He was instrumental in introducing agriculture to the tribesman.

After some years he encountered Han traders from the mainland, and was able to give an impressive account of himself, so much that the merchants paid for his trip to sit the next years official civil-servant examinations. He was said to be very wealthy after discovery of gold in the north eastern mountains of Da Yuan. After entrusting the village to his deputies, he left for the mainland for examinations, which took the better part of five years.

Upon being granted the Jinshi level of achievement, Youde asked for a post of Magistrate in Da Yuan, to the surprise of the Minister of Personnels, who believed that he should have aimed higher in the mainland. Nevertheless the request was granted, and he returned to Da Yuan with the backing of the imperial courts. He started in the northern county (Taibei) and assimilated the local tribesman, teaching them the Han ways of life, and agriculture. He increased the income of the tribesman by running a trade of precious stones and deer pelts, but also maintained strict conservation measures, thus sustaining the local deer population. He cracked down on dishonest Han merchants who attempted to sell the locals substandard wares. The people loved him and proclaimed that he was their "Azure Sky".

In the Year of the Earth Tiger (1399), the empire of Ming was in a great upheaval, the Emperor Jianwen, the grandson of the Dynasty's founder, Zhu Yuanzhang, was an indecisive, weak man. He had procrastinated too much in reducing the powers of the feudal lords, his uncles, and it came to a full rebellion. One of the uncles, the Prince of Yan, whose name is Zhu Di, used an obscure clause in the Ming code to declare war on the court, ostensibly to remove the evil ministers that the Emperor associated himself with. But that was just a pretense, for the prize is nothing else but the Imperial throne. Using the chaos to his advantage, Youde made diplomatic deals with the Han of Da Yuan and the native tribes to declare himself Marquis of Da Yuan, with suzerainty over all of the island. The Fujian governor turned a blind eye to this since his commanderies are ordered to march north to fight the pretender Prince of Yan, and could not respond to this bold attempt at power grab.
suilamp.jpeg
Chinese artefact depicting Supreme West Goddess

It is then Yang Youde revealed himself to be a Master of Kunlun, a practitioner of the Way. He said that he had left the monastery in the far west Kunlun Mountains, a paradise filled with god-like immortals and monstrous beasts, to find humility and experience amongst the mortals. So it was said, and so Youde claimed. He was able to perform feats that confirm this claim, such as travelling long distances in short amount of time, disappear into thin air, and also making proximal objects disappear and reappear. He was also a master healer, and could cure hopeless diseases. The veracity of such claims is left as an exercise for the reader. But it was a fact that he united the tribes of Taibei Municipality, and later all of Da Yuan, which he then renamed Taiwan.

Strangely he did not seek to glorify himself, or to spread the word of his Way. He was content to leave the religions of the locals, Han folk religion and animism intact. Instead, he taught the children literacy and numeracy, and practical instructions of daily life. He delegated and found Han scholars for the teaching job. During his leisure times he would associate with travellers from the mainland, exchanging information and stories. He was said to have the thousand league True Sight, which allowed him to predict the military movements of the Civil War. In time, he gathered a group of like-minded men, who helped with the construction of Taiwan. They spoke in a foreign dialect, and sometimes wrote in cryptic letters. Many of the correspondences are lost in time.

He was known to have possessed an artefact called the Ga Lai Chen, an object of incredible power. It is still stored in the Imperial Treasury, although it does appear to be a cube with no special attributes.
gal.jpg




to be continued...:)


taiwan.jpg
 
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polakma

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You did have me confused for a moment. Thought you're gonna do Stellaris ;D
Waiting to see what you develop for your "blast" story. May we expect comedy?
 

stnylan

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Will try to follow
 

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Now this is Intriguing!
 

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during the Ming civil war the Marquis of Taiwan sent a few companies of 4000 men to the mainland, in support of the imperial court. They were neglected and placed in the Capital as auxillary forces. Details of which can be seen in the revised Ming history by Gu Cheng

The Revised History of Ming

hongwu.jpg
the dynasty founder

hongwu2.jpg
the dynasty founder in a less flattering version

usurper.jpg
the usurper Prince of Yan

yunwen.jpg
The young Emperor Jianwen

The Jingnan Wars

Seeds of the civil war were planted by the founder of the dynasty, Hongwu Emperor when he conquered most of China. With 24 fellowers, Zhu Yuanzhang had started a rebellion that eventually toppled the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty and formed his own dynasty. Of the 24 companions, the surviving ones all attained generalship and commanded large swathes of the Ming army. This fact made Hongwu uneasy. In the reigning years, he had stripped those generals of their power and persecuted a few that did not obey his commands. When he was in his twilight years, he conducted a series of purges that had severely weakened the Ming military, which was one of the first model armies in the world to use masses firearms. The specialised nature of the Ming army made it particularly vulnerable to purges of proficient officers.


Meanwhile, to control the vast territories of Ming, the Hongwu Emperor appointed many of his sons as district commanders (Qinwang), or Princes. The Princedoms are essentially feudal domains where the Prince commanded their own court and set of civil servants. They obeyed Hongwu while he was alive, however, disaster struck in the year of the Metal Goat (1392), when the Crown Prince, Zhu Biao, fell to illness and died. Hongwu was devastated and had to choose a successor for his empire. He had two choices: his fourth son, Zhu Di, an able commander in the defence against Mongols in the northern borders and well versed in cavalry tactics, or his grandson, Zhu Yunwen, who was a scholar tempered by mercy and Confucian teachings, able in court administration but knew little of military affairs.


After much deliberation, he proclaimed Yunwen as his heir, citing reasons of rituals and traditions of primogeniture. He was also concerned about the issue of injustice, should he name his son the heir, for he had two elder brothers, the second and third sons, the Princes of Jing and Qin. Those sons were incapable administrators, but skipping them in favour of his fourth would have a bad morale effect upon his court. He raised Yunwen as a true Crown Prince, teaching him of statecraft and politics, and appointing many of the leading Confucian scholars to be his advisors.


Yunwen was the quintessential scholar emperor, interested in legal reforms and social justice. He passed many laws aimed at alleviating the Hongwu excesses. However, his advisors were not military men, and the Hongwu court was being purged of its military leaders. All those deemed to be a threat is either imprisoned or working for one of the Qinwangs (Princes). This was to have disastrous effects later on.


In the year of Fire Ox(1398), the old Emperor had died, leaving the young man in charge of his vast estate. The newly styled Emperor Jianwen came into power, and his advisors wasted no time in implementing the reforms that they wanted to implement. Seeing the Princedoms as potential challenges, they advised the emperor to curb them and to abolish their fiefdoms altogether. Of the 24 Princedoms, the Yan Princedom was deemed to be the biggest threat, for it had the biggest feudal army, necessitated by having to defend against the Mongols. The courtiers advised Jianwen emperor to start small and cut down the lesser Princedoms first, lest they provoke an overwhelming response. In hindsight, they were probably wrong and should have gone after the major enemy first.


In the same year, Jianwei Emperor abolished five of the Princedoms, in particular, the Prince of Zhou, who had the same mother as Prince Yan. The other princes were stripped of their ranks and imprisoned under house arrest. The Prince of Xiang self-immolated in protest, swaying opinions against the harsh imperial policies. The action brought pause to the Emperor, but the conflict between the young Emperor and his uncles had escalated, with Prince Yan being the hidden leader of the opposition to the imperial court.


Next Year was the year of the Earth Tiger, and the Emperor had summoned all princes to a day of mourning for the Hongwu Emperor. Prince Yan was questioned personally by the Emperor but managed to convince him of his loyalty. Nevertheless, the steps to remove him from power continued, with the commander at Beiping being replaced by one of the Ming loyalists, and magistrates in the northern Hebei replaced. Knowing that he would not survive a purge, Prince of Yan prepared his rebellion, even going as far as forging his own weapons underground his own manor. Zhu Di (Prince of Yan) also offered his three only sons as hostages to the Jianwei Emperor, but the young Emperor deemed it unnecessary and returned them the same year. Feigning illness, the Yan Prince was nevertheless betrayed by one of his officials to the imperial court, and the Emperor had signed a warrant for his arrest.


The Prince did not sit idle at this. He summoned 800 loyal men and killed the commanders sent to arrest him. Then he launched a series of daring strikes against the Beiping barracks, defeating its commandant. He did this because the soldiers knew him to be of sound character and were sympathetic to him. He then attacked three magistrates around the Beiping area, winning a solid base of operations. He formally raised arms against the government in Nanjing, citing that the Emperor was fooled by evil ministers, and as a son of Zhu, he was within his rights to redress this. The Jingnan Wars began.


The Ming Empire was fully geared to crush the rebellion. However the Imperial army was hampered by a lack of able commanders due to the earlier purges of Hongwu. The old general Geng Bingwen was appointed as the commander-in-chief, and he was known as a stalwart defender, but he was 65. Prince Yan's forces were mainly heavy cavalry and were not adapt at sieging warfare. The cost of logistics for the northern army was enormous and was prone to bleed due to attrition. It was however favourable for setpiece, decisive battles. The imperial forces, or the Southern Army, was mainly composed of specialised firearm troops and was useless in weathers of rain and snow. Geng had defended the choke point of Zhending, which was a small municipal walled city. The Prince of Yan bashed his troops against the walls for no avail. They did, however, possess the power of mobility and simply retreated back to Beiping when it was convenient. The imperial armies launched another attack from Liaodong (Manchuria) but were rebuffed by the Yan army.


In the second year of the war the Emperor was swayed by the courtiers to replace General Geng with General Li Jinglong, a man who grew up with Jianwen who always talked big. He proved to be an ineffectual commander. However, the lieutenants of Li were capable in their own right, and at times severely mauled the rebel army with carefully laid traps of concentrated firearm troops. The Yan army tried to evade the main Ming army by going the route of Shandong peninsula but was held up by determined opposition of one Tie Xuan for weeks. The Prince retreated again. It seemed the imperial army had the upper hand and would slowly grind the rebels down. The Emperor Jianwen had stated at the start that he did not wish to be known as "Kinslayer" and ordered the front line troops to spare his uncle's life, an edict that Zhu Di had exploited by always staying behind to rearguard retreat, daring the pursuers to fire arrows at him.


Year of the Metal Snake (1402). Major reversals happened. The incompetence of General Li finally got to the Ming army, having lost the bulk of the forces in battles in the field against superior cavalry of the Yan and several unlucky natural events. Enormous dust winds blew during one of the set-piece battles, and the imperial forces could not see their targets, resulting in a rout. The field strength of the Ming army was running dangerously low, at the same time the Yan army was losing its edge and could no longer afford to siege Ming fortresses. Feelers were sent out for a possible peace, but the Prince of Yan slammed the Emperor's deal as something that "would not even deceive an infant". The battle continued as neither side wanted to give up. In early spring the Prince of Yan had thrown all his forces in a massive gamble by heading straight for the capital of Yingtian, surprising the Ming garrisons scattered in Hebei, Henan and Shandong.


July 1402

As the rebel forces swatted the few remaining field armies of Ming loyalists aside, they came to the massive and formidable citadel of Nanjing or Yingtian. The only defence standing between them and the throne was a band of plucky Fujian militiamen who came from the distant island of Da Yuan. A curious band of warriors dressed in green rags, they had a strange type of firearm. "Tonight we feast in the Palace!" Boasted Zhu Di, the Prince of Yan. He was confident as he had a traitor in the Jianwen court, who'd agreed to open the gates for him. He ordered his horses fed and the swords sharpened, for he promised amazing loot for his soldiers once Nanjing was taken.
 
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stnylan

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I call that a cliffhangar :D
 

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startingyan.jpg
the Yan Princedom at start of the war

The Revised History of Ming cont'd
The strategy adopted by the Yan Prince was simple but effective. He had characterised this as an internal struggle of the royal Zhu family, and encouraged other generals to hedge their bets. Civilian involvement was minimal and he ordered no atrocities unless resistance was particularly heavy. He made it clear that if he won, he would punish those opposed him severely. He knew that the Emperor was inclined to clemency and would not punish his fellows severely, had the situation being reversed. He was also persistent in achieving his goals, while the Emperor Jianwen was occupied by other matters, such as legalistic reforms of the administration. Nevertheless, he encountered severe setbacks, and one of his top generals, Zhang Yu, died during a major battle. His chief strategist, the Buddhist monk Yao, was instrumental in stablising his psyche and maintain the general goal of gaining the Crown.

View attachment 495037
July 13th, 1402. One of the courtiers, magistrate Xu attempted to defect to the Yan army side, he was pelted with stone by the Confucian scholars and nearly died. Jianwen in a rare show of anger personally ordered him executed, and his body was thrown outside the walls to the Yan army. Zhu Di redoubled his attack.

It was then the real traitor revealed himself, and it's none other than General Li Jinglong. General Li was sidelined from previous campaigns due to his failure and harboured a hidden resentment from losing his command. Despite his friendship with Jianwen, he also saw the writing on the wall, and believed that the Yan Prince was unstoppable. He opened up the gates of Golden Valley, to the north west of the city a short distance from Changjiang river. (Yangtze)

gates.jpg

Zhu Di saw the fire at the gate which was the agreed signal and marched with haste into the city. He had encountered heavy resistance at the gates, as the Fujian militias blocked his path. He left a detachment to stall for time and made a beeline towards the Imperial Palace, the Forbidden City which is located at the southeastern region of the city. His total forces now numbered over a hundred thousand men, and he believed it to be an easy victory.

As he rode towards the Forbidden city, he was beset by archers/ snipers alongside the way, and it annoyed him endlessly. He was slowed down as there were stockades designed to block the passage of horses in the streets, and the citizens of Nanjing pelted his troops with stones and makeshift weapons.

Upon the walls of the palace, he noted that there mounted strange serpentine cannons, with thin metal barrels. The Fujian militia somehow managed to arrive before him, or that there was a detachment guarding the palace in the first place.

The Prince of Yan tried strategies to take the Palace without a battle, sending a wife of Zhu Biao (his sister-in-law) to Jianwen and persuading him to surrender. That did not elicit a response, and in the afternoon, he ordered his men to storm the Forbidden Palace.

His army was hit by the firearms of the Fujian company hard. The survivors described it as “teeth that bit like demons”, and there were much flash and thunder. The bodies continued to pile up, and Zhu Di became impatient. He led a personal charge but unfortunately stepped on a carefully laid landmine, which exploded, taking him and several of his guards with him. With his death, his soldiers attempted to fight on, hoisting his standard up to encourage the rest of the troops. However the truth got out eventually, and his entire army lost morale and surrendered.

The Jingnan Wars were over, and after they cleared up the Capital, Jianwen Emperor held an awards ceremony to reward the defenders, and the name of Youde Yang came to his notice. He immediately called the Fujian Commander, Xiurong Miao, asking him to write a letter to invite the Magistrate of Da Yuan to the Imperial Palace.
 
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Dodge

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The Grand History of Kunlun/Biography of Sui Gaozu cont'd
It is unknown whether Gaozu truly possessed the thousand league eyesight or it was a myth. More likely he received the correspondence of his friends in the Ming government system through carrier pigeons which were widely in use at the time. He sent a force of 4000 men to assist the Empire, and this force was instrumental in the defeat of Prince Yan’s army. The details of which can be found in a Ming history book.

The Jianwen Emperor was most grateful for Youde’s assistance, and the Marquis most gracious. He travelled to the city of Yingtian for a meeting with the emperor, with all the accolades and rituals appropriate for his station: a Ming official and a Jinshi.

The Jianwen Emperor was interested in the matters of advanced weaponry and Kunlun, and the Marquis answered to the best of his abilities. The Jianwen Emperor awarded him the rank of Duke, for Princedom was reserved for the royal Zhu family. An inheritable Duchy is the grandest honour a Ming Emperor could bestow on a person of non-Zhu heritage. The Duchy handled its own foreign affairs as long as it does not impinge upon the rights of the Ming tributaries. There were no suitable sons or daughters. Otherwise, the Emperor was going to suggest the marriage of descendants.

The Duke of Taiwan advised the emperor on matters of the state, focusing on the people’s livelihoods or in a word, economics. The Emperor was disappointed that the Duke was so monetarily motivated, but was still interested in the mystics of the Way and the Kunlun Realm. Unfazed, the Duke dared to suggest that the Emperor could see it for himself. Using a complex Taoist ritual, they could be at Kunlun and back in ten days. It was unknown whether the Emperor took up on his offer, but the court did note that for ten days in September 1402, there were no morning conferences between the Emperor and his court.

The Jianwen Emperor was profoundly changed after this meeting, redoubling his efforts on reform and the establishment of a ‘ministerial cabinet’ system, which could function well without the interference from the Emperor himself. Many injustices of the Hongwu era were corrected, and the Confucian scholars felt once more respected and more inclined to contribute to the running of the Ming Empire. But that is a tale for a Ming history textbook.

With Imperial backing, the Duke went back to building the island of Taiwan with interest. He repealed the laws which were discriminatory to the Plains and Highland aboriginals. He went to great lengths to teach them literacy, using the alphabet of Rome to denote a written language for them. Or languages, for there were 10 tribes with their own dialects. Newer concepts formed new words, and he made it so that words dovetailed, making understanding each other easier. The aboriginals were taught vital economic skills so that they could contribute to Taiwan society. He even experimented with a sort of grassroots democracy, with votes on important tribal matters.

He had also tried to stop the headhunters, first by forbidding headhunting on other tribes which did not practice headhunting, so the tribes could only headhunt each other. Then he slowly introduced folk religion which dissuaded the practice. It was a long work in progress.

The flag of Taiwan was decided to be a white sun upon the blue sky, and the red ground, which symbolised the blood link between the tribes. The design was used for several hundred years until the present era.
missions.jpg


The return of the Duke’s son. In the year of the Fire Dog (1407) Taiwanese court was surprised to receive the Duke’s legal heir. The Duke was married in Kunlun as the Taoists there did not forbid marriages. He stated that they had some difficulties, and the son was raised by his then wife in Kunlun. Now that the Duchy was well established the custody was reverted back to the father and his son arrived in court in Taiwan, already an adult. He was known to be innovative and always came up with strange ideas and inventions.

When there was a difficult birth, he still found time to attend to the birthings, otherwise he would hand over the task to several trained apprentices
 
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the AAR will follow the format of the Record of the Grand Scribe, which means it will be broken into different categories :) not in particular order:
1. Biographies of the Kings
2. Biographies of the Noble families
3. Biographies of other notable persons
4. Genealogy
5. Treatises - of Rites, Music, Harmony, Esoterics, Calendars, Economic Matters
6. Histories of Foreign Countries (Ming is considered foreign)
 

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I cannot believe that will be the last traitorous general we will see.
 

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The Grand History of Kunlun/Biography of Sui Gaozu cont’d

comet.jpg
A great comet was sighted in 1402, which was seen as unlucky news. The Duke managed to reassure the local population that it was just an astronomical event, and it had nothing to do with works in the Heavens.

Trade started between mainland Ming and Taiwan. The Duchy used its gold reserves and silver obtained from the Japanese traders to buy up raw silk in Jiangsu and Zhejiang. He then extended trade networks to Nagasaki, the Amur River, the Thai kingdom and various Malay chiefdoms in South East Asia. The languages of the South East Asians were similar to those of native Taiwanese, and the translators were a great help in establishing rapport. A more comprehensive account can be found in the Economic section of Kunlun history.

Intending to enlarge the trade volume, the Duke Youde ordered the construction of a grand shipyard in Taibei. Factories that supplied naval goods were also established, such as sturdy rope and soft canvas sails. Taiwan was not short of primaeval growth forests, but in the interest of conservation, the shipyards mainly used Annamese and Siamese wood. The shipyard built large and small ships. While the small ships used the hard sail “Junk” design, which was easy to operate in rivers, larger ocean-going vessels employed soft square sails. A large amount of silver was paid to mainland shipwrights who were lured to Taiwan shipyards.

Starting from the year of the Wood Monkey (1405) the Duke started to work on an enormous text called the Book of the Turquoise Weave, which was a collection of knowledge of medicine and natural science. The foundation chapters were alone three volumes, covering matters of minerals and their compounds, to motion trajectory of objects, to the botany of various plants and poisonous ones to avoid. The following text was on diseases and their treatments, and consist of 27 volumes of text. In completing the text, Youde would frequently retreat to his inner sanctum to meditate and would not be seen for days. After the first draft was complete, he had many scholars to review the text, adding and subtracting words as necessary. He also attempted to make it accessible, but it was mainly dry matter. He continued to improve upon the text and stated that he only wanted to publish it upon his death when the woodblock printing technologies had improved.

The Duke’s heir had helped with the daily administration during this period when Youde was frequently unavailable. He had his own studies to attend to, which was healing art specialising in mosquitos and bugs and tropical maladies, but gave a good account of himself regardless. The advisors to the Duchy made a good show of running the place, based on a solid foundation of “people’s livelihood, people’s health and people’s development”, which was called the principle of the three people’s. The economy continued to boom, as immigrants from the mainland arrived daily. The Duke instituted a quota to limit the influence of the Fujian people, as the aboriginals were feeling being crowded out.

polynesian.jpg

Using the Polynesian culture of seafaring to his advantage, the Duke called for navigators to traverse the oceans, and many answered the call. The shipyard started to churn out new ships after it was built, and explorers were hired from all corners of Asia. Geographical discoveries are recorded in another volume of the Grand History of Kunlun.

Relationship with Ming had deteriorated somewhat after the year of Earth Ox (1410) when Emperor Jianwen had died. His successor Zhu Wenkui, the Emperor Gongmin, was prejudiced towards the Duchy of Taiwan for he believed that his father overworked himself to death, and this was due to the advice of Youde. The attitude of the new Ming court was polite but aloof towards Taiwan. Attempting to smooth the relationship over, Youde had lavished gifts on the court scholars, gaining good words about him in the Emperor’s ear. He eventually made a trip to Yingtian and in a personal audience with the Emperor, repaired the relationship. He was said to have given the young Emperor a fabled mirror of Kunlun, which was later lost in history.

Youde continued to increase his influence in the South East Asia region, building up his Duchy in all aspects. He retired in the year of the Wood Dragon (1425) at the age of 57. He made his son the Duke with the blessings of the Ming court and went into seclusion, rumoured to spend his time between Kunlun and the material plane.

In the Spring of the year of the Metal Monkey (1441), Youde returned to Taiwan and gave his grandson a book of strategies, which contained instructions on how to rule, and said that he was to depart from the mortal coils soon. Upon his death, he wanted a state funeral so people would confirm his passing, and then he should be cremated, and his ashes brought to Kunlun. He also asked that no statues or pictures of his likeness survive. The grandson followed his instructions faithfully, and Youde passed away peacefully in July of 1441.

Youde’s first wife was unknown to history, but their son became the heir of the Duchy of Taiwan. His official wife the Duchess was called Kelij who came from the Highlander tribe of Taiwan. She was also younger than him and gave him five sons and two daughters. Youde had many other Consorts in the East Asian tradition.

Youde was said to be a prolific ancestor, with 221 children from his multitude of wives. He was said to have some unregistered children in Kunlun. He also adopted ten thousand children in Taiwan and South East Asia, some rumoured that they were actually his biological children due to his role as physician and his knowledge of the birthings and deaths. Some of his children born in the Duchy returned to Kunlun and never appeared again.

His posthumous name is Gaozu, and thus, he is free from criticism (Gaozu simply means grand ancestor). Later historians call him Kind-hearted, Righteous, and a Free Thinker.

His Taoist name was "Wuchenzi", or the Dustless One.

He is also colloquially known as the "Flying Blade" for the speed of his medical operations
traits.jpg
 
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Early Kunlun economy and trade goods
Exports


gold.jpg Gold

In the northeastern mountains of Taibei, there existed an enormous gold mine called the Jinguashi (Golden Gourd) mine. The site was responsible for churning out enormous quantities of gold during the Duchy era. The amount of gold was such that the government worried about spending the gold and causing runaway inflation. Gold was usually stored as reserves since the Taiwan Duchy had other trade goods to offer the outside world. The hunger for gold spurred the explorers to look for further big mines in the South East Asia region.

silver.jpg Silver
Ashikaga_Yoshimochi.jpg
Ashikaga Shogun Yoshimochi, who was not too thrilled with his father's appeasement of Ming, he and the Duke found common grounds


The Duchy was lacking in silver but abundant in gold. During the early years, 1402-1410 Youde sent diplomatic parties to the Ashikaga Shogunate in Japan, where they were well received by the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimochi. After demonstrating a series of Kunlun wares, the ambassador hinted that he could trade enormous amounts of raw silk with the Shogunate. Yoshimochi was interested, but he pointed out that his lands were meagre and would have trouble paying for the trade. A Taoist in the party confided that he knew there was a giant silver mine in the vicinity of Honshu using methods of Geomancy and Dowsing. Intrigued, the Shogun agreed to the trade mission’s conditions.

The gigantic silver mine turns out to be in the Shimane province in the Chukoku region. The silversmiths of Kunlun devised an ingenious method to extract the silver called Haifukiho method, which they sold to the Shogunate. Thus trade deals with the Shogunate were established, regardless of Japan’s relationship with the Ming Empire. The silver: gold ratio in the Ming Empire was high, and this gave the Kunlun an opportunity to arbitrage trade and accumulate gold.

Silver is considered an export since it is spent as soon as it arrived

camphor.jpg Camphor and other tropical woods

The mountainous region of Taizhong was the home to some of the most desirable tropical woods in the world, in particular, camphor which repels insects. Controlled logging was the key, and restricting the supply made it sell for even higher. Safe logging teams and methods were devised to minimise casualties. Kunlun trade ships with camphor lumber were targets of Eastern Ocean pirates everywhere.



pearls.jpg Southern Ocean pearls

The Kunlun produces a large number of pearls with impressive size. A luxury good, it was exported as far as the Malacca and to further west, into the throne rooms of Sultans and Rajahs of India. The pearl hunting grounds were kept strictly secret.

salt.jpg Salt

A trade good aimed at tribal chiefs and natives, the salt Kunlun produces is fine grained and pure, as opposed to other products on the market. It is also a necessary staple for human survival.
The salt flats in Taibei were entirely artificial and how they worked remained a mystery to most visitors. But enormous quantities could be produced, in a short amount of time. It was said some inhabitants of Africa would exchange gold for it.

china.jpg Porcelain

While not as well known as the official porcelain from the Jingde kilns, Taiwanese porcelain is also a formidable product. Less prone to cracks and can sustain higher drops, they were liked by merchants all over the world, and they were customisable, so one can spell his/her own message/pattern on it.

pelts.jpg Deer pelts

Strictly limited after conservations act, the deer pelts were still a profitable good for there were many deer hunting tribes in Taiwan.

Imports

silk.jpg Raw silk

Enormous amounts are imported for reselling purposes by the Duchy. Because it was considered an internal trade and paid in silver, the Ming Empire approved of this trade. The end users were in Japan, Jurchen, Thailand, Burma, Brunei, Malacca, Luzon and Java.

saltpetre.jpg Saltpetre

Unfortunately no easy way of getting this trading product other than scouring all of the latrines in Asia. Inner Asia, where the Mongolian hordes operate, was not a possible source.

Daily goods

The manufacturers in China could provide all of these at a lower cost than making it on Taiwan island. Specialisation was an early decision adopted by Taiwan rulers.

sulphur.jpg Sulphur
this is purchased in bulk from the Ashikaga shogunate. Japan has many volcanic grounds.

mercury.jpg Mercury
this is also purchased from the Shogunate

Trade stations

Trade stations were established at Pearl River Delta, the Changjiang estuary, Ashikaga domains, Malacca and Beiping. Each was overseen by a disciple who learnt of advanced numeracy and had practical experience running a business.
 
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Next: the colonisation of Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and coexistence with Malay kingdoms
cebu.jpg
 

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this will be a very slow AAR don't be surprised if we haven't made out of Asia by the end of 2019
 

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Book of Rites part I– Government structures

The Kunlun government had succeeded in the traditional Middle Kingdom structure of Three Departments and Six Ministries. The design was ironically from the Early Sui Dynasty (581-618), a dynasty founded by Gaozu’s ancestors (claimed). It was also used by Balhae (698–926) and Goryeo (918–1392) in Manchuria and Korea, and very likely the Lý dynasty (1009–1225) and the Trần dynasty (1225–1400) in Annam.

The Three Departments were the top-level offices of the administration. They were the Secretariat, responsible for drafting policy, the Chancellery, responsible for reviewing policy, and the Department of State Affairs, responsible for implementing policy.

The Six Ministries were direct administrative organs of the state. They were the Ministries of Personnel, Rites, War, Justice, Works, and Revenue.

The Three Departments were abolished by the Ming dynasty, but the Six Ministries continued under the Ming and Kunlun, as well as in Annam and Korea.

Three Departments

The Central Secretariat or simply the Secretariat was the main policy-formulating agency that was responsible for proposing and drafting all imperial decrees, but its actual function varied at different times. Under the Song dynasty (960–1279), as well as under the Liao (907–1125) and Jin (1115–1234) dynasties, these organs exercised much of the executive authority of the emperor. Under the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368), the Central Secretariat with enlarged functions stood alone as the sole organ to lead the civil administration in the Yuan realm. This structure was adopted by the early Ming dynasty (1368–??), but it was abolished after the Hongwu Emperor executed the Chancellor Hu Weiyong. The Central Secretariat was discontinued by later rulers but was revived by Kunlun government and later evolved into the Prime Minister.

The Department of State Affairs controlled the six ministries since the Sui dynasty (581–618 AD) and was the highest executive institution of the imperial government. During the Yuan dynasty, however, the Central Secretariat replaced the Department of State Affairs as the top government agency. In fact, the Department of State Affairs was only occasionally established to handle financial affairs under the Yuan dynasty, such as during the "New Deals" of Emperor Wuzong.

The Chancellery’s function was to advise the Emperor and the Central Secretariat and to review edicts and commands. As the least important of the three departments, it was discontinued after the Song dynasty. After Hu Weiyong's incident in the early Ming dynasty, the Three Departments and Six Ministries structure was formally replaced by the Six Ministries structure. The Chancellery Department was again revived by the Duchy of Kunlun / Taiwan in the early 1400s.

Two Auxillary Departments which did not exist under previous dynasties

The Department of Records was an archaic institution under the Early Sui Dynasty, it was revived in Kunlun. This keeps all records of the Kunlun state and later evolved into the Grand Library.

The Department of Internal Affairs was an archaic institution under the Early Sui Dynasty, it was revived in Kunlun. It was said to be an investigative department under the direct control of the Duke/King/Emperor. Unlike the early antecedent, it was not staffed by eunuchs. Eunuchs are abolished in Kunlun in favour of the Ashikaga Shogunate system (all palace servants are female)

Six Ministries

Traditionally, each was headed by a Minister or Secretary who was assisted by two Vice-Ministers or Secretaries

The Ministry of Personnel or Civil Appointments was in charge of appointments, merit ratings, promotions, and demotions of officials, as well as granting of honorific titles.

The Ministry of Revenue or Finance was in charge of gathering census data, collecting taxes and handling state revenues, while there were two offices of currency that were subordinate to it.

The Ministry of Rites was in charge of state ceremonies, rituals and sacrifices; it also oversaw registers for Buddhist and Taoist priesthoods and even the reception of envoys from tributary states; it also dealt with China's foreign relations with outside countries. It also managed the imperial examinations.

The Ministry of War or Defense was in charge of the appointments, promotions and demotions of military officers, the maintenance of military installations, equipment and weapons, as well as the Imperial courier system. In times of war, high-ranking officials in the Ministry of Defence also served as strategists and advisers to the frontline commanders. Sometimes, they even served as frontline commanders themselves.

The Ministry of Justice or Punishments was in charge of judicial and penal processes but had no supervisory role over the Censorate or the Grand Court of Revision.

The Ministry of Works or Public Works was in charge of government construction projects, hiring of artisans and labourers for temporary service, manufacturing government equipment, the maintenance of roads and canals, standardisation of weights and measures, and the gathering of resources from the countryside.

Beneath each Ministry, there were four times as many Bureaus, which were bodies responsible for grassroots administration.

Level of Government = Departments -> Ministries -> Bureau. This was done to facilitate specialisation of tasks and ensure redundancy rather than missing function. Later Kunlun administration made future adjustments.

Rankings

There were eighteen ranks within Kunlun, a system in use since the Cao Wei era in 220. The promotion system is said to be in line with traditional Confucian values

1. Loyalty to the state (not just to superiors)
2. Filial duty to the family
3. Fraternity amongst brotherhood (and later sisterhood)
4. Incorruptibility and strong work ethic
5. Trustworthiness and credibility
6. Learning and constant improvement

Of those, the Duke decided to place number 6 to the top, even before loyalty to the state. For constant learning is how a person develops. Without the ability to learn, one is nothing but a machine.

Each rank is assigned an official dress code and attire colour, under the Ming system being granted a nobility title automatically places one at level 1, superior. Rituals dictate courtesies when inferior officer meets a superior one. The ranks range from 9th inferior to 1st superior, each number holds two rankings.

Unranked officials are still classified as government employees, citizens need to courtesy.

Example of jobs within each rank.

· 1st superior: Grand Secretary, Duke, Prince
· 1st inferior: Grand Tutor of Crown Prince
· 2nd superior: Viceroy, Minister of Internal Affairs
· 2nd inferior: Provincial Governor, Chief of Staff
· 3rd superior: Lord Mayor of Capital, Imperial Clan Disciplinary Officer
· 3rd inferior: Head of Rituals and Ceremonies, Master of Ceremonies
· 4th superior: Secretary of Lord Mayor of Capital
· 4th inferior: Disaster Relief Special Officer, River Dike Inspector
· 5th superior: Assistant Secretary of departments
· 5th inferior: Tutor of Princes
· 6th superior: County Magistrate/Mayor
· 6th inferior: Grand University editor, scribe
· 7th superior: Assistant Secretary of foreign embassies
· 7th inferior: Logistics officer of rice and salt
· 8th superior: Assistant tutor of Grand University
· 8th inferior: Divisional army drill instructor
· 9th superior: Manager of the interpretation bureau
· 9th inferior: Master engineer of Public Works

Nominally the ranks need to be attained in order, and skipping ranks are rare. This was played fast and loose in dynasties previous to Ming but became strict under Kunlun.

Examinations

According to the Ming tradition, three levels of exams exist. There are actually four.

Entrance exam: usually sat as a teenager, age unlimited. Passing the exam and receive a student number, eligible to sit further exams.

County-level exam: Only the eligible may sit, once passed the students are called juren (“rise above the station”)

Provincial level exam: For juren only, those who pass are called gongshi (“tributes”)

Imperial level exam: Consists of a paper exam and in viva by either Ruler or cabinet. Those who pass are called Jinshi (“those who have progressed”). There are five ranks within Jinshi, and only the bottom rank is not offered a government official position and the unfortunate scholars have to sit on a reserve queue.

Due to the small population of Taiwan, exam 1 and 3 are usually ignored by the Duke, the interview was most important. Jinshi from Ming gets a conversation but no job guarantees, not that many from mainland want to travel to Taiwan.

Examination material is mainly Confucian Classics, but the Duke managed to sneak in numeracy and science in there gradually, and classics from different schools of thought from the Spring-Autumn period. This was possible as most of the subjects were Taiwan natives and not Han.

Side note, official recognition of vocations

Vocational exams: Those are truly numerous and covers everything from wood smithing to fishing. Qualified personnel are paid more. Those are not meant for the literati, but the population at large, and one has to wonder how much time the Duke had on his hands when devising those exams. They are meant to raise literacy and numeracy level at large.

[1] adapted from entry in Wikipedia Three Departments Six Ministries
 
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Later Duchy Trade Goods 1410+

During the early, 1400s-1410s, the base economy of Kunlun was established, as mentioned before. At this point, Kunlun only possessed the island of Taiwan and the surrounding small islets. Once the base economy was running, Kunlun up geared and started producing manufactured goods.

Imports


Horses
horse.jpg

The strategic importance of cavalry in the 15th century cannot be understated, and they are necessary as a policing tool as well. Apart from speedy junk ships which traverse the waters and streams of Taiwan, a gendarmerie was necessary to react to riots and aboriginal uprisings. Horses are bought from mainland Ming and also the Jurchen warlords of Haixi, Yeren and Jianzhou, whom apart from their own stock had access to Mongolian horses. Horse breeding became an industry in Tainan plains and better breeds are sought after from distant Arabia and even further lands.

Iron ore

Most of the mines on the island are deficient in iron content. An exception was magnetite mines that were found in the Taidong (east of Taiwan) after struggles with the local Ami people. More mines are located in Luzon and Mindanao, but the appetite of the Kunlun furnaces was insatiable and ores from far away India was imported. Junk pig irons were bought from everywhere as “high-grade ore” for Kunlun furnace

Coal
coal.jpg
Extensive coal mines are found in the Pingxi county in Taibei. However, the Duchy demand was huge, and coal from Annam, Tondo, and Kutai was imported. The Duchy developed cooperation with the local government, usually where the coal deposits are. The Annamese coal was particularly prized for it was anthracite. The Annamese favoured friendship with Kunlun since it saw that it won’t be under Ming’s thumb for too long and needed a weapons supplier.

Copper
copper.jpg
The malleable metal was mined from the gold mine Jinguashi since where gold goes copper follows. However, the requirements were high, and copper was imported from all over Asia. Since most of Asia uses copper for coinage (cash), the competition for raw copper is fierce, and Kunlun needed to ensure the Ming Empire’s smooth transition into silver for exchange uses.

Cotton

This plant and fibre are imported to Taiwan purely for plant breeding purposes. There was no land allotted for its growth except for experimental plots aiming to improve the yield. Kunlun traders strove to import as much raw cotton as they can but the Indian nations prefer to export the manufactured product, so yarns and clothes were imported instead.

Katana sword
katana.jpg
A large number of katanas are imported to balance the trade between Ashikaga Shogunate and Kunlun. The Kunlun see katanas as a useful melee weapon and also an object of art, and were very demanding in their qualities, even returning whole batches of them when found one blade substandard. Kunlun customer requirments shaped the development of katanas for future decades.

Paper
paper.jpg
As the Duke encouraged literacy in his domain, the demand for paper skyrocketed. However, he was not satisfied with the thin xuan paper made in the Ming Empire used for letters and calligraphy. He went into a joint venture with one of the great paper houses in Jiangsu and made a paper to the thick and durable specification. This paper is also costly and is almost exclusively used in Kunlun. The payoff is that the books of Kunlun would last longer and be reused more.

Exports

Steel
steel.jpg
The imported iron ore was made into steel in gigantic blast furnaces in Taizhong. The blast furnaces were made taller using coke instead of charcoal. The higher temperature achieved meant higher strength steel. The export grade product exported to places like Ming, Japan, Korea, and Ayutthaya. The Duchy of Kunlun had tried to sell them on the idea of steel armoured soldiers. However, it was deemed too expensive, and only Ming elite soldiers would have fullbody metal armour. Ming expressly forbade the sale of steel to the Mongol and Jurchen tribes, and Kunlun traders obeyed.

Farming machines
harrows.jpg
The Kunlun craftsmen were ingenious in devising inventions used for harvest. From seed drills to steel harrows and ploughs, all made in metal. They were considered labour saving measures and increase the grains output. Kunlun also sells horse-drawn heavy ploughs, much more efficient than oxen-drawn ploughs. They are sold to all grain growing kingdoms.

Glass
glass.jpg
Clear glass making was an art introduced by the Kunlun that had many practical uses, glass vessels were useful in alchemy, and glass bottles look expensive holding products like alcohol. Glass were also used in navigational instruments, and there was significant demand for mirrors by the upper strata of nations everywhere. The Kunlun method of glass making was very advanced for its times, and large pieces can be manufactured. Purity was also without equals. The mirrors command an extremely high price until well into the 17th century.

Carriages
coach.jpg
The Kunlun manufactures horse-drawn carriages of a new design that reduces shocks and make for smoother rides. This is mainly used on Taiwan itself, but due to demands elsewhere had become an industry in itself. Supplied are a set of recommended road rules. The wheels are made of hardy rubber, which was from an endemic plant in China used for traditional medicine of all things. Taiwan bought forests in Ming especially for the plantation of the Duzhong trees, as they are called. An attempt was also made to transplant the trees to South East Asia.

Sugar

Sugar cane was brought into Taiwan by some of the agricultural officials, as it was uniquely suited to the climate. Sugar cane and processed sugar were sold everywhere, and caution had to be made not to overconsume it, else health problems will follow.

Spices

Spice, together with salt became an essential way of preserving meat in the long sea voyages. Spice islands were discovered on old Ming maps and further explored at the same time as the colonisation of the three islands of Luzon. Most of the natives did not know how to cultivate the spice plants, and the seedlings were brought back to Taiwan for experimentation. The merchants of Kunlun bought their spices from locals in exchange for trinkets and daily goods that were cheap to manufacture in Kunlun and Ming.

Spices were sold to northern neighbours such as Jurchen and Japan, and they became prized commodities. They were also traded further west to Persia and Mamuluke Egypt, in stiff competition with Indian spices. The Kunlun edge was the number of plant breeders willing to experiment, and extremely hot peppers were created.
 
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